Playing any sport well starts with an understanding of basic fundamentals, and golf certainly is no different. Danny Caverly, the director of instruction at Willowbend Country Club, offers his thoughts on which fundamentals are most important when it comes to the swing.
“While understanding that each person’s swing has its own shape and style, I do have fundamentals that I apply to all players regardless of size, age, or athletic ability. The first three are grip, aim, and posture.
“Grip: Under the heel pad of the left hand to secure the club throughout the swinging motion and for natural hinging of the wrists. Both V’s formed by the forefingers and thumbs point at the right shoulder [for a righthanded player].
“Aim: Teaching a good pre-shot routine by aiming the clubface at a spot on the ground from behind the ball helps get the shoulders, hips, and feet all relatively in the same line.
“Posture: Bending from the hips, the butt goes out behind the golfer and the back is relatively straight while the arms hang freely.
“Once these three fundamentals are applied consistently, there are five in-swing fundamentals that I look for with one goal: simplicity of the swinging motion.
“Straight clubface: The clubface starts out straight at address and maintains this relationship throughout the swinging motion and square to the plane of the swing. So, I look at the clubface halfway back, at the top, and at impact.
“Braced right leg: The right knee remains stable and flexed in the backswing. This allows the upper body to turn against a stable right leg to create coil and power.
“Width of the backswing: I like to see the arms and hands as far away from the chest as they can be depending on the flexibility of the player. Accompanied with a braced right leg, this creates power and consistency of contact.
“Flat left wrist at impact: The most important in-swing fundamental [the back of the left hand should be facing the target at impact] and the one that illustrates that the player has led the forward swing with the hips to unleash the power created in the backswing.
“Balanced finish: Over on the left foot with the chest and hips facing the target is ideal. Again, dealing with each player’s physical ability, the balance at the end of a swing tells us that the player has swung within himself and that he/she has fully released the power generated in the backswing.”