19Sep, 2012
Plane drill backswing - small

How to Make a Permanent Swing Change in 5 Minutes

Any golf swing is a series of small body movements which combine to produce a complex motor pattern designed to move a golf ball with a golf club. This movement pattern is extremely personal and is a function of what your body is physically capable of doing along with many thousands of repetitions which you have performed to perfect your own swing. You have worked very hard to get the golf swing you have and as a result you are very good at repeating it.

I believe all golfers enjoy their golf when they play well, and that the vast majority of golfers are willing to make a change in order to play well more often. The problem arises with how they typically go about making that change.

Making a permanent and lasting change to a golf swing is not easy. It is not accomplished by taking a swing tip, making a few practice swings and then having it be a part of your game that you can call on at will. Remember, you worked long and hard to perfect your current swing pattern. It will not go away easily.

There is a definite progression of drills that I have found to be extremely effective in helping players change their swing patterns. It involves an investment of as little as 5 minutes per day, and if you follow this outline I can guarantee you a better golf game.

  1. Know what it is in your golf swing that needs to change to get the results you want.
  2. Breakdown the motion into small pieces that you will learn one at a time and then put back together over time. Steps 1 and 2 will probably require the help of your PGA Professional or Coach.
  3. Practice the body motion of the new swing at home for 5 minutes per day, every day, for one week.
  4. Introduce the club and perform the swing motion slowly – 5 minutes per day, every day, for one week.
  5. Only if you can make the move without a ball are you permitted to add the ball in this step. You may now hit a ball with you new swing. Ball must be on a low tee and cannot be hit further than 30 yards. No target at this point. Simply pretend you are standing on the beach hitting balls in the ocean. You should continue to do the previous step at home 5 minutes per day, every day.
  6. If you can perform the new skill slowly, only then may you gradually add speed over a period of a couple of weeks, still with no target. If at any time the new movement breaks down or you are not having success, STOP and go back to the previous step.
  7. Once you can perform the new swing motion at speed add targets to your practice.
  8. Then start to change clubs and targets regularly until you can perform the new swing every time.

The vast majority of players will not follow this regimen. They will continue to look for the quick fix or tip of the week. They may very well see some short term improvement to their game, but it will not be long lasting and will not hold up under pressure. Their scores will stay basically the same year after year.

But what about you? Are you willing to invest the time and effort to become the best player you can be? Or are you happy to play at your current level for the rest of your golfing career? The decision is yours.

Click here if you would like to personally work with Derek on improving your own golf game.

Swing Plane backswing
Swing Plane downswing

I hope you enjoyed this post on how to make a swing change. As always comments are welcome and appreciated.

Good Golfing


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  1. David Todd says:

    I don’t understand step 5. How can you only hit a full shot only 30 yards?

    • Derek Hooper says:

      Hi David, thanks for the question.

      Once you can perform your new swing without a ball I would then encourage you to hit balls at the range. At this step the idea is to make slow swings focusing on the swing motion not the results. When swinging slowly the ball will travel a shorter distance. I like to tell players to hit the ball no longer than 30 yards so that the focus remains on the new swing motion and not results.

      I hope that helps David. All the best with your golf game.


  2. Mark Tokeley says:

    Interesting as always Derek. When I went thru a similar process last year I would practice in my garage, a mirror in front and behind me, hitting the ball just a few feet into a homemade net made out of carpet strips and old blankets. I still go back to it 2-3 x week to check I haven’t gone back to old faults or picked up new ones! Most of my friends can’t be bothered to do this and head for range instead. Problem there is they feel silly going thru this process instead of hitting balls “properly” like everyone else so quit and go back to competing with the guy in the bay in front! I think ranges should have bays set aside where you can go and carry out drills like those you describe, with similar minded golfers, away from the “50 7irons, 50 drivers” brigade! Appreciate all you do to grow the game, cheers!

    • Derek Hooper says:

      Thank you for your kind words Mark. Your approach to improving your game will serve you well and in the long run will allow you to be a better player than your friends. Keep up the good work and you will continue to improve.

      All the very best with your golf game.

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