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RFKFREAK

My Swing (RFKFREAK)

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I've been Playing Golf for: 6 months

My current handicap index or average score is: 36

My typical ball flight is: Mostly straight but sometimes left to right

The shot I hate or the "miss" I'm trying to reduce/eliminate is: Fade with driver but I've gotten better with it.

A little backstory:

I'm 37 years old and really started getting into golf in March with a starter set that I bought 6 or 7 years ago.  I've been keeping track of my scores (roughly 25 rounds) and if I did the math correctly, I'm a 36 handicap and have had numerous rounds on par 4 holes where I put up an 8 or worse.  I've never really been able to consistently make good contact with my irons, have fade my driver for most of the season, and only recently have I been hitting my woods fairly well.  I've been going to the range roughly once or twice a week after work and usually get a round in once a weekend.

Three weekends ago I achieved my one goal for the season of shooting a round under 100 (96).  The following weekend I played and shot a miserable 125 and this past weekend I shot a 108.

My biggest issue at the moment is solid contact so I took a lesson with a local PGA instructor where he had me work on two things:

1) Grip.  The instructor said that my left hand should not have a gap between my thumb and pointer finger.  He also said I should hold the club in my left hand more on my finger tips.

2) He said I shouldn't be turning my body as much as I do when I go in the backswing and should feel as though I'm going forward.  He said I should practice this motion without a club by having my arms outstretched and feeling the left one moving forward which allows my right shoulder to move forward and my right arm like a back swing which allows my shoulder to move back.

This is my first range session since that lesson so was hoping I could get some feedback on my swing.

Thanks in advance!

Videos:

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Hmm, your stance looks like it might be too narrow for your build and your toes appear to be pointed straight ahead.  I used to do something similar and I think it was one of the things that killed my ability to hit the ball far.  I ended up watching a few different videos that suggested a wider stance and flaring the toes out a little bit (20 degrees) and it seemed to help me.

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I'm confused as to why I want to flare my toes out.

The common reason is I think it unlocks the hips and allows you to more easily turn your body through the swing.  When I tried it for the first time my swing really did feel easier, like I suddenly wasn't fighting a phantom resistance that was there all this time.  I've also noticed that when I keep my left foot pointed straight ahead and shift my weight onto my left leg during my swing it tends to roll my ankle under my leg.  When I get home and relax after the round I notice my ankle aches from doing this over and over all day.   If I remember to turn my foot out slightly that doesn't happen at all since my weight is able to shift onto the ball of the foot instead.

I would certainly like more experienced players to chime in though in case I am making bad observations.

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Hysterical Office Space reference :-D

Hmmm, why should you do this, hmmm. Because Sam Snead did it and he was awesome? :-P

OK, here's why you do that:

.... I like both feet flared out.  Like you found out, helps the hips turn and the rear knee release some flexion so the shoulders and hips can turn on an incline plane.  Also helps the right foot bank on the downswing and prevent injury in your hips.

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Watching the videos a couple more times it really does look like your stance is too narrow, it's almost impossible to see any weight transfer going on.

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Keep that front arm locked straight.  As it is now you're practically wrapping the shaft around your throat on the back swing.  It's going to be near impossible to get a consistent swing with much better results than you're getting now doing that.

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What mdl said.  A straight left arm and fairly flat left wrist (which for me at least means a right wrist cupped well back) will help you get the club back to the same place it started.  Once you let the left arm break down much it is very hard to return on plane.  Everyone wants a big backswing.  All the pros do it.  However, they are flexible as Gumby and most of us aren't.  You will be surprised how far you can hit the ball even with a shorter back swing.

And on the subject of the backswing, now would be a great time to practice a slower more deliberate one sweeping the left arm and club shaft back along the swing plane.  If the shaft is aligned right the butt of the grip should point at the ball on the way back.  This picture is one of my regular swing keys.  Seems to help me.

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This is all great advice, thank you! I'm heading to the range in an hour and I'm thinking focusing on the straight left arm and footwork unless someone thinks different.

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What mdl said.  A straight left arm and fairly flat left wrist (which for me at least means a right wrist cupped well back) will help you get the club back to the same place it started.  Once you let the left arm break down much it is very hard to return on plane.  Everyone wants a big backswing.  All the pros do it.  However, they are flexible as Gumby and most of us aren't.  You will be surprised how far you can hit the ball even with a shorter back swing.

And on the subject of the backswing, now would be a great time to practice a slower more deliberate one sweeping the left arm and club shaft back along the swing plane.  If the shaft is aligned right the butt of the grip should point at the ball on the way back.  This picture is one of my regular swing keys.  Seems to help me.

Yep, those were huge discoveries for me, more so the flat wrist.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RFKFREAK

This is all great advice, thank you!

I'm heading to the range in an hour and I'm thinking focusing on the straight left arm and footwork unless someone thinks different.

How did it go?

I'm also finding that I'm not very flexible with my swing which is probably why I break my arm

I think it's mostly the urge to wind up and try to crush the ball.  It's a pretty hard habit to break though, I still find myself doing it sometimes but in a slightly different way.  My arm doesn't break down and do the chicken wing but my torso twists too far and I can't get back to the ball in time and end up hitting a slice.

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How did it go?

I think it's mostly the urge to wind up and try to crush the ball.  It's a pretty hard habit to break though, I still find myself doing it sometimes but in a slightly different way.  My arm doesn't break down and do the chicken wing but my torso twists too far and I can't get back to the ball in time and end up hitting a slice.

It went...ok.

I think I really have to also concentrate on my swing plane.  I think I'm coming over the top too much.  I also think I improved my left arm but it's probably not completely straight.  I never realized how hard it is to keep it straight.  I feel it's something I'll have to focus on...along with everything else.  I'm probably also still swinging too fast.  I did notice that my ball didn't seem to go as far but I'm guessing that's to be expected since I'm trying to learn new things.

Here are a couple of vids with my 7 iron from today:

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The wider stance looks better imo, but I think your feet (especially the left) still aren't flared out enough.  If you watch the first video towards the end of your swing do you see how the inside of your left foot comes off the ground?  I think that's your weight trying to shift onto your left leg but your closed stance is getting in the way.  It looks like your weight goes onto your heel at that point which is also probably not good and the swing ends with an all around unstable look (plus the step forward gives it away).

And yeah you're still wrapping the club around your neck.  lol  That's a whole other animal though, I think I would mess with the stance until you can swing and not feel any urge to tip forward or back at the end of the swing.

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The wider stance looks better imo, but I think your feet (especially the left) still aren't flared out enough.  If you watch the first video towards the end of your swing do you see how the inside of your left foot comes off the ground?  I think that's your weight trying to shift onto your left leg but your closed stance is getting in the way.  It looks like your weight goes onto your heel at that point which is also probably not good and the swing ends with an all around unstable look (plus the step forward gives it away). And yeah you're still wrapping the club around your neck.  lol  That's a whole other animal though, I think I would mess with the stance until you can swing and not feel any urge to tip forward or back at the end of the swing.

You're quite perceptive. Yeah, with my old swing I felt more control. Not so much now. Planning on heading to the range again tomorrow and definitely will focus on the keeping my left arm straight, trying to get in the correct swing plane, and do slower swings until it feels more natural and not so off balance. Roughly how many degrees do you think I should flare my feet out?

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You're quite perceptive. Yeah, with my old swing I felt more control. Not so much now. Planning on heading to the range again tomorrow and definitely will focus on the keeping my left arm straight, trying to get in the correct swing plane, and do slower swings until it feels more natural and not so off balance.

Roughly how many degrees do you think I should flare my feet out?

The number I recall reading was 20 degrees but someone here mentioned 10-15 so I'm not sure, probably 15-20.  There should be kind of a sweet spot where if you turn too far out it'll feel awkward and you'll start hitting whack shots and you'll just know you crossed the line.  I would simply spend a dozen balls trying different amounts and see which one feels completely comfortable and leaves you without the urge to tip some direction at the end of the swing.

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A couple more vids.  I think I'm keeping my left arm straighter but it's not fully straight.  I also just noticed I have no lag in my swing and don't get my hands in front of the ball at impact.  I tried flaring my toes a bit more and failed to get on a good swing plane.

So much to do.  I will say that I was hitting the ball pretty well towards the end of my range session today.  It wasn't going very far, but i felt I was making good contact more consistently.

Anyway, here's a couple of vids from today's session.  The down the line video was taken towards the middle of my session while the face on video was towards the end when I felt I was striking the ball well (at least, for me).

All this being said, I feel like I've improved this week and have stuff to build on.

I'm planning on playing at an outing with friends on Saturday and possibly on Sunday with a friend (hoping to hit a couple buckets beforehand)

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You look a lot more stable at the end of the swing in the top video which is cool, though I still think the flared feet would be helpful. :-P Perhaps later.

Like someone mentioned earlier your backswing is very, very fast which isn't necessary and makes it hard to tell what you're doing with your hands.  I think the reason you have no lag with the club is because you aren't utilizing your wrists.  At address your wrists are tilted forward, towards the head of the club, and your arms and club form roughly a long straight line, right?  I have a feeling this isn't changing much at all during your swing.  When you take your backswing they need to hinge back the opposite way (towards your right shoulder) so that your arms and club form the letter L instead. Be sure not to lose your flat left wrist when you do this. This should get the clubhead behind your wrists and create the lag you're looking for on the downswing.

Check out this video, this is one of my favorites and watch it from time to time to remind myself how to do the backswing:

Edit:  Here is the follow-up video about the downswing, also very good:

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