PRO-SPECTIVE: The Practice Swing


Practice Swings are a very important part of improving your game. When you are working on a swing change or swing improvement, the more swings you make in practice without the ball, the faster you will learn to feel the changes you are making.


This is the only time you should think and swing the club at the same time.


Train to “swing the clubhead”


Break your practice swings into three parts. Think about “feeling” the movements.


1)      Backswing – think about what changes you are trying to feel in your takeaway. Complete the full swing to a complete, balanced finish.
2)     Forward Swing – stop thinking backswing start thinking about the changes you are trying to feel in your forward swing.  Complete the full swing to a complete, balanced finish.
3)     Make complete swing motion – feel how the first two come together in balance.



If you have a place at home where you can swing a club without disturbing the neighbors or smashing any furniture, 15 swings a day will expedite your improvement.


Practice swings are not just waving the club around, the purpose is to have you think about your swing motion, feel and understand the movement. The test is then hitting the ball to your target.


Be completely comfortable with what you are feeling and simplify your thoughts to where you can repeat these in balance at a sufficient speed to strike the ball. Take as many “practice swings” as is necessary (3, 4, 5) to be able to move the clubhead at speed and in balance.


Find a “key thought” or two that frees you up to make a complete, full speed, balanced swing.


Now is the time to stop thinking about the swing and start thinking about the target. Aim your shot, initiate your swing with your ‘key thoughts” and hit the ball to the target.



Make the transition from “thinking” to “doing”  


Develop a routine of seeing your shot, selecting your club, picking your target, aiming, setting up and allowing your practice swings to work.


This routine is what you take to the course; leave the swing thoughts on the range. On the course focus the process of visualization, aiming hitting the ball to your target.


Doug Mahovlic
PGA of Canada