by Frank Peter
When a baby takes her first steps, she is learning to walk using the fundamentals, building a lifelong ability from the ground up. Perhaps golfers need to remember the baby who balances herself and proceeds slowly before taking even a step without assistance.
The average beginner golfer tends to rush headlong into the game, perhaps taking some time to discuss the basics with a more senior player but otherwise making ill-advised alterations along the way.
Most recreational players may learn the basics about the back swing and follow-through, but they have little idea about how to grip a club or where to look while swinging. Months later they still don't have proper footwork and their hands and arms are all over the place. It's likely they did not start from the ground up and take the time necessary to build a complete game, or even a strong swing.
Don't fret if you are saying to yourself, "Oh oh, that's me. I haven't done the proper legwork." Instead, change your bad habits now with a few simple exercises that should help build a stronger foundation:
Stand and Deliver: How you stand determines how you deliver your golf shot. As you address the ball, consider your spine angle as this is crucial. Your back should be straight throughout your swing with your feet slightly apart. Let your arms hang loosely at their sides and lock your knees. Look straight ahead and push your backside backward until it is over your heels and your head is over your toes.
You can help keep your spine straight by loosening up your hips and bending from there rather than from your waist. Imagine you are about to sit down in a chair but are inches from the seated position. This will help you maintain correct posture. Keep practicing this position and you'll soon have it right.
Getting 'set' for your shot is the next step. Keeping your back straight is of utmost importance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart plus an inch or two, and bend your knees and hips as indicated above. Have your hands in front of you just over waist high with your arms half extended but relaxed and dangling.
Relax and practice shifting your weight from one foot to the other while swinging your arms from side to side. Memorize the free-flowing feeling before you practice with a club or ball, because it will be easier to repeat this process when you actually go to hit the ball.
Remember that there is no single way to improve your game. All parts of your body go into creating a good swing and having even one - a foot, a hand, an elbow, a knee, your head - out of position means throwing your whole swing off, even if only by a bit. The key is to discover the best position for your body in relation to the ball. All the above advice is a good guide fro ma strong foundation but the best way to discover your best position is through repeated practice and constant adjustment.