How To Improve Your Golf Swing
OK – so you’ve been playing automatically but you now want to improve your golf swing. What’s the best way and how do you do it?
Great question and one that needs some attention.
First off, you need to have spent some time playing automatically. This is key. If you’ve never given automatic a chance you’re wasting your time and will NEVER experience your best golf. Why? Because you will get a mixed bag of results and will have nothing solid to work with. After all, it’s impossible to fix anything if you keep making different mistakes each time. When you play automatically you’ll actually find your game, and this, believe it or not, will be fairly consistent.
Secondly, it’s crucial that you only attempt to fix something that’s broken. Don’t make up stories and don’t fix something just for the sake of it.
It’s also important to choose one thing at a time to work on. It’s just not possible to fix your grip, backswing, downswing and follow-through all at once. Make it easy on yourself and stick to one thing at a time.
With these in mind let’s look at how to make an improvement to your golf swing.
Get the best information
Do everything you can to find the best information. Beg, borrow or steal it if you have to. I was so disgruntled at the contradictory nature of golf instruction that I embarked on a journey that led to a major scientific study into the golf swing. A little bit overboard perhaps, but the information I was left with ended the confusion and self-doubt that I once had.
How do you find that information? BioSwing is a good place to start. I would avoid any radical teaching theories. Anyone claiming to have invented a new swing, grip or special technique is likely selling snake oil. If you can find a golf coach that is prepared to help you enhance your natural swing (not take it apart and destroy it) and teach you a free flowing action, you’ll do just fine. If she wants to get too technical and try and turn you into a robot I would encourage you to run, not walk, the other way.
How to make swing changes
Assuming that you’ve got some good instruction and you’re working with a golf coach that isn’t trying too technical, here’s a method for integrating changes into your game.
Note: I’ve adopted the following techniques from Carey Mumford’s 32 ball drill and from working with my mentor Michael Craig. Michael Craig has been an Olympian and national hockey coach for Australia and Japan.
When you want to make swing changes or alterations to your game you have to enter what I call “training mode”. Training mode is focussing your attention on the ONE aspect that you want to fix. You are not fixing your golf swing, trying to play golf and attempting to hit perfect golf shots all at the same time. This is a recipe for disaster! Work on one thing and that thing only.
I have always found that best results are achieved away from the golf course. One of the best things you can do if you want to work on your swing is to find a practice net. Installing one at home or the office is well worth it if you’re serious about improvement. I like to keep the golf course for playing golf and the practice net for “training mode”.
The idea of training mode is to make four or five conscious attempts at whatever you’re working on. Remember, your focus and attention is on the drill or the action – don’t worry about the quality of the strike. Good or bad at this stage it’s irrelevant. Too many golfers want to hit perfect shots during practice, when they don’t get it they lose concentration and interest. Forget about results during training mode – your attention needs to be on whatever you’re working on an that’s it!
The next step is important and one that Mumford and Craig are big on. You have to simulate “play” after a short while. There’s no point hitting hundreds of shots and expecting changes to be made. After four or five attempts you need to simulate play on the course. You do this by going through your full routine and striving for automation. This is the time to forget about swing thoughts and play golf.
The final part is to repeat the above two steps a few more times. That is, hit a handful of balls thinking about your technique then let go and hit some automatically. This process ensures your practice sessions are short and sharp and all changes are integrated into your game. This is what practice is all about. Learning to make changes and then being able to take them to the course.