For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!
So …. you played OK this year, but want to improve next year. You’ve taken some time off from golf, and you intend to get back in the swing after Christmas.
What should you do?
Here are a few thoughts on setting yourself up for success. I would say to make these New Year’s Resolutions, but actually I want you to commit mentally to getting serious right now, not a month from now.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING SERIOUS
The first thing you absolutely need to do is to really get serious about improving your game. That means you don’t think this way “I think I’ll work on my game this winter”. It means you think this way “I’m going to get serious about improving my swing and my putting over the winter”.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT DEDICATING TIME TO GETTING BETTER
You can get much, much better at the game by simply dedicating 15 minutes a day, six days per week to swing practice, a good indoor drill, or working on your putting stroke. Commit to 15 minutes of golf improvement time per day, six days per week.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT COMMITTING TO A SWING PATTERN
I would have said swing method, but for some reason those words turn some people off. Diving into daily swing practice wouldn’t make any sense if you don’t have an overall pattern of development in mind, so decide what type of swing you want to work on.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT EDUCATING YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SWING
In this age we live in, there is no shortage of free information on the internet, YouTube is a decent place to start for video. There are also a ton of good articles out there, just search them out. The caveat here is that everyone is an expert on the internet, so choose information based on the authors’ credibility and expertise.
You can also buy books and DVD’s from reliable sources, and of course you could also take a lesson or two from a good instructor to help you develop a swing pattern that would fit your body and brain.
Now at this point, some instructors would warn you that the only way to proceed would be the “lessons” route first, but I’ll be perfectly candid about that.
I love working with students who are serious about working on their swing pattern development. Having said that, I will state that even if a player chose a swing method that might not be technically optimal for their body type and swing tendencies, if they worked at it consistently on their own, I think they would improve. I know some of you might think this is a crazy thing for a golf instructor to say, but I believe this to be true. Consistent, dedicated practice can trump other considerations.
Don’t construe this to be that I don’t want to help people out, teaching golf is my passion – but I also don’t want you to think that lessons are the only option for improvement.
Education and action are the keys.
Some players are successful at self education. Others get a huge benefit from being steered in the right direction initially by an instructor, then taking the ball and running with it after they understand the concept of pattern development.
Some players need a lesson or two to activate their action plan.
Decide what’s best for you and get started.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING YOURSELF INTO BETTER SHAPE
I’m not going to let you horn in on your dedicated 15 minute golf improvement time here because the benefits to regular exercise apply to your whole life, not just golf. So find another 30 minutes three days per week and work on your fitness. There are a ton of good books and DVD’s on the subject, so there’s no excuse for not having access to information. Just do it.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT THE MENTAL SIDE OF THE GAME
Read a good book or two, here are two great authors: Dr. Gio Valianti, and Dr. Bob Rotella
IF YOUVE DECIDED TO GET SERIOUS – HERE’S A 15 MINUTE PLAN 3 minutes of slow motion full swing practice, in front of a mirror if possible 3 minutes of “hinging” practice 3 minutes of chipping stroke practice 3 minutes of swing speed practice (gradual speed increases) 3 minutes of “core” putting stroke practice You don’t need a full length club or even a ball for any of the above – although a decent putting ramp is pretty inexpensive and easy to store – so you could practice putting with an actual ball strike.
A short (21″) three iron works well for daily indoor swing practice. If you make or buy a short club for indoor practice, make it a low lofted iron and paint or tape something white on the face to make it easier to monitor your hinging positions in your follow through.
Make next year your best golf year by doing something now!
Love your practice, enjoy your golf,