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My Swing (loadwire)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi there,


New to this forum but I'm going to get my first lesson tomorrow after a good few years of hacking around, so I thought I'd track my progress from tomorrow onwards in case it's of interest to any on here.  I've booked five lessons but plan on leaving a month or two between each one depending on how I'm getting on.


I'll try and put what I've been told after each one and also how I'm doing afterwards in practice and on the course.  


I did try to record my swing for the 'My Swing' thread but didn't come out great on my phone (the video that is, though the swing wasn't great either a1_smile.gif).  I'm not very technically minded so I might have struggled to understand feedback on here anyway, think a face-to-face lesson is what I need.  


I've played a bit as a kid/teenager but not much at all in my twenties.  For the last 7/8 years I've played 10 times a year or so but am hoping to play a lot more this year.  I'd usually play to something like a 16-18 handicap, though often worse.  Best round is +12 I think.  


Before I have a lesson my own analysis of my game would be:


Typical shot: Definitely not the longest, generally a bit of a fade and quite high.  I don't mind the lack of length really - issue is more with inconsistent ball striking - quite a few thin and fat shots in most rounds.

Swing: A bit 'army' - struggle to keep left arm straight on the way back.  Have been told I tend to 'quit' or fall off the shot on impact and follow through.  Am quite crouched over the ball at address, with knees too bent maybe.

Driver: I always had a bit of a fade.  Bought a big-headed driver last year which turned the fade into a bad slice.  Someone told me to tee ball up higher and hit the ball on the 'up' which has helped, but I'm a bit more erratic as a result (the odd pull, still the odd wild slice) - probably though inconsistent position at address.

3/5 Wood:  Generally with a slight fade but generally hit them well.

Irons: As above, generally slight fade and a bit high/short. Issue is more the number of thin/fat shots I hit.  Often happens when I'm trying to hit the ball too hard.


That's probably a bungled description.  Overall I'm looking for fewer wild shots with the driver and fewer thin/fat shots with the irons.  I'm accepting that my game will get worse before it gets better but I'll try and post what feedback I get in the first lesson tomorrow and take it from there...

post #2 of 21

I moved this to a "My Swing" thread because they don't always have to be about video, etc. They're basically a "practice diary" as you'd originally titled the thread, or a "swing diary."

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Okay thanks iacas.


I guess I'll put up the video i took - very bad quality (particularly lighting!) and only from one angle so not expecting anyone to be able to give much feedback.  


FWIW the shots at 56s and 3m 25s were poor!


As I said, I think my technical understanding of swing mechanics is pretty limited so hopefully the in-person lessons will help me get an idea of what I should be doing.  


If there is stuff from the lessons I think might be of more general interest (as opposed to curbing my own flaws) I'll post it in the instruction thread.




post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well Lesson #1 was yesterday.  I liked the instructor, he kept it pretty simple.  


He mainly concentrated on ball position.  I was hitting a 6-iron and had it nearly off my left foot.  He said that was the main cause of my shortish fade and also of the number of fat/thin shots with my irons.  We put the ball right back to the centre of my stance and he explained that I should think of hitting down on the ball - aim to thump the mat after the ball - whereas before I was doing more of a sweeping action. 


Felt quite strange to me and I hit a good few poor shots, I think mainly from not staying down on the shot.  However after a few goes I hit some good ones and they had a completely different flight - a lovely low rise with a slight draw and which went quite a bit further than my 'old' six irons.  I still hit a few more poor ones but I was happy to have something to go on at least!


He said I should use that 'centre' ball position for 5-8 irons and move it further back to my right heel for 9i-SW.  He explained that that downward hitting action will compress the ball and will use the true loft of the club - with it off my left heel I had been making a six iron more like an eight.  This is probably all blindingly obvious stuff to most on here but it was a big change to my action so we had to spend a good bit of time on it.


We then looked at the driver as I had told him I'd have a big slice with that until I teed it higher to hit it on the 'up'.  He watched me hitting a few shots with that.  He said ball placement with that was fine - on my left heel - but I was moving back on my backswing, which I didn't do with my irons.  I didn't realise but with the driver I lift my left heel on the backswing which would cause me move backwards during it.  He said to make sure the left foot stays rooted to the ground on the backswing to keep me centred over the ball.  He used a more 'normal' tee height than I had been using and said to hit down on the ball like with the irons - he said the only different is the ball placement, the swing should be the same.  


This last bit felt quite strange to me for a driver and I don't think I fully committed to it on my shots.  Keeping the left foot on the ground was a very weird feeling for me too, I felt quite restricted in my backswing but that's probably a good thing.  Almost all of the drives I hit had my big old slice on them.  He said I wasn't staying on the shot, was coming up out of it too early but was encouraging me that I was on the right lines.  I was a bit disappointed that they were all going off to the right - would have liked to hit a few good ones like I managed with the irons but I'll see how it goes the next day on the range.


Will try and get a few range visits in over the next week or two and see how those changes go.  I'm supposed to play next tuesday but I'd be scared to take my slicing driver out on the course so I might leave that in the car  a1_smile.gif. 


I plan on getting a 2nd lesson in 3/4 weeks so will see how I get on between now and then.

post #5 of 21
Very interesting so far.

I think a lot of it is practicing and understanding why the ball is flying like it is.

I sliced at first, then I learned that slicing is caused from an open club head at impact and an out to in swing path.

Then I started pushing, once again, I learned pushing is caused by not enough hip rotation and (in my case) weight on my toes instead of the middle of my feet.

Hitting straight right now and very happy.

Learn what causes each ball flight, then you will see what needs to be fixed.

Driver Tip: I know this sounds crazy l, but try bringing bal position back just a little at a time and see what happens... You're swing will always be more in to out further back and more out to in the further forward you put that ball.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

First range visit since lesson #1 today.  Went pretty okay, all told.


I tried a couple of drivers early on but they were slicing wildly so decided to concentrate on the irons.  If I can get a bit more comfortable with those in terms of ball position and striking 'down' I''ll be happy, might leave the driver until next lesson as I've a feeling I might need some more guidance there.  Clutchshot - thanks for the practice suggestion, might try it out the next day.


Started with 6-iron and at first couldn't hit it out of my way.  Just like in the lesson though, after a few swings I started to commit more to hitting down on the ball and began to strike it quite sweetly.  I pushed a few, and if I did't catch them quite right then the ball flight was staying quite low.  The better shots were beginning low but rising well, and travelling 10/15 yards further than normal.  Noticed a gradual improvement in the number of good shots on the 'new' swing, which is all I can ask for at this stage.


Moved to 8-iron to compare ball flight.  Maybe it was a confidence thing with the loft in the club but I struck those shots much more consistently.  Still some duff shots, but most were pretty well struck and those that were had a much better ball flight than I am used to, and again a good 10/15 yards extra.  


Then switched to PW.  As I said above, my instructor said to hit 9-iron to SW off my right heel but I didn't actually try the short irons during the lesson.  I couldn't quite manage it today, bar one or two shots.  Feels quite alien to me to have the ball that far back in my stance - and even harder to commit to hitting down on the ball when it's that far back.  I have seen instruction books that advise the middle of the stance for short irons but I'll stick with off the right heel for now and see how I get on before the next lesson.  Would be interested to hear what any on here think of putting the ball that far back?


Anyway, I hope to get out to the range over the weekend again so will see how I progress...

post #7 of 21
Golf is interesting because although most professionals will tell you similar fundamentals, they all seen to have their own ideas too. I watch a lot of school of golf on the golf channel, Greg Norman keeps all clubs in center of stance, this is what I have adopted and see much more consistancy.

I used to move the ball forward the longer the club, the problem was if i accidently put the 4 iron an inch back from where i was used to the shot would come out wrong and the other way around. Now I keep everything centered that isn't teed up. Been much happier with the results.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Another range visit yesterday. 


Only hit 6, 7 and 8 irons to try and get a bit more confident with the ball further back in my stance and striking down.  I was pretty disappointed overall, seemed to be a step back from my earlier sessions with a lot of mishits and very low shots.  


I'm pretty sure some of them at least were caused by me lapsing back into a 'sweeping' action very late in the downswing.  I did a bit better when I really concentrated on hitting down, but saying that there were still quite a lot of pushed shots and very low ones.  Anyway, it's only my 3rd practice session (lesson included) so I'll persevere I suppose.  


A couple of mitigating factors were (a) I had forgotten my glove and (b) it was bloody freezing.  Tried to warm up as best I could beforehand but it definitely didn't help.  


Hopefully next practice goes better, I think i'll book a second lesson in a week or two in case I've gone way off track without realising.

post #9 of 21
Love reading your progress posts, very interesting.

When's the last time you practiced? I try to hit balls 2-3 times a week when I'm drilling something new in.

Too long of breaks and it will be very hard to make forward progress...
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks Clutch.  Went out again today so that makes it 3 visits in the week since the lesson.  I think you're right though - I need to give this a good bit of practice to get out of my old bad habits.  Went a bit better today - not amazing but definitely more good shots than the previous session.  


Again I just concentrated on 6-8 irons, just feel I don't want to get too bogged down in my Driver issues which seem to be different.  I would say for every 10 shots I hit they would go something like:


2/3 I'd be very happy with - well struck - low rising and either straight or with a slight draw

4/5 I'd be happy enough with (for now) - decent strike but either not sweet enough to get rising properly or pushed to the right (pushed rather than sliced)

2/3 I'd be not happy with - various different types of poor shots - putting this down to still struggling with staying down on shot 


I noticed the poor shots increased towards the end - if the session had ended halfway through I would have been much more positive about it.  Also, when I get near the end - 4 or 5 balls - I seem to hit those well, so maybe it's a concentration thing.  Might try and get fewer balls (I usually get 100) next time but I can't make it out to the range every night so I usually want to make the most of my visits.


Overall I'm fairly happy with how it's going.  I definitely enjoy having something concrete to work on at the range.  I've booked a second lesson for next Wednesday so I'll try and get out at least twice more before then.  Looking forward to getting some feedback from the pro as to what I'm doing right and what I'm doing no-so-right...

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Another practice session today.  


Far from perfect, and still a lot of loose shots but I would say it was my best practice since the initial lesson.  Again, stuck mostly to mid irons.


A few good and bad on today and generally since the lesson:


  • Centre ball position feeling like natural position rather than forced 
  • Pretty steady (if slow) improvement in terms of number of 'pure' or nearly pure strikes
  • Also improvement today on accuracy - apart from one or two, the poor shots were all pushes which feels like a natural 'miss' with given the changed ball position
  • Much lower ball flight which I don't mind too much but I do think my average ball flight is probably a lower than it should be 
  • Still losing concentration on striking down at time


Feel I've made decent if not earth-shattering progress over the last week and a half, looking forward to next lesson.  


Towards end of practice today I tried a few shots with PW with ball position off right foot as instructed - didn't feel nearly as strange today as when I had tried it before and hit a few very sweetly and much further than I would normally hit my wedge.  Also tried the driver but again I was slicing so stopped pretty quickly - hopefully I can get some more guidance on that in lesson 2.


Next post will probably be after lesson 2 next week.

post #12 of 21

I enjoy reading the updates, look forward to seeing an updated swing video soon. 

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Managed to get out to the range yesterday before lesson tomorrow.  Easily my best session since first lesson.  


Probably 70-75% of shots were well struck which was a big step forward.  Not all of those were perfect by any means but a much higher ratio of shots I'd be happy with on the course, and quite a few that were sweeter than I've ever struck iron shots before.  


Probably not coincidentally I found I was getting 'through' the ball much better - finding the balance between hitting 'down' on the ball but getting my weight through the shot and finishing in a nice balanced position.  I wasn't consciously thinking of those things but it just seemed to happen as I get more used to the striking action off a centred or right foot ball placement.  


As usual I just hit 6-iron up to PW, with 6-8 irons in a centred ball position and 9-PW off my right foot.


6-irons still tending to come out very low - I'm not sure if it's a shot I could confidently hit over a hazard.  I feel like I'm hitting the pretty well but the ball flight is staying low.  


7 and 8-irons start low but rise very nicely.  Most had a nice draw too, though I was hitting into a pretty strong right-to-left wind so I'm not 100% sure how much was down to that.  


9-iron and PW off my right foot were going nicely too, particularly off 3/4 length swings - I chunked a few when I went for the full swing.  The ones I hit well were much further than before - while I'm decent with these clubs I've always been very short with them - 100 yard max for my PW.  I'm not 100% sure how far they were going as the range didn't have great markers at those lengths but they were definitely further than I used to hit them, and much 'purer' strikes.


The poor shots were much fewer but still there.  A small number where I didn't stay down on the shot (much less than previous sessions).  Mainly the poor ones were 'chunked' - really fat, felt like maybe I moved my head down during the downswing.  Whenever I hit one I tried to concentrate on keeping my head still during downswing and that seemed to help.  That's pretty amateurish analysis I know, will be interested to see if instructor sees anything tomorrow.  Three things I'll mention about how I'm hitting them will be - occasional pushes, occasional fat/chunked shots, and the low 6-iron ball flight.


Overall I'm more than happy at the progress I've made with the irons.  I'm sure I'll plateau at some stage but so far it's been a steady upward curve which makes me look forward to the next practice.  And the fact that the good shots I'm hitting are sweeter than I've ever hit irons before is really exciting.


I've left the driver in the car for the last few practices so hopefully I'll get some pointers on that tomorrow too.  If I can get that going anyway decent I'll definitely hit the course soon.


Onephenom - I'll try and post a video soon, my phone has a pretty crappy picture as you can see above but I should be able to take a better clip one of the next sessions.

post #14 of 21
Good to hear your improving, I have been striking a lot better irons this year as well.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Had my second lesson last night.  


It was a bit disappointing in so far as at the start I didn't feel like I hit it as well as I have been.  I did say that to the pro but in fairness he can only go on what he sees.  In some ways maybe it's good that he was there to see the ugly shots :-P


I hit my 6-iron first - as I had been saying I thought they were staying low and the ones I hit last night were doing that, with a small fade. 


He watched me hit 10 or so shots.  He said he saw a problem with my backswing that he hadn't seen in the first lesson.  I was bringing the club back too steeply, bending my left arm and not getting a proper shoulder turn which was the reason for the low fade.  He spent a while explaining how I need to take the club back on the inside and get my hands behind me ("in the pocket") rather than up.  This will help encourage an 'in to out' swing path


He put a club on the ground to my right hand side, just behind my heels and said to concentrate on bringing my hands behind that line.  This gave me a much better shoulder turn and I seemed to keep my left arm straighter as a result.  He said it may have been his fault for going straight to downswing in lesson #1 but he had wanted to leave well enough alone unless he saw a flaw, which he did this time.  I think I may have gone a bit 'vertical' in my action since the first lesson by over-concentrating on hitting 'down' on the ball when practicing.  


This didn't have immediate dividends but eventually I hit a few very nicely - much better rise than I've been able to get with the 6-iron.  


He watched me hit the driver too and said that was definitely the reason for the slice with that - bringing it up rather than back on the backswing.  Maybe him asking to keep my left foot rooted on the backswing made me 'cheat' in a different way to avoid a proper shoulder turn. He said it's natural that one change may create a new flaw.  That's probably truer for someone like me who doesn't have a great understanding of what not to do!  


The results were mixed at best but I did manage to hit some drives that were fades rather than slices.  He apologised for repeating himself but said I wasn't quite getting my hands behind me.   It's funny, often when I did a practice backswing he said it was excellent, but when I went to hit the ball I reverted to a steeper action. 


After he left I hit 20 more balls with the driver and actually hit a few really well and with no fade at all.  


Overall I felt it was a step backwards given last lesson he thought he could 'skip' my backswing.  At the same time I feel I have a much better understanding of what I 'should' be doing.  He explained it clearly enough that I can practice the positions and try and make sure I'm getting the path right. 


I've probably made a meal of explaining a very simple change but it's a lot to take in for someone like me who has never really thought about how they swing the club.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Have been to the range a few times this week since lesson #2.  It's been a bit of a struggle really.  Thinking consciously about getting my hands back deep is a pretty big change for me and my A4 is a lot further 'back' than it would have been before.  As a result (I think) I'm struggling to get my hands back to impact position consistently.  I'm getting a higher ball flight but most are blocked badly out to the right.  Not a slice at least I suppose.


One positive is my driver - concentrating on hands deep has really helped stop those wild slices.  Yesterday I hit some really sweet low straight drives but even the ones I wasn't catching right weren't really slicing.


I've another lesson on Wednesday so hoping for some feedback on my block 'miss'.   Hoping to play 9 holes after work on Thursday.  That'll be my first game in a couple of months so not expecting too much to be honest, I'm sure I'll get a bit snatchy when I hit the course.


Sorry, still no video!

post #17 of 21
Sounds like you are learning a lot, sometimes you have to step backward in order to move forward.

When I picked up golf a few years back, I was convinced I could make up my own swing and be effective at it. What I learned was using this swing, I was only going to be able to get so good.

I began watching everything from YouTube videos, to the golf fix, to the PGA tour to study how a gold swing is supposed to be executed.

When I first started over, my score dropped quite a bit, I was now inconsistant, but was capible of hiring better shots.

Last year, was tough for me because I felt like I was stil adjusting, but this year I am finally starting to really dial in. I am now hitting great shots consistently and couldn't be happier.

First year I was in the mid 40s on 9
2nd year I was in the low 50s.
This year, my goal is the break 40 now that I am finally hitting the great shots consistently.

Best of luck.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks clutchshot. 


Had lesson #3 tonight.  Went very well I felt.  


I hit a few that were either blocking or drawing.  Some of the draws were a bit low and 'hooky' rather than a proper draw flight.  One swing he noticed that I very slightly lost control of the club at the top of the swing which is something that has been a problem for me over the years.  Since working on getting my hands deep, I've felt my right thumb was moving off the grip slightly at the top of the backswing.  


I had had a very strong left hand grip, which he explained was not giving my right hand enough room to grip the club (my right hand was also 'strong', crossing over the left).  Also, it meant I closed the clubface a lot, encouraging the lower ball flight.  


He just moved my left hand to a more neutral position (basically with my left thumb straight down the front of the grip and just let my right hand take the room that was now available for it.  To me, this made the clubface look really open at address, but he assured me that was the proper neutral position, that I had had it very closed before.  I hit a few balls that went with a very nice trajectory  (this was a 7-iron), some straight and some with a slight draw.  I was still blocking some but not nearly as far as I had been.  He was really encouraging about how well I was hitting it.  He made another slight adjustment, making my right hand slightly weaker.  


We spoke a bit about the grip - like what I've seen on this site, the pro said he has seen all kinds of grips work well.  He said he only tries to change it if he feels its hindering progress, which for me I think it was.  That grip was for a very different set up and swing so to me it makes sense that I might have to make an adjustment there.  For most of the lesson he was still emphasising the 'swing' parts of what I've been working on - hands deep, striking down, but with the more neutral grip it seemed to 'fit' much better.


I hit balls for another 30 minutes after the lesson.  Overall I was striking them very sweetly, though some were slight blocks.  I even got a couple of admiring comments from two guys the next bay up who asked what I played off!


I'm supposed to play 18 tomorrow which will be my first round since the lessons started.  The pro just asked that I try not to worry too much if I'm getting occasional blocks, just to try and concentrate on keeping on with the swing changes so we'll see how it goes.


Not expecting to score very well but if I can hit even a few like I hit them tonight at the range I'll be happy.


I've written a very long post about very little really - just a small grip change and more repetition of the previous lessons, but I feel like I'm making progress.  The instructor was very encouraging about how I've implemented the changes, and it definitely feels a more stable swing than I've ever had.  As I said before, I'm sure I'll get a bit snatchy out on the course tomorrow so we'll see how it goes.



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