Guest Columnist: Brett Wilkinson

Is it the right time to re-vamp your golf swing?

Is it time to re-do your golf swing? That is the question I am asked quite a bit this time of year. Personally, I think the answer is up to the golfer asking it. Subsequently, I ask more questions like “How many fairways and greens are you hitting in regulation?” Do you have a serious swing flaw or several flaws?” “Do you have the time, energy and disposable income to dedicate to making some changes?” If the answers are glaring, I would say “what do you have to lose.” If the answers are mixed, I would suggest a subtle re-vamping of the areas of concern like improved short game skills, improved driving or more consistent iron play.

If you’re seriously considering making some positive changes to your golf swing, then the fall and winter months are the best time of the year to do so!
I have had the luxury of rebuilding thousands of golf swings, and those golfers include scratch players to 30 handicappers. Most spring and summer instructional sessions are swing–maintenance related, because they want to focus on scoring. During the so-called golf season, most golfers, especially those who compete, only want to focus on minor swing issues. Some golfers, usually those newer to the game, are simply trying to get better so they want to focus lesson time on main swing faults regardless of the season.

For this reason, the best time to re-vamp your golf swing is during the fall and winter months. Player’s thought processes are different after the golf season. Most golfers throw their clubs in the trunk or closet and come back the following spring with the same swing flaws. Those who really want to get better swallow their pride, dig in, and get the guidance they need to become more complete club swingers. So, if you want to do something about your swing flaws, you must find an instructor who is willing to work with you during this time.

Here is what you want in an instructor as you seek to modify and improve your golf swing:
• Great instructors have extensive playing and teaching experience! They have played the game at a high level and they have extensive teaching credentials.

• Great instructors have a vast knowledge of players, sport, and technique.

• Great instructors have people skills. They do not just teach golf—they teach players.

• Great instructors influence their students by setting only one or two goals per lesson or practice; analyzing a student’s strengths and weaknesses, telling them what they do well and only what will make them better; using several methods to make a single, but important point and ensure that a student understands the information being taught.

• Great instructors offer an indoor learning atmosphere to keep you out of the elements and focus on you mastering major swing Continued from page 13
modifications. You, the student, must be willing to bring these things to the table:

• An open mind! Do not listen to your golfing buddies swing advice unless they are suggesting a well-regarded instructor. Almost all golfing buddies believe they have the answer, but let’s be up front here—-free advice is worth what you pay for it!

• Do not experiment with your own game –it usually makes matters worse! Seek out a PGA or LPGA professional to make an educated diagnosis and identify the correct changes for you.

• Commit the time to getting better –for the long haul! This does not mean spending an hour a week on your swing changes, folks. It means spending a few hours a week –for several months –or as long as it takes!

• If you are looking for quick fixes, choose another sport. Golf is a four-letter word for a reason. It is the most difficult sport to master so addressing and making swing changes takes time and dedication, and usually a sufficient amount of both depending on the severity or your issues.

• Look at the value of getting great instruction and not the money going out. Make sure you are getting excellent value for your instruction by seeking a professional who uses split-screen video of both the face-on and down-the-target-line camera angles. Five lessons would be a good start. However, by investing in at least 10-25 lessons and scheduling your entire lesson dates/times up front you will find your commitment and dedication will improve as will your game.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll skip a few other important things. However, stay focused on your purpose in practicing no matter how long the task takes! Make sure the instructor you choose has a video tour library of most PGA, LPGA, and Senior PGA tour professionals. Have your instructor take pictures of swing positions– yours and the professional to whom you are being compared. Plaster these pictures on your office desk, at home, and in your car. Get the impression of what you are trying to accomplish firmly implanted in your mind and master it.

Brett Wilkinson is the PGA Director of Instruction at GolfTEC in Bellevue. He can be reached at 425.454.7956.