Mastering how to swing a golf club can seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance and practice, you can unlock the secrets to a powerful, accurate, and reliable pattern! And through my many years as a player and coach, I’ve found the rotational golf swing to be my preferred, and best method.
As you read on, I will reveal the essential keys in my rotational golf swing blueprint. I call these the 5 KEYS! 🔑 And through my experience, research, and observation, I have seen these keys mastered by all the great ball strikers…and it’s also my belief that you too can harness them!
This blueprint will act as your guide on how to swing a golf club with the utmost power and freedom, just like some of the many elite professional golfers who have wielded the rotational golf swing with great success, like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Viktor Hovland.
In this blueprint, you’ll gain knowledge and techniques on how to swing with confidence, covering my essential 5 KEYS in order to rotate. Plus, I’ll touch on every segment of the swing, from the grip to posture to impact and even follow-through.
We leave no stone unturned in this one-of-a-kind rotational golf swing blueprint. Get ready to elevate your golf game and impress your friends on the course! But before reading on, let me tell you that if you prefer a more visual learning experience, I also filmed this step-by-step series, and you can watch the full video right now for free…CLICK HERE.
- Establish the foundation of a great rotational action, with how proper grip, stance, and posture can produce the dynamics we are looking to create in the motion.
- Communicate how the golf club is most efficiently transported through space.
- Perfect the athletic technique through proper weight transfer and pressure shift, sequence, hip and chest rotation, and power generation from the ground up, for balance and accuracy in ball striking.
- Learn how to utilize the 5 KEYS to swing a golf club with the most speed and confidence, and that is also safe on the body.
Without further to do, let’s get into this rotational golf swing blueprint and our 5 KEYS.
Unlock Your Rotational Golf Swing With These Simple 5 Keys! 🔐
The following 5 keys were specifically identified by myself and my team as the most important aspects in making an elite, athletic, rotational golf swing as seen from the best ball strikers of all time. If you have long been wondering how to swing a golf club more like the pros and elevate your game, then you are in the right place.
In my experience, swinging a golf club is just like any other stick and ball sport, from baseball, to tennis, to racquetball, or even chopping down a tree side-on. These pivot-driven motions, aligned with good hand and wrist mechanics, help align and drive the piece of equipment…it’s how we, as athletes, strike!
But, before we dive into the 5 KEYS, we must first cover some of the essential foundations you need to help set up these in-swing movements. Without a proper setup and golf grip, your takeaway, backswing, transition, downswing, impact, and followthrough could all be for not!
The beauty is that there is no one-size-fits-all, we’ve seen many matchups used throughout the history of the game. What’s most important is that you wield your alignments and grip to the best of your ability, which, in my experience, is through the 5 KEYS introduced in this series.
Let’s take a look at some basic pre-swing foundations to look for before jumping into the rotational golf swing blueprint. I’ve also attached some helpful YouTube videos on each of these subjects that may help you in creating your own powerful swing foundation.
Foundations to Consider (Golf Swing Basics)
Types of Golf Grips
Overlapping Grip (also known as the Vardon grip) – suitable for golf players who have larger hands and longer fingers. Pictured above, notice how my right hand (trail hand) pinky finger overlaps my left glove hand between the index and middle fingers. Some also double overlap with the pinky between the middle finger and ring finger.
Interlocking Grip – ideal for players with smaller hands or difficulty flexing their fingers where the pinky and pointer fingers interlock.
Baseball Grip or 10-Finger Grip – less popular and typically used by beginners or those with limited hand flexibility.
Weak Grip vs Strong Golf Grip – while one may read these pertaining to one’s grip pressure, denoting a grip as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ simply identifies the relationship of the hand(s) to the center line of the shaft. For a right-hander, a strong grip would be defined by the hands being turned further to the right, while a weak grip would be defined by the hands being turned more to the left. Both grips can work in a rotational golf swing, however the in-swing matchups for each will be slightly different.
Trigger Finger – one other point to consider when gripping the club is the use of the index finger on the bottom hand. This can act as a key pressure point on the club in face control and power. This can also aid in getting the shaft and handle slightly ahead at impact, as the many great ball strikers do so well!
Grip Pressure – I get asked all the time, “How firmly should I grip the club?”. This answer is very complex and depends on the person. High-level golfers have been proven to grip the club more firmly than amateurs, however we are likely talking about stronger, faster swinging individuals in general. Softness and feel are crucial, but we also have to be able to manage the clubface. If I were to offer up a scale of 1-to-10, I would suggest somewhere in the 5-7 range for full-length shots.
For more information on the proper golf grip and my preferences, here is a video I put together:
Golf Posture and Stance
Begin by bending over slightly from your hips, and also allowing to have bend in your knees slightly, with your stance roughly shoulder width apart depending on the club and shot at hand.
I like to see a relaxed upper spine with soft shoulders and arms. Specifically a soft front arm and trail arm with the right elbow being very slightly bent. Left arm and right arm ought to be fairly aligned parallel to the target line. Too much tension and rigidity can act as a distance depriver and you’ll surely lose power with no allowance of the club actually being able to swing. I see this set up mistake from amateur golfers all the time! Notice the world-class setups of the great Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy, seen below. (picture from Colorado Avid Golfer)
Weight and pressure should be relatively centered between your feet, with some extra towards the front foot, depending on the club. You should feel fairly balanced and athletic here. As far as too and from the ball, your pressure should also feel pretty neutral, maybe slightly towards the balls of your feet.
I like to see the upper and lower body fairly stacked up with not much tilt away from the target, and your body weight fairly centered. You’ll tend to see the upper body slightly more bent away from the target with longer clubs. For more information on the athletic golf stance and posture I’ve laid out, here’s a video:
Alignment and Aim
Correct alignment of your body and clubface is vital to hitting precise golf shots at your target and that curve the way you’d like. For a right-handed player, start with the clubface, which should be directed towards the starting point, which typically will be your target line.
From there, your lower and upper body should be roughly parallel to that target and start line you established. Both your front shoulder and back shoulder should feel and appear pretty aligned and parallel to your intended target line.
This should feel like an athletic position, and you should feel in good balance. This alignment will help ensure your swing path is on the ideal plane for striking the ball with precision.
For more information on proper aiming, here is a video:
Golf Ball Position
Above, you will see an illustration from Ben Hogan’s famous book Five Lessons. Correct ball placement (or golf ball position) is key for solid contact with the golf ball and hitting your intended trajectory window. To determine the optimal ball position for each club, start with your feet together and take a small step left with your left foot and a corresponding step right with your right foot for a short iron, a slightly longer step right for a mid-iron, and an even longer step right for a long iron, wood, or driver.
I typically like to see the ball position off one’s left ear or shirt logo, for the right-handed golfer. Many discuss the ball placement being in relation to one’s feet, but I typically like to look at how it relates to one’s upper center. For example, I like to draw an imaginary line passing through a student’s lead ear and lead pec down to the ground.
You can move the ball position around for various shots and curves, but typically for consistency’s sake, I wouldn’t recommend moving the ball much in your stance. A simple thought on this is that the club face position shouldn’t look all that dissimilar shot-to-shot, not too far back and not too far forward.
For more information on positioning your golf ball, here is a video:
How to Swing a Golf Club with Rotation (The 5 KEYS)
Now that we have established and covered these important foundations and setup essentials, let’s get you on track to unlocking your rotational golf swing with my simple 5 KEYS…
1. Impact 🔑
Establishing a good understanding of impact can help set the stage for the other moving parts of the swing. In a solid golf impact position, we are looking to create a powerful line of compression. We are looking for some amount of shaft lean, some amount of hip rotation, some amount of chest rotation (with the sternum aimed about one foot or more in front of the ball) roughly equal to the amount of side bend, a small amount of lowering or flexing (to some degree a maintaining of one’s spine angle), and the left knee moving towards the target and around.
For the right-handed player, we typically like to see the top of the lead forearm showing just above the trail arm with the right camera angle from down-the-line (as you’ll see above). Simply rehearsing this impact position and hitting little shots from here can be a powerful practice for better ball striking! This will train us on where we are going. And while it may seem counterintuitive to begin here, for many impact is a very vague, misunderstood, and untrained piece of the swing.
2. Sequencing 🔑
An often overlooked part of the swing is the actual athletic movement itself, the sequence, or what I like to call FLOW. So often, we get caught up in getting the club and our body in the correct positions, and we forget how to actually swing a stick and be an athlete. You’ll often get the breakdown of a basic golf swing as the following:
- Top of the Swing
- Follow-through and Release
But what if, in fact, it’s all one move…one great golf swing? That’s what I like to think of it as. After all, the club positioning or segments are mere points of time in this one swing. But how do we train flow, or proper sequence? And how should we time everything in the correct order, or kinematic sequence?
For many amateurs, the club is moved primarily with the hands and arms. It’s almost picked up to the top and then quickly thrown out back to the ball. When this powering method is used, they are not using their middle, their whole system to swing the club, and they are missing out on the FLOW the best ball strikers all exhibit!
Milo Lines Golf
Join The Academy
Learn to Swing Like an Athlete™.
Monthly Swing Evaluation
Video Course Library
Milo’s 3 Foundations
Live Lesson Library
Private Community Forum
One way to unlock a better sequence, is to start by looking at correct weight transfer and pressure shifts. I like to have students start by moving in a natural flowing rock from side-to-side, yet with a bit of a rotational pattern. I’ll even have them start with the club head positioned towards the target and their pressure on their front foot, with the back foot heal slightly elevated before taking it back.
From there, they can begin swinging it back after replanting the trail heal. Then I like to have them pick up their left heel in the backswing, replant it to begin the downswing, before striking the ball and finishing with their right heel up, all as sort of a countering method to the club. With this exercise, the student effectively feels how to use their mass, shifts, and pivot to move the club. A heel tap drill is excellent for this. I find this especially helpful with beginner golfers who always seem stuck and frozen over the golf ball, worried about always being in the correct position.
Just think of Lee Trevino and his magical move, he was dancing and moving, even before he took the club away. He even said it helped him perform better under pressure! (picture below from Golf Magazine)
By learning to sequence and move athletically, I find a lot of my students can then quickly master a proper, dynamic takeaway and golf backswing. Starting from stuck, on the other hand, as many amateur golfers do, can make it more challenging and far less dynamic.
For this reason, something I talk a lot about in my coaching is a trigger. Seemingly all the great ball strikers use movement before the golf clubs are even taken away. Whether it’s a little right knee kick, handle lean, pressure shift to the front foot, counter hip swivel, or something else, they get moving before the swing is even initiated. But why is that?
It’s simple, they are moving like athletes! Following this trigger, I like to see a nice dynamic move to the top in the backswing, with a little shift to the back leg, countered by another shift or transfer or landing back to the lead side. From there, we can aggressively pass through the ball and into the finish. Job well done! A nice thought I like to give students when first tapping into this athletic sequence is that the ball just gets in the way of this good movement, you are collecting it, not hitting at it.
3. Bends 🔑
Another area that may not get enough attention, in my opinion, is how a golfer bends in their swing. Whether that be from the hips, knees, or spine. There are numerous hinge points throughout the body and it’s important to bend in both a safe and efficient manner to produce the best results. How we turn in our bends can make or break our swing, or even our body!
To begin, I prefer to see a small amount of hinge from the hips and knees at setup and an increase in transition to the downswing. The spine can be a little more complicated and troublesome for many. I prefer not to see much bending and rotation happening in the lumbar spine as this tends to produce a lot of lower back problems; plus, it’s not the most mobile area to begin with. Think of the lumbar spine as the base of a tree.
Whereas, the T-spine or thoracic spine is more mobile. For this reason, you’ll often hear me talk about employing the T-spine in the swing as being “ribs up”. This is where I like to see more movement from, with bends and turns. At setup, I actually prefer to see some roundedness in this region, even through the cervical spine and neck. The old “chin up” is not my favorite, I actually like to see the head and eyes relaxed a little more down to the ball. This can help in reducing tension and in minimizing the requirements of the lumbar spine. Plus, it sets the stage for allowing you to turn on the plane.
As you can see in the first slide of the above photos of Arnold Palmer (from Golf Magazine), he’s rather athletic-looking yet relaxed at the onset. His spine is somewhat rounded, not straight, and his pelvis is more tucked in. You may hear of anterior and posterior pelvic tilts as important in the golf instruction world for this reason. His eyes and head are also gently angled down towards the ball.
In the second slide, you will notice at the top of his swing, he is bent down, keeping a sort of relationship with the golf ball. He is using some amount of hip flexion, knee flexion, and bend in his thoracic spine to do this. Many talk about shoulder tilt and shoulder turn, as you can see this relationship to the ball. This is both a powerful and safe wind-up, something many could benefit from! Even notice Arnie’s left arm is pointed down almost at the ball at the top, roughly in line with his shoulder plane.
From there, you’ll see in the third slide how he was able to then unwind into his finish more-or-less in similar, yet opposite bends, keeping a bit of that relationship. Being able to create and maintain these bends allows us to turn more-or-less on a plane and can help in producing a nice simple, yet efficient swing plane or swing arc. It’s all about being able to wind up and stretch the system so we can unwind!
4. Ground Work 🔑
Similar to sequencing, we must learn how to use the ground to not just properly transfer energy to the golf club, but also move our body safely and in an athletic manner. This again goes back to pressure shifts and how we move from lead foot to back foot and vice versa in the swing. While staying centered (“swinging in a barrel”) and staying on the lead side can be good thoughts for some, in reality there is movement in many directions.
I see amateur golfers every day using the ground terribly wrong, from pushing up and out of the shot, to never landing, to sliding, and backing away. This can wreak havoc on our low point, contact, and even worse, our body.
Outside of the linear use of the ground from side-to-side, we can also use the ground for up and down, and back and forth away or towards the golf ball. One of the trusted sources for analyzing ground reaction force in the swing comes from Swing Catalyst. They categorize these forces into three areas:
- Horizontal (side-to-side)
- Vertical (up and down)
- Torque (rotational)
And each individual moves and utilizes these forces differently. As you’ll see in the picture below (from Swing Catalyst), the center of pressure or COP (white dot in middle), not to be confused with weight shift or mass, is moving quite a bit throughout the swing, from right foot to left foot, and closer and farther from the golf ball. It’s not fixed by any means. Plus, the amount of force, and when that force is being applied throughout, each foot is changing.
But without diving too far down this rabbit hole, I’m simply pointing this out to show the importance of how our connection and use of the ground can create good athletic, flowing movement. Many golf swing errors I see begin here. I typically see big differences between elite professionals and amateurs on the golf course with how they are moving athletically.
Just look at Sam Snead above! One of my favorites and inspirations. Look how his feet and legs are moving and working to deliver power throughout his swing. He’s using his feet and legs to counter, shift, brake, and produce energy up the chain. Even notice how he seemingly rises in the backswing then falls (or some say squats) in the downswing before rotating into the ball. Even look at that left-foot action. It’s a beautiful image and swing to follow!
So how do we train how to use our feet and legs properly? As I said before, I really like step drills, heel taps, and below you will see another drill I like for people to learn how to swing a golf club with more flex and turn through the shot. After all, in this section, I’ve expanded on the fact that there is more than just side-to-side movement. We must also tap into back and forth and up and down.
The landing phase, or falling, or flexing, is something many miss out on in creating a powerful move! Many golfers, for this reason, come to me, and actually personally seek my coaching out as they are complaining about one of the following:
- Early Extension
- Goat Humping
- Not Being Able to Maintain Spine Angle
- Not Being Able to Rotate
- Standing Up
- Low Back Pain
Below is a great exercise I’ll use with students to harness the ground more effectively and hit golf shots without those dreaded actions!
5. Wrist Conditions 🔑
So we’ve reached the 5th and final key to this rotational golf swing method, and you’re probably asking yourself by now, “Why hasn’t Milo discussed the hands, wrists, or arms?” Well, perhaps I saved the most important piece of this puzzle for last!
How we wield our hands and wrists is vitally important in learning how to swing a golf club! After all, it’s our only connection to our golf equipment, the club. Now, the reason we’ve labeled this final key, wrist conditions, is because of how they align with the rotational golf swing I’ve laid out here.
You see, most golfers I work with struggle with how they hinge or load and unload the club. Not only are the hands and wrists extremely important in controlling the alignment of the club face, but they are also very important in producing speed and delivering the desired loft.
Milo Lines Golf
Join The Academy
Learn to Swing Like an Athlete™.
Monthly Swing Evaluation
Video Course Library
Milo’s 3 Foundations
Live Lesson Library
Private Community Forum
Below I’ve added a photo of the various wrist movements (Kennedy Golf & Travel). And in the swing, we’ll see some of each of these. They are wrist flexion, wrist extension, radial deviation, ulnar deviation, pronation, and supination. While I don’t intend to overcomplicate the swing, these are still extremely important, and the best ball strikers know how to master these movements for any desired shot, whether they can anatomically define them or not.
To narrow the scope, however, I’d like to focus primarily on the trail hand for a few important reasons:
- It typically is the dominant hand for the golfer. For a right-handed golfer, the right hand, and for a left-handed player, the left hand.
- It is the most similarly aligned hand on the golf club when you analyze the grips of the best players in the world. There is less variability.
- My preference is to have a slightly stronger lead hand grip (which I outline in the grip video I attached earlier in this blog) for several reasons, but we do tend to see more variability in the lead hand grip, so for that reason as well you won’t see me talking about it as much in my coaching. Once the lead hand is aligned with the student’s preference, I typically just look at the matchups it will create in the swing and coach the individual from there. In the rare case, the student is lead-hand dominant, I will then discuss its role more.
For the most part, the trail hand is seen as roughly aligned with the club face and on the side of the grip. Below you will find three pictures of the golf grip of Tiger Woods and the various ways he has held the golf club throughout his playing career (picture from Golf Magazine). Notice that the right hand really didn’t change much, whereas the lead hand alignment moved more so throughout his career.
So now that we have covered the trail hand alignment (in general), it’s important to discuss how it operates in the golf swing. In general, during the takeaway stage, I like to see the trail wrist begin to extend (reference illustration above). This cocks, hinges, or angles the wrist back into a powerful position and gets the hands loaded up to the top of the swing.
In transition, I like to see the angles established more or less maintained as we change directions and transition to our lead side. Then, through the downswing, I like to still feel (in general) like that trail hand is hinged back until forces naturally unload it for me. So often, the release is a focus of my students and swing instruction in general, but in my experience, I find it’s a second thought or a byproduct of a good systematic move. Now depending on the shot I am trying to play, I may feel like I never release this angle for a lower shot, and other times I may feel it unload a little sooner as my body rises a bit more to launch the ball high.
As I’ll always see “it depends”, and “I have my preferences”. The amount of hinge, angle, or wrist extension we are trying to create and maintain into impact will also depend on the individual. That being said, this is the primary focus of mine when coaching wrist conditions as I believe it to be the most simple wrist movement to understand and master. Plus, I believe it truly aligns with a good systematic pivot!
As I said before, there are outliers like lead hand dominant golfers where I will coach them through more lead hand dominant feels, but generally speaking I focus more on the trail hand and wrist and how it is operating.
The last point on this is that there are many golf grips that can work, but it’s important to note that how they manifest wrist angles in the golf swing is not always the same. Just look above at the varying top of the backswing positions and structures of Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Matthew Wolff (picture from Golf Magazine). Clearly, there are some variables to consider here and the wrists do not remain straight, they are angling and matching up differently.
But when we look at high-level players like the great Ben Hogan above (especially in the downswing and delivery phases of the golf swing), we see that trail wrist extended and bent back so they can produce compressed, solid, good contact strikes, plus with a lot of power and speed.
A Recap of the 5 KEYS 🔑
- Impact – Train a proper impact to know how you are going to strike the golf ball.
- Sequence – Build on a foundation of athletic movement for the most optimal, flowing golf swing.
- Bends – Move your body in flexion, bends, and turns at the proper angles for better action.
- Ground Work – Learn to use the surface beneath your feet for a more powerful golf swing.
- Wrist Conditions – Master how your hands and wrists control the club face.
While the above methods and philosophies are my preferences, that does not mean this is the only roadmap for learning how to swing a golf club. At the end of the day, my preferences and methods are based on my 20+ years of research and experience, and what I feel to be the most dynamic, safe, and efficient way to navigate ball striking.
But no matter my ideal pattern, I coach the individual in front of me. No one student is the same, and the adjustments needed for each person to achieve their best are unique to them. This is where individual lessons and analysis become so important in truly helping in one’s golfing journey.
Milo Lines Golf
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Learn more about Milo Lines Golf and my online coaching academy, here: https://milolinesgolf.com/. With over 200 training videos, monthly webinars, and a supportive online community, become a member to start your training today.