It is no coincidence that when you go for a golf lesson the first things your pro will check are your Grip, Alignment, Stance and Posture. The simple fact is that most swing faults stem from a problem with one or more of those basics so if you can alleviate them you will be well on the way to improving your game.
Your grip is the only point of contact with the golf club, so it stands to reason it’s vital when it comes to playing good golf.
Your pro will often start the lesson by telling you that he or she has never seen a good golfer with a bad grip and one that is perfectly correct. Jim Furyk or Bernhard Langer might have a stronger grip than Tiger Woods or Colin Montgomerie, but all are constant and ensure that they return the club square to their target almost every time.
It pays to take a bit of care when you place your hands on the grip and also to check your grip regularly.
Place the grip of the club across your hand from the centre of your forefinger to below the muscle pad between your little finger and left wrist. When you close your grip you should be able to see two knuckles (on your forefinger and middle finger).
When you are forming your right-hand grip, you should imagine you are shaking hands. Grip the club in the middle joints of the fore, middle and third finger and wrap your hand over so that it’s trapped between forefinger and thumb. The “v” formed by your thumb and forefinger should point just to the right of your chin.
Grip pressure is also vital. Jack Nicklaus says you should grip the club like your pet budgie – a good image to keep in your mind. The grip has to be firm enough to hold onto the bird, but not so firm that it hurts it. Translate that thought to your golf swing and you wont go far wrong.
A good stance will give you a solid base and give you the correct angle of attack for every club in the bag.
When you are hitting a driver, your feet should be about shoulder width apart as this allows you to commit to the shot without losing your balance. The ball should be positioned just inside your left heel.
With a 5-iron, your feet should be just less than shoulder width apart and the ball positioned an inch or so inside the left heel.
The correct stance for a wedge is slightly narrower still and the ball should be positioned mid-way between your feet to promote a steeper angle of attack.
Amateur golfers often take little care when addressing the ball which can lead to all sorts of problems due to their aim being off line. Therefore there is little chance the ball will be hit towards the intended target.
Good alignment revolves around your clubhead. Make sure your clubhead is square to your intended target (pointing at it) and then align your feet, hips and shoulders parallel to that target line. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how often golfers fail to check their alignment before thay hit a shot.
To correct your backswing a good, quick tip is to place something straight like a golf club parallel to your feet and take the club back, following the line through until you turn your hips.
Good posture allows your upper body to angle round your spine during the swing and allows your legs and hips to work efficiently.
It is important to:
- Tilt forward from your hips to create a good spine angle.
- Let your arms hang naturally from your shoulders.
- Make sure your weight is on the balls of your feet and not on your heels.
- Feel that your bottom is sticking out partially to counteract your forwards tilt.
- Your knees should be flexed to remove tension, but not bent enough to inhibit free movement.