If you have been following our beginner series in order, you are now at the crucial component, the proper golf swing. You have your gripalignment, and posture setup, we now put it all together for the golf swing. For simplicity, we break this down into three parts; the backswing, downswing, and finish.

As a beginner, this will all feel unnatural, as you first start. As mentioned in other parts of this series, there are more technical aspects to the golf swing. Here, we are focusing solely on the fundamentals.

The trick here is to start small and work your way up to the full proper golf swing. Many beginners, myself included, feel the need to swing as fast as you can. A super-fast full swing will lead to more inconsistency; this is not what you want to do.

It would be best if you let the golf club do all of the work. It is quite inefficient to consume all this energy. Spending time finding the sweet spot on your club will give you the best returns. You will also be thankful after a full 18 holes of golf; less effort and more distance. Take the following golf tips to the driving range and work on your practice swings. With enough practice sessions, you will be primed to hit the golf course with confidence.


A full golf swing, for a professional, averages 1 second. The backswing takes 0.75 seconds, and the downswing takes 0.25 seconds. That’s a ratio of 3:1, meaning your backswing will take three times as long as the downswing.

When starting your backswing, it is vital to get the correct sequencing. You begin the backswing sequence turning your chest and shoulders first. As you rotate your chest and shoulders, your arms will follow the backswing and subsequently your clubhead. At the point where your club shaft is horizontal to the ground, your leading arm and shaft will form an almost straight line. At that stage, your wrists should be neutral with no cocking.

As you continue the rotation, the golf shaft should form an angle where the butt of the club is pointing to the ball on the ground. It will look like almost 45 degrees. For the beginner, this should be the top of your backswing. Over time you will rotate further, however, we want to get the basics right first and a consistent feel for the swing.

While I suggest keeping things simple, there are three additional actions to keep in mind with the backswing; keeping the leading arm straight, elbows close to the body, and wrist movement.


Your leading arm should remain straight through the majority of the swing. Left-arm for the right-handers and right arm of the left-handers. There should be no distinct bend in the elbow of your leading arm. As you swing the club, you are creating a pendulum-like action with your leading arm. The trailing arm stays close to the body.


Keep your elbows close to your body. You want to avoid the dreaded ‘chicken wing’. There should be no bend in the elbow for the leading arm. Your trailing arm should have a 90-degree bend at the elbow at the top of the backswing. To reiterate, an important point to note here is to keep that elbow close to your body. Your back forearm should be close to vertical.


Your wrists on your leading arm can rotate in two different ways, up and down (hinge) and sideways (cocking). Firstly, your wrists should remain flat, aligned to your forearm, through the swing. Secondly, the wrists should not cock until you get towards the top of your golf swing. There is a simple drill to keep your wrists from hinging.

Take a ruler, or credit card, and place it in the top of your glove, running up the base of your forearm. When you take your swing back, you will feel the pressure if you hinge to far up, and see a gap if your hinge the other way. Try to keep the object gently touching your forearm.


At the top of your backswing, you should feel pressure on your back buttock and inside heel of your trailing foot. To begin the downswing, you start with your hips. Begin uncoiling the hips, and the shoulder and arms will follow. The downswing is a lot faster than the backswing so that the hip shift will be fractionally before the arms and shoulders.

As you go through the downswing, try to bring the elbows back close to your body. You should feel the weight transfer from your back foot to your front foot. At the point of impact, the weight will be on the front foot, and the club will connect with the ball in a square position.


A proper golf swing does not finish at the point where you hit the ball. You need to swing through the ball and continue the rotation. A golf pro once told me that the full swing is a journey from Point A to Point B, which is the start of the backswing to the end of the downswing. With a beautiful smooth full swing, the contact with the ball will come to a lot easier.

The Difficult Bits to a Proper Golf Swing

Like the other parts of this beginner guide series, I have kept the focus on the bare essentials. As you may have predicted by now, golf can be very technical and overwhelming. There are subtle differences in how you execute your swing depending on the club you are using.

The main difference is between hitting a golf driver, and your irons. When you are hitting your golf driver, you want to hit the ball on the way up to give you height and distance to your ball flight. For the irons though, you are hitting down onto the ball. You will need to lean your upper body at an angle slightly behind the golf ball for the driver shot.

I don’t want to complicate your thought process at this stage, so focus again on the basics. Once you have those perfected, you should then look at adding all of the different nuances based on club selection.

When I’m having a bad round of playing golf, it is usually the result of focusing on too many things at the same time. I start to change my swing for the long irons versus the short game, get confused with the fairway wood, and worry about my sand wedge club face. The swing starts to feel unnatural and far from smooth. I have to keep reminding myself to forget all of that stuff and just focus on the basics.

I’ll finish off with one of the most straightforward instructions for a golf swing I’ve seen, from the great Ben Hogan. It is so simple, yet so effective.