How To Rebuild Your Golf Swing In 4 Easy Steps

There’s nothing more frustrating in golf than being stuck in a slump. 

You show up every day hoping that this will finally be the round that you breakthrough. Yet, as you walk off the 18th green, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed. 

These frustrations lead many golfers to the question, should I rebuild my golf swing?

There are three situations in which you should consider rebuilding your golf swing:

  • You’ve suffered a serious injury that affects your body’s movement.
  • You’ve been stuck in a slump for several months and can’t seem to improve.
  • Your current swing doesn’t align with your goals in the sport (ex. More power, accuracy, etc…).

On the other hand, a golf swing rebuild is not a good idea for someone who just had a couple of bad rounds that could be fixed by making a minor swing change. 

It’s also not a good idea for new golfers, as they probably haven’t had enough time for their bodies to fully adapt to the physical demands of the sport.

Let’s take a look at some of the different situations for when it’s a good idea to rebuild your golf swing. 

Table of Contents

When Is It Time To Rebuild Your Golf Swing?

Here are a few situations where it might be a good idea to do a total swing rebuild.

Any injury has the potential to affect the way your body moves. And when your body’s movement is affected, there’s a good chance your golf swing will be affected too. 

This becomes a problem because, if you’re like most people, you’ve had the same swing your entire life. When your body can no longer create the movement patterns required to carry out this swing, you lose consistency. 

As we all know, a consistent, repeatable swing is the key to shooting lower golf scores. 

Some common injuries that affect the golf swing include:

  • Knee replacements
  • Hip replacements
  • Back surgery
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Chronic golfer’s elbow

If you’ve suffered from any of the above injuries or other injuries that have affected the way your body moves, it might be time to rebuild your golf swing.

You’ve Been In A Slump For Several Months (Or Years)

Albert Einstein once said…

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

If you’ve been struggling with your golf game for an extended period of time, it might be a sign that you need to change things up. After all, what good is it to hit bucket after bucket on the range with the same old swing that hasn’t been producing results?

This might mean that you’ve reached a certain score you just can’t seem to break. Or maybe you maxed out your distance off the tee. Either way, if you’ve hit a plateau, and your goals lie beyond that plateau, it is time to rebuild your golf swing. 

You Have A Specific Goal

The third and final reason for a swing rebuild is that you have a goal that your current swing won’t help you reach. 

For example, if your goal is to hit the ball 300 yards off the tee yet your current swing produces less than 100 mph clubhead speed, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach your goal. 

Instead, you need to go back to the drawing board and create a swing that produces more club head speed to help you hit the ball farther. 

The same can be said if your goal is to increase accuracy. In this case, you’ll need to create a swing that’s more consistent and can be repeated time and time again. 

Of course, when you’re setting goals for your golf game, it’s important to stick to the S.M.A.R.T goal framework. You’ve probably heard of it before. If you haven’t, here it is:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

So, we’ve covered the why and when it’s time for a swing rebuild, now let’s take a look at the how!

How To Rebuild Your Golf Swing

1. Assess Your Current Swing

Before you can begin taking steps to rebuild your golf swing, first you need to assess your current swing to figure out what’s going wrong.

After all, if your car broke down, you wouldn’t start changing parts at random until it ran again! No, instead you’d figure out what is causing the problem, then change the part.

The golf swing is no different. For example, if you have a good setup but run into trouble on the backswing, leave the setup as it is and address the backswing. 

The easiest way to look at the golf swing is to break it down into three different phases. The pre-swing, intra-swing, and post-swing. 

Pre-Swing

The pre-swing includes everything that takes place before you start your backswing. This is your setup position, alignment, posture, grip, and all other similar factors – we’ll call these the pre-swing fundamentals.

Many of the top golf instructors consider the pre-swing fundamentals to be like the foundation of the golf swing. 

You could have the nicest swing in the world, but if your alignment is off just a little bit, the ball won’t end up where you want it to. 

When assessing your pre-swing for potential problems, it’s best to take a video from behind (down-the-line) and in front (face-on). This will give you a look at your setup position from two different angles. 

Here are some of the most common problems golfers see when watching their swing for the first time:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Excessive arch in the lower back
  • Weak grip (right hand too much on top of the club for a righty)
  • Strong grip (right hand too far underneath the club for a righty)
  • Too much tension in hands and arms. 

It’s also helpful to get a second opinion from someone who understands the golf swing. This could be a coach or a knowledgeable friend. Ask them what they think you need to improve in your setup. 

You should always work on perfecting your pre-swing fundamentals before changing anything in your actual swing. 

Intra-Swing (During)

Now that you’ve assessed your pre-swing fundamentals, it’s time to assess your golf swing. Remember, only progress to this stage once you’ve perfected your setup, posture, grip, and all other pre-swing fundamentals.

This is because your pre-swing fundamentals can actually be the main cause of mechanical issues in your swing. For example, an open stance tends to produce an over-the-top swing path, resulting in a slice. 

Fix the foundation of your swing and you might find there’s very little left to do in terms of changing your swing. 

However, if you’ve corrected your pre-swing fundamentals and are still having trouble, you’ll need to take a look at the movement patterns in your swing. 

When assessing your swing, there are three main areas you’ll need to look at – swing plane, clubface orientation, and tempo.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Swing Plane

The swing plane (also called swing path) refers to the path your club takes on the backswing and downswing. The ideal swing plane can be visualized by drawing a line along the club shaft and through the torso of the golfer:

If the clubhead travels above this line on the backswing, you are taking the club back on an “outside” plane. 

If the clubhead travels below this line on the backswing, you are taking the club back on an “inside” plane. 

Similarly, if the club is above the line on the downswing, you’re swinging on an out-to-in path. This is also commonly called an over-the-top swing and usually results in a slice with an open clubface or a pull if you shut the clubface. 

If the club is below the line on the downswing, you’re swinging on an in-to-out path which usually results in a hook or draw.

Ideally, your club will follow this line as closely as possible on your backswing and follow through. 

Tempo

Tempo refers to the overall rhythm of your swing. It’s difficult to recommend one set tempo for every golfer. The truth is, many different golfers have been successful with many different tempos. 

The trick to finding the proper tempo for your swing is to swing at the maximum speed while maintaining control and balance. 

While there’s no ideal tempo that is best for everybody, from my experience the vast majority of golfers will benefit from slowing down their backswing and having a 3 to 1 ratio of backswing to downswing speed.

This means your backswing should feel like it’s taking about three times longer than your downswing. 

To help ingrain this rhythm into your swing, it’s helpful to use a particular cadence or phrase when swinging. 

For example, I’ll often count to three on my backswing while I’m turning before delivering the strike on “4”

One-two-three-four (hit the ball on four).

Try this out and you’ll find it helps develop a repeatable tempo for your swing!

Clubface

The angle of the clubface has a huge impact on the direction of each shot. Close the clubface too early and you’ll hit a hook. Close it too late, and the result will be a slice. 

Post-Swing

Finally, the last segment of your swing you need to assess when considering rebuilding your golf swing is the post swing. This refers to the point just after contact until the ball has landed. 

If you look at the pros, most of them will maintain a balanced posture until the ball has landed. 

If you find this difficult, something might be wrong with your finish. This is likely due to a lack of balance. 

2. Create a Plan

Now that you (or a golf teaching professional) have assessed your swing and you know where your problems are, it’s time to make a plan to fix them. 

It’s important to focus on the foundational changes first before sweating the small stuff. 

pyramid depicting importance of golf swing changes

For example, if you’re having problems with your grip and swing plane, fix your grip first before worrying about your swing plane. 

Also, remember to only make one change at a time.

If you try to change too many things at once, chances are you won’t make progress in any of these areas. 

Set aside a certain amount of time before or after each round you play to work on this one change. Once you’ve mastered it, move on to the next problematic area of your swing. 

When creating a plan for your swing rebuild, always remember to ask yourself these four questions:

What is the one skill you’re working on? Remember, focus is critical when rebuilding your swing. Work on the most important change first. After you’ve mastered it, move on to the next!

When will you work on this skill? Will you spend some time on this before each round or after?

How much time each session will you dedicate to this skill? Is this the type of swing change that requires a longer practice session or will you see improvements with just 15 minutes per day?

How do you know when you’ve mastered this skill? Finally, it’s important to set an endpoint that tells you you’ve mastered the skill and you are ready to move on to the next one. In most cases, this means practicing the skill until it feels natural – or until you don’t even have to think about it!

3. Practice, Practice, Practice…and Practice Some More

Now it’s time for the grunt work. This is the step where real changes start to take place. 

woman practicing golf on driving range

Repetition is critical for ingraining the swing changes you’ve been working on. The logic behind this is simple and is described nicely by Craig Hansen, a golf instructor who has worked with some of the greatest players in the world.

“When you first learn a new movement, the neural pathway is weak, a wimpy path at first. The movement at this stage is awkward or clumsy. But every time you reuse this path it gets stronger. More neurons join in and this thin wimpy string of neurons becomes in time a neural highway. This is when a movement can be performed strictly on a subconscious level.”

So, every time you perform a new movement when rebuilding your golf swing, your brain gets better at recognizing this movement. This means with more practice, your movement patterns will become more efficient, allowing you to perform the action at greater speeds.

According to Hanson, the amount of practice you’ll need to develop muscle memory when rebuilding your golf swing depends on a few different factors.

  • Natural athletic ability and talent level.
  • The complexity of the swing change.
  • Whether you’re changing old muscle memory (experienced players) or learning a new movement all together (beginner/novice players). 

4. Regain Confidence In Your New Swing

Up to this point, you’ve identified the problems with your current golf swing, created a plan to address these problems, and practiced your new swing for hours on the range. 

While mechanically your new swing might look much better, you might still lack confidence on the course. 

And there’s only one way to build confidence in your new swing – get out on the course and play!

golfer swings confidently with driver

Start off by setting small, manageable goals for each round. Here are a few examples of goals you might want to set for the early rounds after a major swing rebuild:

  • Hit 60% of the fairways in a round.
  • Hit 12 out of 18 greens in a round.
  • Avoid back-to-back bogeys.
  • Make one birdie in a round.
  • Make three birdies in a round.
  • Break 100.
  • Break 90.
  • Break 80.
  • Go a full round without losing a ball. 

Every time you accomplish one of these goals, your confidence will grow and your scores will drop. 

Of course, the goals listed above are just examples. Depending on your skill level, you might need to alter them slightly so that they make sense for you. 

One final note on this – when you finally get back out onto the course after making swing changes, it’s important not to regress back into old habits.

Accept the fact that you won’t be setting personal records in the first few rounds and focus on playing with your new swing. 

Golf Swing Rebuild FAQ

Why Is It So Hard To Change Your Golf Swing?

It’s difficult for most golfers to change their swing because their current swing has been molded by thousands of swings over several years. It’s not that it’s so difficult to learn a new golf swing, the difficult part is unlearning your current golf swing.

That’s why the number one trait you can have when rebuilding your golf swing is patience. It will take time. But if you stick with it, your golf game will improve in the long run! 

How Long Does It Take To Make A Golf Swing Change?

Minor golf swing changes can be made in a few weeks or less. Extensive swing changes may take a few months to an entire season to implement.

The time it will take you to make a swing change will depend on your current athletic ability, the complexity of the change you’re making, and how much time you dedicate to practicing your new swing. 

How Do You Ingrain Your New Golf Swing?

The best way to ingrain your new golf swing is to focus on getting plenty of reps on the range, as well as on the actual golf course. This will help you build the mechanical skills you need for your new golf swing while also developing confidence for playing on the course. 

One common mistake golfers make when rebuilding their golf swing is underestimating the number of reps it will actually take them to make a noticeable change. 

The Takeaway – How To Rebuild Your Golf Swing

If you’re unsure about rebuilding your golf swing, remember that there are three situations in which it is a good idea:

  • You’ve suffered a serious injury that affects your body’s movement.
  • You’ve been stuck in a slump for several months and can’t seem to improve.
  • Your current swing doesn’t align with your goals in the sport (ex. More power, accuracy, etc…).

If you fall into one of the categories above and are wondering how to rebuild your golf swing, this is what we suggest doing:

  • Assess your current swing.
  • Create a plan.
  • Practice…a lot.
  • Regain confidence in your new swing. 

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide if a golf swing rebuild is right for you and provided some helpful tips for improving your golf swing!

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