By Matt Keel

When you first learned how to play golf, you were first taught how to set up.  You learned about grip, stance, alignment etc.  To play good golf, it is important to make sure you are setting up correctly every time, however I often see little attention paid to finishing the golf swing correctly.  If we try to begin our swing the same way every time, wouldn’t it make sense to end our swing the same way?  Most people agree that how you finish your swing is simply an end result of how you swung the golf club.  Sometimes, changing the end result will change what you do to arrive at that end result.  In my experience, I have found that creating a good finish will change your swing for the better.


Finishing your swing correctly impacts your swing in several areas.  A correct finish will teach you how to swing in balance.  There is no sport that I know of that you can play well when you are off balance.  A good finish will also aid in keeping your arms and body connected during your swing.  Many students will swing too quickly with their arms causing a disconnect between the body and the arms.  Have you ever noticed when you swing easier, you hit the ball better?  By swinging easier, you are slowing down your arms allowing your arms and body to stay connected through your swing.  A good finish will also aid in a desirable club path creating good direction.  All that being said, let’s look how to make a good finish to your golf swing. 


The next time you go to the driving range, hold your finish and check to see if you are finishing correctly.  When checking your finish, ask yourself three questions.  First, is your core facing your target?  Second, is your target side foot in the same position it was when you started your swing?  Third, is your back foot straight up and down?  The answers to these questions not only create individual consequences, but will also affect each other.  Once you have answered these question, you will know what you need to change.

Is your core facing your target? 
At the end of your swing, your core should be facing your target.  Facing your core to your target shows that you rotated completely.  Failure to rotate completely affects your distance as well as your direction.  Your distance will be affected due to a shorter range of motion in your swing and will also allow your arms to take over generating less club head speed at impact.  Failure to rotate fully and allowing your arms to take over will also cause your swing path to change and cause you to hit the ball left or right.

Is your target side foot still in the same position?
Your target side foot is your left foot if you are right handed and your right foot if you swing left handed.  Your target side foot should remain planted through your entire swing.  It is common for students to spin their target side foot forward during the swing.  Spinning your target side foot forward causes your hips to open to your target creating a swing path that is too far to the inside.  In other words, your hips open up too much and you cut across the ball usually causing a slice or a pull slice.  Keeping your target side foot planted will help you to rotate your hips forward creating a better club path.

Is all your weight on your target side foot at the end of your swing?
We generate club head speed in various ways during the golf swing.  Transferring your weight toward your target is one of the most important components to creating club head speed.  To check to see if your weight is fully transferred forward, hold your finish and look at your back foot.  If your back foot is straight up and down, you transferred your weight fully.  If your back foot is bent at the ball of your foot, then you left some weight on your back foot.


Once you are aware of what you need to correct, you’ll need to make the changes and create new habits.  First, hold your finish at the end of your swing.  Next look at what you need to correct based on what was said earlier, and make a quick correction while you are still holding your finish.  Make another swing and make the corrections again while you are still holding your finish.  Keep repeating this process and you will soon be able to make the corrections during your swing and create new habits.

While focusing on your set up is important to playing your best golf, try paying some attention to how you finish.  Noticing how you finish can provide you valuable information as to how you are swinging the golf club.  By placing a little more emphasis on how you finish your golf swing, you will start to see more consistency and create better shots.

Matt Keel is the Lead Golf Instructor at Wildfire Golf Club located at the JW Marriott at Desert Ridge.  For any questions or information about golf lessons email Matt at Mattkeel@pga.com or visit the website www.Mattkeelgolf.com.