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Everthing Golf

Backswing or Impact - Delusional Thoughts on Why its a No-Brainer

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Having spent a long time, on the range and with several pros, working on my back swing, with little advancement should I add, I was pointed in the direction of a pro who insisted that golfers should devote at least 95% of their time on impact conditions. So I visited this guy and, rather quickly, it was like somehow the lights had been turned on. He insisted that 100% of our intent during a stroke should be allocated to the moment of truth and other intentions like... one piece take away, early wrist set, left arm extension, smooth transition etc, just pick away at this impact intention. There is of course a time and a place for working on these less important aspects of the swing and doing it on the golf course is just not that place. I have also learned through this impact orientated instruction that the more one works on impact conditions the rest sort of takes care of itself. I have found this to be very true and my swing mechanics have improved tenfold with a ratio nearer to 95% of my practice time spent on impact.
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There is of course a time and a place for working on these less important aspects of the swing and doing it on the golf course is just not that place.

Just my opinion but I don't think "the golf course" is the place to work on anything .

I go by the old baseball adage "Practice your swing off the field. Trust your swing on the field."

At the course it's time to play the game with what you brought with you.

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He insisted that 100% of our intent during a stroke should be allocated to the moment of truth and other intentions like... one piece take away, early wrist set, left arm extension, smooth transition etc, just pick away at this impact intention.

I have also learned through this impact orientated instruction that the more one works on impact conditions the rest sort of takes care of itself.

Sound like you have found a good instructor.  The ball doesn't know all the things you did prior to making contact with it. It only knows what the club is doing during the fraction of a second it is in contact with the ball. Bobby Clampett emphasizes this point, and his "The Impact Zone" talks in great detail about the correct impact conditions.

There are ways to swing the club that can assist you to make the correct impact, and these shouldn't be overlooked, for sure. But you can the prettiest swing and still not make good contact, and the results will be poor shots.

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This kind of thinking has helped me take strides over the past year.  I think it was some LPGA player I heard a quote from, basically saying that, on the course at least, amateurs focus on all the wrong things and they should focus just on getting the club face back to the ball square (or a tiny bit open or closed if you're playing a draw or fade).

It's helped me a lot in practicing too.  I've struggle forever hitting push-fades with a club head path in a playable range but the face constantly left open.  Concentrating on getting the face back to square has forced me to really see what other things in my swing were preventing me from getting it there without yanking across and making everything much worse, alternating between a slice and huge pull.  Then I can work on those things while still keeping a focus on face control.  Has helped me start to feel more athletic and less touchy and sort of just swinging and hoping the timing works out right.

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Every good golf instructor works on impact-Usually when someone tells their students they "only teach impact' Its a sales pitch. If a students backswing is so goofy it affects his downswing and then impact then I am working on impact by improving his backswing too.
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How can you achieve a good impact position if your backswing doesn't allow you to do so?  I guess, in my amatuer opinion, everything you do in your swing effects some other aspect of your swing . . so it's not really possible to "focus on impact" without focusing on other aspects as well.  Everybody's mind works differently so whatever ideas or concepts help a person are great by me . . .but I have to admit when you write "100% of our intent should be focused on the moment of truth" .. I have absolutely no idea what that means or how to apply it to my swing.  I guess if my only intent was to hit the ball square, I'd only take the club back 6 inches.

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Obviously the only thing the golf ball responds to is the impact conditions.  But that isn't the same as saying things like setup, rhythm, weight shift, etc. are not important and can be ignored if one is to ever have a repeatable swing.  I know some 36 handicaps that every now and again can really nail one, just not often.  But I'd concede it is OK to have an atypical swing (Arnold did OK with his) but it needs to be repeatable or you can't improve.  I would say it is a good thing to try to develop the most error tolerant swing you can because "golf isn't a game of perfect" but is a game where you try to keep your imperfect shots playable.

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Every good golf instructor works on impact-Usually when someone tells their students they "only teach impact' Its a sales pitch. If a students backswing is so goofy it affects his downswing and then impact then I am working on impact by improving his backswing too.

I see this a little differently. As you probably know, good impact conditions are already established at address.

By adopting these conditions you are well on your way to creating sounder back swing conditions.


I do however agree that a little back swing tweaking is beneficial and sometimes necessary.

How can you achieve a good impact position if your backswing doesn't allow you to do so?  I guess, in my amatuer opinion, everything you do in your swing effects some other aspect of your swing . . so it's not really possible to "focus on impact" without focusing on other aspects as well.  Everybody's mind works differently so whatever ideas or concepts help a person are great by me . . .but I have to admit when you write "100% of our intent should be focused on the moment of truth" .. I have absolutely no idea what that means or how to apply it to my swing.  I guess if my only intent was to hit the ball square, I'd only take the club back 6 inches.

That's the point. If your focus is spread on two intentions during the swing then you can, at best, only allocate 50% to each intention.

Having three intentions changes the figures again and in my opinion proper focus can only be applied to one intention.

Obviously the only thing the golf ball responds to is the impact conditions.  But that isn't the same as saying things like setup, rhythm, weight shift, etc. are not important and can be ignored if one is to ever have a repeatable swing.  I know some 36 handicaps that every now and again can really nail one, just not often.  But I'd concede it is OK to have an atypical swing (Arnold did OK with his) but it needs to be repeatable or you can't improve.  I would say it is a good thing to try to develop the most error tolerant swing you can because "golf isn't a game of perfect" but is a game where you try to keep your imperfect shots playable.

Things like setup, rhythm, weight shift, etc are very evident at address when a player has a good knowledge and feeling for impact conditions.

I know I have never looked better from start to finish since I was shown the impact way.

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Just my opinion but I don't think "the golf course" is the place to work on anything.

I go by the old baseball adage "Practice your swing off the field. Trust your swing on the field."

At the course it's time to play the game with what you brought with you.

Exactly my sentiments but I will go a little further...

Hit every shot on the range with the same preshot routine that you use on the course. In other words how we practice is how we should play.

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As you probably know, good impact conditions are already established at address.

How do you figure that? A lot of stuff happens between address and impact. You're not insinuating that the impact position mirrors the set-up are you, because that is patently false.

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How do you figure that? A lot of stuff happens between address and impact. You're not insinuating that the impact position mirrors the set-up are you, because that is patently false.

The impact position and address are related. In other words the address position is all about getting the body ready for impact.
By adding a forward press to a sound address position, you get even closer to what can be seen at impact. So a mirror image, no, but not patently false.

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I see this a little differently. As you probably know, good impact conditions are already established at address.

Please explain this, because in the absence of any explanation, I disagree. Setup matters, but not a lot, and you can find a LOT of golfers with a good setup position who have a screwy backswing and an even screwier impact position.

Furthermore, "setup" is not a true commonality among the game's best players - there's a lot of variety to alignment, amount of knee flex, grip, where their eyes are pointing, weight distribution, etc. Their impacts also look quite different - Jim Furyk's impact doesn't look like Tiger's (or anyone's), etc. In other words, there is no one "impact" position, nor one "setup" position. The farther before impact any action (including addressing the golf ball) occurs, the LESS it has to do with affecting impact. And setup is about as far before impact as you can go.

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Some golfers prefer to use set up as a 'preview feel' for their desired impact position, however it is not a fundemental requirement of a good swing. I agree that the success of any golf shot is related to impact factors alone, but there is something to be said for creating a simple and efficient golf swing from start to finish. An efficient golf swing with limited compensations is easier to control and therefore easier to repeat and, equally important, easier to make small temporary adjustments to (for hitting a high fade or a low draw when needed). For this reason it is best to improve the swing from start to finish. Anyway, with dedicated practice it does not take long to change. 1 hour every-other night in front of a mirror doing slow, deliberate swings and you'll have nailed it in a month or so, easy.
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Most of the time I can actually hit the ball better if I don't use a back swing at all. Just start from 3/4 back, take it back a little more, and hit the ball.

(Almost like a baseball swing).

Funny thing is that my baseball swing is a much better golf swing than my golf swing. Ha ha.

I never do that on the course, mostly because I don't want to look like an idiot.

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Please explain this, because in the absence of any explanation, I disagree.

There are many impact conditions established at address, such as...

Grip pressure point(s) which sense shaft lean and clubface direction.
Arm extension.
Tilted shoulders.
Spine angle.
Forward shaft lean.
Left hip set slightly forward and down which automatically sets the right hip slightly back and up. (We all know what that promotes in the downswing)
Shoulder lag promoting an in to out downswing.
Core muscle tension or awareness or activation.

And, if you are fully committed to setting such impact conditions up at address and adhere 100% to this single commitment, then it stands to reason that such a player has already established good impact conditions at address.

Setup matters, but not a lot, and you can find a LOT of golfers with a good setup position who have a screwy backswing and an even screwier impact position.

I rarely see a good setup. In fact, the basic fundamentals are often lacking which makes a good setup almost impossible to achieve. Most golfers who adopt a good setup position know what they are doing and I would suggest they tend more often to have good backswings and more solid impact positions.

Furthermore, "setup" is not a true commonality among the game's best players - there's a lot of variety to alignment, amount of knee flex, grip, where their eyes are pointing, weight distribution, etc. Their impacts also look quite different - Jim Furyk's impact doesn't look like Tiger's (or anyone's), etc. In other words, there is no one "impact" position, nor one "setup" position. The farther before impact any action (including addressing the golf ball) occurs, the LESS it has to do with affecting impact. And setup is about as far before impact as you can go.

I agree that if you cast the club in the transition period, you're gonna find it hard to achieve good impact conditions. However as I argued above, by establishing impact conditions at address, surely a player's focus for imparting these impact positions has also been established at address.

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Most of the time I can actually hit the ball better if I don't use a back swing at all. Just start from 3/4 back, take it back a little more, and hit the ball.

(Almost like a baseball swing).

Funny thing is that my baseball swing is a much better golf swing than my golf swing. Ha ha.

I never do that on the course, mostly because I don't want to look like an idiot.

This is a good point and I believe this works because when you start from 3/4 back, you're not going  to be doing any of the silly stuff like...

Fanning your wrists
Bending your left arm
Over rotating or sliding the hips
Losing balance
Adjusting forward tilt

These five things alone would vastly improve your chance of a better strike.

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This is a good point and I believe this works because when you start from 3/4 back, you're not going  to be doing and if the silly stuff like...

Fanning your wrists

Bending your left arm

Over rotating or sliding the hips

Losing balance

Adjusting forward tilt

These five things alone would vastly improve your chance of a better strike.

There are obviously some ridiculous (and inconsistent) things going on between the ball and halfway back in my swing. Starting from near the top the sequence from the ground up is second nature to me after hitting around 500 baseballs a day for 30 years. Starting from the ball never feels quite as natural. I do use it as a drill and then attempt to pass through that same spot 3/4 back in my real swings. Most of the time the drill helps. If nothing else it gives me the feel of hitting some really solid shots.

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There are obviously some ridiculous (and inconsistent) things going on between the ball and halfway back in my swing. Starting from near the top the sequence from the ground up is second nature to me after hitting around 500 baseballs a day for 30 years. Starting from the ball never feels quite as natural. I do use it as a drill and then attempt to pass through that same spot 3/4 back in my real swings. Most of the time the drill helps. If nothing else it gives me the feel of hitting some really solid shots.

I can see your dilemma. 30 years and hitting approximately 5 million balls and starting from the end of the backswing would make the golf swing a rather unnatural move for you.

Let me throw this at you...

Let me start by saying, I know about as much about baseball as how the female brain works but there is something I find very intriguing when I watch a batter's preshot routine on the plate (forgive me if that's the wrong terminology). Its that small loopy wristy move he makes around the impact zone just before he sets himself up in that end of the backswing position and it reminds me very much of a golfer's waggle prior to the takeaway.

I would guess you also waggle the golf club before takeaway and looking at your handicap would guess that you have a good feeling for forward shaft lean at impact. IMO your only backswing intention should be to focus on maintaining your awareness for that feeling throughout the swing, especially through impact.

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