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Swing devolving somehow...

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Recently I have decided to get back into golfing after having not played since I was about 13. I never really played much to begin with so for all intents and purposes, I'm a beginner. Anyways, I started going to the range pretty often and while my swing obviously needed work, I was still hitting some good shots every fourth or fifth shot.

After running the youtube golf advice gauntlet, I think I screwed myself up somehow because the 2nd to last time out I was swinging with a slice so bad other golfers at the range were in danger of being shanked by my shots. Okay, back to square one. I realized I had developed a really bad over-the-top swing but I watched some more videos with consistent advice and felt confident with what I learned.

At home, I practice my swing on carpet in an open area using a foam ball. I have been trying to emulate the Rory McIlroy swing and with practice I felt confident with my swing. I was swinging with the hips, ball (still foam) was flying straight and I felt powerful when making contact.

I go to the range today and I either skipped the ball in a 10 yard path in front of me or I hit it short and right. I was using a 9 iron the whole time. I can honestly say though that when I am hitting an actual golf ball it's like I lose my mind; not once did my swing feel right today and I struggled to make decent contact.

I'm thinking I may need to get out of my own head and relax because even just now using the foam ball at home again, my swing feels good and strong again.

Has anyone had any experience like this? Any advice would be very welcome, I'm not sure what angle to take at this point except to just give in and take some lessons.

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First of all, welcome to TST!

A lot of golfers have the same problem; the only way to improve is to be patient and not try to assimilate too many changes at once. I've seen a number of members come and go, generally the amount of improvement correlates to how patiently they practice. Some players with decent ability who got a lot of good advice ended up exactly where they started because they didn't practice their given drills properly, or started getting distracted by chasing other swing changes besides their "priority piece".

There are a lot of good threads in here with instruction by some of our teaching pros, and you can post a swing video to get more specific advice on where to start. Here are a few helpful threads:

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