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Demons

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JonMA1

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When someone is described as having demons, it’s usually to point out negative personality traits of an otherwise decent person. Weaknesses such as alcoholism, gambling, anger… damaging habits that cannot be fully controlled and either prevent a person from obtaining their full potential, or one which can rear it’s ugly face and derail whatever is good in his or her life.

I think this can be said for the golf swing as well. Words such as a “tendency”, or a “bad habit” are used to describe an issue that re-occurs even with the best of players, damaging an otherwise better score.

For me, demons serve as roadblocks to improvement.

I’ve always hated it when someone said “I can’t”, when a better description might be “that’s very difficult for me”. The idea being that learning a skill might be harder for some than others, but not impossible. Still, for whatever reason there is a finite level of golf of which any of us can obtain, even if provided all the time and money in the world. For some, that potential might be scratch or better. For others, it might be low teens. I’m not sure where I will end up before the inevitable decline in physical ability kicks in, but I have a pretty good idea of where it won’t be.

Here are a few of my demons…

  1. Lack of discipline and/or focus when practicing. I start out with the intention of disregarding results, but that often deteriorates after a few swings. I also give up too soon on new methods and continue trying those proven to be ineffective.
  2. Lack of understanding. While the hips move forward and rotate, the upper body only rotates. The hands and weight need to be in front of the ball at impact, but how can this happen when my arms are attached to the upper body…. which stays back? Quality information is readily available, but it serves no purpose if I can't make sense of it.
  3. Being unaware of what’s really going on in 3D space. Feel ain’t real for almost everyone, but what I feel and what I see on video are worlds apart.
  4. An inability to replace what I know are bad habits with those I believe are improvements. Learning to perform drills correctly seems easy. Applying them to the full swing, impossible.

To those who have more control over these things, the solution might seem easy. But telling me to apply the 5S's of good practice is the same as telling someone fighting obesity to just put down the fork. 

All I can do is try to improve on the things that impede progress. I sometimes think about devoting an entire season towards developing better practice habits and reigning in my demons, simply say to hell with my scores. But there’s no proof that plan would succeed. Plus, I mostly enjoy playing my crappy level of golf… mostly.

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@JonMA1, I can see you are a bit frustrated and in soul searching mode. I think when one comes to a complete but temporary impasse, it is best to go back to hitting 50 yard shots only to get to the basic motion, feel, and 'sight' of hitting a ball. Do it with ALL clubs including long clubs. It will crystallize what is important.

While feel is not real, it is a lot closer to being realistic with smaller motions. It will allow you better reference to your 3D space with some sense of control.

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I sometimes think about devoting an entire season towards developing better practice habits and reigning in my demons, simply say to hell with my scores.

Life is really short, progress would be better enjoyed by hard work and improving.
To devote a year to only development would create a lot of anxiety for the next season and be tough, IMO.
It could lead to more frustration if expectations are not achieved.
A better solution would possibly be to devoting one week to a priority, the next week to accomplishing the change.
Improvement comes in small stages and easier when working on "One at a Time"

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Thanks @Club Rat and @GolfLug.

This wasn't meant as a rant or a "woe is me" post. As far as frustration, I think I am beyond all but the normal frustration this game brings. Sorry it came off otherwise.

This entry was meant as an objective analysis of what has occurred over the last few years. It's impossible for anyone to know how much effort I've put into this - possibly as much as anyone here. But I practiced hard instead of practicing smart

So for the past year  - and specifically last fall to present - I've attempted to practice as you guys suggest, with more emphasis on quality instead of quantity. When it becomes difficult to make good contact, I shorten everything up until I start making good contact and then slowly start to lengthen the swing.

But good contact isn't as much of the issue (if anything, good contact might even get in the way). The issue is my inability to develop a single priority, despite trying to focus only on that piece. Good contact looks like crap on video, and I'm not talking about aesthetics. The swing is just mechanically wrong, regardless of the results. 

The post was about why I have difficulty in changing the picture. Looking back over what I wrote yesterday, it seems pretty accurate based on my limited knowledge.

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2 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

The post was about why I have difficulty in changing the picture. Looking back over what I wrote yesterday, it seems pretty accurate based on my limited knowledge.

Actually, I think you did a really good analysis of most of us on this site. It is hard. Erik even put a TM on "Golf is hard".

Take a look at any driving range. People work really hard at golf. I bet some of the people watching you at the range are thinking "Why is he able to improve. . .while I'm not?"

All of us have these demons. We all feel like we're not making progress because progress is so slow even if positive, and that is a big IF. All of us have trouble changing the picture, and even if we do manage to change it, the bad stuff can creep back subconsciously during any round.

However, I love that this site is filled with information regarding theories and methods of doing that. 5 keys, 4 stages of competence, "changing the picture", how to stop slicing, center pivot swing. Plus several instructors who are willing to post solutions to your ailments.

I would think figuring out what thing to change first is your first step? Hey, I don't even know how to become a stupid monkey either, if you could figure that out you'd have a serious advantage over me. Meanwhile, I'm more of a moronic monkey because I'm too dumb to be stupid. :-D

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14 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

Thanks @Club Rat and @GolfLug.

This wasn't meant as a rant or a "woe is me" post. As far as frustration, I think I am beyond all but the normal frustration this game brings. Sorry it came off otherwise.

This entry was meant as an objective analysis of what has occurred over the last few years. It's impossible for anyone to know how much effort I've put into this - possibly as much as anyone here. But I practiced hard instead of practicing smart

So for the past year  - and specifically last fall to present - I've attempted to practice as you guys suggest, with more emphasis on quality instead of quantity. When it becomes difficult to make good contact, I shorten everything up until I start making good contact and then slowly start to lengthen the swing.

But good contact isn't as much of the issue (if anything, good contact might even get in the way). The issue is my inability to develop a single priority, despite trying to focus only on that piece. Good contact looks like crap on video, and I'm not talking about aesthetics. The swing is just mechanically wrong, regardless of the results. 

The post was about why I have difficulty in changing the picture. Looking back over what I wrote yesterday, it seems pretty accurate based on my limited knowledge.

Ok, understood. FWIW I think your analysis is pretty accurate. But I also agree with @Lihu, that these 4 elements afflict just about everybody at varying levels.

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6 hours ago, GolfLug said:

But I also agree with @Lihu, that these 4 elements afflict just about everybody at varying levels.

I do as well. I can't imagine there are very many people in this world with enough natural talent to get to single digits without overcoming obstacles.

 

20 hours ago, Lihu said:

However, I love that this site is filled with information regarding theories and methods of doing that. 5 keys, 4 stages of competence, "changing the picture", how to stop slicing, center pivot swing. Plus several instructors who are willing to post solutions to your ailments.

Your entire post was spot on @Lihu, but this paragraph got me thinking about how much worse it could be if not for all the solid information available.

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Oh my oh my! Such an intriguing topic. Demons? I've got enough to make the Amityville Horror look like a Disney movie. I've even come to let myself believe that the golf gods will always keep me in check. I'll be allowed to have a nice swing for a few days in a row...then it's shank city. And I practice very meticulously AND hard. When I'm not working, kids in school, I'll go to my academy (beautiful practice area) and spend 6-7 hours, 3-4 days a week. I take several minutes between each ball...focus, focus. But there are times (usually after a wonderful and inspirational session) when my swing simply will not happen. It's gone. Everything 'feels' the same. I even take notes when I'm hitting it solid to review all my 'feelings and checkpoints' for the next time I'm out. I'm not impressed with tour pros practice dedication at all. If I could make my salary playing golf...I'd practice 8-10 hrs/day and absolutely love it. That is, if I could experience what great golf feels like for more than a few rounds. But I continue to work at it...because there's nothing I enjoy more than golf and nothing I'd rather be good at. 

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16 hours ago, Vinsk said:

If I could make my salary playing golf...I'd practice 8-10 hrs/day and absolutely love it. 

^^^This is a good post. The game comes and goes for me too, but the highs are worth it. If I could snap my fingers and trade jobs I would gladly practice golf all day for the same amount of money I currently earn, and maybe even less. As it stands now, I would practice 4 hours after work every day but I don't want to wind up divorced.

@JonMA1 I was entertaining the idea of quitting golf a few weeks ago, until someone at the range helped me (if I ever see that guy again I'm buying him a six-pack of his choice). The game has been made overly complicated, unnecessarily so. If you've ever assembled a piece of furniture and the pieces aren't fitting, then logic dictates you might be doing it wrong. Yet in golf we go on trying to force the pieces to fit, and we blame ourselves when we can't do it.

 

Edited by Kalnoky

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21 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I'll go to my academy (beautiful practice area) and spend 6-7 hours, 3-4 days a week

Ok... what I said about possibly practicing as much as anyone on the site.... I was wrong. :beer:

 

4 hours ago, Kalnoky said:

The game has been made overly complicated, unnecessarily so. If you've ever assembled a piece of furniture and the pieces aren't fitting, then logic dictates you might be doing it wrong. Yet in golf we go on trying to force the pieces to fit, and we blame ourselves when we can't do it.

I agree that we all sometimes overcomplicate the swing. I my case however,  most of this is on me - which is ok.

I remember your post @Kalnoky. I've been down that road of trusting poor instruction. If there's one thing worse than not being very good, it's paying good money to not be very good. 

I hope things continue to change for the better with your swing. It sounds encouraging.

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Poor instruction. Yeah I know that one. I wasted some time and money with a rather well known online instructor who happened to come to Florida. All he had to offer me was to switch to right handed and practice with a grass whip and my golfing mystery would be solved.

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I really enjoyed reading all the posts.  Not for the vicarious pleasure of knowing this isn't me thank St Harry and all the other Golf Gods because after 42 years of playing, I have given it some thought and tried to improve for .... what?. But nor do I want to continually strain at something without seeing a path through the wilderness to my goal.  Really what are your goals?  To achieve something not remarked upon? If you lower your handicap level to single digits (which is one of golf life's ultimate achievements) will you then obtain a level of relief and work to maintain that level.  I bet an autographed Mickey Mantle liver x-ray, you would refocus even harder and go for the next level and stress out even worse.  Is it enough to be content with playing?  I don't know for sure.  I can say with all certainly I am content playing at a 14 and seeing a couple of putts go in every round.  I hate practice for practice sake.  If I am at my course, I love to play.  I will some day remove myself from this wicked winter world of New Brunswick (nice autumns though) and obtain 12 month golf nirvana.  I wish all of you much luck and success as you push your envelopes.  But keep in mind what Eric Idle said on the cross, If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten! And that's to laugh and dance and smile and sing. Good luck and keep your forward foot toed outwards lol.

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Everything comes with a price. For golf, it's hard work and knowing your limits. I don't know anyone who plays well and doesn't virtually live on the course. Your mind and body have to both be flexible, and luck seems to have a lot to do with success.

Not having bad luck and having a few good lucky chips and approaches helps a lot too. :-D

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So True! Yet other than Dirty Harry, who really knows their own limitations. Painful sometimes to find out the hard way aka Monsieur Woods that you cannot reverse.  But no need to look at a pro, just have regards or inquire of any group of Seniors at your club and you will hear and see the daily routines and precautions they take to continue to play.  Recognizing that while they can still enjoy the game immensely, they rarely have the desire to find a new level or achievement. That's why old farts, win cars in the closest to pin contests.  They have no expectation to win yet know that the number on the stick is unimportant... where you land and where your ball is when it stops rolling is far more important.  And you can do it with a driver if that's what it takes .  Oh yeah, and beating young men who drive the ball prodigious lengths into all manner of hazards.

 

Edited by gatsby47

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24 minutes ago, gatsby47 said:

Oh yeah, and beating young men who drive the ball prodigious lengths into all manner of hazards.

Old guys love to beat young guys that can drive the ball. They will relate the story at the range with a twinkle in their eye. 

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22 minutes ago, gatsby47 said:

So True! Yet other than Dirty Harry, who really knows their own limitations. Painful sometimes to find out the hard way aka Monsieur Woods that you cannot reverse.  But no need to look at a pro, just have regards or inquire of any group of Seniors at your club and you will hear and see the daily routines and precautions they take to continue to play.  Recognizing that while they can still enjoy the game immensely, they rarely have the desire to find a new level or achievement. That's why old farts, win cars in the closest to pin contests.  They have no expectation to win yet know that the number on the stick is unimportant... where you land and where your ball is when it stops rolling is far more important.  And you can do it with a driver if that's what it takes .  Oh yeah, and beating young men who drive the ball prodigious lengths into all manner of hazards.

It's amazing watching some of these guys play and especially putt. One of the seniors (not really that old actually, possibly 65-ish), once told me that "The older you get, the better you were." Whereupon many of us started joking about all the possible iterations of age and how good old golfer's once were. They have fun. . .

I also know some 70+ year old golfers who are still good and still have really nice swings. Those are the ones that I would look towards emulating (if I were into emulating swings), primarily because they don't get injured doing their swings. The seniors with good swings are really rare, and, I agree, they are quite amazing to watch on the course. Or rather, boring because they hit fairway/green/hole. . .

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