Can we all be honest and accept that virtually nobody has the genetic gifts to roll out of bed and swing like Adam Scott? The important part to remember is that you don’t HAVE to do that to play well. A trained set of eyes sees what adjustments you need to make for you to swing your best, not necessarily look like a swing model.
Based on this idea what should a good coach see when he or she looks at your swing? And what kind of things are you missing when you have your friend video you during a range session?
Listed below are, in my opinion, a few fundamental things I tend to look at in an initial swing lesson, and how changing your focus to those things instead of the “prettiness” of your move will make you get better way faster.
- What your club face angle is doing during your swing
Where the face is pointing during the whole swing might be the most under-paid-attention-to fundamentals in golf. Almost every good player has either squared the club face or is about to when they come out of the transition at the top.
Players who struggle don’t have the face square ever, or they’re even opening it at the start of the downswing—which causes a whole other chain of events.
If you’re looking at your own swing or any other, is the face angle in a good place halfway down the downswing? I like to help players understand where the face is instead of the wrist movements that produce it because those wrist movements are so small.
- How your technique matches your intention
What you’re trying to do can (and should!) have a huge impact on what your swing looks like. Clients send me videos of their swings all the time and my first question is always the same—what are they trying to do?
Most amateurs record a swing on the range, and it’s just a random swing that came after a random practice swing. But every shot should have a goal, as the speed you swing changes a lot of the relationships within the swing.
A video of a player making a smooth swing with a pitching wedge can tell a way different story than one where he or she is smashing a driver. You want to look at the full context, not just one move you want to tear apart.
- The underlying cause of your main swing problem
Putting an ankle brace on a broken finger isn’t going to be very effective. Which means you need to look for the main source of your issues. The phrase ‘over the top’ is one too many amateur players read and hear about, and a lot of them accurately see it about their own swings. But the way they go about fixing it doesn’t address the fundamental reason it’s happening. You probably see it as a swing path issue, but the swing path issue is a symptom, not the problem.
If an over-the-top swinger just tries to flatten the club in transition and swing more ‘from the inside,’ all you could be doing is creating a swing that produces weak blocks to the right.
Does that ‘fix’ the over-the-top? maybe, but it just moved the problem into a different box. If you don’t manage the open clubface that produces most over-the-top moves, you’re not addressing the real problem.
- The movement of your swing
A golf swing moves in 3D, which is hard to see on 2D video. You might have heard modern golfing terms like ‘angle of attack,’ ‘Swing path,’ and ‘face to path’ but what do they really mean? These things are so hard to see without a GCQuad launch monitor or a trained eye, but they give a lot of clues about your bad shots.
An example being a player could be hitting low hooks with the driver because he or she isn’t getting enough weight transfer to their lead side. Therefore, as ball position and swing direction work together coupled with you wanting to hit the ball higher with a fade, you could adjust that ball position forward, which moves the swing direction left and the angle of attack upward.
- How your body works to produce speed & accuracy at impact
Most players (and a lot of teachers, to be honest) are focused on the basics—grip, posture, alignment—because those are the easiest to see. There’s a place for that stuff, of course, and a place for launch monitor data like club head speed and distance, but I’m also watching for your swing body movement and how you produce force. What is making you do what you’re doing in your swing, and how it’s affecting your impact position and resulting shot?
The moral of the story is don’t guess get measured at Kent Golf Academy.