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May 1, 2015

Practice is the Only Way to Change

PGA Tour professional Aaron Baddeley discusses his strategies for implementing swing changes

BY: FARRELL EVANS

Implementing the swing change through practice

  1. I have to understand the concept and why we’re doing it. If I don’t believe in the concept, then I’m not going to work on it the way I need to in order to improve. It’s always easier to make the change if I understand why we’re doing it. As an instructor, take time to communicate the end-goal to your students and explain why the change is necessary.
  2. I find a couple of drills that I feel like I can do that are going to match what I’m trying to achieve in the swing. I do those drills day in and day out to get a feel, but I try not to over do it.
  3. Lastly, have your students apply those drill on the course. What I try to do when taking the new swing on course is find a feel to score.

RANDOM PRACTICE

I will actually pull out four or five clubs – a driver, a 7-iron, 5- iron, pitching wedge and 3-wood. I will hit one shot with a driver, then a 7-iron, then a 3-wood and then a pitching wedge. I keep rotating through my bag until my session is complete. I did some research as a kid about a quick way to learn, and the stuff I read said that random practice was better for learning than hitting 95 5-irons in a row, because with random practice your mind has to adapt to the club changes. It’s seldom that you’re ever going to hit two 6-irons in a row. Tell your students that this style of practice may help them learn quicker, even though their performance might not be great right away. But if they stick with it, scores will improve as the idea of this method is to simulate on-course play.

PRACTICE SMART

Sometimes as golfers, we hit 200 balls because that’s what we tell ourselves we have to do to get better. It’s important to tell your students that if their swing is feeling pretty good during practice sessions, the change is there and they’re able to hit every shot after fewer balls, they can go home. Fatigued swings can often be the enemy of correctly installing changes.

STRUGGLING THROUGH THE CHANGES

Give your students a couple of drills they can do that are going to match what they’re trying to achieve in the swing. When I make swing changes, I have set drills that I do regularly to get a feel. But I also try not to over do it.

STATUS OF MY SWING CHANGE

With Stack & Tilt, my angle of attack was steep with the driver. Now I’m swinging more level through impact and I’ve picked up 30 yards off the tee. Generally, I’m hitting the ball higher with all of my clubs. I’m picking the ball off the ground as opposed to taking a deep divot.