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clearwaterms

How good can you get at golf with a fundamentally bad swing?

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I think the question speaks for itself, but I will provide some basis for the question.  I am at the driving range today working through the material that I covered in my last golf lesson, and as is such with these things, It is often worse before it is better and I have trouble “not watching” the ball when I am working on a drill.

That being said, I had this thought, I know several people who have said something along the lines of “I used to play all the time, and when I did I got pretty good, at one point I was consistently in the XX score range”

I don’t claim to be a student of the game, but I have been going to lessons for a few years, and consuming a lot of knowledge on the game and I have gotten to the point where I can usually identify a “bad” swing.  One particular family member who today shoots in the 90-95 range has a setup that over corrects for a VERY over the top movement, the result of which is generally a BAD banana hook.  He tells me that years ago he used to play 2-3 times a week after work and practice almost every other day and he got to the point where he was shooting in the low 80’s.

This is a story I have heard more than once, now I have also played with people who have a very solid looking swing, but only place a handful of times a year and they shoot in the mid 80’s and say that they used to be in the 70’s.  I believe these people because most of them were shooting those 70’s numbers in some form of competition (junior golf tournaments, college golf, etc.)

So this got me thinking, how good can a player get, if they just practice enough and work within the limits of his/her game, how good can somebody get?  Is it possible to be a 10-12 handicapper with a flawed swing or are is every one of these people exaggerating the scores.

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I've gotten to a 5 handicap... With a fundamentally flawed mind and swing.

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I've gotten to a 5 handicap... With a fundamentally flawed mind and swing.

Me too. I've never even seen my own swing on video, but I'm told that it can make a grown man cry...... .....especially when they get beat by it! :-)

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Originally Posted by Beachcomber

I've gotten to a 5 handicap... With a fundamentally flawed mind and swing.

Tough love time: stop being a moron, Shawn. Your swing is better than 95% of those who will ever play the game.

To the OP: you can get down to a relatively low handicap with a "fundamentally bad swing" yes. You can suffer contact issues, but if they're not so bad that you can't be near about 16 greens in regulation per round, with a reasonably good short game you can break 90 and even 80 on occasion (the quality and difficulty of the course you play has a BIG factor in this) kind of scraping it around. If your shot curves the same way every time, and you play often enough that you can time your contact enough to keep advancing your ball, sure you can get to a regular 82-85 shooter.

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Neither my son or I keep track of a handicap but both of us have "flawed swings" and both of us play pretty decent golf with those swings (usually).

I usually shoot between 76 and 82 on a 72 course rated course. He shoots from par to a few over on those courses.

He's a long straight hitter that hits a lot of fairways and I am only moderately long and miss entirely too many fairways but I have a knack for getting out of trouble and up and down for pars. He hits a lot of greens and I miss a lot of greens. Both of us are better than average putters.

At the end of the day there are a lot of ways to get the ball in the hole in par or less. A great swing would be nice but I doubt if I will ever have anything other than a modified baseball swing. My son is still working on his "flawed swing".

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I would say you could as long as your "fundamentally bad" issues do not take to much distance off. If you can hit the ball a reasonable distance, but suffer from other problems, you could probably do it.
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I've provably gotten as good as I can get with my swing. I've figured enough out on my own to compensate where needed. If I want to get consistently better I need to get lessons and basically start over. It would be a serious chore that I have no interest in. Golf is fun and the last thing I want is a hobby to feel like a job. Not to mention it would probably cost an annual membership to afford that kind of lesson and I'm not about to drop that kind of $$.
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Originally Posted by clearwaterms

So this got me thinking, how good can a player get, if they just practice enough and work within the limits of his/her game, how good can somebody get?  Is it possible to be a 10-12 handicapper with a flawed swing or are is every one of these people exaggerating the scores.

At my club most competitions would have three divisions, split by handicap to try and get approximately the same number of people in each division.

The divisions were 14 and over, 11 to 13, and 10 and under. So basically one third of the men at the club had a handicap between 11 and 13. Most of these guys were regular players, but not many made a serious effort at getting better. Sure they'd buy lots of new clubs and try the latest "swing tip" for a few holes before reverting back to what they know but most had found their level.

And there were all sorts of swings within that group. Some very ugly. But they all knew their swing and were able to put together a round every now and then to keep them in that 11 to 13 range.

Those in the 14 and over group were older guys who were on the slide, youngsters on the way up, new players learning the game and some who didn't play all that often. There were some in that group who were regular players but never got their handicaps down, but the majority would get down into that 11 to 13 group in time.

So I'd say that if someone really gets to know their swing, and plays regularly, chances are they can get down to 13 or so.

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Originally Posted by flintcreek6412

I've provably gotten as good as I can get with my swing. I've figured enough out on my own to compensate where needed. If I want to get consistently better I need to get lessons and basically start over.

Let me dispel that myth right now . I've never, ever, EVER given a lesson to someone who needs to "start over." It's complete bunk and bogus. It stops a lot of people from taking lessons. Golfers should NEVER have to "start over." If your instructor tells you that you have to "rebuild" your swing or "start from the ground up" or something, RUN AWAY as quickly as you can, because that instructor only knows one way to teach, and isn't very good at all.

You cannot have a "fundamentally bad golf swing" and break 80 on a reasonably difficult course unless you literally hole every shot inside of 25 yards or something. Period.

Holy crap my swing when I was a 1.8 was ****ing atrocious compared to what it is now, but:

a) I had Key #1 and most of Keys #2 and #3, and most days I had a Key #5 that paired with my not-awesome Key #4.

b) I had a swing speed of about 110 with the driver.

c) I had a good short game.

d) I managed my game well.

I passed my PAT on the first attempt playing some awful (for me) golf largely because I understood the ball flight laws, how to manage my swing, and how to manage scoring.

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A bad swing based on poor fundamentals should not have a bearing if you are consistent. If we consistently hit left and know how far left because of fundamentals such as grip, aim etc. we can adapt accordingly. Still a rubbish swing but you know what it's going to do. Why could you hit in the 70s?
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Originally Posted by iacas

Tough love time: stop being a moron, Shawn. Your swing is better than 95% of those who will ever play the game.

Then why can't I get my HDCP lower than a 4/5??

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I think too often people see an unconventional swing as a flawed swing. I know I have read Erik's comments on this but there are many players out there whose swings don't look anything like Adam Scott's but they do many if not all of the most important elements of the swing correctly, the 5 keys as Erik has explained. One that comes to mind is Bubba Watson. Unconventional-yes, flawed- no. There are many ways to pay golf, your swing does not need to be beautiful. That being said if you fail to do the basic fundamentals of the golf swing you will hard pressed to ever break 80 or even 90.

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Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

Tommy Gainey.

I think Tommy Gainey does alot of things really well. I would take his swing in an instant. He has some fantastic hip movement and has lag to spare.

Originally Posted by Beachcomber

Then why can't I get my HDCP lower than a 4/5??

I think for the working stiff like me there are some factors beyond my swing that keeps me at getting better than 4/5 handicap. For one outside factors can really affect my game. My wife is mad at me, work is stressing me out, jet lag, bad weather, punched greens, things that if golf were my job, might mean a bad round or two, but over time I would be able to get over them like I do in my current job. I play 60 times a year, just over once a week so these outside factors lead to a number of bad rounds.

Two, my short game is not consistent enough. I have a pretty good short game, but it is not consistent enough week to week.

To the OP question I think that you can get pretty good with a poor swing. With a really good short game you can easily get to a single digit, and playing often enough you can be a 5 or 6 even with a flawed swing. I see it all the time at my course.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Let me dispel that myth right now. I've never, ever, EVER given a lesson to someone who needs to "start over." It's complete bunk and bogus. It stops a lot of people from taking lessons. Golfers should NEVER have to "start over." If your instructor tells you that you have to "rebuild" your swing or "start from the ground up" or something, RUN AWAY as quickly as you can, because that instructor only knows one way to teach, and isn't very good at all.

Spot on!

I had a couple of pro's who started on everything, didn't work very unhappy. Then bumped into one who tried to understand me and the way I learn. First build confidence, then small steps into the right direction depending on the goals.

Answering the op's question: In an other thread iacas stated there was one HCP 11 guy who only mastered 1 of the 5 keys.

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I like that: "Small steps in the right direction depending on the goal".

My son had a high school baseball coach that joked "We like to get a 400 hitter and see if we can coach them down to 350".

Fortunately he was joking but with some coaches it's all too true in golf and baseball.

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Lee Trevino said never play a man with an ugly swing that carries a 1 iron!  Point being, all that matters is that the club head is delivered square to the intended line of flight when contacting the ball, how the swing looks has no bearing.

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