by David Lake
We receive numerous emails concerning the ideal golf swing for single length golf clubs and how to learn it. The Playing page of our website goes through the basics and stresses the most important points (ie: swinging around the body and eliminating lateral sway from your swing). However, from the questions we receive it is apparent that most golfers have never been taught the correct swing mechanics or have followed the many poorly written instructional books on the subject and have developed many swing flaws as a result.
Before going into a detailed swing analysis I would like to mention that, in my opinion, the only worthwhile book on the subject (and it is the best book by far) is: “Five Lessons” by Ben Hogan. This book very clearly shows you everything you need to know in order to make the ideal golf swing.
First off lets talk about the way you grip the club. Every golfer I have ever met thinks that they have a good grip which, in fact, is only true in about 10% of the cases. Believe me, virtually all swing flaws are the result of a poor grip. The ideal grip is actually very simple – the back of the left hand (right-handed golfer) should face the target and the palm of the right hand should face the target regardless of whether you use a Vardon grip, overlapping grip, or ten finger grip. Most golfers make the mistake of taking far too strong a grip with their right hand where the palm faces more skyward than down the target line. As far as finger pressure, I like to feel like I am holding the club with the last three fingers of my left hand and the middle two fingers of my right. The trigger finger of your right hand (right-handed golfer) should exert little to no pressure on the grip at all. I have seen many golfers ruin their swing by trying to control the club or add power by over exerting pressure with this finger. Whenever I start to experience a flaw in my swing the first thing I do is to lift my right-hand trigger finger completely off the grip and keep it off throughout my swing. Many times this one change will fix the problem.
The second thing we want to discuss is your address position. Your posture should be upright and not bent over or reaching for the ball. Your knees should not be bent, but rather, flexed and you should feel as if you are going to sit down on a tall stool. Weight should be evenly distributed between your feet and you should not feel as if you are leaning forward or standing on the balls of your feet, but in a position where you feel balanced. Your lead foot should be flared out slightly toward the target and your rear foot should be square to the target line (this keeps you from over-swinging).
Your lead arm (left arm for a right-handed golfer) should be as straight as possible (little or no elbow bend). The elbow of your trailing arm should be tucked into your side so that it can circle your waist and fold inwards on your backswing.
One other very important point to mention is that you should try to have the insides of your elbows pointing skyward as much as possible. This is accomplished by trying to bring your elbows towards each other. You should be lightly squeezing the sides of your chest with your upper arms. What this accomplishes is to eliminate the opposing muscle swing flaw and will ensure that you maximize your swing speed. You can click on the following link for complete information on this: Opposing Muscle Concept .
You should make a slight forward press of the club at this point. The reasoning for this is not what you might think. It is simply a move to put your wrists in the proper impact position where the wrist of your left hand (right-handed golfer) bows slightly towards the target and will lead your left hand through the shot. To visualize this, make a fist with your left hand with the back of your hand and forearm in a straight line and then bend your hand slightly inward. This left wrist positioning will create the reverse affect to your right wrist. This is the position you want your wrists to maintain throughout the swing and through impact. You never want to change this positioning by breaking your wrists during your backswing or downswing. We will discuss this wrist positioning more thoroughly in Part II of this series.