Watching professional golf players on TV, you’d think hitting a golf ball is as easy as they make it look. Well, if you’ve ever tried to do it without any practice, you’ll know exactly how hard it can really be.
If you’ve never played golf, are just starting out, or even if you’ve played plenty of times and want some extra knowledge to improve your technique, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our fool-proof guide with everything you need to know about how to hit a golf ball. Once you’ve read this, your friends on the course will be desperate to try and keep up!
Types of shot
One of the first things you might have noticed about golf is that different lengths of shot require different techniques, and even different clubs. We won’t get into which club is best for each distance in this article, but there are a few basic things to consider about each shot type.
The drive is often the first shot at a hole and will usually require a long, heavy driver to generate lots of speed and send the ball far. This shot is all about power, but it’s important to get the technique nailed first before you start worrying about swinging as hard as you can.
Even if you can generate more power than anyone else, if you can’t hit the ball accurately, you might end up way off course!
The approach will often come after a successful drive and requires one of the mid-range clubs like an iron. This is where club selection can be very important, as the many different types of iron are suited for certain distances.
The aim of the approach is to get the ball onto the green, making it easier for you to get it in on the next shot. So you’re not looking for pure power or pure precision here- it needs to be a mixture of both.
The final shot on each hole is often the putt. For this, you’ll want to use a putter, which is lighter and offers more precision than the other clubs. Here, the aim is simply to roll the ball into the hole.
You’ll want to be on the green already when you hit this shot because the putter isn’t designed to cover long distances. However, it is perfect for lining the shot up precisely and accurately.
The way you stand and how your body is positioned while taking each shot is the first technique you should master to improve your game. Regardless of the shot type, there are a few basic rules to follow.
Keep your feet a shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. This will give you great stability and allows you to move through the rest of the shot freely.
Line up your feet so the ball is directly central out in front of you. You want your feet to be positioned for where you’re hitting the ball too. If you imagine a line going through the tips of your shoes on each foot, that line should point exactly where you want the ball to go.
Once you’re all lined up, lean forward about 40 degrees, to the point where your club face will meet the ball without you having to stretch or hunch for it. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable while swinging.
It might not feel comfortable at first but if you put in the practice, you’ll work out what feels best for you.
Just like the stance, the grip is one of the essential techniques to master before you can call yourself a good golfer.
You want to grip the handle of the club further forward with your dominant hand, as this is where you need to have the most control. The pinky finger of your non-dominant hand should have a little bit of space before the end of the club.
Make sure both your thumbs are pointing in the same direction, along the edge of the handle that’s facing you.
You’ll also want to keep the handle gripped in the creases between your palm and your fingers, rather than in the centre of your palm.
Your grip should be secure enough that you can control the club without it flying out of your hands, but also loose enough to ensure there’s no tension in your hands while you swing.
This is probably the most difficult part of the shot. If you get this wrong, there’s no telling where your ball could end up! For this section, we’ll ignore the putting swing technique because that’s much easier to get the hang of.
Once you’ve lined up your stance and found the right grip, it’s worth stepping back from the ball and having a few practice swings before trying to hit the ball.
Start with the face of your club down in front of you, where the ball would be. Draw the club back and up over your shoulder. Your weight should shift onto your back foot when you draw the club back and, once it’s at the highest point, your front shoulder should be tilted slightly lower down than the other.
Then, to start the downswing motion, use your front hip to lead your body’s rotation back around towards the ball. Swing the club down, the same way it came up, and try to make sure your feet are squared up again at the point where your club hits the ball.
After you’ve hit the ball, you want to continue the same rotation into a follow-through motion. As you rotate towards the same direction the ball is going, your back foot should pivot so your toes are pointing in that direction too.
Keep moving your arms through the swinging motion until the club is just above your shoulders again. If you focus on maintaining a consistently good follow-through, you’ll find it easier to perform the rest of the swing each time you try.
Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about hitting the golf ball like a pro. You can change your technique depending on the type of shot you’re trying to make, but these fundamentals should stay pretty much the same.
While all this reading is great to get an understanding of the proper technique, there’s only one way to see big improvements in your game: practice.
Good luck on the course!