TECHNIQUES TO APPLY WHEN STARTING TO PLAY GOLF?
The golf grip is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the golf swing. It is your only means of contact with the club and ultimately the ball. Consequently a proper grip is essential to a controlled and constant swing. The objective is to adopt a relaxed but firm grip which exercises club head control i.e. prevents any twisting of the shaft causing the clubface to open or close at the moment of impact with the ball. The following stages illustrate the classic golf grip for a right handed golfer. Note, most clubs have markings on the grip which assist the positioning of the hands.
Lay the club diagonally across the palm of the left hand, starting with the middle knuckle of the forefinger and ending with the base of the little finger.
Note the overhang of approximately 2 cm.
Close the left hand around the grip with the thumb slightly right of the shaft centre.
The clubface should be parallel to the back of the hand.
Bring the right hand to the shaft such that the grip rests on the middle joints of the second and third fingers.
The little finger can either interlock or overlap the forefinger of the left hand.
Close the right hand around the the grip with the thumb resting left of the shaft’s centre.
The palm of the right hand should now be parallel to the backside of the left hand.
The stance is the foundation of the golf swing and is therefore highly important. This section describes the classic stance otherwise known as the ‘box stance’.
As the diagram shows you should stand parallel to an imaginary line drawn from the ball to the target. The legs should be spread such that the feet and shoulders are on the same vertical plane. The ball should be an equal distance from both feet. Posture dictates how far back from the ball you should stand. This is described in another section.
These basic principles will greatly help toensure that the clubface is square with the ball on impact causing it to travel in a straight line. Failure to position the feet along the parallel between the ball and target are the main reasons for pushing and pulling the ball. Failure to keep the ball centered has the same effect. If the ball shanks or slices then the clubface is open or closed at impact thus imparting spin. These suggest incorrect posture.
However there are some variations which you can employ depending on the circumstances. When using shorter clubs such as irons and wedges, the feet should be moved slightly closer. When taking long shots the ball can be moved slightly left of centre (towards the target) but no further than the foot. The optimum positions are wholly individual and therefore practice on the range taking short, medium and long range shots is essential to discovering them.
A correct and consistent posture lends itself to a consistent golf swing. Posture refers to the alignment of the body as you stand over the ball and bring the club to the address position.
To assume the correct posture, firstly adopt a box stance. This will place your feet correctly in relation to the ball and align the body with the target. Then place your shoulders, knees and feet in the same vertical plane perpendicular to the ground by leaning over at the hips and slightly bending the knees. Your back should always be kept straight.
The body as a whole should be neither crouched nor upright as the club is brought to address the ball; shuffle forward or backwards as required. Note that your left shoulder will naturally drop because of the position of the hands when taking up the grip.
Given that posture should be maintained, you stand further from or closer to the ball depending on the length of club being played.
If your posture is incorrect then you will tend to produce slices and hooks. Slices can be caused by standing too close to the ball. In this situation the posture is too upright causing the ball to be attacked from out to in. This produces a strike across the ball and imparts spin. Conversely hooks are caused by standing too far from the ball. Here the posture is crouched and the ball is attacked from in to out.
If you are sure that you have adopted the correct stance and are producing wayward shots then it very likely that they are caused by poor posture. As always, practice and a degree of experimentation on the range are required to make correct posture second nature.