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golfdude71

Can I improve my swing only with repetitive hard work alone ?

29 posts in this topic

Hello,

I am learning golf for the last year and have reached a handicap of 28. But on some days my swing absolutely fails me on each and every hole on the course.

My question is how much of improving the golf swing is pure "ability or skill" and how much is sheer brute force (I mean repetitive practice swings on the driving range to build muscle memory) ?

If I assume, I do not have any in built skill in my genes etc, to lower my handicap below 28, can I switch over to hard work and try to build a good golf swing in my muscle memory ? My assumption here is that scratch golfers, single digit handicappers have some golfing ability or skill in them which makes them good in golf. Or is it that they have also reached this stage only with repetitive hard work (repetitive swings on the driving range) ?

Just to put things in perspective, my goal is to reach a handicap of 18 and not something unattainable like a single digit handicap. I will be quite disappointed to find out that even to reach a handicap of 18 from 28 requires inbuilt skill and hard work will not get you there.

Please advice.

Thanks.

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You have to do a ton of repetitive things before you even get to the range. Personally I put in more hours away from any golfing facility
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Yes, I am ready to do anything and everything repetitive. But my question was how much part does "skill" play in improving the swing. I read this article last week:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/14/sport/golf/tiger-woods-obama-harmon-golf

I assume Obama is 48 years old and had never played golf before. But he had access to Butch Harmon which I don't. Is it why he reached a handicap of 18 in few months ? Or did he have some in built golf skill in him ? Because I can bet that with his job profile, he does not have time to do any repetitive things on the driving range week after week like we do.

So how much of golf is skill and how much is hard work just to reach a handicap of 18 ?

I cannot produce any skill but I can put in lot of hard work.

Thanks.

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Lol, I doubt Obama is an 18, I'm sure Bush was also an avid rancher. I've seen Obama's swing and its horrifying. Anyway, the secret is in the dirt!
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Lol, I doubt Obama is an 18, I'm sure Bush was also an avid rancher. I've seen Obama's swing and its horrifying. Anyway, the secret is in the dirt!

What does this mean?

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The answer to this is it depends, but imho, having proper instruction and self aware, smart practice will help a long way.

Obama had access to Harmon like for one or two days? And he plays with lots of good players so I assume he's got lots of contradictory advice swimming in his head. Have you seen POTUS throw a baseball? While I don't doubt his basketball skills (even his jumper looks a tad awkward, but Joakim Noah/Reggie Miller have an even uglier stroke), he is not the most coordinated person, but probably one of the fittest POTUSes ever.

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Sure, there are some people that could pick up a club and innately know how to hit a golf ball. But that's rare. Really rare. Everyone, even the people that do have better hand-eye coordination or athletic ability have to put in a lot of hard work. I know plenty of people that are decent golfers that appear to have zero athletic ability.

I would say to watch the 5 Simple Keys videos here and work a little every day on something specific. After some time, post a video of your swing in the Member Swings part of the site.

Just remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. With time and hard work, you'll get to where you want to be.

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Repetition will only help if what you're repeating is correct. You're not likely to stumble on "correct" on your own.....at least not in any kind of reasonable time frame.

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Originally Posted by David in FL

Repetition will only help if what you're repeating is correct.  You're not likely to stumble on "correct" on your own.....at least not in any kind of reasonable time frame.

this ^

Some basic swing lessons up front are a great idea.  Then at least the new golfer is practicing something close to correct.

And then ditto for some short game work.

I was self taught for nearly 3 decades and stalled out around 15/16.  A couple lessons that fixed some seriously incorrect basics, combined with watching some of the lessons they post here, and my handicap is moving down again.  (I'm not a fan of being a lesson after lesson after lesson person, but the occasional visit I am a fan of - 3 or 4 to get started, and then maybe 1 or 2 a year after....maybe that'll change later....)

( get the right "mechanics" at the start, and then you won't have to unlearn them later.  That will let you generate a correct "feel" for what's right or not in your practice from the start)

(And single digits are not "something unattainable" - with the right basics and some time, a reasonably coordinated person will find a HUGE improvement ramp)

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Originally Posted by rehmwa

(  get the right "mechanics" at the start, and then you won't have to unlearn them later.  That will let you generate a correct "feel" for what's right or not in your practice from the start)

I see what you did there. Well played.

To the OP, he's right. Lessons are by far the best way to go. If you don't have time or resources for lessons, check out the videos in the link I posted above.

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If I were talking to myself as a newbie a few years ago I would tell myself either get lessons or do a lot of research with lots of recording my swing and analysis. What you feel like you are doing while swinging and what you see on tape will be different. Also always practice with a purpose. Quality over quantity every time.

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Very, very few people have the natural talent and athletic ability to develop a great golf swing on their own without the help of a pro.  If you decide to go that route, Id suggest you at the very least read as many golf instruction books as you can and at least have an idea in your mind what the proper mechanics of the golf swing are.

For a long time, I was stubborn about taking lessons, thinking that I could just figure it out on my own and I would practice every day to achieve that goal and I still struggled to find my swing.  Eventually, I broke down and took lessons and I learned more in 1 summer of taking a lessons a week than I did in over 10 years of trying to do it on my own.  When you dont know what you dont know, its very difficult to understand what you are doing wrong and if you dont know what you are doing wrong, how can you possibly know what to practice and how to fix the flaws in your swing?

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This. And as others have said, get some basic instruction either in the form of the videos or a competent instructor. The downside of even the best literature or videos, is that you are still relying on your own PERCEPTION of what you are doing, where a competent instructor can see what you are doing. Practicing the correct thing will make you better. People of all physical gifts and abilities play golf, and some of the most unlikely are quite good. Golf is mental as well as physical. It does require some hand eye coordination, and at least for me, golf practice has improved that physical attribute. Practicing incorrect things will make you more consistent at those incorrect things. It may be that you will adapt that incorrect but consistent trait into your game, i.e. a swing fault causes you to slice, but you practice that until it is consistent enough that you can reliably play that slice. You may learn to score, but your ultimate proficiency is limited by the slice and swing fault. It would be easier to learn the correct way from the start. There are certainly physical/mental gifts involved in playing golf to a high level, but I think most can achieve an 18 handicap with some correct education and a lot of practice.
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Originally Posted by golfdude71

Just to put things in perspective, my goal is to reach a handicap of 18 and not something unattainable like a single digit handicap. I will be quite disappointed to find out that even to reach a handicap of 18 from 28 requires inbuilt skill and hard work will not get you there.

Please advice.

Thanks.

I honestly don't see a reason to put a limit on your progress.  There is no reason you cannot be a single-digit handicap.  As a short-term goal sure, getting into the 80s is fine - but single-digit is not unattainable as a long-term goal.

Golf is not so much an athletic sport as it is a skill like playing the guitar etc., imo.  It does not take exceptional coordination or some special innate athletic talent to be a solid player.  It is a matter of learning the correct techniques, and then practicing them, just like learning to play a musical instrument.

That is not to say there are not some people who don't have an exceptional natural talent for the game (just as there are natural guitar prodigies), but with hard work and proper technique I think most people can become single-digit players.

FWIW this is my 3rd year playing and I am an 18 HC but have been working hard on my short game and my swing, and my goal is to eventually shoot in the 70s consistently.

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Thanks a lot friends !! Thats really encouraging !!

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After studying and working CORRECTLY on my game this summer, I think I am about to drop into single digit handicap for 1st time of my life. Answering your question in %'s as you originally asked I'd say, to improve at golf: 50%= learning the correct fundamentals (for starters study the book Hogan's 5 fundamentals... It's the bible. I attribute most of my recent improvement to it.) 30%= commitment to practicing these fundamentals and working hard to improve in general. (implement fundamentals by finding a soccer field or range and work on mastering your short irons several times a week). 20%= athleticism/ coordination. Some coordination definitely helps but golf is a game where learned technique, focus, determination, & intellect can overcome sheer athleticism. Go get em!
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Originally Posted by golfdude71

Hello,

I am learning golf for the last year and have reached a handicap of 28. But on some days my swing absolutely fails me on each and every hole on the course.

My question is how much of improving the golf swing is pure "ability or skill" and how much is sheer brute force (I mean repetitive practice swings on the driving range to build muscle memory) ?

If I assume, I do not have any in built skill in my genes etc, to lower my handicap below 28, can I switch over to hard work and try to build a good golf swing in my muscle memory ? My assumption here is that scratch golfers, single digit handicappers have some golfing ability or skill in them which makes them good in golf. Or is it that they have also reached this stage only with repetitive hard work (repetitive swings on the driving range) ?

Just to put things in perspective, my goal is to reach a handicap of 18 and not something unattainable like a single digit handicap. I will be quite disappointed to find out that even to reach a handicap of 18 from 28 requires inbuilt skill and hard work will not get you there.

Please advice.

Thanks.

I don't think inbuilt skill or ability is a prerequisite to reaching your goals - and I believe there's some solid research that would support that.

Some degree of work and effort is required - but not sufficient on its own. You need some guidance. Some people can do it with the help of books or instructional videos - though I think "self help" must be an awful lot easier if you can video your swing and review what you're actually doing. More to the point, it didn't help me reach my goals - whereas a little help from a professional instructor has improved my ballstriking a lot in the last 6 months.

Many "self-taught" or "natural" golfers have played a lot around good golfers and been exposed to good models to copy. If you're not likely to play much with single-digit and better players, then I think your task is that much harder without quality instruction.

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Without video of your swing its hard to give much useful advice. Start by following these 3 pointers then get yourself some lessons from a good pro.

(1) Slow your swing down from flat out to about 75% of that. Never swing harder than that again. Quality of club/ball contact is far more important than club head speed.

(2) Pay attention to remaining totally in balance throughout your swing, slowing down will help that instantly.

(3) Never "hit" the ball. Swing the club head on a smooth controlled arc through the ball position and start the swing with hips, shoulders then arms. Arms come last.

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