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Keeping the head still while still generating a lot of speed


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I finally figured out why I was hitting so bad with my driver...

my head and body moved up and to the left a little whenever I try to rip the tee shot.

But when I focus on keeping my head still and behind the ball until after impact, I can hit it far again without effort.

Then when I try to swing faster,... the result is usually a duck hook or a pull hook.

Please help me? How the heck to I keep my body and head still yet drive it farther?

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You're almost dead on!  It took me 10 years to figure out that I can hit the ball further if I swung about 70-80%.  You say your head tends to move up and left.  I assume this is on your downswing?  This is somewhat correct, as you should definitely be shifting your weight from right to left (assuming you're right handed).  Over-swinging causes head movement as well as other problems (collapsed left elbow, jammed lower body)  My advice to you would be to change your mindset of what it means to "hit" a golf ball.  Think of your swing as a process which happens to be intercepted by a ball.  The ball "gets in the way," if you will.

Start your swing with your feet, and feel your body take the SLIGHTEST tilt to the right before your forearms take your club back smoothly, with no thought into the future depicting yourself swinging 200 mph and mashing a 400 yard drive down the pipe.  When you're at the top of your backswing, take on another mindset - "Drop the club on the ball."  That has been the greatest mental advice anyone has taught me.  Let the club just come down - let your swing unravel naturally, without force.  Like I was saying, don't "hit" the ball.  The ball just happens to be hit by your swing.

Don't think about swing speed.  While you improve your mechanics, and as your swing requires less and less effort, you will consequently hit the ball further and further.

"Ripping it" comes from sound mechanics.  People say the pro's swings look effortless.  Don't kid yourself, they're going at it!  Their perfect balance and technique just make it look like they're swinging easy.

Swinging faster than your normal swing usually results in quick hands.  I do this when I'm nervous, intimidated by the wind or another player who hits it further than me, or when I'm trying to clear an obstacle right at my maximum range.  I've been playing golf for 17 years, and it's still a part of my game that I have to deal with.

Let me know if this helps!

Originally Posted by Sai-Jin

I finally figured out why I was hitting so bad with my driver...

my head and body moved up and to the left a little whenever I try to rip the tee shot.

But when I focus on keeping my head still and behind the ball until after impact, I can hit it far again without effort.

Then when I try to swing faster,... the result is usually a duck hook or a pull hook.

Please help me? How the heck to I keep my body and head still yet drive it farther?



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Thanks a lot for taking the time to write that much for me.

You know I know about the "let the hands drop" , but I have never been able to consciously able to do it or know if what I did was exactly that.

I'd like to try this one first, one by one. So how do I do this correctly? What should I feel??

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Great post Jesup. My coach is always saying just drop your hands and swing as if the ball is not there. We all get told your practice swing is so smooth. We all forget to swing through the ball, but instead strike at it. My coach gets me hitting shots with my eyes closed to get this feeling of swinging through the ball. It does work. He teaches a blind guy who plays off 5 and has one of the smoothest swings I've ever seen. Because he can't see the ball all he can do is trust his swing so his practice swing and real swing are identical. He doesn't get the mental block of hitting the ball we all seem to suffer from.
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The way I think about a steady head throughout the swing, is that if you keep it steady, the body is able to make a full, correct rotation with minimal strain.  Once the head starts moving too much, a full rotation starts to strain your body from all the tension built up.  When the head stays put, the hip turn in the beginning of the down swing can turn quicker.

I haven't used this way of looking at it before, and I hope it works.  It's like a pivot, if the head stays put, the rotation length from your head to hips is shorter and less strenuous, but extend the that length from moving your head forward with your hips, the fast swing interacts with the new shorter pivot length on the downswing making more strain on your body which in turn slows the swing.  Same thing could be said if your head moves back, like a baseball swing, only the back swing gets strained from short pivot length and full speed can't be reached.  But, when the head is steady, the pivot length stays the same throughout the swing, and no strain/ little strain will slow the swing.

I hope that is clear and understandable/ correct..

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Head Movement is not what causes your issues. Head movement is just a easy way to pick up on the fact that there are issues. Everyone's natural inclination when they want to hit the ball hard is Long Backswing and Hard downswing. Most people, even without realizing it, on a long back swing tend to break the left arm and wrist (for a righty) which adds arm movement and on a hard downswing there is a tendency to then use the straightening of your now bent arm to create power. The reality is if you look at the biggest hitters in golf, there is almost no arm action anywhere in their backswing or downswing. They generate power by using their hips and shoulders to move their weight forward dragging the hands ahead of the clubface putting their full energy of their weight shift into the clubhead right into contact.

I'm no expert just my observation and experience that most people try to use both arms and wrists when they want to kill a ball and it never works. (unless your name is Jaime Sadlowski)

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I'm new here so I'll say Hi!  LankyLefty makes a good point IMO.  I happen to have issues when I try to swing HARD or try to get more out of a swing, normally off intended line and lacking distance.  I picked up this crazy game on doctors' orders when I was recuperating from a battle with meningitis, which left me with no use of the calf muscles in my right leg.  I mention this mainly because I had to learn to swing a golf club without ANY weight shift towards my back side ( I'd fall on my arse if I shifted back at all).   Over swinging and USING my arms/wrists consciously kills my distance.

The feeling of a locked left arm combined with, what feels like to me, a half swing, produces balls struck center of club face with optimum distance.  This is true for me from my driver to a PW.

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I just got back... Can't hit driver still...

The only time I was able to is when I don't swing full force and I kept my head really still.

Another thing also, for some reason, I was having a problem swinging in to out... my body won't let me do it, so I had to close my stance a little to compensate the out to in swing... sigh...

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Most people fail to understand one thing about keeping their head still and swing faster!

If you look at down the line view of pro swings at impact carefully, you will notice in order to keep their head in the relative same position in relation to the ball, the distance from the head to right hip and right shoulder to right hip is shorter than at address.  This is to keep the spine angle position relatively the same relative to the ball.  i.e. at address, your spine is leaning forward in relation to your tail bone, but just at/after the impact, your spine is leaning to your right in relation to your tail bone.

So the swing motion involves the rocking of your head and shoulder left (back swing) and right (down swing) along your body plane in addition of the hip and body horizontal rotation.  So, to swing faster you have to increase your speed of compression of your right side (i.e. shorten the distance of your head, shoulder to you hip).  Most people just say, drop the club faster and keep the head still.

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So it feels as if my head goes backwards on the downswing at impact?

I have done this with my old driver and sometimes I ended up with a reverse pivot where I failed to transfer my weight to the front, rather I fell back.

Question: The ball height, and tee placement is something I have to experiment myself right?

lastly, how do you guys eliminate that open shoulder on address with the driver? I get that at times and had to fix it by taking my club face 4 inches behind the ball.

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Originally Posted by Beached

...

The feeling of a locked left arm combined with, what feels like to me, a half swing, produces balls struck center of club face with optimum distance.  This is true for me from my driver to a PW.



This has been one of the biggest changes for me this year. Looking at video of my previous 2 years, my left arm was breaking down, in addition to my backswing being too damn long. Now, my focus is a taught left arm and what feels like a 3/4 swing (on video it's not even that). When I do this, I'm at my best and play really well. And like you, driver to wedge, this is my method.

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Originally Posted by Sai-Jin

So it feels as if my head goes backwards on the downswing at impact?

I have done this with my old driver and sometimes I ended up with a reverse pivot where I failed to transfer my weight to the front, rather I fell back.

Not exactly like that!  My thought and action is try to rotate my head on the  vertical axis of my left eye and bring my right ear around down towards the ball and rest on my right shoulder as it rotates through.

Reverse pivot is usually due to movement of the tail bone to your right on your back swing.

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When many people try to hit the ball too hard, they initiate the downswing prematurely with their shoulders and arms rather than letting them follow the initial rotation of the lower body. For backswing and downswing, the upper body should always passively follow the lower body. This was a basic tenet of Ben Hogan's, whom we all know had a pretty good swing.

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I think I'm starting to get back into that mental mindset... I once had it and I can't believe it can just go away too...

Starting to understand more and more that it's a mental game.

How do you trust your own swing that's not "hitting the ball hard" , and maintain it?

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That's good you're starting to view golf as a mental game, because it most certainly is!  Time is your biggest obstacle for success.  I say this because the mental development process for golf takes time!

--Trust your swing once you have developed it on the driving range.

Videotape your swing.

Get a second opinion from a friend or instructor.

Critically analyze your swing yourself.

Watch/read golf instruction online or in books.

Focus on making minor adjustments at a time.

Once you've gotten into the habit of doing these things, when you hit the links, don't think about it anymore. Easier said than done.

But hear this.  Continuously working on your mechanics IS what helps you develop your confidence and ability to trust your swing.  It's what strengthens your ability to cognitively believe in your mechanics.

It's not an instant fix.  It takes time, and it also takes effort.

What's more important? - hitting the ball hard and far, or developing a reproducible swing that sends your ball where you want it to go?  I know you'd go with B.  Every relatively serious golfer would.

Shift your thinking into a mindset that makes producing a smooth, reliable swing a priority .  This way, you won't think about hitting it long and hard, but rather smooth and graceful.

Golf requires you to trick your brain into thinking a certain way via mindsets you discover along the way.

Be patient with yourself - this game ain't easy!  Give yourself credit, and notice the small improvements you make to boost your confidence.

Originally Posted by Sai-Jin

I think I'm starting to get back into that mental mindset... I once had it and I can't believe it can just go away too...

Starting to understand more and more that it's a mental game.

How do you trust your own swing that's not "hitting the ball hard" , and maintain it?



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Try this one, regardless of how fast you swing. Incidentally I prefer to use the term "fast" as opposed to "hard". I find that thinking "hard" tends to encourage tension whereas "fast" keeps me loose. Anyway here goes, it's a bit strange to describe but works when I do it: Don't think about the head. When you've taken your stance, imagine that there is a rigid steel rod which is fixed into the ground and comes up right through your "ass" (as our US friends would say), and runs right through your torso at the precise spine angle you've assumed at address, and comes out at the top of your head. This steel rod is OK for you to pivot your body around, but will hurt like hell if your tilt or slide your body even one iota away from your current position. Now do your full backswing and downswing keeping this in mind. The steel rod dissolves instantaneously right after impact.
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Originally Posted by soloredd

This has been one of the biggest changes for me this year. Looking at video of my previous 2 years, my left arm was breaking down, in addition to my backswing being too damn long. Now, my focus is a taught left arm and what feels like a 3/4 swing (on video it's not even that). When I do this, I'm at my best and play really well. And like you, driver to wedge, this is my method.

It is amazing to me when I look at video of my swing.  I feel like I'm taking a half swing and "feel" like I'm short, but in reality I am in a good position.  Played nine last night and played with one thought " shorter is better ".  Never been longer and irons were butter!  I "felt" like I was short on backswing but partners confirmed very good full turn.  Amazing what we think we are doing, as compared to what we are actually doing in our swing!

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