Golfers just learning the game often make three, four, five or more practice swings as they prepare for a shot. Not only does this slow down the game and annoy your partners, it can be counter-productive.
The golf swing’s complexities and unnatural feel are at the root of the issue. The beginner makes multiple practice swings with several different thoughts in mind. Low and slow on the takeaway, keep the left arm straight, turn the shoulders, head down… Trouble is, if you’ve got more than two keys in mind, your focus is toast.
Instead, adopt a quality-over-quantity approach. Before playing, determine two swing thoughts to use throughout the round. If you’re taking lessons, discuss with your teacher the points you should work on.
For example, let’s say you settle on “low and slow takeaway,” and “turn the hips through the shot” as the day’s keys. Limit yourself to two practice swings when it’s your turn to hit. Because your keys are split between the backswing and downswing, you can start with the first key, then shift your mind to the second in mid-swing.
Your practice swings should be a little slower than the swing you’ll take at the ball. This will give your mind time to go through both keys, ensuring that your body does as it’s commanded. Utilize your keys when hitting as well.
It’s OK to make additional practice swings while another golfer in your group is playing a shot. Just make sure that you’re out of his line of vision so he’s not distracted.