Man Swings Golf Ball

Improve Your Golf Swing: A Guide for Beginner/Intermediate Golfers

Perfecting your golf swing will both improve your game and make it more enjoyable to play. While golf looks fairly simple to the onlooker, the game actually requires a lot of technique and training to get the right form and swing.

To help golfers improve, golf swing aids have been developed to train various aspects of a golf swing. There are many golf swing training aids out there but before you invest in any, it’s highly recommended that you know more about how to train and how to figure out where your swing needs improvement.

You won’t need to buy every single golf swing trainer that is available. You just need to find the ones that help specifically with the areas you need to work on.

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Guide To Improve Your Golf Swing

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So in this article we are going to look at how to improve your golf swing and how to find the best golf swing trainer and tools for your needs.

Golf Swing Basics

Before you look into the different drills and tools to help improve golf swing, you need to know what you are aiming for. What is a good golf swing? Let’s break it down into a step by step golf swing sequence to help better understand what a proper golf swing should look like.

Golf Player Iron Swing

The Perfect Golf Swing

While you can certainly put your own personal twist on the standard golf swing or develop different swings for different purposes, it’s best to know the basic golf swing mechanics so that you have a foundation to build on.

The Setup

A balanced starting position is as important to a good golf swing as a balanced breakfast is to a good day. Plant your feet firmly so that your weight is evenly distributed.

To keep yourself stable but flexible, pull your hips back and flex your knees slightly (to prevent them from locking). Your spine should form a straight line from head to hips. So bend at the hips, without bending your spine, toward the ball.

A good setup means you do not have to rebalance as you move. So if you find that your feet move at all while you swing, you need to work on your setup.

The Takeaway

Once in position, you need to start the swing. This should be one fluid motion but it’s a good idea to practice it as a series of different positions until you get a feel for how your form should develop throughout the swing.

Woman Takes Golf Swing

So, imagine the club is an extension of your body and start the swing from the clubhead and working up. Pull the clubhead back, followed by our hands, then arms, shoulders, and finally, your hips.

A good takeaway position will leave your body completely unchanged while your club his parallel to the ground, your hands are bent at the wrist, and your back elbow is just beginning to bend to pull the club the rest of the way up.

Halfway Back

Now your club should be pointing directly upward, your back arm should be bent to nearly a 90 degree angle while your forward arm is fully extended. Your shoulders should still mostly be square, facing the ball but beginning to rotate to follow the club.

At the Top

Your wrists and arms moved into position during the takeaway and the halfway back. By this point, all that remains is allowing your shoulders and hips to follow (without moving head or feet.

The hips should rotate only half as far as your shoulders. Your forward arm should still be straight but don’t lock the elbow. Your right elbow should be pointed toward the ground. Your head, hands and arms should be under the club as it twists to be almost parallel with the ground.

Halfway Down

Once fully at the top, it’s time to begin the down swing. The forward hip and knee should shift slightly forward, pulling your arms down in front of your hips but your shoulders should still be turned away from the target.

Keep your wrists bent. Rather than throwing the club downward, think more about pulling it downward back through the swing.

The Impact

Let the hips continue turning as your chest faces the ball. Your forward leg should be straightening as your back leg begins to bend forward. Your hands should be just slightly ahead of the clubhead at the moment of impact with the ball.

Man Swinged Golf Ball in Sunset

Follow Through

Both arms should be fully extended with the clubhead pointing toward the target. Your back knee should also be pointing down the line while your forward knee is straight. The club should be below your hands, not flicked upward. Finally, your spine should still be angled downward to show you haven’t pulled out of position at any point.

The Finish

The momentum of the swing should carry your hands up and back behind your head. Your arms are folded back and your back side has moved past your forward side so that your back shoulder has become the closest to the target. You should be comfortably balanced.

The sequence above are the golf swing fundamentals that will give you a great golf swing. These are the absolute basics of how to swing a golf club effectively. Practice moving from one position to the next, a step at a time and then gradually work on turning it into one fluid movement.

Golf Swing Analysis

Now that you know what a proper golf swing should look like, you can figure out where your swing is lacking. However, since it’s not so easy to watch yourself swing, it’s a good idea to get a golf swing analyzer that can give you precise data about things like your golf swing speed, golf swing tempo, and the golf swing plane.

If you are really determined to improve your golf swing, this is data that will be absolutely essential. Once you know the exact points that you need to work on, you can come up with a customized training plan for yourself using some of the drills, tips, and training aids discussed below that will best serve you.

The benefit of analysis is knowing exactly what you are doing in your swing. There are many different problems or mistakes that occur based on different mistakes during the swing. To know exactly what you need to work on, you do need an analyzer but before that, you can at least get an idea of what you need to work on by looking at the kinds of problems you consistently have:

Hitting Fat

Hitting fat is when you hit the ground before you hit the ball. This severely cuts the distance you are going to get. If this keeps happening, pay attention to:

Golf Ball and Club on Grass

  • Weight distribution: your center of gravity might be leaning so that it is behind the ball instead of in line with it. Adjust your balance or move the ball back in line with your center of gravity.
  • Posture: if your posture dips down while you are swinging, you will bottom out and hit the ground before your clubhead meets the ball.
  • Release: on the down swing, you might be releasing the clubhead too soon which allows to catch up to your hands or go ahead of it. Your clubhead should always be slightly behind your hands for the downswing and the follow through.

Hitting Thin

Also known as topping the ball, this is the opposite problem as hitting fat. Impact is happening to high up on the ball. This takes away power from your swing and you will feel it reverberate through your hands.

This may be happening because:

  • Arms are bent on impact: if your arms aren’t extended to where they should be, you won’t be hitting the ball low enough to give it the lift and force it needs to go the distance.
  • Spine angle: hitting thin can happen if your spine is not pulled forward toward the ball. You are standing straight up or moving out of position during your backswing.
  • Overcorrecting: if you were having problems with hitting fat, you may simply be overcorrecting which is making you hit thin.

Lack of Distance

If you aren’t getting your ball into scoring position, you are suffering from a lack of distance. This can happen for a lot of reasons, even with more experienced players because it can be caused by weather as well as poor fundamentals.

If it’s popping up high but not going very far forward, your angle of impact is too steep. If it’s curving or hooking to the left or right and not going too far, you might be hitting it with the toe (the very tip) of your clubhead which usually means you are standing too far away from the ball.

If you just feel like you aren’t getting enough power into your swing, it’s likely due to a flaw in your backswing. In any of these cases, a golf swing plane trainer will help make sure your form, angle of impact, and position are all where they should be.

Woman Practice Golf Swing

Golf Swing Drills

Improving your golf swing is not just a matter of paying attention to all these different fundamentals and mechanics while you are playing. It takes practice and training even when you aren’t out on the green.

Training at home with equipment and doing drills to help you perfect your form and technique are absolutely essential to improving your game. Here are a few good drills you can start doing at home to fix various aspects of your swing and get yourself ready.

Follow Through

Move through the sequence of fundamental stages of the proper golf swing described above at about a quarter or half the speed you would for an actual swing. Remain conscious of your form and position as you move through each phase of the swing.

Do not do this in a choppy step by step way. Rather, you are going through a fluid but very slow movement which requires you to maintain a lot more control over your swing rather than throwing your iron through it.

This strengthens the various muscle groups required to execute a good golf swing while also increasing your awareness of form and position.

Two Balls

In addition to the normal golf ball, place a second one directly behind it. Place your iron between these two balls and begin practicing your swing. If the second ball is pelted way off into the distance, you are pulling back with way too much speed or force. Soften and slow down until the back ball only rolls a couple feet back.


This is a huge part of golfing but golfers rarely actually devote much training time to perfecting it. To practice, line up a series of balls about 5 feet apart from each other and about 5 feet from the hole (or a stand in target you are using).

Amateur Golf Player Using Golf Potter

Rather than focusing on the target, focus on the ball and experiment with different lengths of backstroke. After you hit a ball, move on to the next one, even if you do not make it in with the previous.

The purpose of this drill is more about getting a feel for the different lengths of backstrokes so you know what to expect and how far to pull back for different distances. After you’ve been doing this drill for a while, increase the number of balls you use (placing them at various distances) and start doing it with your eyes closed.

Golf Gateway

Use this drill to work on your aim. Place a couple of tour sticks (or anything similar you have at home) in the ground about 6 to 12 inches apart. Start with 12 inches and narrow the gateway as your aim improves.

Go back about 10 feet away from the tour sticks and practice your swing. Aim the ball to go between the tour sticks. As you narrow the gateway, you will refine your aim further and further to avoid hooks, pushes, and other mistakes that send your ball flying way off course.

If you are practicing at home rather than on a golf course, slow down your swing to avoid hurling the ball through a window or into a neighbor’s yard. To see the most improvements with this drill, you’ll want to do it on an actual course so you can work on maintaining aim even with a full power swing.

Golf Swing Tips for Fine Tuning Your Swing

The drills will help make the fundamentals feel more natural and improve the coordination between the various parts of your body to form the perfect swing. As you work through the drills and even while you’re actually out playing a round, you can use these tips to help keep you in proper form for a strong swing:

Golf Swing Sequence

  • Neutral hand: let your arm hang down at your side and relax your hand. Note how it naturally curves. Your grip should be a natural extension of this curve in your relaxed hand, with your thumbs pointing downward.
  • Relax: while the breakdown of golf swing mechanics described above may seem highly precise, you shouldn’t be rigidly holding yourself in each position. Your muscles and joints should remain flexible for fluid movement.
  • Rhythm: After practicing each part of the sequence, work on your rhythm. You don’t want to be pulling back too fast or swinging forward too slowly. The “Two Balls” drill described above is meant to help with this.
  • Power drives are all about the back swing: if you find that your power swing is weak, it’s most likely means you need to work on your backswing. When you practice, focus on drills that specifically target this part and pay attention to your form as you pull the iron back and over your shoulders (not behind your head!).
  • Getting through the rough: to get your ball back onto the fairway, you need to modify your swing. Stand a little closer to the ball. Use a firmer grip. Aim for a sharper angle of impact. This will, hopefully, chip the ball sharply upward and out of the rough.
  • Getting out of a sand trap: to get out quickly, hit the sand underneath the ball rather than aiming for the ball itself. This will send a cloud of sand and (hopefully) the ball up and out of the bunker. Think of your club like a shovel scooping the sand and ball to fling it out.
  • Trust your instincts: when you’re nearing the hole, keep your eyes on the ball instead of the target. It’s important to make sure you are impacting at the right angle and keeping your head down helps keep the rest of your body in position as well.

Training Equipment

There are many great tools you can use during training to improve your technique and form. They are designed to help newcomers to the game but they are also great for seasoned golfers who want to spend some time perfecting their game.

For example, you can get a target circle that is placed around the hole. They help you work on your chipping, putting and pitching. The thin material and adjustable configurations (like a full circle or a half circle) let you use them easily in a way that doesn’t interfere with the game.

A Velcro golf practice target is not only a great training tool but also a fun game for you and your kids. It’s a Velcro wall hanging that comes with a set of Velcro balls so that you can practice your swing indoors or outdoors. Since the ball sticks to the wall, you can get a more precise idea of what you need to do to improve your game.

A balance trainer is a concave platform that you stand on in order to work on your stance and form. The concave shape helps you center into a good swing position. As you know, your golf stance is essential to a perfect swing. But it’s also hard to train. This platform helps you become more aware of the position of your body as you swing the club.

Practicing Golf

Finally, a golf swing plane trainer is a great device to help make sure your form is correct throughout the swing. It’s a large ring that helps to guide your swing through each stage of the sequence so that you can be sure you are maintaining form and hitting the positions you need to hit.

Using the information in this article, including the golf swing fundamentals, drills, and training tools, you will be able to make solid and noticeable improvements to your golf swing that will lead to a better score and a more enjoyable game.