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The Virtue of Being a Stupid Monkey (and How it can Help Your Golf Game) - Page 8

post #127 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post



Just be "dumb" and do what you're told. The hardest part is ignoring all the faults that jump out at you when looking at your vids. If your coach hadn't said anything about them, it means they're good enough. Could they be better? Yes, but they're not a priority yet so ignore them. That is the hardest part. Most of us who hang out here a lot are way over-educated on swing mechanics and that can become a real problem because as good as we are at spotting flaws, we generally suck at identifying the priority piece that will have the most impact. A good priority piece will fix a lot of faults at the same time. A bad priority piece (also known as a guess) will just suck you into a viscous cycle of chasing your tail forever.

This is probably, by far, my biggest problem. I'll be told to work on something then I'll watch the video and spot something that I think is wrong and start obsessing and questioning it *i.e. "are my hands high enough?"*. I don't know if I have it in me to be a stupid monkey, but I sure hope so.

post #128 of 145


When I read Gallwey's "the Inner Game of Golf" years ago, I came to a similar, yet quite opposite, conclusion. From listening to pro's on interviews to my own experience, I realized good golfers came in two distinct categories: 1) very smart individuals who had found ways to harness the power of their thinking minds, yet still let their subconscious body actually 'play' the shots, and 2) fairly thick individuals, who have difficulty holding two different thoughts in their head at one time.

 

To me, Jack Nicklaus is the supreme example of type 1 - he's clearly a smart guy, and he harnessed his conscious brain for visualization, letting it inform without directing his subconscious. Fred Couples seems to be the example of #2 (not that he's not a very nice guy, just that I suspect he's not the guy you'd want to discuss philosophy, literature, or physics with.) I played a lot of golf with a #2 type; he always hit it down the middle because that's all he could think of. Grip and rip, indeed.

 

Your average golfer ("AG") falls between these two extremes. The more active the mind, the more the tendency to fill it up with more 'knowledge' about the swing, mechanics, equipment, etc. But when it comes time to hit the ball, the AG's mind is so busy with thoughts and instructions - what Gallwey calls the 'sergeant-major' barking drill instructions - that the poor body gets confused. As Yogi Berra once said about baseball "I can't think and hit at the same time!". The whole point of Gallwey's book (and it helped me immensely) was to find ways to distract the sgt-major and occupy the conscious mind so that the body - which effortlessly co-ordinates all the variables in muscles, bones, tendons, etc. while walking, a task which modern computers have only recently become capable of imitating closely - can take control and make the swing.

 

When I'm on the range before a round, I use my conscious brain to evaluate how I'm hitting that day - am I hitting it thin? hooking the short irons? whatever - and I work on one swing thought to fix that. I carry that thought all day, and I trust my subconscious to make the right swing while my conscious is tied up with "Make a full turn" or "See the club hit the ball", or whatever I worked out on the range.

 

I wouldn't exactly call it 'stupid monkey', but I definitely agree that learning how to quiet and control the conscious mind is a huge part of the mental game.

post #129 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldCaddy View Post
 

I wouldn't exactly call it 'stupid monkey', but I definitely agree that learning how to quiet and control the conscious mind is a huge part of the mental game.

 

FWIW, while your points are fairly closely related, the thread pretty much deals specifically with receiving and making the most of your instruction, not necessarily "how to limit swing thoughts on the golf course." Closely related, I grant you, but not exactly the same.

 

Very good post though, and welcome to the site.

post #130 of 145

Golf is a movement towards a target and the mind is a target focused mechanism... 

 

Bryan

post #131 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BVAI777 View Post
 

Golf is a movement towards a target and the mind is a target focused mechanism... 

 

Thanks, but that doesn't really speak to the topic of this thread.

post #132 of 145
Was thinking of this thread this morning. I have been trying to follow the advice I have been given (stop the right elbow from drifting behind on the back swing - so it will be in proper position on down swing and impact) without looking at other things. Recently though, I have been struggling with straight and pull draws. Not with the shorter wedges, but anything from my PW on. I have hit some nasty ones with the driver.

Anyway, its not really playable right now unless I try to open the face at impact a lot. Sounds easy, but it has been hard for some reason. This seems to me like key #5 (club face control) issues.

Anyway, would this fall into not being a stupid monkey? By working on clubface control at the same time. Like I said, the shots I have been hitting right now are not really playable.

This is more a general question. Just used my own struggles recently as an example.
post #133 of 145

How do I get nominated to be a stupid monkey? If I post a five-minute clip of me trying to figure out how my hands work again at age 39 as I try to use a proper grip, will that count? It's probably pretty pathetic to ask how one gets to be nominated as a "Stupid Monkey," but such simple pleasures are what I seek these days...

post #134 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoan2 View Post
 

How do I get nominated to be a stupid monkey? If I post a five-minute clip of me trying to figure out how my hands work again at age 39 as I try to use a proper grip, will that count? It's probably pretty pathetic to ask how one gets to be nominated as a "Stupid Monkey," but such simple pleasures are what I seek these days...

I'm not sure myself, but being able to doggedly work on the same drill/key without getting distracted seems to be what it takes. Problem is I don't seem to do well at that. While I have been able to implement some of the required changes to my swing *shortened backswing/reduce hip sway* I always ask about other things like ball placement/flipping etc. I think those questions are what keeps me from the "stupid monkey" badge but I can't be sure.

post #135 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

I'm not sure myself, but being able to doggedly work on the same drill/key without getting distracted seems to be what it takes. Problem is I don't seem to do well at that. While I have been able to implement some of the required changes to my swing *shortened backswing/reduce hip sway* I always ask about other things like ball placement/flipping etc. I think those questions are what keeps me from the "stupid monkey" badge but I can't be sure.

Thanks for the response. I actually just commented on your myswing thread. You can be a stupid monkey in my book. Cheers.

post #136 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

I'm not sure myself, but being able to doggedly work on the same drill/key without getting distracted seems to be what it takes. Problem is I don't seem to do well at that. While I have been able to implement some of the required changes to my swing *shortened backswing/reduce hip sway* I always ask about other things like ball placement/flipping etc. I think those questions are what keeps me from the "stupid monkey" badge but I can't be sure.


To be a stupid monkey, you need to simply listen and do what you instructor tells you and not self-diagnose. Listen. Do. Listen Do. Listen. Do. JMO

post #137 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoan2 View Post
 

How do I get nominated to be a stupid monkey? If I post a five-minute clip of me trying to figure out how my hands work again at age 39 as I try to use a proper grip, will that count? It's probably pretty pathetic to ask how one gets to be nominated as a "Stupid Monkey," but such simple pleasures are what I seek these days...

 

Being a Stupid Monkey is more about "doing" than "figuring something out". So if you're working on your grip, be specific with what your goal is, "I'm working on making sure the grip lies in my fingers and not the palm" and make sure you do it every time.

 

Here is a good Stupid Monkey example

 

post #138 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

Being a Stupid Monkey is more about "doing" than "figuring something out". So if you're working on your grip, be specific with what your goal is, "I'm working on making sure the grip lies in my fingers and not the palm" and make sure you do it every time.

 

Here is a good Stupid Monkey example

 

That video is painful for me to watch, not because it's bad, but because it's obvious to me that I'm not the type of person who can practice that way. I think once I get to a certain point this type of practice is the only thing that will actually produce any changes for me though.

post #139 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

That video is painful for me to watch, not because it's bad, but because it's obvious to me that I'm not the type of person who can practice that way. I think once I get to a certain point this type of practice is the only thing that will actually produce any changes for me though.

 

You don't have to practice exactly like this to be a Stupid Monkey. You just don't want to go to the range and "try a bunch of stuff out" or change what you're working on based on results (kind of like this guy did). Like @CarlSpackler said, listen to your instructor and avoid self diagnosing yourself. 

post #140 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

Being a Stupid Monkey is more about "doing" than "figuring something out". So if you're working on your grip, be specific with what your goal is, "I'm working on making sure the grip lies in my fingers and not the palm" and make sure you do it every time.

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of grip, if you don't mind, I have a question. Using a strong grip is painfully awkward for me. I know that's the point, that doing something different requires you to feel awkward, but I'm serious when I say that just to get into position to feel like I can make an athletic swing requires about a minute of gripping, regripping, taking deep breaths, etc. I feel like Sergio Garcia back in 2001, except that I still can't hit the ball. How long would you say it generally takes to develop a grip with proper technique that actually feels comfortable to you? It's really a pain in the butt to practice, let alone play, when every time you hold the club it feels like I've lost all coordination in my hands. I also imagine that some of the awkwardness reveals other problems in my swing. A good grip is designed to promote a proper golf swing, so the fact that it feels completely weird is a sign that there's glaring deficiencies in other parts of my swing, correct?

post #141 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

You don't have to practice exactly like this to be a Stupid Monkey. You just don't want to go to the range and "try a bunch of stuff out" or change what you're working on based on results (kind of like this guy did). Like @CarlSpackler
 said, listen to your instructor and avoid self diagnosing yourself

This. I'm a bit of a scatterbrain and tend to get off message easily. To keep on message, I load up my instructor's latest video on my smartphone and watch it before or during range practice. I also keep our text transcripts handy as well. This is my "It's the economy, stupid" method. You take a lesson and you think you've got everything in your head but on rewatching the video, not everything.

I'm very intellectually curious. This is bad for golf in the being in the swing learning respect. B A D. I can't completely turn off my brain, but I can put on blinders.
post #142 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevets88 View Post

I can't completely turn off my brain, but I can put on blinders.
Me, too. I can take direction well; I just have a bad habit of working on too many things (often extracurricular) at once.
post #143 of 145

I'm sure I over analyze things and self diagnose way too often.  I'm a big fan of focused practice when working on my swing.  I like to focus on one thing and try to do it and let the results take care of themselves (I never like working on too many things at once as it's counterproductive)...  Thing is..... I absolutely love to know the why... why why why?...   So when I thought I was a stupid monkey on the golf course...  I haven't been stupid monkey on the practice range when I've been working on my swing...  On the course, I focus on a swing thought...  On the range, I've self diagnosed and tried to understand the why...  It's okay to understand the why, but I don't need to figure it out while standing on the range.  Just do...   I'll get there, but I'm not there yet. 

 

It's harder to be a Stupid Monkey than I thought, you know why?..........................    Exactly, you don't need to know why.

post #144 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 
If you spend any time with a PGA Tour player, particularly one who is working on his game, you'll start to realize something very quickly. These guys are good. Spend a little more time with the player, though, and you'll realize something else. These guys are stupid.
 
I mean that in a good way! I'll put it another way: "these guys are monkeys." What do I mean by that, and why am I calling (nearly) every PGA Tour player a stupid monkey? It's simple: PGA Tour players are both incapable (to their benefit) of high-level thought when it comes to their golf swings and their games can suffer the times they delve too far into the mechanics, geometry, physics, etc.
 
PGA Tour players function best when they're told "do this little thing and you'll play better golf" and they try to do it. They're often incredibly good at doing that thing. They don't overthink things. They're just the trained monkey.
 
I'd go so far as to say that the average member of this site knows more about the golf swing than the average PGA Tour player. The purpose of this post is to stress to you that it's to your detriment as golfers.
 
PGA Tour players don't need to know the "why" - they simply want to know the what. "What do you want me to do, coach?" "What do I do when I'm hooking the ball, coach?" "What do I do to hit the ball lower, coach?"
 
We have members on this site who read everything they can get their hands on about the golf swing. They over-educate. They over-stimulate. They can list the 17 things wrong with their golf swings and give you the detailed reasoning behind them, often with an accompanying list of drills and feels for each of them.
 
That's to their detriment as golfers.
 
As a golf instructor I keep learning, and feel I have a vast knowledge of the what, why, how, when, etc. of the golf swing. All of that helps me to do one thing very well: prioritize. In prioritizing, I distill an ocean of knowledge into the one thing that will help the student most at that time.
 
In the past, I've made the mistake of succumbing to the guy who wants to ask ten or twenty questions, none of which are particularly relevant, because I was excited to talk about the golf swing with a fellow golfer. I learned my lesson there - those lessons were not as good as the ones I've given since. Golfers will remember only a few things from their lessons, and it's my job to make sure the only things they hear are the things they need to DO in their golf swings, and just as importantly, that the things they know they need to do are the top priority items.
 
We've taken to doing this ourselves in our own golf swings. It's really easy to fall into the same trap when you're an instructor working on your own game. "I'm good, I can think of these three things" we will say to ourselves. No, we can't. It's to our detriment to think that we can. Even as golf instructors, we improve our own swings the most when we are stupid monkeys. We do our best when we focus on one simple thing. No, we can't turn off knowing the "why," but focusing on the "what" provides clarity.
 
We see a lot of success teaching people through evolvr for the same reasons - we treat students like stupid monkeys. a3_biggrin.gif Why? Because it is what works best. An evolvr lesson focuses on the one or two top priority pieces. We'll briefly explain the "why?" by way of saying "it'll improve Key #2" or "it's causing the club to tip out here and resulting in pulls and cuts" but we don't go into depth. The important piece of any lesson is the WHAT.
 
More golfers practicing on their own would improve much more quickly if they could focus on a single "what" and ignore the why. Be stupid. Be a monkey. Your golf game will be better off for it.

 

This is the first I have read this and could not agree more.
I came to golf later than most, but not too late (in my mid 30's).

I had 20 years of playing drum kit and I find them both to be very similar.

When you are on a stage and playing mid-song, you can not think of the approaching fill heading into the chorus, you just have to feel it. you have to know what you are doing but be on autopilot.


I think this is the same for a golf swing.

However I have yet to get my mind out of my swing.

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