Imagine how nice it would be to go to the golf course and hit a perfect draw with every shot. The reality is quite the opposite for most golfers. Perfecting golf swing sequences is a lifelong pursuit and something golfers must constantly develop.
Instead of perfection, golfers should focus on achievable improvement. Within the golf swing sequence, we have broken down the sequence into six steps to help golfers understand each phase and find ways to improve their swing.
1. Posture and addressing the ball
Your approach to addressing the ball sets the stage for everything else in your swing, from takeaway to follow-up. Without proper stance and alignment with the ball, you will have difficulty hitting the ball consistently with the clubs in your bag.
First of all, let’s talk about the position of your ball in relation to your stance. It is important to know where to place the ball depending on the club you are hitting with. The basic rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the lower the club is, the higher the ball should be. Here is a simple breakdown of the position of the ball and the club used:
- Short irons (8, 9, wedges): position the ball in the center of your stance when hitting these sticks
- Medium length irons (5, 6, 7 irons): set the ball an inch or two forward in your stance
- Long Irons (3, 4 and Fairway Long Woods): move the ball an inch or two forward in your position
- Driver: the most forward position of the ball for all clubs. Position the ball one or two inches away from your front foot
Why does the position of the ball matter for every golf club? Each club in your bag has a different level of loft. When downswinging, it’s important to maximize the club’s impact on the ball to get the optimal loft and distance for the club you’re hitting with.
Now let’s talk about attitude. Your stance when addressing the ball should complement the path of the club swing sequence. To achieve this, make sure your posture is healthy. Make sure you have a straight spine in your posture. Don’t let your spine bend inward or outward excessively. A straight spine will allow you to optimally use your core muscles to generate more power in your swing and get more ball impact sound.
In addition to position, you may wonder where to put your feet. If you watch professional golfers address the ball, you will notice that they are not standing too close or too far from the ball. If you’re wondering if you’re standing too close or too far from the ball, try this:
- Grab your golf club and place it facing the ball
- Let the golf club rest on your leg with the club face facing the ball so you can catch it later
- Set the position by placing your feet shoulder-width apart
- Align the ball in the center of your stance
- Adopt proper posture with a straight spine as you bend your upper torso
- Let your arms hang loosely as your upper torso is bent
- You should be able to grip the golf club in the position you are in to determine the correct foot position.
(picture of foot setting drill)
2. Takeaway food
In the second step of the golf swing sequence, let’s keep things simple. Your takeaway is the start of your club’s movement. Think of the first few feet of the club moving backwards. For takeout, focus on three things:
- Don’t overdo the club. Try to get the bigger muscles in your body to guide the stick up
- Keep the face of the stick perpendicular to the ball for a few feet
- Slow down! Allow yourself to guide your club upwards so you don’t create a path that will lead to a poor swing path to the ball
When thinking about backswing, think about spin and stability. To bring the club to the top of your backswing, rotate your shoulders and hips equally. Watch your legs and feet when turning. Your feet should be firmly planted and your legs should not move excessively from side to side. In other words, don’t let your body sway during the backswing.
Our arms in relation to the upper body should be close together. This allows us to keep a compact swing path when downswinging. Here’s a great exercise that many golfers use:
- Take a small towel from the golf bag
- Place a towel under both hands on your chest
- Take your golf club and try to make some practice swings so that the towel doesn’t fall off both shoulders
- Try to make some practice shots by hitting the golf ball without the towel falling off
Not only will this help you develop a proper backswing, but it can also help you avoid slice hits. At the top of your backswing, the shaft of the club should be parallel to the ground.
(image of a backswing with the shaft parallel to the ground)
The transition phase of a golf swing sequence is a very brief moment in the sequence, but there are a few moving parts to keep in mind as we move from swing up to down.
As you begin the descent, keep your feet firmly in place and avoid unnecessary movements in your lower body.
We talked about keeping takeaway speed and slow backswing. When you start the downswing, your club speed should start to increase. The spins you made on your backswing should now resemble an unrolling coil.
Your wrists also play an important role in the downswing. As your hips and shoulders move forward down, try to avoid the tendency to “throw” the stick. Tossing a golf club usually means opening your wrists prematurely during the swing. This leads to hitting the ball “thin” or “thick”.
Continuing the downswing, try to imagine your hands passing the ball before the clubhead hits the ball. This allows your club to do what it was created to do: put the ball in the air.
One last thing: don’t look up too soon! Keep your head down and focus on the ball. It’s natural for golfers to want to look at the target to see if their ball is going in that direction. More often than not, you’ll find that looking up too early will lead to a puncture on the ball. Looking up will probably lead to our body following the stick and lifting it too high off the ground.
The first thing to visualize when tracking is the final trajectory of the club. Visualize your club and arms going up with your chest facing the target.
Proper follow-up also takes into account your weight distribution. As you swing, you should feel most of your body weight shift to your front foot. If you feel unbalanced during the follow-up, you’re probably focusing on one aspect of the golf swing sequence rather than the entire sequence.
What we’ve covered here is just a fraction of the many other variables that go into a golf swing sequence. Making improvements to your swing can be more achievable when you focus on different aspects of the sequence. One way to better spot opportunities for improvement is to try to record a golf swing.
Check out our others tips and guides to constantly improve your link game!