If you’ve followed professional golf for any length of time, you know that some PGA Tour stars tinker with their swings on a daily basis. Swing changes are commonplace in the game of golf for professionals and amateurs, alike. But, are you ready for a complete swing change?
Tiger Woods is perhaps the most notable golfer to undergo a complete swing change. In fact, he’s done it three times since becoming the world’s best golfer and is even making tweaks to this day. But, his strategy behind his wholesale swing changes has been discussed, argued about and criticized.
To help you decide if you’re ready for a complete swing change, we examine what it means to make such an important change, the positives and negatives behind making said changes, and the best way to implement into your game regardless of your skill level.
What a swing change means
To begin, it’s important to know what it means to make a complete swing change. Changing your golf swing involves any number of small tweaks that lead to a new swing. From your stance, posture and the position of the ball at address to how your hands grip the golf club, your takeaway or back swing, position at the top and your downswing through impact, there are many variables to consider in a golf swing. A complete swing change overhauls the way you do any one (or more) of these vital components to your golf swing.
Consider the timing
If you’re considering a complete swing change, it’s also wise to consider the timing. World famous golf instructor Butch Harmon — as part of his 10 rules for making a swing change — says that your ball flight will tell you when to make a change.
Harmon says that swing changes shouldn’t be made to swing like PGA Tour stars. They should be made to optimize your game. He tells a story of PGA Tour player Nick Watney, who came to him seeking assistance on a swing change that would allow him to fade the ball from left to right. The swing changes Harmon suggested were made in order to help Watney on driving holes that featured a dogleg right and on approach shots to a pin that was located in the back right of the green.
As Harmon says, “Not only did his ball flight tell him a swing change was necessary, it was also the biggest factor in monitoring his progress.”
Drawbacks of a swing change
When it comes to making a swing change, there are positives and negatives. The positives are clear — making the change is necessary towards your improvement. With that said, there are some drawbacks to making a complete golf swing change.
Introducing even the smallest tweak in your golf swing can lead to completely different results that, at first, aren’t very positive for your performance. Making changes throughout your swing means you have even more to become comfortable with.
Harmon speaks to the need for commitment with a swing change. As evidenced by the trials and tribulations of Woods’ swing changes, it’s not easy to make them! But, depending on your goals, getting over the adjustment period with your new swing — when performance might be suffering — requires commitment to the changes.
Over time, though, swing changes (if implemented correctly) can be a very positive thing for golfers of all skill levels.
How to implement your swing change
Implementation of your swing change is perhaps the most important piece to the puzzle. While the changes you’re trying to make are surely customized to your swing and skill level, most golf instructors suggest a similar approach towards implementing a swing change.
Golf instructors of all varieties urge golfers to have a plan, and a complete understanding of what they’re trying to change. Next, golfers should seek to make the new motions second nature by practicing in slow-motion before going to full speed and hitting on a range.
Swing coaches note that the changes shouldn’t feel comfortable, at least immediately. Over time, the changes will feel normal. But upon implementation, they should feel new — because they are new.
After committing to the changes, golfers should check their progress by videotaping their swing to ensure they’re achieving the positions and checkpoints of their new swing. And, as PGA professional Tim Graves says, enjoy the process!
— Ben Larsen