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Every practice swing must have a purpose


Practice swings  

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  1. 1. What is your purpose for a practice swing?

    • Loosening up
      5
    • Tempo
      5
    • Mechanical swing key
      8
    • Low point feel
      6
    • Seeing a shape
      0
    • To establish a routine
      1


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Why do you take a practice swing (or swings) before your shot?

I had a realization in my last round. For some time, I had largely abandoned taking a practice swing before most full swing shots. Also, my last couple of rounds were plagued with a bad case of the fats.

So yesterday, I went back to taking a full practice swing or two, until I was content that I knew where the ground was before I stepped into the shot. It made a significant difference in my ball striking.

How about you: what function does the practice swing have in your game?

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For me it's to reinforce a swing thought/feeling. When I go to hit the ball, the only thing I want to be thinking about is flight and target. So a swing or two is to think about starting backswing properly and having that feeling fresh in mind so I can concentrate on sending my ball to the target in the actual swing.

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I don't take a practice swing for full shots or putts.   I do take some practice swings for partial swings to help me calibrate swing length and get a feel for the swing.    The feel isn't mechanical,  I am not adjusting tempo, not seeing a shape, etc. so it really isn't for any of the above.  

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I take a practice swing to try to get the feel for the shot by applying what I am mechanically working on. Typing that out just made my head explode. 

 

I used to be in the camp of establishing a routine. Every shot I hit the routine was exactly the same, probably down to the sec. But I listened to a sports psychologist (I think it was on chasing scratch but not positive might have been foreplay) and his advice was to React to the moment. Do what you need to do to hit the shot independently of anything else. So I have started doing this in the month or so. Not sure the results are any better yet, but it does seem to put my mind in a different place than just going through the routine. 

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When I’m playing my best I’m taking a practice swing that mimics the shot I’m about to make, and I keep making that swing until I get the feel I want. Usually just one or two swings. If I’m thinking too much and trying to FIND a swing, well, it’s just not a good day at the course. 

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Like cnosil, I don't take practice swings on full shots, bit do on chips and putts.

I have tried it both ways and can get two, three, four or five perfect practice swimgs in and then duff the shot. I do better without practice.

For some reason chip shots and putts are different. I need the practice swings.

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I always take 2 practice swings before each and every shot. It keeps me in a consistent routine and serves as a calibration for the shot. I’m looking for a certain feel based on the shot. Then I can clear my mind for the real shot. It also lets me know when I’m overthinking from a mental game perspective. If I make a few nice smooth practice swings that feel great and then make a completely different swing that results in a bad shot, I know instantly that it was a mental error.


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LIke lefty above, I'm looking for a certain feel but also making sure I'm exaggerating certain points of my swing so when I do swing it evens out. Also making sure the sole is barely hitting the ground so when I do swing I'm not digging or picking.

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I go back and forth as to whether I take a practice swing. IF I do its most likely to simulate the swing I am about to execute due to some complexity.

There are normal easier shots that all golfers have executed that require little thought and one can just go ahead and swing without taking a practice swing. Think a shot inside a 100 yards with plenty of green, no obstacles in direct line of flight. 

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... Great question. Mostly I take a practice swing to stay loose and I usually only take one for a normal full swing. If I feel any tension, I take another but never more than 2. 

... I would have added another option of "Feel for the shot". If I am hitting a knockdown shot, hitting the ball higher than normal or purposfully moving the ball right/left (which is rare) I will take several swings to get that feel. Now for pitches, chips and flop shots I may take quite a few practice swings to get a feel for how the grass with effect the club head. Playing in thick bent grass with the grain against me, it is not unusual for my first practice swing to get stuck in the grass, so several more forceful swings are needed before I feel comfortable hitting the shot. I do not "reset" for each practice swing, just take them in continuous motion to get a feel for the grass. When the grass is with me I may need several swings to see how much I need to dial back. Again, doing this quickly with a continuous motion because I am not practicing the shot, just getting a feel for the grass and how much it will effect the club head. 

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One swing from behind the ball to establish tempo and get that tempo into my head while getting everything else out. Then I step into address and swing away. It seems to help keep my head clear and my body relaxed.

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I usually take a practice swing because changing club lengths between shots. With 8 and down I'm usually fine with the shorter clubs But if I use longer clubs I usually fat them without a practice swing.  If the ball is above my feet or below my feet quite a bit I'll take a few until it feels right. 

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I like to take a practice swing to get a feel for where my feet are in relation to the ball (above, below, flat lie). I also take practice swings for tempo. I tend to get quick with my swings and have to focus on making controlled shots and trusting what I picked will work. My miss is swinging to hard to try a muscle a shot when I know if I take a controlled swing and let the club do the work, it'll be fine. 

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On 6/13/2020 at 8:26 AM, GolfSpy MPR said:

Why do you take a practice swing (or swings) before your shot?

I had a realization in my last round. For some time, I had largely abandoned taking a practice swing before most full swing shots. Also, my last couple of rounds were plagued with a bad case of the fats.

So yesterday, I went back to taking a full practice swing or two, until I was content that I knew where the ground was before I stepped into the shot. It made a significant difference in my ball striking.

How about you: what function does the practice swing have in your game?

If I don't take a full practice swing to know where the ground is I will in most cases hit it really fat

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I usually don't take practice swings on full shots, unless I'm feeling tense.  On shorter finesse shots, I tend to take a practice swing to get a feel for what I want to execute.

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I take two practice swings on full shots for several reasons.  Mostly to see if this old body can make a good swing.  I have a tendency to drop my shoulder and hit fat, so first swing is to get that swing out of the way.  Second swing is always good (doesn't mean that it will be good when I take the shot though).  I'm taking the swings to help me visualize the shot, and now it's become my pre-shot routine, so... all of the above really.

I take multiple practice swings around the green getting a feel for turf interaction.

I take 3 practice swings with my putter looking at the hole; helps me feel the distance.

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With irons anyway, my miss tends to be quite thin with no divot. So I will take a practice swing until I feel like it was a good swing and took a proper divot. Hopefully just one, but its been 2 or 3 or 4 before. Take that feel to the ball and I am more confident I am going to make great contact. With partial shots and wedges, I more kind of swing back and forth with the club, making sure the low point is where I am expecting it to be in my stance. 

I take one practice swing with the driver focusing on tempo and balance. 

I tend not to take practice swings with a putter unless its a really long putt where I feel like I will have to manipulate it with the hands some. 

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6 minutes ago, scooterhd2 said:

With irons anyway, my miss tends to be quite thin with no divot. So I will take a practice swing until I feel like it was a good swing and took a proper divot. Hopefully just one, but its been 2 or 3 or 4 before. Take that feel to the ball and I am more confident I am going to make great contact. With partial shots and wedges, I more kind of swing back and forth with the club, making sure the low point is where I am expecting it to be in my stance. 

I take one practice swing with the driver focusing on tempo and balance. 

I tend not to take practice swings with a putter unless its a really long putt where I feel like I will have to manipulate it with the hands some. 

Saw a question posed to instructors on twitter last week asking what would be the one thing they would like the golfer to have. There were a couple of options but the vast majority said low point control/knowledge. 

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This is an interesting question.  Can't tell you how many times I've watched golfers make practice swings that don't even come half-way close to their actual swing.  Makes one wonder what they're practicing.

 

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31 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Saw a question posed to instructors on twitter last week asking what would be the one thing they would like the golfer to have. There were a couple of options but the vast majority said low point control/knowledge. 

That is good to hear as it is a focus of mine. Just need to keep working on taking it from something that I know I need to master, to actually mastering it. Dropped handicap from 18 to 7 over the last 12 months, so its going in the right direction. 

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