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My Swing (iacas)


iacas

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Okay, a frustrating but ultimately good session today.

The executive summary:

  • I thought I'd work on the downswing a lot today.
  • I kinda did, but it became evident toward the end that was not going to work, and I will have to spend more time on the backswing.
  • My "rates" are off: I keep my right elbow too wide early and then when my right shoulder turns "into" it to start the downswing it over-bends for too long.

I haven't practiced much at speed with clubs lately. More putting, short game, simulator stuff lately. So I was going to start off getting back into a groove with the backswing stuff. My first swings saw my right elbow anywhere from 85 to 105 degrees of bend. Swing 2 was just a "hit one solid and fast and don't give a crap." You'll see some stuff from 2 below.

I intended then to work on hand path stuff - pushing my hands down and away with my right elbow. It's a move I've done in the past with good success, but I am reminded now that I skipped a step from before: I have to feel the width while folding the right elbow a bit earlier, then "carrying" that elbow bend to the top.

For the past three years if I go to the top and stop, even if I have a brief conversation with @saevel25 at the top, I can then swing down and just smash the ball. In other words, if I can get to a good position at the top, I can smear it.

But there is no "position" at the top, because it's in motion, and my rates of motion are all out of whack. The best summary of what I'm now seeing in my golf swing may be this:

  • I turn a lot, early. Especially as I get warmed up and really focus on width.
  • My arms stay extended for a long time.
  • At the top, my turn slows down just as my arms are bending at an accelerated rate.
  • My turn, having stopped, begins to reverse direction, further pushing my right shoulder "into" my right elbow, causing it to bend even more.
  • This bending increases for a long time on the downswing.
  • When I finally do begin to extend my right arm, the hand path is diverted outward a bit too much rather than continuing downward.

I was paying attention to my left arm angle (relative to vertical) at 6, the ulnar deviation at 7, and the shape of the hand path.

Mine, even when I started it downward or slightly away from the target, would "bow out" toward the ball about 40% of the way into the downswing. Why? Because I got there and still had too much right elbow bend.

The problem was actually almost a bit worse the wider I was at the top, because it got there a bit artificially, and the right elbow maintained "structure" and then would "collapse" a bit under the strain of accelerating.

I was going to do a better job of organizing this, but it honestly would take too long, so instead, a bit of a dump of stuff.

Here you can see how when I stop briefly (it's very brief), I can achieve 64° right elbow bend at the top. But then, as I think "go fast" on the downswing, my right elbow bends to 88 motherf***ing degrees! And it happens around A5, way too late. I'm around 50 at 6 and around 23 at impact.

This is me vs. Rory, and as you'll see it's swing 47, which is when I started to key in on this. Previously I was wandering around a bit just trying things out. 🙂 This is when I started to really look at this rates/elbow/turn stuff:

This one, well, it doesn't show much, hence just being hidden away in a spoiler. It's good for me to have seen, but that's it.

Spoiler

This one just shows that though the right knee appears to be "straight," if you line up the axis you can see that it's not:

This one, you can see in the notes, I felt like by extending the right elbow, it would "push" my right shoulder back on the downswing. It's moderately successful, but I knew it wouldn't be something I could do in a swing, probably:

It's just too "after the fact. I did achieve some of my best "numbers" on this one though.

Here are some 2 vs. 48 swings at various spots:

2 vs. 48 DL A2.jpg2 vs. 48 DL Top.jpg2 vs. 48 FO Top.jpg

Swing two was still getting warmed up, swing 48 is too much turn (with everything), but "great" elbows… until you consider the timing and rates.

Here's swing 1 (blue) vs. 59 (gold), which shows the difference in the right elbow pretty well. But… this is all just me trying to throw/extend that elbow.

59 vs. 1 A5.5.jpg

59 vs. 1 A6.jpg

In a sense, it boils down to this. This is a multiple major winner on the LPGA Tour, and you can see that her right elbow bends less overall but bends much sooner and she turns back with her ribs at a slower rate. She doesn't turn as far as I do, but her elbow reaches maximum bend only shortly after the backswing ends. I'm red/primary, she's green/secondary. (Same true for the rest of the graphs: I'm red/primary).

Lydia Graph.jpg

Some other graphs, including a multiple-time winner on the PGA Tour:

Rickie Graph.jpg

A multiple major winner on the PGA Tour. Again, note the much SLOWER rate of turn on the backswing, the calmer elbow at the transition, etc. This graph makes me feel good because you can see I'm able to extend my right elbow at about the same RATE as this other player, but I'm starting from such a disadvantage because of the turn and what that does to my right shoulder/elbow at the top.

Rory.jpg

Here's another major winner on the LPGA Tour. It's a similar swing to mine, and yet…she achieves a "calmer" right elbow in transition because, though we reach almost the same maximum bend, she gets there much earlier. Her backswing is slower than mine, you'll note.

Seung Yul Noh Graph.jpg

Here's @saevel25 and I, and I give him credit here as this is really pretty good for the segment (transition) that I'm talking about (also, this may have been Matt's second swing of the day, so this isn't representative of what he's doing now, which is even a bit better already):

Matt.jpg

Now, here's a multiple-time winner on the PGA Tour, and his swing is pretty similar to mine:

Sangmoon Graph.jpg

We look kinda similar here, too (except primarily his added axis tilt):

Sangmoon.jpg

So… if a winner on the Tour can do it, why can't I? Well, two answers:

  • I can. I can play part-time golf, be a +2 to a 1 or so, and do this. I can play really good golf doing this. Thing is, I want to play even better.
  • He's a Tour player. It's his job. He can do some "weird" stuff, but because he has ten hours a day to work on this if he wants, he can "groove" it. Just like Furyk or Wolff or Ray Floyd or Rickie Fowler or whomever else you can think of with a "weird" move you might not necessarily teach a recreational golfer type.

Tony FO.jpg

Finally, here's a guy who's also won on the PGA Tour. My right elbow is actually LESS bent here at 2 than it was at 1, and it's 20° "straighter" than this PGA Tour winner. Granted, this guy only turns back about 75°… so he's gotta bend his elbow sooner, but still.


My takeaways, in no particular order:

  • This is f***ing hard. 😄
  • I don't need to turn back 115°. I tend to get to this point when I really focus on the right elbow staying wide, because to take the club back "far enough," I crank the turn. This is the wrong road to go down, specifically, for me because of the "rates" stuff.
  • I need to feel the arms doing more of their stuff "early" and then I can "carry" that structure to the top. So, more elbow bending sooner, so that it's not changing flex much toward the top (a flatter slope to the line), while the early part of the backswing sees a flatter turning rate. I can still turn 100-105° or so, I just need to get the arms in place and then "carry" them to the top more than I've been doing.
  • My shoulders can elevate, but while I've worked on taking the hands "straight back" from 1-2, the right elbow bending can elevate the left shoulder a bit and do this, too.
  • I'm still looking a bit at the wrist/face at the top, but it's down on the list of priorities.
  • I remember two years ago working on hinging my elbow sooner. I hate that you forget these things. I basically tried to skip this step this spring. But, I know I can do it, so I feel okay about that.
  • I spent 40 swings trying to skip that step yesterday.
  • Thank goodness for GEARS. Measuring the elbow on every swing — and having the swings of LPGA and PGA Tour major winners to compare things to — is awesome.
  • Even when working on things I swing 85 to 92 MPH with a 7I. So, there's speed in there, and when I do this a bit better, the speed feels much "easier."

I think that's it.

Sergio Graph.jpg


P.S. Like I said, if I'd have had more time, I'd have written a shorter and more organized post. I don't.

P.P.S. I don't expect many to read or care about this. It's mostly for me. If you want to ask any questions, I'll happily answer them. I had a brief conversation on Twitter last night, too, starting with this post:

P.P.P.S. I still like and will use The Tube™ in teaching people. It has a specific application (generally for people who bend the right elbow only during the backswing, to like 120° while keeping it on their rib cage, and who don't turn their ribs much at all). This isn't to say that it's not a good thing for others. I can swing with The Tube™ no problem… on the backswing. 😉

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  • 1 month later...
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Worked on a few things today. Started out by checking out that my elbow bend was < 90° and the adduction angle stayed wide:

(Note: early especially my shirt would slightly obscure the hip markers, so the hips appear to "wiggle" around a little bit.)

Since that was decent, I moved on to the long-lasting thing I work on. Swing 5:

That wasn't bad. This was REALLY slow (like 70 MPH?), and thus, really pretty good (and exaggerated). Swing 9:

Swing 11:

Swing 45 (gold) versus 46 (blue), where in swing 46 I almost tried to slightly exaggerate the "bad" stuff:

One of the telling frames:

45 vs. 46.jpg

One of the swings toward the end, still at a medium speed:

I experimented with a lot of feelings:

  • Keeping the right wrist flat(ter) during the backswing and throughout the transition.
  • Actively cupping the left wrist in transition.
  • Leading with the back of the hosel.
  • Throwing the back of the clubhead down toward my right ankle and/or the ball.
  • Throwing my hands behind me/away from the ball.
  • One Matt Wolff type swing (it shallows a lot).

At one point I noticed that not only was the shaft a bit steep in the backswing (fine), but my left arm was much too far in at A2, so I spent a few swings recovering the "out and up" feeling with my shoulders. That "stuck" the rest of the time. But even from the same shaft angle, the location/depth of my left arm will matter. It could be 28° (to make up a number) but if it's 5" to the left, that'll be farther inside the ball than a 28° shaft that's 5" farther out.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I got some better ones by looking back in the mirror after this one. This one was mid-day. I stayed another hour after @billchao and @boogielicious and got some decent work in. Familiar feels.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you accomplish what you set out to do regarding your elbow bend and the rates of bend, etc., how do you think that would change the results of your shots? What would it improve or change? 

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32 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

If you accomplish what you set out to do regarding your elbow bend and the rates of bend, etc., how do you think that would change the results of your shots? What would it improve or change? 

I'm not trying to be… whatever… in saying "everything." It'll improve "consistency" (of contact, of path, of face control) within the narrower parameters of someone who plays to about a 0 to +2 index (I played to a +2 in the recent outing in Ohio).

When I was working on my swing heavily during early 2020 (I was already working hard that winter, but then COVID gave me a LOT of time to work on my game), golf was "easy" for a few months. My swing was under control, could be ramped up for some extra speed, etc. I shot the "easiest" 68s and 69s at Whispering Woods that you could ever hope to shoot (or that I could anyway).

The compensations I have to make are small, but they're there. Right now, my wrists twist and I steepen the shaft a bit while keeping too much flex in my right elbow, so I have to EE a little, and really work hard to time everything to deliver a face that's not too closed (my miss can be a pull-draw right now).

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I've been doing pretty good with the backswing lately, but hitting a lot of pulls (that draw a little bit). Particularly with the driver, which is quite bad. When I held off the face, I hit pushes that didn't draw back.

Two years ago I got to a point at which I felt my face "squaring up" despite feeling like the face was like 45° open, so I wanted to work on that a lot today. Here's how I did it.

You can see in this video that I am trying to keep the back of the right wrist flatter and to drop the clubhead down behind me, almost twisting it open. I tend to shut the face in transition a little, then it tries to lay back/open during the late downswing. Rarely works. 😄

Here's a good 1:46 of me practicing. Notice… one ball in this time. This is how a LOT of my practice goes.

I work on my takeaway at first. I want the toe to get a little more up. Shoulders go up. Rotation carries the hands in/around. I'm looking back in a mirror that's down the line.

Even watching it back, it's a surprise how the ball doesn't go way right. 😄

I added the stick to my practice station right after recording this video. So… My practice station most of the day.

Practice-2022-06-12.jpg

  • The red noodle I didn't touch once. It's to make sure my path continues to be ever so slightly out. I don't even process it anymore. It's just "there."
  • The orange stick is where I want the shaft to feel like it is (and actually be on slower motion swings) at 6.
  • The green noodle is for my ball to start right. It feels pretty far right at address.
  • The orange cone is closer to the net so I can judge where the ball hits the net. It's directly behind the green noodle on the target line.
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On 6/12/2022 at 9:36 PM, iacas said:

 

I added the stick to my practice station right after recording this video. So… My practice station most of the day.

Practice-2022-06-12.jpg

  • The red noodle I didn't touch once. It's to make sure my path continues to be ever so slightly out. I don't even process it anymore. It's just "there."
  • The orange stick is where I want the shaft to feel like it is (and actually be on slower motion swings) at 6.
  • The green noodle is for my ball to start right. It feels pretty far right at address.
  • The orange cone is closer to the net so I can judge where the ball hits the net. It's directly behind the green noodle on the target line.

And the white PVC ball rake on the right is needed to rake up all those balls you will hit as you go full-out Hogan in your practice. 

🙂

I know, I know....it isn't good to hit tons of balls, and you don't hit tons of balls, your practice is much more focused. Only kidding )

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On 6/7/2022 at 3:40 PM, iacas said:

A brief window into my practice today.

Time lapse video! Probably the… third?… time I've ever used it?

Damn you're fast!

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8 hours ago, Big Lex said:

And the white PVC ball rake on the right is needed to rake up all those balls you will hit as you go full-out Hogan in your practice.

That's what it's for, yeah. We have three of them, and two are the variable lie angle variety.

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So I got out to Whispering Woods before the final round of the U.S. Open with someone who could record some swings. I've been hitting the ball better, but hitting some pretty nasty pull-draws lately.

Here's why:

01.jpg

Things are okay here, but they're right on the verge of going awry. I have a lot of turn here, wide arms, etc. Pretty good (though I wouldn't mind if I hinged a bit faster here so my elbow was bent a bit more).

02.jpg

Stuff is starting to go awry here. Do you see it? The right wrist is pulling back… which arches the left and closes the face. Here it is a bit later.

03.jpg

I thought before that this was happening in transition, but it's happening earlier and it's happening partly because my right hand/wrist is trying to do two things:

  • Pull the club "around" me.
  • Hinge the wrists.

But:

  • The club doesn't need to be laid off or go more "around" at all.
  • The wrists are hinged just fine.

When the wrists do this a bit too much, the face is closed to the path a bit too much, and the shaft steepens. I shallow it a bit so I can still hit out like 1-2°, but with the face closed to that path I get a pull-draw that hits the left edge of the fairway or misses the green left a little bit.

The difference:

04.jpg

(I'm not trying to look at the ball on the right.)

Anyway… look at the left wrist and the clubface in both. Wrist still slightly cupped on the right versus wrist "pulled back" (arched) on the left.

From down the line…

05.jpg

This is just a backswing on the right (hence, again, I'm not trying to stay looking at the ball). I don't get this high or slightly across the line like you see here, either.

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