Category Archives: swing changes

How to Make a Swing Change

Making a swing change? Do it like this.

Step 1: Start by making slow-motion swings with your driver, no ball in front of you. Do this over and over until you feel the change is being integrated with the rest of your swing.

Then hit some balls, with the same slow-motion swing. If you get good shots, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Spend a week swinging your 9-iron with the slow-motion swing. Hit some balls. Hit lots of 9-irons. When you’re satisfied that you can hit a 9-iron with your new swing, move up to the 8-iron.

Keep the pace of your swing slower than normal. Resist the urge to step it up and see how far the ball will go. All you want is clean contact and straight ball flight.

Work your way through the bag one club at a time. If switching to the next club causes your swing to break down, that’s a sign you weren’t really ready to switch. Go back to the one you were swinging before for a few days.

Take your time, there’s no rush. Spending three months on the transition will pay off a lot more than spending three weeks.

Why Golf Swing Changes Stop Working

Has this happened to you? You made a swing change, it worked great for a few rounds, and then it stopped. Not only did it stop, all of a sudden you had a new problem you never had before and now you don’t know WHAT to do. I’ll tell you what went wrong.

Whenever you make a swing change, the thing you’re doing differently feels, well, different. It feels new. You work on the new technique to get it right, and since you can’t SEE what you’re doing, you rely on the FEEL of the new move to recreate it. So far, so good.

But after you get the new move down pretty well, it starts to feel natural and not like it did when it was new. Here’s where the trouble comes. You keep trying to make it feel the same way it did when you first tried it. The only way you can do that is to do the same thing, but too much of it. You go too far. You over-correct. By chasing the feeling, which is now obsolete, you create a swing problem you never had.

So here’s what to do. Get a full-length mirror. When you learn your new move, learn it by looking at it in the mirror. That way you can see what you’re trying to do. It will have a new feeling, but DISREGARD the feeling. Trust only what you see.

Work on that new move daily, just for a few minutes, in front of the mirror, until you find that you do the new move right the first time you try it. I would not be surprised if at the time it takes for that to happen, the feeling you had when the move was new will be gone.

There will, unfortunately, be a period when you are adrift between the old way and the new way. Best not to play golf during that period, unless you don’t care what your score is. This is all the more reason to work on this new move every day, to hasten its assimilation.

That’s the key, though. Even though golf is a feel game, learn to rely on what feels right, not what feels new.

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.


Golf Swing Changes

Johnny Miller rankles quite a few viewers, but I find him to be entertaining and enlightening. He was especially enlightening on yesterday’s broadcast of the Shell Houston Open, talking about swing changes.

He said, with regard to the professionals who change this and that looking for something better, that swing changes could be the worst thing you can do.

He made a point of saying the same thing applies to amateurs, too. Instead of trying to find something better, stick with improving what you already have.

Continuing this thought, I am pretty sure that you have a good swing right now if you look for it. All you need do is chip off a few rough edges, refine the things you do right, and teach yourself how to keep it all on track.

You do the last part by swinging in slow motion over and over. Faults you could gloss over swinging at a normal pace will stand out clearly in the slower swing.

Once it works, stick with it and keep practicing the same way so you stay in that groove.

All those tips you read in golf magazines about how to hit the ball longer, or longer and straighter? Clip them out and give them to your friends. You’ll start winning more matches, guaranteed.

My new book, The Golfing Self, is now available at It will change everything about the way you play.

Maybe Your Swing Is Just Fine

Are you hitting fairways at a pretty good distance off the tee with regularity? Wonderful. Would you like to try a tiny swing change that will give you a few extra yards? Please say No.

Touring pros tinker because they look for every edge they can get. At their level, taking even one stroke off their score makes a big difference in their chances to win. When you as a recreational golfer search for something just a little better, without professional guidance, it could lead to something a lot worse. Getting back to where you were before might take a long time. Believe me, I know.

If you’ve been playing golf for a while, the way you swing is pretty much set. Identify the movements that make your swing work well and learn to repeat those movements. Avoid taking your natural swing in a different direction because of the latest thing you read about or saw on TV. this is truly a case of, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.