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atonaltheory

Practice Swing Vs. Real Swing - How Can One Make These THE SAME

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I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem.  I have a great practice swing.  On video its tour perfect.  Put a ball there and it all changes.  Swing path changes.  The flip shows up.  Lay offs at the top.  No weight transfer.  You name it.  I can't be the only head case out there.  Lessons haven't helped.  Repeating things I don't normally do in my swing in the name of teaching muscle memory do nothing except send me into my head even more.  One teacher told me this is everyone's problem.  I don't buy it.  I see plenty of ugly practice swings from golfers who when addressing the ball, suddenly strike it perfectly and shoot 75.

What's my problem?  Is there a fix?

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I'd say your swing instructor was mostly right because when people take a practice swing they are normally less tense without a ball in front of them. Once they get over the ball tension increases and bad things happen.

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It is very common; perhaps something most golfers can do. It is kind of annoying, spending all this time on improving the swing and at the same time knowing you get it "perfect" on practice swings. You can use practice swings in your practice by taking some practice swings and try to replicate the feelings on a swing with a ball.

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Try to look elsewere besides the ball, maybe a bit infront. Just stop focusing on the ball. I think the problem people get is, that they hone in on the ball so much they go from swinging to striking. Really i try to think of it as getting the club in the way of the ball. This is why i try to have one swing though, if that's rotating my chest, or keeping my right knee a bit flexed. Thinking of something else takes the ball out of my mind while i swing, and really helps.

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Its already been mentioned but I will throw in my two cents.  I believe it was a book called Zen Golf, that described a philosophy of "Big Mind."  When I'm out on the range I can visualize the shape of my shot the rollout if I am around the green tree's, wind, etc.  On the course that one lesson I received that said to focus on one dimple on the back of the ball creeps in my head and all my effort and energy is to try to meet that one spot on the ball with my club.  Point being, if we shrink ourselves down to a tiny spot on a ball you will have tension.  If your able to open yourself up out on the course to your surroundings, you may free up your swing.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Try to look elsewere besides the ball, maybe a bit infront. Just stop focusing on the ball. I think the problem people get is, that they hone in on the ball so much they go from swinging to striking. Really i try to think of it as getting the club in the way of the ball. This is why i try to have one swing though, if that's rotating my chest, or keeping my right knee a bit flexed. Thinking of something else takes the ball out of my mind while i swing, and really helps.

I think this is my problem.  I have no way to actually gauge it, but I think my swing speed goes way down when hitting a ball as well.

I have wondered if it would help to hit on the type of simulator that just tracks the club (you don't have to hit a ball).  Maybe being able to swing "loose" or "free" and then seing the visual (on the sim) of the ball flying nicely would help.

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From my perspective I find that a practice swing is just that, you are not trying to hit, guide, etc an object.  For me the idea of swinging the club and having the ball just get in the way works most effective.

Also I noticed that most top level golfer’s practice swings are anything but the actual swing in regard to speed (exceptions being the special shot, poor lie, etc.). The slow motion, the 3/4 motion, the exaggerated motion seems to be the preview of what is intended to come.

So I normally take less than a full swing, normally take a slow motion, and emphasize a relaxed, or loose, or tension free motion.

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Originally Posted by martee

From my perspective I find that a practice swing is just that, you are not trying to hit, guide, etc an object.  For me the idea of swinging the club and having the ball just get in the way works most effective.

Also I noticed that most top level golfer’s practice swings are anything but the actual swing in regard to speed (exceptions being the special shot, poor lie, etc.). The slow motion, the 3/4 motion, the exaggerated motion seems to be the preview of what is intended to come.

So I normally take less than a full swing, normally take a slow motion, and emphasize a relaxed, or loose, or tension free motion.

This is what I started doing.  I just hit my swing keys and do it slowly.  Then focus on the target.

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this has become a serious problem of mine.  When I was at the range today I wanted to get some video so I could see certain things.  I took a few practice swings with a 3 wood and honestly I was surprised at how good it was, mostly because I have been having some issues with my longer clubs, but the video everything was there. I did this after I ran out of balls, so I went and got another bucket so I could try to replicate it with a ball, and I could not believe how bad it was.  I mean, I still sometimes hit decent shots, but it's a miracle that I can, because I suddenly had every single swing fault known to man in one swing.  I was almost embarrassed to be there, because I definitely don't wanna be the guy at the range who looks like he's having a seizure while he's swinging a club.  does anyone have any new and improved tips getting over this mental hurdle?  I think if I'm locked in, I swing my shorter clubs quite well, but the longer the club, the more out of sorts things get.  Maybe because I feel like I need to kill the ball to make it go far?  If it's a problem with the ball being there, maybe I should try closing my eyes? 

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Had a lesson with my pro yesterday. I tried to improve everything he told me in the last lesson and I was practising the swing at home. Main problem was my hands were way behind the ball and I had no weight shift.

He was doing a video of my swing in my lesson.. When I saw the video I was really shocked. It looked terrible, I did nothing right. I asked him to do the video again without the ball. This time everything looked almost perfect. He did not really have a final advice how to solve this problem but told me that many people suffer from this. He mentioned focusing more in front of the ball as a possible solution. He also mentioned that I made a lot of swing faults in the past. With this "wrong" swing I still managed to hit the ball "somehow" with some compensated movements at impact. When I do the correct swing now my subconscious still tries to hit the ball the old "incorrect" way. This could be another reason.

Focusing "on the whole" like on the swing, ball flight etc. and not on the ball probably could be a solution. I will try that. This is whole topic for sure is a mental problem.

Edited by yanni

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There's is a big difference between swing at nothing versus a ball. 

Ideally you'd find a swing feel that produces your most successful shots and maybe routine that feel before a shot. I hardly ever take practice swings at full speed

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I played a round today and really tried to work on this as best I could.  Luckily it was just an executive course so on a lot of the par 4's I just tee off with irons so I got even more of a chance to focus on making good swings instead of trying to smash drives.  What I typically never did was take a true 'rehearsal swing' while looking at the ball, but hitting the grass instead instead of the ball.  I tried to really focus on this today if I was going to take a practice swing.  Other than that when I hit my shots, I really just tried to grit my teeth, stay loose, and repeat my practice swing over the ball, which meant holding the angle at the top of the swing and using my lower body to drive the club down into the slot before releasing through the hitting zone.  I believe that most people who suffer from this practice/real swing problem probably swing over the top on the real swing (please confirm if this is you), and my theory on that is the fact that creating the correct lag takes a real leap of faith because at least to me, it seems like something that should be physically impossible to hit a ball when you're not releasing the club until your hands are already in the hitting zone.  my brain tricks me into thinking, 'hey, you need to start releasing or youre just going to shank it' and it really just takes an immense deal of focus to break through this thinking.   Probably the best way to work on this is at the range taking 60-80% power swings and really just telling yourself youre not going to focus on immediate results, but just focus on getting the feeling down to where it's natural.  

I definitely struggled with my longer clubs today, but never changed my approach because I know that I'm trying to build towards something. I was playing as a single and hitting multiple balls, and was able to strike a 9 iron on a par 3 that landed a 2 inches from the cup on the fly and rolled back to about 1.5 feet for the tap in.  Most of wedges to 8iron were struck very well as I find it much easier to hold my position at the top during the downswing.  I also hit a decent 5 iron to about 10 feet from about 185, it was a little thin, but considering the distance I got from it, Im pretty certain that I was coming from a fairly neutral path.  Also hit 2 straight 6 irons off the tee dead straight, so overall I was quite pleased with the things I was trying to accomplish and that I really stuck with the plan.

 

Gonna spend the week trying to groove this feeling down with my 7 iron on my optishot, trying to take video every now and again to make sure I'm not flying over the top

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10 hours ago, saevel25 said:

There's is a big difference between swing at nothing versus a ball. 

Ideally you'd find a swing feel that produces your most successful shots and maybe routine that feel before a shot. I hardly ever take practice swings at full speed

This is something I've noticed about pretty much every single tour player. Very very rarely do I notice them make a practice swing at full speed...it seems to be more about a few very loose practice swings focusing on some specific element.

Edited by Grizvok

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4 minutes ago, Grizvok said:

This is something I've noticed about pretty much every single tour player. Very very rarely do I notice them make a practice swing at full speed...it seems to be more about a few very loose practice swings focusing on some specific element.

yeah, but tour player don't have a problem replicating practice swing to the real thing. pros take slow motion swings typically rehearsing the type of shot shape theyre about to hit.  youll often see a guy take a practice swing with a really exaggerated out to in path, so you know he's going to try to hit a fade.

 

this topic is more about guys like me who have a practice swing that has all the elements theyre looking for, and a real swing that suddenly looks like a full body spasm lol

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6 minutes ago, downbylaw11 said:

yeah, but tour player don't have a problem replicating practice swing to the real thing. pros take slow motion swings typically rehearsing the type of shot shape theyre about to hit.  youll often see a guy take a practice swing with a really exaggerated out to in path, so you know he's going to try to hit a fade.

 

this topic is more about guys like me who have a practice swing that has all the elements theyre looking for, and a real swing that suddenly looks like a full body spasm lol

I get it for sure, but to think you have a "tour level swing" without a ball in front of you might be a little bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps you should spend less time video'ing and practicing without a ball and stick to doing the majority of that with one.

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2 minutes ago, Grizvok said:

I get it for sure, but to think you have a "tour level swing" without a ball in front of you might be a little bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps you should spend less time video'ing and practicing without a ball and stick to doing the majority of that with one.

to be fair, I never said I had a tour level swing.  I just said my practice swing is all the things I feel and want it to be, and then with a ball, it's not. I spend very little time videoing, which can be a problem, because so much can change if youre not paying attention and just hitting shots, and all of the sudden, youre hitting the ball like shit and wonder why.  obviously if I could live at the range and hit bucket after bucket, I would. but the body,wallet,time simply doesnt allow for that.  I try to hit foam balls in my condo on a simulator, but that simply shows face path/angle for me, so results can be deceiving, though useful if combined with video

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4 hours ago, downbylaw11 said:

to be fair, I never said I had a tour level swing.  I just said my practice swing is all the things I feel and want it to be, and then with a ball, it's not. I spend very little time videoing, which can be a problem, because so much can change if youre not paying attention and just hitting shots, and all of the sudden, youre hitting the ball like shit and wonder why.  obviously if I could live at the range and hit bucket after bucket, I would. but the body,wallet,time simply doesnt allow for that.  I try to hit foam balls in my condo on a simulator, but that simply shows face path/angle for me, so results can be deceiving, though useful if combined with video

Ah sorry that was the OP who said he had a tour perfect practice swing...my mistake. Anyhow, I'm not going to say that the mental aspect of the game is unimportant by any means. I do think being able to reproduce a practice swing when you actually have a ball in front of you would be nice, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that so I prefer to systematically change my actual swing when I do have a ball to look and function as a proper swing should and allow me to consistently flight the ball in the manner I'm looking for. By taking this systematic and scientific approach based on facts I think I'm taking a more reasonable route to improving my golf game. Because I do believe in this approach so much and feel confident in incrementally changing my swing I think it has the carryover of making my practice and actual swing a bit more similar because I'm simply less nervous and tense when a ball is in front of me.

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