Regardless if you’re taking your first trip to the driving range or have been playing golf for years, it’s never a bad idea to review the fundamentals of how to hit a golf ball.
The game of golf is both simple and complex. On one hand, you’re hitting a ball that’s not moving and sitting on a tee or piece of grass. On the other hand, the golf swing includes 5+ different pieces and one thing going wrong can cause a whiff or a wild shot.
There are many different ways to hit a golf ball and all different kinds of golf gear to try out. Like fingerprints, no two swings are exactly the same. The key is finding your swing: a swing that you can repeat every time and can trust under pressure.
With that in mind, you want your swing to have a strong foundation. It should be built on fundamentals that golfers have been using for years.
We can help you learn how to hit a golf ball. Or rather, how to hit a golf ball even better. Check out our guide below to determine where your swing breaks down and work to repair it. There’s a great golfer inside all of us, we just need to unleash it.
How To Hit A Golf Ball
We’ve broken down how to hit a golf ball into 4 key parts: stance, grip, ball position, and swing.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Stance
Many golfers don’t give this part of the process much thought, but taking the proper golf stance is critical to executing high quality golf shots.
Width Of Your Stance
The first thing to keep in mind is the width of your stance. Too narrow and you’ll lose your balance. Too wide and your hips can’t clear and you’ll lose power. The perfect width is described as slightly wider than your shoulder width.
While this is standard, there may be valid reasons for you to adjust slightly. For example, if you’re tall and skinny, a slightly wider stance may make sense. You can tweak the width of your stance as you learn how to hit a golf ball and see what works best for you.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Posture
Next up, your posture. You often hear the golf posture as an athletic stance. You want to give your body the chance to turn and rotate freely.
Let’s go piece by piece. Your knees should be slightly flexed, but you don’t want them bent or locked. You should bend slightly from the waist and keep your spine straight - don’t hunch your shoulders.
If your posture is correct, your arms should be able to simply hang down and grip the club.
The perfect golf shot doesn’t turn out well if you’re lined up in the wrong direction. The best way to check your alignment is to lay down a club or aiming stick at your feet - it should be pointing about 20 yards left of your target (right-handed players).
The most important part of golf alignment is you want everything working together. Your feet, hips, and shoulders should all be lined up at the target. If you get “criss-crossed” wild shots can and will happen.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Golf Grip
Your golf club grip is like a handshake. It’s how you introduce yourself to the club. A poor golf grip can ruin a perfect swing and make it very hard to learn how to hit a golf ball. The important thing about gripping the golf club is that you need your hands to work together. We’ve written this for a right-handed golfer, but if you’re a lefty, just flip it.
Golf Grip Options
There are 3 different ways to grip the club properly: overlock, interlock, and 10-finger. All can work, but we prefer overlap and interlock.
To use the overlap grip, you grip the top of the club with your left hand. You grip the club with your right hand just below the left, with your pinky finger overlapping the pointer finger on your left hand.
The interlock grip is the same as the overlap, but instead of placing your right-hand pinky over the pointer finger on your left hand, you interlock it.
Just as it sounds, with the 10-finger grip all 10 fingers are on the club. Your two hands should be touching, but there’s no overlap or interlock.
For the most part, you can use the grip that feels most comfortable to you. The vast majority of advanced golfers use overlap or interlock.
Strength of Grip
There’s often confusion on this topic. The strength of your grip doesn’t refer to the amount of pressure you place on the club, but instead how your hands are twisted. You’ll hear golfers talk about having a weak or strong grip.
You can learn how to hit the golf ball using both a strong and weak grip, but we recommend using one that’s slightly strong. Do you know how to check your grip? Count the knuckles.
When you grip the golf club, how many knuckles can you see on your left hand? The best answer is 2! If you can only see 1, your grip is too weak and if you can see more than 2, your grip is most likely too strong.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Ball Position
The third piece of the ‘how to hit a golf ball’ equation is ball position. In other words, this is where the golf ball should be in relation to your feet. Again, speaking from the perspective of a right-handed golfer, a ball closer to your left foot is the front of your stance and closer to your right foot is the back of your stance.
Did you know that the correct ball position changes depending on the club you’re hitting or the type of shot?
Driver & Fairway Woods
When hitting a driver or fairway wood, the golf ball should be positioned in the front of your stance. The driver can be even with your left foot or even a little bit in front of it. This will help you strike up on the golf ball and gain distance.
The longer the iron, the further forward it should be. In other words, if you’re hitting a 4-iron the golf ball should be in the front portion of your stance, but if you’re swinging a 9-iron, it should be closer to the middle of your stance. You almost never want to place the golf ball back in your stance during a full shot.
Types of Shots
How does the type of shot you are playing change ball position? If you want to hit a high shot or hit a slice, move the ball forward in your stance. If you need to hit a low shot or a hook, push it back in your stance.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Swing
Finally, we’ve covered all of the pre-shot stuff you need to do to learn how to hit a golf ball and it is time to discuss some golf swing tips. How can you make an efficient and effective motion that makes the golf ball fly towards your target?
You address the ball - the final step before you hit it. Make sure your arms are relaxed and form a triangle with your chest. Make sure your weight is on the balls of your feet, not your heels or your toes. All good? You’re ready to start your swing.
Golf instructors have a bunch of different thoughts about the golf backswing, but we feel the most important is that you stay connected. You want your arms to stay connected with your chest. You want to turn around your spine, not slide. During your backswing, you want your weight to shift to your right-side (right-handed golfers).
The downswing should actually start with a pause - give your body a chance to change directions. Clear your lower body (clear your hips) and give yourself space to swing at the ball. One way to think about your downswing is to simply “undo” your backswing. Make sure that you get your weight to your left side during the downswing.
The final part of your golf swing is the follow through. You want your arms to extend as much as possible through the ball and you should try to finish on balance. Hold your pose. If you’re off balance at the end of your swing, this is a good indicator that something broke down.
Timing and tempo are critical in your golf swing, but at this point, you know how to hit a golf ball.
How To Hit A Golf Ball: Frequently Asked Questions
How to hit a golf ball straight?
In order to hit a golf ball straight, you need to make an aggressive swing and make solid contact. Spin causes the golf ball to turn. Two things cause spin:
1) you miss the center of the club face or
2) your swing strikes the inside or outside of the ball.
How to hit a golf ball higher?
If you need to hit a high shot either to take advantage of the wind or clear an obstacle (tree, etc.) put the golf ball in the front of your stance. This will add some loft to the club and help you get it airborne.
How to hit a golf ball with a driver?
Tee it high and let it fly is the old golf mantra, but it’s true. Tee your ball up as high as possible, move the ball to the front of your stance, and make a hard/aggressive swing.
How to hit a golf ball with irons?
Allow the loft on the irons to do the work. Irons are designed to go different distances based on the loft, so make sure that you hit down and through the ball. Never try to lift iron shots in the air.
How to hit a golf ball on side hill lies?
Play the hill or slope. If the ball is below your feet, expect it to go to the right. If the ball is above your feet, plan for the ball to go to the left. If you’re left-handed, flip these directions.
How to hit a golf ball out of the rough?
If you have a bad lie in the rough, take one extra club and make sure you hit down through the ball. Always use an iron or hybrid to escape from thick grass instead of trying to hit a fairway wood.
Golf Is A Journey….Enjoy The Trip
Golf is a marathon, not a sprint. To get better, you’ll need to practice your swing on the driving range and play on the course. You’ll have great days and terrible days. Golf is both thrilling and terribly frustrating. Be patient.
Don’t expect to be a “natural” or play great every time you tee it up. The first step is to learn how to hit a golf ball. After that, look for small improvements. Celebrate the first time you break 100 or when you roll in a putt for par or birdie. Enjoy the time you get to spend outdoors with friends. Golf is much more than just some numbers on a scorecard.