Above is my swing from 12 months ago and to look at it, very little has changed.
I started playing nearly 3 years ago and when I started I had a horrible slice - especially with the driver and longer irons. Over time I managed to reign that in and about 8 months ago I had a reasonably consistent swing that was starting to see me make some small gains and I managed to get my handicap down to 19. I have always had an issue with inconsistency and I top shots, hit fat and thin and send them left and right.....I would gladly sacrifce mounds of distance just to be in a better position. I hit the ball a fair distance when I connect. My 7 iron is about 160, and my 5 iron about 180 just to give you an idea.
I have regular lessons every 6-8 weeks and I reached a stage where my Pro decided that I could look to fix other swing faults [of which there are many] and to gain a touch of distance.
I began to work on bringing my club path more on plane and attacking the ball from the inside. After initially struggling with this and getting horrible contacts that saw me topping lots of shots I managed to start to get the hang of it.
I have always had an issue with the club collapsing at the top of my backswing and its not because I bend my arms, more I flex my wrists too much and let the club waggle at the top as opposed to gripping it a touch firmer. I cannot seem to master is as I either have too firm a grip from the outset, or I end up strangling the club at the top as I attempt to prevent myself from doing it.
However, since the turn of 2014, I have developed a horrible pull/hook - specifically with the longer clubs and it is getting me down. In stableford matches I am scoring 0 [blobbing] nearly one third of the holes I play because I am simply not giving myself a chance. From 150 yards in, I dont feel too bad [although I can have the odd nightmare] but I am finding that no matter what I hit from the tee [3 wood, 4 iron, hybrids] that I am either going out of play or finding myself in the rough. Yesterday I hooked the ball straight into the trees off the tee on 3 occassions. Because I hit it a reasonable distance, I find that if it is a bad shot then it goes bad in BIG way!!. I have tried "taking a bit of it" but that just brings its own problems as Im not committed to the shot.
I play 2/3 times a week and I try to hit the practice ground a couple of times a week. Yet despite playing more, practising more and doing more - I am getting worse.
Its got to the point where I don't want to play golf. I dread the round and I feel like packing it in. Its genuinely gutting because I love the game but I am simply not giving myself a chance to score and I don't know how I can do.
My last lesson, my pro said I am not using my lower body enough and I don't clear my hips and so I am all arms and trying to manipulate the club. Since then I have started working on the drills and Ive bought the Golf MTRX app for my phone but the connections and strikes are getting worse. I am genuinely playing like Ive just bought a set of clubs and its getting me down.
Is it normal to reach this kind of point and then fall so steeply backwards in the quest to improve?
I don't expect to me a single figure player, considering I started playing golf at the age of 32....but I thought I could get down to 13-16 handicap with some hard work.
I just think "is this as good as I can get?" - because if it is....then I don't know if I can take the disappointment much more. I stand over the ball and dont know what swing I am going to get and each swing feels different to the last - does this feeling ever go?
Can anyone offer any advice?