Work on developing your skills, not your swing

by Boykin Powers

Most people practice to get better at golf. You must practice to improve, but not all practice is equal. It can take months of hard practice to make a change in swing technique and implement it on the golf course.
Changing a swing is changing a habit and is hard, and for some golfers, necessary. But we have all seen the person with no real technique that nobody wants to copy, score great on the course. It can be frustrating when you know your swing is technically better than that person, yet they beat your score most of the time.
Most of the golfers I see practicing are trying to improve their swings, with the goal of improving ball striking to lower scores. While improving technique can improve those things, a more effective way to practice is to improve your skills with your current swing, only changing technique when it limits your skill.
The skills I am talking about can include high, low, hooks, and cuts on demand, but what I think is the single most important skill in golf is, hitting the center of the club face. No real secret is it?
But do you practice hitting the center effectively? I am guessing not. How can we do that?
I like to use foot spray from the drug store to coat the face of my driver, or irons if hitting off a mat. This gives me a clear imprint of where I am hitting the ball on the club face, and knowing where it is happening is very important when trying to change it.
The most favorite and used skill improvement drills that I use with my students, are placing tees, or pieces of tees, around the ball.
I put the ball down, and put a tee on each side of the ball as wide as the club face, the point is to hit the ball without hitting the tees. If the tees stay put, you can bet that you hit the ball in the center horizontally on the club face.
If you hit the toe, the tee closest to you will move and if you hit the heel, the tee farthest from you will move. You can get better at this with your current swing, therefore making your current swing more efficient.
Another tee drill to help hit the center vertically on the face and improve the bottom of your swing arc, is to put a tee 2-3 inches in front of the ball, and you are trying to hit this one. You will find a better hit when your club hits the ball and the tee in front.
Both of these drills will improve your skills with your current swing and be much more efficient practice, simply by focusing more on the interaction between the club, ball and ground, these will improve your game much faster. Please visit one of our great PGA instructors in Charleston to help you improve your skills.


By: Boykin Powers, PGA
City of Charleston Municipal Golf Course
Head Golf Professional
PGA Master Instructor