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Interesting as I have had some experience with this and would like to share this. I played GI and SGI for years. Some years ago my pro who also happens to be a good friend, when I asked him how I could improve my ball striking said, play a (Players Iron)good forged cavity backed iron. Forged for the feel, while the Cb would provide just enough forgiveness. His take with the GI and mainly SGI is that they mask and put a band-aid on your swing flaws. The SGI/GI made now are more extreme then years past. Their main objective is get the ball airborne with high MOI. Hence you dont feel where you are striking and thus cant really improve. His main caution though, make sure you get fitted.
I went and got some players irons (AMP forged and J33 CB). Had the lies fitted to my specs and off I went. The first couple of driving range sessions were hell, but I soon got into the groove. Along with lessons, I was making great contact. What I loved was the forged feel but most importantly I could feel exactly where I was hitting on the face.
As my game improved, I went back to the GI irons I had. My thinking was since my striking was better I could take advantage of the GI MOI and tech. Funny thing was initially the striking would be great, but after a while it would go stagnant and even get worse. I did this like 3 times before coming to the conclusion, that the GI/SGI were indeed band-aids. After a while even with a good swing you get complacent and since you cant really feel where you are striking the ball, you fall into your old habits.
I gave the exact advice to my best friend who was playing Callaways SGIs, he bought some Mizzys and though initially had issues, within a couple of months he was breaking 90 on a regular basis and he swears to never go back. Player irons
you to make good contact. The one caveat is you must be willing to put in the time.
My iron play, is the strongest part of my game and I believe its because of this. My issue is driving ( hit it far enough 260/270 but irratic), short game and puting which is sporadic. But my iron play is solid. I have played with scratch players who have said my striking is beter then theirs, but will need to work on the rest.
Just my experience..............everyone is different.
This year farthest was 290, while I was averaging approx 265/270 for the year. My best driving year was 2010 averaged 280/285 with two monster 368 and 390 ( both radar measured in competition) in July 2010. I even noted the dates it happened 18 and 24 July as it was pretty big news in our comp. Its been downhill ever since. Crazy thing was that year I swung that driver so easy. It was a Cobra King Cobra Speed LD F Drivers 10.5 get this ..............with a regular NV shaft!. That year everytime I stepped to the tee I knew I was getting at least 270-290 straight. What still gets me was my technique back then compared to now was tremendous flawed. How I was able to do it still makes me scratch my head.
Never got the feeling ever again, sadly. The following year very erratic even tried cutting the shaft down to 43, didnt help. I have come to the conclusion that those days wont come back and that i should be satisfied with 265 straight, which for all intent purposes is still very fine for me, but what I wouldnt do for 2010 to reoccur.
Yes, im indebted to him on that. The crazy thing was when he first mentioned squats or DL, I like most ppl said I cant, I have a bad back. The crazy thing is when done correctly, your stabilisation muscles along with your core become so developed. Also as you rightfully mentioned one can event start ( as I did) with a very light weight and go really slow but with good from.
Not wanting to sound like an expert but from someone who has also had chronic back issues (runs in the family) for over 25 years, I think I may have spotted an issue with Dan. From my naked eye he seems to have a very weak CORE. I went on a journey myself some 25 years ago when I was diagnosed with a herniated disk. Back then surgery was a 50/50 option because of scar tissue. So I went the other route.........learn to live with it. But in learning to live with it I have learned via research and luckily my brother later became a certified trainer ( is currently the physical trainer for a professional soccer team in the MLS as we speak) that there are certain things one must do.
1 Control weight
2 Control diet in that certain foods actually increase inflammation. This is something MANY ppl dont know. One culprit, peanut butter
3 Stretching, exercise/training and some YOGA
4 CORE, CORE, CORE!
The last is of GREAT importance. Once I developed a strong core, I went practically pain free. I went from a scale 1 -10, to a 1 in terms of pain. Like one gentleman said above, I also incorporated believe it or not squatting and deadlifting. Contrary to what many believe, they are actually NOT bad for your back, but must be done with good form. Something I learned from my brother. I can now squat 400lbs and DL 400 lbs, im 5'11 190 lbs.
Golf used to be a struggle with a hurting back because apart from the pain, it starts to play mind games with you too. Dan will not be able to progress with out getting that under control.
These are my numbers from a FS I did about a week ago.
Note thee are metrics so for distance (from meters to yards) you need to x1.1.
Averages for SS is appox 106 but Spin was high ( couldnt get the entire sheet to upload). As for distance was apprx 255, note however I made use of range balls. At my club you can buy special range balls for FS, but choose not to as pro said simply add about 7-10%.
Flaring of the feet is great advice, wish I used this much earlier. IMHO I think one of the main reasons why many dont do it is because of Hogans 5 Lessons in which he is very clear on how he more of less despises it. he goes as far as saying when he sees it he wonders which direction the golfer is going. To be honest, it held me back from trying it also as I didnt want to commit Hogan Blasphemy, but after being told time and time again by a good friend of mine who is a golf pro here in Holland that many players do it and it will improve my dynamics, I tried it and Im sold.