Watching my son playing a round of golf this weekend, I was troubled with how inconsistent play can affect the enjoyment of a day on the links. If one plays a hole well, one scores a nice par. Follow up with a six on a par three and, well, take your frustrated child out for ice cream afterwards. But how can a beginner develop a consistent swing? Here are some small corrections you can make during a round on the links to get back into form.
Develop a Consistent Swing: Check Your Grip
During a round it is easy to stop thinking about having the same grip each shot. The beautiful fairway is breath-taking. The conversation of friends and family is soothing. You have other things on your mind when you catch yourself with a weak grip. Such a failing is when your trailing hand (right hand for us right handers) is turned counter clock wise (over the club). Such an occurrence can promote an open club face, and that can produce a slice. The neutral grip can help you get it back. You will know a neutral grip if the “V” made by your thumb and finger point to the inside of your right shoulder. Take a look when you are hitting well. What grip are you using? Remember this grip for when you are not hitting so well.
Develop a Consistent Swing: Check Your Alignment
In golf, the ball is not moving when you hit it. Physics is funny that way. How hard can it be, then, to aim square to the target?
First, you must have a target. Project or look towards the exact spot the ball needs to land. Then stand directly behind the ball and face the target. You have now set up your angle; time for an alignment.
When you set your feet they should be square to the target. Your shoulders and hips should be square to the target, as well. Avoid the temptation to adjust your stance to compensate for your slice or to adjust to compensate for your swing. You must be able to hit the ball where you intend it to land. If you are square towards your target, a basic swing will give you a basic (straight) shot.
Develop a Consistent Swing: Try the Three-Quarter Swing
If you hit as wildly as my son, this adjustment might come in handy. Just prepare yourself to give up some distance. This adjustment will allow you to swing smooth and follow through. After all, it is better to be on the fairway and 20 yards back rather than in the pond and 20 yards further.
Your goal is to limit the off-center hits and straighten them out. Widen your stance just a little more. Shorten your grip on the club- and do not worry about about breaking your wrists; they hinge naturally. Take a smooth swing and make sure you follow through properly (see “Check Your Alignment). Your club more likely will start a full swing path on the proper plane. Sure, distance may be affected for now, but you have severely minimized your wild and crazy mis-hits.
Every avid golfer has tips and tricks of the trade to impart upon struggling beginners on how to play better golf. Hopefully, these tips will get you to develop a consistent swing when it seems like the wheels are falling off.