2 Basic Steps to Improving Your Golf Swing
The game of golf is truly an individual sport. The basics are the same for everyone; however, due to the differences in people’s body types no two people will ever have the same golf swing. Each person will have to adapt their bodies to perform a proper golf swing in their own way. Taking the time to develop your own method of playing golf will greatly improve your enjoyment and success at the game. Practicing the basic fundamentals of the game until they are ingrained in your muscles will lead to confidence on the course, and that confidence will lead to success and enjoyment of the game.
One of the most basic steps that you can put into action and see an immediate improvement to your golf swing is to keep your head still and look straight at the ball. The position of your head should be straight in line with your spine, and your nose should be raised up a bit so that when you start to swing, your left shoulder fits under your chin. Many players tuck their heads into their chests to try and keep their heads still and look straight down at the golf ball. Unfortunately, they cannot perform a proper golf swing while in this position.
Image: Tiger Woods with former coach Sean Foley
If you are one of the many that are having difficulty keeping your head straight and an eye on the ball try the following. The next time you approach the ball, assume the correct stance with your feet and knees in position but keep your head and back straight, bend forward slightly at the waist and look straight at the ball. If you try and take a swing in this position, your left shoulder will most likely hit your chin. While keeping your eyes on the ball, raise your head slowly until your left shoulder does not hit your chin. Make sure that your head does not move from side to side by keeping your eyes fixed on the ball, your head can tilt but its beneficial for it not to move laterally. Slowly go through the backswing and downswing portions of your golf swing. Do not hit the ball and do the follow through. Practice this portion of your golf swing focusing on keeping your head straight and eyes on the ball.
Practice this exercise in your backyard for about 25 times in a row and then take a break and relax a bit, then start again. Make minor corrections to your head and body position as needed to keep your eyes straight on the ball and your left shoulder from hitting your chin. This exercise will "train" your body, and your muscles will "remember" the correct position you need to be in to perform the movement correctly. Think about any sports athlete, they train and train to place their bodies in the correct stance and position to properly execute the movements necessary to be successful in their particular sport. You are doing the same thing by "training" your body to keep your head straight and position itself so that you can successfully execute a proper golf swing.
Image: Tiger Woods, stable head, balanced swing.
Another basic step that can work greatly towards improving your golf swing is to relax. I know it is easier said then done, especially when you are getting ready to put all your power into drive with an audience of either your co-workers, or better still your friends who will not let you forget it if you mess up. However, relaxing your muscles will help you to maintain the proper balance that is important to a great golf swing. Regardless of the golf clubs you use, your balance is the primary foundation of your golf swing, and the way to achieve good balance is to practice. A good way to practice improving your balance is to assume the address position with your club, relax your body and try holding it there for about 30 seconds. Does it feel like you have more weight on one foot or the other? Is one part of your body more tense then another? To take it a notch higher, practice holding your follow through for 20-30 seconds, notice where most of your weight is at this point, is it more on your lead side( side to the target), or the trail ( side away from target). You can practice to get balanced at this point by feeling that 90-95% of your weight is on your lead side with your chest, nose and belt all pointed 90* to the target. The lead would be the left side for a right handed golfer and vice-versa.
Image: Rickie Fowler- Balanced finish position, with all weight transferred towards the target.
Keeping your head straight and maintaining good balance are just two basic parts of a great golf swing. The exercises given above are just two ways that you can start training now to improve your golf swing. You can work on either one separately, or combine them together into one exercise. Improving your golf swing begins and ends with you. Training the muscles of your body to properly perform specific movements takes time and practice. The effort spent improving your golf swing will pay off on the course. Through exercise and practice, you will be able to slip into the proper address position and perform an effortless, powerful golf swing and feel just as if you were sliding your hand into a warm soft glove.