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Everyone is a Feel Player

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

This may be one of the shortest "Swing Thoughts" ever posted, because the point I'm going to make is very simple.

 

Unless we're literally talking about Iron Byron (the machine), everyone is a feel player.

 

I've yet to meet a golfer who has mechanical dials and switches so that I can program him to "rotate his left forearm 27.5° by this particular point in the backswing." Rather, two golfers with identical swings may feel like they rotate their forearms a completely different amount, including the possibility that one golfer may feel like he's actually counter-rotating his forearm.

 

Feels produce mechanics in ALL players.

 

Too often, someone who is AWARE of mechanics, or seeking to change or improve their mechanics, thinks of themselves as a mechanical player, or is seen as one by other players. For example, saying something like "At A4 I want my shaft to be here, and my lead wrist to look like this." But to actually produce that picture, or those mechanics, the golfer needs to feel something. That feeling will often change throughout time as what was once new becomes standard, or even over-done, and their feelings are unique to themselves - they're not exactly the same as someone else's feelings to produce the same mechanics.

 

Consider the case of Nick Faldo. He spent two or three years rebuilding his swing with David Leadbetter. He was called "a robot," and while that bled into the kind of player others saw him as, it was more for his consistent play and lack of on-course personality. If you discussed the golf swing with Nick Faldo, he'll talk about feels. He'll say "if I did this, the clubface was square here" or something like that. FEEL produced the mechanics Nick Faldo (or David Leadbetter) knew he needed.

 

An opposite example could be Bubba Watson. He supposedly doesn't know much at all about the mechanics, and just "feels" the shot he's trying to hit. However, you don't have to be a golf savant to notice that his "big huge cut" swing is mechanically very different than his "big huge draw" swing. Feels produce mechanics in Bubba Watson just as much as they do in Nick Faldo.

 

So, more often than not, someone who is seen as "mechanical" is simply someone who understands the mechanics of the golf swing better than others. There's no shame in that; in fact, it's a good thing. Imagine if Bubba and Nick, in their primes, have equal levels of talent and work ethic. When Bubba starts struggling, all he has is a list of "well, this feel worked in the past…" while Nick can take a look at his swing, notice what mechanics are off, and then devise feels to correct them while monitoring the mechanics.

 

But again, how does Nick change the mechanics? Feel.

 

Every golfer is a feel player. It's the only capacity we have to change the golf swing or produce the desired mechanics. We aren't built with springs, dials, knobs, meters, and so on. Feel is all we've got.

post #2 of 66

Thanks for posting.  It is what I am supposed to feel for a quality swing that seems to vary the most.  Some days it feels off, but I hit the ball well.  Other days the swing feels great but I spray the ball all over.

post #3 of 66

This is something I really started to trust when I was playing lots of tennis 10 years back. I was actually looking for coaching manuals when I found an old copy of "The Inner Game of Tennis" Timothy Gallwey.

 

If you are unfamiliar with his approach he talks about Self 1 your mind and the ego always looking to control things, wanting credit, and critical when things go bad, and believes that success in learning a task is down to knowing how to do it right.

Self 2 is the body itself and it central nervous system which is highly capable and can learn without interference from self 1. It has a silent intelligence of it's own.

 

Gallwey also wrote "The Inner Game of Golf" too and the trick is to get self 1&2 to work together. As Erik opines everybody is a feel player. Some players have changed their swings radically with much success over the years. Ben Hogan is probably the most famous. It's down too knowing having the knowledge of what to do, how to swing your club, the positions of the face and club and so forth. That information is great in itself but useless unless you allow the body to learn it.

 

This is where feel comes in. Awareness of how things feel coupled with relaxed concentration and you can make changes almost seamlessly the more you are in tune with your body. It's very holistic but I believe my experiences with Tennis and having read and put into practice these thoughts have allowed me to learn the golf swing without major frustration.

The game itself the approach to the course has been the problem for me and I have spent time catching up there and marrying the two is the key to it.

 

One of the biggest keys to learning golf or other sports in my own way of learning has been to read or see a bit of coaching advice go to a mirror and replicate that move and to be very aware of how my muscles feel through that particular motion. When I'm in the practice net or range it's then a case of making shadow swings trusting my body to replicate that feel and then hit balls.

post #4 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brakkus View Post
 

This is something I really started to trust when I was playing lots of tennis 10 years back. I was actually looking for coaching manuals when I found an old copy of "The Inner Game of Tennis" Timothy Gallwey.

 

If you are unfamiliar with his approach he talks about Self 1 your mind and the ego always looking to control things, wanting credit, and critical when things go bad, and believes that success in learning a task is down to knowing how to do it right.

Self 2 is the body itself and it central nervous system which is highly capable and can learn without interference from self 1. It has a silent intelligence of it's own.

 

Gallwey also wrote "The Inner Game of Golf" too and the trick is to get self 1&2 to work together. As Erik opines everybody is a feel player. Some players have changed their swings radically with much success over the years. Ben Hogan is probably the most famous. It's down too knowing having the knowledge of what to do, how to swing your club, the positions of the face and club and so forth. That information is great in itself but useless unless you allow the body to learn it.

 

This is where feel comes in. Awareness of how things feel coupled with relaxed concentration and you can make changes almost seamlessly the more you are in tune with your body. It's very holistic but I believe my experiences with Tennis and having read and put into practice these thoughts have allowed me to learn the golf swing without major frustration.

The game itself the approach to the course has been the problem for me and I have spent time catching up there and marrying the two is the key to it.

 

One of the biggest keys to learning golf or other sports in my own way of learning has been to read or see a bit of coaching advice go to a mirror and replicate that move and to be very aware of how my muscles feel through that particular motion. When I'm in the practice net or range it's then a case of making shadow swings trusting my body to replicate that feel and then hit balls.

Thanks for referencing these books.

 

Thursday at the range I just worked on one feeling, to have my hands return to the set up position at impact.  More precisely, return to the same distance from my body so as to prevent coming over the top.

 

I started with the preset weight forward drill from the 5 Keys video thread.  Then just tried to keep one swing thought of returning my hands to that position.  I blocked out any other swing thoughts or keys.  This would be for Key 4, diagonal sweet spot path I believe.

 

It was very effective for the session.  It may also be a good feel for me because I find it easier to be aware of my hands than the rest of my body.  We'll see how this progresses.

post #5 of 66

Someone asked me yesterday how I hit a certain shot.  I replied, "I can't really explain it.  I visualize the the shot and think about that during the swing.  The how takes care of itself.  If I start thinking about mechanics, it's disastrous.  Tempo whether of full shots, chipping, or putting seems to be the only mechanical element I can think about without messing up my game.

post #6 of 66

I've always been a feel player in pretty much any sport I've played.  Although I believe in the mechanics of it 100%, I will practice the mechanics to death until it becomes a feel for me or muscle memory.  Not sure if that makes sense to you guys but I have a tendency of reverting to old habits when I get to relaxed.

post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by itismarv View Post
 

I've always been a feel player in pretty much any sport I've played.  Although I believe in the mechanics of it 100%, I will practice the mechanics to death until it becomes a feel for me or muscle memory.  Not sure if that makes sense to you guys but I have a tendency of reverting to old habits when I get to relaxed.

 

Yes and you need to feel something in order to make the changes in mechanics.  You can't work on mechanics without feel.

post #8 of 66

Agree - you cannot take away feel - we have senses and no matter how mechanical we want to be, our understanding (and doing) of the actions is limited to our senses. What separates the better players is the degree of the feel, or how fine tuned their feel is. My sport was basketball and a jumpshot for a right handed player is the right upper arm parallel to the ground, the right forearm at 90 degrees and perpendicular to the ground/right upper arm... For the better players who are fine tuned they can "feel" when one of these positions is even half a degree off. Now to two equal players that feel is different, but for both it is a measure of the reality. I am by no means there in golf yet, but assume it to be the same as any other sport in this regard.

post #9 of 66
Agree totally.
Never knew how to conscientiously CREATE a straight wrist at impact. When I tried and tried and tried it just screwed me up.
But relax and ALLOW it to happen...works much better.
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by BallMarker View Post

Agree totally.
Never knew how to conscientiously CREATE a straight wrist at impact. When I tried and tried and tried it just screwed me up.
But relax and ALLOW it to happen...works much better.

 

Little off topic but yes there are other thing happening that allow you to have a flat lead wrist at impact, you don't just "make it flat".  Check out these threads.

 

 Introducing Five Simple Keys® 

 

 5SK Video Thread 

post #11 of 66

No, not everyone is a feel player. No racism intended, but Asian based players especially are mechanical, robotic players. Honestly, they don't think what they're doing, they just do it. I played with a lot of Asian players and most of them are like this. There swings are 100 percent mechanical and robotic. They have no signature thing about there swing.. no hip push or leg movement. Good or bad, they have no feel in what they are doing. Their coach modeled them like clay, and that's what they do. If they hit a bad shot, they think it's because a swing flaw. Which it is, they don't "feel" it when they do it. 

 

Not all Asians do this, obviously, but a lot of the one's I played with do. Is this a good or bad way to be? I think it's a bad way, because golf is not a mechanical sport.. Ben Hogan said it best, "A feel player is dangerous". 

post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelzzy View Post

No, not everyone is a feel player. No racism intended, but Asian based players especially are mechanical, robotic players. Honestly, they don't think what they're doing, they just do it. I played with a lot of Asian players and most of them are like this. There swings are 100 percent mechanical and robotic. They have no signature thing about there swing.. no hip push or leg movement. Good or bad, they have no feel in what they are doing. Their coach modeled them like clay, and that's what they do. If they hit a bad shot, they think it's because a swing flaw. Which it is, they don't "feel" it when they do it. 

Not all Asians do this, obviously, but a lot of the one's I played with do. Is this a good or bad way to be? I think it's a bad way, because golf is not a mechanical sport.. Ben Hogan said it best, "A feel player is dangerous". 

Did you even read the OP.....?
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


Did you even read the OP.....?

Yes

post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelzzy View Post

No, not everyone is a feel player. No racism intended, but Asian based players especially are mechanical, robotic players. Honestly, they don't think what they're doing, they just do it. I played with a lot of Asian players and most of them are like this. There swings are 100 percent mechanical and robotic. They have no signature thing about there swing.. no hip push or leg movement. Good or bad, they have no feel in what they are doing. Their coach modeled them like clay, and that's what they do. If they hit a bad shot, they think it's because a swing flaw. Which it is, they don't "feel" it when they do it. 

Not all Asians do this, obviously, but a lot of the one's I played with do. Is this a good or bad way to be? I think it's a bad way, because golf is not a mechanical sport.. Ben Hogan said it best, "A feel player is dangerous". 

So, I played a round with another Asian golfer with the worst possible form and swing. He stepped backwards after impact. His address was this weird sideways setup. I figured this was a beginner who had no idea how to play. I was totally wrong. He made almost every hole in regulation or close to it. He parred most of the holes. The other guy I partnered with also had a funny swing, but somehow he also parred many of the holes. The only explanation for their ability to be low single digit (possibly both were scratch) players is by feel.

I agree that many kids have the same swing, but race is irrelevant. I read another post where someone complained that all the young golfers have the same swing. In fact, the kids I saw at an SCGA qualifier in August all had almost the same swing, all of them were scratch.

So, these kids all have a "mechanical" swing, but I'm positive they use feel to hit the exact point on the ball. The mechanics only gets you to the point where there is no resistance to hitting your target.
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelzzy View Post

Yes

Then you'll understand the point that it's feel that produces the mechanics in each player. That even though the mechanics may be intended to be identical, each individual will feel something different that will be their own key to executing the swing. No one, no matter how "mechanical" they believe themselves to be, swings a club without any feeling for what they're trying to accomplish.
post #16 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


Then you'll understand the point that it's feel that produces the mechanics in each player. That even though the mechanics may be intended to be identical, each individual will feel something different that will be their own key to executing the swing. No one, no matter how "mechanical" they believe themselves to be, swings a club without any feeling for what they're trying to accomplish.

I agree somewhat, but the kids I've played with are so robotic it's unbelievable. I played with this one kid that had the same exact swing every single time. I mean every single time. His chips were the same as his driver swing, just smaller swings. That's great and all, but when I asked him why he did that, he just said "my coach said to". No joke, that's what he said. He didn't even know why he was doing it.

post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelzzy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

Then you'll understand the point that it's feel that produces the mechanics in each player. That even though the mechanics may be intended to be identical, each individual will feel something different that will be their own key to executing the swing. No one, no matter how "mechanical" they believe themselves to be, swings a club without any feeling for what they're trying to accomplish.
I agree somewhat, but the kids I've played with are so robotic it's unbelievable. I played with this one kid that had the same exact swing every single time. I mean every single time. His chips were the same as his driver swing, just smaller swings. That's great and all, but when I asked him why he did that, he just said "my coach said to". No joke, that's what he said. He didn't even know why he was doing it.

See post 14.

The mechanical swing is only the beginning. . .
post #18 of 66

IMHO, every swing is different, even if by mere subtle movements. People may copy swings, or two people with the same build and flexibility and temperament might look like the same, but put them in 120, 240 fps, and you'll see the difference. Adam Scott is supposed to have Tiger Woods's old swing, but even it has differences, though subtle.

 

As for mechanical, ymmv, but from my own little keyhole of experience, robotic looking swings, I've seen people of every race, creed and color have them and none more in proportion than the other. A lot of Asians play golf, like in the area where my parents live, so you'll see more robotic swings because of the law of proportions.

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