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Changing Deep Habits


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25 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

. I have to undo years of the way my left wrist has been working. It may take a while unfortunately. 

Don’t mean to hijack your thread but just asking for some advice regarding changes that take a long time.

My issue is I have several ingrained habits that are a mess. I always lose my trail palm grip at the top, I over swing, and other nonsense.

When I attempt to make things right, it’s so absolutely foreign I literally can’t hit a ball or even almost fall down if I’m air swinging. Grip changes literally feel like I’m holding a knotted oak branch. Keeping my lead arm straight feels like I’m raising my arm as if to answer a question.

Maybe this is expected. Now the issue: hitting balls is like yoga, meditation for me. I can spend hours and hours doing my silly Jim swing and hit balls. But deep down I want to be able to maximize my distance and swing to the best of my ability with all the five keys occurring.

I spent a month trying a new back swing feel with my coach awhile back. The position was much better on video. But I couldn’t remotely hit a ball. It was like a toddler hitting If I even made contact.

It was actually depressing as I wasn’t getting my yoga, meditation sessions. I missed just hitting a nice draw. Instead it was exhausting and just felt like I was never gonna be able to swing ‘normally.’ But if I just wanted to hit some balls, it only further ingrained my awful habits.

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

Sorry, this can be moved to another thread if needed. Just wanted your input. Thanks Scott.

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41 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Don’t mean to hijack your thread but just asking for some advice regarding changes that take a long time.

My issue is I have several ingrained habits that are a mess. I always lose my trail palm grip at the top, I over swing, and other nonsense.

When I attempt to make things right, it’s so absolutely foreign I literally can’t hit a ball or even almost fall down if I’m air swinging. Grip changes literally feel like I’m holding a knotted oak branch. Keeping my lead arm straight feels like I’m raising my arm as if to answer a question.

Maybe this is expected. Now the issue: hitting balls is like yoga, meditation for me. I can spend hours and hours doing my silly Jim swing and hit balls. But deep down I want to be able to maximize my distance and swing to the best of my ability with all the five keys occurring.

I spent a month trying a new back swing feel with my coach awhile back. The position was much better on video. But I couldn’t remotely hit a ball. It was like a toddler hitting If I even made contact.

It was actually depressing as I wasn’t getting my yoga, meditation sessions. I missed just hitting a nice draw. Instead it was exhausting and just felt like I was never gonna be able to swing ‘normally.’ But if I just wanted to hit some balls, it only further ingrained my awful habits.

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

Sorry, this can be moved to another thread if needed. Just wanted your input. Thanks Scott.

Change is hard. I wish I had answers but I think we just have to keep at it until the change feels normal. I think I will eventually get my change but it may be 6 months from now. 
 

This is a good topic for discussion though. Thanks for posting. 

Scott

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47 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Don’t mean to hijack your thread but just asking for some advice regarding changes that take a long time.

My issue is I have several ingrained habits that are a mess. I always lose my trail palm grip at the top, I over swing, and other nonsense.

When I attempt to make things right, it’s so absolutely foreign I literally can’t hit a ball or even almost fall down if I’m air swinging. Grip changes literally feel like I’m holding a knotted oak branch. Keeping my lead arm straight feels like I’m raising my arm as if to answer a question.

Maybe this is expected. Now the issue: hitting balls is like yoga, meditation for me. I can spend hours and hours doing my silly Jim swing and hit balls. But deep down I want to be able to maximize my distance and swing to the best of my ability with all the five keys occurring.

I spent a month trying a new back swing feel with my coach awhile back. The position was much better on video. But I couldn’t remotely hit a ball. It was like a toddler hitting If I even made contact.

It was actually depressing as I wasn’t getting my yoga, meditation sessions. I missed just hitting a nice draw. Instead it was exhausting and just felt like I was never gonna be able to swing ‘normally.’ But if I just wanted to hit some balls, it only further ingrained my awful habits.

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

Sorry, this can be moved to another thread if needed. Just wanted your input. Thanks Scott.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade." by Matthew Kelly from the book The Long View”

@Vinsk This is a great topic. 

I know this doesn't apply to you specifically, but I'm suspecting others will read this. I know tons of golfers who go for one lesson. Come back feeling like they've learned something. They don't practice or break down what they learned and then revert back to where they were or possibly worse. Then they complain. "Taking lessons doesn't work." 

It takes time, commitment, and patience to make "REAL" changes. 

I know I suffer from at least 3 major problems that come back to haunt me all the time. My big problem is, I can only work on one of them... sometimes 2 at a time. However, if I don't do all 3, it actually can make my actual swing worse. It's either all 3 or it can go off the rails. 

So, I'm at the range the other day. Working through my 3 different issues. I'm doing it one at a time if course. First slo-mo swing, then faster without the ball and finally hitting a ball. Okay I do this for 5 to 8 balls. Then I switch to working on the second thing for a while. Same procedure, 5-8 balls, then I work on the 3rd thing the same way. All of "shots" I'm hitting stink out loud. So, near the end I kind of felt like I was getting all 3 things going at once. Started hitting beautiful shots for maybe the last 5 or so balls. 

I'm packing up my stuff and the guy next to me goes. "Hey, you finally got it together there at the end." I didn't know he was watching me but I mumbled something like "Yeah, golf is hard." Then he asks me. "What change did you make there at the end to start hitting those good shots?" So, I had to get into a long explanation of how I was working on 3 different things and fixing any one of them doesn't really work until I get all 3 fixed. He's like "Oh, I could never do that." I was confused and asked him to explain. 

He told me he is totally unwilling to hit a bunch of crappy shots on the range. He said he doesn't want to look like a bad golfer so he only makes slight tweaks on his swing and doesn't do anything that will make his shots "appear" bad. I found that interesting as I never really notice anything about the way anyone on the range is hitting balls. Unless they are doing something really out of the ordinary, which may catch my eye. I couldn't care less if you are hitting a ball off a tee with your putter. 

I left him with that and headed home. 

 

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

When I attempt to make things right, it’s so absolutely foreign I literally can’t hit a ball or even almost fall down if I’m air swinging. Grip changes literally feel like I’m holding a knotted oak branch. Keeping my lead arm straight feels like I’m raising my arm as if to answer a question.

Maybe this is expected.

It is. The more drastic the change, the more foreign it will feel.

I find the easiest lessons I’ve ever taken are ones I’ve already been given, just presented in a different way. For whatever reason (me) the change didn’t stick.

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

Now the issue: hitting balls is like yoga, meditation for me. I can spend hours and hours doing my silly Jim swing and hit balls. But deep down I want to be able to maximize my distance and swing to the best of my ability with all the five keys occurring.

I don’t see any reason you can’t do that while working on swing changes.

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

I spent a month trying a new back swing feel with my coach awhile back. The position was much better on video. But I couldn’t remotely hit a ball. It was like a toddler hitting If I even made contact.

Ok, so you have to ask yourself, why?

Were you struggling to even make contact during the lesson while making a different backswing? Because if that’s the case, I’m surprised that the instructor left you like that. If there’s no payoff in the results, I’d hardly expect anyone to stick with it, and I wouldn’t blame them.

Or maybe you’re just making new swings too fast. If you’re getting to a different position at A4, you’re going to have to learn how to get to A7 from there, too.

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

It was actually depressing as I wasn’t getting my yoga, meditation sessions. I missed just hitting a nice draw. Instead it was exhausting and just felt like I was never gonna be able to swing ‘normally.’ But if I just wanted to hit some balls, it only further ingrained my awful habits.

Do it, but slower. Hit driver shots that go 150 yards, 100 yard 6i shots, whatever. As long as you’re doing the thing that you’re trying to change successfully. That can still be your meditation. Hyper focus on making a change.

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

You shouldn’t completely lose the ability to hit the ball while making a change. That’s still kind of weird to me.

35 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Change is hard. I wish I had answers but I think we just have to keep at it until the change feels normal. I think I will eventually get my change but it may be 6 months from now. 

I’ve made a lot of changes over the years and I can definitely say patience is a necessity. One day you’ll just naturally do it; there won’t be a lightbulb moment that says I got it. You might not know the exact moment but if you stick with it, it will happen.

16 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

It takes time, commitment, and patience to make "REAL" changes.

QFT

18 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

He told me he is totally unwilling to hit a bunch of crappy shots on the range. He said he doesn't want to look like a bad golfer so he only makes slight tweaks on his swing and doesn't do anything that will make his shots "appear" bad.

That’s just weird to me. Why care what anyone else thinks about your swing, especially on the driving range?

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15 minutes ago, billchao said:

That’s just weird to me. Why care what anyone else thinks about your swing, especially on the driving range?

I thought the same thing. But some guys are weird. I used to know a gym rat who would never do warm up sets. He never wanted anyone to walk by and see him lifting a light weight and thinking that was all he could do. ... Like I said, some guys are weird. 

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6 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I thought the same thing. But some guys are weird. I used to know a gym rat who would never do warm up sets. He never wanted anyone to walk by and see him lifting a light weight and thinking that was all he could do. ... Like I said, some guys are weird. 

Depends on what has happened to you in life.   It took me some time to understand that the people at my current club are not the same as my old club.   My old club, people based their opinion of you strictly on your handicap index.  Not everyone, but it was a prevailing attitude.   On top of that, I was bullied a lot as a kid and let me tell you that opinions like that really get into your head.   I basically was so tense playing some times that it was just zero fun.   The most fun I had, and I played a lot better, was when I played by myself.   When you feel like you have to constantly prove yourself, you get into situations like that.

I'm glad my last year at my old place was the year they started the "low handicap group only" club.   That's what they called it.  Every game except for the Saturday SWAT (single without a time) group was basically a "prove yourself to get into our group" mentality.   Where I play now, the criteria is "are you a nice person?"  big difference.

 

—Adam

 

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11 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

Depends on what has happened to you in life.   It took me some time to understand that the people at my current club are not the same as my old club.   My old club, people based their opinion of you strictly on your handicap index.  Not everyone, but it was a prevailing attitude.   On top of that, I was bullied a lot as a kid and let me tell you that opinions like that really get into your head.   I basically was so tense playing some times that it was just zero fun.   The most fun I had, and I played a lot better, was when I played by myself.   When you feel like you have to constantly prove yourself, you get into situations like that.

I'm glad my last year at my old place was the year they started the "low handicap group only" club.   That's what they called it.  Every game except for the Saturday SWAT (single without a time) group was basically a "prove yourself to get into our group" mentality.   Where I play now, the criteria is "are you a nice person?"  big difference.

 

Your point is well taken. 👍

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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

 

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

For me, it really takes commitment to get help and really commit to it.   I’ve done the “checkup” and gotten something that makes things better but is really only a band aid.  Not that the pro is doing anything wrong, but you ask for a lesson and you get the help for the time you paid for.   But it’s really not enough.

Also, I overthink things and never want to make changes with a tournament coming up, a busy time at work or if there is anything to distract me from focusing on golf.   Earlier this year I decided to commit to a number of lessons and I wasn’t going to care if I shot balls all over the course Sunday mornings until I got it.   I took a series of lessons and basically put myself in the pros hands.  That was March and April and I have lost some of the comfort I built up over the past several months.   It’s hard to make changes.

we first started with my setup.  Changed how close in stand to the ball, how upright the club was and we closed the face so it was properly lined up.  After that we started with the takeaway, then position at the top and then the downswing.  I hit a lot of balls.  The pro told me it was going to suck until I practiced enough.

to answer one of your questions, I didn’t play a round of golf until I could hit a fair percentage of balls at the range where they would be in play.  It took 3 range sessions before I felt I could go to the course.   For a month the pattern was a lot of pars and bogeys and then completely off the rails for a few holes.   Had to stop and think about what I was doing and try to get back to where I needed to be.

currently I know I have drifted somewhat.  My takeaway is good but my downswing is not where it needs to be and I’ve moved too far away from the ball.  I don’t have a lot of time until next month to practice, so I have a swing I can use but it’s not as reliable or steady as what I should be doing.  Life is getting in the way.   But at some point next month it’s going to be a big focus on golf.  I am going to set up periodic lessons and practice several days a week.  
 

my thinking it that the beginning of this would be very hard, but I envision the past 6 months as the first quarter in a 2 year journey.   I intend to work out the issues I am currently experiencing and then I want to keep iterating and seeing how much I can refine things.  My short game and touch is good, but I intend to bring putting into this as well.   One of the best things I learned from this site was LSW and using data to drive your practice and what to focus on.   I recently turned my driver around by realizing that was the weak spot and this past weekend (club championship) my driver was a real strength.  So I have 18 months to go on what I think is an investment in my game to further reduce my handicap by shooting better scores.   There are going to be some scores that would make you think it’s not working, but that’s just how well I can adapt to changes.  
 

I do get to play and practice year round, so that helps.   I used to live more North and had to put away my clubs for several months.  @Vinsk you are in Florida, so the golf only stops for hurricanes….

—Adam

 

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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

But if I just wanted to hit some balls, it only further ingrained my awful habits.

What do you do while you’re making drastic changes that are absolutely tying you in a knot and prevent you from playing or just hitting the range?

Sounds trite, but "No pain, no gain." I simply stopped swinging a club entirely.  No playing.  No range trips.  Not even hitting balls off a mat in the back yard.  I knew that if I kept swinging it would just keep bad swing mechanics in play.  I wanted them gone.

To make them be gone I knew I had to rebuild my swing from the ground up. Everything I'd been doing had to go.  (I'm not claiming you or anybody else necessarily needs to do this, just that I did.)

Sadly, for a variety of reasons, it's taken me much longer than it should have to get to where I can swing a club again (eighteen months, rather than six), but I'm confident that, when I do, I'll find it'll have been worth it.

Twelve of those eighteen months was because I allowed myself to be persuaded to play before I was ready, last season. To call it a "flaming disaster" would be an understatement of epic proportions. Between that and a health issue, I came this >< close to giving up the game.

Here's why I'm confident it will work: I lied a little bit when I said I stopped swinging a club entirely. Late last year, when I was still in "don't plan to play again" mode I got curious.  Took my mat, 7i, and some lake balls into the back yard and smacked a dozen or two into the woods.  I put into practice as best I could the training up to the time I'd stopped.  Lo and behold: I was hitting them better than I ever had.  Way better. Way more consistently.  A week later I got curious again and tried it with my driver.  Same thing. In fact: I was hitting my driver as well as I had my 7i the week before.

Wow.  It works!

To make a point to somebody I took my 7i and stuff out back a couple weeks ago, after having resumed my training, working back up to where I'd been when I'd quit.  I didn't hit them as well as I did last year, but I hit them way better, way more consistently, then I had the year before, when I'd spent countless hours hitting them off that mat, going to ranges, and had played a few games.

In both cases, I hadn't even gotten to the down-swing portions of the training.  All that improvement was just from correcting my setup, take-away, and back-swing.

Now, as to the subject of your thread title: Replacing bad habits with good: It's been scientifically proven it takes literally thousands of repetitions of a motion for it to become ingrained.  (What's erroneously called "muscle memory.")  Imagine, then, what it might take to replace a bad learned motion with a learned good motion.

The people with whom I'm training teach micro-motions.  You video yourself performing them, and send it along to them, to show you're doing it right.  Provided you are, you then do, literally, a couple thousand repetitions of that motion, then video yourself and send it along, again, to get "graded."  Then you get to move to the next thing. They have you stack these learned micro-motions atop one another to build your swing.

Yes, it's intense and time-consuming.  But, like I said: "No pain..." ;-)

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

Were you struggling to even make contact during the lesson while making a different backswing? Because if that’s the case, I’m surprised that the instructor left you like that.

The piece was that I horribly wrap my lead arm around my neck on the bs and need to ‘push out my arms and shorten my backswing.’ When I do this, I can’t bring the club to the ball. 

Slowly back, too inside. Too inside. Your arm’s still bent. Bent. 
Slower. Arms extended ( was using the keep trail arm straight feel) looks good, whiff. Looks good, shank. This was happening over a month and I simply couldn’t go from good arm extension to contact. I don’t want to play golf with nothing but punch shots. But I couldn’t even do that. You’ve seen my swing vids. It’s just an absolute mess. 

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2 hours ago, billchao said:

You shouldn’t completely lose the ability to hit the ball while making a change. That’s still kind of weird to me.

I think this lies in the natural talent area. You’re naturally good at a lot of the golf swing. I have zero natural ability. 

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2 hours ago, imsys0042 said:

 Every game except for the Saturday SWAT (single without a time) group was basically a "prove yourself to get into our group" mentality.   Where I play now, the criteria is "are you a nice person?"  big difference.

That old way sounds exceedingly not fun.  I feel like "where I play now" is a nice upgrade. 

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17 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

I think this lies in the natural talent area. You’re naturally good at a lot of the golf swing. I have zero natural ability. 

I think you need the "OhGoodGriefa" (patent pending) swing as shown on multiple youtube, metube and ourtube videos. It's pretty simple.

First, face East. If it's cloudy you'll have to guess which way is East and if you guess wrong you'll know right away because your ball flight will be different. Then, align your trail foot with the San Andreas fault and point your lead foot at the north star. Make certain your knees are flexed exactly 3.56 millimeters (this is absolutely critical). Your waist should be parallel with the Canadian border and your shoulders won't be. Shoulders really don't matter in the OhGoodGriefa (patent pending) golf swing although it is good to have shoulders so that your arms don't go flying away during the swing. Then, swing your arms (yes, both of them) towards England (or Great Britain, if you're geographically challenged). If, after performing the few, simple, above instructions, you find your ball flight isn't perfect it might be because it's noon in Oslo. Sorry.

Or, hie yourself back to your instructor and threaten him with "THE HAMMER" if he doesn't fix you. Then, fix a drink!

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

The piece was that I horribly wrap my lead arm around my neck on the bs and need to ‘push out my arms and shorten my backswing.’ When I do this, I can’t bring the club to the ball. 

Slowly back, too inside. Too inside. Your arm’s still bent. Bent. 
Slower. Arms extended ( was using the keep trail arm straight feel) looks good, whiff. Looks good, shank. This was happening over a month and I simply couldn’t go from good arm extension to contact. I don’t want to play golf with nothing but punch shots. But I couldn’t even do that. You’ve seen my swing vids. It’s just an absolute mess. 

Was the downswing slow, too?

 I mean it’s obviously hard to tell exactly what’s going on through text in the forum but you’re an athlete so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that you couldn’t hit the ball at all no matter what you did.

21 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

I think this lies in the natural talent area. You’re naturally good at a lot of the golf swing.

I’m going to get this framed and hang it on my wall 😃

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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4 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

He told me he is totally unwilling to hit a bunch of crappy shots on the range. He said he doesn't want to look like a bad golfer so he only makes slight tweaks on his swing and doesn't do anything that will make his shots "appear" bad.

I've told you, and I've told a number of my students… they can see me on the range hitting shanks, big hooks, big pushes… all kinds of weird shots. 150-yard drivers, super low 7I… whatever.

Because I don't care. I'd rather make the change, and sometimes that requires exaggerating something so much… it's an outlandish sort of way to hit a ball.

But say "hey, you stink, hit a good one" and I'll just make a barely better "regular" golf swing and hit a pretty decent shot the way I know how. It's not the way I ultimately want to do, but it'll be fine.

4 hours ago, billchao said:

You shouldn’t completely lose the ability to hit the ball while making a change. That’s still kind of weird to me.

Some people can. And it's okay. I let them - I've had people make such DRASTIC changes that they have no idea (yet) how to get the club to the ball from there.

This remains one of my favorite quotes:

The Three Imperatives and Essentials operate to correct faulty procedures. So, if they seem elusive, it is invariably because you are trying to execute them while you hit the ball - in your accustomed manner. That must be reversed. Learn to do those things even if you miss the ball - until you no longer miss it. There is no successful alternative (3-B).

The red part is the part I'm talking about.

2 hours ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

To make them be gone I knew I had to rebuild my swing from the ground up.

Woof. Generally not a fan of that.

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It is tough because the anticipated reward in the golf swing is hitting a good shot. That reward might never be aligned with what you are trying to do when you practice. It really does take a shift in mindset to say I am not going to care about the result of the swing, but care for the result on the video. It gets a bit scary because, what you are fixing is suppose to improve your golf swing, which is to improve ball striking. Yet, the initial changes do the complete opposite. 

 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

[Rebuilding the swing from the ground up...]

Woof. Generally not a fan of that.

I'm aware. In this case, though, it wasn't like there was anything worth saving in my old swing. Two group classes; followed by me trying just about any and every bit of Internet "wisdom" on how to improve--correct this, that, or the other thing; YouTube videos; experimenting with single-plane swing; then trying to go back to a "traditional" swing, left me with a swing that was a dumpster fire.

Name a swing flaw and my swing probably had it.

Ok, one thing: I had the grip right :-$

Plus these guys teach rounded shoulders, while my original instructor taught the "athletic" posture.  So it made sense, to me, to just start over as if I'd never taken a single class or ever swung a club.

Another advantage to doing it this way is that, if ever my swing falls apart, and it's more than a temporary thing, I'll know how to rebuild it.

4 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I think this lies in the natural talent area. You’re naturally good at a lot of the golf swing. I have zero natural ability. 

I don't think anybody is "naturally good" at the golf swing. It's a very unnatural movement. There are some people that have certain advantages in learning a golf swing (better balance, better proprioception, more adept at developing timing, etc.), but everybody has to learn it.  It just comes easier for some than others.  Odds are, people to whom it comes easier are probably better, more quickly, at most any sport they try.

Edited by SEMI_Duffer
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46 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

There are some people that have certain advantages in learning a golf swing (better balance, better proprioception, more adept at developing timing, etc.), but everybody has to learn it.

This is essentially what I meant. But I still maintain even with the golf swing there are those who do not find the essential mechanics difficult to learn, at least some of them. For me, the grip isn’t natural at all. None of them except the 10 finger which I have zero feel for the club head. The take away as taught traditionally feels completely opposite of what my body feels necessary for any power or top position. 
 

I’ve achieved a top position that looks good as far as plane and face. Arm straight at shoulder level, good tilt, good trail arm bend, face matching back of my lead back hand and the club not crossing the plane. To get to this position I have to literally lift the club straight up from the ball like I’m tossing a bag over my shoulder. Once at the top, I’ve lost any feel or control of the club. I either have to feel I’m bringing the club straight down my trail side which causes me to slam the club head into the ground just past my trail foot, or I sling it way over the top and either shank it or duck pull skull it.

My right hip is very inflexible as well. Born that way having to wear leg braces for my first two years. I can’t sit cross legged like in a praying pose as my right leg cannot externally rotate to touch my lateral thigh to the ground.

Regardless, I know I’m capable of a better swing. I was a pretty good athlete in my youth and I’m still strong at least…lol. I’ve probably just never had the best instruction for me. I’ve been told some crazy stuff. Admittedly I’m not fond of video learning as it’s just too much time with filming and waiting for new input and needing someone to give me immediate feedback as I work.

 

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