A New Year’s Resolution to Keep

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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Each and every year we all make New Year’s resolutions and those resolutions last about an hour. Well, here is a New Year’s resolution you will want to keep to improve and enjoy your game. This is a great time of year to refresh your swing and habits. Therefore, it is time to re-enforce your fundamentals by following these few tips:

Basic Stretching. Start out with some very basic stretching exercises. The best way to do this is to contact your physician to recommend some exercises or a physical therapist to set up a program that will meet your needs. Remember that when you do the stretching, to turn or bend, slowly. Do not bounce or jerk. This will injure the muscles. After stretching, it is time to work on the three most important fundamentals of the game, the grip, alignment and setup. All three are necessary to increase your opportunity for success throughout the golf swing.

The Grip. The hands should be placed on the golf club in a neutral position, palms facing each other. Place the left hand on the club first. (This is a right handed description, left handed golfers reverse the process). The grip should be placed so the fingers can wrap around the club. The thumb should be placed on top of the grip. The club shall then be placed between the first and second knuckles of the middle two fingers of the right hand. Wrap your fingertips around the club and bring the palm of your right hand down onto the left thumb. A “V” is formed between the thumb and index fingers and should be turned toward the right shoulder. The grip pressure should be equal and constant throughout both hands. You can allow the last three fingers of each hand to grip the club tighter than your thumb and index fingers.

Alignment. The alignment is the next most important part of the swing to refine. It is best to align your body so that you can promote body rotation through the golf swing to clear out of the way so the club can be returned back to the golf ball on the proper path. The object of the golf swing is to make sure you can have fluid movement through the entire swing. To promote proper body rotation, align your feet slightly left of your target line. (This will be similar to an open stance.)

The Setup. The setup is next. Depending upon the club choice, the ball will be positioned from the middle of your stance to just inside your left foot. The sole of the club should be flat on the ground allowing for the proper angle of the shaft to occur. The grip of the club should be a fist to six inches away from your body. Flex the knees slightly, then bend from the hips to allow your arms to hang directly below your shoulders. The weight distribution should favor more on the right foot at address. This will allow you to make an easier transition on the back swing with minimal lateral motion.

The Swing. From this point the swing may now be executed. The swing sequence is: the club starts briefly prior to the hands going back. The arms and shoulders turn until you can see your left shoulder behind the ball. The lower body turns very little on the backswing. The downswing is initiated by the lower body turning out of the way first, followed in sequence by your torso, the shoulders, the arms, and then the hands getting the club back to and through impact. The swing is completed when your weight is shifted all the way through to your left side.

Make the above tips a part of your game and resolve to get better through good sound practices. If you need help with any of this information, visit your local PGA Professional to review your fundamentals to insure your beginning of the year fine tuning is giving you every chance to have a sound golf swing.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7 to 9 a.m. on ArizonaSports now on 98.7 fm or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.