19th Hole

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Learning and Owning Your Swing Thoughts and Feels

A big part of what separates TST from other sites is the instructional content that is provided. Golfers want to get better and there are a lot of threads on here that can guide golfers in the right direction. From all these topics and member swing threads we run into these popular questions, "What should I feel?" and "I feel so-and-so when I do this, is that right?". Honestly, the answer is......we have no idea. We're not seeing the swing and not in your body to confirm whether something is right or wrong.

Unfortunately there isn't one feel that will work for every player. A golfer that moves their head forward (towards the target) on the backswing is going to have to feel something much different than a golfer that moves their head away from the target. This may surprise many of you but even golfers working on the same priority/Key will probably feel different things. We all have our own tendencies and instincts. 

Let's stick with the Key #1 example and say you're the player that tilts the spine towards the target on the backswing (left pic) and moves the head forward. What should you feel to stop doing this? Instructors can suggest feels and manually put you in a position but it's ultimately up to you to finalize the swing thought/feel. Instructors aren't there to tell you what to feel, they're there to help identify the priority, explain the cause and effect, guide you with how the body needs to move to accomplish the motion and recommend some feels. 

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For the example above, the instructor decided to hold an alignment stick against the player's right hip and left side of their head and has them make a slow, practice backswing. The instructor will probably share a couple feels or images. After a few swings the instructor will ask you how it feels to you. This is important and something all good instructors do. The suggested feels may click with the player or they might have felt it more with the left shoulder bending down and across or that their upper back stayed "flexed over" or something unorthodox. Even a really odd feel can produce good mechanics, just depends on what works for the player.

If you get credible advice on a Member Swing thread and aren't sure what it should feel like, do the drill associated with the priority/Key. Most helpful posts include a video or a couple of pics. Do the drill slowly, make yourself uncomfortable and change the picture. Film yourself doing it, take note of what you need to do, what you need to feel to get it right and use that for when you practice. Monitor the feels by filming your swing and your drill swings. If you're the golfer in the left pic, have a friend hold a stick against your head, or make slow practice backswings with your head against a door jam/door, or make the backswings with your right hip next to a wall, etc. Do the work and learn what feels work for you to fix your priority piece. If your head still moves towards the target and you're feeling your head move a foot off the ball, go back to the wall (or drill) for a refresher. 

Example from a recent practice session of mine. I needed to improve my hip thrust on the downswing. From 4-4.5 I needed to make sure the hips stayed on their inclination and then I could straighten the legs and extend the arms. So I rehearsed the movement slowly a few times, asked a buddy of mine, "does that look right?" and we filmed it. I basically need to "crunch" a little before I extended. The swing thought that I came up with was the image of a small nerf ball sitting on my left hip at 4 and I had to increase my hip tilt in a way that would "crunch" the ball. It's kind of a silly feel but one that resulted in the desired outcome. Understand that feel works for me (and that I'm not actually increasing my hips slants), it could be disastrous for someone else.

When you're working on your swing and making changes, take ownership of your feels, don't solely rely on others to tell you what you need to feel for your swing. Take time in understanding how those feels effect the picture, use video to confirm. For member swing threads, instead of asking if a feel is right or wrong, post a video or pic and ask if the piece is being performed correctly. Help us help you ;-)

P.S. 
Don't get distracted by Golf Digest articles from a tour pro sharing their swing thoughts. Tour players don't have the "secret" and most of them don't know anything about the mechanics of the golf swing. The swing thought in the magazine may work for that player even if they may not even actually do what they feel. Every tour player has their own swing thoughts and feels (so who's right?) and just because Jason Day had a great year doesn't mean his quickie tip is going to fix your slice. 


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I really enjoyed this post! What you are talking about is one part of my definition of the "mental" side of the game. If you don't apply your mind correctly, you can't make lasting changes in your swing, not matter how many balls you hit. 

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Feel ain't real.

Except to the player.

Also, feels can change and shift over time. What feels 60/40 at setup will often, in a week or so, feel 50/50, so you want to make sure you don't then go 70/30 to try to feel the same thing as you did last week.

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Also, feels can change and shift over time. What feels 60/40 at setup will often, in a week or so, feel 50/50, so you want to make sure you don't then go 70/30 to try to feel the same thing as you did last week.

Yep, good point. 

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I am learning that even if you know your own feel it changes the picture over time for whatever physical reasons and you end up bending the picture trying to chase/maintain the feel. Seems like continuous 'picture' vigilance (camera) is required to corroborate the feel.

 

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I am learning that even if you know your own feel it changes the picture over time for whatever physical reasons and you end up bending the picture trying to chase/maintain the feel. Seems like continuous 'picture' vigilance (camera) is required to corroborate the feel.

Yep, you have to routinely monitor the feels and the picture.

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