How To  Change

Analysis leads to paralysis.  My college golf coach, Calvin Lane, PREACHED that onto me for 4 years.   Unfortunately for me from a competitive standpoint, I didn't listen and my golf suffered tremendously because of it.  Now, looking back on it, analyzing has helped me become what I am today... a golf instructor.  There are efficient ways to change and improve your swing and there are non efficient ways to change.  Analysis takes place during the first lesson with your instructor.  Do NOT get caught up in analyzing your golf swing on a constant basis, ESPECIALLY on the golf course, let me repeat this... ESPECIALLY ON THE GOLF COURSE.   After the initial analysis... set up a plan on how to change.  This will involve extensive drill work.  All drill work is done on the practice range.  The great thing about drill work is that drill work changes your physical habits.. 'mind free'.    There is no thinking with drill work.... just 'doing'.  The more drill repetition one does the more the physical move will become habit.  Only through drill work will one be able  to physically change one's golf swing efficiently.  Folks, that statement comes from an individual who has spend most of his 'golf swing' career chasing 'his tail in a circle'.  So, believe me when I say... forget 'thinkin golf swing' and do yourself a BIG favor.. 'perform' drill work.

Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent.    I'm sure you heard the cliche... 'Practice makes perfect'.  It only does if you practice correctly and practice the correct things.  It will without any exception... make permanent.   Make sure you absolutely, practice with a purpose and practice the correct motion.  The drill work you do has a distinct purpose with a definitive result in mind.  Swing drills do work when done with enough repetition.  It's damn near impossible to change one's swing by 'thinking' your way through the golf motions.  Besides... you lose sight of the most important goal when you think your way through the golf swing, the target.  Bottom line... don't think, just do (drill work) and keep all your practice work on the driving range and NEVER on the golf course.  On the golf course your ONLY thought is your target.  I'm a huge proponent of drill work and always will be. 

From an instructor's point of view, from a competitor's point of view, from a recreational point of view, and from a personal point of view... you can possess the most efficient and fundamentally sound golf swing and STILL not hit quality golf shots.  Why?...  The simple answer is your mind.  The mind is the most powerful tool we have. Unfortunately, it can work against you if you allow it.  At the same time it can also work for you.  You see a lot of funky swings on TV that work and you see a lot of good swings on TV that don't work.  Your mind is a cure all.  Before you ever look for help in golf instruction do yourself a huge favor and read some of the mental approach to golf books.  I believe strongly that having the right frame of mind will carry you a long way with improving your game.  I strongly recommend these 2 books:  'The Inner Game of Golf' (Tim Galwey) and 'Golf is Not a Game of Perfect' (Dr. Bob Rotella).

So, how do we improve our golf game?  Practice? Repetition? Commitment? Time? Knowledge?  Yes to all of these and a lot of hard work.  Think about this for a second.  You've been swinging a club for 'x' amount of years (in some cases) and you want/need to change your golf swing.   In my personal situation, every change I've made I had to undue 35 years of habit.  Therefore, MUCH repetition and specific swing drills were needed (I still perform certain swing drills...going on 9 years now, on a weekly basis).  Everyone's needs are different.  So, don't get discouraged by the professional's comments you hear on TV (for instance Tiger Woods).  He claims to practice his new swing/s for several years before they feel normal (if they ever do).  One must understand he is trying to 'undo' almost 35 years of habit.  This does not happen over night.  Most recreational golfers are not in this category so their change happens at a faster pace.  Improvement can not be accomplished unless old habits are broken.  Specific golf swing drills, when executed enough times, will break old habits.  Bottom line is... don't get discouraged, become determined.  Change can and will happen.

Black:  Backswing Arc
Green:  'On Plane' Forward Swing Arc
Orange:  'Traditional' Forward Swing Arc
Notice:  Steeper angle of approach with 'Traditional' Arc
Green:  'On Plane' Forward Swing Arc.
Orange:  'Tradtional' Forward Swing Arc.
Notice:  'On Plane' Arc will travel on the 'target line' more than 'Traditional' Arc
P.O. Box 1331
Warren, PA  16365
[email protected]
Western New York PGA
PGA member since 2004