It’s a million dollar question. Why wouldn’t everyone take a practice golf swing before they hit a shot if they knew it would help their games? Over the years I’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why golfers don’t take one. If I told you that it would do your swing a lot of good to take a practice – would you take one? There are many reasons why you should.
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You perform an important pre-swing routine before you hit each golf shot. You determine your club, the distance from the hole, the type of shot you want to hit based on the lie and maybe the weather conditions that might affect the ball. You check set up, alignment and aim. Incorporating a practice swing into your routine allows you to “rehearse” what the swing feels like before there is a ball in front of you.
Here’s what I’ve been hearing about practice swings!
I don’t want to waste my good swing.
The practice swing is always better than the ball swing, so if we take one or two good practice swings and then one up-tight-not-as-good ball swing, we’ve just improved! Two good practice swings outweigh the one not-so-hot ball swing, and over time you will see your skill progress.
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In addition, your practice swing can be slower and you can think about the details of the swing better when there isn’t a ball in front of you. This is your time to process how to make the proper swing.
When there are people behind us on the course, I don’t take a practice swing because it slows me down.
Golf etiquette according to the PGA stipulates that from the time you select your club until you actually hit your shot, you should take no more than 45 seconds. At a driving range, practice hitting golf balls with a practice swing and see how long it really takes you. Then, on the course, you won’t be so self-conscious about how long it takes and won’t worry about the group waiting behind you. Everyone plays by the 45-second rule.
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I sometimes take a practice swing but then I get too tired because I hit so many shots.
Just think of the practice strokes you are taking as conditioning for golf! Over time, you may be tired only after the 6th hole, and then after the 8th hole, and then maybe not tired at all. That’s progress.
Remember you are just trying to tell your swing what you want it to do, so always take a practice stroke! That’s the path to improvement!