Tips for Your Golf Swing

By Brian Hill
A fluid golf swing results in better shots, just ask Mr. Couples.
A fluid golf swing results in better shots, just ask Mr. Couples.

Golf is an endlessly challenging, sometimes frustrating, but always fascinating game that even gifted, accomplished players come to realize cannot be mastered. Through instruction, dedication to practice and choosing the right golf equipment golfers can make immense progress in learning the game and lowering their scores. But even if a golfer goes from a 20 handicap to a 10, he still wishes he could improve to a five handicap. Golfers know there is always room for improvement in their swing and in their mental approach to the game.


Golfers trying to lower their scores often seek out ways to increase clubhead speed. More speed equates to more power and longer shots. They don’t always understand that delivering maximum clubhead speed at impact comes from well-timed action of the hands, arms and lower body working together--not just fast hand action. Starting the club back too quickly or rushing the downswing actually saps power from the golf swing because it doesn’t allow for complete coiling of the upper body going back, or full body rotation on the downswing and through impact. Even PGA Tour players find themselves rushing their swing at times. Jack Nicklaus says in his book “My Golden Lessons” that when he notices his swing getting too fast, he focuses on a swing thought of starting back “ridiculously slowly” as a way of re-establishing the correct tempo for his swing.This exaggerated swing thought helps get his swing back to its correct pace.

Fluid Motion

Amateur golfers sometimes have swings that look mechanical, like a series of actions being completed one at a time rather than one fluid movement. They tense up over the ball at address, mentally reciting all the swing tips they have been given by instructors or have read in golf books and magazines. Power and accuracy in the golf swing are enhanced when the golfer learns better tempo. The swing should have freedom of movement, not look like the completion of a task list. Instructor John Elliott Jr. in the book “Breaking 100, 90, 80” advises clearing your mind of all swing thoughts at address except one that you want to especially focus on that day.

Right Toe Out

Golfers learning the game are taught that a correct stance has the right toe pointed close to perpendicular of the intended target. This allows the right leg to form a strong brace on the backswing. The upper body coiling against the resistance of the right leg creates power. A number of great players such as Fred Couples have found that turning the toe of the right foot out at address allows for a freer shoulder turn, which helps generate additional power. With this stance modification, it is important to maintain your balance on the backswing and not let your weight move outside your right foot--a fault that is called swaying and causes poor shots.

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