As anyone who has tried their hand at golf knows all too well, it is a difficult game to say the least.
One of the things that happens to all new golfers is that they are immediately humbled by the game which looks
so simple on television. The truth is though that the combination of mental acumen and physical coordination
required is probably unrivaled by any other sport. Before one can even begin to understand all of the game's
nuances, it can take years just to develop the basic skills associated with proper ball striking.
It is advisable for beginners to invest in basic golf lessons well before they invest in their own set of clubs. Even the cheapest, most basic set of golf clubs available
at Target or a sporting goods store will cost well over one hundred dollars. Professional or advanced
sets, for example Taylormade®, Callaway®, or Mizuno® golf clubs, can easily surpass $1,000. A beginner's course,
usually over a period of several weeks, will allow you to understand the game and the mechanics of the
golf swing at the most elemental level. This is a crucial first step since our natural tendencies are
mostly at odds with the development of a proper golf swing.
The first thing that students learn in golf 101 is how to grip the club. There are a couple of variations on
the correct golf grip but the reasons behind the grip are the same. The club
must be secure within the grip allowing proper control without the tendency to grip too tight. An overly tight
grip is probably the most common mistake that beginners make. It takes a while to get used to it and be
comfortable enough with it so that it works well in tandem with the rest of your body during the swing. Thumb
placement and finger alignment are the building blocks that all beginners need to learn before they naturally
develop a grip that works for them.
After the proper grip is understood, the student needs to learn the proper positioning of the rest of the body
in relation to the ball. If the club is to be viewed as an extension of the body, that connects through the grip
then up into the arms and upper body, the body's posture must be correct to facilitate a smooth, even swing. The
spacing of the feet, distance from the ball, angle of the upper torso and position of the head are all intertwined
in the execution of a swing. When one piece of this overall system is out of sync, the whole process breaks down
which leads to a bad swing and frustration.
The arms need to form a "V" with the shoulders loose enough so that the club can be drawn back and then swung in
a fluid motion. This relies heavily on the back being straight and the knees slightly bent. Like a coiled spring,
the swing is a continuous movement from start to finish. The actual width of the stance and distance from the ball
are dictated by many factors, most importantly though is the type of club being used for the particular shot. This
is why it is appropriate for the beginning student to start to learn with only one type of club, usually a pitching
wedge or a 9-iron. This will help build some consistency which can be applied to other types of clubs and
corresponding swings. Over time, the technique can be applied to the other irons as well as hybrid clubs and
Achieving a proper golf swing on a consistent basis is the key to the game. It takes years of intense practice
to gain enough confidence in your ability that you will know where the ball is going to land after you strike it.
Any small mental or physical deviation has the ability to completely wipe out even scratch golfers. And once this
happens it can be a chain reaction where your eroding confidence causes more and more deviation and poorer and
poorer results. The only way to have any sort of ability in this game is to start with the basics and build a
strong foundation of understanding and sound technique which you can build on over time.
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