Dr. Jean Harris works with beginner Toby Nassar, age 8, using fun techniques to learn basic skills. HOWARD POBINER

To be successful as a golfer, it is imperative that you get a good start. This goes for juniors as well as adults.

Here are all the things that are necessary before you take that first swing.

Proper equipment. Even a beginner needs clubs that have the proper shafts and grip size. Juniors need to get junior clubs. Cutting down adult clubs would be too heavy for the junior golfer. Your best bet is to see a golf professional for advice or go to one of the excellent golf shops in the Lowcountry.

It is important that the following fundamentals are visual as well as kinesthetic. Watching videos on YouTube is not the best way to learn the game. Your golf professional should use teaching aids and mirrors. Written notes can be helpful. I always say that you need to “See it, feel it and then do it.”

The notes below are for the right-handed golfer; use opposite hands if you are left-handed.

Pre-shot routine. This is one of the most important aspects of your preparation to hit a golf shot. Always start from behind the ball and pick an intermediate target close to you on the target line. Walk to a spot perpendicular to the ball and start your fundamentals from there.

Grip. The pad of your left palm should rest directly on the top of the grip. Curl your fingers under the grip and make sure your left thumb is on the right side of the grip forming a “V.” The right palm should cover the left thumb. The grip should be in the fingers, not the palms and feel very light.

Posture. An athletic posture is important. You need to stand tall and bow forward at the hips with a slight bend in the knees, similar to returning a serve in tennis.

Stance. It is important to start with a comfortable stance with weight balanced on the balls of your feet. Your stance can be narrow, wide or shoulder width apart, depending on the shot you want to hit.

Alignment. This is what your body is doing. This includes your knees, hips and shoulders. Your alignment varies with the club you use and the shot you are trying to produce.

Ball position affects the loft you produce on the shot. Move the ball position forward for more loft and back in your stance for lower shots that roll. A center ball position is recommended for most irons and a forward ball position for your driver.

As you can see there are a number of things you need to do before you ever swing a club. Learn the proper fundamentals and you will be ready to learn the golf swing.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com