The Art of Making Swing Changes

The Art of Making Swing Changes

Let’s face it, changing your golf swing is terrifying. 

Sometimes it feels like Russian Roulette and feels like you’re only one bad swing away from regressing drastically. But when a swing change works, there isn’t much of a better feeling in the world.

The truth is, no matter how good you get, your swing is always a work in progress. You will continue to evolve your swing until the day you play your last round of golf. 

The key is learning how and when to make changes so you still enjoy the game. 

How to Make Swing Changes in Golf 

Use these five fundamental rules to start making swing changes effectively.

1. Don’t Change What’s Working 

The old, “Don't fix it if it ain’t broke” saying applies to golfers perfectly. 

Golfers are inherently curious and love tinkering with their swing. But that isn’t always a good thing and can actually hurt your game. If things are good, leave it! 

When you’re hitting it well, make sure to regularly document your practice sessions. While swing videos are great and fun to share on Instagram, I encourage you to take it a step further.

Sometimes it’s hard to always see what you’re feeling in a swing video. This is why I like to take notes in my phone (or a journal) during sessions so I can look back later. 

Since we’re creatures of habit, it’s easy to go back into old swing habits in the future. When you have a digital journal of your best swing thoughts, it’s easy to fix an old mistake quickly.

2. Work with a Coach

If you plan on revamping your swing, it’s not always best to attempt it alone. While more skilled players might be able to get away with it, higher handicap golfers might want an instructor.

A great golf coach can help you identify your weaknesses, give you effective drills, and check in between lessons. But only hire a coach if you’re willing to put in the work between sessions. 

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking one session a month is going to fix your swing. They can guide you in the right direction but ultimately it’s up to you to upgrade your mechanics. 

If you go at it alone, use these tips:

  • Visualize the shot you want to hit
  • Swing 50-75% speed to feel the changes 
  • Start with shorter clubs and work up to longer ones
  • Take regular breaks to process what’s working and what’s not

3. Change Your Swing in the Off season

The best time to change your swing (or grip, takeaway, etc.) is in the off season. This is a time when you can focus on more technical practice and not worry about the results. 

Too often I see players that refuse to play even casual rounds when making swing changes. While you need to put in the reps on the driving range, eventually you need to test it on the course.

You still need to play golf while making swing changes so you can see the results in action. Sometimes it will just click when you’re playing golf vs. practicing on the range. Other times you will learn more about what you need to work on which will result in better practice sessions.

The key is to go out there with one swing thought and keep it simple. Don’t try to play with 3-4 new swing thoughts and expect yourself to play great.

4. No Changes Before Tournaments 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to overhaul your swing the week of a tournament. 

You can’t pull an all-nighter when it comes to changing your golf swing. While it might’ve helped you get through college exams, it doesn’t work in golf. 

Trying to change your swing the week of a tournament will likely lead to having a ton of technical swing thoughts, instead of focusing on playing golf and scoring.  

During tournament week, focus on fundamentals like:   

  • Grip
  • Tempo
  • Alignment
  • Ball position 

When you can master the fundamentals, you won’t need to make any drastic changes the week of your event. This is a better time to work on your short game, putting, and routine as they’ll likely play the biggest part in scoring well in tournaments. 

5. Stay Patient  

Finally, make sure you stay patient while making swing changes. There will be sessions where you hit it poorly and other days when you want to give up entirely. 

That’s okay, it’s part of the process. When times get tough, make sure to focus on why you wanted to change your swing in the first place. 

Eventually, it will click and you will start to see progress. Trust the process and stick with it so you can build a more repeatable, consistent golf swing. 

About the Author
Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate, national sales career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

Now, his mission is simple -- help more golfers play better without swing changes. Learn more about his book, Wicked Smart Golf, to play better golf without changing your swing on Amazon now!


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