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Hitting into a Net

post #1 of 264
Thread Starter 

I told a few people I was going to post a thread here on why I think hitting into a net is, in many cases, a better way to make changes to your golf swing and to improve, but it turns out I already wrote a good bit about that topic. It's right here, in my "Improvement" post.

 

But I'll say a bit more about it here. But first, that quote from The Golfing Machine:

 

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).

 

Simply put, all too often, outdoors, students get obsessed with making the ball go somewhere. As great as that sounds, it's often counter-productive. The only way the student knows how to hit the golf ball is the way they've always done it. If you ask them to make a change, they're not going to want to because making only that change is rarely going to produce instant results. As in "the next ball."

 

As dumb as it may be, golfers still think that they're going to get miracle advice. For example, I'm thinking of a certain student I had. He came over the top and hit some big pulls (to clarify, the path wasn't responsible for his pulls - I'm just saying his path was bad, but the face matched up to it). We've seen time and time again that we can change a student's path without severely screwing up the face angle. So anyway, this guy makes a few compensations in his swing, and I know the first thing I've gotta get him to do is to push the ball. So he starts hitting big blocks, which are fine - he's one of the few guys who "rotated the face with the path," if you know what I mean. So he hits 25 pushes, and then I show him how to do something to control the face just the little bit that he needs, and he hits another 20 that way, and leaves happy.

 

The thing was, this guy had complete trust, and at the end of the day, he could play that push if he wanted and we'd done nothing more. I'd explained to him before-hand that he should expect to hit some big pushes but that would prove that his path had changed, and that we'd get around to showing him how to control the face. So when he instantly started hitting pushes, he was excited about it and it made me look better in his eyes.

 

Anyway, this guy was rare in that he trusted me... A lot of golfers will say "I'm okay with hitting it worse before I hit it better," but it's simply not true. A lot of golfers will say that they trust you, but you put that white pellet down in front of them and put a flag in the ground 200 yards away, and trust takes a back seat to "I want to make the ball go there!!!!"

 

Ask someone to swing at 50% their normal speed indoors and you get a swing that's 70% their normal speed. Ask someone to swing 20% outside and you get a swing that's 75% their normal speed. People like to see the ball go: a) far and b) towards their target.

 

It all goes back to the Golfing Machine quote. Make the correct motions - the ball flight will follow if you have any clue what you're doing. Practicing indoors or into a net lets you focus on making the correct motions. The ball is effectively just there so you're not swinging at air.

 

Will your swing outside - to a green with a flag and water and sand on a golf course - be different than into a net? Perhaps. But why should it be? If you tend to amp up your swing or do something different, I'd call that a mental mistake, not a physical certainty. Get your mind in check. Make the same swings you make into a net on the golf course. Heck, take the Jack Nicklaus bit to an extreme - pick out a target a few feet in front of you and hit that. Just like a net. Just make sure the target just in front of you is lined up with your eventual target out in the fairway or on the green.

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post #2 of 264

I started playing in 2002. In 2003, I caught the bug to play more often. In 2005, I decided to get better clubs and improve my game. I HATED hitting into nets. So I shunned all facilities that had nets because I wanted to see how the ball re-acted to my swing. These days, I embrace the net. The economy did have something to do with it about 2 years ago. 

1. With a net set up somewhere on your own property, It saves spending money at the driving range and you can swing more often.

2. If I don't hit the ball first, I know it instantly.

3. I MUST choose a target and focus, if I miss the net, it will be costly.

Those last two points grooves my swing. YES I am looking at getting a bigger net, still shopping around.

Lastly, the swing I use on the net serves me well on the course, so I know it works.

post #3 of 264

 

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

 
post #4 of 264

I'm hitting either off very short grass or a tee until the weather turns.  I cut a box in my yard at the lowest setting.  I can get a pretty realistic lie.  I like the way it sounds when hitting off of grass. 

 

I sure hope that I improve.  I've got nothing but worse in the past 3 years.  I've got some big changes I'm making so it is giving me time to engrain them.  My timing with the longer clubs is really hard to change.  I'm going from a very past parrell swing to short of that.  It feels odd and really short, but then when I look at my video I see it looks better.  But contact is my issue.  I can't stop missing off the toe and I know it is from coming over it.  I almost have to feel like my swing is in slow motion but the sound is much different.  I try to almost hyper-extend my right arm throughout the whole backswing and well past impact.  Seems to have helped and made my contact more consistant.

 

 

post #5 of 264

A net is in my very near future.  I have a room upstairs that may work but if not, it will go in the garage.  I have some changes to get lined out...

post #6 of 264
One of my favorite things about winter golf is being able to focus entirely on my swing. Since I can't play actually play rounds, there is no pressure to have my swing in any sort of "round shape." Unfortunately, Delawareans haven't figured out how to build an indoor golf facility. a4_sad.gif
post #7 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

One of my favorite things about winter golf is being able to focus entirely on my swing. Since I can't play actually play rounds, there is no pressure to have my swing in any sort of "round shape." Unfortunately, Delawareans haven't figured out how to build an indoor golf facility. a4_sad.gif



Although I could play every day from now to March, I'm going to stop playing rounds until I've made the changes I want to make. I am incapable of sticking to the swing changes on the course as I immediately go into score mode.

 

post #8 of 264

Erik, your posts really get you thinking. Even though I do not own a net, or even plan on purchasing one, some of the points that you make are very "duh" like. You point out, well... the obvious - and that's a compliment. We're all pretty guilty of everything that you said. I can play a virtual round on a simulator and feel out a beautiful stroke all day. When going to get another drink, or even on my way home, I'll sit there and think "why the hell don't I apply that swing to my actual game?". Think to when you've tried to offer a friend some advice. I mean a really, really, stubborn friend who is lost and even goes as far as to ask for your advice. You probably make a joke like "swing harder, that helps!" or actually tell them to slow down. Chances are, they repeat the same exact swing on their next shot and look at you like a deer in highbeams, completely dumbfounded and say "I did swing slower!". I've seen this thousands of times and more often then not, they actually even made their next swing faster (or equal) rather than slower.

My best rounds come when I just don't think, I relax, I don't try to work the ball with the club (such as flipping my pitches to achieve a flop shot), or trying to bomb the ball. For me, a clear head and simplified game is a better game.

I used to laugh at a buddy of mine on my Friday night bowling league, who would actually take masking tape and write "SLOW" on it and stick it to the top of his shoe near his toes. He would just laugh and say "When you set up your shot, the first thing you look at is your feet. It's my reminder".

Unfortunately, I can't fit this damn post on my golf shoes! With that being said, golf will always be a love-hate relationship! lol c2_beer.gif

post #9 of 264

I know Erik is highly informed with everything he says, but I kind of disagree with this idea.

 

Basically, in my opinion, the more information and feedback you get on a given shot, the better.  This idea seems to rest on an assumption that a golfer can't help but get in his own way, and I don't think that's a fair assumption to make, or to assume is true for the majority of people.  If you want to focus on video and positions for a particular practice session then go ahead and do it, but I think being able to observe the ball flight is generally a good thing.

 

Furthermore, doesn't this kind of go against the idea that Erik has mentioned before about most students' ballstriking improving within a given lesson?  It seems like the ballstriking improving within a given lesson idea implies that improvements occur relatively quickly, while this hitting into a net idea implies that you will often have to hit worse shots for a while before you will improve.  

post #10 of 264
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by laxbballgolf View Post

Basically, in my opinion, the more information and feedback you get on a given shot, the better.  This idea seems to rest on an assumption that a golfer can't help but get in his own way, and I don't think that's a fair assumption to make, or to assume is true for the majority of people.  If you want to focus on video and positions for a particular practice session then go ahead and do it, but I think being able to observe the ball flight is generally a good thing.

 

If you know what the positions in the golf swing are, you don't need ball flight. And I would contest that the vast majority of golfers DO get in their own way. It takes a special student to do things like swinging a driver at 80% speed and topping balls on the range because they're working on keeping their right arm flexed longer. Much easier to have fun and commit to doing that when the ball's not going anywhere anyway.


Without the "restriction" of "ballflight" the student can focus on making the changes they need to make.

 

You may be the one in a thousand (or more) students who is capable of "working" on something and exaggerating it so much that you hit 20 lousy shots in a row, for example. Most people aren't. Most people, though they'll say they don't care about instant gratification, want it to come inside of 20 balls. It's much easier to work on things when you're not concerned with how the ball flies.

 

Additionally, ball flight is not all that matters - distance matters too to the average guy. Again if you ask a guy outdoors to swing at 20% speed he'll probably still swing at 50-75%. Ask a guy to swing at 20% indoors and he may give you 30-40%. It's much easier to work on things when you're not concerned with how far the ball flies.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by laxbballgolf View Post

Furthermore, doesn't this kind of go against the idea that Erik has mentioned before about most students' ballstriking improving within a given lesson?  It seems like the ballstriking improving within a given lesson idea implies that improvements occur relatively quickly, while this hitting into a net idea implies that you will often have to hit worse shots for a while before you will improve.  

 

No. Our students still get better. The trick is that 20-ball barrier. It's drills for awhile, which are easier with the student doing the proper things perhaps at a slower pace, perhaps exaggerating it, and then as you ramp it up the student can see the improvements right there on the camera and launch monitor.

 

"Hitting worse shots for awhile" is a relative term (the "awhile" part). I've talked about some of my practice sessions. When Mike Bennett was here and I worked with him he was content to literally top the ball with his driver (see above) as well as exaggerate his forward shaft lean so much he had negative loft on his driver and pounded probably 15 balls into the dirt a foot in front of where they were teed up. Then when he made his normal swings the changes were dramatic.

 

It's fine to disagree with me. I encourage it, and it got me to explain this more. I'm just sharing my opinions based on having watched and taught a few thousand people. They're similar to what Dave feels, though, and Chuck Evans and a few other people we've talked to: that, in general, it's easier to make actual changes to your golf swing when you're not worried about the ball flight immediately as you begin working on it. Maybe call it the "20 Ball Rule" or something. Heck, even when teaching outdoors that might make sense: telling the guy "look, you'll get better fastest if you give me 20 balls where you promise yourself you don't care one bit where they go or how they get there."

post #11 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

 

If you know what the positions in the golf swing are, you don't need ball flight. And I would contest that the vast majority of golfers DO get in their own way. It takes a special student to do things like swinging a driver at 80% speed and topping balls on the range because they're working on keeping their right arm flexed longer. Much easier to have fun and commit to doing that when the ball's not going anywhere anyway.

Without the "restriction" of "ballflight" the student can focus on making the changes they need to make.

 

You may be the one in a thousand (or more) students who is capable of "working" on something and exaggerating it so much that you hit 20 lousy shots in a row, for example. Most people aren't. Most people, though they'll say they don't care about instant gratification, want it to come inside of 20 balls. It's much easier to work on things when you're not concerned with how the ball flies.

 

Additionally, ball flight is not all that matters - distance matters too to the average guy. Again if you ask a guy outdoors to swing at 20% speed he'll probably still swing at 50-75%. Ask a guy to swing at 20% indoors and he may give you 30-40%. It's much easier to work on things when you're not concerned with how far the ball flies. 

 

 

 

No. Our students still get better. The trick is that 20-ball barrier. It's drills for awhile, which are easier with the student doing the proper things perhaps at a slower pace, perhaps exaggerating it, and then as you ramp it up the student can see the improvements right there on the camera and launch monitor.

 

"Hitting worse shots for awhile" is a relative term (the "awhile" part). I've talked about some of my practice sessions. When Mike Bennett was here and I worked with him he was content to literally top the ball with his driver (see above) as well as exaggerate his forward shaft lean so much he had negative loft on his driver and pounded probably 15 balls into the dirt a foot in front of where they were teed up. Then when he made his normal swings the changes were dramatic.

 

It's fine to disagree with me. I encourage it, and it got me to explain this more. I'm just sharing my opinions based on having watched and taught a few thousand people. They're similar to what Dave feels, though, and Chuck Evans and a few other people we've talked to: that, in general, it's easier to make actual changes to your golf swing when you're not worried about the ball flight immediately as you begin working on it. Maybe call it the "20 Ball Rule" or something. Heck, even when teaching outdoors that might make sense: telling the guy "look, you'll get better fastest if you give me 20 balls where you promise yourself you don't care one bit where they go or how they get there."


Cool, I can buy that, more or less.  Thanks for the elaboration.  I've been meaning to sign up for Evolvr for like a year now.  One of these days...

 

But I still basically hold the opinion that taking away a major form of feedback is not an advantage, if it's meant as a most-of-the-time thing. 

 

For a lesson format with an instructor watching your shots, sure, I guess it makes sense.  But I'm not confident enough in my own ability to analyze video that I can trust how the ball probably flew without really seeing it (I guess if the net is far enough away you can at least see the initial curve).  To me, the ideal practice environment is: camera on, no wind, watch how the ball flies and see the video - both as needed.  Of course, in reality I am usually at a windy driving range with no camera, but like I said, one of these days I will get my act together and sign up for Evolvr!

 

post #12 of 264
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by laxbballgolf View Post

But I'm not confident enough in my own ability to analyze video that I can trust how the ball probably flew without really seeing it


Of course! That's a key piece of my whole argument - that the ball flight becomes irrelevant if you can tell what the ball did by seeing the swing itself! a3_biggrin.gif

post #13 of 264

Isn't it important to have a trained eye watching you while you hit into a net?  I agree with everything you said Erik; however, many people at home may buy a net of some sort to practice with during the winter and if they do not apply the proper swing methods, they could do themselves a disservice by practicing those bad swing methods not knowing what they "feel" they are doing may be incorrect.  Subsequently, they get outside in the spring and are completely discouraged when find that they are still hitting a huge slice after practicing "what they thought was" a good swing into the net all winter.

 

Would you agree that it is critical to emphasize the importance of practicing with an instructor during the winter and from there, take the lessons home with you when you practice with your net at home?  Most people I know don't even know what to look for when they watch their swing on camera and an instructor can point things out for that individual.

 

 

post #14 of 264
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deryck Griffith View Post

Isn't it important to have a trained eye watching you while you hit into a net?

 

At some point, yes. We have evolvr students changing their swings hitting into nets, though. They know the "picture" they're trying to get and have a few feelings and thoughts on how to get there.

 

Let me put it this way: it's kind of an extension of this line of thinking... If you can't do something at 10% speed, or 20%, or 30%, you can't do it at 100% speed. The same is true if you can't do it at all. So develop your swing where the results don't matter and you'll have a better chance of actually doing that on the course. <-- That's not related to your question. But it occurred to me that I hadn't quite put it that way, so I wanted to before I forgot.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deryck Griffith View Post

I agree with everything you said Erik; however, many people at home may buy a net of some sort to practice with during the winter and if they do not apply the proper swing methods, they could do themselves a disservice by practicing those bad swing methods not knowing what they "feel" they are doing may be incorrect.  Subsequently, they get outside in the spring and are completely discouraged when find that they are still hitting a huge slice after practicing "what they thought was" a good swing into the net all winter.

 

Or worse - they could hit the ball worse than they were before and have spent all winter ingraining it!

 

Let me put it this way: I think that hitting into a net is one of the best ways to make swing changes - whether those changes are for the better is a measure of how much you or your instructor know about the golf swing!

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deryck Griffith View Post

Would you agree that it is critical to emphasize the importance of practicing with an instructor during the winter and from there, take the lessons home with you when you practice with your net at home?  Most people I know don't even know what to look for when they watch their swing on camera and an instructor can point things out for that individual.

 

Absolutely. But that gets into other topics, and this one's just a "hitting into a net is a great way to make changes" kind of thing. :-) Definitely, unless you truly understand the golf swing, get with a good or great instructor.

post #15 of 264

I strongly agree with Eric.

 

It is easier to trust your instructor when you do not see the ball flight. By the time we have played enough golf to be taking lessons, we have enough instincts built into our swing that our brain/body really wants the the ball to fly well. We can't help but to try and make it fly well.

 

The guys who run the golf school I frequent have said they think they could get better results if they did not let students hit a ball for the first few days of a 5-day school. They understand that everyone would think they were crazy because people want to beat balls at a golf school for their dollar. So, I've watched it take some people days to stop wanting the ball to fly well instead of doing what the instructors are telling them to do. That is one reason alumni schools are so much more productive and fun. We all have learned to trust the instructors. When they ask us to try something, we do. If the ball worm-burns nearly straight right, and the instructor says, "That's it!" we believe we did it correctly. When we try it and the ball goes long and straight but the instructor says, "Nope. That was not it." we trust that too. We trust the instructor and do not care about the ball. Hitting into nets shortens the time it takes to build that trust and stops our brains from trying to make the ball go well even when we try to say we don't care.

post #16 of 264

I've never tried this and am seriously considering getting a net setup in my garage and hit into it over the winter months so I can groove my swing and ball contact.  I read about some of the 'northern' golfers (I think Mike Wier comes to mind) doing this and it intrigues me.  Time to start researching the Optishot.

post #17 of 264
One of the great aspects of having a net is that you can go out and hit some balls at any time. If often went out to hit some balls after reading something on this forum or coming up with something that I might try to work on. Not having to pay for the balls is also wonderful. I sometimes went out to hit balls at 1AM because I was staying up late and reading the forum.
post #18 of 264
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGeekGolfer View Post

I've never tried this and am seriously considering getting a net setup in my garage and hit into it over the winter months so I can groove my swing and ball contact.  I read about some of the 'northern' golfers (I think Mike Wier comes to mind) doing this and it intrigues me.  Time to start researching the Optishot.


Just be careful that you're working on something correct. Just "grooving" a bad swing will, as you know, just groove a bad swing! :-) (Not a commentary on your swing... I don't recall having seen it.)

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