The Power of the Practice Swing

Jeff Fisher
Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Mesa, AZ

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Change is difficult and sometimes results do not come as quickly as we would like. This is true of anything in life but especially in golf so it is important when making a change to give yourself the best chance of success.

Learning is a process and takes place at different speeds. The first speed is slow motion. If you are having trouble creating the correct swing motion at slow speed, then putting a ball down and going at it full tilt is not likely to get you where you want to go.

I am a huge proponent of making a great deal of practice swings to ingrain a new motion. And, not just practice swings but exaggerated practice swings that move far away from your current error and overdo the correction.

For instance, if you are coming too far from the inside and bottoming out behind the ball, a good practice swing would be one where you swung well to the left to a ball position far forward in your stance. 

Another great way to practice without a ball is to make those practice swings in front of a mirror. This way you are getting visual feedback and you are making sure that your practice swings are correct. It is pointless to make swing after swing that only ingrains your error.

For my students who are making a swing change, whether it be big or small, I prescribe a ratio of at least 5 practice swings to every ball that they hit. I want them to have a good chance of success every time they hit a ball and making good practice swings before each ball raises their chances. Hitting bad ball after bad ball only creates frustration.

In other sports, like basketball or football, when the coach puts in a new play the first thing they do is have the team go through a walk through. This allows them to get the feel of the change at a pace where they can really understand and feel it.

So, take a page from these other sports and have your own walk through. If you can make good slow motion practice swings, then I guarantee you will have a better chance of having the same success when you really go at it!

Jeff Fisher is the Director of Instruction at the OB Sports Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or