One of the most common questions I get on Twitter is about the simplest or quickest way to improve.
There's no way to avoid the work that comes with building a good swing, but the best way to create a great base for improvement is to make 100 practice swings with an iron every day. You don't need a ball, and you can do them in your living room in front of the TV.
At the most basic level, making those swings improves your strength and flexibility. It's actually a decent golf workout, but the benefits go beyond that. Your hands get toughened up, you gain awareness of where the club is during the swing, and you start building a repeatable motion—which is great, even if the motion isn't perfect just yet.
Another benefit is that you'll be much more coachable when you get some help from a teacher. Give it a try.
OUR PROS PLAY TO A PICTURE
When you see a tour player making a practice swing during a tournament round, he's doing some very specific things—and definitely not doing some other things.
The two main reasons for practice swings are (1) to loosen up the muscles in preparation for the real deal and (2) to give the player a feel for the shot he's about to hit. He's trying to replicate the shape of the swing and even get a feel for how the club will react from the grass in a similar lie.
I promise you, the best players aren't making practice swings thinking about all the mechanical things they don't want to do, or the places they don't want the ball to end up. They're thinking about the swing they're trying to make, and seeing the shot go where they want it to go.
HANK HANEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head.