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Understanding the Golf Swing

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  1. 1. How well do you understand the golf swing?

    • 1 - Not a whit!
      4
    • 2 - Club hit ball. Right?
      27
    • 3 - I slice and pull a lot. I think that means I come over the top.
      85
    • 4 - I can work the ball if I want to.
      42
    • 5 - I still check in with the pro to see what I should work on.
      68
    • 6 - I know what I have to work on myself, and then I do it.
      114
    • 7 - I can fix just about any problem I see.
      24
    • 8 - Everyone asks me for advice.
      6
    • 9 - One step below Leadbetter
      4


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I played today with two kids who are 15. Both hit the ball, as you might imagine, pretty far. I was about 20 yards short on all tee shots (3W or driver).

They both do this, but I'll talk about one in particular as his case is severe. Mike hits the ball just about 25 to 30° to the right of his target line. The ball hooks back, sometimes too much.

I've measured. 30°. It's ridiculous. It works at the course I play at - there are not many "chutes" of trees, and the holes that have chutes accept a draw. But he still comes awfully close.

Sometimes, of course, he leaves the clubface open and the ball goes about 100 yards right on that same 30° angle.

One hole - 16 at my course - is a short, uphill par 4. No room to hit a 80-yard hook. I told him to squeeze off a 3W or hold off the face from closing. He had no idea what I really meant.

Mike's swing is flat enough to set a ball on it and have it not roll off, and he delivers the club from so far inside I'm surprised he doesn't catch his fingers on the belt loop over his back pocket.

Mike typically shoots about 78, but he'll have rounds where everything goes right or everything hooks 150 yards to the left (I ain't kiddin') and he'll shoot 96 with six or seven shots OB. He regularly hits a 3I off a fairly reachable par 5 on the back nine (13 at my course) because he's gone OB so many times there it's scared him off of even hitting a 3W.

Kids these days, I tell ya. Anyway, this is a long roundabout way of asking one very simple question: how well do you believe you understand the golf swing? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being David Leadbetter and 1 being, I dunno, some kid in Nepal who's never heard of golf.

I'd put myself at about a 7 or an 8. I've always had a pretty good knack for seeing what other people are doing in a golf swing, and though I may struggle from time to time, as soon as I get myself on film I know exactly what to fix. Understanding the golf swing and being able to do it and feel it are two different things, after all.

I've read up on things, I know some good training drills, and I play both by feel and analytically, depending on the situation.

In fact, if y'all want to list your handicap index and your guess at your score here, maybe we'll see a correlation.

Mine: 5.7 index, 7.5 understanding (I'll choose 7 in the poll)

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Oh yes, an additional note. Mike basically got into a small argument with me about another player, Steve. Steve cannot swing from the inside to save his life - I think he's literally physically incapable of it. He hits a big cut most of the time, or when his timing is on he hits a pull cut that finds fairways. Typical "over the top" move and if the clubface is square, it starts down the middle and cuts, if it's closed it starts left and cuts, and if it's really closed it starts left and goes straight or hooks.

Mike was trying to tell me that those pull-draws were a matter of coming from the inside. I tried to point out that it's all relative - if swing path is 5 degrees from the outside and the clubface is closed 10 degrees, it'll start left and then hook, but it wasn't a "hook swing" or "from the inside."

I'm not sure what they're failing to grasp here - it's always been something I tend to innately "get." The clubface at impact is the starting line of the ball. Its flight from there on out is determined by the swing path relative to the clubface. That's it.

But they don't get that. I don't know what that says about them - or their future - as golfers. I hope they learn fast.

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'm not sure what they're failing to grasp here - it's always been something I tend to innately "get." The clubface at impact is the starting line of the ball. Its flight from there on out is determined by the swing path relative to the clubface. That's it.

Thats not quite correct Erik.Its the other way around : Swingpath gives the ball its initial direction and its the clubface that applies the spin to the ball thereafter,and therefore gives the final shot shape. Im not teaching you to suck eggs - and hopefully some others can learn,but thats why your typical slicer's divot points left,but why the ball then curves to the right...... Out to in swing (or "over-the-top" move): Divot aims left along swing-path. Open clubface to this swing-path: Ball spins left to right (anti-clockwise). = SLICE !!!!!

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Not the best example ever ive seen but heres a little insert about Swingpaths and ball-flights for anyone interested:

http://www.swinglife.iwarp.com/pages...andflight.html


Basically theres 3 swing-paths (Out to in,inside-square-to inside and in to out),and three clubface positions (open,square and closed) giving you 9 potential shot shapes:

From left to right across the spectrum:

Outside to in SWING with CLOSED clubface = Pull-hook.
Outside to in SWING with SQUARE clubface = Pull.
Outside to in SWING with OPEN clubface = Slice.

Square SWING with CLOSED clubface = Draw away from target.
Square SWING with SQUARE clubface = Straight shot.
Square SWING with OPEN clubface = Fade away from target.

In to out SWING with CLOSED clubface = Hook.
In to out SWING with SQUARE clubface = Push.
In to out SWING with OPEN clubface = Push-slice.

As well as those nine shots you also have these 2:

Slightly inside to out SWING with slightly CLOSED clubface = Draw.
Slightly outside to in SWING with slightly OPEN clubface = Fade.

Then EXCESSIVELY in to out OR out to in with hosel strike = Shank.

First way to "cure" any of these bad shots is to work on swingpath FIRST (always) (look at divot for a clue) - THEN sort the position of the clubface at impact after that.

Hope that helps someone

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Thats not quite correct Erik.Its the other way around

Uh, yes, that's what I said. Except that swing path has very little to do with the initial direction. I know which way a divot points, and it seems as though you're drastically misreading what I've written.

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Thats not quite correct Erik.Its the other way around

Maybe I am just misunderstanding you, but part of that doesnt make sense to me. But if you open the clubface along the out to in swingpath it would make it slice, but wouldnt that require the ball to spin clockwise? To me it would seem that anti clockwise rotation of the ball and an outside-in swing would result in a pull-hook or pull-draw?

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Maybe I am just misunderstanding you, but part of that doesnt make sense to me. But if you open the clubface along the out to in swingpath it would make it slice, but wouldnt that require the ball to spin clockwise? To me it would seem that anti clockwise rotation of the ball and an outside-in swing would result in a pull-hook or pull-draw?

I think he meant clockwise.

Slices spin clockwise (when viewed from above looking down on top of the ball). Hooks spin counter-clockwise (again, when viewed from above). And ignoring backspin, of course. Really - when viewed from the tee (i.e. behind the ball, with it travelling away from you), a slice spins like / and a draw spins like \ (if you understand my simple ASCII art, imagine arrow heads on the bottom of each of those).

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OK cool. It was just what made sense to me, but what makes sense to me definitely isnt always right.

Further discussion of swing path and clubface angles can be done

in this thread . Let's get this thread back to talking about how well you believe you understand the golf swing.

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I would say I have an understanding of about a 6, I can usually diagnose whats causing things to go wrong since I know what I tend to do wrong. But I cant really look at someone elses swing and know whats wrong with it.

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i know my swing inside and out. since i play mostly by feel, it's hard for me to tell others what they could do to improve, so I just keep my mouth shut.

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I'd have to give myself a 3.5 out of 10 on swing understanding and it shows in my handicap. I'm a mid nineties guy for the time being. While I'm a 3.5 I'm in the middle of a swing change with a pro so here's to hoping that improves soon.

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"The process of learning your golf swing (or anything else) begins when you challenge your brain by flooding it with new information -- a new grip, a different aim, or a brand-new start to your downswing. To handle the overload your brain adds connections and your neural networks grow in size. Once the growth has occurred, the brain rewards itself by releasing pleasure molecules called endorphins, the reason you feel good when you learn something. Given this built-in reward system, the message is clear: to learn how to swing the club, the best thing you can do is be patient, accept the temporary chaos, and let the endorphins rage."

Finally somebody explained it the way we can understand... Oh wait. I didn't understand it

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"The process of learning your golf swing (or anything else) begins when you challenge your brain by flooding it with new information -- a new grip, a different aim, or a brand-new start to your downswing. To handle the overload your brain adds connections and your neural networks grow in size. Once the growth has occurred, the brain rewards itself by releasing pleasure molecules called endorphins, the reason you feel good when you learn something. Given this built-in reward system, the message is clear: to learn how to swing the club, the best thing you can do is be patient, accept the temporary chaos, and let the endorphins rage."

I'm gonna read some Rotella books. I'm guessing he doesn't talk quite like that.

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I'm gonna read some Rotella books. I'm guessing he doesn't talk quite like that.

Nah, it's not from Rotella. I think he's preaching is different sort - he doesn't talk to about changing swings, learning new swings. He's idea is - whatever you have is good enough for him, and he'll help you get your head out of the way, so you can execute your mechanics that you have. If you don't have them - he can't help you.

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I'm about the same as Erik. I've played many years, taken many lessons, watched many videos, read many books. I have a very good understanding of my swing and can help most players with a 15 or above. Some of the finer details I can not pick up without video. My selection was 7 and I am a 7 handicap.

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I'm a 7, but people treat me as an 8.

I wish I knew more about the swing...or at least could pick up quicker on things. It takes me a while to watch someone and really pick up what they are doing. Just in the past year or so I've paid much more attention to the differences in swings and tried helping more. The reason I was hesitiant in the past is that I didn't want to cause any more problems. I'm over that now though...but still tread lightly and only work on one thing at a time.

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Note: This thread is 4273 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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