Making a swing change? Remember these 4 things

cameron mccormick watches jordan spieth hit range balls at the sentry

Swing changes are never easy.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Making a swing change is tough business. Everything feels foreign and, more often than not, things get worse before they get better. The process isn’t for the faint of heart.

Professional golfers go through this process from time to time, and even for them the results can be rough. When you’re used to swinging one way — even when it exhibits bad habits — changing can feel impossible.

This is often because of what GOLF Top 100 Teacher Cameron McCormick calls the “feel vs. real conundrum” — i.e. what you feel like you’re doing is not what’s happening in reality. In order to make meaningful swing changes, though, you’ll have to break out of that rut.

1. Stay out of the ‘dark’

Hitting balls on the range is great for swing changes, but it can all be for naught without the proper feedback. You can feel like you’re doing something right when the reality is much different.

“Knowing [you’re] performing what [you] want, when [you] want is hard in the ‘dark,’” McCormick says. “Training without feedback is training in the dark.”

To keep from wasting reps, it’s important to give yourself feedback. This feedback can come in a variety of forms — training aids, launch monitors, swing videos, etc. All that matters is that you’re getting external feedback on each swing. This will make certain that you’re not wasting your time and are actually making progress.

2. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate

Breaking old swing habits isn’t easy. After thousands of swings the old way, swinging the new way can be tough. Your body is used to moving one way, so convincing it to move in an entirely different manner takes hard work.

“If it feels right it’s likely no different than normal,” McCormick says. “[Your] brain & body wanna find familiar. The well worn groove is what [you] need to break out of.”

McCormick’s suggestion? Double the dose. When practicing on the range, exaggerate the new feel by doing it twice as much as the new feel.

3. Slow down

Unless you’re extremely talented, you likely won’t be able to implement a new swing feel at full speed the first time around. Don’t be afraid to slow things down to ingrain the new feels

“It’ll give u time to mentally process what [you’re] trying to do & physically integrate it,” McCormick says.

Start extremely slow and work your way up. By the time you’re back up to full speed, the new move shouldn’t feel quite so foreign.

4. Do it in chunks

Trying to make wholesale swing changes in one fell swoop is foolish. Instead, break down the change into chunks.

“Break the move down to its component parts,” McCormick says. “Work on them separately — see success (using video), then blend them together.”

Once you master one portion of the change, move onto the next. Then continue this process until you’ve made wholesale changes.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at