Beginner Golf Tips – How to Swing a Golf Club
Are you a new to the game of golf? Are you coming back to the game from a long break?
Then congratulations are in order! I am very excited for you as you start your golf journey.
If you haven’t read it yet, I have a post here about 7 Easy Steps to Learning Golf for anyone learning the game. I tried to break it down in a somewhat high-level view to help new golfers in knowing where to start and how to proceed.
But, honestly, it doesn’t have to be in this order – everyone starts differently. It just gives a small roadmap especially if you are starting at square one.
But, now that you are interested, and maybe just received a new set of golf clubs, or have played with your partner, spouse or friend, it is time to learn the basic golf swing fundamentals.
Let’s dive in!
Learning the Golf Swing for Brand New Golfers
One of the first steps to playing golf is to learn how to hit a golf ball with a golf club.
The easiest way to do this is to start with the fundamentals or basics of the golf swing.
If learned properly, these fundamentals will provide you with a strong foundation that you will be able to depend on for years to come.
Golf Swing Setup
The first part of the golf swing is the setup. The setup entails how to hold the golf club, how to align the club (another word for aim), and how to stand while addressing and swinging the club.
How to hold the golf club is called the grip. To hold the golf club is the most important element for the golf swing. It seems so simple, yet it can help you or hurt you in your swing especially as you improve and become more experienced. It is best to learn it properly now as a beginner so you have a strong foundation.
According to Ben Hogan, in his book, Five Lessons, the Modern Fundamentals of Golf, “Good golf begins with a good grip.” He goes on to talk about how people may see the grip as boring, but that a golfer’s “only contact with the ball is through the clubhead, and his only direct physical contact with the club is through the hands.” If you really want to learn how to hold a club, check out his book.
If you are like me, I like to see how things are done visually, especially in a video format. This great video also shows the most basic grip for holding the golf club. Practice this over and over again until you have it ingrained and it becomes second nature. It will set you up for success in the long run.
Golf Alignment and Aim
How to aim the golf ball and where you line up to the target is called alignment. Learning this and making sure that you are aimed correctly is important. It is much harder than it looks as our eyes can be deceiving depending on how you are looking at the target.
When you setup to the ball, you want to make sure that the side of your body is facing the target (left side for a right-handed player). To see the target, you will be looking over your left shoulder.
The front of the clubface will be pointing to the target.
Many golfers use alignment sticks to help them with their aim. Golf professionals still continue to practice with these to help them with their alignment even as good as they are.
Golf Stance and Posture
How to stand while addressing the golf ball and then while swinging the club is called the golf stance and golf posture.
This video does a great job at explaining the very basics of golf stance and posture.
An Easy Way to Learn How Far to Stand From the Ball
Many beginners have problems with how far to stand away from the golf ball. As a new golfer, this was one of the hardest things I had to figure out.
Kay McMahon, Co-Owner of EduKaytion Golf, and an LPGA Hall of Fame teacher as well as a Top 100 Golf Instructor for Golf Digest teaches one of the most basic and easiest golf swings for golfers. Her Golf 8.5 program teaches the golf swing in 8 1/2 steps. Easy peasy!
The first 4 steps involve the setup which she calls GCAP. This stands for Grip, Clubhead, Alignment, and Posture. In this video, she explains how posture and distance away from the ball becomes natural once you do the first 3 parts.
Breaking Down the Golf Swing
The actual act of swinging a golf club is pretty awkward and unnatural and can be quite technical to learn.
There are four main parts to the swing. Breaking it down step by step can help make it simpler to learn in the beginning. The Golf 8.5 video breaks it down easily step by step so you can almost see the movements.
As an experienced golfer who has taken her course, I have been going back to this foundational teaching method to help with my accuracy and consistency and to ‘relearn” the proper setup and golf swing movements.
After you are setup to the ball, the first part to actually moving the golf club is the takeaway. This is where you bring the club up to about waist high.
For many years, it was all arms for me. Be sure to turn your body or your torso and not just your arms. If you do this, it will be easier for the rest of the backswing.
The backswing can be difficult to learn and perform. Definitely awkward. The arm that is closest to the target (left arm if you are righty) is supposed to stay straight while your right arm is bent at the top of the backswing.
Honestly, it almost seems like a contortionist movement – LOL. As a beginner, you will need to practice this movement many times before it becomes natural and consistent.
After you get to the top of your backswing and the golf club is as far back as it is going to go, this is when you start the transition to the downswing.
Bring the club down and make contact with the golf ball. An important key is to stay in your golf posture while turning the body and bringing the golf club down through the point of impact. Many beginners tend to “top” the ball or even miss the ball completely because they come out of posture and essential come up (head or body).
The Follow Through
The follow through is important because after you hit the ball, the continued momentum will create power and distance create the proper ball flight.
What you don’t want to do is chop at the ball or stop once you make contact. It is best to continue through the swinging motion to help propel the golf ball forward. The end of the backswing stops at the top where the front of your body is turned facing the target and your arms are up in the air behind you. This maximizes the most power or energy for your golf swing.
Golf Swing Form and Building a Foundation
Everyone has a unique swing, even the pros. But, there are core foundational swing mechanics that every golfer should start with. Just like in anything else you learn, fundamentals are at the core of everything. You need to learn these first before you can build upon them.
It is important to think about the correct form and technique while learning and performing the golf swing. For most beginner golfers just starting out, it is going to take time, patience, lots of playing and practicing before it starts to become natural or consistent.
The biggest piece of advice I would give is to not be hard on yourself, to enjoy the process, keep learning and doing, and it will come eventually.
I wouldn’t even worry too much about hitting the ball well in the beginning. Learn the mechanics and proper swing.
There will be times when you will hit the ball beautifully and you’ll know it because of the amazing feel and ball flight. When you connect with the ball like this, savor that awesome moment and remember the feeling. Take it as motivation because you’ll want to do it again.
As long as you stick with it, there will be more and more shots like this. It might not happen right away or even in the very next shot or the next day, but that is golf!
Golf Swing Drills and Lessons
There are a few places you can check out to find an instructor in your area. Check out PGA or LPGA licensed golf instructors. If you are interested in Kay McMahon’s Golf 8.5 program which is great for beginners and any level, you can read my post here about her program as well as my personal review of her more recent online or virtual 5-week session.
I also have a Beginner Golf for Women Facebook Group that is very engaging and interactive. Feel free to join.
And if you would like to receive my Wednesday emails, I post my newest helpful golf tips and resources for beginner golfers as well as provide discounts and giveaways from some awesome brands. Subscribers also receive my free Golf Guide on How to Play Your Best Round. Be sure to sign up here if you haven’t already.