How To Hit a Golf Ball – Tips For More Consistent Strikes

There is not a lot more satisfying than playing a great round of golf, but there are many things that need to come together collectively for that to happen.

Choking and whiffing – missing altogether – the golf ball is instantly frustrating and can lead to your game beginning to unravel.

Many beginner and intermediate players simply want to know how to hit a golf ball more consistently, and nail that satisfying connection between club and ball.

So, let’s get you started with some simple tips that will get you striking the ball more consistently and enjoying your next rounds of golf. 

In this article, we’re going to look at the 3 main areas of focus for how to hit a golf ball consistently:

  • Your stance
  • Your grip

Ready?

Let’s jump in!

how to hit a golf ball

How To Hit a Golf Ball: Your Stance

The Importance of Golf Stance

Let’s literally start from the ground up.

Your stance is your foundation, and everything related to your swing begins here.

You’ve probably noticed that everyone has their own swing style. Very few people stand the same way, have the same backswing, or even hit the ball the same way.

The key is being able to replicate the excellent swing over and over, and very few people can do that consistently.  

If you start with a poor stance, you’ll probably follow a bad backswing, a terrible downswing, and lousy follow-through.

How you address the ball may not be perfect, but the overall key is to remain balanced and relaxed, meaning your weight should be equally distributed over your left and right leg. If you can pick either of your feet off the ground, you’re not balanced.

 Sounds great in theory, but how do I translate that into my game?

How To Hit a Golf Ball - Tips For More Consistent Strikes 1

Golf Stance Tips

Well, start by placing the inside of your front foot just ahead of the ball.

Since you’re more than likely going to be using a driver off the tee, your front and back feet should be shoulder-width apart.

Remember to stay relaxed.

Good posture counts, so keep your back straight but do not tense up.

It would be best if you bent a little forward, but your flex will come from your knees, so bend your knees slightly. 

You should notice that your kneecaps will be directly above the balls of your feet. The angle of your back to the ground will be approximately 45 degrees, and your arms should be hanging straight down from your shoulders.

how to hit a golf ball

To stay balanced through your whole swing, you need your weight to be on the balls of your feet, not on the toes or heels – and should be equally distributed between your front and back foot. If you are out of balance, you will fall off the ball, and that’s no way to start a good golf swing.

One quick tip to finish with your stance is to make sure you are pointed at your target.

Check this first, placing your club up against the toes of your feet, and then step back and see if the club is pointing to your target.

This is your target line, and your knees, hips, and shoulders should also be parallel to this line.

How To Hit A Golf Ball: The Grip

how to hit a golf ball

The Basic Rules Of Gripping a Golf Club

Start by holding the club directly in front of you with your right hand (assuming you’re right-handed) with the clubhead pointing away from you at about a 45-degree angle.

Add your left hand, and you should notice that the club will be mainly in the palm across the pads at the base of the fingers.

Your thumb will be positioned straight on top of the golf club shaft. Relative to the golf club, the thumb will be in the twelve o’clock position.

Your right hand should grip the golf club just above your left hand with the fingers, not the palm, of your right hand.

The thumb will be positioned slightly off to the left. Relative to the golf club, the thumb will be in an eleven o’clock position.

To check if you have gripped the golf club correctly, you should only see the first two knuckles of your left hand. 

The 3 Most Common Golf Grips

how to hit a golf ball

Here are three of the most common golf grips and how to use them:

  • The overlapping grip is the most common golf grip used. It is used mainly by male golfers and those with strong wrists and forearms. The little finger of the right-hand lies on top of or overlaps the index finger on the left hand.
  • The baseball grip is most commonly used by younger golfers, females, seniors, and those with weaker wrists and arms. The index finger of the left hand and the little finger of the right hand meet but do not overlap or interlock.
  •  Golfers will use an interlocking grip with shorter hands and fingers, those with thicker or chunkier palms, and golfers who have difficulty with the overlapping grip—the index finger of the left hand and the little finger of the right-hand overlap and interlock.

One final tip on your grip: keep light pressure on the club.

I’ve seen the adrenaline kick in, and people take the phrase “Grip It and Rip It” literally. 

Just like your stance, your grip needs to be relaxed, and the pressure should be shared equally over both hands. 

Choking the life out of the club will almost guarantee that you will shank your shot. A proper golf grip will make you feel like you are holding the club, mainly in the palm and the last three fingers of your left hand. 

How To Hit a Golf Ball: The Backswing

how to hit a golf ball

If you have ever seen the pros play live, you will notice their backswing never really changes no matter the shot, which was an aha moment for me.

If you break it down, your backswing is a rotation to the right, consisting of shifting your body weight to the right side, turning the pelvis and shoulders, lifting the arms, and flexing the elbows and wrists.

At the end of the backswing, the hands should be above the right shoulder, with the club pointing more or less in the intended direction of ball flight. 

The second half of the swing consists of the downswing, which is roughly a backswing reversed.

After the ball is hit, the follow-through stage consists of a continued rotation to the left. At the end of the swing, the weight has shifted almost entirely to the left foot, the body is fully turned to the left, and the hands are above the left shoulder with the club hanging down over the players’ back. 

See, simple! It seems simple on paper, but recreating this consistently is what separates most golfers from scratch golfers.

Tips For Improving Your Backswing

how to hit a golf ball

The backswing is all about coiling up your body and creating the muscle tension or torque needed to release a powerful downswing.

More specifically, resistance is created between the greater turning of the upper body and shoulders and the lesser turning of the hips and lower body. 

This coiling generates your overall swing speed, but the harder you swing, the more that can go wrong with your shot.

It’s rare to see big hitters consistently in the fairway. You even see it on the PGA Tour.

Generally, the guys that hit the longest are not the leaders in Fairways Hit in Regulation, but it certainly feels fantastic to crush one.

It took me a long time to learn how hard to swing and that if I let the club do its job and have a smooth swing path, I could get both length and accuracy.

Bottom line: don’t be in a hurry with your swing!

A hurried backswing doesn’t make the downswing any faster. It may be just the opposite.

You’ve got to remember that you’ve got to change and go the exact opposite direction somewhere at the top of that backswing.

Try to think of your backswing as turning your back to the target. You’re not swinging the club up in the air; instead, you’re just putting the club behind your back. It’s like winding a spring!

The backswing works from the top down. The backswing takeaway starts at the top with your arms and shoulder turning, and it works its way down to your hips and legs.

The speed of your backswing should be at a steady tempo, not real fast or slow.

The tendency is to go too fast, which will rush your downswing, and you don’t want to start your downswing with your arms and shoulders. This move will cause your wrists to un-cock too soon (called casting), resulting in some pretty nasty results (topped shots, slices).

One final tip on your swing is to begin your downswing before you finish your backswing.

You’re not likely to start your downswing with your arms and upper body if they’re still winding up. So, as you feel your upper body approaching the end of the backswing, you will move your front knee towards the target.

As you do this, you’ll feel that low, squatty position and know that you’re starting your backswing correctly with the lower body.

how to hit a golf ball

How To Hit A Golf Ball More Consistently: Keep Practicing

As with anything, to improve your swing, you need to practice. 

Your swing is all about muscle memory and training your muscles to remember the proper swing, which probably means retraining your muscles from your previous swing. 

When you go to the driving range, go with a purpose.

Don’t just pull the driver out and see how far you can hit it. Instead, work your way up through all of your clubs.  Work on your swing and understand the distances you can hit with each of your clubs. 

The more you swing, the less you have to think about it, and muscle memory will take over, and you will see positive results in your game.

Related: Good Golf Etiquette – 11 Practical Tips To Be a Better Golf Partner

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson is an ultra-runner, UESCA-certified running coach, and the founder of MarathonHandbook.com. His work has been featured in Runner's World, Livestrong.com, MapMyRun, and many other running publications. He likes running interesting races and good beer. More at his bio.

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