Getting into the Swing (properly)

Blame the wind, the sun, and the sounds of the birds in the trees. But no amount of playing the blame game will change your swing. Sometimes you have to suck it up and take responsibility for your faults if you want to improve your game. So let’s get started with a few easy fixes for the most common and annoying errors.

The Slice

“Tink” sounds the face of the driver as it connects with what you think is going to be a beautiful shot. Unfortunately, you left the club face open on impact and now your ball is sailing straight for the trees on your right. There’s a simple solution for correcting your slice. Wear a wristwatch and throughout your downswing attempt to roll your watch so the clock face is pointing down during the follow through. This will make you twist your forearms and close the clubface before impact, helping you square the strike. Your slice is cured!

the slice golf swing

The Hook

The main problem with hooking a ball left, is that the clubface is making contact with the outside half of the ball, which is furthest away from you. To stop this you need to focus on hitting the inside of the ball (the half closest to you). You can try picking a single dimple on the back and the side closest to you. If you aim to hit this with the centre of the clubface and connect, your problem will be solved.

The Top

Other than missing the ball completely, which would actually be better, the topped shot causes embarrassment the world over. Seeing your ball trickle 20 yards after a dramatically strong swing is height of frustration. The root cause of this issue is lack of posture with your hips and shoulders tearing away in a spinning motion causing you to contact the top half of the ball. To prevent top and rolls imagine your chest pointing towards the ball at impact.

get the swing sorted

The Shank

The infamous shank, the ugly cousin of the slice and the shot that sets off alarm bells as soon as it’s hit as it hurls in a stiff angle to the right. The main culprit of a shank is having a weak grip. Understandably, you approach the green with a wedge and falter in trying to not overcook the shot. So take a stronger grip with your wedge shots and make sure you don’t turn your wrists towards the target through your downswing. A shank can also come from standing too near to the ball, so stand further away than usual, but where you can still make impact, this will straighten your swing as you come more from the inside.


What is a good swing?

We’ve explained what you need to do to remedy your swing stresses. But let’s remind ourselves of the fundamentals of a good swing. Firstly, good posture and good alignment will set you up to take the best shot possible. Try not to manipulate the clubface for the first three feet on the back swing. As you come back you want a nice fold of the elbow and a tight turn, with your shoulders moving 90 degrees from start position with the club a little short of parallel. Then on the down swing, start the movement with your lower half, your hips bumping to the left and begin rotating your lower body. That brings the club back down on the same plain as it went up on and then around half way down the club is in a nice position and you are setup on line with the ball to simply follow through with the rest of the shot. In terms of thoughts through the swing, you shouldn’t be thinking too much about exact parts, only one or two thoughts i.e. folding the elbow or tucking up your shoulder to finish at your chin. After all it’s more about feel than the mechanics of the shot.

John Lines is a PGA Advanced Professional with over 20 years of playing experience and the managing director at GolfSupport.

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