How to Fix Your Golf Swing: Positive Changes

Don’t “Don’t”

“Don’t move your head.”   “Don’t take your eye off the ball.”

“Don’t bend your elbow.”  “Don’t ‘cast’ the club.”

I could go on, but you get the idea: golf instruction is full of “Don’t.”  In this lesson, I’m going to explain why “don’t” is a damaging concept and discuss some better ideas that you can replace it with.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to learn ways to fix your swing on your own

Your swing thoughts are often negative

Stop Being Negative

Every golfer has had the experience of standing on a tee box, thinking, “Don’t hit it right,” and then watching their drive slice into the next zip code.  Why does that happen?  Because your final thought was “right” and your brain made that happen.

The same thing happens when you try to “not do” something in your swing.  If you tell yourself not to move your head, and all your brain hears is “move your head.”  On top of that, not doing something leaves a lot of room for interpretation.  If you have any doubt of that, talk to someone with kids: “Don’t punch your sister” leaves the door open for plenty of other undesirable behavior.

The Solution

The quick solution to this problem is to turn your “don’t” thought into something affirmative, something you can do.  Instead of “Don’t bend your left elbow,” you can think, “Keep your left arm straight.”  Instead of “Don’t hit it fat,” envision your club entering the turf just past the ball.  By giving your mind and body something affirmative to try to do, you dramatically improve your chances of success.

If you want to take this to another level, you might ask yourself why you’re worried about your head, knee, or elbow when the object is to hit the ball with the club, but that’s another lesson for another day.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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2 Comments

  1. Woodrow Rhodes

    Thanks for the positive tips

  2. Excellent advice. I have found myself at times saying “don’t ______”, only to see it go there. Lately I have been focusing on where I want the ball to go and trying to “see” the shot. I recall the lesson from the book, “Seven Days In Utopia” where the kid was advised “see the shot, feel the shot, trust the shot”. The more I apply these tools the better the shots are.

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