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how to swing a
golf club

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Master the basics of your swing with our experts’ top swing tips. 

Author: Don Draper
Reviewed by: Tim Mahoney
Contributor: Name

Key takeaways

  • Setup for success. If you have found yourself in a rut with your driver, remember you are never as far off as you think. 98% of the time, the place to start is to review your setup and ensure you aren’t self-sabotaging  your shot from the get go. (Tough love = you probably are).
  • Always let it rip. Swinging under control isn’t a bad tip, but too often I see people trying to “swing easy” and end up with an incomplete move. So let it rip, and as long as you don’t fall over in the process, you will be okay!
  • Pay attention to your mindset. When you step onto the tee, you are always being influenced by what happened on the last green, from the bunker, or on your past tee shot. Practice mindfulness to center yourself singularly on each tee shot, and it will improve your ability to execute well in the moment.

Golf Grip & Setup

The most important part of learning how to swing a golf club is actually your setup. The golf swing is a sequence of events – how you setup and hold the club dictates the rest of your golf swing.

Build a proper golf grip — The grip will affect where the club face points relative to your fold swing, so this is important. Some variations include over-lapping, interlocking, and ten-fingered grip. 

Refine your golf posture — Next, master how to stand. Many bad swings are due to poor posture. Tilt your upper body toward the ground. Watch the video below for a simple visual

ALIGNMENT

New golfers tend to worry a lot about where they are aiming, surprisingly they often have great alignment just through natural instinct.
The image below shows the ideal alignment for hitting a golf shot with any iron or wood. The right-hand line shows the target line, you should use this guide to point your club face towards your target. The left-hand line shows how your body should aim parallel to your target line. A great image is to picture these two lines as a railway track when you setup. Your ball and club fall on the right-hand rail and your body aims down the left-hand rail.

THE BACKSWING

The backswing requires a turn of your body and a hinge of your wrists. The images below show you from setup how this is achieved. If you have your setup correct you should find that as you turn your body, the wrist automatically want to hinge – as shown by the red lines below.

THE DOWNSWING

If you have made a nice backswing, the downswing is all about unwinding into a balanced finish. From the top of your golf swing you should feel your weight shifts a little towards your front foot, before you unwind to face your target.
You can see from the images of Tiger’s golf swing below, the hands and arms begin to fall down, before the hips and chest rotate to towards his target.



THE FOLLOW THROUGH

The golf ball has long gone by this point in your golf swing, and yet, if you look at any good golfer you’ll see they display a great follow-through position.

If you can finish in a balance follow through you were likely balanced when hitting the ball. Which greatly increases your chances of hitting the center of the club face.

A great follow-through is one where the golfer has fully turned their body through towards the target. You should feel balanced with 90% of your weight on your front foot. This is a good sign of the correct weight transfer during your golf swing.

A great tip is to challenge yourself to hold your finish until your golf ball lands. Give it a go next time you hit the golf range.

“I like to teach beginners the setup, then let them swing with one simple thought. Over the past 15 years, I’ve found this is the best way to learn the golf swing. Many golfers try to help the golf ball up into the air, however golf clubs have loft on them and are actually designed to hit down on golf ball. For this reason, your key thought should be to brush the grass (or mat) under the golf ball as you swing through.”

— Tim Mahoney

SWINGING DIFFERENT CLUBS

Irons

As the clubs increase in loft (you move from a 6-iron to a 9-iron) the clubs become shorter meaning you’ll need to stand a little closer to the golf ball. However, you should always feel balanced, with the weight in the center of your feet throughout your golf swing.
Even very experienced golfers struggle to hit the ball well with their longer irons (5,4 & 3-iron). Don’t worry if you find these a challenge, many players opt for a fairway wood or hybrid instead of long irons.
Focus on building a great golf swing and striking your mid-irons and short-irons well. Your long-irons will become more consistent over time; with practice.

Drivers

Drivers are normally hit off a tee and are the only club where you need to swing level or hit slightly up on the golf ball, rather than striking down. This is very simple to do. At setup, move the golf ball so that it is positioned inside your front foot (see below).
This simple change means the club will automatically be swinging up as it approaches the golf ball. It is also useful to feel like you sweep the ball off the tee when hitting driver.

4 MUST-HAVE SWING TIPS

Golf can get very technical, try to split up your practice time into “technical practice” and “skill practice.” During technical practice, you can focus on golf swing positions and refining how you move. Each week try to also include some skill practice where you think far less about your technique and just try to hit the ball towards your target. If you want to learn more about this idea you can check out this guide on three types of golf practice.

1. Keep Golf Swing Length In Mind.

If you watch the pros you’ll notice they rarely use 100% of their potential swing speed, they hit most of their iron shots at 70 – 80% speed. This is a great way to improve your accuracy and consistency.
If your best hit with a 7-iron travels 150-yards then you’ll be far more consistent making a smoother swing with a 6-iron from 150-yards, rather than a full swing with your 7-iron.

2. A great strike will solve many issues.  

One tricky aspect about playing golf is that you can’t see what you are doing. When beginner golfers hit a few back shots they often start questioning every aspect of their golf swing. How should I take the club back? Where is my right elbow? How should I hit the ball? Most poor golf shots are the result of one thing – not hitting the center of the club face. If you are struggling, try making a few smooth swings and just focus on making great contact as you hit the ball. Also, try out the golf tee drill mentioned above – I use it in most beginner golf lessons.

3. Hit behind the ball every time.

Golfers who hit behind the ball are often trying to help the ball up in the air during their golf swing. As we covered earlier, the trick is to strike down and through your iron shots. Make sure you transfer your weight and turn into a balanced finish if you start hitting behind the golf ball.

4. have fun!

Swinging a lump of metal around your body to hit a little white ball is tough. Just take joy in the good shots, see how many good shots you can hit and worry far less about the bad ones.

Now that you know the basics of how to swing a golf club, it’s time to practice. Download our app to access a personalized workout regimen that’s based on your unique assessment results, skills, goals, and equipment access. Plus, build your own tour team, leverage our expansive catalog of videos and articles, and watch as your workouts shift over time to test your new strengths.

Don Draper 

Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Don Draper 

Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Tim Mahoney

Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Tim Mahoney

Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Tim Mahoney

Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Tim Mahoney

Writer
Chris is a Senior Sport Scientist at Whoop. He is also the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Big Air & Slopestyle Ski Team for Freestyle Canada. He is certified as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Sport Scientist, Olympic Weightlifting

Frequently asked questions

Loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Persistent noise from pieces of machinery like lawn mowers and snowblowers, and extended exposure to loud music can lead to tinnitus (a ringing in the ears) or even permanent hearing loss. 

Loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Persistent noise from pieces of machinery like lawn mowers and snowblowers, and extended exposure to loud music can lead to tinnitus (a ringing in the ears) or even permanent hearing loss. 

Loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Persistent noise from pieces of machinery like lawn mowers and snowblowers, and extended exposure to loud music can lead to tinnitus (a ringing in the ears) or even permanent hearing loss. 

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