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"What Works" is not Always Better


iacas

2,823 views

I often see said here on the forum that people will "try things" and "if it works, they adopt it."

While occasionally that's fine, more often than not it leads to a destructive path that hinders long-term growth. Things that work "right away" are often band-aids, or compensations.

Take this golfer for example:

compensations.jpg

On the left, "his swing." No lessons, just an athlete that "figured some stuff out" that let him at least hit the balls somewhat solidly. He started forward, stayed forward, and moved even more forward.

The problem, even with the forward ball position, is that he got no height on his shots and took massive divots. He couldn't hold greens, and he often didn't know what shape his shot was going to be. His driver, well, let's just say he liked hitting 3-wood.

This golfer, due to no real fault of anyone, "figured out" what worked for him, but in the long term, it really wasn't what was right.

Be careful of "that seemed to work for me" on the range. Often, either:

  • You're not doing what you think you're doing (the old "feel ain't real" bites us in the ass again), or
  • It might actually be a band-aid type deal that's harmful long term.

This golfer is fortunate: he's not so far along into golf that he can't make these changes. And he's athletic enough to "find the ball" even while making changes. And, third, well he has faith in me to put him on the right path. :-) 

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  • Administrator
15 minutes ago, David in FL said:

If only someone had explained that to me 40 years ago!

Never too late to get started down a better path…

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While I believe/agree 100% with the post, I can understand why some people just give up on learning proper swing mechanics. And I don't mean this as a negative or argumentative point of view. For almost all, learning the right swing will open up the opportunity to become very good.

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8 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

While I believe/agree 100% with the post, I can understand why some people just give up on learning proper swing mechanics. And I don't mean this as a negative or argumentative point of view. For almost all, learning the right swing will open up the opportunity to become very good.

you could probably make the argument: "What's Better" isn't always what works(at the time). 

What I mean is, and I'm not innocent of it, that a lot of people will give up what they're working on with an instructor because the results aren't what they would like to see.

I know personally I couldn't work with instructors, and while most of it was because what they said simply didn't make sense, a good amount of it is because I'd try the drills they gave me to no success and revert to old bandaid fixes.

Edited by freshmanUTA
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17 minutes ago, freshmanUTA said:

you could probably make the argument: "What's Better" isn't always what works(at the time). 

What I mean is, and I'm not innocent of it, that a lot of people will give up what they're working on with an instructor because the results aren't what they would like to see.

I know personally I couldn't work with instructors, and while most of it was because what they said simply didn't make sense, a good amount of it is because I'd try the drills they gave me to no success and revert to old bandaid fixes.

Agreed. In my limited experience, the knowledge being shared is solid, but either my interpretation of it is wrong, or I simply have difficulty applying it. It's not that giving up on it is easy, just that I start to question whether I'm on the right track or if I have the capabilities to get to where I want to be.

For most, playing better golf is more fun. Some of us invest a great deal of time and frustration because we believe real improvement, while not immediate, will only come with those changes. It's only natural to "cut our losses" at some point and revert back to what works. Not saying it's right or smart, just that it's natural.

Having said that, as poor as I often play, I think I'd be much worse if not for some of the good advice that has "stuck" over the last couple of years.

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  • Moderator

I'd send this to this to the "bah, feel is real" guys I know, but I think I'll just let them struggle. :-D Good luck with that.

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I always struggle with wanting to hit good shots when trying to fix aspects of my swing. I'm very bad at wanting/expecting instant results when I work on drills. The Cobra fitter at the demo day last night took extra time to help me address a few things. I was getting frustrated because I was topping the ball a lot after implementing the set up and takeaway changes he gave me. He kept saying "that's good, that was much better" and I'd be super confused because I'd literally be barely hitting the ball. He'd just say, yeah, but your take away was almost perfect that time and you are doing much better with your posture. At one point he even said, it doesn't matter what the ball does, I don't even care where it goes. I know Erik has made that comment before, and so has MIke. It's not about how you hit the ball when you are working on your swing/doing drills, it's about focusing on making the changes to the swing. It's always been very difficult for me to stick with something that doesn't seem to be working because I'm not hitting good shots, but after all this time it's become readily apparent to me that when I try to use things "that work" for me on the range rarely work for long and tend to end up causing me more problems down the road.

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On 5/1/2016 at 5:43 AM, freshmanUTA said:

, a good amount of it is because I'd try the drills they gave me to no success and revert to old bandaid fixes.

Have been there, are there!  had lessons from many instructors, most seem intent on getting your swing/positions to be exactly the same as tiger's, ernie etc........where the ball is going, they dont care, and just put out the line......get all these positions right and it can only go straight and long, the reason you are slicing/hooking now is you are.....  insert any reason "plane, hips" that doesn't look exactly like .scott,tiger etc, we need to get that right before we even think about where the ball is going, and when one fixes that(still with no change to one's ball striking) they'll point out another point of difference from the ideal swing that has to be fixed before you can expect to hit the ball well, and this continues ad finitum.

But the reality is that we/I am never going to get the perfect swing, I want someone that can give me something to improve with, not be a work in progress for the next 50 years.

Edited by sac1
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  • Administrator
7 hours ago, Jeremie Boop said:

I always struggle with wanting to hit good shots when trying to fix aspects of my swing. I'm very bad at wanting/expecting instant results when I work on drills.

It's always been very difficult for me to stick with something that doesn't seem to be working because I'm not hitting good shots, but after all this time it's become readily apparent to me that when I try to use things "that work" for me on the range rarely work for long and tend to end up causing me more problems down the road.

Read that Jeremie.

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I tried embedding this to start at 0:40 (not sure that the "&start=40" trick works when I embed).

Tiger says "you have to find a system that works for you. whatever makes your game better, do it." Then he seems to promote swaying, if that works. Do what works, he says.

They go on to talk about how different they set up to the ball, and Anthony Kim says he changes on a daily basis how he sets up to the ball. He adjusts based on how he's playing that day. Whatever works.  I sense a theme.

Just thought it was interesting. It's info like this that is destructive, right? Reminds me of Arnold saying "swing your swing" and don't worry about those darn instructors. You do what YOU want.

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57 minutes ago, RandallT said:

I tried embedding this to start at 0:40 (not sure that the "&start=40" trick works when I embed).

Tiger says "you have to find a system that works for you. whatever makes your game better, do it." Then he seems to promote swaying, if that works. Do what works, he says.

They go on to talk about how different they set up to the ball, and Anthony Kim says he changes on a daily basis how he sets up to the ball. He adjusts based on how he's playing that day. Whatever works.  I sense a theme.

Just thought it was interesting. It's info like this that is destructive, right? Reminds me of Arnold saying "swing your swing" and don't worry about those darn instructors. You do what YOU want.

The good side of that is encouraging personal experimentation and individual swings. I kinda suspect Tiger was referencing a bit of his approach to go with the swing or adjustment he had for how he was swinging that day on the course according to how his body was responding. That has merit.

His career experience may also indicate that snapping your front leg for extra power (with a square toe) may be really hard on your knee if you hit a lot of balls, so that may only 'work' if you are willing to pay the price. Many athletes are. I'd personally rather avoid surgery - or delay it as long as possible.

They likely both started with pretty solid swing models and experimented personally from those as starting points or within certain bounds. I don't quite hear them saying 'total free form' is advisable.

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35 minutes ago, natureboy said:

I don't quite hear them saying 'total free form' is advisable.

At 0:49, Tiger has a little riff where he sways way left and sways way back to the right and says something like "if you come way off the ball and come back on the ball, whatever it is... if it works, then do that.." (not a direct quote, just the gist). That one move was what made me think of this thread when I saw the clip.

The rest is kinda interesting to see those two in action. Always a good rapport between TW and AK, I thought.

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6 minutes ago, RandallT said:

At 0:49, Tiger has a little riff where he sways way left and sways way back to the right and says something like "if you come way off the ball and come back on the ball, whatever it is... if it works, then do that.." (not a direct quote, just the gist). That one move was what made me think of this thread when I saw the clip.

The rest is kinda interesting to see those two in action. Always a good rapport between TW and AK, I thought.

If you have flexibility issues that approach might help you for the day? It would be smarter to work on the underlying issue, though.

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  • Administrator
3 hours ago, RandallT said:

I tried embedding this to start at 0:40 (not sure that the "&start=40" trick works when I embed).

Tiger says "you have to find a system that works for you. whatever makes your game better, do it." Then he seems to promote swaying, if that works. Do what works, he says.

They go on to talk about how different they set up to the ball, and Anthony Kim says he changes on a daily basis how he sets up to the ball. He adjusts based on how he's playing that day. Whatever works.  I sense a theme.

Just thought it was interesting. It's info like this that is destructive, right? Reminds me of Arnold saying "swing your swing" and don't worry about those darn instructors. You do what YOU want.

At their level, what feels like a "big" change or different thing is likely very small.

And even PGA Tour players can get into bad habits that might work well at first. Even Tiger.

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  • Moderator
4 hours ago, RandallT said:

Just thought it was interesting. It's info like this that is destructive, right? Reminds me of Arnold saying "swing your swing" and don't worry about those darn instructors. You do what YOU want.

If you hit the ball like Arnie, that may be good advice. Problem is that most golfers don't and need to improve their mechanics. This doesn't mean that you have to "start from scratch" or model a pro's swing (position for position). Just take what you do, identify the priority and make it better. That's not always easy to do because your priority will probably not change for a long time and you'll want to start looking to fix something else. Don't go from band-aid to band-aid.

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Not everyone is destined to swing like Fred Couples.  It all depends on how high you set your sights and how much time you are willing to invest in the game.

At 65, I don't really think long term anymore. I do what works.  If I spend the time on the short game I will be shooing in the 80s. If not more like the 90s.  For a casual golfer that is okay. If you wan to break 80, by all means take lessons and play twice a week.

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2 hours ago, ppine said:

Not everyone is destined to swing like Fred Couples.  It all depends on how high you set your sights and how much time you are willing to invest in the game.

At 65, I don't really think long term anymore. I do what works.  If I spend the time on the short game I will be shooing in the 80s. If not more like the 90s.  For a casual golfer that is okay. If you wan to break 80, by all means take lessons and play twice a week.

I agree wth you about the long term thinking. I figure if I am still golfing in 10-15 years, that will be a plus. At this point in my life, my game is what it is. I have no desire to back track, while trying out new ideas. 

As for what works, I do the same thing. A lot of times, I will know after a hole or two, what is going to work that day, and go with it. There are probably other parts of my swing that are not correct, but I still hit the ball well most days. About the only part of my swing that I pay attention to, is where my club face is at ball impact. 

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I try to work on one thing at a time and build on past progress. Sometimes the ball is deciding to do it's own thing, but when I stick to a change I know I need to make to ultimately improve it's always worth it. Sometimes it's just closing down the mind and letting the good swing out of its cage of over-analysis.

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