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rb224315

I hate golf. I hate golf. I hate golf. "Nice shot." Thanks. I love golf.

4 posts in this topic

Sorry for the long post.  It's early in the season and I'm a bit frustrated already.  Hoping for some improvement this year and I humbly seek your advice.

Regarding the subject of this post--I saw it on a t-shirt many years ago.  My game is no better now than it was 15 years ago and I'm getting frustrated.

Technically speaking, my swing looks ok.  My setup, grip, backswing, etc. appear to be decent.  A number of people have told me that my swing looks smooth.  Despite the positive reports, the only feedback I really care about is consistent ball flight.  My ball flight consistency is terrible.

I'm not convinced that some seemingly minor tweak is going to transform me from a 90's player to a 5 index.  I believe my mental image of the swing (or some component of it) is out of whack and that a correct image would help to produce consistent contact and ball flight.

Here's an example of what I mean by "mental image".  Over the years I've seen people who appear to think that their objective (even with short irons) is to get under the ball to get it into the air.  The notion of trapping, pinching, or hitting down on the ball is foreign to them.  Unfortunately, a person with this mental image is not likely to improve significantly until they change this mental image.

In my case I believe that my incorrect mental image is in how the big muscles of the body transfer energy to the arms, hands, and club to generate a consistent swing path with power.  Heck, forget power, I'd be happy with a consistent path.

Reading up on other sports, I wondered what sensation a good baseball player feels when throwing.  Some players describe it as feeling their relaxed throwing arm being propelled forward in almost a whipping motion as it follows the body's movement toward the target.  An unaccomplished baseball player like myself will usually throw the ball with almost all arm with very little power coming from the body.  It's as if the body is there just to keep the arm from falling to the ground rather than actively imparting power to the throw via a relaxed arm.

Does this make sense?

I'm trying to figure out if the golf swing is the same way.  In a sense I feel like I could sit on a barstool and hit the ball as consistently as I do now, and this makes me think my mental image of connecting the body to the arms, wrists, hands, and club is out of whack.

As it relates to the "connectedness" of the body & arms and to swing tempo, what is your mental image of the golf swing?

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Reading up on other sports, I wondered what sensation a good baseball player feels when throwing.  Some players describe it as feeling their relaxed throwing arm being propelled forward in almost a whipping motion as it follows the body's movement toward the target.

I may get some flack for this comment, but I don't believe the arms are as passive in a golf swing as some people indicate ("the arms are just along for the ride"). On the other hand, trying to muscle more distance with your hands and arms is a very bad thing.

I believe a good swing should be smooth, without a lot of jerky moves. I can only back up this opinion based on how little effort it's taken to hit my farthest shots. When I start my downswing slow and controlled and then accelerate towards the bottom (maybe 80% effort when I'm playing well, 50% when I'm trying to work on something), I seem to have better results. And my arms are a part of that at least as far as controlling the swing path, club face, lag, etc.

I don't think poor golf is caused by a lack of strength or speed. I think it's our inability to properly control our mind and body. For me, when I hit a good shot with 75 or 80% effort, I can't help but think "now all I have to do is swing faster... ". This of course screws up timing and tempo. It's as though I don't have the mental capacity to learn from the exact same mistake day after day.

Anyway, that's my take on the swing. Hopefully, the more experienced players on this site will provide you with better insight and specifics that might help improve your game. Good luck.

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Originally Posted by JonMA1

I may get some flack for this comment, but I don't believe the arms are as passive in a golf swing as some people indicate ("the arms are just along for the ride"). On the other hand, trying to muscle more distance with your hands and arms is a very bad thing.

I believe a good swing should be smooth, without a lot of jerky moves. I can only back up this opinion based on how little effort it's taken to hit my farthest shots. When I start my downswing slow and controlled and then accelerate towards the bottom (maybe 80% effort when I'm playing well, 50% when I'm trying to work on something), I seem to have better results. And my arms are a part of that at least as far as controlling the swing path, club face, lag, etc.

I don't think poor golf is caused by a lack of strength or speed. I think it's our inability to properly control our mind and body. For me, when I hit a good shot with 75 or 80% effort, I can't help but think "now all I have to do is swing faster... ". This of course screws up timing and tempo. It's as though I don't have the mental capacity to learn from the exact same mistake day after day.

Anyway, that's my take on the swing. Hopefully, the more experienced players on this site will provide you with better insight and specifics that might help improve your game. Good luck.

Good points--they pretty well line up with what I've read and experienced.  Thanks for your thoughts.

I was at the range twice yesterday, once at lunch and then after work.  After lunch I was ready to quit the game, again.

After thinking it over during the afternoon, thinking specifically about the concept of the body providing the impetus for the swing, I went to the range in the evening to figure out how to get the sensation of having the body drive the swing.  Once again I feel like I've made a breakthrough.  Woo hoo!!  The real test is to see if I have it during my next practice session or round. My sense is that this particular epiphany is the one which will give me some improvement this year, but I'm looking forward with guarded enthusiasm because I've had a similar thought before.

Assuming I'm on to something, I anticipate that many hours of practice still lie ahead to gain the consistency to break 80 but I'm encouraged.

Here's the change, and it's much more subtle than I expected:  instead of thinking of swinging my arms, I think of turning my shoulders for the purpose of causing the "arm triangle" to turn around my spine.  The sensation is one of a pulling force in my left shoulder, relaxed arms and hands, and literally 10-20 more yards with much more consistent ball contact.

I'm certain that in all of the reading I've done & lessons I've taken, writers and instructors have tried to transfer the thought of using the big muscles of the body to swing the club.  Unfortunately, it has taken years for me to realize that although I thought I was doing it right and only needed more practice to make the breakthrough I was looking for, I was really not swinging properly.

Hopefully this really is the breakthrough I've been looking for.  For now at least, I love golf again.  ;-)

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I, for one, think your recent epiphany may be the real deal! Here's my quick suggestion since the boss lady is tapping her foot for me to start my honey-do list. 1 - Get a towel and stick one end under each arm pit with the towel across your chest. Make half swings at the range thinking about that triangle and proper club release. This should help you with feeling that V and incorporating a good wrist hinge and release on follow through. 2 - Grab a copy of Ben Hogan's 5 Lessons. A lot of people think it is still that book represents the modern fundamentals of golf.
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