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My Swing (billchao)


billchao

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On 11/20/2017 at 9:37 PM, billchao said:

GG 11-20-17.jpg

I've been playing pretty well these last 5 rounds so I wanted to do a little assessment and compare with my end-of-season stats from last year.

GG Insights 7-1-18.png

Right away, my driving and approach games are much improved. Since Game Golf counts all shots outside 100 yards that aren't par 4 or 5 tee shots as approach shots, hitting the ball off the tee into a lot of trouble is going to skew the strokes gained stats on approaches. It makes sense if you're just counting strokes for strokes gained, but not so much if I wanted to evaluate my iron game separate from my driving, which is fine because I don't need Game Golf to tell me I hit my irons above my skill level.

So here's the kicker: I didn't work on my driving, at least not specifically, other than the work I do on my swing in general. I broke my blue 4 Yards More tee that I've been using for years, which has a flange that keeps the ball a certain height above the ground. I started using a regular plastic tee that is slightly shorter which forced me to tee the ball slightly lower, and wouldn't you know it, my driving got better. No joke. I have much better control over my lines by teeing it slightly lower and I'm probably hitting less up on the ball. This is actually something @iacassuggested to try last year and I just kind of dismissed it because I really didn't think a 1/4" difference in ball height could make that much of a difference in my game. I was wrong. Stupid me. Incidentally I've since learned that I can tee the ball even lower and hit a stinger-type cut shot, but I digress.

Spoiler

 

Here's the difference between the last 5 rounds (new tee height) and the previous 5 rounds (old tee height):

Last 10 Rounds Comparison.png

I gained over 2 strokes on myself off the tee on par 4s and 5s alone, and 3.25 strokes on approach shots due to better driving.

 

My short game has improved, too. It's still not up to the level that I should be at, but it's getting better. Mapping my short game yardages with the Mevo has helped significantly. I've also simplified my pitch mechanics which I've mentioned before and I'm getting much more consistent contact. I still need to replace my wedges at some point because my LW is the only club with a good sole for greenside shots. I like my GW for full swing mechanics, but it's an old school blade with a sharp leading edge and sometimes when I pitch/chip with it, it will cut into the turf before the ball and I'll flub the shot. I still hate my SW. I don't pitch/chip with it well off of a tight lie and I usually default to my LW for greenside rough shots. I don't even use it out of the sand anymore.

Short game is still a work in progress, but I'm starting to see results.

Putting surprisingly has gotten slightly worse and I think I understand why. I'm hitting more GIR so I have longer first putts and my lag putting isn't great. Sometimes I don't even bother reading the green on a long putt and that's just laziness on my part, which is dumb. I am making more mid-range putts than ever before and now when I'm faced with anything inside 8', I feel like I have a good chance to make it because I'm hitting my lines. I need to take that with me on long putts because if I can hit my lines, I can miss closer to the hole.

That's pretty much it. Playing pretty well lately and it's a lot of fun. Drive for show and drive for dough :-D

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1 hour ago, amished said:

 Hole 6 looks like you had an adventure.

The whole round was an adventure. On 6 I drove it into the fescue, hacked it out, then hit a beautiful high hybrid 40 yards right of target. 45 yards is the perfect number for one of my partial wedge swings, so after just missing the par putt, I tapped in for a routine bogey 😅

1 hour ago, amished said:

Hole 10 must be tighter than it looks?  Seems like a good one to be able to attack, but depending on your day I could see not wanting to hit driver there..

It's narrow, slightly doglegs to left, and it goes up a small hill and back down again. The way the hole is designed does make it appear tighter than it really is, I'll admit.

The hybrid puts me in the largest landing area (the bunker isn't in play barring an egregious miss - which I hit, though I wasn't in it) with a wedge into the green.

A driver puts the trees left into play, makes the trees right much more prevalent, and the landing area is blind. Can it provide an advantage? Absolutely. A guy I played with hit driver from the tees ahead of me up the left side and had 60 yards to the green. His friend told me last week he caught the hill coming down and he was 6 yards off the green.

If you can hit a consistent draw with your driver, then that would be a good play. Takes the woods out of play and if you end up in the trees left, you might still be able punch it onto the green, or at least be near it for a scrambling opportunity. 

I hit my driver without a consistent shape and sometimes without a consistent start line. The advantage doesn't offset the risks involved for me. I wasn't controlling my lines that well yesterday, but even on a normal day, the driver puts enough trouble in play that I don't see my scoring average being lower than teeing off with a hybrid. I missed off the tee and was still had a wedge onto the green. It's a short hole, after all.

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

The whole round was an adventure. On 6 I drove it into the fescue, hacked it out, then hit a beautiful high hybrid 40 yards right of target. 45 yards is the perfect number for one of my partial wedge swings, so after just missing the par putt, I tapped in for a routine bogey 😅

It's narrow, slightly doglegs to left, and it goes up a small hill and back down again. The way the hole is designed does make it appear tighter than it really is, I'll admit.

The hybrid puts me in the largest landing area (the bunker isn't in play barring an egregious miss - which I hit, though I wasn't in it) with a wedge into the green.

A driver puts the trees left into play, makes the trees right much more prevalent, and the landing area is blind. Can it provide an advantage? Absolutely. A guy I played with hit driver from the tees ahead of me up the left side and had 60 yards to the green. His friend told me last week he caught the hill coming down and he was 6 yards off the green.

If you can hit a consistent draw with your driver, then that would be a good play. Takes the woods out of play and if you end up in the trees left, you might still be able punch it onto the green, or at least be near it for a scrambling opportunity. 

I hit my driver without a consistent shape and sometimes without a consistent start line. The advantage doesn't offset the risks involved for me. I wasn't controlling my lines that well yesterday, but even on a normal day, the driver puts enough trouble in play that I don't see my scoring average being lower than teeing off with a hybrid. I missed off the tee and was still had a wedge onto the green. It's a short hole, after all.

I didn't even see the bunker there with the shadows and all, seems like a good idea to play the hole your way if you don't always get a draw with your driver.

Seems like a really nice course though, very jealous that you get to golf there semi-regularly!

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47 minutes ago, amished said:

I didn't even see the bunker there with the shadows and all, seems like a good idea to play the hole your way if you don't always get a draw with your driver.

The bunker isn't really in play, or rather it shouldn't be. It's 15 yards right of the right edge of the fairway, so too far right to begin with. If anything it keeps the ball from going out if you hit into it.

If I had a reliable pattern with the driver, there are a lot of holes I would attack; I'm fairly aggressive strategy-wise. As it is, I have to aim left to guard against a block and I can hit anything from a push to a straight shot with the occasional pull that can turn in either direction. The best drive I hit all day was the one on 5 where I hit it into the left fairway bunker. I was aiming for that bunker and that's exactly where I hit it.

1 hour ago, amished said:

Seems like a really nice course though, very jealous that you get to golf there semi-regularly!

Yea, the Somerset County golf courses are nice. I pay for the non-resident card so I can play them at the county rate and book tee times. Quail Brook is tough from the tips: 6,600 yards 71.9/133. I'm the only person I ever see playing from those tees.


BTW I moved our discussion to my swing thread because it's kinda OT in the post your Game Golf rounds thread.

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On 7/1/2018 at 11:19 AM, billchao said:

I've been playing pretty well these last 5 rounds so I wanted to do a little assessment and compare with my end-of-season stats from last year.

GG Insights 7-1-18.png

Right away, my driving and approach games are much improved. Since Game Golf counts all shots outside 100 yards that aren't par 4 or 5 tee shots as approach shots, hitting the ball off the tee into a lot of trouble is going to skew the strokes gained stats on approaches. It makes sense if you're just counting strokes for strokes gained, but not so much if I wanted to evaluate my iron game separate from my driving, which is fine because I don't need Game Golf to tell me I hit my irons above my skill level.

So here's the kicker: I didn't work on my driving, at least not specifically, other than the work I do on my swing in general. I broke my blue 4 Yards More tee that I've been using for years, which has a flange that keeps the ball a certain height above the ground. I started using a regular plastic tee that is slightly shorter which forced me to tee the ball slightly lower, and wouldn't you know it, my driving got better. No joke. I have much better control over my lines by teeing it slightly lower and I'm probably hitting less up on the ball. This is actually something @iacassuggested to try last year and I just kind of dismissed it because I really didn't think a 1/4" difference in ball height could make that much of a difference in my game. I was wrong. Stupid me. Incidentally I've since learned that I can tee the ball even lower and hit a stinger-type cut shot, but I digress.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Here's the difference between the last 5 rounds (new tee height) and the previous 5 rounds (old tee height):

Last 10 Rounds Comparison.png

I gained over 2 strokes on myself off the tee on par 4s and 5s alone, and 3.25 strokes on approach shots due to better driving.

 

My short game has improved, too. It's still not up to the level that I should be at, but it's getting better. Mapping my short game yardages with the Mevo has helped significantly. I've also simplified my pitch mechanics which I've mentioned before and I'm getting much more consistent contact. I still need to replace my wedges at some point because my LW is the only club with a good sole for greenside shots. I like my GW for full swing mechanics, but it's an old school blade with a sharp leading edge and sometimes when I pitch/chip with it, it will cut into the turf before the ball and I'll flub the shot. I still hate my SW. I don't pitch/chip with it well off of a tight lie and I usually default to my LW for greenside rough shots. I don't even use it out of the sand anymore.

Short game is still a work in progress, but I'm starting to see results.

Putting surprisingly has gotten slightly worse and I think I understand why. I'm hitting more GIR so I have longer first putts and my lag putting isn't great. Sometimes I don't even bother reading the green on a long putt and that's just laziness on my part, which is dumb. I am making more mid-range putts than ever before and now when I'm faced with anything inside 8', I feel like I have a good chance to make it because I'm hitting my lines. I need to take that with me on long putts because if I can hit my lines, I can miss closer to the hole.

That's pretty much it. Playing pretty well lately and it's a lot of fun. Drive for show and drive for dough :-D

Im sure you know this, but I like to gauge my iron shots with the Insights page on GG by mostly looking at tee and fairway iron shots. I figure I can than see how the wayward driver is affecting that.

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22 hours ago, billchao said:

The bunker isn't really in play, or rather it shouldn't be. It's 15 yards right of the right edge of the fairway, so too far right to begin with. If anything it keeps the ball from going out if you hit into it.

If I had a reliable pattern with the driver, there are a lot of holes I would attack; I'm fairly aggressive strategy-wise. As it is, I have to aim left to guard against a block and I can hit anything from a push to a straight shot with the occasional pull that can turn in either direction. The best drive I hit all day was the one on 5 where I hit it into the left fairway bunker. I was aiming for that bunker and that's exactly where I hit it.

Yea, the Somerset County golf courses are nice. I pay for the non-resident card so I can play them at the county rate and book tee times. Quail Brook is tough from the tips: 6,600 yards 71.9/133. I'm the only person I ever see playing from those tees.


BTW I moved our discussion to my swing thread because it's kinda OT in the post your Game Golf rounds thread.

6,600 yards is about as far as I ever want to play from.  Most people I know won't play from that distance, but my friend who's the local high school golf coach (plays off 5.5 I think with the last revision) will sometimes talk me into moving back a teebox.  There are a couple local courses that have tees at around 6800, but I'd only do that with him on a day where we want to be beat up...

There is a 6,800 72.6/118 tips teebox that I want to be able to play someday and not feel like a total ass.  I think if I ever get down to single digit handicap I might give it a try...

Luckily for me though, my miss is almost always a pull or overdraw with my Driver, so I do generally eliminate half the course with that club.  Unfortunately, the "good" shots that happen by accident are dead straight so I have to allow for that to happen and then my left miss throws me in trouble.  I think I just need to keep telling myself "you're not a pro" and swing easier as that is much more consistent with not much distance loss (10 yards tops...)

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On 7/6/2018 at 11:49 AM, amished said:

There is a 6,800 72.6/118 tips teebox that I want to be able to play someday and not feel like a total ass.  I think if I ever get down to single digit handicap I might give it a try...

That actually sounds like a reasonable course. Since you're closer to a bogey golfer than scratch, you'd be looking at the slope rating in terms of difficulty. 118 is pretty close to standard so it shouldn't be too difficult for you to play beyond the distance. If I had to guess, the course probably has wide open fairways and small greens or something.

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Decided to skip playing this weekend to work on some stuff. I haven't practiced in a while and I know I'm just "in a groove" with my swing when I'm playing well. I've been playing this game long enough to know that isn't a permanent state. Wednesday's round was a indication that I might be regressing to the mean with my ballstriking, so I wanted to try and stop the bleeding before I get frustrated.

Usual routine, raw swings:

 

Ugh. Ok, I can see why I'm hitting a two-way miss again. Steep transition and then late shallowing results in zero clubface control. The ball is going to push, pull, or go straight based on a highly volatile mix of rotation rates and my only saving grace is that I've cleaned up a lot of excess movement in the rest of my swing to the point where I'm mostly hitting it solidly even when I miss.

I focused on not getting the club across the line. In the past, I tried (and failed) to shorten the swing to prevent the club from tipping across the line, which causes me to pull it down steep in transition. Today, I tried something different. Instead of trying to shorten my swing, I worked on laying the club off, or at least what feels laid off to me. If I was standing on a clock face with 12 o'clock being directly to my left, my swing feels like I take the club to 12 at the top when I really take it to 1 or even 2 o'clock. I really focused on feeling the clubhead at A4 at 10 o'clock (without sucking it in at the takeaway) and then just letting the body respond to that new position and movement.

The result, without showing massive amounts of time where I'm basically just taking the club to A4 and wiggling it around and back to address, is this swing:

 

There's a lot I like about it. It's more dynamic without actually working on those specific pieces. I'd describe it as: putting the club in a better position at the top allows me to make a more athletic move into the ball and hit it solidly. The left wrist is flatter at A5 and A6 which is going to give me a more stable clubface at A7. I didn't change my downswing feel at all (straighten the arms, try not to rotate the wrists) and it's completely different just because the transition changed. That squat/flexion move I can feel happening, but it's a reaction and not something I'm actively doing. Strikes are more from center than the stock swing where I tend to toe the crap out of everything. Miss is still towards the toe.

I find it funny how that swing feels like the clubhead is at 10 o'clock and ends up being at almost 12 o'clock when my original swing feeling like 12 o'clock ends up at 1 o'clock. Feel ain't real.

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On 7/7/2018 at 3:34 PM, billchao said:

That actually sounds like a reasonable course. Since you're closer to a bogey golfer than scratch, you'd be looking at the slope rating in terms of difficulty. 118 is pretty close to standard so it shouldn't be too difficult for you to play beyond the distance. If I had to guess, the course probably has wide open fairways and small greens or something.

I never really understood the slope rating on courses, so that's interesting.  For the most part, the course is pretty wide open, you tend to have to try to lose a ball there.  The greens, surprisingly, are rather large but they all multiple severe tiers on them where if you're not on the right tier you might as well not be on the green.  It's just a long course compared to what I'm used to and I think that is psyching me out more than anything else...

How do you like hitting into a net?  It's something that I've considered getting but without seeing ballflight that always makes me a little anxious.  On top of hitting off of a mat that can hide some low point issues that I struggle with from time to time...

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1 hour ago, amished said:

I never really understood the slope rating on courses, so that's interesting.  For the most part, the course is pretty wide open, you tend to have to try to lose a ball there.  The greens, surprisingly, are rather large but they all multiple severe tiers on them where if you're not on the right tier you might as well not be on the green.  It's just a long course compared to what I'm used to and I think that is psyching me out more than anything else...

http://ncga.org/handicap/explanation-slope/

It gets a little complex, but the gist of it is the course rating is what you'd expect a scratch player to shoot under normal conditions. In this case, 72.6, so assuming par 72, 0.6 strokes above par which suggests difficult greens.

The course rating expresses how difficult that set of tees is for higher handicaps. It's kind of a complicated formula but basically 113 is considered standard. It can range from 50 to 155 I think, but I've never seen anything above 140 and I think the lowest I've ever seen is 90. For your course, 118 slope suggests you can't get into too much trouble off the tee and as I said, the course isn't going to play more difficult from those tees beyond the extra distance.

2 hours ago, amished said:

How do you like hitting into a net?  It's something that I've considered getting but without seeing ballflight that always makes me a little anxious.

I'm a big advocate of practicing with a net. Not being able to see the flight frees you up to focus on the process and the mechanics of what you're working on. Always use a camera to monitor your swing and learn to really get the feel for your ballstriking.

If you need to check on the flight, hit a range once in a while or before your round for warmup should be enough. I don't use the range much anymore, but at this point when I hit the ball well it goes pretty straight. But I also still know my tendencies and the direction(s) of my miss just from playing.

2 hours ago, amished said:

On top of hitting off of a mat that can hide some low point issues that I struggle with from time to time...

Even off of a mat, you should be able to tell if you hit the ball slightly fat. I like the net more with a mat because of this. You can't see the flight being helped by the mat so you don't think you hit the ball better than you really do.

There aren't too many places near me that have grass ranges anyway so it's something I had to learn to use.

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Working on a grip change. I know I like to joke that I don't know where I'm going to hit the ball so I tend to aim in a general direction and hope I hit it there, but there's a lot of truth to it. I don't have a feel for where the clubface is pointing at all. I believe this is due to my grip - specifically the left hand grip - and the lack of wrist structure it creates.

I have never had an issue with gripping in the fingers but I think my problem is the angle at which the grip sits in my hand. I tend to hold it too perpendicular to my fingers kind of like a barbell as opposed to more angled across my fingers. This causes my left hand to not only have a tendency to cup, but it also has too much freedom of movement. Putting the grip on my left hand on more of an angle gives me more structure and stability, not to mention is really the more "proper" way to hold the club.

I've always looked at left hand grip in terms of being in the fingers or the palm and decided that the grip across my hand at an angle ala Hogan felt too palmy so I must not have been gripping the club correctly. In actuality it's probably because I'm an odd duck and interpreted the feel of my heel pad engaging with the grip as a "palmy" feel.

It probably doesn't help that I grip the club while I'm holding it perpendicular to the ground and then setting it down at address. To that end, I've developed a new setup routine that involves setting the club down behind the ball with my right hand and then setting my left hand grip followed by the right hand grip. I've found that doing this automatically sets that angle in my hands that I'm looking for with the added benefit of setting my clubface at my target and then building my stance around it. This is something I've been thinking of adding into my putting routine as well to help with some line issues.

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7 hours ago, billchao said:

Working on a grip change. I know I like to joke that I don't know where I'm going to hit the ball so I tend to aim in a general direction and hope I hit it there, but there's a lot of truth to it. I don't have a feel for where the clubface is pointing at all. I believe this is due to my grip - specifically the left hand grip - and the lack of wrist structure it creates.

I have never had an issue with gripping in the fingers but I think my problem is the angle at which the grip sits in my hand. I tend to hold it too perpendicular to my fingers kind of like a barbell as opposed to more angled across my fingers. This causes my left hand to not only have a tendency to cup, but it also has too much freedom of movement. Putting the grip on my left hand on more of an angle gives me more structure and stability, not to mention is really the more "proper" way to hold the club.

I've always looked at left hand grip in terms of being in the fingers or the palm and decided that the grip across my hand at an angle ala Hogan felt too palmy so I must not have been gripping the club correctly. In actuality it's probably because I'm an odd duck and interpreted the feel of my heel pad engaging with the grip as a "palmy" feel.

It probably doesn't help that I grip the club while I'm holding it perpendicular to the ground and then setting it down at address. To that end, I've developed a new setup routine that involves setting the club down behind the ball with my right hand and then setting my left hand grip followed by the right hand grip. I've found that doing this automatically sets that angle in my hands that I'm looking for with the added benefit of setting my clubface at my target and then building my stance around it. This is something I've been thinking of adding into my putting routine as well to help with some line issues.

I am doing a similar set up now. I was having trouble with the face seaming to close at address and discussed with my Evolvr instructor, Stephan. He had me change the way I put my hands on the grip to what you describe. The only add I have is I grip with the left hand a bit weak to start, rotate the club head open, then grip with my right hand to set it open.

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11 hours ago, billchao said:

It probably doesn't help that I grip the club while I'm holding it perpendicular to the ground and then setting it down at address. To that end, I've developed a new setup routine that involves setting the club down behind the ball with my right hand and then setting my left hand grip followed by the right hand grip. I've found that doing this automatically sets that angle in my hands that I'm looking for with the added benefit of setting my clubface at my target and then building my stance around it. This is something I've been thinking of adding into my putting routine as well to help with some line issues.

That's kinda funny because I advise people to do the opposite fairly often, because when the club is sitting down on the ground the grip goes right across your palm, and your fingers are too close to "parallel" rather than "perpendicular" to the shaft.

Now, yes, there's an angle there, but a lot of people with bad grips emphasize the palmy/parallel stuff.

I recommend one of two methods to a lot of people so the fingers align better:

  • Grip it by your left hip or even slightly behind it (if you're a righty).
  • Grip it up in front of you like you were doing.
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59 minutes ago, iacas said:

That's kinda funny because I advise people to do the opposite fairly often, because when the club is sitting down on the ground the grip goes right across your palm, and your fingers are too close to "parallel" rather than "perpendicular" to the shaft.

If i learned anything about this game it's that I'm a bit off an odd duck and I tend to have the opposite problem as most people in a lot of ways.

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14 hours ago, billchao said:

I have never had an issue with gripping in the fingers but I think my problem is the angle at which the grip sits in my hand. I tend to hold it too perpendicular to my fingers kind of like a barbell as opposed to more angled across my fingers.

This is what I'm referring to.

My grip:

7142018132959.jpg

What I'm changing to:

7142018133018.jpg

It's definitely not palmy. If anything it's actually more in my fingers, but also engages the heel pad more.

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Bill I posted it over here, because it's a bit more general, but feel free to reply to it here:

Hope that helps. Your grip seems fine from these angles. Maybe a little too angled and a bit high in the palm. Not sure you could do the Hogan "index finger/heel pad" thing. But close.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Hope that helps. Your grip seems fine from these angles. Maybe a little too angled and a bit high in the palm.

Yes thanks, specifically the last bit. Just playing around with the feel and it's not so much about the angle of the shaft as it is the placement of the grip in my hands, where I'm applying pressure, and how that affects my wrist movements.

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