#1 – Take Your Time
It is easy to rush in the golf swing. After all, you are probably trying to hit the ball a significant distance, especially if you are standing on the tee, so it is only natural to swing as hard and fast as possible. However, most of the time, that level of effort is going to do you more harm than good. The best golf swings tend to be those that allow speed to develop gradually, with the club accelerating all the way down until it arrives at impact.
You want to pay particular attention to taking your time when it comes to the transition. Most amateur golfers rush through the transition, quickly shifting from backswing to forward swing as they hurry to hit the ball. Sadly, this is where many players get off track – and there isn’t enough time between the transition and impact to fix what has gone wrong. You can easily create a number of different problems as a result of a faulty transition, with the slice being among the biggest issues to surface when you rush at the top.
During your next trip to the driving range, make it a point to take a bit of extra time at the top of your swing. Start by hitting some soft wedge shots while using an extra-slow transition. Just pitching the ball a short distance down the range while keeping your transition slow will help you to feel how important this part of the swing is to your overall performance. As the clubs get longer and the swing gets faster, be sure to keep track of your transition to ensure that it doesn’t speed back up unnecessarily.
#2 – Pick Out a Specific Target
One of the most-important things you can do for your swing, and for your game as a whole, is to pick out a very specific target for each and every shot that you hit. When you have a specific target in mind as you swing, you will be far more likely to stay committed to the swing at hand. Indecision is a sure sign of doubt in your game, and doubt is something that can throw you off track in a hurry.
It doesn’t matter what kind of shot you are hitting; it is always important to have a target picked out before you take your stance. While most golfers do a good job of picking a target while they are hitting an approach shot, the same cannot be said off of the tee. When the average golfer takes their driver from the bag in order to hit a drive, they usually just aim ‘for the fairway’ before swinging away. That isn’t good enough, as far as target-selection is concerned. Rather than aiming for the fairway in general, pick out a specific target in the distance that you can use to guide your swing.
Once you get into the habit of picking specific targets, you will see just how useful this strategy can be. You will likely notice that there is more confidence and commitment behind your swings, and you will also start to feel like you have more margin for error on your shots. The mind is a powerful thing on the golf course, and training your mind on a very specific target before each swing can pay big dividends.
#3 – Relax Your Grip
It is hard to provide tips that relate to the grip, because everyone feels comfortable holding onto the club in their own way. There are a variety of different grips used in the game, and many of them are capable of producing quality golf. However, there is one golf grip tip that can be applied across the board by every golfer, and it is the fact that the grip should be relaxed in order to promote club head speed and a clean strike. Many golfers squeeze onto the grip too tight as they swing, and those players lose power as a result.
Of course, trying to swing the club while holding on lightly to the handle requires you to walk a fine line, because you need to hold on tight enough to keep control of the club from start to finish. You can’t have the club flying out of your hands as you swing, so the grip does need to be tight enough to hold on – but no tighter. Work on finding a grip pressure that will allow you to swing freely while still controlling the club and you will be a better golfer for the effort.
#4 – Quiet Hands in the Takeaway
This is a point that could benefit amateur golfers perhaps more than any other. The average player uses their hands far too actively during the takeaway phase of the swing, and they pay the price when the club is off-plane by the time the backswing has finished. If you would like to keep the club in a good position all the way through to the top, you need to keep your hands out of the takeaway while your shoulders do all of the work.
To move the club back away from the ball, focus on simply turning your left shoulder away from the target. If you can make that one move successfully, you will be on your way to a perfect takeaway. In reality, the correct takeaway is rather simple, but most golfers overcomplicate it and wind up making mistakes. Specifically, you want to focus on your wrists during the early part of the backswing – if your wrists are quiet and stable, you should be on the right track.
Making the change from a takeaway that is driven by your hands to one that is driven by your shoulders can be difficult, so you will need to invest some time on the range before heading to the course. Start with some of your shorter clubs and gradually work your way up to the long clubs as you get more and more comfortable with this style of takeaway. In the end, you should be left with a swing that is more-reliable and just as powerful as the one you left behind.
#5 – Play to Your Strengths
Before hitting any shot on the course, you are going to be faced with a series of choices. Which club are you going to hit? What are you going to use as your target for the shot? Are you going to try to hit the ball higher or lower than usual? These and many more questions will need to be answered during the planning phase prior to taking your stance. As you work through this process, one of the most important things you can do is to keep in mind the strengths that you have as a golfer. By playing to your strengths – and away from your weaknesses – you can achieve better outcomes in the end.
It is tempting to pretend like you don’t have any weaknesses in your game, but that simply isn’t true for any golfer in the world. Even the best players in the game have weaknesses that they try to avoid whenever possible. It would be great to be able to hit any shot at any time depending on what the course throws your way, but that simply isn’t a skill that you are likely to possess. Don’t fall into the trap of trying shots you really can’t execute just because you want to prove that you can do it. The beauty of being able to pick your own shots on the course is the fact that you can make decisions which suit your strengths. Be smart about club selection and avoid those shots that really give you trouble.
That isn’t to say that you should just give up on trying to fix shots that give you problems. During your practice sessions, you should absolutely work on improving your game in the areas that it is weakest. However, you should still play to your strengths on the course. As you get better in some of your weak areas, you may not need to avoid them in the future. Just remember, the driving range is for practice and improvement, and the course is for scoring your best. When on course, always pick the shot that gives you the best possible chance to succeed.
#6 – See the Club Hit the Ball
Okay – so this is a pretty basic tip, and it is one you have probably heard before, but it still warrants a spot on our list. When you swing down through impact, you need to make an effort to ensure you actually see the club hit the back of the ball. This is an easy point to take for granted, but it is extremely important to the quality of your play. When you watch the club hit the ball, you will be more likely to make solid contact, and solid contact is essential in the quest to lower your scores.
This is a tip that is often considered to be the same thing as ‘keep your head down’, but it is actually different in a meaningful way. If you focus on keeping your head down, you are going to limit the movement that takes place in your shoulders because you will be trying to keep your head quiet. You want your shoulders to be able to turn through the ball on the way down, so you don’t want to think about keeping your head still. It is actually okay if your head moves a little bit through impact, as long as your eyes are watching the ball the whole time.
#7 – Stay Perfectly Still While Putting
Moving onto the greens, one of the best tips you can receive while putting is to keep your body as totally still as possible throughout the stroke. Unlike the full swing, when you need plenty of help from your entire body in order to produce speed and power, putting is all about precision and control. It takes barely any effort at all to roll the ball toward the hole, so you will want to focus on the precise control of your stroke in order to have success. One way you can control the club (and the ball) beautifully is by keeping your body as still as possible while the putter swings.
To keep your body still while still making a proper stroke, you need to understand what parts of the body are actually responsible for moving the putter back and forth. Ideally, it will be the job of your shoulders to move the putter, while your arms and hands go along for the ride naturally. By placing the control of the stroke in your shoulders, you can eliminate much of the unnecessary movement that often causes putts to veer off track. As you swing the putter, your lower body should be perfectly still, as should your head and your torso below the shoulders.
One good way to focus on keeping your lower body still as you putt is to think about the position of your kneecaps. These are two specific points that are easy to focus on, and you will instantly be able to tell if they happen to move. While the putter swings, focus on keeping your kneecaps perfectly still in the position that they held at address. If you can accomplish that simple task successfully, there is a good chance you will roll plenty of good putts throughout the day.
#8 – Don’t Slide
As far as golf tips go, this is a simple one. Your only job in order to comply with this important tip is to avoid sliding during the swing. That goes for both directions – you don’t want to slide away from the target, and you don’t want to slide toward the target, either. Ideally, you will be able to keep your weight in the middle of your stance as you swing back, and your weight will only move forward toward the target in the downswing as a result of your rotation rather than a slide. Balance is crucial in golf, and staying away from any kind of sliding action will quickly make you a better player.
There are two common points in the golf swing for a player to slide. The first is during the takeaway. As the club starts in motion, some players will slide away from the target, allowing their body weight to move with the club. The other common spot for a slide in the golf swing is during the transition, when some players will slide their lower body toward the target before they get started with any kind of rotation. Obviously, you want to avoid both of these mistakes in order to make your swing as powerful and consistent as possible.
To steer clear of the backswing slide, focus on the position of your right knee. As long as your right knee holds its position while the swing is starting, you should be able to steer clear of that early slide to the right. As far as the transition slide goes, it’s all about starting the move down with the rotation of your lower body toward the target. Do your best to turn your left hip open to the target as your downswing begins. If you can make that move reliably, there is little chance you will wind up with a slide.
#9 – Finish the Swing
The finish position that you reach when your golf swing has concluded will tell you a lot about the swing that you have made. Golfers will a full, well-balanced finish position are usually those who use their bodies correctly throughout both the backswing and downswing. On the other hand, players who fail to get all the way to a full finish – or fall off balance somewhere along the way – need to make some corrections.
When you get a chance to watch some golf on TV, pay attention to how the players hold their finish positions. Most top players will hold their finish until the ball has landed, displaying great control and balance. This should be your goal. By swinging all the way through to the finish, you will typically accelerate the club through impact, which is an essential part of good ball striking. Work on reaching a balanced finish while practicing on the range and commit yourself to finishing each swing in the same fashion when you get out on the course.
#10 – Have Fun
So this really isn’t a swing tip per se – but it is one of the most important tips that you can receive. When you are at the golf course, whether you are practicing on the range or playing a round, you need to remember to have fun at all times. This is a game! Too many players take the game too seriously, and they wind up taking the fun out of it as a result. If you aren’t going to have fun while you play, you might as well find something else to do.
Before your next round, take a few moments to think about why it is that you are spending time on the golf course. What do you hope to get from the experience? What is it that draws you back out to spend your money on golf time and time again? Most likely, the answers that you come up with will be things like spending time outdoors, spending time with your friends, getting exercise, and more. Sure, you want to play well along the way, but that isn’t the main motivation for most people to hit the links. By keeping your motivation in mind, and keeping your mind focused on having fun first and foremost, you will find that golf becomes a far more-rewarding experience in the end.
We hope the ten tips listed above are helpful as you work on your own game. Golf is a tremendous challenge, which is a big part of why so many people love to play. Embrace the challenge, use the tips on this list to help you play a bit better, and encourage those around you to play their best as well. Golf tips will always be a part of the game, and they are a big part of what makes it so much fun. Good luck out there!
Are you looking for more course information, tips and tricks, and advice from our Pro? You can find all of that here. Hole features to come!
Tyler graduated from Allegheny College of Maryland with a Hospitality Management with a focus in Golf. Because of this, Tyler has a hand in all areas of the course, from grounds keeping to organizing tournaments, and helping run the Monday Night League. He's also won both the Club Championship and MNL League titles several times.
Have a question about your handicap? Need advice on your next golf purchase? Ask for Tyler.
Tyler grew up here, and his mother, Shari, has said that he's been swinging a club since not long after learning to walk.
King Valley Golf Course
132 King Valley Lane
Imler, Pennsylvania 16655