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Improvement

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

One of my favorite quotes from The Golfing Machine holds the truest secret to "getting good fast":

 

 

Quote:
The Three Imperatives and Essentials operate to correct faulty procedures. So, if they seem elusive, it is invariably because you are trying to execute them while you hit the ball - in your accustomed manner. That must be reversed. Learn to do those things even if you miss the ball - until you no longer miss it. There is no successful alternative (3-B).

 

In other words, make good swings and the ball flight will sort itself out.

 

As many of you know Dave recently purchased a building and we'll be doing a lot of our teaching indoors. Regular golfers have a net about 30 feet in front of them, while golfers in our teaching bay will be hitting into a net about ten feet in front of them.

 

That's good, because we can focus on making good swings. When your goal is to build a good golf swing, quite frankly, how the ball flies is almost irrelevant during the process. It's a part of the outcome. It comes later. If you're applying proper understanding of the golf swing, physics, geometry, etc., the outcome will not be a surprise.

 

And for the golfers who are at the fine-tuning stage, well, we have a Trackman to show ball flight and to let the more skilled player tweak some of their numbers.

 

Now, don't confuse this with "making golf swings pretty" or "putting the hitting of positions above scoring." I'll take a guy with an ugly swing who can score above a guy with a technically sound swing that can't get the ball in the hole to be on my team every day of the week. But those guys are anomalies, and frankly, the first guy's "ugly" swing still obeys the same laws of physics and geometry, and the guy who has a "pretty" swing but can't score either doesn't actually have a "pretty" swing from the ball's perspective or his coaches have failed to work on his short game, putting, mental process, or course management.

 

I'm a former Pontiac Aztek owner. Great car. Why? Because form follows function. The same is true in the golf swing, and The Golfing Machine and Homer Kelley had it right. Make good swings - make your body and the club function properly - and the ball will fly how you want it to (the form).

post #2 of 40

Thanks for the great post, it motivated me to buy a net for my backyard.  I find it's tough at the range to avoid getting caught up in the ball flight when I'm working on swing mechanics, especially if people are watching. 

post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 

FWIW I'm fully aware of the fact that you can reverse form and function. One could argue that the "form" is how the golf swing looks and the "function" is "to make the ball go in the air, far, and towards the target."

 

And those people wouldn't be wrong. They just have different definitions than I do.

 

Either way you look at it, during the first half of the impact interval, the way the clubhead "functions" is the only thing that will affect the "form" of the golf shot, and I prefer to think of it that way. The function is utilizing the tools (golf clubs) effectively, and the form is the golf shot that results.

 

post #4 of 40

Totally agree, Thats why in winter i like using my labtop indoors and make slow deliberate swings, working on getting into the proper positions. I hate hitting off mats, it screws up my swing big time. I know a lot of people want to hit golf balls, but sometimes i think it can be counter productive because they just get depressed, and they don't even work on the right things. I am talking about those who just try to go it alone. Alot of good teachers will start small, short swings, insuring decent contact. Thats fine. 

post #5 of 40

Give it time too.  Real, unconscious second nature muscle memory just takes a lot of time to develop, especially as we get older and our brain loses it's plasticity.  A month probably isn't enough time.  Three months might be enough time if you focused and practiced on a single, specific motion for an hour a day, like the first foot of your takeaway.  Six months is probably enough time for that one piece to become second nature.  Add in all the other things you are trying to change in a swing and it takes on the order of years to be fully automatic.  That's the reason I don't really expect Tiger to that much better at the Frys.com this weekend than he was at the Bridgestone.  It will come for him, but he's human too, so it just takes time, or reps as he likes to say.  Not hitting balls and drilling motions is the easiest way to focus.  Once you're ready after a week or so, hitting soft foam practice balls can help to give you a ground aim point because you don't anticipate the jolt of impact as much and you can be free to duff it or top it as needed, provided that it doesn't interfere with your ability to focus on the process and not the result.

post #6 of 40

The only exception I take with this philosophy is that I believe swinging into a net can produce a different swing. I have visual evidence, tons of it, that I do it. When hitting balls in my garage my swing is MUCH better then when hitting balls out on the range. Into the net our mind is not pre-occupied with a target, in fact we could care less where the ball goes, but out on the range there is a target and our subconscious is acutely aware of it. 

 

The challenge I have found is converting the swing developed in the garage (or net) to the outside game. Once that target enters the picture the swing changes. I think this has mostly to do with squaring the clubface. 

post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchepp View Post

The only exception I take with this philosophy is that I believe swinging into a net can produce a different swing.

 

True, but would you say this is a mental thing? Because it seems like it may be just that. :-)

post #8 of 40

I had kind of the same thought during my putting eval\lesson I had a few days ago (as part of my Edel Fitting). It's a strange sensation for me now that my stroke complements my aim perfectly. I don't "feel" like I'm putting straight, but my putts go exactly where I aim them now. If I try to force my putts straight, they don't go straight.

 

In putting, I try my best to do things in a way that I know is correct. Same can be translated to my swing and when I'm making changes. I square my body, and aim my club, and don't try to force my ball to go towards my target. I trust my correct swing (or the swing that I've been practicing in the net), to get my ball to the target and sometimes that's the hardest thing to do.

post #9 of 40

A player can leave a short lesson hitting the ball worse (or missing the ball completely) as long as their mechanics are more correct and they're on the right path?

post #10 of 40

 

Quote:

 

A player can leave a short lesson hitting the ball worse (or missing the ball completely) as long as their mechanics are more correct and they're on the right path?

 

In Nick Price's book he talked about when he changed his swing early in his career. For a while he played worse than when it was playing when it started out, but then his improvements kicked in and he boomed onto the golf scene winning alot of tourniments. So yes you can try to make improvements, and things can go bad at first, but if your making meaningful changes in the right direction, then things should turn out better in the long run.

post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

 

True, but would you say this is a mental thing? Because it seems like it may be just that. :-)



Simple answer is yeah, probably. But I have to feel that I am not alone with my mental challenge. We as humans are not built all that differently. So it begs the question .... how do we fix me (it). 

 

Often times if I swing at 50% my swing is spectacular, I hit almost all the positions. When I add speed often times things go haywire, and not surprisingly my bad habits all show up. It is a similar phenomenom in my mind to the garage v range situation. Do you think it is repetitions? I just need to do it like 5,000 times in my garage and I will have it? I have been asking this myself for a few months now. I am willing to try it. Hit 5,000 balls in my garage and then video my swing again on the range. It will take me 6 months to do that. 

 

Unless there are any other suggestions. 

post #12 of 40

I totally agree.  I think making a good swing is the key to a good ball flight.  Although, I get so annoyed of people who have the worst looking swing, but then their balls fly straight and far.  It's like Charles Barkley's swing!  haha.. but yes, I am a proponent for a good swing and those nets are useful.

post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post

A player can leave a short lesson hitting the ball worse (or missing the ball completely) as long as their mechanics are more correct and they're on the right path?

 

The "missing the ball completely" is an exaggeration. :-)

 

Will students leave a lesson hitting the ball worse? No. Virtually all students leave hitting the ball better. Those who don't often kinda half-ass the efforts. They do enough that it's different and their old compensations don't work but they don't do enough that the change sinks in well.

 

Limiting the rest of this paragraph to the students who get worse temporarily, which is between 30 and 50%: What we see in the people we teach is that they'll suck for a few swings, maybe even 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Then they'll start to get better, and after 30-40 minutes 90% of their shots are "better" than before and 10% are about the same (though perhaps "different" kinds of misses).

 

Among Dave and James and I and other instructors we know, however, it's a bit different. We have a bit more faith in our ability to "stop working on something and just hit the ball solidly." So we'll spend time shanking the ball, thinning it, topping it, hitting some really funny shots really exaggerating the right move or doing everything we can to make the "better" motions. Again, we have a bit more trust that we can "get back" to what we need to do.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

In Nick Price's book he talked about when he changed his swing early in his career. For a while he played worse than when it was playing when it started out, but then his improvements kicked in and he boomed onto the golf scene winning alot of tourniments. So yes you can try to make improvements, and things can go bad at first, but if your making meaningful changes in the right direction, then things should turn out better in the long run.


Yeah, that's the other route you can go. That's "wholesale changes." That's "everything at once." Not recommended... most people still want to play decent golf while they're working on things.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchepp View Post

Simple answer is yeah, probably. But I have to feel that I am not alone with my mental challenge. We as humans are not built all that differently. So it begs the question .... how do we fix me (it). 

 

Often times if I swing at 50% my swing is spectacular, I hit almost all the positions. When I add speed often times things go haywire, and not surprisingly my bad habits all show up. It is a similar phenomenom in my mind to the garage v range situation. Do you think it is repetitions? I just need to do it like 5,000 times in my garage and I will have it? I have been asking this myself for a few months now. I am willing to try it. Hit 5,000 balls in my garage and then video my swing again on the range. It will take me 6 months to do that. 

 

Unless there are any other suggestions. 

 

Why not "Talent Code" it Michael? If you can hit balls at 50%, do that. For a week. Then spend a week doing it at 55%. Then a week doing it at 60%. Then 65%. If you go 5% per week for 10 weeks, that's faster than six months, even if you have some setbacks and have to tack on a week at the same speed a few times.

 

Seriously. If you can make the swings you want to make at 50%, make them. Then build from there.

 

We do this with students all the time. If you can't do something at 75% you ain't doin' it at 90% or 95%!!!

post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

If you can make the swings you want to make at 50%, make them. Then build from there.

 


This, this and this some more.

 

My lesson today was a major departure from my normal backswing for me, to the point where my normal tempo and general swing got "broken" and the result was major snap hooks and a few shanks.

 

We kept working on the correct movement and ignoring the ball contact or flight to begin with and then when the movement was more natural we started off 'pitching' my 7i with the idea of the ball only flying 50 yards. In reality it went about 80 yards. Then we upped the distance to hitting it 80 yards and it went about 120. Then we toyed with getting more height on the ball, hitting it lower etc and when comfortable we upped the distance to try and hit it 110 yards. In reality it was flying about 130 yards with what I'd class as a half swing.

 

Start off slow and build up from there.

 

post #15 of 40

I think that getting away from scoring/shots and focusing on making a better move and making great contact is a big change that is hard to make.  Everyone wants to play well when they go out.  I know personally it has been really hard to change and play.  I am looking (was for the post) at buying a decent mat and a nice big net to hit into.  I know what I need to do to get better and don't need to see the flight to know if I hit it solid.  I hope this helps b/c this has been a golf season to forget.  I've played and practiced harder and more than ever, but I am the worst I've been in 7 years.  I just hit these horrible unplayable shots trying to make a change/changes my instructor prescribed and made sense on video.  I hope hitting into a net everynight helps.  I think I'm finally on to why I have gotten worse and the solution is all set up based and turning my shoulders steeper and having a sweeper backswing.  I've noticed on video I have that I am very flat for a tall person.  The club gets stuck behind me alot and I hit huge pushes, habitual toe misser, insanely irratic.  I'm to the point where if I don't improve to at least where I was I am done.  The only thing that has kept me in the game this year is my putting and chipping is better than ever.  "rant over"

post #16 of 40

I've already decided I am buying an Opti-Shot and a net. You'll be seeing some swing videos over the winter. 

 

Oops, meant to post this in the other thread. 

post #17 of 40

LeftyGolfer,

 

It is just a thought, but were you static fitted for your clubs? If you have time, try bringing your clubs in to a place that will do that for you and make sure your clubs are the right length and have the correct lie angle. I am 6'1" and was fitted 1" long and 2* upright. I used to fight clubs that were too short or too flat for my height and swing style. It's just a thought.

post #18 of 40

Thanks for the idea SAGolfLuvr. 

 

I have been fitted a long time ago.  I think my problem has to do with my move and not my clubs.  If you come over the top it is really hard to hit it solid and not pull it.  I played a pull for a long time and played well doing it. 

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