Keys To A Great Golf Swing

5 Simple Keys To A Great Golf Swing

On the golf course, it’s all about doing the things you can to access the best swing you own, not trying to improve your swing mechanics. We often search for the technical causes of bad shots, but what we really need to look for is what caused that technical breakdown. 99% of the time it’s one of these 5 inner game keys. If you’re playing this weekend, use these 5 simple keys to a great golf swing to make sure you give yourself the best chance of playing well.

Tempo and Rhythm In The Golf Swing

Ask any tour player what are their keys to a great swing are, and this will be high on the list. But what does this mean? Tempo and rhythm in the golf swing is all about getting the sequence right. There are a lot of moving parts in the swing that need to work in the right order and at the right time, for you to produce maximum energy (or club-head speed) while squaring the face at impact. This means the time taken for each swing on the course, will ideally be the same as your best swings. Under pressure, tempo typically changes as the back-swing begins to get quicker and quicker which throws off the sequence. A smooth tempo is a good thing to have in mind during your rehearsal swings. If you’d like to find out more about tempo and how you can work on it, check out my article: Tempo in the golf swing

Commitment To The Shot

Unless you have a very clear idea of what you intend for the shot, you won’t be able to access fluid motion. The top players in the world say the image of the shot tells their body how to swing. If you’re not sure you’ve picked the right target and picked a shot that you know you can play and hold onto the visual image of it, then it will be difficult to have a quiet mind and swing freely. Without a good shot routine that requires that you go through these steps, then you won’t see as many good quality shots.

Low tension In The Muscles

When we’re playing on the course, there’s usually a little more tension than when we’re practicing. It’s important to know where this tension is located and work on relieving it. One drill I’ll have my players do is to rate their swings out of 10 by tension level. This helps pay attention to any tension, so you can work on lowering it.


Unless you’re aligned properly to the target, your swing will be compromised. Even if you have a technically good golf swing, with poor alignment, those swing mechanics will change to adjust to your body being on a different line to your eyes. The result will be a change in plane and path and a different swing from shot to shot.

One Simple Swing Thought

Some swing thoughts can work – as long as it’s something simple. Some coaches say no to swing thoughts but as long as the thought is one which keeps the swing flowing with little tension or resistance, it will only help. If you think it will work, it probably will! Even Rory McIlroy uses a particular swing thought on pressure shots, which will become useful at the British Open as he will be battling with the favorite Dustin Johnson.

Bonus key

The players I work with know where they are on the “intensity scale” out of 10, when they play their best golf. This is an individual thing – some players are at their best when their intensity level is at a 3 out of 10 (relaxed) and others are best at a 7 out of 10 (more amped up). By doing a proper post-round review, you can figure this out. The next step is figuring out how to tap into that performance state when you need. This is one of things we work on in the Ultimate Mental Game Training System.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave comments and questions!

Photo courtesy of Presidio of Monterey

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. blank

    Great review. your post makes me want to go test these golf swings instantly! 🙂
    you’ve shared an absolutely spot on description.

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