This section contains the definitions, illustrations and links of all important terms used within the Golf Dictionary, as well as links to further online studies on each topic. In each Glossary topic you may click the “Return” button to go back to the point at which you were originally reading within the Dictionary, and thus continue exploring the topic; or you may wish to scroll through the Glossary content independently to discover other terms, tools and their respective definitions.
- Swing Index: The Swing Index is a personalized measurement of your potential for improvement across 21 elements of your golf swing as analyzed by a PGA and Swing Index certified coach. Unlike the handicap system, the Swing Index is the measurement of the health of your swing versus the total number of shots taken. Get your Swing Index here.
- Swing Roadmap: The personalized plan and order developed by an elite coach after reviewing a player’s swing and is related to their goals and Miss-Hit. The Swing Roadmap guides the efforts of both coach and player to work as a team toward game improvement and elimination of their Primary Swing Fault(s).
- Swing IQ: The Swing IQ is a test of your knowledge of the golf swing. If you have a good Swing IQ you will have a better understanding of the golf swing which makes it easier to improve your swing index and avoid mis-hits.
- Reverse Engineering: Reverse Engineering is the process elite coaches use to help improve your swing. By masterfully interpreting the Laws of Ball flight to define how a shot was struck, golf instruction becomes based on facts, not theories. An expert coach uses the Laws of Ball flight to determine what Laws were broken to create your mis-hits and work backwards from the ball’s flight all the way to the address. Expert coaches identify your personal Swing Faults, which are directly related to the Laws. Swing Faults are connected to important areas of the swing called Swing Elements that happen in chronological order from the swing Setup to the Release of the swing. Elite coaches will order your Swing Faults in a Roadmap, a plan to help you build on one successful improvement to the next.
- Pre Shot Sequence: The most important areas of focus (Primary Swing Faults) that a player continually works on with their coach so as to not regress in skill. The Pre Shot Sequence is an audio recording from the coach to the player that reminds the player of what to focus on for improving their swing.
- Primary / Dominant Swing Fault: A Primary Swing Fault is what world class coaches identify as the core swing fault that the player must change in order to create game improvement. Elite coaches create the Swing Roadmap for the players to understand how to improve their swings. When a primary/dominant swing fault is corrected, all swing elements are supported and can improve, thus raising the Swing Index of the player. Fixing a primary swing fault will prevent injury, fatigue, and frustration. Without fixing a dominant Swing Faults, players may struggle and never gain true long term improvement.
- Weak Lead Hand Grip- A Weak Lead Hand Grip will contribute to the #1 mis-hits in golf, the Slice, and also impact the Lever (one of the main parts of your swing), creating an improper Hinge in your wrist contributing to a Loss of Power. A weak lead hand grip is when the lead hand palm is facing more up, with the lead forearm turned in, and the lead shoulder low. The club may look square at address, but through the motions of the swing, the clubface will open radically and create a Slice.
- Strong Lead Hand Grip: A Strong Lead Hand Grip will contribute to the Hook mis-hits in golf, and create Swing Faults in the Release. A Strong Lead Hand Grip is usually a swing fault experienced by better players as it creates more of a draw ball flight. However, it eventually creates too much curvature in the draw shot shape, leading to Hooks and modifications on the release of the swing resulting in Pushes.
- Weak Trail Hand Grip: This issue will open the clubface and cause a Slice. This is actually a preferred grip for finesse shots around the green to add loft and cause the club to slide on the turf. When used for power shots, this grip will cause Chunked shots as well as Slices, and contribute greatly to a loss of distance.
- Strong Trail Hand Grip: Having this grip will cause you to overly close the clubface through the Release, causing a Hook. You can modify the Release to stop this, but it will lead to compensations and variations that result in inconsistency and Pushes. Since this grip is created by placing the trail hand palm facing more up to the sky, the trail arm is Tucked causing issues in the Path of the backswing.
- In-to-Out: Referring to the PATH of the club head relative to the target line at impact, the club moves from inside of the target line prior to impact and outside post impact. An In-to-Out Path is essential to hitting proper Draws.
- Out-to-In: Referring to the PATH of the club head relative to the target line at impact, the club moves from outside of the target line prior to impact in inside post impact. A slight Out-to-In Path is favourable for Fades, but too much will create the potential for a Slice.
- Open Alignment: The direction of the body (feet, knees, hips, torso and arms) at the Set-Up facing more to the target. The lead side (closest to the target) is turned to the target.
- Closed Alignment: The direction of the body (feet, knees, hips, torso and arms) at the Set-Up facing away from the target. The back of the body is facing the target.
- Open Clubface: The direction of the leading edge of the clubface pointing to the right relative to the PATH of the Swing. For a right-handed golfer, the ball will curve to the right of the swing path; for a left-handed golfer, to the left. An open clubface will Fade and Slice the ball while adding loft to shots.
- Closed Clubface: The direction of the leading edge of the clubface pointing to the left relative to the PATH of the Swing. For a right-handed golfer the ball will curve to the left of the swing path, and to the right for a left-handed golfer. A closed clubface will Draw and Hook the ball while reducing loft.
GENERAL TERMS (right handed golfer)
- Face-On: The view of a golfer standing perpendicular to the intended target of the player
- Downline: The view of a golfer facing the intended target
- Open: The player/clubface is aligned to the right of the Path
- Closed: The player/clubface is aligned to the left of the Path
- Shaft: Connects the golfer’s hands to the clubhead. Often in golf analysis, the shaft is measured in certain areas to define the plane of the swing and correctness of form.
- Grip: How the player connects their hands to the club shaft. The Lead hand is the hand on the top of the grip and the trail hand is the hand below.
- Face: The surface of the club that strikes the ball. How the Face aligns to the Path of the club largely controls the direction of the shot.
- Path: The direction of the clubhead through the impact area of the swing relative to the target/horizon (left/right).
- Speed: The measured speed of the club head just prior to impact and a determinant of distance.
- Angle of Attack: The direction of the clubhead through the impact area of the swing relative to the sky (up/down).
- Spin Rate: The golf ball’s “front to back” spin on its axis of tilt.
- Centeredness: The strike point of the ball on the Face of the club.
- Set-Up: The static position of the player just prior to the backswing.
- Backswing: The first dynamic motion phase of the swing when the body, arms and club are moving away from the target.
- Downswing: When the body, arms and club are moving towards the ball and target.
- Release: The dynamic sequence of events of the player’s body, arms, hands, and club to create impact and ball flight.
- Lead Hand Grip: The hand on the top of the grip.
- Trail Hand Grip: The hand below the lead hand on the grip.
- Posture: How the body hinges from the waist at address and creates a functional spine (Side Bend) angle to maximize rotary potential in the player.
- Stance Width: The measured distance between the center of the player’s feet.
- Ball Position: The position of the ball relative to the player’s feet and body.
- Knee Flex: The amount of flex in the knees while in Posture.
- Alignment: The direction of the body (torso, hips, knees, feet) relative to the target.
- Upper Body: The measured amount of rotation from the players upper torso (thoracic).
- Lower Body: The measured amount of rotation from the player’s lower body (pelvis and knees).
- Footwork: The contact maintained or lost with the ground while player is in dynamic motion. The feet can lift, roll or remain stable.
- Hinge: Viewed from Face-On, the angle created between the shaft and lead forearm on the backswing.
- Lead Arm: The lead arm lever measured on the backswing as straight or bent.
- Trail Arm: How the trailing arm folds on the backswing relative to the posture of the player; can be measured as tucked or limited (Path, AoA, Speed, Face, Centeredness).
- Lead Wrist / Clubface: The measured position of the lead hand wrist to the top of the backswing and the accompanying alignment of the club face, and is a determinant of direction (face).
- Trail Wrist: Flexed or extended, the trail wrist measured at the top of the backswing.
- Shaft: The downline-measured position of the shaft relative to the player’s posture and horizon, sometimes referred to as the player’s Swing Plane.
- Lead Arm: The downline-measured position of the players lead arm relative to their posture and horizon.
- Body Sequence: The downswing order of the Body to impact: Shift, Turn and Rise.
- Release of Arms and Club: The path of the hands, shaft and club head relative to the horizon and vertical directions in the downswing.
- Exit of Club: The direction of the club shaft relative to the player’s posture and horizon viewed from downline, post impact.
SWING ELEMENT FAULTS
- Grip Lead Hand – STRONG: In the Set-Up position, the placement of the lead hand with the palm facing down to the ground. This fault causes the clubface to close and the ball flight to hook.
- Grip Lead Hand – WEAK: In the Set-Up position, the placement of the lead hand with the palm facing up to the sky. This fault causes the club face to open and the ball flight to slice.
- Trail Hand – STRONG: In the Set-Up position, the placement of the trail hand with the palm facing up to the sky. This fault causes the club face to close and ball flight to hook.
- Trail Hand – WEAK: In the Set-Up position, the placement of the trail hand with the palm facing down to the ground. This fault causes the club face to open and ball flight to slice.
- Posture – C Posture: Viewed from downline in the set up position, the rounding of the upper torso which creates a curve in the upper spine. This fault limits the amount of turn a player can make in their swing.
- Posture – S Posture: Viewed from downline in the Set-Up position, the excessive forward tilt in the pelvis (belt tilted downward) creating an arched upper back. This fault also limits the amount of turn a player can make and makes consistent contact difficult.
- Stance Width – WIDE: The measured distance from the center of the player’s feet at Set-Up, this fault can limit the amount of turn a golfer can make in their swing.
- Stance Width – NARROW: The measured distance from the center of the player’s feet at Set-Up, this fault can reduce the stability a player needs to turn in their swing.
- Ball Position – FORWARD: The ball placement viewed from face on in the Set-Up relative to the player’s feet and body. This fault can create issues for poor contact.
- Ball Position – BACK: Fault with driver is to Pop-Up, with shots when the ball is on the ground; the error will be to Top or strike Thin.
- Knee Flex – STRAIGHT: Downline Set-Up, player’s knees are not flexed enough causing the golfer to have a lack of turn on the backswing and limiting speed.
- Knee Flex – BENT: Downline Set-Up, player’s knees are flexed too much, lowering the golfer to the ground at address, creating less turn and more slide in the backswing.
- Alignment – OPEN: Downline Set-Up, the player’s alignment relative to the target; results in the player facing the target more at address. This fault can limit the players turn on the backswing, causing the player’s path to work left of the target (Pull, Slice, Top, Shank).
- Alignment – CLOSED: Downline Set-Up, the player’s alignment relative to the target.
- Mis-Hit: What occurs when ball flight laws are broken.
- Top: Club head hitting up on the ball, sending the shot rolling on the ground.
- Whiff: Club head missing the ball entirely.
- Pop-Up: Shot for driver or any ball teed up with a wood or hybrid; ball goes high and short when the club hits down on the ball.
- Shank: Sharp, offline shot caused by the path of the club working severely outside or inside of the ball.
- Push (Hook/ Slice): Path of the club head working more In-to-Out of the target line extended, causing the ball to start in the direction of the path. If the face of the club is Open, the ball will Push-Slice. If the face of the club is Closed, the ball will Push-Hook.
- Hook: A sharply curving shot in the direction of the clubface on the path. This will lower the spin rate and reduce the launch angle.
- Slice: A sharply curving shot in the direction of the clubface on the path. This will increase the spin rate and increase launch angle.
- Chunk/Fat: Striking the ground behind the ball prior to impact.