Professional golfers have a way of making the game of golf look effortless. From the stance to the swing to the flight of the ball, everything just seems to work in rhythm. But for anyone who's grabbed a club for the first time and hit the course, reality is much different. Golf is a difficult game to pick up, much less master. There are certain basics that need to be practiced before you can be proficient on the course.
Address the ball and get comfortable. Your knees should be slightly bent with your arms naturally reaching down to the grip of the club. If you are hunched over or your body is so far from the ball that you have to extend your arms away from your body, you are standing too far away. You should have your feet shoulder-width apart. This can vary depending on how you feel most stable. Your shoulders and waist should be forming a straight line along with your back foot's toes, past your front foot's toes, and on to the target.
Set your grip. Most golfers use what is known as an interlocking grip. Begin by grabbing the top of the club with your left hand (your right hand if you're a lefty) so that your fingers run along the underside of the grip and your thumb runs down the shaft. Bring your right hand under your left hand, interlocking the right pinkie finger with the left pointer finger. The ball of your thumb on the right hand should go over the top of your thumb on your left hand, the right hand thumb running down the shaft slightly to the right. This is called an interlocking neutral grip.
Position the ball. For a beginner, the ball should be in the middle of your stance. Move the ball position slightly forward when using a driver or long iron, which will give the ball more lift at impact. Playing off the instep of your front foot is the generally accepted position for these clubs.
Pull the club back. Don't think about swinging your arms but instead, think about rotating your body. As you pull away from the ball, your left shoulder should drop (right shoulder for a lefty), the club going up and in toward your body at the same time. It's called the swing plane and when you go up and in with your swing, your body will start to rotate at the hips. Don't go straight up or straight in. You want to bring your club back while keeping the shaft between these two extremes.
Bring your club back down and hit through the ball, allowing the club to continue on plane. Basically, the club plane you had when you brought the club back should be repeated on the way up after contact with the ball. Club head speed is generated by the rotation of the shoulders and hips.
Keep your head down. Through your swing, you want to stay as level with your body as possible. This will generate a low, driving impact when you hit the ball. Keeping your head down will help your club to remain level through the swing.