GOLF BASICS: From Grip to Finish — by Glen Bowen

The grip allows you to hinge and cock your wrists while allowing the rotation of the clubface going back to generate maximum speed at impact as you release your right hand. You can hold the club with an interlocking, overlapping or baseball grip. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Place your left hand on the shaft handle [grip] to set your grip by placing the club diagonally across the fingers and just into the palm of the left hand. The grip should sit against the crook of your forefinger. In your grip position, you should be able to see at least two knuckles of your left hand.
  2. Place your right hand slightly over the left so the lifeline in your right palm covers your left thumb. Wrap the fingers of your right hand around the grip, and let the right forefinger separate a touch from your middle finger so it also appears to be on a trigger. Your thumbs should be parallel to each other and appear stacked.
  3. Hold the club lightly (estimate a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the tightest). Sense almost no pressure on the middle section of your grip and feel a little squeeze with your fingers at the top and bottom.

FEET: Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, square to a training rod, or target line, with your left foot one-quarter turn toward the target line.


LEGS: Your legs should form a triangle between your feet and hips and each separately have different duties during the golf swing and they are firmly connected to the hips. Your left leg should be prepared to bend, but only slightly toward your right knee, while your right leg remains stationery in the address position, grounded and firm against the pivoting of your upper body around your spine…preventing your body's weight from getting outside your right ankle. I like the feeling that there is a mildly strong magnet attracting my knees to each other to help keep them stable through the swing.


HIPS: Your hips should be square to the training rod, as well. Your upper body bends forward from the hips in order for your to get positioned over the ball. Your knees are moderately bent and you should be in a comfortable and stable athletic position.

SHOULDERS: Your shoulders should also be square to the training rod and in a slightly rounded position so that your arms have adequate room to move freely like a pendulum [or lever] from your shoulders.


ARMS: Your arms should drop straight down from your shoulders in order to grip and freely swing the golf club.


ELBOWS: Your elbows should be married throughout the swing [like with a magnet], and should not separate. Keeping your elbows together eliminates many swing flaws that can arise including the dreaded flying elbow [aka chicken wing], which is where your right elbow moves away from and behind your body at the top of the swing. This can also happen at the finish with your left elbow. Your right elbow should bend in the upper part of the swing and remain vertical and close to your left elbow.

WRISTS: Your wrists remain neutral and supple while connecting the arms to the hands, but not too flexible or too stiff. Your wrists should avoid becoming cupped during the golf swing, however it is okay that your left wrist and possibly your right wrist to be cupped in the address position.

HANDS: Your hands should grip the club as discussed above under the GRIP header.

HEAD: Your head should be tilted up enough to maintain a good view of the golf ball, while facilitating the winding of your upper torso around your spine.

BODY: Your body will take on a slight reverse K position, which assists in setting the club-head behind the ball while the club's grip is forward of the ball.



How the body winds going back and unwinds as the club moves down and through impact is the lifeblood of a powerful Swing. The key to a powerful swing is synchronization. By being in sync, your body creates energy, then sequentially releases [or passes] this energy to your arms, hands, club and finally to the ball. The easiest way to learn how to pivot is without a club, because it focuses your attention on how your body should move and not what's going on with the swinging elements. Follow these practice steps to perfect the synchronization of a powerful swing:

1. Get into the address posture without a club and rest your hands on the sides of your stomach as if giving yourself a hug. Your spine should be tilted slightly away from the target.

2. Simulate the backswing while keeping the arms folded. As your upper body winds back and you feel pressure building in the right heel, the left shoulder tilts toward the ground and the right hip rises slightly.

3. Transition into the downswing by unwinding your lower body toward the target initiated by a quick lateral hip shift while you are still winding the torso away from the target. Feel your body weight move to the front part of your left foot.

4. Rotate your hips and torso toward the target. Feel the downward pressure in your feet moving into your left heel. Finish in balance, up on the toes of your right foot.

TAKEAWAY: The takeaway in the backswing should move the club-head low and slow away from the golf ball. The movement is initiated and controlled by the shoulders, which prevents prematurely “lifting” of the club-head. The club moves up in a circular loop while remaining in front of the chest, or sternum to be more precise, and while the arms maintain the address triangle by keeping the elbows close together. The golfer's hips must resist the shoulder pivot around the golfer's spine and remain in the original setup position with only a slight turn which is allowed by the slightest turning inward of the left knee. The left leg moves slightly toward the right leg…but not overly turned. This allows the body to torque from the feet up through the upper body. This stores the power for the downswing.


5 Hand Extension copy

The full hand extension continues until about where the club shaft is horizontal to the ground [waist high] and then your left hand gently pushes the shaft's grip away from your body and this begins the wrist hinge which becomes fully hinged and fixed at the the top of your swing. This extra move produces added speed and power through the impact zone.


TOP OF THE SWING [Backswing Rotation]:

6 Backswing Rotation

The top of the swing is completed when your shoulders stop turning after your left leg has bent in toward your right leg. This is the apex [top] of your backswing. The club's shaft should not move past horizontal at the top and should be well above your shoulders.




The downswing begins after you initiate the hip shift toward the target line. Your shoulders respond by starting a tighter swing arc down toward the ball. Your right elbow drops down to your right hip while your shoulders thrust the club toward the target—the ball. Your left wrist is flat or bowed through the impact zone as your hands pass the ball. This move is ahead of when and where the club-head impacts the ball. This technique will lead the club-head from the top on and inside path towards the ball and the club face squares fractions of a second prior to impact. A flat or bowed wrist delofts the club for greater distance.



moment of impact copy

The flat or bowed left wrist passes the ball fractions of a second before the club face impacts the golf ball.




To finish the swing through the ball, you must release your wrists and allow your right forearm to rollover the left while your arms remain fully extended and ending high above your head with your body in balance. To achieve balance, you must remain over your center of gravity by not thrusting your body forward at the end of your swing. Your finish should look a bit like a mild reverse C to remain steady at the end of the swing.