Secrets to a perfect golf swing

Tiger Woods tees off at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019

Tiger Woods tees off at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019 - Credit: PA

Golf, like most sports, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Most golfers would have been unable to practice their swing while in lockdown at home, but fortunately courses are open once again.

Golfers might well be happy and cheerful at that, but it will still take a while for them to perfect their swing again.

Ben Hogan was famous for saying golf is a game of miss-hits.

For many of those golfers out there without the luxury of extra time to spend on expensive training and professional lessons here are a few tips to help you fix your swing quickly.

Many golfers have problems with hitting a hook or slice and don’t have the ability to make corrections without seeing a professional golf instructor.

This simple grip change can make a world of difference.

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First, let’s take a look at your swing. Are you hitting a hook or a slice?

Let’s start with the slice for a right-hander. This means that when you were falling through the swing your clubface is open and not hitting the ball square, forcing a lot of side rotation and spin and pushing the ball in a long loop in a pattern going towards the right.

Some of you may think that the quick fix is to start with your best clubhead more closed, and while this could be in a single fix up front, you may see that the slice is not getting any better.

Instead, change your grip on the club by doing the following.

Take your left hand and grip the club as if you were normally going to set up for a shot, and look where your thumb was pointing.

Most of you will see that your thumb is going straight down the shaft to the head of the club.

This is considered a neutral grip, meaning your hand position is not currently strong or weak.

When referencing a strong or weak grip, it isn’t relating to the pressure being applied to the shaft, it simply refers to the position of your hand and more importantly your thumb to the shaft.

It may seem counterintuitive, but to fix a slice, slide your thumb towards the right-hand side of the shaft leaving the clubface parallel to where you had it in a neutral grip.

Instead of the shaft in line with your thumb, it now rests in the v-notch between your index finger and thumb. This is called a strong grip and will help you eliminate the slice.

A good way to know if you have accomplished a strong grip is to try and balance the club in your hand without holding on with your index or middle fingers.

If the club is balanced between the V-notch between your index finger and thumb, you should be able to balance the club easily using only your pinky finger.

For golfers who struggle with a hook, the opposite grip can be used.

Instead of sliding your thumb to the right-hand side of the grip, slide your thumb to the left-hand side of the shaft.

The balancing technique used with a strong grip won’t work with a weak grip but what you’ll be looking for is instead of the chef being aligned with your thumb – look for it to be right over the thicker part of the thumb joint.

The shaft should rest almost inside the palm of your hand. This weak grip will keep the clubface open longer and eliminate the hook.

Of course, after finding that perfect grip it remains necessary to maintain a perfect set-up and swing path to avoid other pitfalls throughout your swing.

Centres of pressure in your stance, and swaying during your swing, can produce troubling results.

Fortunately, technology has provided instructors and coaches the ability to identify problems through the use of biofeedback systems, in real-time.

Measuring the average position of a golfer’s vertical forces, either as they address the ball for various shots, or in a dynamic position to capture the complete array of swing data that uses a sound trigger to determine impact, transmits data to create a pressure mapping during the swing.

The ability to use portable force plates, to take the swing analysis out of the laboratory and put into practice while on the range, has given instructors the capability of analysing biofeedback with respect to force and pressure during the swing.

By the use of systems to evaluate ground reaction, instructors guiding professionals, to the average club player, now have the ability to make even slight adjustments to help make the perfect shot, and most importantly duplicate it on the course.

Software is now available to provide intuitive analysis in real-time, using iOS-based video and data recording tools to analyze, save, and send data in seconds.

The mapping of pressure itself is not a new topic, and all successful golfers innately understand the significance of proper weight and balance issues.

In the past, the ability to collect such data had been restricted to an elite group of researchers, biomechanists, and advanced golf academies.

But now, the availability of a portable, economical means to evaluate the weight shift during the swing has given more instructors and coaches the ability to utilise this data to help more golfers than ever.

*Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer, coach, and writer.

He owns a golf publication site, where he shares a lot of tips to improve the game.