Improve Golf Swing

Improving Your Golf Swing

Looking for golf swing advice to improve your golf swing is like a hobby for a lot of new golfers. They become almost obsessed with finding the tips or secrets that will propel them from novice to professional overnight. It shouldn't really come as any surprise though, few golfers start off by learning the basic golf swing thoroughly. When you look at how we learn most sports, especially field sports, then it becomes easier to understand. We pick up the necessary skills as youngsters playing around with our pals, any scrap of land or a park will do. Golf is a bit harder to pick up this way, it needs so much extra space completely free of other people. That means there is less of a chance of learning golf in this casual way. So how do you go about improving your golf swing?

First of all, whether you realize it or not, almost every golfer has their own unique and individual golf swing. Even the professional golfers have different golf swings from each other. Which makes improving your golf swing a little more difficult, especially if you are trying to improve by picking up swing tips from watching the pros on the box. Trying to emulate the swing that your favorite tour pro has is the last thing you want to do, maybe once you get your handicap down in the low single figures, you might be able to pick up the odd improvement, but until then, you are just wasting your time. The tour pros use a finely tuned golf swing that they have to constantly work on in order to maintain it at it's optimal level, and even they have bad days with their swing. The difference is that they understand their swing so well that they know what to work on to fix it. If you want to hit longer, straighter drives then stop trying so hard to be an instant professional and find out all you can about your own unique swing.

Golf Swing Styles

Just to make things more complicated, there are also a variety of different golf swing styles to choose from, stack and tilt, single plane, two plane and the classic or modern golf swing, to name just a few. Most golf instructors teach the golf swing style that they have chosen to use themselves, mainly because that is the only one they've studied and know. Most golf schools and academies only teach one golf swing style, and that is where the problem lies. all these different golf swing styles work in their own right. They just wont work for everyone.

As I said, we all have different golf swings, and that's because every golfer is different. There are no two golfers that have the same physique, ability, mental attitude, knowledge or even feelings, and how your feeling affects your golf swing. A one-size-fits-all golf swing does not exist. Even a one-style-fits-all swing doesn't work for everyone. We are all unique and because of this, all our swings will be unique as well. That doesn't mean that there will not be similarities, indeed, the fundamental basics of all golf swing styles are the same.

What Is Your Golf Swing?

Every golfer has their own natural golf swing that is dictated by their physique, ability and skill level. It's this swing that should be tweaked to incorporate the basic golf swing fundamentals in order to improve your golf swing. By taking the time to learn and understand the basic golf swing and your own natural swing and abilities, you will reap the rewards and find that improvements will be rapid, and more importantly, lasting.

If you ask most golfers why they fail to improve, they will most likely say that it's because they don't play or practice often enough. But, the reality is that unless you have the correct knowledge and understanding, practice will make no difference. With the right knowledge and understanding of your swing, practice will be more effective and will make all the difference.

Golf Fundamentals

The game of golf is truly an individual sport, whether we are playing on our own or in a foursome, we are really competing against ourselves and our previous performances. This is one of the many unique qualities of golf, and is one of the reasons that it remains challenging no matter what our skill level is. It's also true that the golf swing has certain fundamentals that form the basis for everyone, at least for the ones who bother to learn them.

As I said, the basics are the same for everyone. However, due to the differences in people’s body shape and size, no two people will ever have the same golf swing. Each person will have to adapt their body movements and coordination 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, but developing your own golf swing has to be done with the right knowledge so that it is based on the proper fundamentals. Practicing the basic fundamentals of the game until they are ingrained in your muscle memory will lead to consistency in your golf swing, something that all golfers strive for.

Keep Your Head Up

One of the most basic faults that golfers have is in their stance, if you are guilty of this, then you can see an immediate improvement very easily. That is to keep your head still and look straight at the ball with your chin up. The position of your head should be straight in line with your spine, and your chin should be raised to allow your shoulder to turn under it during the backswing. A lot of players, especially beginner golfers, tuck their heads into their chest and look straight down at the golf ball. This, of course, restricts the amount of movement they can have with their swing.

The problem with having your chin too low is that your head will have to move during your swing. Your head can move slightly to the right (righties) when your weight shifts to the right during your backswing, but your eyes should still remain parallel to the ground. In other words, your head should not tilt during your swing.

If you are having difficulty with this, try a few practice swings without hitting a golf ball. keeping your head straight and an eye on the ball try to swing your golf club backwards and forwards while keeping your head still and eyes firmly fixed on the ball. If you detect your head tilting, then raise your chin a little more until your head remains still. Now you know what it should feel like for your head to be in the right position at address.

This is something you will need to practice until you can get into the right position without having to think about it. Once your muscle memory has it locked in, you should have no further trouble with this part of your swing. Remember that your spine should be straight as this is the turning point for your entire swing.

Golf is a Balancing Act

Balance is another part of playing golf that is often overlooked. A lot of the time when a golf ball is mis-hit, it's due to coming off balance during the swing. A bad balance causes all sorts of different golf swing faults at any given time. When you have an inconsistent golf swing, you'll most likely spend most of your time trying to sort out all the golf swing mechanics that you can think of. You'll probably change your grip, buy a new driver, get a new set of golf balls, go for a few lessons from your local pro, everything and anything you can think of.

The last thing that you'll look at is your balance. But it should be the first. Balance is the most important part of the golf swing, without good balance you will never be able to hit the golf ball properly with any consistency.

If you think that balance could be one of your swing problems then try these few things. Try and go through the complete golf swing from address all the way through to the finish as slow as you can, it will do a couple of things. You will find out just how good your balance really is, if your swing has any imbalance in it at all, practicing in this slow motion way will show it up very noticeably. Once you have your balance sorted out, continue to practice in slow motion and work on the mechanics of your swing. It will also give you all the time in the world to see and be aware of every part of your golf swing. You will have the time to analyze your swing in a way that is impossible when you are trying to complete the golf swing at normal speed. It's amazing what you will discover, and how it will sort out a lot of your golf swing problems. When you are happy with your swing and your balance, you can try speeding up your swing again... gradually.

You might also try extending this a stage further by doing your slow motion swing with your feet only a couple of inches apart. This is a great way of improving your balance, it also stops you from trying to hit the ball too hard. Give this a try, especially just before you start a round of golf. It is also an effective form of warm up exercise to begin your game with. When you can complete a full swing at normal speed with your feet close together and not come off balance, then you have cracked it.

Improving your golf swing needn't be difficult, if you keep things, especially your swing, as simple and uncomplicated as possible, you will reap the rewards in consistency and trouble free golf. Then you will be in a good position to start working on increasing the distance of your shots.

Golf Swing Basics V

Golf and Putting

I think it was Harry Vardon who described the putter as "a thing apart" in one of his books. The thing is that he was, and still is, correct. The putter is different from all your other golf clubs in various ways. It is the only golf club with a flat face, no loft at all. You also use an entirely different golf swing and stance than you do for any other golf club, which calls for different golf swing advice.

Of all the golf swings, the putting swing, or stroke, is the most like a pendulum action. Whether you use one of the newer long handled putters that come up to your chin, or one of the traditional sized ones, the putting stroke is essentially the same. The distance to the club head from the pivot point, or axis of rotation, remains the same throughout the swing, a true pendulum action.

I don't know who said this first, but it's been said so often that it doesn't matter. "Drive for show, putt for dough" is the phrase, and we've all seen and heard it time and time again, it's repeated as often as it is because it sums up the importance of putting in the game of golf. Most golfers concentrate all their efforts in perfecting the drive off the tee. The truth is that you will only have a maximum of one drive per hole and if you discount the shorter holes, the average number of drives is only 15 in a round of golf. The short game is much more important to work on if you want to decrease the total number of shots you have in each game of golf.

The masters of golf can drive a ball from here to eternity, but it all boils down to how many strikes of the ball it takes to put the ball in the hole, not how far you can hit the ball. The long accurate drives don't amount to anything if you're unable to putt accurately and end up taking 3 or 4 putts to sink the ball.

Choosing a putter is important, but using, whatever putter you have, consistently, is more so. I've had the same putter for fifteen years, I know what it feels like in my hands, I know its weight and how that plays into my putts.

Putting takes lots of practice. Typically, as I said, we drive the ball fifteen times in a game, but putt at least double that number. Doesn't it stand that we should practice our putting at least twice as much as driving? If you can't get to the practice green regularly, practice on your carpet at home.

Putting is probably the hardest stroke to play in golf because there is less control over the ball. All the other golf clubs fly the ball through the air. Air doesn't differ very much, sure, wind speed and direction varies, but air is air. On the other hand, when putting, the golf ball never leaves the ground. grass varies to a much higher degree than air does, but it's not all that varies, the putting surface is seldom flat and even if it was, the texture, density and height of grass varies a lot, as well as the direction of growth. Putting isn't so much about accuracy as it is about judgment. The judgment you need can only be learned with practice.

Keep in mind that no ball can make it into the hole if it doesn't have enough power behind the golf ball to get there. Three inches past the hole is better than three inches short of the hole. If it has gone too far then at least there was a chance it might have gone in the hole, but if it's short, then it never had any chance of being sunk. Take the time to get down and look at the path from your ball to the hole, does it slant one way or the other? Is it uphill or downhill?

Balance is everything in golf, The whole golf swing relies heavily on your ability to balance. Putting is no different, balance is essential. Stand with your feet spread for balance and line up the putt. Keep your hands, arms and shoulders completely still, imagine that you are a "bobble head" but you move from just below your chest. Keep your head directly over the ball. Pull your club back, keep your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders steady, the movement comes from your chest. Hit the ball, following it with your club.

The golf swing has been likened to a pendulum motion, but in truth, only the putting stroke has a true pendulum motion where the distance from the pivot point to the end of the pendulum, the putter, is always the same. However, if we look at the driver as an example, the distance from the pivot point to the head of the driver is at it's maximum at address. At the top of the backswing, the head of the driver is much closer to the pivot point, the top of your spine. During the downswing the club head moves outward from the pivot point as well as around it. This allows for the centrifugal effect that adds speed to the club head, this is one of the main reasons why the golf swing advice is different for the putting stroke.

So putting and driving are two extremes in golf in more ways than one. They are common in that they both require a great deal of practice. But, there is greater room for error with your driver than with your putter, if your drive goes a few yards too much to the right or left, it can still be a good shot and you will have lost nothing. If your putt goes a few inches to the right or left, then you have missed and it will have cost you a shot. I think it's obvious which one you really need to practice the most.

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Golf and The Short Game

In the last article, Golf Basics III, we discussed the long game, we've all seen the long accurate drives of Tiger Woods. The golf ball flies through the air and lands in the middle of the fairway, 300 yards away. The green-eyed monster of envy consumes us as we wonder if we could ever hope to drive like that. Fortunately, long drives are not the be-all-end-all in the game of golf. Typically, there is only 15 drives, or less, in a game of golf.

Enter the short game. Without good short game skills, all the long drives are for naught. The short game is those shots that get us onto the green from about one hundred and fifty yards in, be it from the fairway, a bunker, the rough or a drop zone and includes chips, sand shots and pitches. There are more short game shots in a round of golf than long game ones. So it makes sense to concentrate even more on your short game than on your long game.

This is where your higher numbered golf clubs would be used, as well as your pitching iron, sand wedge or lob wedge. Most experienced golfers view anything from a seven iron up to be the clubs used in the short game.

Most golf courses have practice areas as well as a driving range. Spend some time working on hitting your golf ball onto the green from different distances. Aim for a ten-foot circle in the center of the green at first. Experiment using your wedges; what works for someone else, might not work for you and your particular golf swing.

The short game uses a different technique than the long game, where you are using a full golf swing, it is a more delicate shot. After you get accustomed to doing this practice consistently, it's time to spend some time in a sand trap, also known as a bunker. Knowing how to get the golf ball out of a sand trap will cut your score. A lot of the short game is more about judgment and feeling the shot rather than taking a full swing as you would do in the long game.

Try planting your feet firmly into the sand, with your left foot turned toward the hole, shuffle them to get them bedded into the sand to give you solid base for your stance. This shuffling also lets you know how soft or hard the sand is, remember that you are not allowed to ground the golf club before your shot. Imagine a 4-inch circle around the ball and try to hit the edge of the circle that is away from the ball, that encourages the club head to go under the ball.

Take lots of sand with your golf ball and swing completely. Don't decelerate at all when, or after, you hit the ball. It should pop up onto the green and stop. This doesn't work unless the sand is very soft and powdery. On hard surfaces, you might need to avoid actually hitting the sand.

As in all aspects of the golf game, only practice will help you to improve, and really is the key to mastering the short game. It's mainly judgment, the mechanics of the golf swing in the short game are less complicated than the long game swing because your swing will generally be shorter. So practice a lot and practice often.

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Golf and The Long Game

You have many golf clubs in your golf bag, The reason is that each shot in golf will require a specific club to hit the golf ball a certain distance. Generally speaking, the longer the length of the golf club, and the lower the golf club number, the longer the golf ball will travel. The long game refers to your drives (shots off the tee) and fairway shots, everything short of the shots you make to get onto the green, and therefore, reqires different golf swing advice.

Each hole has a different difficulty level, different par and distinctive hazards, so instructing you to use your driver golf club on every tee would be blatantly wrong. Most par 3's, for instance, wouldn't involve the use of a driver.

This is something you will learn over time as you gain more experience and learn the various shots you make with each golf club, the placement of the ball and your personal golf swing. Some golfers get far more distance from any given golf club than others do.

Generally speaking, the lower the club number, the longer and lower your ball will go. A 4-iron shot will travel long and low and will most likely roll, whereas a 9-iron shot will have much more loft, so the ball will fly higher, and go less distance forward both in the air and on the ground.

The tour pros on television make it look so easy, they consistently hit the ball long and straight and never miss-hit the ball making it dribble ten feet, or completely miss the ball. Although they do, at times, have a wayward shot, every golfer does, especially new golfers.

Using the driver is very important to the game, and many hours spent at the driving range will help improve your distance and direction. Experimenting and trying different things, especially with your golf swing, is all part of the game of golf. It's important for you to know exactly what you can do with each of of your golf clubs, not just your driver. The same applies for your setup, like the placement of the golf ball for each of your clubs. For example, moving the golf ball forward or backward in your stance. Take a few lessons, if possible, and learn the proper swing from the beginning.

Mastering the long game helps you get to the point of hitting for the green in fewer strokes, however, as important as the long game is, the short game, hitting for the green and putting, is usually where you will save strokes and lower your handicap. Remember that it takes a long time to learn consistency in golf and it's supposed to be fun!

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What To Keep In Your Golf Bag

Well, that depends a lot on what type of golf bag you have. Some golf bags are flimsy affairs, cloth ones that can almost be rolled when they are empty, others are sturdy leather bags that not only hold your golf clubs and golf balls, but everything else you can think of as well. We tend to think of golf advice in swing terms alone, but golf advice for equipment can be equally important.

There are many golf bags available, some designed for fashion, some for utility and some that combine both features. There are big bags, bigger bags and bags so big that they would keep everything you need for a long weekend vacation in one of the side pockets!

Generally speaking, you need a golf bag just large enough to hold your golf clubs, some extra golf balls and tees. However, there are a few extra items you might like to consider carrying in your golf bag.

A spare golf glove can come in handy if your other one gets soaks and becomes unplayable.

A pencil and some ball markers can be very useful as would a small knife or pencil sharpener. After all, we do like to keep score, and in competition it is necessary.

If there are a lot of water hazards, then a golf ball retriever can be very a very handy accessory to keep in your golf bag, especially if have many wayward shots.

Depending on your climatic conditions, you might want to consider sunscreen, a large golf umbrella, some waterproofs, you can never tell.

A small towel for cleaning your golf balls and club heads can be very useful at times, as can a spare pair of socks and a spare jumper.

It is also a good idea to have a packet of tissues, a band-aid or two, and if you play courses where insects are a problem, a can of bug repellent comes in very handy.

A small pack of baby wipes come in very handy too, in your bag they get warmed by the heat, so when you get sweaty or a sand trap covered you with sand, a nice warm wipe can be very refreshing.

If you happen to be allergic to bees, hornets or wasps, then some Epipen is an important addition to your bag. If you are also hypoglycemic then you can carry Lifesavers, which have to be replaced several times throughout the year because they tend to melt.

Some of these items are, of course, dependent on weather conditions and would not always be required.

One item that doesn't need to be in your golf bag is your cell phone. If you must carry it, turn off the ringer as a courtesy to other players. If you must use it, be aware of others who might be taking a golf swing or putting their ball. Be considerate!

Having these items in your golf bag should provide everything you will need, even in a minor emergency (like a blister) or a major inconvenience, like a sudden rainstorm. Being prepared makes the game of golf a great deal more fun.

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The Game of Golf

Golf is a game that almost anyone can play. Age, sex, even skill level makes little difference because of the handicap system employed in the game of golf. The popularity of golf has increased tremendously over the past forty five years, giving us champions like Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and Tiger Woods, and world-renowned courses like Pinehurst, Augusta National and the Blue Monster at Doral.

Why has golf become so popular? Partly because of the media coverage that golf gets nowadays and partly because it's the most enjoyable game on earth with a huge range of benefits associated with it. For instance, it's the opportunity to be outside, to get a good whole body workout, network with friends or business colleagues at a leisurely pace, and to play a game that you can never perfect.

Your scorecard, over time, shows your improvement, which keeps you playing again and again. Even just one good shot in a round of golf can all the encouragement a new golfer needs to keep his interest and enthusiasm alive.

Here is a very basic lesson in golf for the person who has no clue about the game.

Golf is played on an eighteen-hole golf course, each hole has its "par", which is the number of tee shots (drives), fairway shots, chips (short hits as you approach the green), and putts that a good golf player should take to finish the hole.

The par number is based on the length and difficulty of the hole. Pars range from 3 to 6. If you get the golf ball in the hole in five shots on a par five hole, you "made par." If it took you six shots, it's called a bogie, if you made it in four, it's a birdie.

There are usually "hazards" of some sort on all the holes. Bodies of water, sand traps, and trees are strategically placed to make the hole more challenging. Beginner golfers should seek to find courses to play that are easier to play, with fewer hazards. However, the hazards are usually placed placed to catch the better golfers out, not the new golfers, the hazards close to the greens are the ones beginner golfers really need to watch out for.

Each player keeps their own score, marking the number of total number of shots for each hole. At the end, each person adds their scores, the lowest number is the winner. Remember, golf is a game of honor, and although cheating is relatively easy, it is frowned upon and you will make few friends by not being honest.

It is important for beginner golfers to not take themselves too seriously. It takes a long time to get good at this game, even though the professionals make it look so easy.

Take a lesson or two at the onset, it will help you develop a proper swing and help you get off to a good start. You are looking for a consistent golf swing that produces a straight shot. Most golfers have difficulty with this, mainly because of a lack of the correct technique and because they try too hard. Golf is game of control and good technique.

Remember that golf is just a game. Have fun and look at the big picture, you're outside and you're not at work!

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What is the purpose of golf?

Game of Golf

Golf is one of the most popular playing field sports in the world! Apart from the major tour events, it is not really much of a spectator sport. Therefore most golfers participate in the game of golf by playing the game. This is just another of the unique aspects of golf, some other interesting details of the game of golf might include the following.

One of golf's most appealing concepts is the sheer range of people that can take part in it, together with the ability of almost all ages, sexes and skills, to play and even compete. There are few sports, especially field sports, that can boast of this ability.

Golf, a Field Sport

The variety of golf course design makes golf unique among field sports. There are no set areas or designs of a golf course. The layout, atmosphere, to mention nothing of level of difficulty, is entirely different for each golf course. Facilities vary as well, but most golf clubs, at the very least, supply the essential amenities needed to for the comfort and enjoyment of its members and clientele. This variety makes traveling to other golf courses, sometimes just for the change and sometimes for competition, a common practice.

Golf can be played as often as is liked, there is no need for a competing side, this is another side of the game that sets is apart from most others. Golf can be played ,and enjoyed, by only one player. It is obviously a friendlier experience when more are playing together, indeed many new friendships are struck on the golf course.

Golf Competition

What about competition? Obviously one golfer on their own makes competition a little more difficult, but, because of the handicap system that is employed in the game of golf, it allows golfers of vastly different capabilities to compete very well. Another fairly unique quality of golf is that there is seldom an official or referee involved. It is essentially a game of trust and honor. Honesty and etiquette form a major part of the game of golf.

Like most sports, taking part in a game of golf is a good form of physical activity and therefore exercise. Unlike most other sports, all age groups can benefit from the exercise involved. Having said that, all forms of physique and fitness levels are capable of playing golf and getting the same degree of enjoyment from it.

There are not many field sports that afford the opportunity of socializing while taking part in a game. Golf is exceptional in this respect. Indeed, socializing is one of the most enjoyable parts of playing golf. We're not just talking of the nineteenth hole once the game is complete, but during the actual game itself. Some people even manage to conduct business while playing a game of golf.

Golf and the Family

It can even be used for spending quality fun time between members of the family. Parents and children can enjoy this fun aspect of golf at the same time as enjoying everything else that golf has to offer. This makes golf, not just ideal for weekend activities, but also for golf vacations. When a few members of the same family enjoy playing golf, what could be more ideal than a golf trip.

Golf competes well with other sports as a form of relaxation. The setting of most golf courses offers a perfect environment that encourages relaxation. This, coupled with the relatively unhurried way that golf is played, being surrounded by nature in all its glory and friends or acquaintances is relaxation personified, a perfect way to forget your problems.

Earning Money from Golf

It is also a popular avenue for making money. What a way to earn a living? Millions of people worldwide owe their livelihood to the wonderful game of golf. From golf equipment manufacturers and suppliers to golf professionals and lets not forget all the wonderful ground staff that keep these golf courses in their superb condition, or the staff that attend our needs in the club house.

With all there is going for golf, it would be difficult to imagine a sport or hobby better equipped than our favorite game. There is just one more aspect to the game of golf that needs to addressed, excuse the pun.

Is all just one huge frustration?

I know that most golfers find it frustrating at times. But the fact that no-one ever manages to master this game is one of its many attributes. The challenges of raising your skill level at golf will always be one of its more endearing qualities. Even the top tour pros can never admit to truly conquering all the vagaries of golf. It is not just a physical game, it is an mental game of such subtleties that it seldom is mastered.

If you do not yet play golf, or are thinking of taking it up, then let it be known that golf is not the greatest game in the world for nothing. I've outlined a few of the benefits and enjoyments of playing the game of golf, there are more as every golfer has own unique way of approaching this game, so come on, (sorry, this is going to be another pun)... join the club.