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MPtheKid

MPtheKid 2014 Blog

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Hi Guys...I wanted to create a thread detailing the work I am doing on my game in 2014. It's okay if no one reads along but I wanted someplace where I could record my thoughts.

Background:

I played probably two or three rounds a year growing up from ages 12-18. Once I went off to college, I forgot about golf and didn't play for a couple of years. Spring semester of my senior year (Spring 2012), I started playing casually with a buddy of mine and when I got home from school that year I caught the bug. I started playing as much as I could and was determined to get better. I played by myself and practiced a lot but I was dead-set on doing things my way and improving without any instruction. I got down to around an 8.5 handicap by late summer 2013 and joined a new club. After a getting fed up with my inconsistency (I could shoot a round in the high 70s or completely blow up for a 90 something), I decided that it was time to start working with a pro. My swing was super ugly and completely based on my timing being perfect (no doubt that's what contributed to the inconsistency). If my timing was off it was shank city and I would play like a complete hack. I swung extremely flat around my body so getting the face square at impact was completely dependent on my hands manipulating the clubface coming through the ball. I also would swing entirely with my arms among other issues. My swing really was a wreck. In September 2013 my honest yardages were as follows:

Driver: 215-225

3 Wood: 205-215

3 Hybrid: 190-200

4 iron: 175-180 but I really couldn't swing a long iron

5 iron: 165 but see above

6 iron: 155-160

7 iron: 140-145

8 iron: 125-130

9 iron: 115-120

PW: 105-110

54 Degree: 95

60 Degree: 60

Obviously, I wasn't pleased with these yardages. I'm 24 and fairly athletic so I knew that my admittedly terrible swing was costing me distance. My good rounds were entirely predicated on timing up my swing, short game, and putting. If I put up a decent score, I had to grind to get it.

Progress through 2013:

I started working with the pro at my club about twice a month in September 2013. After doing some evaluation on my current game and my potential we decided that it would be best to undergo a complete swing overhaul. My guy thought it was absolutely paramount to build a swing that was rock solid fundamentally (not subject to timing) that would hold up on bad days, under tournament pressure, etc. This continued until around Christmas 2013. It was a grind. I was constantly doing mirror work and drills to ingrain the new positions associated with a correct swing. I didn't see much progress for those 3 months, but I knew I was on the right path and stayed focused. I played occasionally while the weather was still decent, but as I said most of my time was spent on the range (4-5 times a week) and doing mirror work/drills at home (every free minute I have).

Geez, I really rambled on there. If you're still along with me there will be more to come shortly in a subsequent post. Will be detailing 2014 so far and some exciting progress.

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2014:

I had continued lessons with my swing coach through 2013. Once the winter was upon us the course closed and we moved inside to the indoor studio at my club. My coach and I decided to ramp things up in 2014. He was seeing potential and I was finally starting to see some real progress. He mapped out a plan for me through March 2014 and we set up a schedule working every Saturday and every other Wednesday.

Jan 25, 2014:

We are probably 60-70% through the swing change and I am finally beginning to see some real returns on all of this grind. My distances and club head speed have jumped DRAMATICALLY. After warming up with some wedges, we were working exclusively with a 6 iron and the improvement was awesome. Club head speed with a 6 iron was measuring between 88-94 mph and distances were 185-190 maxing out at 195 yards. After months of not seeing any tangible return and just trusting that I was going down the right path, it was really rewarding to see this kind of progress. I know this isn't up to par with all of the crazy internet distances out there but I was PSYCHED! I never thought I could an iron that well or that far. Now some of the problems that still exist are 1)I have a tendency to take the club too far back and let it droop past parallel at the top of my backswing right before I transition (this is getting better but it's a very hard habit for me to break) and 2) we have been trying to groove a little push-draw swing (i.e. inside out, face closed to the path), however, I have been hitting controlled fades. This ballflight issue has been maddening for me. I can't turn it over! My path is inside-out or square but the club face is slightly open to this path at impact (a couple of degrees) and its causing balls that start covering the target and then falling gently to the right. Now, if a strong, controlled fade is my natural path then I can absolutely handle it, however, the problem is when that face hangs open more than a couple of degrees and that nice controlled fade turns hard right/slicey. Primary focus for this week is getting those hands to release a bit quicker so that the face is closed to the path and I see some of those little draws. Part of the problem is that I am swinging so much harder (really ripping through with my hips to start the downswing) and my hands are still used to catching up with my much slower old swing. I am hoping this improves with more reps. Even if my stock shot turns out to be a little fall down fade, I need to be able to hit a draw if a situation calls for it.

Overall, I am super pleased with my progress, but there is still a lot of work to do. This is what 2014 is all about...maximizing my potential and working hard every day to play this game as well as I can.

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One more thing I wanted to mention. If you are thinking about going to see a PGA pro....DO IT! I was completely stubborn and against it. I figured that I would be able to learn this game myself. And yeah I got alright, I could shoot a decent number, but all I really did was ingrain a bunch of bad habits that were ultimately holding me back. If you want to improve, call your local pro and get a lesson. You'll thank yourself later.

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FWIW, there are a number of free websites to do this sort of thing, including hosting video images, time line and commentary, including keeping some private and other portions open for certain people or all. Easy to use templates Just saying.
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FWIW, there are a number of free websites to do this sort of thing, including hosting video images, time line and commentary, including keeping some private and other portions open for certain people or all. Easy to use templates

Just saying.

Yeah, true enough, there are plenty of websites to do that. I'm not planning on getting too in depth and it's all going to be golfing related stuff so I'll probably just continue to dump my thoughts here. Appreciate the suggestion though and I might look into it down the line.

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I've been really working on being able to turn the ball over and I think I made some significant progress over the weekend. I had a quick session with my swing coach on Saturday and we found a couple of things that seemed to be encouraging hitting a fade. The two issues were rolling the club face slightly open on the takeaway and a grip issue (not having the club under the pad of left hand). Once I corrected these two things, I really worked on feeling the club release through the swing (shutting the face to the path) and I saw some good results. It was nice to finally see some balls turn over. In order to do this I practiced a lot of slow half and 3/4 swings just to make sure my positions were right. I also over-exaggerated  the feeling of closing the face and tried to hit hooks. Every so often I would take a full swing and I could see the improvement. I am really encouraged by this work I put in Saturday. It was one of my better practice sessions in a while, especially after not being able to hit a draw Friday night. Club head speed, distance, and dispersion continue to improve.

Overall, I am really pleased with how my swing is progressing. Can't wait for the season to start. Now if I could get a break weather-wise it would be awesome. 4-6 more inches of snow expected today....great. :doh:

I need to start thinking about relocating south.

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Just an update...I'm really ramping up as the season approaches. I'm committed to practicing something golf related 6-7 days per week and have just started to get back into my workout routine. I've always been in pretty decent shape but I had gotten lazy with working out over the past year. Up early the past two days to get a workout in before heading to the office. I'm currently researching/designing a more golf-specific workout routine with the help of my swing coach and a TPI certified trainer. Once I get that ironed out, I plan on switching from my normal workout to the new routine and hitting it hard 4-5 days per week. I really want to continue strengthening my core and building a stronger base for my swing without losing any of the flexibility I currently have.

As far as the swing goes, the progression is right on schedule. I had been grinding hard trying to get the hands to release naturally with an inside-out path to promote a little draw as my stock shot. I seem to have gotten to a point where this is happening without conscious thought so I am happy with that. For the last 10 days or so, my instructor and I have been working to kill the last piece of my old golf swing, which is getting the club past parallel at the top of the backswing. This has proved really difficult for me but I have been putting the work in and this seems to finally be getting grooved. Had a good session with my swing coach last night and didn't see any swings going past parallel on video. Contact is feeling awesome the past couple of days. Distance and dispersion are constantly improving. I took a look at a video of my swing two months ago side-by-side with a video of my swing last night and my angles/positions throughout the swing are 100 times better. It feels really good to see some results from months of hard work.

I need to start researching shafts and do some testing as my club head speed has jumped up quite a bit and I think that I will definitely need to reshaft my woods possibly my irons. I don't mind the expense because it is something that needs to be done due to progress. Right now we are on track to be playing to low single digits by early summer, which is very encouraging. I'm hoping there wont be any unforeseen setbacks. I don't like to get wrapped up in longer-term goals though so right now my mantra is one day at a time.

There's a lot of good players out there so I feel like it's important to make sure that I do something everyday that will make me a little bit better. No time for excuses. Just embrace the process and go hard.

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