Whether you are a duffer at the local muni course, scratch golfer, or member of a country club — begin observing the intricacies of your favorite golfers' swings and use their individual tools to your advantage.
I have comprised what I believe to be the most important components of the swings of my personal icons as a way of illustrating how beneficial and instructive the pros can be; without having to pay a pretty penny or watch countless, instructional videos.
There is something undeniably unique and special about the golf swing.
In my opinion, that is because no one swing is the same, and yet each distinctive formula can produce similar results.
To that effect, there remains no official, final say on how to hit a golf ball and that's what makes the game great.
The PGA Tour represents a plethora of experimental methods—from Jim Furyk's mess of a swing to Luke Donald's picture-perfect, fluid motion.
As an avid golfer, I personally found that focusing too much on mechanics began to ruin my game as a whole.
I became far too analytical, constantly trying to get my back swing to parallel and clearing my front leg through impact; let's just say things got ugly.
Only when I started to pick up tips from the pros did my game noticeably progress.
Use the swings of these phenomenal athletes to inspire your own unique swing.
I'm sure you assume Tiger could, and would, be the model for every step of the golf swing.
Yes, he could. But for now, let's just use him for his set-up, because it's flawless.
Though Tiger may appear relatively static, his set-up paints the ultimate picture of athleticism and balance.
With his weight is spread equally, Tiger is neither hunched over the ball, nor reaching for it. Also, his feet, knees, and shoulders are the blueprint of being square at address.
One can certainly pick apart the anatomy of Woods' set-up, but the final aspect worth mentioning remains how his head begins just behind the ball at address, which mirrors what his position will be at impact.
Hunter Mahan's takeaway can act as a blueprint for your evolving swing.
Notice how his solid takeaway displays his upper body moving in unison while keeping the club outside of the hands—textbook. Also, his lower body remains inactive and stable while his arms reach back.
Emphasis on the word "reach."
Extending the arms back early on the golf swing, while keeping a firm, balanced lower body, can increase accuracy and distance.
Just ask Mahan, who is ranked No. One in Total Driving on Tour.
Similar to a young gun like Anthony Kim, Rory McIlroy does not totally promote the typical and traditional placement of the club at the top of the swing.
One of the crucial merits of this kind of 3/4 position at the top of the swing is that it limits errors on the downswing.
Bringing the club to parallel, or even over parallel like "Long John" Daly, tends to create numerous technical issues.
For example, if the club is at or just over parallel, no matter how fast your club head speed is, it will still take time for the club to come down and in that time—things are liable to go wrong, such as the hips move to quickly, the club lags behind and, well, welcome to the world of the slice.
Rory's position at the top is a template of flexibility, power, and fundamentals.
Check out your own swing in the mirror and see how it compares.
It's incredible how tremendous of a butterfly effect unravels if your hips open up too soon in the golf swing.
High slices, low hooks—the works.
Ben Hogan and any other golf book or instructor will, and should, tell you that at the top of the swing, your hands have to begin the descent before the hips.
In this picture, and in any video you watch of him, O'Hair's lower body stays silent as a base for his hands to begin to pull downward.
It's as if his lower body is waiting for the hands and upper half to reach a certain level on the downswing before it can all explode in unison into the golf ball.
A great deal of O'Hair's success in the last few years is due to his powerful, mechanically sound golf swing, with an emphasis on his first move after the top of the swing.
This is just a pretty picture.
Like all things in life that you want to get good at, this move simply takes practice, practice, practice.
Kim's mechanics are off the charts amazing, but this position at, and just after, impact distinguishes his extreme precision and power among the creme de la creme of professional golfers.
While his hips have fully unwound in the direction of his target, Kim's upper body hangs back to fully absorb the impact of the ball.
Next time you are at the range, visualize this image of Kim totally extended in the direction of his target with his eyes completely focused on the impact position.
In Jack Nicklaus' annual Skin's Game Wednesday at Muirfield, Phil Mickleson hit his first drive of the day 317 yards.
The picture above explains why—extension after impact.
Though Phil utilizes his flexibility to generate as much power as he can in his swing, his most efficient strategy has consistently been the release of his arms post-impact.
As this image portrays, the club becomes an extension of his arms. His hips are turning, his upper half is following, and his arms are navigating the swing from here on out.
Finally, notice how his left arm (right arm for the righty's) has turned over beautifully.
This is the picture-perfect position and a useful technique for controlling your ball.
Though I personally try to emulate Els' picturesque finish, I believe that in this part of the golf swing, more than any other, "to each his own."
Els' finish encapsulates three basic components: his entire body (specifically the belt-buckle) is facing the target, his front leg has popped inward and is straight, and his hands are held high.
I think that among PGA Tour players today, the three golfers who truly epitomize the golf swing would be Ernie Els, Adam Scott, and Luke Donald.