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What's Considered a Reliable Swing?


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So I'm struggling along at a 21HCP trying to improve further (this year have shaved about 5 strokes off my average). Have taken lessons and get in a decent amount of practice, and my main issue is too many chunks or thins (mostly chunks). Mostly from fairway woods down to mid-irons, then with the higher irons and wedges I seem to thin it more. Probably several factors that I'll ask my instructor about, but would like opinions on what my near term goal should be for this. As I'm an engineer, the most helpful answer would be in the form of "X% of your swings hit within +- Y inches of your desired ground contact point."

Offhand I think I'd be happy with something like 80-90% of the time being no more than an inch either forward or behind the ball, but maybe an inch is too much and half inch is realistic.  Right now, on a good day I might only have 3-4 bad chunks but on a bad day it seems like I'm chunking 1/4 of them.

Nothing is more discouraging than making a good practice swing with a 5 hybrid and then when I go to hit it chunk it 6 inches behind the ball (this bad has only happened a few times but I was in total shock I could miss that badly)

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  • iacas changed the title to What's Considered a Reliable Swing?
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Just now, madsquopper said:

Nothing is more discouraging than making a good practice swing with a 5 hybrid and then when I go to hit it chunk it 6 inches behind the ball (this bad has only happened a few times but I was in total shock I could miss that badly)

If you watch the practice swings of good players, they're often half sized, half speed, and/or exaggerating some sort of move or rehearsing some feel.

Almost no good players make "practice swings" that are like their real swings, at nearly a full speed.

2 minutes ago, madsquopper said:

Probably several factors that I'll ask my instructor about, but would like opinions on what my near term goal should be for this. As I'm an engineer, the most helpful answer would be in the form of "X% of your swings hit within +- Y inches of your desired ground contact point."

I couldn't tell you that.

A reliable swing is one that puts the ball within an acceptably sized area around the intended target.

The size of that area is up to you, and subject for debate.

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A reliable swing is something that you can count on to repeat consistently. What that means at your stage is relative to your skill level. You need to make sure that your goals are realistic, to make a game plan with your instructor, and to stick to it. Maybe for now its to shoot bogey golf half the time and to give yourself a break on bad shots. Chunks and thinning will happen, but thins win out because they can turn out ok. Keep at it and have some fun. 

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29 minutes ago, madsquopper said:

 As I'm an engineer, the most helpful answer would be in the form of "X% of your swings hit within +- Y inches of your desired ground contact point."

As a fellow hacker still working to eliminate severe mishits from my rounds, I just want to say that I don't think this is the right way to think about the golf swing.  How the club head is delivered to the ball is a result of so many prior things going correctly.  If your only measure of a swing is how close the head is delivered to the ground contact point, then don't take such a big backswing.  You'll immediately be get a smaller +/- inches to your desired ground contact point.

But I assume you also want to have a good, sound swing which produces some distance as well as be within +/- Y inches from your desired ground contact point.  Its probably better to think in terms of "How many centimeters did my head move during my backswing?  What change in angle of spine inclination occurred from address, to the top of the backswing, and back to ball contact?  How much did my shoulder rotation, shortening of the lead arm, or wrist angles affect how well I was able to get the club head back to the same position as address?"  These are the types of questions better suited to the form of question as you have posed.  When youre able to produce smaller detlas to those questions, you'll be able to repeat delivery of the club head more reliably.

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Here is an egg sample you might find illuminating.  Imagine you are driving a race car.  The more speed you carry into the corner...the more speed you will scrub off getting thru the corner.  Or you could pile into the wall.  That's what hitting it fat is:  you failed to negotiate the arc efficiently...or effectively.  Less speed going in can mean more speed coming out.

Bottom line:  You are over-driving the corner.

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1 hour ago, Piz said:

Here is an egg sample you might find illuminating.  Imagine you are driving a race car.  The more speed you carry into the corner...the more speed you will scrub off getting thru the corner.  Or you could pile into the wall.  That's what hitting it fat is:  you failed to negotiate the arc efficiently...or effectively.  Less speed going in can mean more speed coming out.

Bottom line:  You are over-driving the corner.

Sounds like me driving my Audi...

Liking "egg sample".

Edited by Double Mocha Man
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On 8/26/2020 at 5:45 PM, iacas said:

If you watch the practice swings of good players, they're often half sized, half speed, and/or exaggerating some sort of move or rehearsing some feel.

Almost no good players make "practice swings" that are like their real swings, at nearly a full speed.

 

Bryson seems to be breaking that mold. Something to do with firing up the muscles I believe he said. 

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I know this is repeated often, but it’s true, and bares repeating. 

Start a swing thread. Take good video of your swing. Find your main priority to work on and stay with it until it’s fixed and you can move on to a new piece. 


it took years to build most of our bad swings. You can’t expect to fix them quickly. Slow incremental progress is the key to building a more reliable swing. 

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On 8/26/2020 at 4:42 PM, madsquopper said:

So I'm struggling along at a 21HCP trying to improve further (this year have shaved about 5 strokes off my average). Have taken lessons and get in a decent amount of practice, and my main issue is too many chunks or thins (mostly chunks). Mostly from fairway woods down to mid-irons, then with the higher irons and wedges I seem to thin it more. Probably several factors that I'll ask my instructor about, but would like opinions on what my near term goal should be for this. As I'm an engineer, the most helpful answer would be in the form of "X% of your swings hit within +- Y inches of your desired ground contact point."

Offhand I think I'd be happy with something like 80-90% of the time being no more than an inch either forward or behind the ball, but maybe an inch is too much and half inch is realistic.  Right now, on a good day I might only have 3-4 bad chunks but on a bad day it seems like I'm chunking 1/4 of them.

Nothing is more discouraging than making a good practice swing with a 5 hybrid and then when I go to hit it chunk it 6 inches behind the ball (this bad has only happened a few times but I was in total shock I could miss that badly)

One thing that recently had me turn a corner in my ball striking (at a 15 handicap I'm clearly still not "there") was reading more about how to commit certain things into your procedural memory (most often referred to as muscle memory).  Once you get your swing committed to your procedural memory, you can start focusing on being a tempo/target oriented golfer.  I find now that most of my more egregious mishits come from letting mechanical thoughts creep in, my best ball striking days have come when I've been able to focus on my tempo and target.  Run a quick google search on procedural/muscle memory and how it relates to the golf swing, some interesting stuff out there. 

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3 minutes ago, campbellj21 said:

One thing that recently had me turn a corner in my ball striking (at a 15 handicap I'm clearly still not "there") was reading more about how to commit certain things into your procedural memory (most often referred to as muscle memory).  Once you get your swing committed to your procedural memory, you can start focusing on being a tempo/target oriented golfer.  I find now that most of my more egregious mishits come from letting mechanical thoughts creep in, my best ball striking days have come when I've been able to focus on my tempo and target.  Run a quick google search on procedural/muscle memory and how it relates to the golf swing, some interesting stuff out there. 

I'm nowhere near your HC level but I agree.  My best ballstriking days have been ones where everything felt fluid, I didn't feel like I had to give much thought to my swing, and where I had great tempo.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

 A reliable swing is one that is repeatable. A lot of having a repeatable swing starts with set up. You hear pros talk about going through their " routine". They do everything the same way, every time, making sure their alignment, posture, ball position, etc are the same. every time. They take the club back the same way, on the same plane. every time. if they are distracted, they stop and start the whole routine over.. the object is to swing the same way every time, with every club. After countless hours of practice, it finally becomes second nature,  and the results of their golf shots are consistent. Almost every time.

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10 minutes ago, 308 Ragin Cajun said:

 A reliable swing is one that is repeatable. A lot of having a repeatable swing starts with set up. You hear pros talk about going through their " routine". They do everything the same way, every time, making sure their alignment, posture, ball position, etc are the same. every time. They take the club back the same way, on the same plane. every time. if they are distracted, they stop and start the whole routine over.. the object is to swing the same way every time, with every club. After countless hours of practice, it finally becomes second nature,  and the results of their golf shots are consistent. Almost every time.

Counterpoint: most everyone has a repeating swing.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Underscore the counterpoint.... you guys ever watched people at the driving range? Just look at how each person will set up the same way every time and how each person will swing the club every time. It matters not if they're a hacker or a good player.

 

 

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