begin tip how to make a proper practice swing 2

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.

Beginner Golf Tip - How to Make a Proper Practice Swing

Beginner Golf Tip - How to Make a Proper Practice Swing

As a beginner, you already know that you have a lot to learn in this game. Golf is complicated, and it can be overwhelming when you are first getting started. Fortunately, you will work your way through most of the learning curve in short order. You will learn things like basic etiquette, which clubs to use on which shots, and more. However, some of the finer points are going to take a little longer to pick up. One of those finer points is how to make a proper practice swing.

A practice swing in golf is exactly as it sounds. It is a swing made prior to your actual swing in order to prepare your technique for the shot at hand. While it is not required to make a practice swing, most golfers do so for one reason or another. Some find it helpful to get into a good rhythm, and some do it just to clear their head before hitting the shot. No matter what your motivation, it is important that you know how to use your practice swing properly. A bad practice swing can harm your game just as much as a good practice swing can help, so you will want to get things right on this point.

Before we get too far into this discussion, it should be pointed out that you don't want to hold up play by taking too long with your practice swing. As golfers, we all know the feeling of standing on the tee while a player up in the fairway makes practice swing after practice swing – only to top the ball just a few feet toward the green. This is not proper etiquette, and it will certainly not make you very many friends on the links. In most cases, you should limit yourself to just a single practice swing before you hit your shot. You might feel like you need to make one extra practice swing in some cases, but those should be few and far between.

It is important for beginning golfers to take the time to learn about practice swings because this is a skill which can help speed up your development in this game. Your technique is not going to be particularly consistent from shot to shot when you are new to golf, so having a reliable practice swing is something that can help you to locate more consistent results. New golfers often find that they hit one or two great shots followed by several bad ones. To replace those bad shots with better results, let a solid practice swing routine take you in the right direction.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Benefits of a Practice Swing

The Benefits of a Practice Swing

What's so great about making a practice swing? There are a number of ways in which your game can improve by adding this habit. It should go without saying that simply using a practice swing is not going to instantly make you a great player – but there is nothing you can do in golf to find instant success anyway. This is a hard game, and progress always comes slow. Adding a practice swing to your routine should be seen as just another step along the way. This is a step which will make you a little better, as long as it is used correctly. If you can add up enough 'little steps' as times goes by, you will soon find that you are a dramatically improved golfer.

The following list highlights a few of the key ways in which you can benefit from making a practice swing.

  • More repetitions. As a new golfer, one of the best things you can do is to simply swing the club as often as possible. You are going to get more and more comfortable with the golf swing as you gain experience. Unfortunately, you only get to hit so many shots during the course of a round – and you only hit one at a time before taking a break to walk up and find your ball. In order to accelerate your growth in the game, you can start to use practice swings. This will give you a chance to make two swings for each shot you hit – one practice swing, and one actual swing. By doubling the number of swings you make each round, you can theoretically cut the time it will take you to learn this game in half.
  • Maintain a steady rhythm. One of the common complaints heard from amateur golfers everywhere is that they are unable to take the swing they use on the range out onto the course. Something mysteriously happens between the range and the first tee. Golfers who can hit beautiful shots on the range suddenly struggle to get the ball off the ground after the round begins. So what happens? Usually, the problem stems from a loss of rhythm. You might rush a bit on the course because you are feeling nervous, and you swing will suffer as a result. By using a practice swing, you should be able to recover some of that lost rhythm. The extra swing will help to settle your nerves, and it will give you a chance to feel the tempo you need in order to create a solid swing. There are few things in golf which are as important as rhythm, and you can trust that a single practice swing before each shot will help you to find the rhythm you need to perform at a higher level.
  • Give you time to think. This benefit doesn't have anything at all to do with your swing. When you make a practice swing, you are adding a few seconds to your pre-shot routine – which means you will have a few extra seconds to consider the shot at hand. Still not quite sure what line you should use for the shot? Make a practice swing while mulling things over in your mind. Or, if you are feeling pressure due to a competition that you are involved in at the moment, the practice swing can help by giving you time to clear your mind and relax a bit. Although golf is a slow game, it can feel like it is moving quite quickly when you are in the middle of the action. Using a practice swing is a great way to turn things down and gather yourself before sending the ball on its way.
  • Feel the ground beneath your feet. An underrated benefit to using a practice swing, this is one of the main reasons that professional golfers make a practice swing before hitting a shot. As you know, golf is played on courses which are anything but flat. You will rarely have perfectly flat ground underneath your feet unless you are playing from the tee box. Most of the time, you are dealing with one kind of slope or another. To get a good feel for what that slope is going to do to your swing, you can make a practice swing. It is one thing to just look at the slope, but it is another thing altogether to actually feel it under your feet while swinging the club. With this kind of preparation out of the way, you will be nicely prepared to hit a solid shot from your uneven lie.

This list could go on and on. There is a lot to say in a positive direction about practice swings, and very little to say on the negative side. As long as you keep your practice swing routine brief – slowing up play would be the main complaint of practice swings – you will be able to improve your game without bothering anyone around you.

Adding It to Your Routine

Adding It to Your Routine

You should already have a pre-shot routine in your game. If you don't, now is the time to develop one and put it to use. A pre-shot routine is exactly as it sounds – it is a routine which is performed prior to hitting each shot. Your routine should be consistent, it should be brief, and it should address points which are particularly important for your swing. Pre-shot routines are a topic for another article, but you should not be trying to build your game without one.

If you are going to start using a practice swing when you play, that practice swing should be installed into your pre-shot routine. For most golfers, the best place to put a practice swing is near the end of the pre-shot routine, right before walking up to hit the ball. It usually goes something like this –

  • Start your routine by doing the 'administrative' work which needs to be done for the shot. Get a yardage, pick a club, pick a target, assess the wind, etc. You need to get all of these tasks done first before you can get ready to swing.
  • With your decisions made and the right club in your hand, you should be standing a few feet behind the ball. This is the perfect place and time for your practice swing. You can perform a swing from this position, take one more look at the target, and walk up to hit the shot.
  • When you walk up, you are not going to stop next to the ball to make another practice swing. This is where many amateur golfers go wrong. Not only will this extra practice swing slow down the pace of play, but it is also going to disrupt your rhythm. You already made the only practice swing you need, so stroll up next to the ball, take your stance, and swing away. Adding in anything extra to the end of the pre-shot routine is only going to cause trouble.

You are free to alter the general pre-shot routine layout slightly, but you don't want to stray too far from this framework. While pre-shot routines are individual by nature, most of them progress in a very similar manner. Unless you have a specific reason for needing to make a dramatic change to your routine, stick to what has been proven to work for countless golfers over the years.

One other point which needs to be made on the topic of pre-shot routines – you should perform your routine on the range just as you do on the course. Many golfers ignore their routine while on the range, instead choosing to just hit as many balls as possible in rapid succession. Of course, that doesn't do you much good, as it doesn't replicate the experience you are going to have on the course. Slow yourself down, go through your routine prior to every shot, and you will get more out of your practice time in the end.

Three Important Keys

Three Important Keys

Making a practice swing isn't something that you need to think too hard about. After all, you are simply making a replica of your swing without actually hitting the ball. However, there are some keys which you should pay attention to in order to ensure you are completing this part of your routine the right way. To help you stay on track, check the three practice swing keys listed below.

  • Don't rush. If you get caught up in the excitement of getting ready to hit your shot, you just might find that you rush through the practice swing in order to get on to the real thing. Needless to say, this would completely wipe out any benefit you should be getting from your practice swing. If the point is to get into your tempo and get comfortable before hitting the shot, you need to make sure to avoid rushing at all costs. Take your time, go through the practice swing with a great rhythm, and then step up to the ball. Golf is not a game which is meant to be played in a hurry. If you hurry, problems are going to find you in short order.
  • Make the practice swing match the shot you have in mind. This might seem like an obvious point, but you would be surprised to find just how many golfers make practice swings which have very little to do with the shot they are going to hit. For example, if you are going to hit a controlled drive off the tee, why would you make a practice swing with 100% effort? Obviously, you shouldn't. Instead, make the controlled swing that you plan on making when hitting the shot. This also applies to draws and fades. If you are going to work the ball from left to right for a particular shot, make a practice swing which is designed to do the same thing. Matching your rehearsal swings as closely as possible to the swing you hope to use will yield best results.
  • Don't worry too much about it. One of the reasons that some players make multiple practice swings is the fact that they are waiting for a good one to come along. If the first practice swing doesn't feel quite right, they will make at least one more in the hopes of getting the right feel. There are a couple problems with this method. First, you could be there all day, trying to make the perfect practice swing. Of course, nobody wants to watch that, and you will quickly find yourself playing alone. Also, there is no reason to believe that you are going to make the exact same swing when you step up to the ball. The goal of the practice swing is simply to get in your rhythm and find a feel for the club. You aren't trying to perfect your technique. Whatever technique you brought with you to the course if the technique that is going to have to get you through the round. In other words, don't think so hard about the details in your practice swing. Use one swing to get ready for the shot, then go for it.

In time, you will get more and more comfortable with your preferred way to use practice swings. Some golfers like them for the tempo they provide, while others like how they provide a quiet moment before the shot. You will find your own benefits, and you will get more and more comfortable with your routine. Eventually, your practice swings will just be a built-in part of your game, and you won't hardly think about them at all.

Practice Swings in the Short Game

Practice Swings in the Short Game

We have spent a lot of time so far discussing the practice swing, and we have only been talking about the long game. Of course, full swings are only half of golf, so it would be a mistake to skip over the short game in this article. In our last section, we are going to discuss the basics of practice swings throughout the short game. The points below highlight the things you need to know about the practice swing in the three main short game areas – putting, chipping, and bunker play.

  • Practice putting strokes. Virtually every golfer in the world uses at least one practice putting stroke before he or she rolls the ball toward the hole. Just as is the case with the full swing, a practice putting stroke is going to help you find your tempo while also relaxing you for the shot. For most players, the best place to make a practice putting stroke is right next to the ball. You will take your stance, make one or two rehearsal strokes, then step a few inches forward and let it go. You don't want to rush this process, but you don't want it to take too much time, either. While making your practice strokes, visualize the ball rolling toward the hole and think mostly about your speed. As long as you get the speed right on any given putt, you can be confident that the result will be pretty good. Even if you miss the line slightly, the right speed is going to leave you with an easy tap in for your next putt.
  • Practice chipping swings. When off to the side of the green, you will face a wide variety of situations which call for a chip shot. Some chip shots are relatively easy, with a good lie and flat ground under your feet. Other times, you will be in the deep rough and on a slope. These variables make chipping practice swings incredibly important. Once you decide on a club and the type of shot you are going to play, make a few practice swings while standing next to the ball. Get a feel for what the lie is going to do to the shot, and how the slope will affect you. It is perfectly normal to make three or four quick practice swings before hitting the shot.
  • Practice bunker swings. In a greenside bunker, you are going to want to prepare much as you do for a chip shot. However, the big difference here is the fact that you cannot touch the sand with your practice swing – that would be a violation of the rules. Swing the club safely over the top of the sand which picturing the ball flight you want to achieve. Even though you can't touch the sand, these practice swings are still going to be helpful in terms of making the right swing with the right speed for the shot at hand.

Practice swings should be considered a critical part of your technique. Nearly every golfer uses practice swings in one form or another, and it is a safe bet that your game would be improved if you did the same. Take some time during an upcoming range session to work on your practice swing and how it is going to fit into the rest of your pre-shot process. With any luck, you will see your game improve and you will have more fun on the course as a result of this addition.