If I had a penny for everyone who has said to me ‘Richard, my practice swing is superb, it feels great, but when I get up to the ball and take a swing, it feels completely different’, I’d be well on my way to the Seychelles and retiring with a lot of money in the bank!
It’s true, more often than not practice swings do feel better than your actual swing. How could this be though if both swings were performed very closely in time to each other? There is a simple explanation to this very common of quandaries………… there is no consequence to the practice swing! If we make a bad practice swing, we don’t have the consequence of losing the ball, we don’t have the consequence of possibly hitting a bad shot, we’re just simply swinging the club with nothing in the way. It’s purely based on aesthetics, the way the swing looks and equate it to being a good shot. When we get to the ball however things change. There is a little white ball in front of us that we have to somehow manoeuvre from point A to point B with, more often than not, some hazards in our way. The conscious brain then switches on to try and help us avoid these hazards, we become more ‘aware’ of the swing and hey presto, we don’t feel the swing to be anywhere near as fluid a motion during the actual striking of the ball compared to the practice swing.
In my experience, the best way whenever a golfer has mentioned this to me I have dealt with it is purely to let them feel the fluidity of the practice swing during the course of the golf shot and letting the ball get in the way of the swing, just like we let the ground get in the way of a free-flowing motion of the practice swing.
Don’t try and copy your positions in the practice swing, practice the fluidity you feel in it.