4 golf swing basics every player needs to remember

In today's Play Smart, these golf swing basics from GOLF Top 100 Teacher Tony Ruggiero will help every player find more consistency

These golf swing basics from GOLF Top 100 Teacher Tony Ruggiero will help every player find more consistency.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

With the game being just as mental as it is physical — maybe even more so — it’s easy for players to get inside their own heads, listening to those crippling voices, overthinking everything, and just forgetting about the basics. If this is you, you’re not alone, as PGA players even have this occur.

While there’s coaching advice for every aspect of the game, today’s Play Smart is going to focus on something fundamental, but super important: The golf swing basics.

Thanks to GOLF Top 100 Teacher Tony Ruggiero, the video and steps below will allow every golfer to focus on the steps it takes for a solid golf swing.

The golf swing basics

In the video, Ruggiero helps his student, Adam, focus on his golf swing basics.

Adam mentions he’s a 14.8-handicap who has played the game for about three years. And while Ruggiero applauds Adam on his progress thus far as a player, he’s quick to absorb the issues that Adam wants to work on — which boil down to eliminating the slice with his driver.

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To help Adam (or any golfer) focus on some basics of the golf swing, Ruggiero offers the below advice.

Work on having fewer errors off the tee

In the video, Ruggiero says for a player with a similar handicap to Adam, one area to improve is to “have less errors off the tee.” This means seeing more consistency with the driver and avoiding hooks or slices that put amateurs in difficult positions for a second shot.

“Talk about it [the drive] like your first serve in tennis, where your first serve’s in and you play more aggressively,” Ruggiero says. “From there, if inside 100 yards we can eliminate errors — where your 50- and 60-yard shots — you start hitting them on the green.

“You may not hit it four feet [from the pin], but you hit it 20, so you eliminate big numbers.”

Focus on your feet

Adam’s foot position.

After Adam hits a few shots with Ruggiero recording his swing, the Top 100 Teacher analyzes the swing.

“If you look at your feet here, left foot and right foot, you’re not crazy balanced at address,” says Ruggiero. “You’ve got 70 percent of your weight or pressure over on your left leg, kind of leaned in there. I want to get you a little more balanced … I’d like to get the butt of your club up a little higher so that it points more at your belt line.

“There’s a lot of good in there, so [right now], all your pressure just shoots right over there — so that’s kind of a lean instead of a turn.”

Remember to use your hips

Tony Ruggiero helps Adam with his golf swing.

Next, Ruggiero focuses on Adam’s setup, identifying an issue with the positioning of his hips and shoulders.

“Your shoulders and your hips are aimed a little bit left, which is going to make you come more across [the ball]… and if you look at your pressure, it stops kind of midway, and it doesn’t turn through,” he said. “You see how your right hip and your right shoulder are staying kind of behind the ball? With guys that are 14- or 15-handicaps, if we can help you learn to turn back a little better and really get you to turn through, you’ll have more clubface control.”

Identify good posture

Tony Ruggiero helps Adam with his posture.

After Ruggiero sees Adam’s posture, he focuses on ways to correct it. By doing so, Adam should be more square coming into the ball, as he uses his hips to rotate more through his swing.

“Flex your knees a little and let’s get the butt of the club up a hair higher,” he tells Adam. “I’m gonna get this so you’re a little more squared up, and you get a little spine tilt.”

Give yourself some resistance

Ruggerio shows Adam how to had resistance to his swing.

Next, Ruggiero provides some resistance to Adam’s swing, with the teacher holding back the club to make Adam use his hips to pull all the way through.

“So I’m giving you resistance here. If you did your old way of swinging — which is just shift right — you couldn’t move me with that pressure,” he said. “So go ahead and move me… you should have felt something different in the ground and in your feet.”

The rest of the video is helpful in identifying other golf swing basics for players to pay attention to. By incorporating some of the advice from Ruggiero into your own practice habits, you should begin to see more consistent shots.

So check out the full video and be sure to take some notes for yourself to see instant improvement!

Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor