Direction and distance are the two main goals most golfers are looking for when they step onto the golf course.
If I can hit the ball where I’m aiming with a little more distance then this game would be easy.
Of course it would because then we wouldn’t be spending time looking for our balls in the bush and we’d have shorter irons into the green.
This is of course what the male and female tour players have found and their scores reflect this.
We can’t forget that they spend countless hours for many years understanding and then training themselves to repeat a swing.
As a result, their swings seem so effortless, hitting the ball out of sight, right down the middle of the fairway or to the pin.
Most golfers when queried feel that they have a poor swing.
Generally, this personal evaluation is derived from the fact that they can’t hit the ball consistently in the direction that they’d like.
In most cases we tend to listen to our playing partners offering tips when you’re having a bad game and as a result our thoughts become negative towards our own swing.
In my experience, I notice that most players have great aspects of their swing motion but are missing a few components that will send the ball further and straighter.
The sign of a good swing is one that can be repeated with desirable results. In other words, your swing doesn’t have to look good to be efficient.
Having said that, we all have areas in our swing that we could work on.
Working on various swing flaws will assist us all in hitting the ball more consistent, ultimately hitting more fairways and greens, leading to lower scores and a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the round.
Taking lessons is not just for the beginner.
If you watch the tour professionals on television, you’ll notice they all have a teaching professional that they’re working with.
The best golfers in the world, both male and female, the ones that can shoot eight under in their sleep are still working on their game.
These players are constantly seeking the advice of trained professionals to assist them in becoming more consistent from week to week.
Their motivation is a little different than the rest of us as they’re playing for millions of dollars week in and week out.
Of course it’s all relative.
The professionals are playing for their pay checks and we’re playing for the love of the game.
The fact of the matter is that this game gives you nothing that you don’t take.
In other words if you want to get better then it’s up to you and you only!
It’s a fact that the tour professionals will work on different things that the average golfer will be working on.
The fact is they all started at one point in their lives at the same place that we all started.
It doesn’t matter if you started as a young child, in the middle part of your life or later in life, the foundation of the golf swing starts with the basics.
The basics include the grip, stance, alignment, ball position and then of course finish position.
Once you have a great foundation then you begin to work one the swing motion and how the body turns.
The next three articles will touch on exactly these basic fundamentals as they’re the building blocks of an efficient and consistent golf swing.
The hardest change to make for any golfer is to place their hands on the golf club differently than they currently do.
In other words the grip is the hardest change most golfers will ever make. Players will place the club in their hands the way that it feels comfortable to them.
This generally means that the majority will hold the club in their palms rather than in their fingers.
How you hold the club directly affects whether it returns back to the ball square and with the proper loft.
The first step is to ensure your hands are directly opposing each other when they are holding the handle of the club.
This gives you the best chance to ensure that the club is square at impact.
For right handed golfers, the back of your left hand should be facing towards your target with the back of your right hand facing directly away from the target.
For right handed golfers (opposite for left handed golfers), take your left hand and place the handle of the club in your fingers.
Your left thumb will be placed on top of the handle running straight down the grip.
The key to placing the club in your fingers rather than your palm is to ensure the heel of your left hand rests on top of the grip and not to the side. Doing so will ensure that you’re holding the club in your fingers.
There are three types of grips or otherwise referred to as connections. The first is a 10-fingered grip.
This is where all fingers and thumbs are on the golf club and is sometimes referred to a baseball grip.
The second is an interlock grip. Take your two closest fingers (the index finger on your left hand and the pinky finger of your right hand) and hook them together.
Finally, the third type grip is called the overlap.
This is where you take you right hand pinky finger and place it in between your left hand index and middle fingers.
Which one you use is completely up to you.
Once you’ve decided on the grip you have place your right hand on the club. You also want to wrap your fingers around the handle of the club placing the palm of your right hand over your left thumb.
Your thumb of the right hand should sit just left of the center of the handle or on top of the grip.
The main reason for holding the handle of the club in the fingers rather than the palm is to ensure that you do not hold the club too tight.
One of the main causes of poor ball contact and loss of distance is tension.
Tension begins in your hands and works its way throughout your body.
You want to hold the handle of the golf club just tight enough that it does not spin in your hands and relaxed enough that if someone attempted to slowly pull the club out of your hands it would come out.
Placing your hands on the golf club properly is the first step to a consistent golf swing ultimately making more consistent contact and increasing your distance.
Scott Bergdahl is the head professional at the Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake.