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This week, I'm going to try and convince you how copying pro golfer swings can be beneficial to YOUR game.
While we're going to talk about the pros in a minute, my hidden motive behind this issue is to help you avoid bad golf advice on the internet.
Golf advice on the internet generally falls into 3 categories:
- Great, easy-to-digest advice
- Great advice... for someone ELSE
- Bad advice
I've been teaching golf on the internet for years, and I'll be the first one to admit, it's not easy.
I've always been a fan of Phil Mickelson's short game lessons. Not only is he one of the greatest short-game players in the world, but he is also a great teacher. Simple keys backed by proven results.
Lynn Blake is another great pick. He focuses on concepts from The Golfing Machine and has all sorts of golden nuggets to share with you.
Spotting bad golf advice is tough because good advice for one player can be bad advice for another.
Furthermore, there is a lot of instruction that is well-intentioned, yet will often be misinterpreted or misapplied by most golfers.
Every golfer "feels" swing positions differently. That's why I'm a huge advocate for getting your swing on video and learning to match up your "feel" with what is actually happening in your swing (hint: for 99% of golfers, there is a DRASTIC difference between the two).
And then... There's straight-up bad golf advice.
While not a perfect list, here are my red flags for golf advice online:
- Radical methods - there are all sorts of radical teaching philosophies out there. Not all of them are BAD, but you have to know what you're looking for. For example, I think the Stack and Tilt swing has many "good parts", but I would never recommend it entirely.
- The instructor doesn't play golf well - this is not always a red flag, but something to treat with caution. As a general rule, not all great golfers can teach, but most great teachers can golf.
- Too many training aids - training aids are helpful, but they must be simple. Most pro and competitive golfers carry less than a handful of training aids. Cameras, mirrors, alignment sticks, and a good putting aid is all you need to become a GREAT golfer.
I do not believe that ALL professional golfers are great to copy. For example, I would never recommend you copy any of the following golf swings:
- Jim Furyk
- Matthew Wolff
- Dustin Johnson
- John Daly
Are their swings BAD? Of course not! They're just REALLY HARD to copy correctly.
Let's be real, none of us are getting to this position and still making contact with the golf ball:
Additionally, you may have physical limitations that make it impossible to copy the pros.
All that said, I think studying the pros is a valuable exercise for a couple of reasons.
If someone is teaching you something that NONE of the pros are doing, you should be weary. Analyzing pro golf swings is a great filter for determining the validity of advice.
For example, I spend a lot of time teaching the concept of a "flat left wrist" in my training courses.
Why am I confident doing this? Two reasons:
- I practice what I preach - I competed at the D1 college level and know it works
- I can show you hundreds of pro golfers who do it (if Tiger does it, it can't be too far off from where we want to be)
A "textbook" pro golf swing is like a compass. While you probably won't ever match their swing exactly, you'll always know where you're headed.
But who are some good pros to emulate?
When I say "best", I'm generally referring to golfers who have "textbook" golf swings. Some of most consistent golf swings and greatest players of all time (like Moe Norman, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, and Jack Nicklaus) did not make it on this list because they are unique to the player and difficult for the average golfer to copy.
Below are my top 5 "textbook" swings to copy:
In my opinion, Louis has one of the best swings to copy because not only does he hit some textbook positions throughout, but he does it with some of the best rhythm and tempo I've seen from any golfer.
Jason Day has the fundamentals nailed. I've always used his swing to find that "perfect position".
Similar to Jason Day, Adam Scott's swing is a work of art. We can all dream of getting there one day.
Not only is Hogan's swing one of the most efficient, it comes with a complete manual! Hogan's 5 Fundamentals outlines his swing in detail and is a great place to start if you're looking to nail those positions
A few words of caution: many amateurs who try to model their swing off Hogan's fall into the trap of trying too hard to keep their right elbow "tucked" into their side. Most golfers will not be able to achieve this physically and should realize that a slight "chicken elbow" at the top is PERFECTLY OKAY!
Want to find the modern day version of this swing? Look no further than Jason Dufner.
While not often mentioned in a list like this, Steve Stricker has one of the simplest, most repeatable swings on tour. He once went 55 straight rounds par or better and maybe more impressive, went ~2 years without a double-bogey on tour.
It may not be the most exciting swing to copy, but boy does it produce some consistent golf shots.
A new perspective on the game for you to take into each week:
Keep a different type of score - in college, an exercise I often did was keeping score in an unconventional way. Instead of adding up strokes, play the "points game".
- 1 point for a fairway hit
- 1 point for a GIR
- 1 point for a par
- 2 points for a birdie
- 1 point for an up-and-down
Focus on accumulating as many points as possible, then add up your score after the round. You might be surprised how low you can go!