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Beginner's swing rebuilding - the impact zone

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm a beginning golfer that's never really played well enough to keep score on 18 holes - pace of play along with my terrible swing means taking a lot of generous drops throughout a round. I feel like I've finally had an "aha" moment, and want to share it with other self-taught amateurs that may be struggling.

 

I try to go to the driving range once a week, but I'm constantly struggling with feeling like I'm re-learning how to swing a club every time I go out. Sometimes I finally feel like I've found "it" and the bottom of a bucket of balls, but it rarely translates to the course. A couple of weeks ago, I went to hit on grass at the driving range, and only hit a handful of decent balls out of several hundred; not a fun experience. The next week, hitting off mats, I felt a lot better about my swing. Later that week, back on grass, I was again terrible, and started to realize that hitting off mats masks the fact that I frequently either hit the ground behind the ball, or "pick" and skull the ball, taking little or no divot. I decided that I probably needed to take a different tack and really reshape my swing.

 

The past couple of days, I've run across some videos that really helped me where I needed it most; through the impact zone, namely with hip turn, shoulder swing, and club release. I was familiar with the concept of stacking up or hitting the ball with a flat front, but I hadn't really grasped what should be happening before or after that moment of impact. This will probably look like a Mark Crossfield commercial, but several of his videos really did a good job of breaking down the elements I was missing.

 

I think it's important that these concepts are ingrained before ever taking a full swing. That's easy for me to say as a beginner without a lot of comfortable bad habits, but I tried to commit to doing these motions over and over before putting a ball in front of me, just getting the feel of the motion and taking a divot. I started at home, practicing the drills in these videos in front of a mirror and taking frequent breaks (to watch golf, of course). Next I went to the range, starting with just hitting grass to get the feel. I went to the range knowing I didn't plan to take a full swing the entire session.

 

I started with this drill:

 

 

The drill he presents, where you start with your hips open and just hinge your shoulders to swing through the impact point, was where I started. Just do this on grass or at home without a ball to get a feel for it, including contacting the grass after where the ball would be. I found that if I did it on the floor I would pull up to avoid hitting the ground, so it will work best on a mat or real grass. A tee stuck in the ground might help you see if you are bottoming out your swing where you want to.

 

Next I focused on hip turn, where two more of Mark's videos were helpful:

 

 

This one helped me get the feel of turning my hips, particularly his drill for hip turn and idea of how to feel it; picturing the base of my spine turning helped me visualize it and implement it. In conjunction with this video:

 

 

I arrived at the mental picture of accelerating my hips to start the swing, decelerating the hips to almost a stop and hinging the shoulders to release through impact (the first drill). I put these together into some small practice swings - no further than parallel on the backswing. I really started to get the feel of what people are talking when they say the backswing is about coiling up and the downswing is about releasing that energy. I then hit about 100 balls, frequently going back to the first drill on practice swings without a ball, then adding hip turn and building up to a half swing and hitting another ball. I didn't want to start ripping it, because I knew the new motions wouldn't stick. I initially instinctively thought that I wouldn't be able to hit a ball very far with a light half swing, but was surprised to hit my 7 iron about 100 yards or so, and how easy it felt to hit it. I left the range feeling confident that as I work up to a fuller swing, I will get the distance that I'm looking for out of each club. Resisting the urge to make the ball go far really helped me focus on what I was trying to accomplish.

post #2 of 12
My instructor gave me this tip from the plastic hitting mats on the range.

Basically put some small piece of trash like a leaf or a piece of paper or something like that on the mat.

Then just make a swinhg as though it were actually the ball. If the piece moves then atlesst youre not topping the ball. (Thats my main problem)

then just readjust the piece of paper and repeat drill maybe 5 times and hit a real ball.
post #3 of 12
Good to hear that sir,

I reduced my handicap up to 10 strokes the moment i quit searching for perfect swing and accepted my style whatever it is. I used to get pissed whenever someone use 6 iron to cover 170m, well i'm satisfied right now to cover 170m with my 20 hybrid a3_biggrin.gif

Bad shots always hunting us whenever we go, learn to take it up to your chin, cuz what matter most is your next shot

Cheers b2_tongue.gif
post #4 of 12
Shank sounds like we are a similar place in our swing journey. With the help of my instructor I can hit mine much better ... I also had ran into your first video posted and liked what he said ...


Shagia I also have accepted what ever my style is ... It also help that my instructor gives a lot of positive reinforcement ...
post #5 of 12
I'm a big fan of mark crossfield. No advise to give you as far as casting. I can't help my self so I'm not going to steer you in the wrong direction. The only thing I will say is that trying different drills from the internet and magazines is fun. It can leave you chasing your tail. Most when your having problems its due to more than one thing going wrong. Thats were your golf pro comes in. If you want to make progress and fast go get a lesson or two.
post #6 of 12
I like this guy, like his presentation. I'm in a pretty explosive point in my game. I've played on and off for years. I'm currently an 8 hcp, but really don't deserve it. I'm so inconsistent it's absurd. One week ill get 3 rounds in, feel pretty good shooting 77,79,78. Go on a little weekend golf outing (at a more difficult course) and fire a 94!

I completely embarrassed myself. Struggled off the tee which usually resulted in my having a terrible lie...ball way above or below my feet along with 60' pine trees all over me. When I was in the fairway, I'd push or pull every iron leaving me in very difficult up and downs. I feel I bring a different swing every time I play.

I love this game so much it's a little ridiculous. I'm very dedicated to construct a consistent swing so I can eliminate these disaster rounds. You guys sound pretty dedicated too and it's great to read other people's journeys.

I often hear people say "oh yeah, I know what you mean ...I'm inconsistent too." No offense to high handicappers, but when your average round is in the nineties and you fire a 100+ , that's expected. Those guys are playing bogey-DB golf and shouldn't be discouraged being 10 stokes off.

But when you've played in tournaments in "A" flights, played 15 rounds carded in giving an average round of 78, firing a 94 is devastating and humiliating. Yeah I know, Brendon De Jonge shot an 80 on Thursday followed by a 62. But that was just a fluke. Ill fire 3-5 rounds in a row 85+, followed by 3-5 rounds in the mid 70's. Not because of putting..just horrible ball striking.

Any way, sorry I rambled. Just wanted to say thanks for the vids, I really liked them and will follow your progress and keep you posted on mine.
Cheers guys!
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinsk View Post

I like this guy, like his presentation. I'm in a pretty explosive point in my game. I've played on and off for years. I'm currently an 8 hcp, but really don't deserve it. I'm so inconsistent it's absurd. One week ill get 3 rounds in, feel pretty good shooting 77,79,78. Go on a little weekend golf outing (at a more difficult course) and fire a 94!

I completely embarrassed myself. Struggled off the tee which usually resulted in my having a terrible lie...ball way above or below my feet along with 60' pine trees all over me. When I was in the fairway, I'd push or pull every iron leaving me in very difficult up and downs. I feel I bring a different swing every time I play.

I love this game so much it's a little ridiculous. I'm very dedicated to construct a consistent swing so I can eliminate these disaster rounds. You guys sound pretty dedicated too and it's great to read other people's journeys.

I often hear people say "oh yeah, I know what you mean ...I'm inconsistent too." No offense to high handicappers, but when your average round is in the nineties and you fire a 100+ , that's expected. Those guys are playing bogey-DB golf and shouldn't be discouraged being 10 stokes off.

But when you've played in tournaments in "A" flights, played 15 rounds carded in giving an average round of 78, firing a 94 is devastating and humiliating. Yeah I know, Brendon De Jonge shot an 80 on Thursday followed by a 62. But that was just a fluke. Ill fire 3-5 rounds in a row 85+, followed by 3-5 rounds in the mid 70's. Not because of putting..just horrible ball striking.

Any way, sorry I rambled. Just wanted to say thanks for the vids, I really liked them and will follow your progress and keep you posted on mine.
Cheers guys!

 

In my country  your hcp does not change during tournament play or match play. So, your bad results at tournament in my country would only affect negatively your tournament ranking.

 

For hcp purposes in my country you have to play stableford stroke play.

 

Interesting that it works otherwise in USA? So in America you must play to your hcp level even in tournament or it starts to rise?

post #8 of 12
No. But I have these disasters outside of tournaments. That was some time ago. I don't play in tournaments as it would only be humiliating. I got the hcp last summer. Actual calculation was 7.79.

I play often over 3 different courses. In my last month for example, I've played 5 rounds of golf. My scores were 75,77,77,78 then the humiliating 94. I do break 80 most every time, it's when I don't ....it's just awful. Gotta be some serious swing flaw that I'm trying to figure out.
post #9 of 12
I hit some awful iron shots today.

In the end, I diadnosed my fault.

I was casting the iron clubs and losing all lag. This caused lot of tops and horrible mishits.

Even with body rotation engaged i had mishits so the only choice really was my failed wrist action (casting the club)

Whan i felt the lag, with irons with better tempo i was crushing those balls after a coffee break.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by late347 View Post

I hit some awful iron shots today.

In the end, I diadnosed my fault.

I was casting the iron clubs and losing all lag. This caused lot of tops and horrible mishits.

Even with body rotation engaged i had mishits so the only choice really was my failed wrist action (casting the club)

Whan i felt the lag, with irons with better tempo i was crushing those balls after a coffee break.

 

Casting is mostly caused by a non-steady head and/or not getting your weight forward at impact. Don't worry about lag, and worry about what Mike mentioned in your swing thread about your hips and getting a better centered turn and a steady head. 

post #11 of 12
Yea I was doing those things atleast I hope so!

I started with wedges and short irons but i started slicing massively with mid irons.

Later ball bucket went better aargh golf sure is hard game! ; (
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Casting is mostly caused by a non-steady head and/or not getting your weight forward at impact. Don't worry about lag, and worry about what Mike mentioned in your swing thread about your hips and getting a better centered turn and a steady head. 

Spot on!!!  ...and it sounds sooooo easy when I read it ... but damn I have a hard implementing it ... :)  

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