The Simple Golf Swing: Beginner’s Guide To Playing Pro-Level Golf


Many beginners want to know what the simple golf swing looks like and the steps you need to follow to make sure you have the basics down.

There are tons of theories and ways to teach a golf swing, but the good ones all have some similarities. Reducing the complexity of a golf swing is a difficult task. There are so many nuances to take into account. However I know that part of any great instructor’s job is to boil it down into the simple golf swing so that beginners can understand it. So here we go.

I’m going to assume you already know how to grip the golf club for this explanation.

The simple golf swing starts with approaching, addressing, and aligning the shot.

  • Approach: approach the ball from behind so you can see the ball line up with the target. This helps with alignment and is a great habit to get into.
  • Addressing the ball: Stand with your knees slightly bent, your body bent forward slightly at the waist (don’t slump over the ball by rounding your back bend at the hips), and have your feet about shoulder width apart. The ball should be near the center of your stance (closer to your front foot for woods and drivers, near center for irons). Stand a comfortable distance away from the ball (you don’t want to have to reach to hit the ball).
  • Aligning the Simple Golf Shot: In order to aim your golf shot properly you need to make sure that your heels are parallel to the target line. If you lay a club against your heels and then step away the club should be pointed right at your target. Don’t use your toes to align.

Okay now it’s time for the fun part of the simple golf swing.

There are three parts to the simple golf swing. There is the backswing, the downswing, and the follow through. There are tons of other ways to break down the golf swing with more specificity but because this is the simple golf swing we are going to leave it at three parts.

Backswing: This is where you take the club back and twist your torso building up power for your shot. Here are the keys to making sure your backswing is correct.

  • Lead with your hips and torso: don’t initiate the backward movement of the club with your hands or arms. Use your hips and torso twisting them will force your arms to take the club back without activating your arms or getting your wrists out of whack.
  • Keep your wrists loose. They should cock back at the top of the back swing as your arms fold and the club lays parallel to the ground above your shoulders.
  • Try to keep your arms extended as long as possible in the backswing. This will force your torso to twist more (remember your torso is taking the club back not your arms) and will store more power.

The next step in the simple golf swing is the downswing. This is the part of the swing that initiates the downward movement of the club and continues until impact.

  • Just like the backswing, initiate your downswing with your hips and torso (this is also called the pivot). After the backswing your torso should be like a spring that you have wound up and are now releasing.
  • Your wrists should stay cocked during the down swing. At impact you should have a flat left wrist and a bent right wrist. This is crucial to the simple golf swing.
  • Your arms should stay loose. Don’t try to ‘muscle’ the shot. Power comes from the pivot not your arms.
  • Allow your pivot or un-twisting of your torso to lead the swing. Your arms should lag behind a bit (this is storing all the power for impact).
  • If you are doing this simple golf swing right you will strike the ball clean and with plenty of power.

The follow through is essentially a continuation of the downswing. Although this part of the swing seems simple it is a crucial element of the simple golf swing. Without proper follow through you can lose a lot of power.

  • After impact with the golf ball you want to continue twisting your body. Your torso and hips are still leading the shot. If you try to throw the club at the ball with your arms at impact you will lose power. This is why you want to focus on having the torso lead the shot all the way into the follow through.
  • Allow your torso to keep twisting until you are facing where you were aiming and your hips are square with the target.
  • At this point your arms will continue to roll over and the club will continue over your left shoulder.

That’s it for the simple golf swing. There are a lot of fine details about the golf swing that I didn’t cover but for a beginner the simple golf swing I explained here is more than enough to get started. Don’t get bogged down by super detailed descriptions when you are just starting out. Go out there and start hitting some golf balls while keeping the fundamentals of the simple golf swing in mind.

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