An Honest Swing Change Isn’t Easy

We hear that how often on the golf course? It’s a really good excuse for hitting lousy shots and a good one here and there. “I’ve cast off from my old swing, and and haven’t really landed where my new swing will take me, so that’s why I’m playing just as bad as I always do.”

Most of the time I hear someone say they’re going through a swing change, they found something by accident at the range that let them hit three balls in a row better than they ever have and the Key To Golf is now theirs if they can remember what it was and put in the time to install it in their swing on top of all the other things that aren’t helping them.

I know. I used to be that golfer. I would find a little thing, and think, “This is it!” My sons wish they had a nickel for every time I told them I was working on a new swing technique, no, this time it’s really different, etc., etc., etc.

What it was, was just noticing something I had been doing all along, overdoing it, and finding that it didn’t work anymore. I must have gone on like that for a dozen years. I got better, but not that much better. My Swing of the Week didn’t do much for my confidence, either, since I never knew which swing I would be taking to the course, and what do do when it stopped working.

So I decided to jump ship. I had some lessons in which my pro set me off on a new direction and changed me into a different golfer. That was in May. I stopped playing golf to work on this. There were a few serious rounds in which my short game saved me, and weekly rounds with my grandson batting the ball around the local 9-holer, but it was mainly practice, practice, practice.

This change went through three distinct phases — what the pro taught me, how I made it my own, and how I settled back into my old swing but with this modification. That’s what you have to do. There’s only one way you know how to swing a golf club, one way that makes sense based on your build, your strength and flexibility, and your internalized conception of physical movement. All that defines how you will swing the club. It is up to you to learn the correct principles of swinging a golf club and interpret them through those things I listed that make you the athlete you are.

A real swing change is a major commitment and takes time, thought, and continual practice to adopt. First you have to make sense of what the heck you’re supposed to be doing. Once you get that down, you have to figure out how to swing and do that new thing at the same time. Believe me, that’s not easy. Finally, once you can swing with the change, it’s still a studied motion, so you have to ease back into the style of swinging that feels natural to you, but with the new technique in place.

It takes guidance a long the way. I have had two more lessons in just this thing, to make sure I’m doing it right and to correct a few matters that came up. I haven’t hit 10,000 balls along the way, but about half that, yes. I hit five times a week and swing the club every day.

Where at first it felt quite strange, and I could do it only with my 9-iron, this change now works throughout the bag. Th current task, since the guess-work and probing and trying is over, is getting in the reps to make it an unconscious habit. I should be ready in a few months.

Definitely, by all means, go through a swing change. But do it under the direction of a pro you trust, and be ready to put in serious time working on just that one thing. It’s worth it.

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