Learn Like A Junior!

How to master fundamentals like a beginner

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If you're too far from the ball (most people), you'll tend to hit "at" the ball with your arms too much, which keeps your body from rotating toward the target. The shot tendency is for the ball to go to the right and be very thin.

If you're too close to the ball (very few people), you'll have to stand up too much through impact and pull your shoulders up to make sure you can hit the ball. It's very common to hit the ball fat or thin in this position.

If you're just the right distance from the ball, your arms will strike the ball solidly with no manipulation of the arms. The result is a much more solid strike and the ball will tend to launch right on line.


The turn in the backswing is one of the most crucial moves in golf. It sets you up for power and allows the club to be in a good position for the forwardswing. Most people who struggle with golf actually slide their right hip sideways and drop their left shoulder down toward the ball on the backswing, which makes it impossible to put the club in a good position at the top. When you turn, you need to allow your right hip to move behind you and your left shoulder to move in line with that hip—if you're facing yourself in a mirror, the left shoulder joint and the right hip joint will be very close to a vertical line.

Try this drill to understand your body's natural turn. Get yourself in an athletic setup position with your arms crossed over your chest. Next, pretend your friend is standing about 20 yards directly behind you and he shouts, "Hey, Dan!" (or your name). Simply turn your head and look back over your right shoulder to your friend without thinking about it, and your body will produce your natural turn! If your backswing is similar, then you're in good shape. If not, see if you can replicate some of those moves—it will require that you not try so hard to keep your head still!

As you rotate the club back, try and retain some flex in both knees. You'll find it much easier to engage the glutes in the backswing, resulting in a more powerful transition into the golf ball.


Following my advice on perfecting your turn is a critical ingredient to making a good golf swing. But your actual clubs can have a great influence on your golf swing, too.

When was the last time you had your club lengths, flexes and lie angles checked? The length of your club can affect a variety of things, including how far or close you stand. The lie can affect your plane, and shaft flex can change how well the clubhead releases through impact. I always tell my students to start with clubs that fit in terms of length and lie angle, first and foremost. Flex can be adjusted, but with length and lie, you want the right fit to start off so you develop a good swing plane. With juniors, it's even more important as they grow taller. Be sure you get fit for the right lengths and lies to start, and as you get better, change your flexes accordingly.

If you dip the left shoulder going back, you limit your chances of making a good, powerful turn. It even causes the left arm to collapse.

Instead, make a more rounded backswing, with less tilt in the shoulders (there's still going to be a little) and more rotation of the body.

At the top, you should emulate saying "Hey Dan!" as though I was standing behind you.


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