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Instructor Dilemma ("Stack and Tilt" Style Guy)

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Sounds like it went really well, and I think the biggest thing with this is the process you went through leading up to it. You communicated with him extremely well and were up front with things, and it sounds like he has been too.

When I was reading the first series of posts, the thing that stuck in my mind was that you had doubts about the instructor, and in my experience, it leads to too much questioning of their advice. Sounds like you had an open mind though and that you trust him, so you are lucky to have someone like this at your home course. Keep us posted on how things go and good luck with it all.

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He told me that if every student provided a document to him like that, his job would be so, so, so much easier. I would guess that's true of most teaching professionals, so word to the wise: write up and maintain a document like this for your instructors.

When I went for a lesson a little over a week ago, I brought a page's worth of bullet points, but it was also a summary of what I've done since I last took a lesson. I like this idea.

In any case, I'm happy the lesson worked out for you.

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Eric,

Knowledge is power. I love reading your posts of your lessons because you have a knowledge base and scholar's approach. A couple of things stood out. You knew the club was to stay above your hands, and now you know the hands work inside slightly more than the club head early in the swing, and you automatically get that "club face on the spine angle" position, without swinging outside the line on the back swing. It is a subtle thing but when you nail it the club is weightless feeling, and the coil seems easier.

The second thing is the most difficult of all for most golfers (in my humble opinion.) How to post up on the left leg with the proper weight shift, while still driving the hips around and not sliding. Sounds complicated, but the effortless and straight power shots are rooted in that perfectly timed move. Obviously your flush 3 iron was surprising, but when the old motor of the golf swing is working in perfect timing, those flush kills start happening and you feel like a million bucks.

Most of all, just reading your dive into the lessons and how you are internalizing them is inspiring. Golf is mostly mental and knowledge bases and you are really good at explaining your thoughts.... keep it up.

N.B: I have "constructive discussions" with teachers over the toe up versus on the spine angle thing all the time. "On the spine" works best for me, and probably you, but I also understand those that are strickly toe up. Lots of ways to do it.

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... and you automatically get that "club face on the spine angle" position, without swinging outside the line on the back swing. It is a subtle thing but when you nail it the club is weightless feeling, and the coil seems easier.

Yeah, my mistake was thinking that my arms had to work back, rather than back and in. And agreed on the weightless and coil bits.

The second thing is the most difficult of all for most golfers (in my humble opinion.) How to post up on the left leg with the proper weight shift, while still driving the hips around and not sliding.

Indeed, I've struggled with that. Again, Hogan says "bump and turn" but I now understand that the "turn" really happens pretty naturally, and you really just have to focus on driving hard forward and up with the hips.

You'd have to have an athletic IQ of 4 or less to actually slide without turning or to slide so far forward that you lost your balance or something. So "slide as far as you can" works as a swing thought for me right now, or a "training thought" I should say. I've always tried to visualize the swings of players and relate that to how I'm feeling, and it's amazing when you do finally get to your left side - and relatively early in the swing at that - and how much the finish position feels like what you see from the big-name PGA Tour players.
Obviously your flush 3 iron was surprising, but when the old motor of the golf swing is working in perfect timing, those flush kills start happening and you feel like a million bucks.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to more of those types of shots. I've hit them sporadically in the past, but they were always almost accidental. Now I know what I need to do to actually cause them.

Most of all, just reading your dive into the lessons and how you are internalizing them is inspiring. Golf is mostly mental and knowledge bases and you are really good at explaining your thoughts.... keep it up.

Thanks. I was afraid I'd rambled and that nobody would give a rat's behind about my lessons, particularly without seeing my swings or anything like that. I'm glad those two things aren't completely accurate. :)

N.B: I have "constructive discussions" with teachers over the toe up versus on the spine angle thing all the time. "On the spine" works best for me, and probably you, but I also understand those that are strickly toe up. Lots of ways to do it.

Several years ago I tended to believe the "toe up" people, because that's all you ever hear. But then I listened to some other teachers, I did some thought experiments with physics (pretty easy - stand up straight, hold a club in front of you, swing it back to parallel, then lean forward), and I changed my point of view.

A year or two ago when I was striking the ball really well I was incorporating an earlier wrist hinge in my backswing. I think that had a lot to do with keeping the leading edge of the clubhead on my spine angle, as my wrist hinge always felt a bit more like it was initiated by my right hand - so it naturally stayed a bit more on top. It seems to me that about 95% or more of golf instruction you see sitting around is "toe up" - including SwingVision and the other slow-mo stuff on TV with Kostis or Faldo or whomever - and that's a swing that requires a bit more timing and a bit more effort. PGA Tour players might like it a little more because it might add a teeny bit of power (or it might prevent just slightly from hitting hooks), but I now think that the majority of golfers would be better served matching it up with their spine angle, like you.
When I went for a lesson a little over a week ago, I brought a page's worth of bullet points, but it was also a summary of what I've done since I last took a lesson. I like this idea.

I think self awareness is a big thing, and if I could make more golfers self-aware by waving a magic wand, I would. Sometimes making someone self-aware is simply putting a club shaft down on their foot line and showing them that they're closed when they think they're square. Or video, which never lies.

The document that I wrote - and that you wrote - is proof of our self awareness. The instructor was incredibly happy with what I'd given him, and he said later that I was right about everything I'd written in it, too, which made me feel good. But I'd have been okay if I had gotten things wrong, too - because then I would know that there was immediate room for improvement just by having a better understanding. Either way, I'll re-iterate that forcing myself to assess everything all at once really made me focus on the big picture, and not get caught up in little things like Position A or whatever, and that it let my instructor know how familiar I was (or wasn't) with my own body during the act of swinging a golf club. Uhm, yeah. Roundabout way of suggesting once again that everyone who takes lessons do this sort of thing. Keeping it all in your head doesn't work because you forget things. I've always kept a little journal with some common fixes, flaws, etc. but I'm going into much more depth now with lessons: I'm including video, pictures, and a lot more text in my journal now.
When I was reading the first series of posts, the thing that stuck in my mind was that you had doubts about the instructor, and in my experience, it leads to too much questioning of their advice. Sounds like you had an open mind though and that you trust him, so you are lucky to have someone like this at your home course. Keep us posted on how things go and good luck with it all.

Indeed, I had doubts, because history is littered with people who have changed or stuck with bad instructors. I wasn't expecting immediate results or a quick fix, but I did want to make sure my philosophies lined up with his so that we could have a good working relationship.

I think everyone should probably go into a situation with a good mix of apprehension but also hope. Too much hope and you might just get suckered into a bad relationship. Too much apprehension and you won't trust the guy or you won't work with anyone long enough to see real results. Now I've just had one lesson, and I haven't got a clue if I struck the right ratio of hope and apprehension, but I think I was in the ballpark, at least. Thanks.

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I was afraid I'd rambled and that nobody would give a rat's behind about my lessons, particularly without seeing my swings or anything like that.

Quite the contrary. I love reading about what other people are doing, things that are working, epiphanys they've had, ect.

I would like to see your swing though, just for curiosity's sake.

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Hi,

After reading all of the replies, it seems like you have some good advice. I just want to throw my 2 putts in.

If your pro has been around longer than 3 years, he probably knows more than just stack and tilt. It has only been on the national scene since the Golf Digest article.

My son and I have been taking lessons at Turning Stone Casino in the golf dome and on their courses with the pro down there, Marty Nowicki. He has been named Central New York PGA Teacher of the year 2x.

He teaches a combination of Stack and Tilt, The Golfing Mchine, The One/Two Plane Swing. Basically he takes what you do and tweaks it.

Any good golf instructor should be versatile and not hang his hat on one method regardless of past success.

As for the stack and tilt, it does promote more of keeping the wrists hinged and ahead of the ball on the iron shots, resulting in more compression of the ball. The extra distance and draw on the ball is nice.

With the driver and longer woods/hybrids, he mixed it up a bit. He kept the head over the ball with some of the weight going more to the left than we have been taught, but not as dramatic as in the S&D; iron swings. Also, he wanted more of a one plane swing with the longer clubs, coming in flatter, rather than steeper.

To sum it up; find a techer who can work with you, and not make you work with him and his chosen method of teaching. I would explain your concerns to the pro, and go from there.

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Hit 50 balls today on the range focusing mostly on the takeaway. Then began working on the second part - the hip slide - and was really nailing the ball pretty well. Was hitting what felt like half swings (was closer to 3/4 in reality) with the 7-iron and they were still getting out there 150 with a breeze right and a little into. Very pleased.

Divots were all well in front of the ball (most were right around the 4" Clampett likes). Every fifth ball I'd go back and re-visit the backswing, but I ended up hitting about 150 balls that way. On some I'd mess around with what Tiger says about his follow-through: high for a hit shot, low for a low shot... turns out it works pretty well when your swing's not garbage. Anyway, hit the ball about as well as I've ever hit the ball on the range, and really feel like I've gotten moderately far with the first lesson's drill(s).

Played #8 at Lake View then, and hit three good 3W to within 10 yards (laterally) of each other. Had 150 in downwind and played a standard 3/4-ish 8-iron to 20 feet. Then tried a low 3/4 8-iron (to 15 feet). Then hit a high 3/4 8-iron to 10 feet. Putted those out.

Hit a nice draw off 9 with the driver. Draws with the driver are a good indication of where my swing is: if it's off, I'll pull it or hit a big cut. Came off well.

Had 125 in, but hit 3/4 6-irons onto the green. Tough pin, but all the shots came off well.

I'm going to practice again tomorrow. Maybe play Monday - next lesson on Tuesday. If I do play Monday, it'll still be more about practice than actual score.

P.S. Knock on wood.

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Reading about it is fun. Could it be...is it possible...sure sounds like, "You are playing golf" with a purpose. Whether you are practicing, or on the course, when you are doing what you are doing, you are seriously playing this game. That is a lot different from just walking up and trying to hit a good shot. Makes me excited about my next round... I want to focus better.

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9 hc in 9months? i dont care if u took lessons from tiger and stevie themselves, there are so many things that only experience can teach you to gain a legit 9. im a 10 and it has taken me over 3 years to shot 79 at my best round ONCE.

I disagree. The guy is probably just a really good athlete. What could you possibly gain from trying to call somebody out like that anyways? Jealous? I have a friend that never touched a club until he was 18. He was shooting in the 70's within a year. He was just a natural athlete, plain and simple. Guys like you and me have to work at it.

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