Stroke of Genius: How to Improve Your Golf Swing (and Make More Birdies!)

When you're looking to improve your golf swing (and make more birdies), you'll quickly discover that there are a seemingly endless supply of resources available. You could make a one-on-one appointment with a local instructor or the pro at your nearest course, or hit the driving range with a friend whose swing is a bit more developed than yours. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit less complicated, you could watch golf on television or read articles and watch how-to videos online.

The choice is yours, but it is important that you keep two things in mind. First, try to avoid over-analyzing your swing and obsessing over the mechanics of every single movement. Doing so is often counterproductive and negatively affects your game as a whole. Second, always remember to focus on motivating yourself to improve your swing, and, even more importantly, remember that your golf game is an ever-evolving endeavor with no set endpoint. No golfer will ever be perfect, but it is important to always strive for excellence and continuous improvement.  

In this blog post, you will find a variety of tips for improving your swing and making more birdies. Our team has curated a number of articles, step-by-step lists, videos, and inspirational stories that create an expansive and well-rounded approach to improving your game. Keep on swinging!

Don't expect to reach perfection.

Any golfer knows that it can be very easy to obsess over every little part of your game. Of course, attention to detail is important in every aspect of life, but a little can go a long way when it comes to the links. In an article on GolfChannel.com titled, “Woods' quest for perfection causing his downfall,” golf expert and former professional Brandel Chamblee argues that “the reason for Tiger's fall is his ill-fated mythical quest for perfection…Tiger wanted the perfect swing, to drive it straighter than [Fred] Funk [and] to surpass the legend of [Ben] Hogan…he wanted the perfect record [and became obsessed with] surpass[ing] the legend of Jack Nicklaus.”

The problem, asserts Chamblee, is that golf is “not linear, it's abstract. It's not beautiful, it's messy…frustration builds, and a player works harder and harder, until he begins to think that the problem is with him and so he works harder–‘just a few more ‘reps' and I will get this,' he thinks. Of course, he won't and he never will but what he does in the process is beat up his body and confidence is replaced by timidity. The joy of the game is gone.” Chamblee also uses players like Ralph Guldahl and David Duval to prove his point, both of whom “ascended to the highest level and then fell to oblivion.” The best golfers focus on the process (rather than the destination), and learn how to maintain their love of the game while still striving to become better.

 

Brandel Chamblee is a studio analyst for Golf Channel and a former PGA tour winner. Learn more here or @chambleebrandel on Twitter.

 

Consult the pros!

In an article for Golf Tips Magazine, PGA professional Brady Riggs enumerates four major things to keep in mind during your swing. Riggs is a Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor and one of the most sought-after instructors in Southern California. His best advice? Keep your hands low, give your spine the forearm, use your body, and hinge for power.

What exactly should one do to keep their hands low during the swing? According to Riggs, “the lower the hands, the lower the ball flight. Moving the ball back in your stance or choosing a stronger club and trying to swing easy are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but they’re less reliable and more difficult to execute. Instead, keep your hands low in the finish, and the trajectory of your shots will be lower.”

How about giving your spine the forearm? Riggs explains that you should “make sure you’re on-plane at the top of the swing to guarantee solid ball striking and increased accuracy. [Your] right forearm [should be] parallel to [your] spine, [your] left wrist flat, and [your] elbows and arms [should be forming] a tight triangle. These are indications that [you’ve] rotated [your] shoulders into the backswing perfectly.”

Using your body for power sounds fairly obvious, right? Regardless, it’s an outstanding tip. Riggs elaborates: “Every good golfer knows that power comes from the body, not the arms. To learn to power the club with your body instead of your arms and hands, put the club behind the ball at address, with your body in a dead-stop position. Without taking a backswing, try to drag the ball into the air. If you’re a player who uses his or her hands to control the club, you’ll probably struggle at first. However, you’ll quickly find that once you start moving the club with your body, you’ll begin to get the ball in the air more consistently. This helps you turn fully through the ball on the downswing.”

Hinging your body for power is also incredibly important. According to Riggs, “several simple steps can be taken to gain control over the length of the swing in order to create more solid contact. At setup, a 45-degree angle should be present between the left arm and the club shaft. This starts the swing with the wrists already hinged halfway to the necessary 90 degrees. During the takeaway, the hands should stay close to the ground, while the club head moves up quickly. The goal is to get the left thumb pointing at the right shoulder as soon as possible.”

Riggs continues, explaining that “you'll know you've achieved the proper wrist hinge when your left arm is parallel to the ground and the club shaft is perpendicular to it. This sets the wrists much earlier in the backswing, eliminating the need to swing the arms too far at the top. The tendency to lose posture and reverse pivot will be removed with this more compact golf swing. Creating the proper wrist hinge in the backswing will lead to noticeably better ball striking, and, as a result, more consistent distance and direction on all iron shots.”

In addition to Riggs' suggestions, Golf Tips spoke with Tom Stickney (director of instruction at The Club at Cordillera in Vail, Colorado), Chuck Winstead (PGA professional, Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor, director of instruction at the University Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and head coach of the LSU golf team), Glenn Deck (Director of Instruction at Pelican Hill Golf Course in Newport Beach, California), Rick Avina (instructor at Punta Mita Golf Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico), Dr. T.J. Tomasi (Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor and instructor at Nantucket Golf Club in Massachusetts), and Lana Ortega (Class A LPGA member and directer of instruction at the McGetrick Golf Academy in Denver, Colorado). To check out all of their tips, click here.


Brady Riggs, PGA
is a Senior Instruction Editor at Golf Tips Magazine and one of the most sought-after coaches in Southern California. Learn more here and @BradyRiggs on Twitter.

 

What do your fellow golfers have to say?

The AtTheTee.com team also consulted a perfect-for-beginners article on WikiHow that provides instructions for completing a “perfect” swing in golf. Their first piece of advice is to “position yourself in line with the flag [and to choose] a nearby leaf, small stone, or broken tee which is in a direct line between the flag you are aiming for and your ball. Imagine a line between these two reference points and put your club face square to it. Now stand parallel to this imaginary line. You are correctly oriented to begin the perfect golf swing.” Next, you should always be sure to “grip your left hand correctly [by] making sure your club is naturally on the ground behind the ball; [you can do this by placing] it in the left hand so that the shaft lies across the top of the forefinger.”

Of course, you also need to ensure that your right hand grip is correct. To do so, you should keep “your right arm hanging naturally [while shaking] hands with the club and [settling] into the grip. Fold your right hand over the left thumb. The thumb of the right hand on the club should be pointing to the right shoulder.” WikiHow's next pointer is to always grip the back of the club correctly. They explain that “there are three different ways to grip the back of a golf club, [which means you can] choose whichever feels better for you.” These three grips are the Vardon or Overlapping Grip (the most common), the Interlocking Grip, and the Baseball Grip.

It is also essential for you to “adopt the correct stance, [which] will allow perfect balance and poise throughout the swing.” WikiHow's sixth and final tip is to properly perform the final swing, which is made much easier when you “have the correct orientation, grip, and stance.” To view the complete instructions, visit this page.

golf tips


WikiHow
is the world's most popular how-to website and features easy, step-by-step, illustrated instructions for doing anything and everything. Learn more here or @wikiHow on Twitter.

 

For even more tips on how to improve your golf swing, check out this handy infographic from Pinterest!

Image source: www.pinterest.com and www.golfswingrightnow.com

 

Pinterest is a virtual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests. Learn more here and @Pinterest on Twitter.

 

If you prefer watching to reading, check out this series of videos from BBC.com's “iWonder series,” which highlights the swing of Rory McIlroy and is an excellent resource for any golfer.

 

BBC.com is the home for breaking news, sport, TV, radio, and a whole lot more and seeks to inform, educate, and entertain regardless of location or age. Visit this page to learn more or check out @BBC on Twitter.

 

Look to others for inspiration!

In an awe-inspiring article on Golf Digest‘s website, Keely Levins links to three Instagram videos of one-armed golfer Tommy Morriessey. Levins quips that Morriessey is “four years old, born without a right hand, and hits it straighter than everybody in your weekend foursome.”

Tommy Morriessey with professional golfer Bubba Watson
Image source: www.twitter.com/onearmgolfer

Morriessey's swing is picture-perfect, and all of his drives are straight down the middle. The moral of the story? If a one-armed four-year-old can develop such an amazing swing, you, the two-armed golfer, need to get out there and practice your game! Remember, it's all about hard work, practice, and making the best of the hand you are dealt. Thank you for the inspiration, Mr. Morriessey!

 

Keely Levins is an assistant editor at Golf Digest. To learn more, visit this page or @kalevins on Twitter.

 

Check out Golf Swing Right Now!

According to SwayGolf.com, this fascinating tool is “an indoor timing improver. It is a little over two feet long, and has a weight at the end of the shaft. The grip is a smooth rubber. [It] claims [to] improve accuracy and distance on the course, [help you] play with great timing from the first tee, [and is appropriate for] all [skill] levels.” Amazon.com agrees that it is “compact [and perfect for] indoor use, [helps with] syncing timing, [adds] power, [features an innovative] design, [and helps develop] consistency [with] daily use.”

Image source: www.amazon.com

Golf Swing Right Now is the #1 golf swing trainer that is, according to the manufacturer, the “secret to [improving your] golf shot and golf accuracy.” The device is available for $95.45 on Amazon.

 

SwayGolf offers quality golf sets and features the largest Callaway golf club selection available in Las Vegas. They also have a large selection of clubs that are available for rental. Learn more here or @SwayGolf on Twitter.

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