Step 1: Get a Golf Lesson with a PGA Teaching Pro
I purposely skipped an intro so that the first thing you would see is to find a PGA teaching professional (click the link for an in depth guide to finding the best one for you).
You might think that you can fix your golf swing yourself or build a better swing from the bottom up, but you can’t. Or you might could, but it would take way more time and you will probably in grain a lot of bad habits along the way.
PGA teachers know where you should focus your time. They know that fundamentals are key, and they are good at teaching them. They know what the priorities are in fixing your golf swing. They won’t fix small, minor flaws. They will focus on just one or two major things that will improve your golf swing substantially.
They will improve basic swing concepts like the fundamentals, wrist hinge, shoulder turn, and impact position. A good teaching pro will explain a complex swing concept in a way that even a five year old will understand.
Key things to keep in mind:
- don’t be afraid to find a new instructor if you are not comfortable with the one you have now
- when you find one you like, stick with them for at least a year
- trust them; trust their knowledge 100% (they know more than you do, don’t forget that)
- tell the pro the best way that you learn. Some golfers are visual learners, needing the see the swing change on camera. Some are feel learners, meaning that they need a pro to physically put them in a good position so that they can feel what it SHOULD feel like.
- read this article if you are interested in saving money and picking the right pro for you
Step 2: Focus, Listen, and Ask Questions During the Lesson
You are probably paying a golf instructor $30-$80 per hour for them to make you a better golfer. For that money, you better give them your full attention!
The worst thing you can do is have something else on your mind during the lesson and get nothing out of it. So forget about all of your worries and everything you need to do when you get out of the lesson. Block everything out for an hour and give the pro your full, undivided attention.
If your pro tells you something that you don’t fully understand, don’t say “yes” when he/she asks if you get what he is saying.
Don’t feel embarrassed that you don’t get it. Odds are, the pro didn’t explain it exactly how he meant to, or as clearly as he would have liked.
Ask him to clarify. Ask him to show you with your club exactly what he means. If you are a hands on learner like me, you need them to show you exactly what the feeling with the club or your body should be like.
Focus on the basic swing topics. Don’t ask questions that will make your golf swing too complicated. Don’t dive deep into difficult swing concepts. These are things that only pros should worry about (most don’t anyway). Remember KISS- keep it simple stupid.
A good pro will tell you exactly what you should focus on and what you should not even think about. The less thoughts in your head about your golf swing, the better.
Step 3: Take Notes As Soon as the Lesson is Over
Have a small notebook dedicated to your golf game improvements. I can’t begin to explain how many people pay thousands of dollars on golf lesson, only to forget everything a week later or to basically go through the motions without taking something away from them.
Don’t be this type of student. Make sure you take away AT LEAST one thing from each lesson, maybe even two. If your pro is teaching you or correcting more than two things in each lesson, that might be a problem.
Too much knowledge at one time is a great way to confuse or overwhelm a golfer. Unless you are improving at a good rate and don’t feel overwhelmed, consider finding a new instructor or to ask to only work on one or two concepts each lesson.
Each lesson, make a note about what you learned and how it will help your golf swing.
An example would be: “My swing is much better when I have a takeaway that is not too far outside. I tend to whip my hands and wrists inside at the beginning of the swing. When I do the correct takeaway, though, I hit better positions in my swing and ultimately make contact with the ball much better.” We will continue with this example in the next step.
Make sure you keep this notebook in your golf bag, so that you can look over it anytime you question a concept or if you ever just need a quick review about what you should be working on.
If you find that you can’t take any major concept or change away from each lesson, as your pro, “So what would you say is the biggest takeaway from today?” They should tell you one thing that will make the largest impact on your golf game.
He will not be offended or concerned that you ask a question like this. It shows that you are serious about working on the biggest priority to improve your swing.
Step 4: Make the Changes by Exaggerating
Ok, so your instructor ended your lesson and gave you some homework. He wants you to work on correcting your inside takeaway.
Great! Your teacher has probably determined that this one swing change will improve your top of the backswing position and improve your downswing as a result.
That’s what a great TEACHER does. Advises one change to fix multiple problems.
So what does a good STUDENT do? Listens, and puts the plan into action.
So you go to the range and try to make your takeaway a little less inside. It feels like a big difference, but video and your teacher coming by the check up on you before another of his lessons says otherwise.
You feel that you are keeping the club head outside of your hands in the takeaway. You feel that you are keeping your hands close to your body at the start of the swing. You feel that you are keeping the club face looking at the ball longer on the takeaway.
The problem is, and you might have heard this before, feel is not real. In other words, what you FEEL like you are doing, is not what you are actually doing. It might feel like the club is way more outside in the takeaway, but actually it only moved one inch closer to what your pro wants.
The solution? You need to exaggerate everything, until you overdo it slightly. That’s right. Do it enough until you do it too much.
Eventually, you can find a happy medium or even start to do it correctly without even thinking about it.
Here are some other examples of how exaggeration works when it comes to making a swing change:
- Is your swing far too upright? You need to practice exaggerating how flat you can make the golf swing for a while. Then, you can cut back a little. If done correctly enough times in practice, your swing will be much flatter.
- Does your pro want you to strengthen your grip (to see more knuckles on your to hand)? Great, you need to temporarily go to a very extreme strong grip in practice. When you are practicing at home or on the range, you need to be hitting with 3 knuckles being visible. This will make the ACTUAL grip that your teacher wants you to have feel much better after you are done exaggerating.
- Do you have the club very laid off at the top? Your pro will probably want to get a better position at the top. So, you need to exaggerate by doing the exact opposite. You need to feel what “across the line” (opposite of laid off) feels like. You can do this by less forearm rotation, keeping the palm of your hand from pointing downward, and any other way that your pro tells you to. The key, though, is to exaggerate so that you can actually make the change quickly and keep making progress with your golf swing.
- SEE STEP 4 PICTURE ABOVE! Coming over the top too much? Instead of coming in so steep, you need to practice coming in extremely shallow or in to out. You need to learn to draw or even hook the ball to unlearn the years and years of slices and pulls that you have probably hit. Sergio’s downswing (on the right) is a great one to emulate if you are coming in too steep!
Here’s an in-depth article to help you stop coming over the top on your golf swing.
Step 5: Keep At It – Rinse and Repeat
So you show up at your next lesson and your pro is very impressed at how much progress you’ve made.
You tell him that you worked on exaggerating the change he wanted, and now your golf swing feels great and accomplished exactly what he wanted.
Now comes the hard part… keep going! Keep going to lessons and listening to your pro. Keep improving your golf swing. Keep exaggerating the changes until they are ingrained. Keep learning more about why things happen. Keep taking lessons with the same pro.
It’s time to just rinse and repeat now.
Good luck and congrats on thanks for reading this far!