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Help me not kill myself. No seriously.


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Ok so the title was a little harsh.

I've played golf off and on for a few years now and this past summer was when I first started wanting to really improve and start shooting better scores and finding a consistent swing.

The reason for me posting is I feel like the part of my brain responsible for muscle memory is missing.

Somedays when I go to the range I feel like I have a swing ready to play on tour.(not really but I leave the range feeling great)

Somedays I swing great (kinda get in a groove) Then totally lose it.

Then other days I swing the club and I feel like I've never picked one up before.

Its EXTREMELY frustrating. Today during a round I had absolutely nothing and almost harpooned my dad with a club in a result of my anger.

So, I've been motivated to post here in hopes that others AT LEAST feel my pain.

Anyone have words of advice to finding some consistency? Lessons maybe?

Talk me off the golfing ledge.

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Take a few days off, and then go and play a leisurely round with no expectations.  We all have off days, at least that's what I'm telling myself today.  Typically I shoot in the mid-high 80's and shot a 105 today.  I was just never comfortable over the ball, and couldn't seem to hit a wedge to save my life.

It happens..........

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Lessons will help you swing the club better which will calm you down a little but realistically not enough; not for a fair while. Your main issue seems to be anger at yourself for not being perfect at golf. Not wanting to sound rude here, nobody is perfect at golf; everybody has issues at some point and it's amateurs more often than not.

What do you get angry about more often? Lack of distance? Lack of direction? Bad putts? Bad sand play? If you can figure out what often causes the anger you can work on that area specifically.

The turning point with my own self-expectation was when I heard from my wife (girlfriend at the time) that the 3 people I'd played a round with had felt on tiptoes all the way around the course and didn't enjoy the round because I was getting angry with everything and they were worried about my anger being directed toward them. She said they no longer wanted to play golf with me.

At that point I realised that my temper tantrums were affecting everyone around me, not just myself and I decided to really make a conscious effort to calm down and expect less of myself on the course.

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(lol), First, welcome to golf and "golf" spelled backwards is flog and we all do it. I understand your frustration and have been there many times myself. I've learned to walk away from the game when I get like that and go do some fly fishing for a week or 3. When I come back its with a refreshed attitude and I am egar to play again. That makes all the difference in the world for me. Lessons are never a bad idea, just make sure to you go to someone you can relate to; Just b/c they may be a teaching professional doesn't mean they are good.

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The most important measurement in golf is the 6" between the ears. Sounds like you're getting into you own head. I have days like that where I don't feel comfortable over the ball, and those are the days I shoot higher scores. I can often save it in the middle of a round, though, if I REALLY focus on the shot I want to hit before I address the ball. It's called committing to the shot. If you aren't committed to the shot in your brain, how can you expect your body to pull it off? Try to stand back behind the ball and see your desired ball flight. I like to take a couple of practice swings while looking at my target, to really get the feel for the shot I'm about to attempt. There's a higher likelihood I'm going to hit an acceptable shot if I do that rather than get up and address the ball without knowing where I want it to go. Good luck!

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Practice your alignment and setup and make sure that you keep it consistent from day to day.  It could be posture, grip, ball position, alignment, weight placement, or a hundred other things...but many problems pop up because of a bad or inconsistent set up.

Then don't overthink your swing.  If you are working on something...keep it at one thought at a time.

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Yeah overthinking I think has a huge part in it.

It really plagues me on the course. My personal best is an 84 and that day I practically had no swing thoughts was just kinda "feeling it"

However, when I'm out of sorts the thoughts just multiply as I try and work it out.

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I've been lurking here for the better part of a year but your post

motivated me to register and reply.

First of all, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. :)

I have lost my swing on many occasions.

It is so frustrating... Makes a grown man wants

to cry... Until I realized I am not good

enough, and do not play enough golf to get angry.

I also 'found' the swing again each time I lost it.

This is what I learned through those

process.

When I lost the swing, I really never had it. I may have

had one or two pieces of the swing, and by dumb luck,

grooved into enough of the missing pieces by swinging one

club over and over again on the range. But I had no idea which

pieces I had, which one I stumbled on to. It's hard to bring

dumb luck with you to the range/course every day.

Each time I found the swing again, I found another piece of the

swing that I did not have a handle on before. It also takes less

time to find the 'lost swing' each time I lost it. The swing that

I 'found' again, has always been better than the one I 'lost.'

I also changed my range sessions. I used to swing one club

for a while, switch to another club for a pile of balls, and so on....

After enough bad shots, you could adjust....

But you only get one shot on the course...

Now, on the range, (for me, your mileage may vary,) I do not

swing one club over and over again. I swing a long club, 3i/2H

(not good enough to game a driver yet) at

a target, then switch to a mid iron/short iron at a target, then switch

to a wedge at a target.

Enjoy the game.

Good luck.

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I agree with the previous posts. The pros spend five or six hours a day, for years, grooving their swing, and most of them only have a few days in their life where everything clicks. That's why only a handful win more than once a year. For an average guy, who has no real idea what he's trying to do, it's just dumb luck when you have a great day at the range. To make it more skill than luck, you have to take enough lessons to know exactly what you're trying to do at each point of the swing, and then practice enough to be able to do it without thinking about it, because you can't think fast enough to correct something in mid-swing. The more you practice, the less bad your bad days will be, but not even Tiger has no bad days.
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You may be trying to swing with your arms and hands, like I did for many years.  I now swing with my body and hands, like I think most pros do.  This is usually called a body powered golf swing, but you need the correct swing key to make it work perfectly.  So simple, but so sad that only one person that I know of is teaching it correctly in my opinion, and hardly anyone believes it will work until they try it.

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IME, the golf swing is not an intuitive motion, so it's a constant vigil to ensure that all the components are working in the proper "parameters" and sequence to ensure that you get consistent results.  To compond matters, most instructors--and I can say this with some degree of authority because I've taken my fair share of lessons from a multitude of different ones over the years, aren't worth a sh*t.  Wait, it gets worse.  Feel isn't real, which means that what you think you're doing, doesn't always match what you're actually doing.  So, WTF does a struggling golfer do?  IMO, you need proper education and proper feedback.

To help you with your education, I recommend reading the following threads (please cut and paste, I'm too stupid to figure of how to post links):

1)  Learn the ball flight laws http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/ball_flight_laws .

If you don't know what causes a ball to fly in a certain manner, you're going to have a helluva time trying to duplicate and/or correct it.  This is where many instructors fail, they have the information backwards, so you end up doing something totally wrong.  Sure, what they suggest may work here and there (just by accident), but, longterm, you'll struggle with consistency.  The information is supported by physics, not theories, so the results are universal and repeatable.

2)  Maintaining the flying wedge http://thesandtrap.com/t/36669/maintaining-the-flying-wedge .

Having the clubhead pass your hands (commonly referred to as a flip) at or before impact will pretty much ensure that you'll always be an inconsistent golfer.  You may hit some solid shots here and there, but a majority of them will either be fat or thin.

3)  Getting your weight to the lead (front) foot http://thesandtrap.com/search.php?search=the+secret+sliding+the+hips .

The longer the club, the more weight you have to have on your lead (front) foot.  If you don't get enough of your weight to the front foot on the downswing, then the bottom of the swing arc will fall somewhere behind the ball instead in front (target side) of it.  Similar to the above thread, if the swing arc bottoms behind the ball, then you're going to struggle with making solid and consistent contact.

If feel isn't real, how do you get feedback?  IME, one of the best ways is via video recording.  When I took up golf, the video taping of swings was just starting and the majority of the instructors near me didn't have that available.  This is another reason why I didn't stay with a particular instructor in the past.  I remember those early years of lessons, I would hit a bad shot and my instructor would tell me to do something.  So, I would hit a few more bad shots and then all of the sudden I would hit this great shot.  My instructor would say, "That was great, that's the way to do it".  The only problem was, all the swings felt pretty much the same.  As such, when I would go to the range or out on the course afterwards, I just threw everything I learned into the swing hoping that the results would be ok.  Hence, feel isn't real because while the swings felt similar, they weren't.  Also, through video, you can isolate the root problem of your swing rather than waste time addressing symptoms.

For instance, I had a flip.  So, I spent a lot of time working on maintaining the flying wedge and it helped a lot.  I played much better and got down to a single digit handicap.  However, towards the end of last year, I started playing poorly because my contact had deteriorated.  I was hitting balls fat, thin and everything in between.  I figured I must be flipping again, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop.  I went to my instructor and we talked a bit.  He asked me what was going on and I told him I thought I was flipping again, so he watched me hit about 10 balls.  He said, "Yup, you're flipping/throwing the clubhead at the ball".  When I asked him what I should do, he replied, "Go work on your weight shift (hip slide)."  From there, he explained that because I wasn't getting my weight to my front foot, my body instinctively knew it, so it would throw the clubhead at the ball because if I didn't, I'd miss the ball completely.  Sure enough, went to the range and worked on getting my weight to my front foot and viola, solid contact again.

Later, I figured out what happened (why my hip slide ceased).  I have gout and it affects the joints.  While many assume that it only affects the joint in the big toe, it could be any joint.  During late summer, I had a severe case to where it affected my knees and it lasted about 3 months.  Instead of being smart and laying off golf, I continued to play even though I could barely walk because I had made such improvements in my game that I wanted to keep the momentum.  Big mistake.  I ended up compensating by swinging with just my upper body since I couldn't shift that much weight to my front foot.  Unfortunately, when I got better, my body and my mind forgot to add back the proper amount of weight shift.

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Great Post Tomboys.

I think my biggest recurring problem is shifting my weight forward. If I make a bad swing I can chunk it so hard the masses of earth i dig out fly further than the ball.

I've always struggled with balance on my left foot. Growing up I played competitive ice hockey and was always a solid skater but felt weaker on my left side. (had to have a big shot and be physical to over come this haha)

What are some good drills/exercises to improve my balance and weight shift?

Again, building consistency is what I want. There are days where I know I'm not shifting, and then other days I know I'm shifting, because I'll hit a high beautiful shot, however I'll instinctively step over my left foot and "walk after" the shot. While other days I'll be able to stay nice and balanced until the ball lands.

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Originally Posted by Dap17

Great Post Tomboys.

I think my biggest recurring problem is shifting my weight forward. If I make a bad swing I can chunk it so hard the masses of earth i dig out fly further than the ball.

I've always struggled with balance on my left foot. Growing up I played competitive ice hockey and was always a solid skater but felt weaker on my left side. (had to have a big shot and be physical to over come this haha)

What are some good drills/exercises to improve my balance and weight shift?

Again, building consistency is what I want. There are days where I know I'm not shifting, and then other days I know I'm shifting, because I'll hit a high beautiful shot, however I'll instinctively step over my left foot and "walk after" the shot. While other days I'll be able to stay nice and balanced until the ball lands.


First off, thanks for the kind words.  I appreciate it.  Secondly, I didn't know Happy Gilmore was a story about you.  LOL.  J/K.

For some drills on weight shift, look into the sliding the hips thread.  There's some great videos in there that should be helpful.  As far as advising you further on your chunking and balance problems, there's an old saying that I follow; "Someone that says he knows something when he really does is not dangerous.  Likewise, someone that says he doesn't know something when he really doesn't is not dangerous.  But, watch out for someone that says he knows something when he really doesn't.  That's a dangerous person."  With that, I'm not going to say much more because I don't want to be a dangerous person and potentially impede your learning.  The reasons are as follows:

You're assuming that your chunking is caused by the lack of weight shift.  It could be, but it could also be that you're just simply flipping.  Additionally, you say you have a weak left side, so your balance tends to be off.  Well, it could be that, but it could also be that you're lunging at the ball with your upper body causing your weight to get out over your toes, so if you didn't step forward with your back leg, you'd fall on your face.  The fact that on some shots you're able to hold a balanced finish seems to suggest to me that there's nothing wrong with your left side strength  But, I digress.  Your difficulties could be a chain reaction created by something as basic as your set up to the ball.  As I wrote in my previous post, I wasted time addressing the symptom, not the root cause.  For me, it took a trusted and qualified eye to identify my root problem.  Hence, I'm advising you to do the same.  If possible, post a video of your swing and ask for feedback.  If you're polite about it, you could ask the guys like Iacas and mvmac to comment on it.  Those are the guys "in the know"

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Originally Posted by Dap17

Ok so the title was a little harsh.

I've played golf off and on for a few years now and this past summer was when I first started wanting to really improve and start shooting better scores and finding a consistent swing.

The reason for me posting is I feel like the part of my brain responsible for muscle memory is missing.

Somedays when I go to the range I feel like I have a swing ready to play on tour.(not really but I leave the range feeling great)

Somedays I swing great (kinda get in a groove) Then totally lose it.

Then other days I swing the club and I feel like I've never picked one up before.

Its EXTREMELY frustrating. Today during a round I had absolutely nothing and almost harpooned my dad with a club in a result of my anger.

So, I've been motivated to post here in hopes that others AT LEAST feel my pain.

Anyone have words of advice to finding some consistency? Lessons maybe?

Talk me off the golfing ledge.




When you have days when things just aren't going right or even if they are and all of a sudden you have some bad holes in the middle of a round, change your mindset from trying to make a certain score.  I will play a different game where I forget about mechanics and put all my focus to hitting the ball from point A to point B to a very specific target.  No matter what the out come, I channel all my focus to the next target and I do this all the way into the hole.  I'm just seeing how close I can hit to each target and not worrying about the out come.  It's will amaze you how free your swing will become and how good your shots will get.  Before you know it your back on track.

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Originally Posted by HeadGolfool

When you have days when things just aren't going right or even if they are and all of a sudden you have some bad holes in the middle of a round, change your mindset from trying to make a certain score.  I will play a different game where I forget about mechanics and put all my focus to hitting the ball from point A to point B to a very specific target.  No matter what the out come, I channel all my focus to the next target and I do this all the way into the hole.  I'm just seeing how close I can hit to each target and not worrying about the out come.  It's will amaze you how free your swing will become and how good your shots will get.  Before you know it your back on track.


I agree that too many swing thoughts as well as getting ahead of yourself scorewise can often be counter-productive to performing well.  However, you can get some good results with a bad swing, I know I have.  But, over the long haul, a bad swing will produce more bad shots than good.  Also, you're a 3 and he's a 25?  Suffice to say, your swing is pretty refined.  OP's swing isn't.  He can't "reset" himself to consistently produce a (good) swing that he hasn't learned yet.

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Having played the game for 3 yrs i feel your pain. my best friend was a pga professional and played on small tour some years ago. he is now 76 years old. he has helped me with my swing but he

has also told me something that really has helped me more than anything to date. WHO CARES IF YOU MAKE A BAD SHOT!  Trust your swing and and play golf. only then will you truly start enjoying the game and hitting the ball consistently. hope this helps!

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