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Hardspoon

My Swing (Hardspoon)

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Primarily for my own use, here's a summary of what I need to work on:

1.A - Full Swing (Setup)

  • Stronger grip
  • Stand further from the ball
  • Feet a bit more flared
Spoiler

05 Setup DL.jpg

04 Setup FO.jpg

It's irritating that my grip is still an issue.  It was too weak, then too strong, then too weak, now need to make it stronger.  I really need to just get this stupid easy thing right.

Standing further from the ball, with a bit more knee flex, felt good.  It was tough to get used to, but I like that it gave me more room to swing and it will get rid of that silly "t-rex arm" compensation I've been doing.

 

1.B - Full Swing (Backswing)

  • Full rotation (no cutting it short)
  • Feel like hips are staying forward and head staying back (don't lose tilt in the backswing)
  • Hands gain more depth
Spoiler

01 Sweeper.jpg02 Sweeper.jpg

Backswing stuff is fairly easy, because I can work on it daily at home.  Will be tricky to find the balance between the "bad" and the exaggerated version that I was doing here.

 

1.C - Full Swing (Downswing)

  • Prevent elbow from getting trapped, by driving elbow forward and pushing hips (keep clubhead behind hands)
  • Finish out to the right and up, rather than around
  • Clubface control (this part is secondary)
Spoiler

 

06 Elbow.jpg07 Elbows.jpg

This is going to be my biggest challenge.  The elbow drill is still extremely awkward, and there are a lot of pieces to check (clubhead position, forearm rotation, and head staying down).

I did get some good results with a couple feels that will help:

  • One-handed impact (let right hand come off club) to square the face
  • "Nose-breaker" feel

Even though this is a super-slow drill swing (and one-handed follow-through), the impact position really does look much less cramped.  No FO view, but the lead arm is straightened (no t-rex).  And, of course, a hot chick!

08 I Spy.jpg

 

2 - Pitching

  • Hands lower (shallower shaft)
  • Ball position and weight forward
  • "Wristy" take-away (hands don't move much)
  • Hip rotation drives the swing
  • "Close" follow through

When I did this right, I hit some nice high soft shots.  Interestingly, I wasn't even looking at the ball at impact.

 

3 - Putting

  • Practice AimPoint reads with digital level
  • Practice AimPoint process for short-, mid-, and long-length putts
  • Practice AimPoint adjustment for speed
  • Check AimPoint calibration (3@15 and 2@20)

 

Yikes.  This amount of work exceeds the time I have to devote to practice (unfortunately), but I'm going to just keep chipping away (no pun intended) at it.  I'm going to start using AimPoint Express right away...even if my reads aren't great at first, I'll learn the process, and it can't be worse than my reads now.  I'll probably start getting a slightly larger bucket of balls each practice session and use the "extras" on the pitching motion.  Focus still needs to be on the full swing overall.

Time to get to work.

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Well, it appears that despite my little lapse a couple weeks ago, my "process" is sufficiently dumb (I prefer to call it "linear", but that's picking nits) that I am a Stupid Monkey.

It is interesting that @iacas waited until I was 120 miles away to call me "stupid"...maybe that has something to do with me coining the "nosebreaker" feel for squaring the clubface? ;-)

In all seriousness, I'm happy about this, since my biggest concern is getting discouraged by lack of progress and abandoning my stubbornly linear way of approaching golf practice.

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16 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

Well, it appears that despite my little lapse a couple weeks ago, my "process" is sufficiently dumb (I prefer to call it "linear", but that's picking nits) that I am a Stupid Monkey.

It is interesting that @iacas waited until I was 120 miles away to call me "stupid"...maybe that has something to do with me coining the "nosebreaker" feel for squaring the clubface? ;-)

In all seriousness, I'm happy about this, since my biggest concern is getting discouraged by lack of progress and abandoning my stubbornly linear way of approaching golf practice.

Do not let it become a race against time. Really. Your shot quality will improve but resist the need to have improvement reflect upon scores for a looong time. I impatiently gave myself only 6 months or so for my improvements/changes to take root. Not saying you should give atleast that, but could be that or even longer.

Be patient. Progress looking like it is on track.  

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1 hour ago, GolfLug said:

Do not let it become a race against time. Really. Your shot quality will improve but resist the need to have improvement reflect upon scores for a looong time. I impatiently gave myself only 6 months or so for my improvements/changes to take root. Not saying you should give atleast that, but could be that or even longer.

Be patient. Progress looking like it is on track.  

Thanks!  This is really good to hear, and it's exactly the struggle I'm having.

The silly thing is that this thread has not even existed for a year...and I took a bunch of time off.  So what the heck am I expecting after a few months of practice, when I started playing golf at the age of 30?  I need to maintain realistic expectations.

The one advantage I do have is that I really enjoy practicing.  I live about a mile from a perfectly nice 9-hole course that I could easily play after work once a week or so, but I'd much rather go to the range.

Anywhoo, thanks again for the encouragement!  Much appreciated.

 

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On July 31, 2016 at 5:12 PM, Hardspoon said:

I'm worried it was too much for one weekend (information overload), but I am hoping it will be easily broken down into a few different parts.  I'm going to post a bit later with my priority pieces for the full swing and pitching, and some general AimPoint notes. 

It will be pretty easy to work on, and here's why…

21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

1.A - Full Swing (Setup)

  • Stronger grip
  • Stand further from the ball
  • Feet a bit more flared

You can do that at home. Seriously, a few minutes a night.

And don't let it be irritating. Just get it right. It's not like you were WAY off with any of these things. An inch here, a few degrees there. Small things.

21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

1.B - Full Swing (Backswing)

  • Full rotation (no cutting it short)
  • Feel like hips are staying forward and head staying back (don't lose tilt in the backswing)
  • Hands gain more depth

Yep, and that's really just one thing, though you have it split up. It's also not "bad" now - it's just a little bit of improvement. 30 minutes per week would be overkill on this bit, and as you noted, you could do this at home, too.

21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

1.C - Full Swing (Downswing)

  • Prevent elbow from getting trapped, by driving elbow forward and pushing hips (keep clubhead behind hands)
  • Finish out to the right and up, rather than around
  • Clubface control (this part is secondary)

Yeah, don't kill yourself on the third bullet. That "happens" with other things done properly.

The first two bullets go together. Elbow pushes the hip and then continues forward and up, which is also "to the right" or "outward." This is the bulk of your full swing practice.

Don't do the nose breaker too much. It will just start happening, as you saw with the one-handed things. Tension in your wrists will have you trying to make the clubface align certain ways, and that won't be good.

21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

2 - Pitching

  • Hands lower (shallower shaft)
  • Ball position and weight forward
  • "Wristy" take-away (hands don't move much)
  • Hip rotation drives the swing
  • "Close" follow through

Pitch a few balls when you go to the range. I use the ugly/dirty/scuffed balls. You can practice without a ball, even, if you know the feeling and the sound.

21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

3 - Putting

  • Practice AimPoint reads with digital level
  • Practice AimPoint process for short-, mid-, and long-length putts
  • Practice AimPoint adjustment for speed
  • Check AimPoint calibration (3@15 and 2@20)

5 minutes per week.

Maybe 10 if you want to be really, really anal about it… Seriously, this isn't as much work as you want it to be. :-D

Trust yourself. Especially with the AimPoint stuff.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Maybe 10 if you want to be really, really anal about it…

Haha, no comment.

And, of course, thank you. I've already started doing little things at home (mostly grip), and I ordered a digital level.

I'm excited to get cranking.

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Difficult practice session today.  I was tired, and it was hot...but I'm not going to get out again until next week so I wanted to get to the range.  I wasn't able to get face-on video today because the range was packed.

Setup and backswing work are coming along.  I've been practicing those at home, and will continue to do so.

6i_DTL_Comparison.jpg

The address position is still too cramped...I think I'm a bit too close to the ball, which is weird because I used an alignment stick that I marked in Chautauqua with the "correct" distance.  I'm clearly more upright in the picture from today, although it's getting better.

 

6i_DTL_A4_2016-08-02a.png

A4 looks decent (this is from one of the drills below).  Hands gain more depth, as was a goal.

 

Work on my priority piece (the elbow move) did not go well.  I get the basic pieces up to a certain point, but I simply couldn't seem to make my elbow/hands continue up and out.  I keep rotating them around and finishing left, or I would do this weird pushy/punchy/flailing move (this video isn't even one of the worst ones):

 

Some were a bit better, although still awkward flails at the ball:

(I had to include this particular video.  Watch the very beginning...the guy to my left shanks one into the metal screen and you see it pop across my bay.  I didn't even notice!)

 

Anyway, work on this piece was mildly frustrating, but mostly because I was tired...I'm looking forward to working on this some more.  It just seems like it should be so easy, especially at this speed!  The (only) good news is that I was starting to at least feel the elbow piece even when I'd take faster practice swings.  Near the end, I tried one at slow speed but in a single motion, and I could really feel the elbow getting in front of my torso rather than being stuck behind like before:

Of course, the finish was terrible and almost missed the ball...ugh.

While it is only a drill, the impact position looks decent and "roomy":

6i_DTL_Comparison_A6.jpg

 

So, overall, I'm not exactly happy with the full-swing stuff...today was tough.  I'm surprised that I was still a bit too close to the ball, and I can't get the "out-and-up" follow-through yet even at slow speed.  I also doubt I'll be able to get back out to practice until next week, so that stinks.  I'll continue with mirror work and see if I can get the address stuff squared away.

At the end of the session, I took some time to work on the pitching technique.  I wanted to grab video, but I couldn't take FO views.  Felt pretty good, and I was making good contact with a decent "close" finish on most swings.  I'll keep mixing that in.

 

 

 

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John, you're allowed to hinge your wrists. :-) Practice looks great if you let yourself do that. The physics don't let you maintain some lag if you never have any to start.

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3 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

But...but...I can't...that wasn't on my list of bullet points!  ;-)

Because you were doing it fine two days ago. ;-) There's still a lot of hinging when you stop at A6 after all.

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I was actually able to get back out to the range tonight.  I worked on the same stuff - it went much better.  I made sure to allow some wrist hinge at the top, but otherwise worked on the same drill.  I tried to increase the speed a little as I worked, by taking the club back further before the actual "hit".  I also started mixing up clubs, rather than just using the 6i for each shot.

Contact was much better - I think I'm getting more comfortable with my distance from the ball.  With the increased speed, the ball is starting less and less to the right, and I can see it starting to draw/hook.  I can also still feel the elbow piece at higher speeds.  These are both encouraging for my ability to actually play golf again sometime soon!

I saved the last 10 balls or so for pitching practice...went OK.  Meh.  Still working to to "end close" and have the arms feel "noodly" enough.

 

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Another decent practice session today.

I mixed in the very slow/deliberate elbow drill, along with very slow (25%) swings, and some faster swings.  I need to control that a bit; the "faster" swings were meant to be around 75% or so but were creeping up to full speed.

Contact is getting better every time I practice, and I'm getting more comfortable with my weight on my toes (well, centered, hopefully, but it still feels like it's on the toes).  When I make solid contact, the ball flight is definitely a draw/hook.

I'm hoping to get back out once more this week and take some video to check the backswing positions (I've been doing some mirror work on those every day) and the 75% swings.

Pitching technique is getting better, but still not great.  Incredibly inconsistent.  I just need to keep practicing.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

Re: pitching, be lazy. Except the pivot. ;-)

Yup...that's the crux of it.

Here's an approximation of my brain activity at various points in the pitching motion:

(addresses ball) OK...a little bit further away from the ball...keep that weight forward...good...now take those hands back close, using the wrists...(starts swing)...good...turn that arm over to open the face a little...good...(finishes taking club back)...OK, now pivot the hips but keep those arms like spaghetti...(starts pivot)...good...nice pivot...OH MY GOD SWING MAN SWING THOSE ARMS HIT THE BALL GODDAMMIT HIT IT!!!

:doh:

 

 

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Finally got out to practice again tonight.  Still working on the same full-swing stuff:

1.A - Full Swing (Setup)

  • Stronger grip
  • Stand further from the ball
  • Feet a bit more flared

1.B - Full Swing (Backswing)

  • Full rotation (no cutting it short)
  • Feel like hips are staying forward and head staying back (don't lose tilt in the backswing)
  • Hands gain more depth

1.C - Full Swing (Downswing)

  • Prevent elbow from getting trapped, by driving elbow forward and pushing hips (keep clubhead behind hands)
  • Finish out to the right and up, rather than around
  • Clubface control (this part is secondary)

After looking at the videos from the TST outing, I noticed that during my "on-course" swings, I am definitely not finishing rotation on my backswing...so that was a point of emphasis tonight as I moved from slow-speed "drills" (and the mirror work I've been doing at home) to the few full-speed swings I took.

Still doing the same drill to work on the downswing pieces:

 

The backswing and drill part is fine, but these "hits" were a bit stabby (which makes that part kind of pointless).  On others I would take the club further back and swing at about 25% - 50% speed.  I actually think I'll stick with those more, it's better to feel the elbow piece and hip slide than what I'm doing here.

 

I filmed a few full-speed swings as well.  I clearly have a lot of work to do before the drill work translates to a real swing:

 

 

 

I'm reasonably happy with the backswing stuff.  I'm getting good rotation on my full swings, hand "depth" looks decent, and I think am maintaining my tilt:

6i_DTL_A4_2016-08-18.png

6i_FO_A4_2016-08-18.png

 

Downswing stuff...meh.  The path is working out (pun intended) well.  Clubhead is behind the hands at A6 even more now:

6i_DTL_A6_2016-08-18.png

...and the ball flight is a significant draw (or hook) on well-struck shots.

Moving away from the ball has helped my impact position (not great, but better than before):

6i_DTL_A7_2016-08-18.png

6i_FO_A7_2016-08-18.png

Looks like I still need to work on the hip slide piece to get those hands further forward at impact, and have the rear heel stay down, more like when I'm doing the drill.

 

Welp...this stuff is going to take a while to get right.  At least the setup and backswing stuff are progressing OK.

I've decided not to play any golf for a few weeks, and use the time to practice instead.  So, I can get back out Saturday morning for a nice relaxed practice session...the range is always empty if I get there early, and I'll be (relatively) well-rested so I can take my time and enjoy.  I don't think I'd have much fun playing anyway, considering how poorly I hit the ball last weekend at the TST outing.

 

 

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The photos look good.

Keep the elbow working down… don't worry too much about the hip slide. The hips are plenty forward.

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