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Finally got smart & had a lesson

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

After feeling like I've been spinning wheels and wasting money trying various swing thoughts and tricks and tips and everything else the Internet has to offer, I finally smartened up and had a 1 hour lesson with a local pro. I started playing last summer at the age of 36, and I am very far away from having a repeatable swing. To be honest, I'm disappointed that I waited so long to finally see someone. The pro watched me swing and identified 3 main areas for me to work on.

 

1. Grip - this one was actually quick and painless to address. My left hand needed to just slightly move the grip diagonally to get the butt end closer to the pad at the bottom of my pinkie, vs. having the whole grip in all 4 fingers. My right hand was moved slightly, and the grip placed in the knuckles of my fingers vs. the palm. Within 5-6 swings, I was immediately hitting better and more comfortably. Awesome.

 

2. Takeaway - I was hinging my wrists fairly quickly, causing the clubface to open up and my swing to go off plane. I had read plenty online about rolling the forearms or limiting the roll, but never knew what it felt like until someone slowly moved my arms and the club so I would understand the motion. By having me swing with just my left hand, I felt the differences and am working on a slow, wide takeaway with a natural wrist hinge. Again - once I started doing it correctly, the ballflight became much better and the swing felt easier.

 

3. Stance - this one is the killer. I was using far too much knee bend and hunching over at the shoulders. I had read the 10 page proper posture thread here multiple times, and thought I was doing OK. Nope. Wrong. Very, VERY wrong. We worked on chin up, shoulders back, butt slightly out, and the feeling of a straight back with the weight on the balls of my feet. I felt like I was standing far too erect and stiff, but when I looked at the stance in the mirror at home, I immediately thought "wow, I look like I might know what I'm doing!" a1_smile.gif It was uncomfortable, but not painful in any way; I just wasn't used to it. I've been lifting up on my downswing because my body knew I was too low and the club would smack into the ground well behind the ball. The bulk of my "homework" is to work on the stance.

 

I thought I knew a bunch about what I was supposed to be doing thanks to reading threads here, watching videos, buying books and DVDs, etc. But when someone actually explained things while putting my arms and hands in different places really made things click. For instance, I've felt like I didn't have a proper weight shift and have tried sliding hips, posting on my left leg, all sorts of things - but once I started getting into the stance the pro had me in, I felt pressure in my right big toe and inner arch during the backswing, which helped me start my lower body on the downswing. The ball flight wasn't very pretty, but the pro said that would come with adjusting to the better setup, so I wasn't worried. We ended with the driver, which started out horribly as well, but ended with 3 decent drives that went around 200 in the air with maybe a 5 yard fade. If you'd seen me tee off before, you'd understand why I was so thrilled with those!

 

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to share because I'm sure there are others who are getting frustrated and trying different things without someone telling them what should work FOR THEM. I'll be headed back for another lesson in 2-3 weeks once I'm more comfortable with the new changes. I don't expect to start contending for championships, but I know I'm laying the groundwork for a repeatable swing that should make playing much more enjoyable.

post #2 of 17

good recommendation.     I've been playing almost 3 years & haven't taken the plunge with a teacher ... I enjoy the challenge of learning on my own with all the resources we have available today, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a skilled set of eyes look at the swing.   Actually, my first lesson when I get around to it will be a putting lesson - no matter how much I play, I just can't seem to develop the touch / feel needed to put well ... by far the weakest point of my game.

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

good recommendation.     I've been playing almost 3 years & haven't taken the plunge with a teacher ... I enjoy the challenge of learning on my own with all the resources we have available today, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a skilled set of eyes look at the swing.   Actually, my first lesson when I get around to it will be a putting lesson - no matter how much I play, I just can't seem to develop the touch / feel needed to put well ... by far the weakest point of my game.

A teacher will ask you to hit a ball to start the lesson. For someone who scoops it and hits hooks, the full swing should be the focus of the lesson
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by theworldengine View Post


For someone who scoops it and hits hooks, the full swing should be the focus of the lesson

 

Makes sense if that is where a person needs the most help.  

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post

Makes sense if that is where a person needs the most help.  

In one of your posts you said this was a problem you have. Highly doubt putting is costing you the most strokes
post #6 of 17

I have been playing for 4 years and have dabbled with a few teachers. I finally got serious this year and researched some recommended teachers in my area (DC Metro) and I am so glad I did it!  In about 6 lessons...the difference has been amazing.  Like you, russtopher, I thought I was doing most of the basic things correct..(grip, stance..setup etc.) and I was doing some right..but some other things were VERY wrong.  Once she got those things straightened out..it took some repetition to ensure I wasn't slipping back into old habits.  From there we moved on to swing keys..competing the backswing and tempo.  3 months later, I am finally reaping the benefits out on the course.  My ball striking and consistency are vastly improved..my penalties have been non-existent or minimal, my confidence is up and my scores are down significantly.  It is exciting to finally feel like I can competently work my way through a course.  I am by no means a great player...but I used to get demoralized out there when things were going sideways and I had no clue how to pull it back together.  Now, I can refer back to swing keys and re-set and actually recover even afer a few bad shots.  It has only increased my excitement and passion for the game.  I can't believe I didn't just take lessons right out of the gate...that would have moved me forward even more quickly...but it was also key to the find the right teacher.  Looking back, I can't believe some of the earlier instructors didn't fix some of these major fundamental flaws I had that were significantly holding me back.  Anyhow, I'm a believer in the right instruction.  The golf swing seems like it should be intuitive, but I was never able to figure out how to do it correctly by myself. 
 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by theworldengine View Post


In one of your posts you said this was a problem you have. Highly doubt putting is costing you the most strokes

 

you haven't seen me putt !!  d1_bigcry.gif

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCduffer View Post

 The golf swing seems like it should be intuitive, but I was never able to figure out how to do it correctly by myself. 
 

And that's exactly it. It does seem like it should be intuitive, but it's not... at least to a beginner, anyways. I tried to hard to teach myself, because I've been semi-successful in other endeavors using the 'net to learn things (guitar scales, music recording techniques, how to fix a 1972 American Standard faucet, and so on) but this just wasn't going to cut it.

 

Could I have kept going on my own and eventually have gotten better? Sure! My last time on the course was pretty decent for me, but but in all honesty a lot of it was pure dumb luck. Nothing was the same about my stance or swing, things I've "learned" were by trial and error and lots and lots of conflicting online advice. I'd go to the range, spend $7 on a bucket, and it was 50/50 whether or not I'd leave feeling like I accomplished something.

 

I think for me, now actually feeling what some positions feel like, what a proper downswing transition feels like, what the wrists should feel like just after impact, will help me get better faster than any article or video. A correct stance will hopefully get me to stop lifting on the downswing, stop my slice off the tee, and improve my distance.

 

And of course, once I plateau after a few more lessons, I can try a million new swing tips all over again, and when those don't work, buy all new clubs! b2_tongue.gif

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russtopher View Post

3. Stance - this one is the killer. I was using far too much knee bend and hunching over at the shoulders. I had read the 10 page proper posture thread here multiple times, and thought I was doing OK. Nope. Wrong. Very, VERY wrong. We worked on chin up, shoulders back, butt slightly out, and the feeling of a straight back with the weight on the balls of my feet. I felt like I was standing far too erect and stiff, but when I looked at the stance in the mirror at home, I immediately thought "wow, I look like I might know what I'm doing!" a1_smile.gif It was uncomfortable, but not painful in any way; I just wasn't used to it. I've been lifting up on my downswing because my body knew I was too low and the club would smack into the ground well behind the ball. The bulk of my "homework" is to work on the stance.

 

So… the "bad" examples in the "Good Golf Posture" thread?

 

I'm glad you had a good experience, but if you look at the pictures in that thread, you're going to find very few examples of players with their "chin up, shoulders back, butt out, and a straight back."

 

That said, if you were REALLY slumpy and bent over and saggy, maybe a little more structure was good, but I'd encourage you to look at that thread again.

 

There's a lot of so-so (or bad) information out there. Be careful. Again - I'm glad you had what you feel is a good lesson, but I can't say I agree with what it sounds like you learned on your third point.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

To use a phrase heard a lot around here, "feel ain't real". What I described are what the pro had me do to get me to stand up taller, that's why I mentioned that when I looked at myself in the mirror, I had what looked like a "normal" stance. Believe me, I immediately started thinking of that thread when I got that instruction. So after looking at myself in the mirror using the 5 things the pro told me to think about, I got into what I felt was my original stance - I looked like a baseball catcher with slumped shoulders and my chin practically on my chest. Small wonder I kept hitting a few inches behind the ball and lifting up.

 

My back definitely doesn't look like the bad examples in that thread, which is why I noted the "feeling of a straight back". I'll give the thread another re-read (probably my 4th or 5th at this point!) and possibly post some pics of my before/after stance here if you feel it'll be helpful.
 

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russtopher View Post

To use a phrase heard a lot around here, "feel ain't real". What I described are what the pro had me do to get me to stand up taller, that's why I mentioned that when I looked at myself in the mirror, I had what looked like a "normal" stance. Believe me, I immediately started thinking of that thread when I got that instruction. So after looking at myself in the mirror using the 5 things the pro told me to think about, I got into what I felt was my original stance - I looked like a baseball catcher with slumped shoulders and my chin practically on my chest. Small wonder I kept hitting a few inches behind the ball and lifting up.

 

My back definitely doesn't look like the bad examples in that thread, which is why I noted the "feeling of a straight back". I'll give the thread another re-read (probably my 4th or 5th at this point!) and possibly post some pics of my before/after stance here if you feel it'll be helpful.

 

Okay, I was just trying to make sure.

 

Posture is one of those weird things where the majority of instructors seem to get it quite wrong - they actually do want a straight back, shoulders back, butt out, chin way up, etc. Consequently we end up adding more "slump" to students than we do the opposite direction.

 

If you've overdone the "slump" then yes, you'd want to remove a little. Thanks.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russtopher View Post

...and possibly post some pics of my before/after stance here if you feel it'll be helpful.

 

 

Do one better and start your own swing thread

post #13 of 17

I would caution you on the "butt out" advice.

 

Instructors used it in the past with me and explained that it "stabilized" the turn.

 

All it did was "destabilize" my back.

 

I've since gone to "Good Golf Posture".

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond View Post

I would caution you on the "butt out" advice.

 

Instructors used it in the past with me and explained that it "stabilized" the turn.

 

All it did was "destabilize" my back.

 

I've since gone to "Good Golf Posture".

Before my first and only lesson I took to the butt out, straight back, athletic stance, stick in your butt posture.  It was bad.

 

The first thing my instructor did was say "you're athletic, but you don't have to stand rigidly to prove it."  He had me hunch over just a tad bit, have my butt in a bit more, and let my arms dangle a bit more.  It is a more relaxed posture and helped my game tremendously.

 

To OP I would recommend not trying to set up like you're saluting your superiors.  Your back doesn't need to be tense and rigid and you don't have to model your butt.

post #15 of 17

Taking the lesson I took was one of the biggest mistakes for me, not sure where the actual problem was, but after that lesson for weeks I couldn't play well.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geauxforbroke View Post

 

Do one better and start your own swing thread

 

I plan to, once I'm more comfortable with the changes!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond View Post

I would caution you on the "butt out" advice.

 

Instructors used it in the past with me and explained that it "stabilized" the turn.

 

All it did was "destabilize" my back.

 

I've since gone to "Good Golf Posture".

 

With me, my butt was almost tucked in, which helped lead to the hunched stance. I don't feel any tension in my back with this stance; having had lower back spasms on and off due to other athletic hobbies (usually hockey) I'm very concerned with my back and the stance. I'm reviewing that thread again, though, which is always a good thing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJBam View Post

 

To OP I would recommend not trying to set up like you're saluting your superiors.  Your back doesn't need to be tense and rigid and you don't have to model your butt.

 

Thanks for the tip; it's definitely not tense and rigid, and after swinging a few days in the new stance (inside with no ball), I'm finding it very easy to get into. Now I need to take it to the range and hit around with it some. 

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

After a few large buckets, using the new grip, takeaway, and stance, I have to say that my driver is finally something I'm happy with. Not only is the slice gone, I even hit a few draws - a first for me. I've had to move the ball back in my stance to maybe 1 inch off of my left ankle, I used to play it off the toe in order to try and square up the club face. So that's great.

 

Irons, on the other hand, are still dreadful. Wedges down to maybe my 8 iron are OK, but anything below that, including hybrids, are a disaster. My body is still trying to lift up like it did when I was hunched over, I not only had a few tops I even had a few complete whiffs. So still trying to work those out.

 

I had hoped to film myself at the range and start a My Swing thread for feedback, however after being at the range for maybe 10 minutes one of the high school golf teams took over every bay around me, so no place to prop up my phone. Next time, for sure. 

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