Many of the great teachers of the game will tell you that most mishits occur even before you even swing the club! True, with a good set of hands you can occasionally hit a great golf shot. But in order to produce consistent results, it is important to master some fundamentals. This will give you the best chance of hitting great shots with consistency. Consistency is one of the keys to lowering your scores. The great thing about fundamentals is that it does not take any special ability or talent to master them. So, let's briefly examine these critical fundamentals.
Good posture in the golf swing is essential in order to create a consistent swing and deliver the club to the ball correctly. The simplest way to get into a good posture is to follow these 4 steps.
- Stand erect yet relaxed with your hands hanging loosely by their sides and have your feet about shoulder width apart.
- Bend forward about 30 degrees from the hips while maintaining a naturally straight back (not rigid). It is very important to make sure you do not slouch. The best way to avoid slouching is the keep your chin up and not tucked in.
- Now simply unlock your knees. You should feel the weight of your body down the middle of the arches of your feet or slightly forward.
- Finally, bring your two hands together as though you were to grip the club. Let them hang naturally below your chin. This will give your hands and the butt end of the club the ideal distance from the body.
One of the biggest reasons a golfer can hit the ball offline is poor alignment. They may think they are aiming at the target, but their body is pointing either too far right or left. The best way to think of alignment is the timeless visual of picturing a railway track. Your feet, hips and shoulders all maintain a line that is parallel to your target line where the ball is, just like the two parallel lines of a railway track.
A great drill to ensure your body is perfectly aligned is to use the two alignment rods from the All-in-One training aid. Put one alignment rod on the ground approximately the same distance away from your body as you would place the ball. Then, place the All-in-One on the ground parallel to other alignment rod so that it touches the tips of your feet. Take the other alignment rod and place it across your shoulders while concentrating on keeping the two rods parallel. Have a friend or coach check your position so you can get a feel for what is right.
After going through this drill, you can start hitting balls using the All-in-One as a guide. Place an alignment rod a safe distance behind your golf ball pointing at the target. Place the All-in-One parallel to the alignment rod so that you can ensure your feet are square.
Perhaps one of the most common questions we get is where in my stance should the ball be? There are varying approaches to this topic but the method that is the simplest to follow and produces the most consistent results is to always keep the lead foot in a static position relative to the ball. Place the ball approximately one club head length (4 inches) from the heal. The only real exception to this rule is with the driver (where the ball is positioned opposite the heal in order to produce and upward blow) and when having to execute certain speciality shots.
With ball position being established as a club head length from the heel of the lead foot the trail leg adjusts according to club you are using. You can place one of the alignment rods from the All-in-One through the middle hole and point it at the ball. Place your lead foot a club head length from the rod and check your position regularly. For short irons and wedges the ball would appear to be in the middle of the stance as you would place you trail foot less than shoulder width from the lead foot, for mid-irons the ball would appear slightly forward of center since you would have your trail foot about shoulder width apart and and for long irons even more forward with the feet being about to the outside of the shoulders.
Grip is a fundamental that is very easily overlooked but can have a massive impact on your ability to strike the ball consistently. There are two key components to having a proper grip: 1) hand position and 2) grip pressure.
With hand position, the first thing to keep in mind is that the club is held in the fingers not the palm of the hand. As shown here, place the club on the outer pad of the left hand (for right-handed golfers) and allow the club to cross the fingers diagonally. Then close the hand over the club so that the club is resting in the fingers and the thumb should point down the shaft or slightly right. Then place the right hand over the left thumb so that when the hand is closed two V's are formed by the thumbs and forefingers. The V's should generally point towards your right armpit. The fingers of both hands should come together in either a 10-finger pattern overlap or interlocking grip.
So, there you have it. The four fundamentals. Ensure that you dedicate a few minutes to each in your practice routine and you we see a noticeable improvement in overall consistency and lower scores!