This sport is tough….seriously bloody tough.
And it doesn’t get much tougher than when you’re trying to implement your new swing change on the golf course.
Of course you want to get better so swing changes are necessary, but at the same time – you don’t want your golf on the course to badly suffer.
It’s one big catch 22!
Maybe you even avoid the course for a period whilst making changes? You tell yourself stuff like;
‘My swing is not ready for the course yet’
‘Just one more range session’
Some golfers can’t hack their reduction in performance and give up on the changes way too early.
Therefore never improve.
But does your level have to drop on the golf course whilst making changes? Are you resigned to this every time you want to improve your golf swing?
As I’ll show you here – No, it doesn’t…
Not by a long shot!
Exaggerate the Move in Practice and Let it Feed in Naturally
I won’t bore you too much, but at the moment, I am currently working on a technical aspect of my own golf swing. I lose too much height in the backswing (head gets closer to the ball) which causes me to be inconsistent at impact.
So to sort this problem out – in the technical part of my practice session – I do two drills/feelings:
– Hit balls off a high tee – this gives me the feeling that I have to stay taller in the backswing.
– Feel like I actually gain height in the backswing. (so the total opposite to what I currently do!)
Now both don’t feel particularly comfortable – IN FACT THEY FEEL AWFUL, they feel like I am going to top every shot!
But in practice, I exaggerate these moves to the absolute full – I overdo the life out of them.
Here’s me exaggerating the move here in this video. Watch how I don’t lose any height in the backswing…
Now let’s look at the picture to see the reality of this swing.
You can see the difference between feel and reality and it shows you just how much you have to exaggerate a feeling for only a marginal difference.
Taking this to the golf course…
But putting this to one side – what do you think I do when I get out on the course?
Start trying to exaggerate this horrible feeling whilst trying to hit a 3 iron into a tight green with a 15 mph crosswind?
Thinking about gaining height when I am trying to hit a hook round a tree?
No of course not, it will feel terrible and doing these things will take my mind away from the actual things I should be thinking about:
– Type of shot I need to play.
I play every Saturday with lots of different members. Most of them are what I would class as ‘average golfers’.
And this is great because I get to see firsthand how they approach swing changes on the course.
And one thing is very apparent – a lot of golfers get complete and utterly bogged down by their new swing changes.
They have a lesson and now all that’s cemented in their mind is these technical changes. Playing golf gets put on the back burner.
There mind is just overloaded with swing thoughts and feelings…and with this mindset, more often than not they have a crap round and start questioning everything.
‘I can’t do this on the course’
‘This isn’t working’
‘Don’t know why I bother having lesson, they always mess me up’
So, let’s quickly go back to my example:
Let’s say I go and hit my normal 100 quality repetitions using my drills this week.
Do you think I’ll go out on the course at the weekend and naturally (without consciously thinking about it) keep my height on every shot?
Of course I won’t, 100 repetitions is not enough to ingrain something like this and a week certainly isn’t.
What will likely happen next time I play…
I will make a few natural (sub-conscious) swings where I do keep my height and it feels great. Or at the very least, lose my height less and create a bit more room at impact on a few swings.
But inevitably the majority will be my current motion I am trying to change – and that’s great.
My new technique has ingrained a little since last week and because I am thinking correctly on the course, my level hasn’t dropped at all!
I am not hitting these obscure golf shots that I would be hitting if I was consciously trying to put the club in these uncomfortable positions.
This obscurity is best left for the range…
And this in turn allows me stay positive about the changes and keeps me on track.
I don’t hate golf and start questioning it all.
And the biggest point is – I don’t feel like my games gone backwards!
Knowing the FIX is Only Part of it….
I actually think this is the hardest part for coaches…
Most coaches are great at telling you the things you need to do to fix your swing but another skill which in my experience is sometimes missed, is showing you the correct habits to ensure you actually see the swing change through.
It’s the same as a diet plan. You know what you need to eat to lose weight but the real skill is to learn how you will actually stick to it – how to create the habits which will get you the results and ensure that you don’t give up after you 3rd meal of chicken and broccoli…
And swing changes are no different…they have the same frustrations, annoyances and motivation issues as sticking to a diet. You often feel like giving up on them too soon – just as you would trying to lose a bit of timber.
And this is the one method that has worked for me and worked for lots of Luke’s clients.
Exaggerate the feeling in practice and let it feed in on the course, whilst not thinking about it.
This ensures you improve at a steady pace whilst maintaining your sanity on the golf course!
The Secret Which Took Me Forever to Find Out
This has taken me about 15 years of playing and researching golf to finally sink in…
Its pretty simple – you will never play golf to your full potential thinking about your swing on the course and especially not whilst thinking about a swing change.
The pros in the heat of the battle certainly are not – I have done so much research on this and all of them talk about playing their best being completely swing thought free.
I was that guy who hated swing changes – I hated taken them on the course because it ‘messed me up’.
I was that guy who couldn’t think about anything else other than the ‘new position’
It wasn’t until I really started to engross myself with the mental side that I realized thinking in this way on the course was so detrimental to my improvement and is probably hurting yours too!
I love the throwing paper in the bin analogy…
What do you do when you go and throw something in the bin?
Do you just look at the bin and throw it… or do you think about the technical elements of your elbow and wrist and what angle they should be to get the paper in the bin?
Of course you know the answer…and playing on the course should be no different.
So to summarize this in a few lines…
Once you know your fault (diagnosed by a pro) and you have found a drill/move to correct it (given to you by a pro). Exaggerate the move/drill to the max in the technical part of your practice sessions.
Then when you are out on the course – forget about the change completely (apart from maybe one practice swing) then your target is your only thought…
If you are getting bogged down by technical jargon on the golf course and it’s ruining your enjoyment and performance, I strongly suggest you give this new mindset a go…:)