Can You Teach an Old Dog A New Golf Swing?

So, I’m on the practice range the other day giving an older gentleman his first lesson of the season. We probably did 4 lessons last year and saw the look of his swing dramatically change as well as his ball striking.

When I first watched him hit a ball last year, he had a swing that was attacking the ball way from the inside and he also had a bit of a shut clubface at the top of the backswing. So the path of the club was hitting the ball way out to the right and the closed face was creating an uncontrollable hook. This is a pretty typical swing for your player with some experience.

As I watched him for the first time this year, he had reverted right back to his old golf swing. His super-slide was back, he was totally out of balance, he wasn’t finishing his follow through, his set up was far too low etc.

Now, if you’ve been following my Swing Machine Golf technique you know that I want you to do very specific positions. I also want you to use the feedback I give you to check them constantly. And finally, I want you to do lots of practice swings as opposed to hitting a lot of balls.

I want you to do all of these things because I don’t want your swing to fall apart. If I were to tell you to approximate a position, or just get them close, in no time you would revert back to want you have always done because what you have always done is comfortable.

You see … new swing positions are different. New positions are usually uncomfortable to do a t first. New positions take a little work to perfect. But … new positions will allow you to play the best golf of your life!

So …

In getting this gentleman back on track, I was trying to get his left knee straightening better which would stop him sliding (imagine the biggest buckling left knee you have ever seen on a golfer then multiply it by 10 times).

To get him to feel the position again, I was standing off his left hip and as he would come down I would force his knee back instead of laterally. So I would do this a few times, then watch him hit a few shots. Then, I would do it again and watch him hit a few more. It was getting a little better but not to the degree I wanted. So I kept ingraining this feeling by forcing his knee back. Then, I asked him to do the drill on his own before he hit the ball. So, he did 1 practice swing (which wasn’t really close) and then he hit the ball. Then he hit another ball, and another ball, and another. Not once did he back up away from the balls and practice the new move. Not once did he ask me if he was doing it properly. He just kept hitting away.

In remembering back to when I was working on my own golf swing, I saw it differently. I saw the importance of the positions instead of putting the importance of where the ball was going. I knew that perfect positions would allow me to hit perfect shots. I also knew that if I didn’t repeat the position over and over again, how was I ever going to master it?

With this mindset, I would repeat the positions over and over again in practice swings making sure it was perfect. If I didn’t know I was doing the position properly, I would put my swing on video or I would walk over to the clubhouse and watch myself do the position in the large windows on the side of the building. Then … and only then … would I hit a ball. After all, what’s the point in hitting a shot if you cannot do the correct move?

Make Sure You:

1. Forget the ball when you are working on your golf swing at the range. If you are out there working on your golf swing, then you are working on your golf swing. You are not going to hit every shot perfectly so forget about where the ball is going and concentrate on the positions.

2. Before you start hitting ball after ball, do some practice swings and make sure you are doing the position you are working on that day perfectly. Then, hit a few shots. Then, step back and do lots of practice swings. Then, hit a few shots again and so on. Ideally, you should be doing, at minimum, 3 times as many practice swings as balls hit. If you do something right 3 times, and wrong once, it won’t be long until you start doing it right. If you do something wrong 3 times, and right once, you will never get it.

3. Once you have mastered that 1 position, move on to the next one and so on. Don’t jump around or work on ten things all at once. If you can’t do one position properly, how are you going to do multiple positions properly? As you put each of these positions together, you will start hitting better shots. Just remember … a great swing will hit great shots!

So, can you teach an old dog a new golf swing? Yes … but the old dog has to know the right way to work on it.

All the best,

Paul Wilson

Creator – Swing Machine Golf
Director – Paul Wilson Golf School Las Vegas

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