A gentleman’s guide to taking the perfect golf swing

A golf swing is one of the most complicated mechanisms in sport, but we're here to help

A golf swing is one of the most complicated mechanisms in sport. There are so many elements to consider which affect the strike and ball flight, certainly too many to try and cover on paper. There are, however, a few fundamentals which need to be mastered from the start if you want to be bombing the ball down the middle of the fairway.

A gentleman’s guide to taking the perfect golf swing

The grip

A gentleman’s guide to taking the perfect golf swing
The Vardon

Whether using the overlapping, interlocking or baseball grip, the hands on the club must work together when striking the ball. The overlapping grip – often known as the Vardon grip made famous by Harry Vardon – is probably the most common. However, the interlocking grip is often taught to beginners in many cases, or is most suitable for people with smaller hands or weaker wrists and forearms. This grip has been used by the greats of the game, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to name but a few. To use this grip, take the little finger on the trailing hand and intertwine it with the index finger of the leading hand.

The stance

A gentleman’s guide to taking the perfect golf swing

Alignment, feet and posture are all fundamentals and again essential to get right if you are to be hitting the ball well and in the right direction. Alignment is difficult to get right, so try and picture a straight line between you and the pin. If you imagine a train track, your body should be aligned on the inside rail and the ball on the outside rail. Your feet should be about a shoulders width apart. Flex those knees and bend at the hips whilst keeping your spine straight. Relax the body and don’t grip the club too hard.

The swing

A gentleman’s guide to taking the perfect golf swing

Before even swinging the club, there are hundreds of things to be thinking about before getting to making a swing. The swing is made up of two parts, the backswing and the downswing. On the backswing, you are coiling your body before releasing the energy down through the ball. Hinge your front arm up into an L shape and then release your arms towards the ball, allowing your weight to shift from one foot to another. Your hips should start turning as you hit the ball and the front of your body facing the target when you finish with your hands over your shoulder. At the finish your back heel will be up, helping you achieve that balanced finish. Don’t try and hit the ball too hard, let the club do the work. The swing should be kept as simple as possible, once you master this only then should you consider trying to shape the ball like the pros.

Remember, it’s all about practice; no one golf swing is perfect or the same but if you want to study one swing, watch the great Fred Couples, aged 59 this gentleman still has it – the smoothest and most effortless swing in golf.

Further Reading