Fundamentals Of A Good Golf Swing
The key to hitting accurate approach shots is executing the fundamentals during your iron swing—setup, takeaway, backswing/downswing, impact, and finish. How you execute the fundamentals during these phases determine how well you hit an iron.
Some professionals that give golf instruction sessions include the transition from backswing to downswing as a separate phase. Making a smooth transition from your backswing to your downswing is critical.
Proper Golf Setup
There’s no reason not to start with a good setup. Flex at the knees, stand firmly on the balls of your feet, bend from your hips not your back, adopt a straight (but not rigid) back, and balance your weight evenly over both feet.
Think “rock and roll” to remind you that feet serve as a rock through your backswing and roll through your downswing. And don’t overlook ball position. It’s never farther back than your sternum or farther forward than your left armpit.
It’s critical that you make a good takeaway. Watch golfers who have low golf handicaps. Most will have good takeaways.
Some teachers use the 2-8-12-rule in their golf lessons. During the first two inches of your takeaway, take the club straight back. From the second inch to the eighth inch, take the club back some more, but don’t break your wrists. This is a natural continuation of your takeaway.
From the eighth inch to the twelfth inch, start breaking your wrist. At this point, the club should be parallel to the ground and the target line. In the rough, you’ll need a slightly steeper takeaway.
Shifting your weight to your back foot is crucial in your backswing. It enables you to make a good coil and prevents you from making a reverse pivot. So keep until your weight shifts to your back foot. Keep your hands away from your body. At the top of the swing, a straight left arm is ideal but a slightly bent elbow is also acceptable. Your head should be behind the ball.
Make a smooth transition to the downswing. From this position, you’re ready to turn toward the target. Allow your hands to drop underneath your head as you begin shifting toward your front foot. The club should be directly over your rear shoulder. You should be approaching the ball with a descending blow.
Good golfers know that at impact they need to achieve a “stacked” position to make solid contact. This position includes a full release of the wrists, a straight left arm (right for left-handers), most of your weight transferred to the front foot, and your hips open.
Contrary to popular belief, the impact position isn’t the same as the setup position. With longer irons, allow for a slower wrist cock. This widens your swing and provides the flatter arc these clubs require.
Your finish tells you a lot about what’s going on during your swing. The correct finish ends with the bodyweight primarily on the front foot, the club behind you, and your head, chest, and belt buckle facing the target.
You also should be balanced and able to hold that position indefinitely. From your finish position, you can tell two things: (a) if the majority of your weight has successfully shifted to your front foot, and (b) if your body has fully rotated without excessive sliding through the downswing, which will produce mis-hits.
Driving the ball is only one phase of golf. If you’re serious about improving, you must master your irons, too. A 300-yard drive is worthless if you don’t follow up with an accurate approach shot. Use the golf tips we’ve provided above to hone your iron swing. It will help you hit more greens in regulation and chop strokes off your golf handicap.