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How Can I Groove My Swing Sooner in My Round?


ZANDER1994

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This past winter I made some pretty significant changes to my swing. My handicap has dropped from a 16 to a 9 this year which feels amazing. I played with a few buddies today and shot an 82 (+10). 
 

Thing is, I was +6 after hole 3. I doubled the first three holes. Still, I ended up shooting only +8 on the front and +2 on the back. 


I’ve noticed most of my rounds this season have gone this way. I consistently play much better on the back, often by 5 strokes or more. My first few holes are always pretty rocky. The morning starts with me hitting a handful of thin shots or duffs and racking up strokes and then I get into a groove and make up for it with the rest of the round.

How can I get into a groove with my swing sooner? I usually hit a small bucket on the range and hit a few chips/putts before playing but that hasn’t seemed to help. I just don’t feel confident I know where the ball is going to go when I swing on the first few holes. But by the last few holes, I feel the exact opposite.

 

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I feel like we need more details about this warm-up you do with the small bucket at the range.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
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I try to swing hard on the first tee, no mealy mouthed half swings. Anything less than a full swing and I feel like I'm trying to steer it which is no bueno

Colin P.

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You said you made some changes to your swing recently.  Do you know your predominant shot pattern when you're at the range? 

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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Along with what @Shindig said, which is learn your shot patterns. I'd also give the following advice. 

You say you hit the range before the round. Here's my suggestion: "Play" the first three holes on the range right before you go "play the first three holes". 

Hit the exact shots you need to hit. If the first hole requires a cut driver, hit that. Then hit the approach shot. Do that for the first three holes. Imagine the fairways, define them as best you can on the range. Imagine the greens, etc... Most importantly be realistic with yourself. If you miss badly to the right, know that you just missed badly to the right. If you hit it exactly as you wanted to, try to bring that feeling to the first tee. 

As Louis Pasteur once famously said "Fortune favors the prepared mind." 

Edited by ChetlovesMer
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My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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7 hours ago, ZANDER1994 said:

How can I get into a groove with my swing sooner? I usually hit a small bucket on the range and hit a few chips/putts before playing but that hasn’t seemed to help. I just don’t feel confident I know where the ball is going to go when I swing on the first few holes. But by the last few holes, I feel the exact opposite.

You might want to try to make some of those warmup shots at the range more specific to your swing changes or hitting certain shots you want to hit on the course to get a feel down. You might be just swinging to get loose. It might take few shots on the course for you to get shot intent to match outcome with your swing. 

 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver; :pxg: 0311 Gen 5,  3-Wood: 
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2 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Most importantly be realistic with yourself. If you miss badly to the right, know that you just missed badly to the right. If you hit it exactly as you wanted to, try to bring that feeling to the first tee. 

Along these same lines, when I warm up I like the last shot I hit on the range to be the shot I'm about to hit on the 1st tee box. I usually start warming up with chip and pitch shots, then move to the range to loosen up and observe any particular patterns that show up that day before moving to the putting green until it's 10 minutes before my tee time. 10 minutes before I go back to the range, pull out whatever club I'm hitting on the first tee and play it just as if I was starting my round. Just gives me a fresh feel to keep in mind when standing on the first tee. I'm comfortable knowing I can hit the shot I want to because I just did it right then.

Mixing in my putting between the range warm up and the practice tee shot means it's both fresh in my mind and I know how it should feel when I haven't just spent the last 10-15 minutes getting into a rhythm of full swings at the range. I'm young enough it doesn't make a ton of difference yet, but you still "cool down" some between shots on the course or between your last range ball and your first tee shot unless you're rolling in hot with 30 seconds to spare straight off the practice tee with driver still in hand. If I do my putting it gives me that same cooling down effect, so it's not like I hit great tee shots on the range after warming up with irons and the first tee shot hit more than 5 minutes after the last shot is on the first tee box and feels very different as a result.

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Agreed you should play at least the first hole on the range before heading out. Imagine the tee shot. Imagine the approach. Go through your routine each time. Imagine your buddies standing there next to you watching you to add a bit of pressure. 

2 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Hit the exact shots you need to hit. If the first hole requires a cut driver, hit that. Then hit the approach shot. 

And good post overall, Chet, but I do want to point out not to try to shape shots at our level. Very rarely do holes truly require any kind of shot shape. It's much better to just hit what you hit naturally. If I tried to hit a draw right now for example, I'd struggle to break 100. Regardless of hole design it's in my best interest in terms of score to hit my pull-fade 100% of the time.

Constantine

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I have a bad habit of putting pressure on the first couple of holes thinking it will set the tone for the day.   Usually when I find myself getting into ruts like this, it's more some type of mental mindset that gets in the way.   A day where you are not swinging right will happen, but I tend to find I get into these ruts where I half convince myself of something and then a bad swing follows because I'm not in my normal frame of mind.

If you are having trouble consistently at the start of the round, what are you doing/thinking different that might cause that?

—Adam

 

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16 hours ago, ZANDER1994 said:

How can I get into a groove with my swing sooner? I usually hit a small bucket on the range and hit a few chips/putts before playing but that hasn’t seemed to help. I just don’t feel confident I know where the ball is going to go when I swing on the first few holes. But by the last few holes, I feel the exact opposite.

From the limited information that you provided, I would say that you need to get your mind right.  Hit that opening tee shot on the range then get up to the first tee with confidence knowing you will accept the results. Make sure you have a plan of executing a shot, see the shot, feel good about the club selection and trust your swing. Chances are after a few dubs, you have thrown out your expectations and just start playing golf. If you can do that from the first tee that might help you. 

Or play the back nine first. 🤣

Cobra LTDx 10.5* | Big Tour 15.5* | Rad Tour 18.5* | Titleist U500 4-23* | T100 5-P | Vokey SM7 50/8* F, 54/10* S, SM8 58/10* S | Odyssey 2 Ball Blade | Vice Pro Plus  

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12 hours ago, iacas said:

I feel like we need more details about this warm-up you do with the small bucket at the range.

Agree with @iacas here.  Others have chimed in their routines, what is yours?  Playing the first few holes at the range will get you in the moment of knowing what you typically will see.  When I warm up? I do work up through the bag, saving the last few swings for playing the first hole and maybe the second.  

Ping G400 SFT 10deg  R flex
Ping G410 3w R flex
Ping G400 3h and 4h R flex
Taylormade SLDR 5i thru PW graphite shaft R flex
Cleveland CBX wedges - 50, 54, 58 or 52, 58 (depending on my mood)
Odyssey Versa or White Steel #5
Srixon Q Star

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Typically I like to show up to the course about 5 minutes before my tee time, run in the clubhouse, pay for my round, grab a hotdog, clumsily eat half that hotdog with one hand while I try to walk to the first hole and get my bag straps on with the other hand and avoid spilling ketchup on my shirt.    Once I get to the tee box, set the half-eaten hotdog on the ground next to me, take a couple half-assed warmup swings, then grip it and rip it.    pick that hot dog back up and away we go.   

seems to be every bit as effective as when I show up 30 minutes early adn go to the range before my round.  

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check out my swing here

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12 minutes ago, lastings said:

grab a hotdog, clumsily eat half that hotdog with one hand while I try to walk to the first hole and get my bag straps on with the other hand and avoid spilling ketchup on my shirt.   

Ketchup on a hot dog... How Gross.

Mustard, brother, Mustard. DFGcFzIXcAErfam.jpg.e3ff074963b4b946b0d6444395d60f83.jpg

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My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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16 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Ketchup on a hot dog... How Gross.

Mustard, brother, Mustard. 

I go either ketchup and relish.   or just mustard.    I enjoy all condiments.  

:tmade:  - SIM2 - Kuro Kage silver 60 shaft
:cobra:  - F9 3W, 15 degree - Fukijara Atmos white tour spec stiff flex shaft

:tmade: - M2 hybrid, 19 degree
:tmade: - GAPR 3 iron - 18degree
:mizuno: MP-H5 4-5 iron, MP-25 6-8 iron, MP-5 9-PW

Miura - 1957 series k-grind - 56 degree
:bettinardi: - 52 degree
:titleist: - Scotty Cameron Newport 2 - Putter

check out my swing here

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34 minutes ago, lastings said:

Once I get to the tee box, set the half-eaten hotdog on the ground next to me, take a couple half-assed warmup swings, then grip it and rip it.    pick that hot dog back up and away we go.   

Just curios, how many ants do you have to brush off that hot dog before eating the 2nd half? 🙂

More seriously, my problem is when a course does not have a range and all I can do are practice swings.  I try to fake it a best I can, use a broken tee on the ground as where I think the back of the ball would be, etc. but I get no ball flight information form those practice swings.  About all they are really good for is losing up my muscles.  Often, that 1st tee shot is my worst shot of the day and I need to mentally not let it set the tone for the remainder of the round.

Stuart M.
 

I am a "SCRATCH GOLFER".  I hit ball, Ball hits Tree, I scratch my head. 😜

Driver: Ping G410 Plus 10.5* +1* / 3 Hybrid: Cleveland HIBORE XLS / 4,5 & 6 Hybrids: Mizuno JP FLI-HI / Irons/Wedges 7-8-9-P-G: Mizuno JPX800 HD / Sand Wedge: Mizuno JPX 800 / Lob Wedge: Cleveland CBX 60* / Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 7S / Balls: Srixon Soft / Beer: Labatt Blue (or anything nice & cold) 

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23 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Ketchup on a hot dog... How Gross.

Mustard, brother, Mustard. DFGcFzIXcAErfam.jpg.e3ff074963b4b946b0d6444395d60f83.jpg

I like mayonnaise and mustard, what does that make me?

To the O.P. - I usually show up to the course around 10 minutes before tee off. My group has the first tee time of the day, and usually the range is not even open (lights off, ball machines not plugged in. I do some stuff to warm my body up (jumping jacks, bunch of practice swings with intent to shake off any stiffness). Best thing I have found for grooving my swing is having a good pre-shot routine.

-Peter

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On 7/19/2022 at 10:12 AM, Darkfrog said:

I like mayonnaise and mustard, what does that make me?

Obviously, a better golfer than me. But, if that's what it takes, then I'll just remain a mustard only kind of guy!😄

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