Whether it’s equipment, grip, swing mechanics or something else, there is a right and wrong way to make changes to your game.
How should I hold the club? How high should I tee the ball? Which driver should I use? How far away should I stand from the ball? Should I swing more in-to-out?
You may have asked yourself some or all of these questions in the past. It’s normal to question many different things in good and bad times. You want to play your best and you are willing to make a swing change, buy a new club or try the latest “Tour swing.”
Here is the basic question you need to ask whenever you are about to make a change: What is the benefit of making the change? This seems simple enough but the recreational golfer usually just takes advice or tips from whomever offers them up. It doesn’t matter if that person is a buddy, golf instructor or the Golf Channel. So how do you know if ‘the change’ is good for your game?
Let’s take an easy example of buying a new driver. You should speak with your Certified Personal Coach about your current driver and shot pattern, and also have some goals in mind about what you want from the new driver. To make this simple, lets assume you are looking to hit the ball farther off the tee (I’m guessing you can relate). New launch monitor technology and the ability to interchange golf clubs (heads, shafts, etc.) have simplified the fitting process. It is now easier to determine if making an equipment change is beneficial to your game.
If the data from the fitting shows that you are hitting longer drives and accomplishing what you wanted, then great, buy the driver. Some people have a low threshold for change meaning if they get 5 more yards off a drive it’s worth it for them to get the new driver. Others have to see a more significant difference .
A client of mine mentioned that in his lessons prior to GolfTEC, the instructor told him to change his grip because he was “holding it wrong and that’s not the way to do it.” This seems backward to me. I’ll change someone’s grip if the change will positively affect ball flight and the ultimate destination of the ball. But changing grip just to have a “textbook grip” (which doesn’t exist on the professional tours) is not a good enough reason.
Lets take a look at a change a client and I made for the right reasons and the benefits that followed:
The swing on the left (above) shows the client using his hands and arms early in the swing, resulting in low shoulder turn and the hands moving up and away from the body. By getting the client to use his shoulders earlier, the hands and arms stay closer to the body resulting in a much better position at the top of the swing (shown at right below).
The before picture on the left shows low shoulder turn at the top of the swing with the arms higher than the shoulder, leading to a downswing that goes over the top of the desired downswing plane and out-to-in. This client was hitting high shots that ended up short of the green.
The swing change we made shows a swing with fewer moving parts and arms that match the shoulders, leading to more consistency. A by-product of having earlier shoulder turn to start the swing created a 10º increase in shoulder turn at the top. By making changes in the proper sequence, we were able to create a greater overall benefit for the client’s golf game.
Finally, on the downswing pictured above you can see the club head is much closer to the clients hands on the swing after the change (pictured right). This means that without even talking about club path, we were able to positively affect how the club swings down by making a simple change way earlier in the swing.
So, when someone suggests a change or you are thinking of making a change, ask yourself the basic question discussed earlier: What is the benefit of making the change?
With the client pictured above, the change is obvious. By creating shoulder turn earlier in the swing, he was able to get the club to the ball more consistently because there were fewer moving parts. He is able to make better contact because his path is better.
It doesn’t matter if the change is how you hold the club, how you aim, how far you stand from the ball, if you should buy new equipment or how you swing. You’ve got to ask yourself (and your Coach): What is the benefit of making the change?
If you are ready to make a beneficial change in your golf swing, talk to a GolfTEC Coach today!