How many times have you heard someone say they need to get back to the “BASICS.” If fact, many golf instructors talk about stressing the “BASICS.”
What are the BASICS of golf? Where did they originate? How can they help you be a better golfer?
Ben Hogan authored, “5 Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” in 1957. In it, he identified five fundamental principles that should be found in every golfer’s preparation. Hogan puts emphasis on the grip, posture, stance, swing plane and follow through.
For beginning golfers or high-handicap amateurs, these fundamentals can be broken down further for simplification.
- Grip: The hands are the only contact point the player has with the club. Thus, the proper grip to assure the club face can be squared at impact is vital. This is normally the first issue every teaching professional inspects with a new student. Proper Grip is Vital.
- Stance: Feet should be slightly more than shoulder width apart to assure a solid base on which to turn during both the back swing and follow through.
- Ball Position: Every shot should be struck at the bottom of the swing. For the wedges, the shortest clubs in the bag, the bottom of the swing will be near the center of the stance. As each club becomes longer the ball should be moved slightly forward in the stance. The longest club, the Driver, will be the most forward and should be just inside the left heel for a right-handed golfer, or inside the right heel for a left-handed golfer.
- Posture: The golf swing requires an athletic move. Correct posture should feel and look like a shortstop or linebacker preparing for the pitch or the beginning of the next play. A slight bend in the knees will prevent shoulders that are too rounded or hunched. The arms should be hanging directly under the shoulders, not reaching. Also, a relaxation of the hands, arms and shoulders is imperative to ensure a full turn, both back and through the ball.
- Alignment: A simple visual for proper alignment is to imagine standing on railroad tracks. If the golf ball is aimed at the target, the right rail, the feet must be aligned slightly left of the target, on the left rail. Of course, the opposite is true for left-handed swings.
Hogan went into more depth on certain positions that should be reached during a golf swing, but the five basic principles was the message the “Wee Ice Mon” was attempting to convey to the average golfer.
When students understand and pay strict attention to these five BASICS; grip, stance, ball position, posture and alignment, they improve exponentially and the game becomes more enjoyable.