Golf is the greatest game of all-time but it’s also the most difficult sport ever created. And it’s equally as hard as it is expensive.
That’s why I created this post. I want to help you learn how to analyze your own swing so you can shoot lower scores and save money by not taking lessons.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against hiring a great coach to help you shoot lower scores. But for a lot of amateur golfers, lessons are just too much money and a serious time commitment.
But if you do decide to take lessons, recording and analyzing your own swing will fast-track you to making golf swing changes that stick.
Thanks to technology already in your pocket, it’s never been easier to record and analyze your swing. Now you can use your iPhone and a few apps to improve a lot of your game without hiring a local pro. Here’s everything you need to learn to analyze your own swing and start playing your best golf.
Recently I published a comprehensive post on How to Video your Golf Swing and encourage you to read the full post. Before you can edit your swing, you need to record it properly. Make sure to read the full post but here’s a quick overview:
There are two main ways to record your swing and I recommend doing both. Each angle has its own advantages and will give you the best chance to analyze your entire swing.
Down the line will give you two main benefits. The first is seeing the plane of the backswing and where the clubface is pointing at the top of the backswing.
The second is the face on angle. This angle will help you see things that you can’t down the line like head position and ball position.
Golf is an unbelievably complicated game. You can hit a perfect shot, look down and see the divot way left or way right. You think to yourself, how is that possible? Oftentimes, seeing this makes you over analyze your swing.
The thing is, feel isn’t real. The divot can lie, even when you hit good shots.
Recording your swing is so helpful because it will give you tangible evidence on what you need to work on. There’s a reason guys on the PGA Tour use a $10,000 trackman and video software when practicing. They know that unlike a divot, the evidence doesn’t lie!
If you don’t record your swing, it’s easy to try and correct something that is actually going well in your swing. For example, without video, you might feel like your takeaway is off when really it’s just your alignment. Video will help you have more effective practice sessions to help lower your scores.
Thanks to smartphones, the invention of standalone golf swing analyzers and free software, it’s never been easier to analyze your own swing. It’s hard to believe that only a decade ago iPhones (and their amazing video cameras) didn’t even exist. Download these apps before you get started analyzing your golf swing.
Or, if you are interested in a standalone device I recommend you heading to our review of the best golf swing analyzers.
V1 Golf App lets you record your swing, send to instructors, and fully analyze any type of swing. There is a free app and has an upgraded, paid version with even more features.
Hudl Technique isn’t specific to golf like V1 but I’ve found as effective. You can draw lines, circles, squares and even make any video slow motion. This makes it super easy to analyze your swing and see exactly what’s going right and wrong. They have a free version and paid version where you can even compare your swing with the pros.
Now that you have the apps to get started, here’s how to analyze your own golf swing.
It all starts with your setup. The setup is so key to making sure you are giving yourself the best chance to hit the ball pure, regardless of what club you’re hitting. Most amateur golfers underestimate the importance of setting up square to the target with a well-balanced posture, and weight distribution.
Here’s what you should look at during setup.
Not checking alignment is one of the biggest mistakes golfers make when practicing. Make sure you have clubs or alignment sticks during each practice session.
Once you analyze your video, it’s easy to tell if you’re square to the target, closed or open. This is huge because if you’re not square then you’re aimed incorrectly. And the only way to get the ball back toward your target is by pushing or pulling the ball.
Make sure your feet, hips, and shoulders are all aligned to your target. If you’re right-handed, I’d even like to see you slightly open to the target. Aiming slightly to the left will help you shallow the downswing and hit the slot more often than not.
Because most amateurs do the opposite at address. They set up closed, aimed right, and have to pull it back left with a weak slice. And no golfer likes hitting that shot!
Posture is another big part of your setup. When analyzing the swing, start from the ground up.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my knees slightly flexed and in an athletic position?
- Is my butt slightly out just past my heel at address?
- Is my back straight or is it arched?
- How is my chin? Too level or too down, staring at the ground?
Ideally, you want a slight knee flex, butt out, straight back, and chin high enough to let your shoulder rotate under on the backswing. Posture and setup are easy to fix once you see it on video!
Sometimes a bad grip is a silent killer to your golf swing as it creates an off plane takeaway. When analyzing your video, make sure to see if your grip is in the proper position. Check to see if it’s weak, strong or perfectly balanced in your fingers, not your palms.
Also, make sure to evaluate your grip pressure. If you can see any tension in your forearms, then you’re gripping the club too tight. When hitting driver ignore the “grip it and rip it” mentality. In reality, the driver should be held very light as it allow you to set the club at the top of the backswing.
Checking your ball position is impossible with a down the line recording. This is why it’s important to record at both angles when analyzing your golf swing.
Make sure the ball position is in the correct position for the club you’re hitting. A good rule of thumb on ball position:
- Driver: Off the front of your lead foot or directly below your left ear
- Fairway wood: Directly below the logo on the left side of your chest
- Short irons: Directly below the buttons your shirt
- All other clubs: In between short irons and fairway woods on standard shots
Get on a Launch Monitor
Practicing on a launch monitor can give you data that can immensely improve your swing. From spin rate, attack angle, to ball-speed there is just so much data out there that gives you valuable feedback on your swing. And with technology constantly improving, there are several launch monitors out there that are reasonably affordable. If you are interested in going this route, check out my article on the the best golf launch monitors.
Now that you’ve checked your setup, here’s how to use these apps to further analyze your swing.
When you start to look at your swing, I highly recommend spending a majority of time evaluating your backswing. The backswing typically sets up your downswing as you’re simply uncoiling the movement you made on the way back.
If you look at the best players in the world, you’ll notice how smooth their tempo is back and through. While not everyone has Fred Couples smooth, most have a good 1-2 cadence. Check your backswing and make sure you’re not taking the club back to fast or too slow.
Here is a great video from the Golf Channel to understand the importance of finding a good tempo:
Once you look at tempo, next up to analyze is the path of your backswing. Is the club coming back inside, straight back or outside? Too inside makes it easy to push it right if you get stuck or start the downswing with your upper body which produces a pull cut.
Too outside on the way back makes it easy to pull the ball or hit a push and snap hook. Watch your wrists, shoulder turn, and the first part of your backswing to understand your swing path.
If you’re recording a driver (which know 90% of you will for the first video), are you parallel at the top or overswinging like John Daly? How about with your irons and wedges?
Less is more. While you don’t’ have a super short backswing like Tony Finau, it shows that backswing isn’t everything. If you go past parallel, it’s really hard to hit a lot of fairways on a consistent basis as it screws up timing. Try to be short of parallel with all clubs, especially irons and wedges.
To begin your downswing, it really depends on the top of your backswing. Do you pause at the top or rush the transition? A good example of someone who sets the club at the top (probably too long) is Hideki Matsuyama.
While you don’t need to pause this much, make sure you aren’t rushing down to hit the ball. Rushing will make you lose speed as you hit the ball. But you should start down smooth so you have the most speed at impact.
How does the club start on the downswing? Are you starting over the top with your upper body or starting with your lower body? Ideally, you want to come in slightly shallow to drop the club in the spot and get the lag that creates so much power.
Usually, when you watch an advanced golfer follow through you can see how well balanced, they are when holding the finish. How is your finish? Are you still balanced and in an athletic position? Did your feet move?
I also recommend watching Youtube videos of elite players in slow motion to help you repeat their swing motions. One quick search and you can find Tiger, Rory, and tons of other amazing PGA Tour players.
Now that you’ve identified why the ball is reacting the way it is, now you can make a plan to fix it and start shooting lower scores. The problem is that most amateur golfers get overwhelmed and try to do too much at once. This is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, make it a point to focus on the biggest issues first:
Your first priority is always the setup. Make sure you are square to your chosen target with a proper grip and ball position. Next, check your backswing as it plays a huge role in your downswing. Lastly, check your transition at the top and your downswing plus follow through.
Hopefully, you can now learn how to properly analyze your own golf swing. Like I mentioned, lessons are expensive and don’t always fix the issue. But these methods will help save you money and strokes to shoot your lowest scores ever.
I highly recommend recording both ways and download one of these apps today. Quit settling for the same miss over and over again. Learn from your misses, read one of my other articles or find a video on Youtube to find a solution. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting better than ever.