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"Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Discuss "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker here.
post #2 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

I really liked this book. It helped my mental part of the game. I haven't read other golf books that tackle the "mental" part of golf so I can't compare it to the Bob Rotella books (which seem to be more popular) but this one really helped my game.
post #3 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

This book helped my game as well. I finished this book and shot the round of my life, at The Fort in Indianapolis IN. The drills in the back are very helpful, especially the putting drill.
post #4 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

redi and db, can you expand on your experience with it?

I read the book about a year and a half ago, and I just couldn't relate, plus, I thought it would take a long time. However, after going back to tips and traditional instruction, I am in the same boat as before, going nowhere. So I started reading it again, with a commitment to sticking with it.

One thing I like to discuss is the club throwing exercise. I understand how it shows we all have a natural swing, we just need to find it. But Shoemaker doesn't suggest we use our club throwing swing to swing the golf club. I am a little confused on how to get from the club throwing swing to an effective golf swing, and how me being aware of my faulty swing will lead me to a more effecient swing. thanks.
post #5 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

Originally Posted by akgolfnut View Post
redi and db, can you expand on your experience with it?
For me, I got the most help from the mental process that I go through, leading up to every shot. The mindset that I have now, after reading this book, not only helps me prepare for the next shot but it also helps me forget about my last shot, whether that shot was good or bad.


Originally Posted by akgolfnut View Post
One thing I like to discuss is the club throwing exercise. I understand how it shows we all have a natural swing, we just need to find it. But Shoemaker doesn't suggest we use our club throwing swing to swing the golf club. I am a little confused on how to get from the club throwing swing to an effective golf swing, and how me being aware of my faulty swing will lead me to a more effecient swing. thanks.
The club throwing exercise is to get you to "feel" what a correct golf shot is like. How do you get to an effective golf swing with this exercise? I think it depends on what your deffect is. If your weight is on your back foot on your follow through, concentrate on what it feels like to have the weight on your front foot when you do the club throwing exercise. Than try to have the same feeling when you take a normal swing. If your problem is with flicking your wrists to much, than try to feel what it's like, not to flick your wrists with the club throwing exercise. Once you have that feel, try to replicate it on a normal swing.

What is the issue with your swing that you would like to correct?
post #6 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

I have two big issues...one is being too ball-bound, the other is my release.

On the first issue...I am not consciously trying to hit the ball, I am trying to focus on a target and swing through. I video'd my practice swing and it looks fine. I hit the practice wiffle balls in my backyard fine. But with the ball there, I can't seem to re-create the swinging through feeling.

Second issue, I can't seem to get the proper release working. I do a drill where right before impact, you take your right hand off the club and swing through just with the left hand on the club. It's a good drill....the release happens naturally and the ball goes basically straight with a slight draw. But, put my right back on the club, and I am back to slices and mis-hits.

According to Shoemaker and his mentor Tim Gallwey (whose book Inner Game I read), I should probably just focus on my left forearm rotating, but not consciously trying to fix the swing....but the whole awareness method is very difficult...it seems it will take a long time. I'm a recreational golfer and just don't get out much to play or practice.

Anyway, there's my story... Thanks for any comments.
post #7 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

Originally Posted by akgolfnut View Post
redi and db, can you expand on your experience with it?

I read the book about a year and a half ago, and I just couldn't relate, plus, I thought it would take a long time. However, after going back to tips and traditional instruction, I am in the same boat as before, going nowhere. So I started reading it again, with a commitment to sticking with it.

One thing I like to discuss is the club throwing exercise. I understand how it shows we all have a natural swing, we just need to find it. But Shoemaker doesn't suggest we use our club throwing swing to swing the golf club. I am a little confused on how to get from the club throwing swing to an effective golf swing, and how me being aware of my faulty swing will lead me to a more effecient swing. thanks.
I am a full time golf instructor and my co-worker uses the extraordinary golf method. His student do not get better and many of them leave feeling ripped off. The reason the throwing motion is hard to get into an effective swing is that they are similar motions, but at the end of the day very very different. If you look at the people in the throwing club motions on video, they are out of position 100% of the time. Why? Because the release point is in a much different area. About 2 feet from the other release point.

I will say that there are many great things about the book, but over all it falls short of being worthwhile for myself. Shoemaker says that because people do not get better that the current golf culture is wrong. He says current golf instruction does not work and is not effective. That goes against statistics. 10% of golfers take 99% of lessons (or something close to that). Out of those golfers they report a 99% satisfaction rate. By that stat, the reason golfer do not get better is not from taking lessons, but rather not taking lessons.
One other big mistake Shoemaker makes in his book is this: he says that you must stay present. Then he tells you repeatedly to find a connection with the target. The target is the future. The current is you alignment, your grip, the wind, your aim etc. To only have target connection is like staring at the finish line in a race. Unless you move your legs fats you can connect all day long, but you will not win. All of sports science says that you do not focus on the outcome (target) you focus on the performance (swing) and the outcome will be achieved.
My personal belief is this: Information is not the enemy. Poor information is . I would suggest getting with a good golf instructor that is not method based and work on your swing flaws and learn you swing strengths. I personally hat not knowing why I am playing bad, and even worse why I am not playing good. Shoemaker's method does not educate you. At the end of the day the motion makes the shot not the target. Let mechanics produce and feel re-produce. There is a difference between feel and real.
post #8 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

Originally Posted by xiphos888 View Post
One other big mistake Shoemaker makes in his book is this: he says that you must stay present. Then he tells you repeatedly to find a connection with the target. The target is the future. The current is you alignment, your grip, the wind, your aim etc. To only have target connection is like staring at the finish line in a race. Unless you move your legs fats you can connect all day long, but you will not win. All of sports science says that you do not focus on the outcome (target) you focus on the performance (swing) and the outcome will be achieved... At the end of the day the motion makes the shot not the target. Let mechanics produce and feel re-produce. There is a difference between feel and real.
Thank you so much for this post. I keep hearing from this book and other sources that the target should be the focus, but I find that I swing better when I tune into my body. If you will, xiphos, what is your response to the argument that we normally don't focus on our body when we walk, but when we walk on a narrow log over a river, we do focus, and then we become less skilled? I'm thinking that there is a difference between left brain focus (which hinders), and diffused body awareness, which helps.
post #9 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

This book's not too bad. Fred Shoemaker gently and persuasively reminds us that golf is an experience, rather than a result. It's only by being aware and in the moment that we can really enjoy the experience - or play our best. Yet, as he clearly illustrates, the "Culture of Golfers" is to focus on the results and on what's wrong with our game... which robs us of both the enjoyment, and the potential to play to our full ability.
post #10 of 15

Re: "Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible" by Fred and Pete Shoemaker

I tend to think that different people benefit from different approaches. After 2 years of reworking my swing in very mechanical ways I found this book and the follow up Extraordinary Putting very helpful. It helped me eliminate mechanical notions from my swing, develop trust that for the most part my swing was pretty good, and gave me something very specific to the swing that was happening in real time to focus and concentrate on. This helped free my swing up considerably and my ballstriking, short game and putting have all improved as a result.

The thing I did not realise was that by doing that, it did help me understand at a better level where I still had mechanical flaws, so served to work in practice as a feedback mechanism to help me identify what mechanical parts of the swing needed work.

However, a case in point of how this helped, the other day I played a round and my primary ballflight off the tee was a fade. This is odd for me and in the past I would have fought it all the way around trying to eliminate it on the course. After reading this book I decided to take the approach that my swing felt good and felt reproducible but that day I was doing something that was causing a fade. My result was I went with it and kept trying to enjoy the swing I had. I realigned for the rest of the round and simply trusted that I would achieve the fade ballflight and it worked.

I left it until my next range session to try and determine why I started fading. It was a little difficult and I ended up with a few bogies and doubles early on until I decided to trust the fade was what I brought to the course that day and went with it. As soon as I did my swing was smoother and I hit my line for the rest of the round.
post #11 of 15

I began play golf relatively late in life. I had many golf lessons from method teachers without particular success. I had my first intuitive or awareness teaching golf lesson recently. It was a revelation that I swung  better if I did not attempt to think about how each part of my body had to behave.  Instead I focussed on the position of the club head and increasingly I am becoming confident where the clubhead is in my swing. I would sum it up that teaching a method gives one a glimpse into one way of swinging a club but not necessarily one that suits every individual. Teach someone the principle of awareness and they will find a way to swing the club instinctively. This definitely frees the mind to focus in the present on the outcome of the swing with confidence rather than worrying about the mechanics. My impression is that my golf swing is becoming more consistent and the experience more similar to the familiarity I feel when I drive a car rather than the feeling that I am trying to walk a tight rope while juggling.

post #12 of 15

I loved both books so much so I even wrote to Fred to thank him. Fred & his wife both replied (mainly as i mentioned that my bride was getting fed up hearing how "present" I was to her !).  

After reading both books it inspired me to get back to golf.

 

I reckon that most of the time amateurs interfere too much with themselves when hitting a shot. I know that I could only say that I hit a proper golf shot every 1 in 10. (hcap 9).

We should all play to our potential first & then decide whether to change swing etc. 

Most golfers will never devote enough time to effectively change things about themselves, never mind their golf swings ! This is a good place to start .

 

Essentially we are talking here about how to add value . Most golf  books will add value of some sort (presumably). At least this one adds value without detracting from other aspects of the game.

 

Its only for the 40+, open minded philosophical types though !

( Or as Aristole put it when talking about philosophy, you need to be 40 or so before you should indulge in philosophy.  )

 

 

I ve had lessons from  a Glaswegian pro who took all Freds info to heart & it now fors the basis of his teaching.

 

C Mac

post #13 of 15

Gents, I have to give my cents as well to this.

 

Kindly apologise some bad writing, it's due to I'm german.

 

So, I like to start with that I played 5 years before I took a 5 years break, then I played 3 years just to have another break from it.

 

The last 3 years since rejoining golf - hopefully for the rest of my life - I was completely into mechanics, but all the way I remarked, I miss a certain feeling due to this mechanical addiction. I tried a couple of things and swung as slow as possible to become aware of path, clubface, shaft, wrists, simply everything. I just thought I was aware of it, every now and then my swings became erratic and I was starting to try to find out where and when and why. Besides, my putting was so bad, I was like, shit, 2 good shots on a Par 4 and now I have to put! shit me! I became really frustrated with me and my performance, esp that I did not make any progress hcp wise, that I set a goal in the beginning of this season, to give it up together, if I can't improve.

 

2 months ago I read the book on putting and that already helped alot. I read something about the drills in the other book and ordered one right after reading the putting book. Both really inspired me in a sensational positive way. Now I am no concerned anymore to hit a golf course often enough to not loose my swing or short game or anything else. I am not stressed on any first tee anymore, neither I am stressed on a green. That alone is already a lot of benefit to me, but it got even better. Everytime I now try things out, just because I am cuorious what will happend and not being afraid to loose any good swing anymore, I am having really alot of fun with the game again. Besides I played my first sub par round 2 weeks after reading both books.

 

My game is not close to this best round yet again, but I am getting there. Hitting a 85 at best before, I have completely stopped counting during a round and finally I barely play over 80 again. Instead, from the ladies tees I played a 65 with quiet alot of quarter wedge shots, something I really hated before - now I can enjoy all the creativity this demands.

 

Reading both books and becoming aware of what I am REALLY doing helped me to approach the game and basically myself on the course from a different perspective. People doubt in the first place, esp from talking that it's different, they start to see what I achieve and they are more curious about what makes me so relaxed out there. I wish more people would be open enough for this kind of approach.

 

I am deeply thankful to Fred to have assambled his way of looking at it in a way I could understand it.

 

Cheers

 

Frank

post #14 of 15

I did not really "buy" the club throwing from the book but kept a couple of ideas. The first is that I should be more aware of what my body is doing in the swing, even when working on technique. It's too easy for me to get lost in forcing the club to the "good position", I'd better focus more on figuring out how to move my body to make it happen. The second is that it's natural to want to "look good" and not hit terrible shots... but when undoing a significant swing change, there will be terrible or at least bad shots, they must be accepted as part of the process.

post #15 of 15
I really liked both his books but I if I were to recommend just one it would be the putting book. I am a MUCH better putter since reading Extraordinary Putting and practicing the drills and concepts in the book. The best thing I got out of the putting book was the drill where you close your eyes and walk to the hole, really helps you develop a feel for distance control and a truer sense of your spatial relationship to the hole.
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