The Parts of a Golf Swing

By Patrick Cameron
The golf swing can be broken down in to five parts.
The golf swing can be broken down in to five parts.

The most basic part of the game of golf is also its most complex. The golf swing determines how you hit the ball and, from that, where the ball goes. There are five essential parts to the traditional golf swing that must be mastered to hit the ball toward the target.


The address is also sometimes known as the setup. This is the moment when you step up to the ball. In general, comfort is one of the most important factors at address. If you're off balance or uncomfortable, that's going to impact your swing and ball striking. You want your feet shoulder-width apart, weight spread evenly between your legs. The head of the club should be square behind the ball. The knees should be slightly bent, waist and shoulders straight across. Your arms should fall naturally down to the club.

The Backswing

Pull back from the ball, bringing the club up and in. You are creating a swing plane, which is basically a circle around your body that goes from the ground, through your midsection and up behind your back. As you draw back, your non-lead shoulder (the one farthest from the target) will rise up as your lead shoulder drops. This is part of the rotation that also includes your hips rotating away from the target and your spine rotating towards the target. Your body weight will transfer slightly to your back foot (65 percent) and your lead arm will remain relatively straight. You're front wrist will bow as your non-lead wrist cocks, loading up for the down swing. At the top of your backswing, your lead shoulder should be tucked under your chin.

The Downswing

As you start the downswing, make sure that the shaft of the club stays on the plane you developed in the backswing. Your wrist should remain in the cocked position as you come down, shoulders rotating so that your lead shoulder begins to come up and your non-lead shoulder comes down, so that they are level at impact. Your hips and spine will also be rotating with the same intent. As you come down to where your club shaft is parallel to the ground, your weight begins to transfer to your lead leg. During the bottom half of your downswing, your body continues to rotate to be parallel to your target.


Just before the point of impact, your weight should be transferred to your lead leg and your wrist should break, powering the club head through the ball. Your body should be completely aligned with the target, the head of your club square as it impacts the ball, causing it to compress and fly towards the target.

Follow Through

The next stage of the swing is called the follow through, or finish. You allow the momentum of your swing to carry you through impact, the club-head speed generated by the breaking of the wrists. As you go in to the follow through, your club should continue on plane (that invisible circle around your body), the club shaft going up and in. You hips and shoulders will rotate towards the target as your spine rotates away from the target. At the finish, your torso and waist should be pointed towards the target. On a good follow through, the hands should be up by the ear.

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