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Stubborn Steepness


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A brick wall for me seems to be my inability to shallow out my club on the downswing. For the past couple of years, this simple idea has been my nemesis, and I feel like I've been pretty open to changing the picture: slow practice swings, video, mirror. After a fair amount work each time I set out to fix my steepness, the result seems to be:

  1. Temporary improvement in the shallowness at fast speed (after much slow speed work), but not 100% 
  2. The impact always feels awkward, as I can't seem to sync my body with the club coming through this way
  3. The steepness returns over time as I play on the course- losing most, if not all, progress.

Specifically, I'm trying to go from this to this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.24.56 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.25.20 AM.png

Each time I try, I am optimistic and think I can just DO IT. Make the change. So I'll stay positive this time around.

My instructor has me recording my practice in slow speed from A4 to A6, then stopping there. Then completing the swing.  Then doing a full speed swing.  So I'll do this over and over and over, and review the video each time. I will have some time to start this today.

So my questions  are:

  1. Have any of you overcome steepness in your downswing before?
  2. If so, what was your experience and any tips for others?
  3. How critical is the left wrist?
  4. The right elbow? 
  5. Left forearm rotation?
  6. Or could this be an issue of incorrectly starting the swing with the arms, rather than initiating from the ground up?
  7. All of the above, or it depends on each person's specific fault?
  8. I am trying to make sense of videos of various pros who do this correctly, but any tips to unlock a good "feel" for me would be welcome.

 

 

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IDK. I always liked a one piece take away to get to a good position at the top. I also like having my elbows "reasonably" level on the way to the top. It is my belief those two thoughts kept me on what ever plane my swing might be on. Once at the top, if correct,  my down swing was set, and never really gave it much of thought. To this day I could not tell you which plane I use. 

I will applaud any golfer who goes the extra mile, or puts in the extra effort to get all positions in their swing to fit with one another. I am not that golfer. Just too many positions to keep track of for my golf brain. I just swing the club, and hit the ball with a good impact position.  My own "KISS" swing method. 

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59 minutes ago, RandallT said:
  1. Have any of you overcome steepness in your downswing before

Still working on it. Well it's on hiatus right now as I try to get into more just playing golf rather than fixing the swing.

59 minutes ago, RandallT said:
  1. How critical is the left wrist?

Depends on the golfer.

Focus on key's 1-5 and you'll hit good shots ;)

59 minutes ago, RandallT said:
  1. The right elbow?

It depends on the swing.

59 minutes ago, RandallT said:
  1. Or could this be an issue of incorrectly starting the swing with the arms, rather than initiating from the ground up?.

Depends on the golfer. Still,  not having good turn rates can cause the clubhead to rotate a lot to the inside instead of gaining depth with the turn. That can cause the flat to steep transition.

59 minutes ago, RandallT said:
  1. All of the above, or it depends on each person's specific fault?

 

^^ Bingo

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2 hours ago, RandallT said:

So my questions  are:

  1. Have any of you overcome steepness in your downswing before?
  2. If so, what was your experience and any tips for others?

A feel that helped me shallow out was, from the top, just "swinging sideways." You need to load the club well, i.e. a good shoulder turn, wrist hinge, and etc. From there though I just don't dive at the ball with the club. I feel like I'm making the club head travel along a slightly longer path to the ball, but it feels much smoother (and easier on my back).

Of course feel ain't real, but here's hoping it will help.

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3 hours ago, RandallT said:

A brick wall for me seems to be my inability to shallow out my club on the downswing. For the past couple of years, this simple idea has been my nemesis, and I feel like I've been pretty open to changing the picture: slow practice swings, video, mirror. After a fair amount work each time I set out to fix my steepness, the result seems to be:

  1. Temporary improvement in the shallowness at fast speed (after much slow speed work), but not 100% 
  2. The impact always feels awkward, as I can't seem to sync my body with the club coming through this way
  3. The steepness returns over time as I play on the course- losing most, if not all, progress.

Specifically, I'm trying to go from this to this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.24.56 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.25.20 AM.png

Each time I try, I am optimistic and think I can just DO IT. Make the change. So I'll stay positive this time around.

My instructor has me recording my practice in slow speed from A4 to A6, then stopping there. Then completing the swing.  Then doing a full speed swing.  So I'll do this over and over and over, and review the video each time. I will have some time to start this today.

So my questions  are:

  1. Have any of you overcome steepness in your downswing before?
  2. If so, what was your experience and any tips for others?
  3. How critical is the left wrist?
  4. The right elbow? 
  5. Left forearm rotation?
  6. Or could this be an issue of incorrectly starting the swing with the arms, rather than initiating from the ground up?
  7. All of the above, or it depends on each person's specific fault?
  8. I am trying to make sense of videos of various pros who do this correctly, but any tips to unlock a good "feel" for me would be welcome.

 

 

I've been working on this for two years. I has not become automatic yet either. You really have to identify the cause and correct that. It may take a while. Don't be afraid to ask your instructor these questions either.

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I am working on this exact same move.  I can get a good feeling for it with a wedge or a mid iron swinging 50%.   Then every time I go to swing an iron at 100% the club gets steeper.  It has definitely improved but I reckon its gonna take a long time.  

Biggest thing that has helped me "Feel" the proper motion is setting my wrists and starting my hips earlier.  I tend to have an aggressive "downward jabbing" motion to start my backswing so moving the hips helps relive that some.  

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In a video of your full swing, take a look and see if you're right shoulder doesn't come *out* towards the ball vs *down*.  Just from your picture - it looks like you're arms are behind you - ie, you're not well connected with your body and also that your right shoulder is going to come down slightly over the dynamic plane. 

In the picture of the pro you posted - it's kinda subtle but notice how his right elbow is more infront of his body as and his left arm is more away from his body than yours. 

This is one of those things that, I think, is going to looks small but feel HUGELY different to you. 

Also - I have no idea what I'm talking about.  You have been warned, lol. 

 

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Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the comments. Good to see I'm not alone, because misery loves company. Also good to see that better players than me have the same issue, so I can still improve even if I can't get over this hurdle (this season I'm a 90s player). I'm amazed at how hard this issue is to get make progress with, as I've made it past other easier stumbling blocks, so this really has me.

I'll be sure to speak with my instructor about the specifics of how to do this. I think thus far we've mainly discussed what to fix as far as specifically what the picture will look like when better, but I'll review the lessons to see if I am missing specifics on how exactly to do it (or not do it).

 

For what it's worth (as we don't need to specifically discuss my swing here), I went to the range to do slow motion A4-A6 drills, followed by a full swing. Then reviewed each video to see what is bleeding over, and to check if the drill was getting the right shallowness.

Pic on left is A5 from slow motion movement from A4 to A6.

Pic on right is A5 from full swing full speed. Aaaaargh. Why is it so hard to replicate a move from slow motion when you know are you are going to hit the ball full speed? It's crazy.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.10.30 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.09.41 PM.png

 

At A4, the slow motion drill is on the left. My full swing A4 is on the right:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.00.05 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.16.31 PM.png

Changing the picture at full speed is killing me, as I revert right back- even when trying to focus. The right answer has been told to many times... speed up bit by bit, and only go as fast as you can still do the form right.

Anyway, the point is not to discuss my swing specifically here (as this is also covered in my "My Swing" thread with video), but just meant to be a general discussion about other people's experiences with steepness, so that we can share info about the problem and its solutions.

 

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Man - I do the same exact thing.  I do something in slow motion, or better yet, without a ball and it's just glorious, lol.  Put a ball there and it's a different story.  In my case, I became so aware of it that I could *feel* my body change as soon as I addressed the ball.  

What has helped me has been trying out different feels and seeing what they do on video.  As I did that, slowly, my "mental picture" has started to change.  It's funny how it happens, too.  First you don't get it all.  Then you get it but it feels *weird*.  Then it feels normal.  Now you can't remember what it feels like to do it the old way. 

I used to be steep but I don't think anybody would've called it out as such because I was also so flat in my takeaway.  But compared to how I took it away, I came down steeper.  I would say I've fixed it quite a bit but it's still my tendency . .both to be too flat and also to come down steeper, over the top and also to cast it . .I think all these things are highly related to each other.  But it's like a patient telling you what it's like to have a disease, lol . .you need to hear from the DR. 

 

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Not saying I do it well or better than you, but some ideas to consider playing with...

In full swing your right wrist looks relatively neutral where I would expect more extension (waiter holding a tray analogy). Also in the slow-mo swings you seem to get the trail elbow more toward the ball earlier than in the full swing where it looks like it's slightly 'behind' the side of your rib cage.

Could you be so focused on maintaining connection with your upper trail arm that you're not letting the elbow lead the arm and hands in more of a sidearm (stone skipping) motion? Or is the flattish trail wrist coming down a sign that you're 'throwing' / 'pushing' a bit in early d/s through the trail arm/shoulder?

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17 minutes ago, Rainmaker said:

What has helped me has been trying out different feels and seeing what they do on video.  As I did that, slowly, my "mental picture" has started to change.  It's funny how it happens, too.  First you don't get it all.  Then you get it but it feels *weird*.  Then it feels normal.  Now you can't remember what it feels like to do it the old way. 

Yes, this is where I'm really trying to get with this issue. I'll provide further updates in my swing thread, for those interested.

 

13 minutes ago, natureboy said:

Not saying I do it well or better than you, but some ideas to consider playing with...

In full swing your right wrist looks relatively neutral where I would expect more extension (waiter holding a tray analogy). Also in the slow-mo swings you seem to get the trail elbow more toward the ball earlier than in the full swing where it looks like it's slightly 'behind' the side of your rib cage.

Could you be so focused on maintaining connection with your upper trail arm that you're not letting the elbow lead the arm and hands in more of a sidearm (stone skipping) motion? Or is the flattish trail wrist coming down a sign that you're 'throwing' / 'pushing' a bit in early d/s through the trail arm/shoulder?

Good points. I'll be over in my swing thread thinking through the specific faults on my swing. I've got a running list of things there that my instructor has said are a priority, so maybe my next submission, I'll ask the impact of these things. 

But back to general information about being too steep, what is the reason that it is so destructive again? I know that it is bad, but I can't recall why exactly.

Is it because when I come in too steep that I have to compensate at the very end, microseconds before impact by quickly shallowing out, which results in inconsistent results because of the quick steepening is too hard to get right every time? Just too hard to control, so I need to come from a more appropriate plane?

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@RandallT, in my experience the 'steep' position at the top comes from the instinct to position your right hand 'above' the left to start the downswing. In addition to steep, it is also very narrow. I practice 'right palm facing the sky' at the top feeling. It allows me to keep my right elbow pointing down without thinking. I know many people also use supporting a 'pizza tray' at the top (you would have right wrist bent if you held a pizza tray with your right hand as in below pic and you would hold it flatter, facing the sky more).

IMHO this position is hard to put in practice because the feeling it produces is it reduces the control of the hands on the club - instinctively super hard to do - exactly what is needed.

It is still an issue with me and with my complex set up, it can be debilitating since I try to over-shallow it to compensate as a result.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.00.05 PM.png

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13 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

@RandallT, in my experience the 'steep' position at the top comes from the instinct to position your right hand 'above' the left to start the downswing. In addition to steep, it is also very narrow. I practice 'right palm facing the sky' at the top feeling. It allows me to keep my right elbow pointing down without thinking. I know many people also use supporting a 'pizza tray' at the top (you would have right wrist bent if you held a pizza tray with your right hand as in below pic and you would hold it flatter, facing the sky more).

IMHO this position is hard to put in practice because the feeling it produces is it reduces the control of the hands on the club - instinctively super hard to do - exactly what is needed.

It is still an issue with me and with my complex set up, it can be debilitating since I try to over-shallow it to compensate as a result.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.00.05 PM.png

 

That is a great feeling to have.  The pizza pan or palm to the sky feeling.  

My question is, when do you set that in your wrists?  A3? A4?

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1 hour ago, pumaAttack said:

 

That is a great feeling to have.  The pizza pan or palm to the sky feeling.  

My question is, when do you set that in your wrists?  A3? A4?

Please take this with a grain of salt since I honestly feel a bit unqualified to dish out too much technical info. I think you have to gradually start rolling it open (careful not to yank it too far 'in' below plane). In short, one big roll open to top. Again just a feeling. Just a side note practicing this feel (my experience) - DO NOT lose focus Key #2 - weight on left. When we place attention on backswing feels, attention and body weight automatically shifts right (or more right than it should) and you yank hands, arms club, too far inwards. So in combination if you stay focused on Key #2 AND roll palm open; you will find that shaft will have a better chance of staying on plane.

Now, only if I can follow my own advice..  

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3 hours ago, RandallT said:

Yes, this is where I'm really trying to get with this issue. I'll provide further updates in my swing thread, for those interested.

 

Good points. I'll be over in my swing thread thinking through the specific faults on my swing. I've got a running list of things there that my instructor has said are a priority, so maybe my next submission, I'll ask the impact of these things. 

But back to general information about being too steep, what is the reason that it is so destructive again? I know that it is bad, but I can't recall why exactly.

Is it because when I come in too steep that I have to compensate at the very end, microseconds before impact by quickly shallowing out, which results in inconsistent results because of the quick steepening is too hard to get right every time? Just too hard to control, so I need to come from a more appropriate plane?

I've heard this somewhere before - it's easier to shallow early and steepen late than to steepen early and shallow late. So if you start the shallowing right from A4, it gives you room, time, to steepen late. If you steepen early a lot, you throw out your angles, losing power and consistency. Instructors, please correct me if I'm wrong.

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3 hours ago, RandallT said:

But back to general information about being too steep, what is the reason that it is so destructive again? I know that it is bad, but I can't recall why exactly.

I think the video was good. I was going to say shallower tends to give you a longer flat spot (all things being equal). I think it also facilitates an inside approach to the ball.

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  • iacas changed the title to Looking for advice from someone who has successfully Shallowed their swing

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