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Effington

General question for anyone who has played a while

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Hey guys,

I'm in my second year of playing the game now, and am looking for some insight from anyone who has played the game longer than me, no matter at what level.

I seem to have experienced some fairly dramatic changes in my ability in a very short period of time. Most recently, I went out on an executive par 62 course, and shot roughly in the high 80's, which would be probably my best round of golf so far. Consistently solid contact in the middle of my club, no OB shots, a lot in the fairway. Most of my holes were bogeys, and even a couple pars.

However, a few days later I'm out at the driving range, when all of the sudden I'm shanking and topping balls. This was not unusual for me when I first started playing, but it hadn't happened in a while for me.

My instructor had told me that this is fairly common, and the best way to fix this is to take a few minutes break, and then come back with quarter length swings just to get good contact, which is what it did. However, it took three driving range sessions until I was able to get consistently solid contact (over an hour of consistently shanked/topped shots). This period was quite demoralizing, and made me question why I spend so much time, effort, and money on the sport.

I know there will be ups and downs in the game, but I didn't expect my game to get that down, after I've practiced so much. I spend a lot of time at the range and I had thought I had progressed past this point; in fact my last 4-5 times at the range were excellent.

(In case it's helpful, I had a lesson with my teacher and he said that my horrible mis-hits were caused by a very big inside-to-out [swooping] swing, coupled with overactive wrists, which projected the ball to the right and with a hard slice)

My general question is, is this common, and how do you resolve this issue? If it's not common, do you have any idea what I could be doing that causes this?

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Effington:

You are a golfer. The ups and downs of golf occur to every single golfer. In your quest to know YOUR SWING you will not only find (Hopefully) what works. You will also find what terribly does not work.

Your game will oscillate between the fantastic and the not fantastic. This is natural. What you learn about yourself during that period is what makes the journey exciting. You will have periods of time in which you can hit anything, there are no misses, it feels incredible. It may be just for a day, or for a few shots a round or it might be a month of steady progression. Then golf happens, you may go through a period of shots, days, weeks or months where nothing and I mean absolutely nothing is working right. once again that is natural.

If you aren't making mistakes you aren't learning. If you ever get into a high pressure situation where you shank a ball off the hosel, how do you respond? I went through a month of hosel hits. It was the most depressing time ever, but it was the best time as well. I did like you and hit quarter to half shots.

I learned that with each hosel shot, i was only using my arms and not my shoulders. I learned that my path was way inside. I learned that I needed a more upright swing. I learned that the takeaway needed to be drastically slower. I realized that my follow through needed to be much quicker. I learned about my swing.

It took a while. The great thing is that now that I have gone through Hosel Hell, I know how to get out. It no longer ruins a round if I hit a shank, (it rarely happens now) it just means that one of the fundamentals has broken down.

Your experience is one that with perseverance you will become the golfer you want to be.

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Thanks for the articulate reply.

Here's another (similar) episode that I'm having trouble understanding:

Went to the driving range, with the goal of getting solid contact on shortened swings, and working on making sure I am not leaning backwards at the end of my swing.

After a couple warm-up swings that aren't terrible, the next 5-10 shots get progressively worse until I'm topping them again. I continue to top/shank shots for the better part of an hour. All I'm trying to do is chip the ball ten feet...still no success. I take a break, try to relax...no help.

Then for an unknown reason, it just stops. All of the sudden, my contact is fine and shots are going very straight, with excellent trajectory. I get as many swings in like this as I can, and just try to remember the feel.

At the end of the day, I have no idea what I did differently.  At work, it's quite dangerous to fix a problem without knowing the cause, because you aren't able to prevent it from happening again.  This is the feeling I get with golf.

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It's hard to tell without seeing anything. When I start hitting bad I take very short backswings and follow throughs(no wrist break at all) and focus on a flat left wrist at impact. I find for me this is the biggest key in striking well so that's what I work on. Everybody can be different though but I would say check that part out always.
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