Golf Swing Phases
Your Tee-off, Putt, Or Any Other Swing
Picture yourself in this scene at the first tee of a golf course.
* Hold the golf club loosely
* Have my left thumb here
* Bend my knees there
* Keep my eye on the ball
* Get outta here you miserable fly!
* Don't talk on the tee
* What was that important tip dad told me yesterday?
* Good grief! Everyone is staring at me!
* What did the golf teacher on the Golf Channel say last week?
* Rats! I got my 6-iron instead of my 9-iron!
* What did my neighbor's cat say to do?
* There's too much to remember!
Don't despair! Below, you will learn an orderly solution to
this confusing state of affairs as you attempt to tee-off,
putt, chip, pitch, or play any other type of golf shot.
In time you will blend some of the following phases together as
one phase. But, never develop thoughts which jump back and forth
among these phases.
This is the 3rd article in my series which will lead you towards
good putting, chipping, and swing skills.
In my 2nd article I introduced you to the idea that most of our
poor golf skills come mostly from one wrong thought which is
buried in our subconscious thinking. Much of what I have taught
my golf students is designed to replace that wrong thinking with
a better thought which can become part of our subconscious
control of the golf swing.
This article will give you an overview of a very important part
of your golfing — what to think about when you try to hit that
white round "thingy" on the ground (or in the water or off the
neighbor's flower bed.)
By following a regular pattern in your effort to hit the golf
ball you will be able to give more attention to overcoming that
subconscious, natural desire to push your golf club through the
ball to make the ball get to point B.
You will learn about a basic step-by-step process that you can
follow for every golf shot. This is a bit lengthy but it covers
some important ideas.
I want you to know these phases before you get into my putting
and swing instructions. These lesson modules are given in a way
which follow these phases. You will be able to apply them in your
current golf outings. You will also be able to practice these
phases in a limited way if you practice putting on your carpet
This process separates a lot of things you try to remember into
a consistent order of events which will become a habit for you
to follow without giving much thought. In fact, at each phase
you will eventually focus on 1 or 2 ideas which will act as a
guide for doing that phase with very little thought.
Many of these phases are given in a way so that you can:
- do them
- know that you are prepared for the remaining phases
- and then change your focus to the next phase without going
back to any thoughts of the phase you have just done.
Your thoughts will be so organized that you will not feel like
you are running through a checklist of 20 to 50 tips that have
you fidgeting at the ball as you try to remember what to do.
Phase One - DISTANCE:
It begins as you arrive at the next tee-off or where your ball
lies from the previous hit.
It makes you think of the distance or the height of your
When you know your distance or height choose the club which is
usually hitting the ball the indicated distance.
Once the correct golf club is in your hands you eliminate
distance from any further part of your golf swing steps.
This phase is the first of two phases which deal with you,
the golf ball, and where the ball is to land.
Optional Phase — PRACTICE SWINGS away from the ball or tee-off:
Do light, half-swings.
Practice your posture for the club in your hands.
Practice your turn movements in posture. So important!
Training your back and "tummy" muscles to execute the main part
of swinging your golf club is the priority.
Give thought to these phases of playing your golf shot.
Phase Two — POSITION at the ball and DIRECTION:
Here you place your feet with 3 objectives in mind:
- Line your toes of both feet along a parallel line from the
ball to it destination.
- Move closer or farther from the ball to allow you to be in
- Move sideways to the ball so it is positioned where you want
it between your feet.
My lesson modules will teach you some ways to do this phase.
When you are satisfied that your feet are positioned do not
move them again until the momentum of your club, arms, and body
pull you into an upright posture as your swing is finishing.
Once you have completed this phase you can hold the club
wherever you want to prepare for the next phase.
DIRECTION and DISTANCE are now complete. You do not want to
think of these 2 elements of your golf swing process again. The
remaining phases focus on you, the golf club, the golf ball,
and your swing movements and non-movements.
Phase Three — TAKE HOLD of your golf CLUB
In this phase you "grip" your golf club in your desired manner.
As you do this your feet are not to move.
This phase also places the bottom of the club head in the
correct alignment to your body.
My articles and lesson modules will help you develop a desired
grip on your club.
Once you have taken hold of the club you should not move your
hands or fingers on the club for any reason - no fidgeting!
Phase Four — POSTURE of your legs, body, head, and arms
Here you establish your foundation for controlled movements
You establish desired angles of all joints to allow the best
freedom of movement when you swing the club.
You position yourself in these angles while confirming that
you feel almost the same comfort you do while standing in a
You do not want to feel any stress. If you do then you will
most likely be out of posture in some part of your legs, body,
arms, or head.
My articles and lesson modules will teach you how to practice
a good golf posture at home until you can feel what your posture
should be without going through the practice steps.
You will also learn to feel 3 body check points and one visual
check point so you can be in posture in 1 or 2 seconds once you
have gripped your golf club.
Phase Five — SNUG: not "loose" - not "relaxed" - not "rigid"
What is THIS?!!!
I have seen golfers "keeping their heads still" so rigidly
their heads quiver.
I have seen golfers so relaxed or loose that every move they
try to make causes other movements they don't want to make.
The idea of relaxed means that you are comfortable and
confident in your head that you have done some orderly steps
to prepare you for the best golf swing you can do. It is a
"head" thing — not a body thing.
You need to snug your joints just enough so that you do not
have unwanted movements when you carry out your intended
Do you want to learn to do a "one piece takeaway"? Learn
a comfortable level of snugness in your body and you will be
ready to do this skill. (I have an article on how to do the
"one piece takeaway". Check out my website for its availability.)
I also have an article about firming a part of your body which
is seldom referred to in talk about golf swing technique. Watch
for this article.
Phase Six — WHERE IS YOUR SPINE?
"Whaaaat? Why it is behind my tummy and heart!"
Right. But, it is also at a specific angle that you set
in Phase Four.
To make comfortable, controlled turns in the next 2 phases
you need to be aware of your spine angle.
A pause in the steps
Everything you have done in the phases listed above has been
to prepare you for the next 2 phases. You do not have to rush
through the above steps. But, you do not want to take too long
at each stage. Now, you are about to carry out the motion phases
which can last less than 3 seconds.
If you carefully prepare yourself in the above phases you will
be ready for the stresses you will experience in the takeaway
and return swing movements.
Phase Seven - TAKEAWAY or Backswing
Your golf swing can be ruined within the first inch of
whatever movement you do in this phase.
Here, you need to know how to comfortably do 2 critical
To maintain top control of these 2 movements you must know
how to do a whole lot of "don't move this or that". But, the
"whole lot" is taken care of in Phase Five.
This phase is a positional move which you will learn to do
in a rhythmic tempo with the next phase.
You do not use power or speed in this phase.
You simply want to get your body, arms, and golf club a
suitable distance away from your start position from where you
can then apply a desired blow to the golf ball.
If you feel a bit weak during this phase and at the end of
this phase then that is OK -- if you feel comfortable and ready
for the "violence" of the next phase.
Phase Eight — THE RETURN SWING
If you have executed the phases above to where you feel
comfortable and ready then you have to do a lot of awkward work
to ruin a good return swing to the ball.
An important part of this phase which you mentally train
yourself at home is to realize that some of the muscles
throughout your body, legs, and upper arms have either bunched
up or stretched out of their position of Phase Six.
Part of the return swing involves "unbunching" or relaxing
muscles which tightened to carry out the takeaway phase.
Part of the return swing involves tightening the muscles which
relaxed and stretched to allow the takeaway movements.
The above two activity groups have to be carried out while
holding as close as you can to the posture position set up
in Phase Four.
All through this aggressive activity there are stresses on
your body which are often caused by desired movements in other
parts of your body.
Most importantly, you must not give in to the "one wrong
thought" I have described in the previous article of the series
of free articles available on my website.
My lesson modules teach you a method of carrying out
3 essential movements which are basic to the return swing of
most of your golf shots.
Phase Nine — THE FOLLOW-THROUGH
The momentum you create in Phase Eight will determine how you
finish your swing movements after the ball has been hit.
If you lose your balance and lean or fall in the direction
the ball is flying then any swing error is minor.
If you lose your balance in any other direction then you have
done something very incorrect in Phase Eight.
Many of the swing errors of the previous 2 phases familiar
to golfers will cause you to have an incorrect finish position
in this phase.
The only time I teach you anything about a correct finish to
your swing is when I show you my two basic turning exercises
which come with all of my lesson modules.
FOCUS Training As You Practice These Phases
Above, I use the word, "focus". In each phase you are to focus
on the purpose of that phase and on any steps you follow for that
particular phase. When you have completed the step(s) of a phase
you then change your focus to the steps and purpose of the next
phase. You keep doing this until all the phases have been
Phases 1 to 6 can be methodically thought out for every golf
swing you do for the rest of your life. Phases 7 to 9 happen
quickly in which you respond to a feeling or to 1 or 2 key
thoughts which you have practiced. You practice the steps of
each of these last 3 phases at home and at practice facilities.
You can use my swing instructions or my exercises to teach your
mind the steps in slow motion. The more your mind can
automatically remember the steps then the better it can direct
and guide your muscle movements during the quickness of the
actual golf swing.
Why Should You Practice These Phases?
In my lesson modules I will make frequent references to this
process as it applies to putting, chipping, pitching,
and the full swing.
These phases are a good starting point for you to learn as you
venture forth to learn to golf or to become a better golfer. You
will eventually develop your own process for playing a golf shot.
Practice these phases at home until each of them becomes
automatic. You will begin to pick a one-word thought or phrase
which helps you to remember each step.
As you become adept at completing the whole routine you will
begin to see a panorama picture of your body, the ball, the
target destination, and the surrounding golf course or
driving range scenery.
Your goal is to be able to walk up to a tee or the ball in the
grass, set up to the ball, and make minor adjustments until you
feel comfortable and until you see the desired "picture". As
soon as you see the "picture" and feel comfortable you will
execute your golf swing before you have time to fidget or
to get apprehensive.
Apprehension causes nervousness which causes tension which
inhibits your golf swing. Someone says relax or be loose and
the next time you flop around like a rag doll and wonder why
you hit a poor golf shot.
Practice these phases and you will build confidence that you
will make your best swing most of the time.
Glen teaches his golf program for Ladysmith, BC
Parks & Rec. Free articles and info about affordable live
lessons, lesson modules, and video based lessons are
available at: http://basicbodymovementforanygolfswing.com
Golf Swing Biomechanics -
How to make a perfect golf swing every time - Improve your golf swing with these
tips on using the proper grip and posture when addressing the ball.
Three Golf Swing Secrets - The three most
important parts of the golf swing - Discover three secrets that will make you a
better golfer - Flat left wrist, straight plane line, and lagging clubhead.
Perfect Posture - Understand how your
posture affects your swing mechanics - Quick tips for improving your swing by
improving your posture - Knees, back, and shoulders.
Perfect Posture Part 2 - The correct
posture for holding a golf club - The quick posture setup to use during your
round - How to adjust your posture for different clubs.
How To Fix Your Shank - Advice on how to correct your
swing to avoid shanking the ball - What a shanked shot is and how to fix your
shank - Easy practice method to keep your club vertical at impact.
How To Play A Water Hazard - The best
way to play a water hazard is to ignore it - Trying to loft a ball over the
water causes you to top the ball and hit it directly into the water.
Golfing Articles - Complete list of articles,
tips, and swing advice.