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Hardspoon

My Swing (Hardspoon)

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A bit of warmer weather here today, so I was able to get out to the range.  I've been continuing to work on the backswing pieces at home, but it felt good to get out and actually hit some balls.  Still struggling with making a full backswing sometimes; that's frustrating.  Overall, though, I made good contact on most shots; the "innate" things like clubface control and finding the ball seem to be getting better all the time, so that's a positive.

 

 

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Spent the day at Golf Evolution yesterday, working with @iacas on #allofthethings.  Overall, an awesome and productive day.

(Brief aside: I haven't had a ton of experience with golf instruction, but I've had some, and I can't imagine it can be taught any better than how Erik does it.  Seriously, if anyone lives within even remote driving distance of Erie, and wants to actually get better at golf, you'd be a fool not to make the trip at least two or three times a year.)

 

1. Full swing work went really well.

For the first time in a while, I don't have any tweaks to my actual setup (other than a slight change in the way my right hand grips the club), which is great.  I've had a tendency to overcorrect when making changes to my setup, so it's good that the most recent changes were done properly.

For the backswing, my priority is to keep working on the same things: full rotation, and letting my hands gain depth from the turn (this is my "start the turn with the chest" feel).

Most of our time was spent on a downswing piece.  As I've noticed in earlier swing videos, I have a tendency to "chicken wing" on the downswing, striking the ball with a bent left arm.  This tendency is worse with longer clubs.

My goal is to straighten the right arm and get the hands down and forward, earlier in the swing, to allow a proper inline strike.  I was able to accomplish this by feeling like I was driving a spear into the ground in front of the ball (aka "stabbing a pig").  A6 before is on the left, A6 after on the right:

01 Stab 2.jpg

06 Bent 2.jpg

Hands are lower and more forward.  Right arm straightens earlier.

Doing this piece correctly really improves my impact position:

02 Better.jpg

Better shoulder tilt, better inline impact.

Spoiler

I also tried it with the driver, so it's a piece I can get right with longer clubs too ("after" driver on left, "after" 6i on right):

05 Impact.jpg

My practice drill was to take a full backswing, "pump" once or twice (exaggerating the "stab the pig" feel), and then swing around 75% speed.  This doesn't seem like the most difficult or technical piece to get (the "good swings" above were done after only a few drills), but it's definitely going to take some practice to do it consistently.  I'm hoping to get to the range as often as possible over the next few weeks and keep progressing.

Spoiler

Some shots from my practice drills.  The "pump" on the left is exaggerated by design; the goal is to get to (at least) the position on the right in the 75% swing.

03 Pump Versus 2.jpg

I'm hoping that this leads to more consistent, solid contact (still the biggest weakness in my full swing).  I might also gain a few extra yards of distance, which would be helpful.

 

2. Pitching technique work was more frustrating.  Still difficult for me, especially at slower speeds (shorter pitches).  I was doing better with longer, faster swings, so I'm going to start with those and then "scale down" once I have it more ingrained.

My priority is to let the hip and shoulder rotation power the swing, feeling like the club gets left behind and "thumps" into the ground on its own.  I'm going to practice this using a Torc Swing Trainer (spiral weight).

 

3. Putting work was really fun.  Erik hooked me up to the SAM Putt Lab for the first time; it's pretty awesome.  Most aspects of my stroke (aim, face angle, etc) were decent, thanks in part to the fitted Edel putter.  I'm going to move the ball a hair forward in my stance to promote a slightly upward strike.

The biggest area of focus, as I knew it would be, is distance control.  I was accelerating through the ball on my putts; my goal is to instead hit the ball at - or just after - maximum speed.  I was getting better at this after an hour or so with the Putt Lab, and I was mostly able to feel when I did it right, so I'm going to keep practicing at home.

I also need to work on my tempo so that I have a consistent way of "calibrating" distance.  It's all over the place right now.  I've downloaded a tempo app for my iPhone to practice this.

 

I feel like I have enough material for focused, smart practice throughout the winter months.  Just for my own record-keeping, my updated list of priorities is:

1.A - Full Swing (Setup)

  • Stronger grip
  • Stand further from the ball
  • Feet a bit more flared
  • Stand a bit more upright
  • Slightly weaker grip with right hand only

1.B - Full Swing (Backswing)

  • Full rotation (no cutting it short)
  • Maintaining axis tilt during the backswing
  • Hands gain more depth, primarily from the pivot/turn

1.C - Full Swing (Downswing)

  • Finish out to the right and up, rather than around
  • "Stab the pig" feel to extend the right arm and get the hands down and forward

2 - Pitching

  • Hands lower (shallower shaft)
  • Ball position and weight forward
  • "Wristy" take-away (hands don't move much)
  • Hip and shoulder rotation drives the swing, but without whipping the head around
  • Lazy "paintbrush" feel, like the club is being left behind
  • "Close" follow through

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)
  • Set up with ball slightly more forward, to strike with a slightly upward stroke
  • Speed control, hitting ball with a very slightly decelerating stroke
  • Tempo

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Really detailed post. Those are some serious changes. You said your goal was in keeping your right arm straighter and it looks like you nailed it. I noticed a big difference with your left arm as well, which I guess makes sense in that it would be hard to do one without the other. Anyway, your impact position looks really good in regards to keys 2 and 3.

Nice work @Hardspoon.

 

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18 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Really detailed post. Those are some serious changes. You said your goal was in keeping your right arm straighter and it looks like you nailed it. I noticed a big difference with your left arm as well, which I guess makes sense in that it would be hard to do one without the other. Anyway, your impact position looks really good in regards to keys 2 and 3.

Nice work @Hardspoon.

Thanks! We shall see if I'm able to replicate this on my own, and integrate it into "real" swings.

I might be explaining this wrong, but it felt to me like the straighter right (trail) arm was the "cause" and the straighter left (lead) arm was the "effect". My effort and downswing feel was focused on the right arm, and the straight left arm at impact was the result.

Just another example of how important good instruction is. I certainly noticed the bent left arm in previous videos, but never would have figured out the relationship with the trail arm, or been able to confirm that it was in fact my priority.

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23 minutes ago, RandallT said:

Curious if that right arm straight focus had an impact on you backswing length.  I ask because I remembered this post: 

 

It didn't, since it was a downswing feel. I would get to my normal backswing position, then start working on the "stab" piece.

Which is good, since I'm in that 5% (described in that post) who doesn't need to shorten my backswing. My problem is actually the opposite; if I don't practice it every once in a while, my tendency is to make an abbreviated backswing and start down too fast.

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Gotcha.  

And I meant to mention: great update, looks like some solid winter progress. Hope we can both show off our improvements by May at the outing in DC!

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8 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

My problem is actually the opposite; if I don't practice it every once in a while, my tendency is to make an abbreviated backswing and start down too fast.

The long arms thought seems to help me with a fuller swing, but getting to that same full turn in the rotation has proven very difficult. I definitely rush the downswing way too often and it just kills my chances of doing anything else correctly.

54 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

Just another example of how important good instruction is. I certainly noticed the bent left arm in previous videos, but never would have figured out the relationship with the trail arm, or been able to confirm that it was in fact my priority.

I agree.

 I want to take the 8hr drive to Erie some day. It's just hard to trust any of the instructors in my area. Worried I'd spend 6 months going down the wrong rabbit hole.

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28 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

I want to take the 8hr drive to Erie some day. It's just hard to trust any of the instructors in my area. Worried I'd spend 6 months going down the wrong rabbit hole.

I see by your avatar that you're a Falcons fan...didn't realize Atlanta was that close!

(kidding)

If I lived that far away, I'd definitely join Evolvr.

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Really good post @Hardspoon and following with interest :-). Keep up the good work, those improvements are outstanding and interested to hear how they impact your game as things progress further!

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On 1/8/2017 at 4:20 PM, Hardspoon said:

I see by your avatar that you're a Falcons fan..

This made me throw-up a little in my mouth.

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2 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

This made me throw-up a little in my mouth.

:beer:  Ten days down, twenty to go! 

 

3 hours ago, b101 said:

Really good post @Hardspoon and following with interest :-). Keep up the good work, those improvements are outstanding and interested to hear how they impact your game as things progress further!

Thanks!  I made some decent progress last year, but I'm hoping to do better in 2017.

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On ‎11‎/‎01‎/‎2017 at 0:43 AM, Hardspoon said:

Thanks!  I made some decent progress last year, but I'm hoping to do better in 2017.

Completely feel that sentiment - looks like a good start!

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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 3:25 PM, Hardspoon said:

It didn't, since it was a downswing feel. I would get to my normal backswing position, then start working on the "stab" piece.

Which is good, since I'm in that 5% (described in that post) who doesn't need to shorten my backswing. My problem is actually the opposite; if I don't practice it every once in a while, my tendency is to make an abbreviated backswing and start down too fast.

@Hardspoon, monitor your anxiety as your work through your pieces both in BS and DS, specifically finishing BS. It helps you stay centered in your pivot and is beneficial in gaining hand depth and maintaining arm length through DS.

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16 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

 

@Hardspoon, monitor your anxiety as your work through your pieces both in BS and DS, specifically finishing BS. It helps you stay centered in your pivot and is beneficial in gaining hand depth and maintaining arm length through DS.

That's a great way to put it: "anxiety". It doesn't feel rushed per se, just anxious to get to the DS.

I'm extremely wired in general, so this is just another symptom. It definitely comes into play in my pitching technique as well.

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4 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

That's a great way to put it: "anxiety". It doesn't feel rushed per se, just anxious to get to the DS.

I'm extremely wired in general, so this is just another symptom. It definitely comes into play in my pitching technique as well.

Don't worry too much. As mechanics get better, it won't affect your dynamics as much. You can be good AND wired. Keep it up..  

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Got a bit of practice in today at the range.  Mostly focused on the "stabbing" drill downswing feel, and a bit of pitching practice.  It went OK.  Still a lot of work to do.

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Went back to the range today with video to see how I was doing on my downswing piece; I'm glad that I did...

...since I'm completely screwing it up. 

Looks decent there, and the impact position is OK, but it's not as good as it was up in Erie:

6i_FO_A7_2017-01-15_Stab Drill.png

Even worse, when working on the "pump/stab" drill, I was not getting the backswing pieces right (generally bad on the hand depth, and some weird stuff going on at the top):

This had me coming way over the top (and mixing in some other weirdnesses), demonstrated at A5:

6i_DTL_A5_2017-01-15_Stab Drill.png

The good news is that I was able to see all of this going on as I worked by reviewing the video; the bad news is I struggled to correct it.  I need to make sure the "pumps" include my previous work to keep the club behind my hands, and I need to keep working on the backswing stuff until I can do it even while working on my downswing piece.

I'm going to work on that stuff at home, and then hopefully get back out to the range soon to try again.

 

One fun note: my driving range puts up seasonal inflatables (turkey for Thanksgiving, etc.), and they had a snowman set up today on the 150-yard green, perfectly on my aiming line for the bay that I ended up at.  On one of my shots, I hit him directly in the face.  Hilarious.

Snapshot 1 (1-15-2017 4-28 PM).png

 

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