5 simple golf swing moves that will last a lifetime

These five moves by Jamie Mulligan will put your swing on autopilot.

Stephen Denton

Swinging the racquet is often perceived as complicated. It is not. You just need to remember a few key points. For example: on the way back, strain with the upper body around the legs and on the way down, release with the legs. just right? It’s certainly not complicated.

This down-to-earth idea is part of the philosophy I’ve used to teach a host of successful pros, including reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay and Rolex Women’s World Golf No. 2 Nelly Korda. I’m confident you will too can make a better golfer.

Here are five things to focus on.

1. Position yourself in a sporty manner

Have a friend put a club over your toes as you set up. This will help tell you if you are properly balanced. Your weight should favor your trail foot slightly.

Stephen Denton

A good swing starts with good address basics. It’s important to bend from your waist and let your arms dangle naturally from your spine. Aim for an “inverted K” look (viewed from the front) with your trail shoulder below your lead shoulder. From this position, distribute the weight over your feet so it comes easily to your trail side—about a 55 to 45 percent split.

A simple way to check this is to place a club over your toes (above). If the racquet lies flat and balanced, your setup is fine.

2. “Load” your snack

A “loaded” snack means you start your swing with the big muscles in your torso and shoulders instead of the small ones in your hands and wrists.

Stephen Denton

A properly charged snack comes from breaking your body into two parts: the upper and the lower. The idea is to rotate your shoulders into your lower body to create a pivot point on the backswing. This “loads” your hips and legs, creating torque that you can use to create “relaxed” power later in the swing.

You can see in the photo (right) how I gently push this student’s (Clay Seeber sophomore at Long Beach State University) racquet away with pressure just under the grip as he begins his swing. This eliminates any “handiness” and instead engages the large muscles in your torso and shoulders to start your swing powerfully.

This is a great exercise for finding the right feel for charging your backswing – one I do with Patrick Cantlay every day before he plays.

3. Create a balanced, centered curve

A hacky sack on your head will help you feel balanced throughout your swing.

Stephen Denton

If you don’t have balance in your swing, you have virtually no chance of making a repeatable movement. Luckily, there’s a training aid you can use to teach yourself how to balance, and it only costs a dollar: a hacky sack.

Hear Me: Place the Hacky Sack on your head at Address (above). If you can swing without dropping the hacky sack before impact, it means you have a steady head and excellent balance.

4. Move to destination

Start your downswing with a “bump” towards the target to make room for your arms to swing freely on the downswing. A shaft angle at impact that matches the shaft angle at address allows you to face the clubface and loosen the club around your body.

Stephen Denton

Your lower body should initiate your movement from above. But you don’t want to rotate your hips too quickly in transition. Instead, you should “bump” your hips towards the target. This will allow you enough room for the club to flatten and fall into the correct slot to release on the downswing.

5. Recreate your attack angles at impact

Student and LBSU freshman Andrew Hoekstra practices matching the wave angle at impact to the angle specified at address. If you get this right, the ball doesn’t know what hit it.

Stephen Denton

Now that you’re on your way to impact, you should try to match the shaft angle on your downswing to the angle you had at address.

Think of it like the lines that appear on a rear view camera in your car: you want the lines of your wave and the original plane to match when you reach impact.

If you return to that original angle while spinning the club in circles around you, you can bet you’ll be hitting the ball with a square face every time.

Top 100 Teachers Jamie Mulligan is CEO of Virginia CC in Long Beach, California. Additional reporting by Zephyr Melton.

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