Golf Swing Technique for Beginners – Your Essential Guide To A Better Swing and lower scores

By Anthony Mahone
Updated on
Golfer walking to driving range to prepare to work on golf swing technique

Golf is the favorite pastime of numerous men and women worldwide, with over 25 million players in the US alone. However, it’s more than just a stroll on the greens; it’s a complex sport requiring precision, control, and a solid understanding of fundamentals. While the object of the game may seem straightforward – getting the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible – the execution of that objective is anything but. The cornerstone of a good game? The right golf swing technique.

As a newbie stepping onto the golf course for the first few times or a casual player attempting to improve, understanding the elements of a golf swing is vital. Your swing is the window into your overall skill and understanding of the game, where power meets precision and technique meets timing.

In this collection of golf swing tips, we’ll break down the recipe for a great golf swing. From the set-up and backswing to the crucial downswing and all-important follow-through, each phase is critical for success. We’ll break down a great golf swing for beginners, explaining the key qualities to of solid technique from start to finish, so you can work towards making that perfect shot. 

Read more about The 9 Best Golf Tips For Beginners.

Whether you’re trying to find your footing as a beginner or looking to better understand the nuances of a specific sequence, this guide aims to fill all the holes in your game! 

If you’re looking for new clubs as a beginner, check out our Best Golf Clubs For Beginners.

Note: Remember, even with written guides like these, nothing beats in-person golf instruction if you really want to take things to the next level. 

Basic Golf Swing Technique Fundamentals: The Building Blocks of Your Game

Understanding the basic golf swing fundamentals is the first step towards building a reliable swing, no matter the situation on the course. It’s not about pelting the ball as hard as you can; it’s about making an effective, accurate connection.

Let’s break down the essential elements that every beginner needs to know:

The Grip:

Your relationship with the golf club starts with a steady grip, ensuring you maintain the control you need throughout your swing. There are three main forms of grip, such as overlapping, interlocking, and baseball grips, but the key is to find one that is most comfortable for you, allowing complete control of the club.

For more on the grip, check out this article: How To Grip A Club For Optimal Performance.

A golfer with a good grip at the setup position.

Golf Stance and Posture

Setting up your body correctly is equally vital. When teeing up, your feet should be shoulder-width apart to give your body proper balance and support. Your posture should be upright but relaxed, with a slight bend at the knees and a straight back.


Before you begin your backswing, make sure to line up your clubface to the target. Accurate aim is a key aspect of the golf swing technique that is often overlooked by beginners – giving the ball the perfect connection is all well and good, but it means nothing if it’s going in the wrong direction! Make sure the leading edge of the club is parallel to your target line.

The Backswing: 

The backswing is the precursor to everything that follows. In short, a proper golf backswing sequence involves turning your shoulders and hips away from the target while keeping your head still and focused on the ball. This coils your body, storing up all the power that you’ll unleash during the downswing.

Top of the Backswing:

The top of your backswing serves as the transitional point where you begin the move toward making your connection. Here, it’s vital to keep your wrists hinged and maintain a smooth tempo. Your club should point toward the target, and your left arm(or right if you’re a southpaw) should be in a straight line.

The Downswing and Impact: 

Begin to uncoil your body, starting with the lower half, letting your hips lead the way. As your body unwinds, your hands and club should follow. Stay focused on the ball and aim to make contact with the center of the clubface. The angle of your club should mirror your posture and aim, leading to a solid, square impact.

Follow-Through and Finish: 

The golf swing doesn’t end with hitting the ball; the follow-through is just as, if not more important. A balanced and complete follow-through indicates a well-executed swing.

The Golf Swing Pose: 

After your follow-through, your body needs to find a balanced and controlled finish, ensuring consistent travel and helping to prevent injury. Your hips should face the target, and most of your weight should transfer to your lead foot. This finishing pose is often seen in professional golf and is a tangible sign of a good all-around swing.

By properly understanding the fundamental aspects of your golf swing technique and putting them into practice, you can create a reliable, effective swing that serves as the foundation for improvement. By properly managing the basics, you set yourself up for the mastery of more advanced techniques. 

Now, we’re going to break down the three core aspects of the swing: The Backswing, the Downswing, and the Follow-Through in more detail. 

The Golf Backswing Sequence: Setting Up for Success

After you’ve mastered the right grip for you, the backswing is one of the most crucial phases of a strong golf swing. If you get it right, you’re in an excellent position to unleash the most powerful and accurate shot that you can. Get it wrong, and even the best downswing techniques won’t help you. 

Understanding the perfect golf backswing sequence will set you up with a swing that’s both powerful and precise. Here’s how to break down each component for maximum effectiveness:

Golf Address Position:

Before you begin the motion of the backswing, ensure that your grip, stance, and alignment are all correctly set up. You need to create a solid foundation to build a strong backswing.

The golfer is at the address position with a down-the-line view.
Golfer at the address position with a face on view.

Initial Takeaway: 

As you start the active backswing, focus on taking the club back low and slow. Your arms and shoulders should move in one fluid motion, with your wrists remaining relatively straight throughout. The clubhead should always be pointing along the line of your feet, parallel to your target line.

The golfer shows the golf swing's initial takeaway from down-the-line view.
The golfer shows the golf swing's initial takeaway from face-on view.

Halfway Back: 

At this point, your hands need to be about waist-high. At halfway, your wrists need to start hinging and the clubface needs to be neither too open nor too closed. Your shoulders then need to turn away from the target, with your hips starting to rotate slightly. A smooth rotation is key to building up the torque you’ll need for a powerful downswing and a fruitful connection.

The golfer shows the halfway back position of the golf swing from down-the-line view.
The golfer shows the halfway back position of the golf swing from the face-on view.

Top of Backswing: The Transition

Reaching the top of your backswing is the make-or-break moment. Your back should be fully turned to face the target and your shoulders should have completed their rotation. Your lead arm should be straight, with your trail elbow bent at around 90 degrees. Your hips, while turned, should still retain some tension – think of it as loading up the energy you’re going to release in the downswing.

The golfer shows the proper position at the top of a golf swing from down-the-line view.
The golfer shows the proper position at the top of a golf swing from face-on view.

Key Considerations at the Top: 

The top of the backswing can be tricky, so make sure your wrists are fully hinged – maximizing the club’s distance from the ball will create the most potential for a powerful shot. Also, your head position should remain stable with your eyes focused on the ball. It’s easy to lift your head in anticipation of the downswing, but doing so can throw off your balance and alignment.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Over-rotating the hips: This loosens the coil, reducing the torque you can create, leading to a less powerful shot.
  • Rushing the backswing: A rushed backswing won’t allow you to set the club correctly, leading to potential mishits – slow and steady wins the race!
  • Losing focus on the ball: Keeping your eye on the ball ensures proper alignment through every stage of your swing.

Understanding the golf backswing sequence will significantly improve both your power and accuracy on the course. Ensure each component is performed correctly to set yourself up for a successful downswing and a strong, accurate shot.

How To Start The Downswing In Golf: Unleashing Power and Precision

If the backswing sets the stage for your golf swing, the downswing is the main event. It’s the moment where preparation and technique culminate into a decisive action: making a meaningful connection with the golf ball. Understanding the golf downswing sequence is essential for delivering a powerful and accurate shot. Here’s how to execute this critical phase:

Start The Downswing

Despite its position, the downswing starts from the ground up. Initiate the motion by gently unwinding your hips in the direction of the target. This motion triggers a sequence in which your lower body starts to turn, followed by the remainder of your torso, arms, and finally, the club.

Hip and Torso Rotation: 

As you begin your hip rotation, make sure it’s carefully focused in the direction of the target. Your hips should be your guiding star, with your torso following their lead. A common mistake is to let you arms or shoulders take the lead, which in turn results in a lack of power and control.

The golfer shows proper weight movement from the top of the golf swing coming down-this shows a down-the-ljne view.
The golfer shows proper weight movement from the top of the golf swing. This is shown from a face-on view.

Club Path and Arm Motion: 

As your torso turns, allow your arms to drop into a “slot” position naturally, maintaining the 90-degree angle in your trail elbow (right elbow for left-handers, left elbow for right-handers). The club should follow the natural path at the inside of the target line, allowing you to strike the ball with the optimal angle and clubface position.

Impact: The Moment of Truth: 

The clubface should meet the ball squarely with the center, aided by your body’s rotation and the unwinding of your wrists. At the point of impact, your hips should be open to the target line, with your shoulders held in a square position. This guarantees that you can deliver the maximum amount of power into the shot, without sacrificing control.

The golfer shows the moment of impact with a golf ball from a down-the-line view.
The golfer demonstrates the impact of the golf ball from the face on view.

Power vs. Precision: 

Striking a measured balance between power and precision is everything during the downswing. Your body should uncoil in a controlled yet explosive manner, allowing you to connect to the ball with force without sacrificing accuracy.

Common Downswing Mistakes:

  • Over-swinging: Attempting to infuse too much power into your swing can throw off your balance and timing.
  • Casting: This is when you straighten the wrists too early, losing both power and control – let them unwind naturally and fluidly.
  • Lack of Follow-Through: A poor downswing often ends abruptly, without a full follow-through, leading to a loss of distance and direction.

The downswing in golf is the seamless combination of technique, timing, and a dash of confident execution. By adhering to the principles described above, you can set yourself up for great shots, creating the foundation for a consistently strong game.

Golf Swing Follow-Through and Finish: The Art of Completion

While attention is largely focused on the importance backswing and downswing, the follow-through and finish are integral parts of a successful golf swing and should not be seen as an afterthought. Not only do they serve as visual indicators of a well-executed shot, but they are also crucial for both balance and directionality.

Let’s delve into the importance of mastering your golf follow-through and achieving that picture-perfect finish.

The Follow-Through – More Than Just an Afterthought: 

After making contact with the ball during your downswing, your work isn’t done. The motion of your club and body should continue to follow a natural, flowing path. This is your follow-through, and it’s essential for several reasons:

  • Direction: The path your club takes during the follow-through influences the ball’s direction in flight. 
  • Distance: A proper follow-through ensures that you’ve transferred all the built-up energy to the ball, allowing it to travel as far as it can.
  • Balance: Continuing your swing to a balanced finish helps maintain your center of gravity, protecting your joints and ensuring you stand strong.

The Initial Stage – Post-Impact: 

Right after the club connects with the ball, your hands should follow the same path as your downswing but in the opposite direction. Your wrists, which were hinged during the downswing, will naturally start to unhinge.

The golfer shows the location of the hands' post impact from down the line view.
The golfer demonstrates the golf swing position immediately after impact in the follow-through from the face on view.

Mid-Follow Through: 

Your club should rise naturally, with your torso continuing to rotate in the direction of the target. Your trail foot will begin to lift, rotating on the toe, as your weight shifts entirely to your lead foot. At this stage, both arms should be fully extended, and the club should hang over your lead shoulder.

The golfer is demonstrating a down-the-line view of the follow-through.
The golfer shows the follow-through position after hitting the golf ball from the face-on view.

Golf Finish-The Pose

As you complete your follow-through, your hips should be facing the target, and your club should rest comfortably around your neck and shoulders. You should feel almost all of your body weight on your lead foot, with your trail foot being comfortable to lift off the ground. This is your golf swing finish or golf swing pose – a graceful position and telltale sign of a well-executed swing.

The golfer is demonstrating the a down the line finish of the golf swing
The golfer demonstrates the finish of the golf swing from the face-on view.

Common Mistakes in the Follow-Through and Finish:

  • Cutting it Short: Some beginners make the mistake of deliberately stalling the club after hitting the ball. This will lead to inaccurate shots and even injury over time.
  • Poor Balance: Failing to shift your weight properly can result in a wobbly, uncontrolled finish, which can also result in pain. 

The Final Check:

The perfect way to gauge the effectiveness of your follow-through and finish is to hold your finishing pose for a moment. If you find maintaining balance difficult, work backward and look for flaws earlier in the swing.


With these golf swing tips for beginners, you should feel more confident than ever stepping out from the driving range to the green. Remember though, practice makes perfect, so make sure to take the time to cover everything from your backswing to your finishing pose. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What starts the backswing in golf?

The backswing is initiated by a mild rotation of the hips and a slight shoulder turn away from the target, keeping the arms relatively straight. The arms and shoulders move in unison as the club travels away from the ball.

What is a 3/4 golf swing?

A 3/4 golf swing is a shorter and more controlled swing where the golfer doesn’t take the club back as far as in a full swing, stopping the backswing shorter than a full swing, which improves consistency and accuracy.

Are golf lessons worth it?

Absolutely! 100% without a doubt, they are worth it. You can only take yourself so far when learning the golf swing. Taking golf lessons from a PGA Professional is the best way to dramatically improve your golf swing and lower your scores.

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Anthony is the founder of Swingcrafters and a lover of all things golf. Anthony was the individual champion of the 2005 West Virginia State Golf Tournament and worked as the Assistant Golf Professional at Heatherwoode Golf Club in Ohio. He is a career Firefighter/Paramedic and loves the outdoors.