Learning basics will make you GASP
If you have been around golf for any length of time, you will have heard the acronym GASP. The letters stand for grip, aim, stance and posture, and these concepts remain the building blocks of every golf lesson.
Grip is how you hold the club. For a right-handed player, the top of the club is held in the left hand and rests mainly in the fingers. When the club is on the ground, if you look down you should see some of the back of your left hand, the palm does not face directly left and, in fact, faces more downward. The right hand or lower hand fits over the left such that the thumb of the left hand settles into the natural “dent” in the right. The little finger of the right hand will cover the index finger of the left or interlock with it. This ensures the hands can work together. I heard a quote on TV a few years ago that only 1 in 10,000 amateurs holds the club with the correct pressure and I totally agree with that. For me, the left hand should hold the club fairly firmly, say 6 or 7 out of 10 while the right hand will only exert a pressure of around 2 or 3. The grip should be loose enough so that you can swing the club fairly easily without letting go.
Aim is how you align your body. You should stand in such a way that the lines across your feet, knees, hips and shoulders all face the same way and that should be toward the target. For me, the most important part is shoulder alignment, after all, that is where your arms will want to swing.
Stance is fairly simple. Feet should be about shoulder width apart or a little wider when hitting driver. Toes may point a little outward but certainly not inward.
Posture is extremely important and should be a very athletic position. I call good posture the ready position as it equates to many sports. You should be balanced on the balls of your feet and feel capable of moving in any direction at the drop of a hat. The spine should be somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees to the ground and shoulders should plumb bob over the ground right in front of the toes.
Obviously, if you want to learn how to do this properly, you should go and see your PGA professional and take a lesson.
Next week: How can I make golf fun?
Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.