So You Want To Really Change A Golf Swing?

GLT Content Writer & Developer Joe Culverhouse
  • Author: Joseph Culverhouse
  • GLT Content Writer & Developer
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Charles Barkley Golf Swing

Some of the most common questions Team GLT gets asked by golf coaches revolve around swing changes.

How to change a golf swing?

How do I make a swing change?

How to change my golf technique? 

Not only are these some of the most common questions we receive, changing a golf swing is one of the most misunderstood areas of focus for golf instructors. Traditionally, golf coaches have focused on changing different elements of the swing in various ways, usually involving some type of blocked, repetitive practice. At GLT Golf, thanks to our understanding of the role of motor learning in the changing of a golf swing, we know the way to change a swing is through a varied, interleaved style of practice.

The essence of the old-school approach to changing a golf swing is built upon two key misconceptions: perfect practice creates perfect and performance is indicative of learning. Both ideas have a merit of truth, but with a central caveat. While perfecting an element of a swing and practicing the motion continuously and repetitively, golfers will see an improvement in performance; however, studies and scientific research dealing specifically with golf motor learning have proven that changes created in such a blocked manner will only result in an improvement in immediate performance, the likelihood of the changes being retained is negligible. To encourage the long-term, retainable skill acquisition necessary to truly change a golf swing, changes should be created in an essentially organic manner by fostering varied, interleaved methods of practice designed to simulate on-course conditions rather than simply hitting balls over and over on a range.



Changing a Golf Swing

Some coaches struggle to understand why blocked practice isn’t truly helpful since it does produce an increase in immediate performance. It’s a common misunderstanding, but one that hinders actual growth in golfers. Again, scientific research in golf motor learning has shown that performance is simply a short-term occurrence and is not indicative of actual skill acquisition. A one-time performance may be a sign to many coaches that something within a swing change has corrected a problem, but it is imperative for coaches to understand that performance does not equal growth, and it should not be considered a metric to gauge change or growth.

Changing a golf swing

The reality of changing a golf swing presents an answer many golf coaches may not be comfortable accepting, but a golf swing is a motor skill, and all motor learning takes time. While both coach and golfer may grow weary and want a quick fix to a swing problem, the realities of golf motor learning make that impossible. There is a bright side to this, though, and it’s one golf coaches should embrace. While the time commitment and lack of overnight solutions may seem daunting, as golfers continue to practice in a game like manner, allowing skill to develop naturally, the changes made to a swing become part of the motor skill process, and become long-term solutions to problematic areas of the golf swing. It does require patience and a sizable investment of time, but golfers and coaches can take comfort in knowing changes created through the golf motor learning process will be retained and transferrable for years to come.

motor learning