Golf Swing Lesson: A Golf Beginner Needs a Proper Golf Stance

It was getting late.  Salt was looking for a golf beginner, someone who would be receptive to a golf beginner tip.

Most people at the range were pounding driver after driver, barely even looking where their ball was going before teeing up the next one.  They were not golf beginners, so Salt was not interested.

He was more interested in the girl, an obvious golf beginner, who had a fresh bucket of balls in front of her. She was obviously new to the game, trying to learn. It took courage to come out on the range and not be self-conscious. Salt approved.

“Hello young lady, how are you?” Salt asked.

“OK, I guess,” she said.

“My name is Salt. I’m the golf teacher at the golf course. Do you like to play golf?”

A Fundamental Golf Beginner Tip

“My name is Melissa. I want to try the game, because it looks fun. But I’m just a beginner.”

“Everybody is a beginner at the beginning,” said Salt.

Melissa looked at him and squinted a little. Salt thought it was pretty profound, but not this youngster.

Lexi Thompson driver at address golf beginner tip
Lexi Thompson takes an athletic stance just before takeaway.

“Can you help me hit the ball like that guy you just helped?” asked Melissa.

“Well, he is a lot bigger and stronger and more experienced than you. Maybe you could hit a few balls and we’ll see how it goes?”

Melissa agreed.

“Put the ball on a tee,” said Salt. He thought everyone, beginners especially, should hit off a tee on the range.

Melissa took a few practice swings and hit a few balls.

“At least I’m hitting every one now, not missing,” she said.

Salt nodded. “Yes, that’s good.”

Melissa had a decent grip, one she had probably been taught. But, like most who are new to the game, she had a tendency to come over the top, a casting motion, that caused some bad slices and an occasional shank.

Knee Flex at Setup

Salt noticed in particular that she did not have much knee flex. Her rigid knees were making it difficult to execute a good turn and take an inside path on the downswing.

She shanked another one. “Oh I hate those!”

Salt could see she was getting frustrated.

“Can you help me Salt” she asked.

“Melissa, would you try something for me?” asked Salt.

“OK. Is it my grip? Maybe it’s too weak? I read about that,”

Salt was patient. “No, your grip is fine. Very good in fact.”

Melissa seemed pleased that her grip was very good.

“Melissa, please take your stance as normal. That’s it. Now, I want you to pretend you are about to sit down.”

The Golf Beginner Needs to Sit on the Bar Stool

“What? You want me to sit down?”

“No, not all the way, just pretend like you are going to sit down on a bar stool or something. Just go down a little ways.  Think of Lexi Thompson’s stance, how she sits down as she addresses the ball.”  Salt pulled out his handy smartphone and showed Melissa what he meant.  “See, right here at 0:14, she sits down into her stance and holds that position through impact”.

“OK, I see now”, said Melissa.

“Perfect,” said Salt.

“Perfect what?” demanded Melissa.

“That is a perfect stance. Try a few practice swings from that stance and see how it feels.”

Solid Base, Solid Shots

Melissa’s first swings were a little awkward. She actually lost her balance from all the clubhead speed she generated off her new stance.

“Try a couple more, but keep your head still as you swing” said Salt.

And soon her swings were much improved.

“Now hit a ball or two and see how it goes,” suggested Salt.

Melissa’s first shot made a decidedly different sound than before. The fine, sharp crack of a well struck ball.

“Wow”. Melissa now had a little more respect for old Salt.

She hit a few more shots. Most were good, some were still bad, but definitely an improvement.

“Remember, sit down to get a solid stance, and you will improve!” said Salt. “I need to go now, Melissa. Nice to meet you. And please do come back to the range often.”

“Thank you Salt. I will.”

She was happy, and so was Salt.

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Golf Swing Lesson:  A Golf Beginner Needs a Proper Golf Stance

Golf Swing Lesson: Finish Your Golf Swing With Your Belt Buckle Facing the Target

Salt was on the range early that day. He was studying some video tour players and noting their proper golf swing finish.  Most of the golfers at his range couldn’t finish their golf swings so gracefully.  Many of them routinely lost their balance instead of striking a pretty pose.

The day was cool; it had rained the night before and so the grass was a little soggy. The clouds hung low, but it was not too windy. Not a day for fair weather golfers. But a day not nearly as bad as it looked from inside the clubhouse.

A Slow Day at the Range

Salt thought that the type of person who would show up on the range today would be a serious sort of player, one who really wanted to work on his game.

Not surprisingly, business was slow.  But, by and by, Micah arrived. He looked to be in a hurry, and was well dressed. He probably slipped away over his lunch hour.  Salt knew Micah in passing. Micah was a businessman, an account manager. He wanted to play the game well to help him impress clients, but had a handicap in the low 20s, which frustrated him.  He felt like he needed to be a single-digit handicapper, or nearly so, to really succeed in his line of work.

Micah got out his clubs and began to hit some balls.

Salt shook his head. “If only they would stretch before they try to hit a ball,” he thought.

Micah hit several balls, but was obviously getting frustrated. His shots were poor and he did not have a proper golf swing finish at all.  Salt ambled over.

“Mornin’,” said Salt.

“Good morning,” said Micah. “How are you today, Salt?”

Bill Haas belt buckle facing target at finish finish golf swing proper golf swing finish
Bill Haas with his belt buckle facing the target at the finish.

“Oh, I’m doing fine today. How’s your game Micah?”

“Not bad, not bad,” said Micah. “Having a little trouble with my slice though.”

“Mind if I have a look?” asked Salt.

“Please, go ahead.”

Salt knew that Micah was a serious man, analytical, calculating. He would probably want to hear tips about wrist angle, swing plane, grip position, and so forth.

“What do you think of my backswing Salt? Are my hands high enough?”

Finishing the Golf Swing

Salt just sighed and shook his head. And he watched another weak shot tail off to the right.

“Micah, I’d like you to try something for me.”

“Sure, what?”

“I’d like you to swing so that your belt buckle is facing the target on your finish.”

“What?”

“Try it. Take a practice swing or two and think about a proper golf swing finish. Concentrate on swinging so that your belt buckle faces the target when you are done.  Imagine a pro with a great swing, like Bill Haas. It looks unhurried and easy, but it’s very powerful and balanced and he is always facing the target when he’s done.”

Micah conjured up an image of Bill Haas’ swing:

Micah gave it a try. The first thing he noticed was that his belt buckle was pointing right of the target, not at the target. The next thing he noticed was that he was losing his balance, and didn’t really have a specific direction that his belt buckle was pointing.

“Try again, but smoother,” said Salt.

Micah tried several more times to no avail.  Salt was worried that he might lose Micah’s attention and trust.

Start with the Golf Swing Finish

“Micah, why don’t you just pose with your club and belt buckle the way you want to end up at the finish, and backtrack from there?”

And so Micah visualized Bill Haas’ finish, and he imitated it for Salt. Eventually he was able to execute a swing that resulted in a balanced finish, with his belt buckle pointing at the target, at a good tempo.  He found that he needed a much more inside path on the downswing to avoid losing his balance, and this also helped to bring him up into the finish pose he was looking for.

“Now hit a ball. But tee it up,” said Salt.

Micah did. His first shot was straight. His second was straight and longer. The third was pure, a beautiful golf shot by any standard.

“Salt, thank you, this is incredible.” Micah was genuinely grateful and truly surprised at how well this worked.  He eagerly reached for another striped ball.

Salt waved at him from across the range, It was time to head back inside for a cup of coffee.  After all, it was a bit cool outside.

Did you enjoy this golf Lesson? Think you can make the swing that puts you in a great finish pose like Micah and Bill Haas?  Let your friends in on the secret too! Like, Share, Bookmark, Tweet, or +1 below!

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Golf Swing Tip: Use a Golf Alignment Stick for Proper Golf Alignment

Symptom: You struggle with your golf alignment.  Often you hit straight, solid shots, but they don’t go the direction you intended.

The feel and method of proper golf alignment is not ingrained into you, making it hard to perform on the golf course.

Overview: At the range, lay a golf alignment stick, or club you are not using, on the ground, and aim it at your intended target. Line your toes up to the alignment stick, and keep the alignment stick between you and the ball. This is proper golf alignment.  Remember how proper alignment feels, and recall this feeling on the course.

Justin Rose driver alignment stick golf alignment stick proper golf alignment
Justin Rose using an alignment stick for proper golf alignment.

Why it works: It is actually very difficult for you to tell if you have proper golf alignment. It is easy to “feel” like you are aligned, when in fact you are systematically aligned to the left or right of the target.  That is the power of the golf alignment stick.

The Perils of Poor Golf Alignment

This misalignment will cause a natural slice/pull  or hook/push. But you will not be aware of your misalignment, because you have become comfortable with your (incorrect) setup on the driving range.  Or worse, you may compensate your swing to hit it straight despite your (mis)alignment, which won’t allow you to improve.

All good players, of course, know this.  Almost every pro will use a club on the ground to help their alignment on the range sometimes, and many will do it most of the time.  Almost no Occasional Golfers do this.  Take a look next time you are at the range — how many people are using an alignment aid?  I’ll bet it’s less than one in ten.  And the one who is using the stick or club on the ground is the low handicapper!

Let’s have Justin Rose demonstrate for us.  His alignment stick is pointing at his intended target.  His toes are aligned with the stick.  He is in perfect golf alignment.  Have a look:

Always Have Proper Golf Alignment on the Range

The goal of the driving range session is to prepare you to play on the course.  On the golf course, you can always aim at a spot right in front of you to help your aim, but you can’t use a club on the ground or a golf alignment stick to help you with your alignment.  That’s why it’s crucial that you do so on the range, like Justin Rose, so that you teach yourself the way proper golf alignment feels.  Hopefully you can take that feeling out on the course, and eliminate those wayward shots that cost you strokes!

Think this tip will get you aimed in the right direction?  Then be like Justin Rose and every other serious player the next time you are on the range, and share the knowledge with your friends — Share, Like, Tweet, +1, or Email below!

Copyright 2014-present, Golf Tip Reviews, All Rights Reserved.

Golf Putting Drill: Master Breaking Putts with the Surround the Cup Putting Drill

Symptom: Breaking putts give you fits, because playing the right amount of break is elusive for you.

You often mutter things like, “I thought it would break more” or “where did all that break come from” or “maybe I pushed it” or “get there” or “slow down” or perhaps less printable things…

Overview: On the putting green, pick a cup on a slight hill, and surround it with several balls in a circle. Start just a foot or two away from the cup and gradually work to wider and wider circles. Read and sink each putt as you circle the cup.

Why it works: Even though we know logically that downhill putts are faster and have more break, and uphill putts are slower and have less break, it is something you must experience firsthand to really internalize.  This drill is a great way to prove it to yourself so you can execute better on the course.

Breaking Putts Speed and Direction

Phil Mickelson surround the cup putting drill breaking putts
Phil Mickelson using the surround the cup putting drill.

By keeping the length of the putt constant but varying the amount of break you need to play, you will get a better feel for how to read and execute short breaking putts. Gradually your short putting and your confidence will improve.  You will find that your performance on this drill improves when your misses on are on the high side of the hole, and end up about 18 inches past the hole.

Another benefit of this drill is that you will improve your ability to read the putts of your playing partners, and apply this learning to your putt!  So, for example, if your buddy has a similar length putt from the other side of the hole, you will know how your putt is likely to roll based on his putt, because you’ve already hit both putts in the Surround the Cup Putting Drill on the practice green!

Phil Mickelson shows us how it’s done and what he is thinking about during the drill (thanks Phil):

Did you like this drill?  Think you can emulate Phil Mickelson on the practice green next time out?  Bookmark, Tweet it, Like it, email it — spread the word!  And don’t miss the next one–sign up for free updates too!

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Golf Chipping Tip: Hit a Better Golf Chip with Chipping Visualization

Symptom: Your golf chipping technique leaves you far from the hole.  Your golf chips are usually struck as intended but just don’t end up close enough.

And of course you don’t get up and down as often as you would like, and your handicap stays stubbornly high…

Overview: Before hitting your golf chip, imagine tossing the ball underhand to a particular spot, and the subsequent roll to the cup.  Then execute your chip.

Why it works: Imagination and visualization are crucial elements of golf, and especially the short game.  We all get wrapped up in technique and swing execution from time to time, and forget about the really simple idea of making the ball end up in the right place.

Your Golf Chip Needs Visualization

Phil Mickelson Picks a spot to land his chip shot golf chipping tip golf chipping technique golf chip
Phil Mickelson visualizing a landing spot for his chip 30 feet right of the hole.

By thinking about tossing the ball with an underhand motion, you focus only on where you want to ball to go, not on the mechanics of executing the chip shot. This often helps you visualize and execute a better chip.  Of course, a properly struck chip will have some backspin (depending on the lie) which will limit the roll somewhat.  But the basic idea stands — pretending to lob the ball with an underhand motion to your chosen landing spot will help you visualize your shot and improve your chances of making the ball end up where you intend.

This is especially important on a long chip, or a chip with a lot of break to it.  You need to land the ball on a spot that is both far from and not in line with the hole.  That was the situation confronting Phil Mickelson in the video below — have a look:

See how Phil looks at where he wants to land the ball, rather than at the hole?  Please remember to keep your hands ahead of the ball while chipping, as Phil did in this video, to make sure you have a descending blow onto the ball so that you can actually execute that beautiful chip you have just visualized!

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Golf Chipping Tip:  Hit a Better Golf Chip with Chipping Visualization

 

Golf Chipping Tip:  Hit a Better Golf Chip with Chipping Visualization