1. Torque It Up!
A good backswing creates torque and is achieved by rotating the body away from the ground using the feet as an anchor. Except for unusually flexible players, the knees, hips, core, back and shoulders should all be used to create torque. Once you get the feel of creating leverage against the ground, your power will increase significantly.
3. Snap It For More Power
The powerful tension built up in the backswing needs to be unleashed into the ball. Before the club finishes at the top, the body must begin moving toward impact with the arms and club lagging behind (the body should drag the arms and club, not vice versa). The unwinding body should stop sharply before contact, whipping the arms and club powerfully into impact.
4. Long Arms
Soft arms are fast arms, and you don’t want them moving independently of the body. Instead, the arms must be thrown out and extended by a proper pivot.
6. Playing The Game
Mechanical thoughts, especially during the backswing, have no place on the golf course. Swing issues and technical moves should be worked out on the practice range. On the course, focus on positive downswing thoughts like accelerate through impact and finish with the right shoulder toward the target. Avoid negative thoughts by visualizing the ballflight you’re trying to produce, and swing with that image in mind. A consistent preshot routine helps.
7. Build An Athletic Platform
Developing a powerful and consistent golf swing always starts with the address position. Tension should be avoided at all costs. Instead, the setup should have a light and bouncy feel that gets you ready to move freely in an athletic way. Tension restricts the body from moving properly and requires the hands and arms to play too active a role in the swing. Rehearse your setup carefully, and your swing will improve.
8. Posture Not Perfect
Unless you’re young or unusually flexible, you’re not going to look like Tiger Woods at address. Stay relaxed rather than forcing your back straight.
10. Leg Angle
The lower leg should angle away from the ball at setup. This helps the body weight move off the heels and into the balls of the feet. This is an athletic position that really works.
11. Neutral = Straight
There are two key alignments to strive for at the top of the swing that will make hitting fairways much easier. The most important of the two is the clubface position, which should be square (the leading edge basically is parallel to the left arm). Learning this position will remove the need to compensate on the downswing with the hands. Positioning the club parallel to the target line is also extremely important.
12. Find Your Swing Plane
You can swing on an upright or flat plane and be effective. However, if you want to be neutral, keep your left arm running up through your left shoulder at the top.
The right knee should remain flexed, but it must rotate on the backswing to allow the hips to complete their turn. When done properly, this allows the weight to work into the right heel.
15. Check Your Lofts And Lies
16. Get New Grips That Fit
17. Try A Premium Driver Shaft
18. Add More Wedges
19. Buy Some Long Tees
20. Get On A Launch Monitor
21. Experiment With Golf Balls
22. Don’t Neglect Your Clubs
23. Try Some High-Tech Clothes
24. Wear Wristbands
25. Prime Movers
Notice how my upper left arm and chest are connected. It’s this connection that initiates the backswing and encourages the club to be moved by the pivot of the body and not the hands and arms moving independently. In addition to the left arm and chest, movement of the shoulders and back should also contribute to the finish of a powerfully coiled backswing. Don’t ever begin your backswing by lifting your arms or rolling your wrists by themselves.
26. Free Turn
The lower body should serve to support the movement of the upper body by leading the backswing. Flexed and relaxed, the legs are able to be moved by the rotation of the upper body, in no way inhibiting the turn. While the legs don’t initiate the backswing, they contribute to the wind up of the body against the ground. A good thought is to imagine the legs as braces that connect you to the ground.
27. The Truth About Impact
Looking at the two pictures below, there’s no doubting the differences between the proper address and impact positions. But while the correct impact position is obviously extremely important, it’s impossible to isolate this one moment of the swing through manipulation. Instead, you have to understand and apply the proper mechanics to create the correct look and feel at impact. It’s no coincidence that a proper-looking impact position tends to create solid shots.
28. The Tilt
Creating the proper tilt in the shoulders requires two elements: The hips must move closer to the target at the start of the downswing while the head stays slightly back. This drives the left shoulder up and the right side down.
29. The Hands
The hands should completely reverse themselves from address to impact. Notice how the left wrist is flat while the right has moved from flat to bent back (Above right). This position is a must.
30. Proper Sequence Is Key
There are many elements of impact that must come together to produce consistency, but the key lies in the sequence. From the top of the backswing, the legs and hips must initiate the downswing by moving toward the target, past their original position at address. This creates the proper tilt in the shoulders that allows the right arm to remain flexed at impact, while the left wrist becomes flat. Basically, a proper impact position is the result of a proper sequence of movements.
31. Bottom Out
Notice how the logo on my shirt has moved closer to the target at impact than it was at address. The bottom of the swing will occur under the logo, making it a must to get it past the ball if you want to make ball-first contact.
32. Control Your Distance
A proper divot is taken just beyond impact, but it should be shallow. Shallow divots allow you to hit your clubs consistent distances, while deep ones don’t.
33. First-Class Travel Bag
34. A Portable GPS Unit
35. Properly Fitted Shoes
36. A Hybrid Or Two, Or Three
37. Golf-Specific Sunglasses
38. Stress-Reducing Aid
39. Weighted Practice Club
40. High-Moi Putter
41. Spray-On Sunscreen
42. Pivot Pitching
Eliminate chunks and skulls by using your body and not your hands to move the club. Try keeping your arms glued to your body in the backswing and downswing.
44. Speed Controls Distance
The seemingly obvious fact that the sand (not the club) moves the ball out of the bunker is often misunderstood. To control the distance your bunker shots travel, you have to be able to manage the speed of the sand, which isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. The length of the swing is irrelevant—it’s the speed of the clubhead that really matters. Practice pitching sand out of a bunker until you can consistently control how far it goes, and only then add a golf ball to the equation.
45. Level Legs
The lack of traction in bunkers forces the legs to function differently than they do on full shots—they must maintain their flex during the entire swing instead of posting up through impact. This will keep you nice and level through the shot.
Although they might look somewhat similar, the mechanics of hitting a bunker shot are different than those used to play a chip shot from grass. In the sand, it’s actually advantageous to allow the clubhead to pass your hands past impact. This move encourages a higher, softer shot by increasing the clubhead speed and amount of spin that can be created. Due to the unstable nature of sand, think of these shots as more handsy than most others in golf.
47. Lean Left
It’s critical to start and keep your weight toward your front foot during the entire motion of a bunker shot. This encourages the club to sustain its speed through impact, which in turn creates the wave of sand necessary to carry the ball in the air.
48. Narrow Your Focus
Consistently making short putts is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. To help maintain concentration, find a blade of grass directly in front of the middle of the hole as you prepare to strike the putt. Don’t look at the hole itself or the back of it, but simply try to roll the ball over the spot on the front of the hole. Using the front of the hole makes the target closer and makes your focus that much more specific.
49. Putting With Symmetry
Despite a great setup position and solid stroke, deceleration causes a lot of putts to miss the target. Making the length and the speed of the stroke the same back and through is a fundamental fix for deceleration and also a great way to develop your speed control. Try this drill: Place a tee equidistant from the ball on the backstroke and followthrough. Practice putting, keeping the putterhead at the tee on both ends of the stroke. Increase or decrease the speed to hit the ball different distances.
50. Eyes And Arms
On the putting green, the eyes and the forearms should be parallel to the target line at address. This will encourage the putter to track on the proper path without manipulation during the stroke. If the eyes and/or the forearms are misaligned, it’s impossible to make a putt without compensating during the stroke. Notice how poor my alignment is at far left—this setup is common and bad.
Brady Riggs, PGA, is a Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor and one of the most sought-after teachers in southern California. He’s located at Woodley Lakes, G.C.