Golf Swing Tips for Beginners to Improve Your Golf swing (A BASIC SWING TECHNIQUE GUIDE FOR HITTING YOUR DRIVER AND IRONS)

Welcome to B4G. You’ll be glad you google’d golf swing tips because you are going to get some great ones here today. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, looking to play professionally, a senior, or left handed, you will find a tip here that will help your golf swing. I have been personally trained by Hall of Fame Golf Instructor Jim Hardy and his partner Chris O’Connell. I am going to show you some of best golf instruction videos and a number great simple golf swing tips for beginners. I will also show some basic golf swing tips for any level or handicap of golfer. If you keep reading, you will find something to help your full golf swing. We will identify what moves work best for YOUR driver swing and your iron swing.

For years golfers have looked to golf instructors or golf swing instruction videos to help them correct problems in their golf swings and learn how to swing golf club. Golf for beginners can seem like a long and expensive process. Sometimes golf swing lessons can cause tremendous frustration and thoughts of quitting golf altogether. I have witnessed instructors flat out reject or worse not realizing their students have natural swing tendencies. Instead they try to shoe horn every golfer in to one “perfect” swing model. I have watched instructors force radical changes that have made things even worse for the student and broken a good golf swing. I have heard “famous” golf instructors say that you can’t learn anything from the golf swing by where the ball goes. Hopefully, you are not one of their students. If you are, Jim Hardy and I are here to help you.

I am here to show you that there is a better way to learn how to hit a golf ball to the best of your abilities. There is a more efficient way of swinging a golf club that will improve your golf swing. We will help you find the golf swing that works best for you. I believe that there is no one right or wrong way to swing a golf club. You can learn a lot from your misses and the divot (or lack there of). Moves that work for one golfer’s swing may not necessarily work for another. Factors like body type, amount of athleticism, flexibility, experience and whatnot make every golfer and every swing type unique. We all wish the was a one golf swing made easy that everyone could do regardless of these factors.

“The sole purpose of the golf swing is to produce a correct repetitive impact. The method employed is of no significance as long as it is correct and repetitive.” – John Jacobs

Jim Hardy believes that every person’s golf swing is unique (like DNA or fingerprints). In his best selling book “Solid Contact: A Top Instructor’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the B all Better Than Ever”, Hardy lays out his amazing system for golfers of all skills and handicaps. “Solid Contact” teaches you how to self diagnose your shots and correct your swings and misses in as little as the very next ball. Let’s break this down quick. You will not need months of expensive lessons. With his system you can make your driver swing and iron swing better today. The only thing that really matters in the golf swing is getting the club head square to the ball at impact. The golf swing help and instruction you will find in Jim Hardy’s “Solid Contact” can get you there quickly.

There are three major components you need to know to create a correct and repeatable natural golf swing for yourself.

The first is figuring out what swing type you already have (either a one and two plane golf swing) and study the mechanics of that swing type.

The second component is how to analyze the flight of the ball once you make contact and make adjustments to your swing to get the ball flight you want.

The third and final piece is the release of the golf swing. The proper golf swing release gives you more power or speed in your golf swing. Ever see golfers like Ernie Els who seem to have an effortless golf swing and wonder how they do it? The release is a big part of that effortless look to a golf swing. Pair the correct release with the control you will get from “Solid Contact” and the plus and minus system and you will see a lot of improvement. We will cover the release in depth in my next article.

Once you figure out what kind of swing (one or two plane) you have and what ball flights you are hitting, you will learn through this article and “Solid Contact” the go to moves, swing tips, and drills to get you back on the correct path when you fall off track. It took Matt Kuchar five swings to get a correct and repetitive impact using the system you will learn in “Solid Contact”.

My goal for my students is to help them create a natural swing that produces a correct and repetitive impact and to have fun playing golf.  You will be able to with the info you find on this page. 

Before we get into the “how to” of the golf swing tips, I want to start by going over a couple of pet peeves of mine, then the system itself, how and what to practice, and then the golf drills.

First, Please STOP reading every tip you see online or in a golf magazine by every golf instructor and then try to incorporate all of them into your swing. Every top 100 golf instructor is going to have a some similarities and some differing opinions on the golf swing. Especially when you are talking about the best golf swing for beginners. You are much better off picking one instructor and sticking to their principles. Some will teach a one (or single plane golf swing) elements and some two plane golf swing elements. Some will mix both elements and that is where you can really get in trouble.

A highly respected Golf Digest Top 100 Instructor and friend Mike LaBeauve weighed in on the subject on Facebook and I think he is spot on:

Golf Swing

Mike absolutely nailed it in his second paragraph. Please STOP  trying to mimic positions in an “ideal” golf swing by watching and re-watching slow motion golf swings of other golfers. Pro golf swing sequences are good for analyzing a golf swing, but trying to mimic specific positions in an what someone thinks is an ideal golf swing does not work like you think it will. You will focus on the elements that may or may not do anything to help your swing. Watching your golf swing in slow motion will lead you down a path of overthinking and possibly disaster. Just because someone is working on something in their golf swing doesn’t mean that you should be too. You may very will destroy your already good golf swing without even knowing it.

Now that I have that off of my chest, let’s have a look at what we will be covering in the article today.

There is no one way to properly swing a golf club. Every golf swing is different. No two swings are exactly alike. With that being said you need to know the reasons you are failing to improve your golf swing are not your fault. You are bombarded with info about the proper golf swing and perfect “mechanics” of the golf swing in magazines and internet advertisements constantly.

Let’s get started by introducing the system that will make you better.

Jim Hardy’s Plus and Minus System

Every golfer has a natural swing, a simple golf swing that fits each golfer’s abilities and strengths. Jim Hardy realized during his research of the golf swing basics that all mistakes in the golf swing create a golf swing where the bottom of the arc or swing plane creates an impact that was out of balance, either too wide and too shallow, or too narrow and too steep. When a student made a swing that was either one of the two, he could balance out the swing. Jim could quickly “neutralize” the student’s swing and get amazing results by adding an opposite element to the swing somewhere throughout the swing. To help simplify the system to teach others, he simply called too narrow and too steep a “Plus” and too wide and too shallow a “Minus”.

What does Jim mean by too steep/narrow or to shallow/wide? Here is a great video that gives a great overview of the system.

The simplest way to visualize the bottom of the swing is to imagine an airplane landing on a runway. You must have the perfect combo of forward movement and up and down movement to land safely. If you have too much forward, your plane will never touch the ground. If you have too much up and down, your plane nose dives into the ground. Each component of the swing must balance out to deliver a solid golf shot (or land the plane safely).

golf swing

I will use the the analogy of a tire to teach this. Let’s say the tire is standing at a 45 degree angle. Very little of the tire is touching the ground. The arc represented by the tire has a very narrow bottom. This is very similar to the swing plane of a two plane golf swing. The swing plane is like a “V”. It has a very steep and narrow bottom and spends an extremely short time along the turf and in the ground. The plane does a quick touch down and pull back up into the sky again.  If a swing is entirely too steep, the plane will crash directly into the ground.

golf swing

Photo Credit: gaiahealthblog.com

Now take that tire and tilt it down. You will see that a lot more of the arc (swing plane) is either touching or very close to the ground. This is a one plane golf swing. The swing plane is wider and more shallow than the image above. The plane is just circling the ground just waiting to land safely.

golf swing

Photo Credit: bodybuilding.com

The upright and narrow two plane swing is very steep. The flatter and wider one plane swing is quite shallow.

If the golf swing is out of balance, something needs to change. Hardy developed the plus (+) and minus (-) system to help each golfer analyze his or her own natural swing pattern and find the source of any swing issue and balance the swing. Hardy teaches you how to self diagnose shots by answering three basic questions:

  • What is the shape of the shot?
  • What is the shape of the divot?
  • What adjustments are needed to improve the swing? 

The 4 Key Components of the Golf Swing Impact

Every golf shot is the product of three actions: the swing, the swing’s impact, and the impact’s resulting ball flight. All ball flight and contact errors can be traced back to a swing which is either too wide and shallow at its bottom or too steep and narrow. Jim Hardy’s Plus and Minus System focuses on the four key components that make up the bottom of the golf swing and impact.

The components are:

  1. The position of the club face
  2. The club path
  3. The angle of approach
  4. The width of the bottom of the swing. 

You can use “Solid Contact” as a guide to improve your one or two plane swing by figuring out which chart to use from the book and then picking the one or two plane elements that feel or work the best for you. Just trying out different elements from the appropriate chart you would eventually build a good one or two plane swing. Let’s say you have never heard of or have no idea about one or two plane golf swings or mechanics. You could literally build a good one or two plane swing simply by trying all of the elements in one of the two swing categories and seeing what result was best. A golfer with too many plus elements, can learn to add minus elements (from the appropriate chart provided in “Solid Contact”) to his or her swing, and develop a solid, consistent swing that will bring success time and again.

The system is a bit complex but with some time and some dedication to figuring it out you will certainly play your best golf ever. Or if you would rather see a Plane Truth Instructor for a lesson that works too. Here is the Plane Truth Instructor Directory to find a certified instructor in your area who knows the + and – system and can share it with you.

How to Practice at the Range

Now that we know the system and understand the importance of the impact and release of the golf swing. Let’s get into how and what to practice.

Deliberate Practice

I recall the days back in when I was in competitive junior golf. My Dad or Grandpa would drop me off at my local course and I would grab the shag bag and go pick up a couple of large buckets worth of balls. I would hit half the first bucket with a 7 iron, hit half of the remaining bucket with my driver, and the rest would be 50 and 100 yard wedge shots until the balls were gone. I would repeat this a couple times until my hands hurt so bad that I would stop. I would then go to the putting green and chip and putt for 45 minutes. When I wasn’t at the range, I was usually hitting plastic whiffle balls in the back yard for a hour a day and tearing up my Dad’s lawn. For as much as I thought practiced, I did not improve all that much from my Sophomore year to Senior year.

Maybe you are like me back in junior golf. You practice a decent amount, but you don’t really get a lot better. That’s because you don’t deliberately practice. What the heck is deliberate practice?

Deliberate practice is a term used by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson to describe how we master whatever we set our minds to. Mike McGetrick wrote a great article for golf.com called “Missing ingredient to lower scores is something called deliberate practice.” Mike says that deliberate practice is all about improving by pushing both you and your practice beyond your comfort zone.

How do you learn deliberate practice? Mike says you need to observe the “The 4 Laws of Perfect Practice”

1. Deliberate Practice is Highly Personalized: You need a personalized plan that stretches your comfort zone.

2. Deliberate Practice Should Push You Just Beyond Your Current Abilities: We’re talking about taking a step outside, not a huge leap out of your comfort zone.

3. Deliberate Practice Must Be Repeated at High Volume: The best golfers repeat their practice hours upon hours. Colin Swatton (Jason Day’s caddie) said in this NY Times article Pro Golfers Know Working on Short Game Goes a Long Way that Jason will typically “spend four and a half hours practicing chips, sand shots, putts and approaches inside 150 yards.”

4. Deliberate Practice Requires Continual and Specific Feedback: Hire a knowledgeable teacher who understands the golf swing and can give you the proper instruction and feedback for what you should be working on.

Now, you may not have the time to deliberately practice for hours a day all week like a Jason Day or Tiger Woods, but you can certainly practice smarter and push yourself when you are getting ready to play an important round. Mike went on to write another article called Six drills to help you master the art of deliberate practice. The article goes over how to stretch your comfort zone and lower your handicap with 6 drills. Here is a quick recap. Take a look at the full article at the end of the article when you get the chance, it is fantastic and well written.

1. REHEARSE YOUR FULL SWING: Take deliberate practice swings before each shot. Focus on the feel that you are working on that day.
2. MAKE DEAD AIM A GAME: Visualize a course you know well and “play” an entire nine or 18 holes obviously without putts. Hit Driver then your 150 yard club for instance.
3. DIAL IN YOUR CHIPPING DISTANCE: Chip at various lengths to your target until you knock all of them within a club length of the cup.
4. BE AMBITIOUS FROM FIVE FEET: Find a straight five foot putt and don’t stop until you make 50 in a row. Seems like a lot I know, but you will improve greatly.
5. GET A FEEL FOR YOUR HALF WEDGES: Pick three awkward distances for you personally and hit ten balls at each target until you land them within what you consider an acceptable distance.
6. GET SERIOUS FROM THE SAND: Pick a challenging radius around a hole and try to blast all of the shots within your chosen radius.

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get a college scholarship for golf or trying to win your Club Championship, deliberate practice will make you a much better player. Wish I knew about deliberate practice back in 1997 when I was playing competitive golf…

golf swing

What to Practice at the Range

A lot of my student really don’t know how to practice. Not everyone wants to be a “range rat” like Ben Hogan working on your golf swing literally all day. Nobody really teaches you that when you start. Basic golf tips for beginners rarely ever teach you how to practice. Basically beginners just buy a bucket of balls and watch the other folks at the range to see what they are doing. I thought it would be a good idea to teach golfers what and how to practice at the range before getting into the golf swing tips themselves.

Please don’t be one of these “characters” you see at the range. You have the guy who hits nothing but driver and constantly looks around to see if he is “winning” the range driving contest. You have the person who hits the same club for the whole bucket and wonders why they never get any better. You have the guy who just tries to hit the cart retrieving balls. You have the older guys talking more about football than hitting the bucket. You see the beginner golf swing starting with being taught to “keep their head down” by a friend or parent. I can go on but I digress. The amount of frustration you see on the range is a bit heartbreaking.

Strokes Gained

Now let’s say that you are not serious enough about golf to care about deliberate practice but still want to focus on some things to get better at. Meet Mark Broadie, the father of the concept of the Strokes Gained statistic.

Mark wrote a great article called Who Says Jordan Spieth Isn’t Great at One Thing? Not the Stats! about some myths and misunderstandings in regards to Strokes Gained data. Click here if you want to learn more about Strokes Gained. I would highly recommend you do so. Any golfer, both amateur and professional, could stand to learn what areas can help them improve their scores dramatically. Mark’s book “Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy” completely changed the way I taught my amateur and competitive golfers. If you have the time, I highly recommend giving it a read.

Now lets say you are the typical weekend warrior golfer who doesn’t have or doesn’t want to spend so much time trying to get better. Let’s say that you really just like to go hit balls at the range for fun or relaxation, but want to get some practice for the company golf outing or the league you are playing in next week. Here are some of things to practice to make the biggest difference in your scoring for your upcoming event.

Approach Shots

According to Broadie, Tour pros hit about half of their 100 yard wedge shots within 16 feet of the pin. Amateurs only hit half their shots to within 37 feet of the hole from 100 yards. I think spending some deliberate practice time working on 100 yard approach shots could give you a significant improvement in your scoring.

Driving

Broadie talks about the longest drivers on Tour (like Bubba Watson) are gaining more than one stroke per round on the field with driving distance. When you are learning how to swing a driver for more club head speed, I love to use the Orange Whip Swing Trainer to help my students work on the swing plane while building club head speed and strength at the same time. Here is Jim Hardy explaining a golf swing plane drill that will show you how to use the orange whip to help build a consistent swing plane with adding club head speed.

Putting

Broadie says that pros make only 40 percent of their 10 footers. Amateurs only drain 20 percent. That is a huge gap. I personally think practicing more 10 footers will give you a great advantage over your competition.

Here is a great video by Michael MacKeigan called the Around the World Putting Drill. Absolutely love this drill for practicing those 10 footers.

Common Ball Flight Issues

Almost every golfer will go nearly their entire golfing life either slicing or hooking the ball without truly understanding the reason why. There is a major fault in their technique (either their swing is too steep or too shallow) which are always trying to fix during a round of golf.

Golf Slice

The steep out to in swing is the most common fault in golf. I would call this the root cause of the slice. If you are coming in to the ball too steeply and from outside, you need to focus on getting the swing path more from the inside. You will need to swing more level to the ground and in to in.

Learning from Jim and Chris over the years, I have noticed that if I can get a player to change a fundamental flaw in their mechanics (either shallowing the swing if it is too steep, or steepening it if it’s too shallow) with Jim Hardy’s + and – system featured in “Solid Contact”, I can change the ball flight in just a few balls. Once you understand if you are too steep or too shallow you are on track to make real improvement rather quickly.

Here is a great golf lesson video by Chris O’Connell to explain the slice and a great drill to cure it:

Golf Hook

A hook is a shallow in to out swing with a closed club face. How closed it is at impact will determine the amount of the hook itself. If you are coming into the ball too shallow from the inside, you need to focus on getting the swing path more from the outside without the rollover. Hooks are terrible for a golfers confidence and can ruin the game you love (especially the snap hook).

Check out this awesome golf video lesson by Chris O’Connell on how to cure that hook for good!

Now that you have an idea of what is causing the slice and hook. What if you are hitting the ball fat and thin? Check out this great golf swing video by Chris O’Connell to stop fat and thin shots now!

Here are some of my go to golf swing tutorial and training videos I recommend to student. I don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera or I would make them myself. These drills and golf training videos start in the order of importance according to “Solid Contact”: Down swing, Back swing, Impact/Follow Through, and Address.

In the articles below I talk about golf stance tips, the golf grip, and the mechanics of a golf swing in great detail. Click on them below to get the golf swing set up properly to make a good golf swing.

The Golf Grip: How to Grip a Golf Club (HOW TO HOLD A GOLF CLUB FOR YOUR SWING TYPE)

How to Swing a Golf Club (A HOW TO GOLF SWING VIDEO GUIDE OF THE GOLF SWING BASICS AND MECHANICS)

Golf Drills

One Plane Golf Downswing Drills

Two Plane Golf Downswing Drills

One Plane Golf Backswing and Takeaway Drills

Two Plane Golf Backswing and Takeaway Drills

Impact and Release Drills

One Plane RIT Release

Two Plane LOP Release

Conclusion

Let’s recap. Start by picking your swing type (either one plane or two) and master the mechanics for that swing type including the release that matches your swing type. Watch your ball flight and balance your swing out when needed with the plus and minus system. I know that it is not quite as simple as I am making it sound but with a plan, the right tools, and deliberate practice, you will get better.

I hope you’ve found this basic golf swing tips guide helpful, and that you can use this info and these drills to boost your own swing and take your game to another level. Even more importantly, I hope you can use this guide to enjoy the great game of golf. Golf should be fun and there is no more addicting feeling in the world than hitting golf ball after ball pure. The game of golf needs people just like you as ambassadors to grow this wonderful game of ours. Thank you for your time.

Now go grab yourself a copy of “Solid Contact” and get out to the range and deliberately practice, practice, practice!

If you want to know how you can hit the ball further and with more control, check out the website Two Releases for more info about the release types and how to order Jim Hardy’s game changing book “The Release: Golf’s Moment of Truth”.

Looking for in person golf instruction? Check out the directory of  Jim Hardy’s Certified Instructors. The network of instructors spans over a dozen countries all over the world. Use the link below to find the nearest Plane Truth Certified Instructor in your area.

PLANE TRUTH CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR DIRECTORY

Resources

Broadie, Mark. “Who Says Jordan Spieth Isn’t Great at One Thing? Not the Stats!” golf.com

Crouse, Karen. “Pro Golfers Know Working on Short Game Goes a Long Way” nytimes.com

Hardy, Jim. (2012).“Solid Contact: A Top Instructor’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the Ball Better Than Ever”. Penguin. p. 25 – 43 p. 45 – 46.

McGetrick, Mike. “Missing ingredient to lower scores is something called deliberate practice” golf.com

McGetrick, Mike. “Six drills to help you master the art of deliberate practice” golf.com

Additional Reading

“Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy” by Mark Broadie

The Genius of Jim Hardy

Henry Cotton

Golf Rants, Volume 1: Golf Instruction 

“Solid Contact: A Top Instructor’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the B all Better Than Ever” Jim Hardy

 

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