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Stepping It Up

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JonMA1

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Earlier in the season, I started a thread about how to deal with ability - or lack of. (http://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/81404-hitting-a-plateau-with-ability/#comment-354724). What I was after was more enjoyment out of what has become a very big part of my life. As is the case with many of my thoughts and opinion on golf, the idea that I can learn to be ok with a crappy game was mostly wrong. While I must learn to accept the current skill level at which I play, it’s difficult to suppress expectations on the course, and practice efforts off. 

So, where the hell do I go from here?

  1.  I Still believe continuous lessons are the best way for improvement. I like the idea of taking lessons in person. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be instructors in this state - much less the area - who share a similar teaching methodology and philosophy as Erik and Mike. I do believe in choosing a system and sticking with it.
  2. Earlier this year, I took a single lesson from a local PGA pro. I had spoke with him a few times and got a feel for his methods, which I immediately liked. I loaned my copy of LSW to him. He was very positive about what he read, which indicated he wasn’t completely set in his ways. So we worked out a lesson where he would watch me play nine holes, then give me a priority piece to work on. While he did give me some pointers on the short game (which were great BTW), for the most part, he sat back and observed my full swing without commenting. At the end of 9 holes, he told me the one thing I needed to work on was keeping my head angled UP more at address. The reason being that I wasn’t allowing room for my left should to come around which was causing my head to move.
    Ok… well that’s completely opposite of what I’ve learned. Maybe I’d been overdoing it all this time, so I made a slight change (not to the extent he recommended) and the results were not all bad. The next time I showed up at the course, he asked how the priority piece was working and we talked about another lesson. He told me he was going to show me how to roll my hands to draw the ball. While I really like this instructor, his views on swing mechanics seem different than what I’ve learned here. Even though lessons are probably the best way to show real improvement, it’s not always easy finding the right instructor. 
  3.  As it turns out, my budget wouldn’t allow for a series of lessons anyway, so that made the decision pretty easy. While this isn’t the only reason I don’t take lessons, it's likely the most impactful.
  4. Lessons aren’t a cure-all. Besides the issues of money, and the lack of good instruction, there’s my inability to understand not only what is being taught, but how to apply it. When it comes to learning, but this it’s not easy. Applying drills to a slow swing, and a slow swing to a full speed swing is very difficult. If I’m going to improve my game, I’ll first have to improve how I practice.
  5. How to turn successes into second-nature habits. What good is learning the best swing mechanics in the world when they will inevitably be forgotten? What seems to be common with better players, is they have no more than a single swing thought during a swing, while I’m trying to remember everything that I think has worked in the past - just before I push the shot OOB.

I don’t know how successful I’ll be at any of these, they’re just thoughts. It’s not like typing out and posting them is some guarantee they’ll get accomplished or even attempted. Plus, I’ve been wrong so many times over the last few years on what I thought was necessary towards improvement, that I’m kind of at a loss.

All I know is that playing well is so much more enjoyable that playing poorly.

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I can relate to your 4 & 5 above.   To add my experience to your points, I practice in front of mirror during weekdays.   My swing looks pretty good - my hip turning well, good take away, pause at the top, no flipping through impact, good finish with proper weight transfer.   Go to range or field, I have no idea if I am doing any of these right and doubt creeps in.   When there is doubt, the form goes haywire and leads to OB.    But Golf is like a religion.   It requires faith.  I believe all these will come together at one point.   I will pray to that.  Amen.
 

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I can very much relate I've been very busy for the last month or so and haven't been able to get to the range so my practice time has been all indoor mirror work at my house which I felt was going very well.  I've played a few rounds with others and can see improvement in the lines of not losing balls and being able to help others look for theirs instead of having a party on a search and rescue mission for mine every other hole lol(not that bad but pretty close). So this weekend I finally found time to go to the range and video my swing.  I wanted to do it mostly with out thought just square up, hit the ball and see what it looked like.  The results were disheartening, it looked so similar to my original My swing post that I couldn't stomache the idea of posting it.  It's lead me to start mocking up an idea for a limited space practice net in my garage and hopefully approach things from a different direction.  I keep thinking "Why do I pick things that I'm so bad at to fall in love with" but I'll keep dredging on.

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Good analogy @rkim291968

I do have faith that I'm heading on a correct path - or at least the general direction. As someone once told me, it's easy to lose track of progress when the changes are incremental.

6 minutes ago, LagShaft said:

 It's lead me to start mocking up an idea for a limited space practice net in my garage and hopefully approach things from a different direction.

I think you should put up a net. You might surprise yourself on how much time you spend out there.

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Oh I know I'll be out there a lot.  The only problem is that space is tight and there is only one way it will work. But I have an idea and if it works it could lead to a patent or at the very least a cool post.  If not maybe a head injury but I've never been afraid of those.;)

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I have been told it takes 6-12 months for the average person's body to learn a new swing movement.  When one is taught to do something different in one's golf swing, immediate results are rarely experienced.  That is why instructors create "drills" and certain cues for practice.  Once the body remembers the movement, you will not need to run through a mental checklist and instead just think "Shoulder turn" or "Head steady" as your cue to start the swing process.

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2 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I have been told it takes 6-12 months for the average person's body to learn a new swing movement.  When one is taught to do something different in one's golf swing, immediate results are rarely experienced.  That is why instructors create "drills" and certain cues for practice.  Once the body remembers the movement, you will not need to run through a mental checklist and instead just think "Shoulder turn" or "Head steady" as your cue to start the swing process.

That makes me feel better. I just have to learn how to practice in a way that will facilitate (for lack of a better term) getting what I've learned to become a natural part of the swing. Knowing it takes 6 -12 months might actually help. I try to emulate how I see others practicing in their swing threads, but don't always put enough effort forth.

I guess that supports the idea that lessons from a good pro is important. It seems they'd be able to spot a regression right away.

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7 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I have been told it takes 6-12 months for the average person's body to learn a new swing movement.

This could be why my brother never got any better as he never gave anything more than a month to try.   I don't remember his doing any drills either.  

At start of this year, I worked on anti-flip drills.  I can't say I fixed it yet.  I am one month into proper hip turn and my scores are hurting.   Sigh.

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Yes, that is the other problem with learning how to swing and play better golf.  In the short term our results are worse.  This only makes it harder to forge ahead and trust that at the end of the process we will be better.

I can definitely confirm that in my case it took close to a year and I sucked big time for several months until the new moves got traction.

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Here's my last 14 scores separated by a swing lesson & tweak in the middle.  Clearly, I struggled quite a bit after the lesson.    In the last two rounds, it has gotten better.   Is this the beginning of new and better swing?  I can only hope.  In two days, I have another lesson coming up.   So, my scores may get worse again before it gets better.   :-(

94 98 99 92 96 97 90 < swing lesson & tweak > 103 101 93 100 106 94 96

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The issue I'm having right now is that my practice swing looks pretty good (to my untrained eye, and relative to my scoring) and it feels as natural as can be - good shoulder turn, ok centered pivot, and weight shift. But when I'm swinging at a ball everything changes for the worse. I think I have to learn to trust the practice swing, if that makes sense. Not worry about contact -kind of like what you guys are saying @bkuehn1952 and @rkim291968.

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