Basic Golf Instructions

By Sharon Penn
Learn the basics when you are just starting out to build a foundation for future growth.
Learn the basics when you are just starting out to build a foundation for future growth.

As a beginning golfer, learning the basics of the game will serve you well through the years. It may not seem so at first, but it is a lot easier to struggle through the learning process at first than to later try to correct bad habits that have become ingrained. Start out by getting professional instruction, selecting the appropriate clubs, and spend a lot of time practicing on the driving range to best prepare yourself for many years of pleasure playing golf.

Addressing the Ball

Preparation before you hit the ball is an important part of golf. Consistency is the key to a good swing and a good score, and you can put yourself in this mindset by following a “pre-shot routine.” First, survey the shot and establish a target line, taking into consideration any hazards, contours or weather conditions, such as wind. Check your grip to make sure the club lies across your index finger back to the base of the pinky, and not the palm of your hand. For a tee shot, your feet are shoulder-distance apart, with the ball positioned on the inside of the forward foot. Bend your knees, and allow your arms to hang down from your shoulder sockets without tension. Your weight should be back near your heels. Square the clubface and your body to the target.

The Backswing

Sweep the club back by turning your shoulders around your spine. You can think of the backswing as turning your back to the target. Maintain a steady tempo with your arms, hands, legs and body moving together for a smooth motion. As you take the club back, your weight will shift to the back foot. Keep the club head low to the ground on the takeaway. The toe of the clubface will be pointed up during the backswing, and your wrists will cock to 90 degrees as your front shoulder approaches the back armpit. Keep your balance through the swing, and do not sway to the side. The goal of the backswing is to coil the body and place the club in the correct position for a powerful downswing.

The Downswing and Follow-Through

Begin the downswing by shifting your lower body toward the target. Your back shoulder will drop slightly, allowing you to swing through the ball more efficiently. Your weight will shift to the front during the downswing. Rotate your hips toward the target, generating power with a quick motion as your body uncoils. Keep your wrists cocked and your thumb pointing up through the downswing, as if you were shaking hands. Your arms will be straight as you hit the ball. For distance and accuracy, hit the ball squarely in the sweet spot. Follow through with your front foot down and your chest facing the target. At the finish, your right toe will be pointed at the ground and your right heel will be up.

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