If you have just taken up an interest in golf, then you have chosen to engage in one of the most relaxing and enjoyable games available. Every game or sport has its own rules, and nuances and golf are not any different. The point of the game is to guide the golf ball to the desired target using a special set of personalized equipment; this mostly includes your golf clubs. This might seem easy enough, but if you don’t know what you are doing, you would not be able to perform very well on the golf course. When you hit the ball, it might go farther than you anticipated or it might not even go very far. The ball speed might be alright but getting the direction right is another issue. If you intended for your ball to go straight and it ends up going left, it is all because you have not properly learnt how to hit your golf ball. Hitting your golf ball in the right direction and with the appropriate force will probably not happen the first time you hold your golf club. However, with regular practice, you would be playing like a professional in no time. This guide has been compiled with practical, actionable steps that will help you to hit your golf ball correctly. Enjoy!
Practical steps to taking the perfect shot
Below are six easy steps you can follow to hit the golf ball correctly and improve your overall performance.
1. Visualize the shot
Before you start handling your equipment and taking your stance, you first have to determine which direction the ball is headed and how far you want the ball to go. The place where you want your golf ball to land is usually called the target, and you will need to make some mental calculations for the ball to fall within the range of the target. Once you visualize the shot, you can know which golf club will bring you the desired result.
2. Pick out the right golf club
In a proper golf set, there are multiple golf clubs and all the clubs can be categorized into woods, irons, wedges and putters. Each of them serves specific purposes, and we will take a brief look at them below;
- Woods: If you need to gain more distance on your shots, then you should use a wood club to take the shot. Woods gives you the farthest distance, and they are usually used to make shots between 200-350 yards. There are two major types of woods; the driver and the fairway woods. The driver can also be called the “1 wood, and it is specifically designed to give you the farthest shot possible. It always comes with a very large sweet spot, and it offers you more forgiveness on your mistakes. The fairway woods are also useful for mid to long-distance shots.
- Irons: If you want to shoot mid-range shots less than 200 yards, then you should use an iron. Irons are heavier than woods, and they are numbered from 1 to 9. 1, 2 and 3 irons are known as long irons, and they generate more distance. Mid irons are 4,5 and 6 irons while short irons are 7,8 and 9 irons.
- Wedges: If you need to get the ball over a hazard (like a bunker or a water pool), then you need a wedge. There are multiple types of wedges, some of which include gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge and a pitching wedge. A wedge gives you height and loft.
- Putter: Putters are used for short-distance shots. The face of the club is flat and small which means you can easily use it to play without causing loft or gaining much distance
3. Hold the golf club with a comfortable, secure grip
On this platform, we have already discussed how to grip and hold the golf club. If you have already mastered how to hold the golf club with a natural, secure grip, then you can skip this step. However, if you don’t know how to hold the golf club yet, then you need to take the following steps. First, you position your weaker hand on the golf club. This is a very important thing to note because the weaker hand helps to control the tension from the club. After that, you then place your stronger hand and make sure that they sit closely on each other. You can then apply either an interlocking grip or an overlapping grip.
4. Take the appropriate stance
This is the part where it gets tricky. Getting the perfect stance will either make or mar your shot. You might have gotten a lot of information on how to achieve the perfect stance, and some of them might be quite confusing. The good news is that getting that right stance is not that hard. At this point, you should already be holding your golf club in a secure, natural grip, and when you follow these three simple steps, you can have it on lock in no time.
- Stand straight: You want to begin by standing with your feet wide open. They should not be too wide; they should only be as wide as your shoulders. The space between your feet mustn’t be wider than your shoulder width because you might find it hard to balance and shoot if it is. After doing this, extend your arms and the golf club straight out. It would be best if you didn’t break the grip while doing this. Just stretch your arms out and hold the golf club in the perfect grip you have created.
- Bend your knees slightly: Bend your knees a couple of inches and lower your arms so they can rest on your chest. This will allow you to distribute your weight equally between each foot and bend your hips forward.
- Ground the golf club: The final step is to slowly bend your upper body until the clubhead touches the ground. If you followed the steps correctly, then you should feel the full weight of your body on your feet. Your spine will bend forward slightly, but you will feel comfortable and relaxed, your hands will be directly under your chin, and your shoulders, hips, knees and feet will be squared with the ball.
5. Address the ball
Now that you have taken the proper stance and your golf club has touched the ground, you have to make sure that it is facing the direction. If your golf club is facing the right side of the course, then that is where the ball will land. Another factor you have to note is the sweet spot of your clubhead. This is the part of the clubhead that impacts the ball, and it should be placed behind the ball directly.
6. Take the swing
Now that everything is set up, it is time to take the swing. A good swing involves three major stages; the backswing, the downswing and the follow-through. If you execute these three steps perfectly, then you will have a very good shot.
- The backswing: The backswing involves slowly taking away the golf club from the ball. This step could set you up for a great shot or an average one. What you should do is slowly move the club using your shoulders and arms. As you keep moving back, your lead knee should tilt towards the ball, and your hips and torso should rotate backwards. You should keep your arms fully extended during this process, and once your club is above shoulder height, you should bend your wrists so your club can go higher.
- The downswing: Once your backswing reaches the full height, you should be prepared to take the shot. Everything you did in the backswing will be reversed with more speed in the downswing. It would be best if you started by shifting your weight to your front foot and then turn your front hip towards the target. Your arms and shoulders should follow in quick succession. This is a very fast process, and this is the stage where your club head impacts the ball. Your eye should always be on the ball throughout the swing process. The swing speed will be determined by how far you want to ball to go.
- The follow-through: At this point, you have already hit the ball, and it is well on the way to the target. However, your body still needs to hold a certain form for the process to be complete. Once you have successfully impacted the ball, your hips should face the target, and the golf club must be swung over your lead shoulder completely. Your body weight should rest on your lead foot, and only the tip of your other foot should have contact with the ground. If you cannot hold this position for more than 15 seconds, then you should repeat this entire process till you get it right.
Playing golf can be very relaxing, and it gets more rewarding when you play it the right way. The fact that you read this guide means you want to become a better golf player and improve your performance on the field. This is good, and it is achievable. All you have to do is follow these practical steps above and practice regularly. You would soon be playing like a professional. Check out our other informative articles and have a blast on the golf course. Cheers!