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DaveP043

What have you changed?

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A couple of recent posts have set me to thinking (can you smell the smoke?), I've made a number of changes over the past year or so.  I really hadn't made any significant intentional changes to any of this for a long time, so its interesting to me to look back and see how its gone.

Swing changes - I've improved my posture and weight distribution at set-up, and am continuing to work on improving my hip rotation.  My ball flight is getting straighter and higher as a result, and I might be hitting it just a little further.

Decision making - Following some of the LSW suggestions, I'm laying up less, trying to get closer to the green more often.  I believe this has meant fewer missed greens, probably more birdies.  I've left the flagstick in whenever legal.  I honestly don't think I've hit the stick on a putt from the fringe, so I'd say this choice has had no impact on my scoring, but over the course of a few years it might make a stroke or two difference.  I took the Aimpoint Clinic in May, and my green-reading has definitely improved.  

Equipment - Changed to Snell MTB balls.  No real difference to my scores, but my wallet stays a little more full.  No other significant changes, although another website has sent me a new driver shaft to test and review.  

Over all, I'm pleased with the changes.  My handicap is approaching an all-time low, and I've enjoyed working on the swing changes, rather than practicing to groove my flawed swing as I'd been doing before.

What about you?  What have you changed, and how has it worked out for you?

 

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Great idea for a post.

Swing Changes - Better steady head, better weight transfer, better hip turn. Easier to manipulate the backswing to stop letting the club head get too inward. Better set up with all swings and short game. Better pitching motions. I hit a lot better shots this year compared to last year. I am much more confident in my short game.

Decision Making - I tend to aim off tight pin placements with regards to hazards/bunkers subject to my shot zone. On punch out shots and par 5 approach shots, I try to advance the ball as far as possible with regards to hazards/bunkers.

Equipment - I switched to the Callaway Big Bertha Epic Sub Zero driver.

Thinking back, I like how things are progressing. Though I wish I was more consistent with it.

 

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Swing changes - I switched from my baseball grip to an overlap which, in turn, largely eliminated the wrist action I had always previously had as I was coming through the ball. It was very painful for about a month and a half. Lots of shanks and trashed scorecards. In the past couple of months, the shanks have decreased substantially (not totally gone yet) and my ball striking and scoring has been better in general. 

Decision making - Nothing really. As my swing has evolved, some of the distances I'm capable of have changed. There are certain holes I can go for now that I previously wouldn't have attempted.

Equipment - Went back to a Nike VRS driver instead of the Covert I was using at the end of last year. After changing the grip, the VRS seemed to give me the better chance at hitting it straight. ... I also recently put a 3W in the bag and removed my 4I. Now that I'm past the club championship, I want to see if I can get as comfortable hitting it as my 5W. They are both old school Taylormade Burner Bubble.

April and May were no fun at all. While the results I've had since then aren't jaw-dropping, there are plenty of positives going forward. It's a step closer.   

Edited by mcanadiens

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Swing changes - My grip got weak over time so I've strengthened it this season. I had more of a pull-through swing started by addressing the ball with the club shaft way forward and OPEN; I've since changed back to more flat at address and a slightly closed face (thanks to my new grip) and have room to weight shift forward with still a negative angle of attack.

Decision making - The biggest one I've made is not rushing into another shot after making a bad shot. That's where my blow-up holes were happening and were quite frustrating, leading into the next hole or series of holes.

Equipment - This season I think I've had zero equipment changes.

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Swing changes - Shorter backswing the last round and a half.  Very small sample size, but hitting the ball straighter.  

 

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Congrats on the handicap trending downward.

Without going into all the details, the biggest change I have made is achieving a better Key #3.

Sounds pretty simple, but it sure as hell wasn't.

The hardest part for me is replacing something that feels comfortable and has brought you success with something that feels different and is uncertain.

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Oh where to begin...everything.

Swing Changes: Takeaway, setting the club more parallel to the target line instead of letting it go inward.  Shorter BS.  Transition, feel like my pelvis pushes back a bit to start and pivot the hips (not slide them forward).  Keep from lifting onto my toes to create a false sense of power.  Change in posture to center my weight a little better and keep my head from moving in the BS, changed grip to overlap (club feels more stable at the top), started swinging with a more controlled tempo.  Recently started developing the partial wedge shots.

Decision making:  teeing up on side of the tee box to remove trouble side from field of view.  Aim away from the pin if necessary.  Try to get exact distance to the pin.

Equipment: Changed to shorter mallet putter, changed from Ping G2's to Mizuno MX-23's.  Ditched 3W and put a hybrid in the bag.

This is all since March when I started taking lessons and posted a My Swing thread...

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Swing changes:  Complete rebuild (maybe better to call it a "build").  My entire life, I pretty much just tried to athletically "hit" the ball.  Sure, I'd try to be aware of my swing path, posture, etc., in general, but I never built a swing around anything or had any fundamental checkpoints.  My goal was to just hit the ball solidly at my target.  This year, in large part due to reading instruction and discussion from right here at TST, I began building a fundamental swing from the ground up--using drills and checkpoints as a large part of my practice regimen, instead of just mindlessly banging balls until I found something that hopefully worked through a round.  Part of this has also been a focus on killing the flip(!)--a ~30 year fixture of my swing (so it will be a continual challenge).  Can't cover every change here, but I'm applying 5SK, so that's my foundation.

The results have been positive.  Now when I revert to the flip, or something else breaks down, I can much more easily identify and fix it on-course--whereas in the past, I had no clue what was wrong and losing it resulted in it staying lost the whole round.  My HI hasn't dropped much, yet--mostly because I've played almost all solo rounds since the spring, and still I tend to get a little swing-analytical and mechanical on-course, instead of leaving that for practice and just playing.  But my good shots are getting really good, and there are a whole lot more of them.  I've more than doubled my birdie count from last year, already here in early-August.

Decision making:  Not too much change, here.  I've always considered myself a smart player--the strength of my game, probably.  I did recently buy LSW, and am working my way through the first read, now.  While I've always been a nGIR believer, I do expect I'll adopt some of the decision-mapping strategies, etc.  And I will also apply the practice strategies in the book.

Equipment:  Bought a laser rangefinder (great decision!)  Otherwise, no major changes.  I'm considering working my 4 iron back into my bag, as currently I go from a 4H to 5i, and don't love the ~15-18y gap.  Last round, I dropped my 2H for the 4i, as I found I really only use the 2H for low punch-recovery shots, and maybe once every round or two on full swings.  We'll see.

Nice topic, @DaveP043!

Edited by BamaWade

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Swing changes: Biggest one is stopping the early extension and movement of my head up and away from the ball during the downswing. Making a centered hip turn is also relevant to that as well. I also changed my putting grip from the same grip I used with all other clubs (interlocking left index finger with right pinky) to a more traditional putting grip where the left index finger goes over top the right fingers. The hip and head work is still a work in progress but I can definitely see/feel the results in consistency and ball striking when I do it correctly.

Decision making: Biggest one so far has been with the short game, deciding to use the bump and run with a pitching wedge/middle iron when there is a lot of green to work with instead of just grabbing the highest lofted club every time regardless of the lie and how much green there is. It has also made my putts after those bump and runs better because I can get a much longer read in regards to how the putt will break as it gets closer to the hole.

Although in a week and a half I will be getting a copy of LSW so in about a month I'm positive that this category will need updated.

Equipment: This has been by far the biggest change for me. EVERY club in my bag is new for me this year. I had been playing with the same original boxed set my parents got me 10 years ago and knew it was time for an upgrade especially since I planned on golfing more frequently and wanted to focus on improving. The irons and the putter were the only things I got brand new, and my wife paid for the putter as my early birthday gift. Everything else was used which saved me a TON of money. I managed to get my driver, 3 wood, and 3 hybrid for $180 total. I also added the 3 hybrid and ditched the 3 iron. Still getting used to that.

Edited by klineka

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This season I haven't changed much.

Swing changes: not much I don't think. Haven't had the time this year to practice as much as I'm used to and I'm still working on the same issue as I was late last year.

Decision making: I went back to playing driver off most tees instead of playing a shorter tee shot to a short or mid-iron range. I feel it's negatively affected my scores and I haven't "learned to hit the driver" at all. I did learn that my driver is in play more than I give it credit for, but the big push is still extremely penal.

Equipment: nothing, yet ;-)

I did get a new bag, I guess that counts. Oh and a 40oz insulated water bottle which is totally sweet.


Overall, status quo. My handicap has gone up a little and I feel that's a reflection of my time spent on practice being limited. Still have time to turn it around later in the season.

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Excellent thread @DaveP043.

Swing Changes: This year I've focused on two things.  First is getting my right elbow/upper arm more attached to my body during the backswing.  Second is extending through the ball with the hands in/closer to my body.  My last few rounds have been great and I'm very optimistic for the rest of the year. 

Decision Making:  Two things I've tried incorporating are 1) being a bit more aggressive in getting the ball closer to the green (being careful to avoid trouble) instead of laying-up and 2) aiming away from the pin to fatter/safer parts of the green in order to hit more greens.  The last one is still a bit hard to incorporate as it goes against natural instinct, especially inside 150 or so.

Equipment:  Went to the Callaway Epic driver and added Edel wedges late last year.  Both switches have been extremely positive.  I also have an Edel putter on order.

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I am cheating a bit because of my time away from the game but much has changed this year.  

Swing Changes:  I worked on a few things this year and I am pretty happy with where the swing is at.  I have worked on grip, how I take the club back and how I rotate and swing through the ball mainly.  

Decision Making:  Putting myself in a better position off the tee.  Really it is still about the swing, and eliminating how much I tend to miss left.  I don't really know that I am doing all that much differently than I was before other than making a greater effort to focus on reading my putts(I tend to check out on the putting green).  I don't really enjoy putting.  

Equipment:  I have many new clubs other than my wedges and putter which are the same.  I basically bought brand new irons(new but set is a couple years old) and woods that I thought would fit my game and be as cheap as possible at the same time.  I think I spent about $675 on everything.  I also was finally able to add the Snell My Tour Ball to my bag as I was injured when it came out.  I really like the ball the more I use it.  

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Swing Changes: Work on better posture, much looser right arm (thanks to @mvmac swing drill from last summer) which leads to better shoulder turn and club position at top. This has improved swing motion consistency. Only problem: I have some days with thin shots - including a couple of 10 yd. tops.

Equipment:

  • Last last summer, I replaced my driver with an XR16 Pro, a heavier, lower torque R.flex shaft. Has really straightened tee shots, to the point I got the long-drive prize at last year's club championship. Some days I have trouble with a few high, lazy drives that come down about 190 yards out in left rough. Otherwise, a big improvement. On short Par 5s, I'm now within range to get home in two with a really solid approach shot.
  • (Last summer) Replace my CG14 wedges with Calla MDs in 48°, 54° and 60°. Going down to three wedges has really simplified life. I can choke down on 9i and feather the shot a little if the 48° reach is iffy. Have KBS Tour R-flex (110 gram shafts) in 48 and 54, livelier than stock wedge flex and closer to NS Pros in my irons.
  • Over winter, stumbles onto a one new and one slightly used 815Alpha FWs. These are a heavier, lower torque shaft than my old FWs. Have weights set for high launch so I get some really solid shots. This fall, I will get some launch monitor time and see if am more consistent by lofting up each FW a degree (to 16 and 19).

Decision Making: Going to just three wedges has simplified life greatly. Overall, decisions better if I'm "in the golf zone." Namely, I'm playing and practicing regularly. If I take off a couple of weeks and just have minimal practice, I make a lot of dumb decisions.

Also, my decisions are better when not playing with my Senior group. Everybody's really hot about "let's play fast." I sometimes rush my set-up. Or, I don't fully read the green and end up with a three putt... and end up waiting five minutes on the next tee for the group ahead to clear. And, we won't even talk about the cart mate who can't remember  to pick up his wedges after putting out. (I refuse to ride with him.) 

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Great thread and timing @DaveP043, gives me a chance to re-use one of my favourites from last summer!

Swing changes:

Loads. This is a year ago:

This is now:

In a nutshell:

  • Much tighter takeaway
  • Club not getting across the line anywhere near as much at the top of the backswing
  • Better hand path - more in-to-out
  • More stable lower body and head
  • Higher ball flight

I've also really improved my putting, particularly distance control. My wedge game is improving dramatically, too. I've recently bought James Ridyard's Short Game Secrets videos and working with those and the pitching instruction on this site has been really helpful.

Decision making:

It's getting easier now I'm back to a more predictable shot pattern. I've started properly aiming for the middle of greens when outside of 100 yards and that has helped. I pretty much always go for par 5s in two unless I have a hanging lie on the approach and am birdieing those far more often. Additionally, I'm being more aggressive off the tee, rather than going for a 220 yard hybrid that'll leave 160 in. Then again, most of this is only possible because of the improvements to the swing.

Equipment:

A few big changes. New hybrid (Titleist 816H2) as the old one was a freebie with the driver I'd had for 3 years. I also changed the driver up a few weeks ago, moving toward the Callaway Epic rather than my custom-fit (for my then slice swing) X2 Hot. Biggest change has been the addition of my Edel wedges, which have taken a bit of time to learn, but have opened up a whole new world of possibilities around the greens.

Practice:

I'm going to add this category in. I'm not perfect with this and sometimes, you just want to beat balls to get rid of stress or aren't in the mood for a proper range session. However, my practice (since about March) has been much better - I've stuck to the evolvr feedback, really gone for it with the drills and I've tried to make my short game work either technique or challenge. I can do more, but this is getting there, for sure.

I look forward to reviewing this in a year's time!

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Swing Change:  In April starting playing again after laying out for 15 years because of a car accident.  Realized that before I had quit entirely because of the pain I had compensated for the pain with some weird move as I transitioned from backswing to forward which was making me slice hugely and cut distance.

Started taking lessons that included video by PGA pro and realized saw the weird adjustment I was making at the top of swing that was causing a pretty drastic over the top action.  He had me change stance, grip and takeaway move concentrating on keeping hands and arms below the line to do away with the weird move.

Really felt like I had gone backwards for about 3 weeks, and suddenly it "clicked" and it feels like old swing before accident.  Nice natural draw on the ball, no slices and scores really started dropping fast.

Decision Making:  Have not really changed that much from old days pre accident.  Always felt that was one of the stronger parts of my game.  Knowing what I could do and what I could not do for my skill set and position on course, and what the hole offered.  Looking forward to getting LSW soon.  Not sure swing will ever be as good as it was 15 years ago before accident, and hope LSW can make the difference to get me back to a 5 or lower.

Equipment:  Playing the same clubs that I have had in the bag since 2001.  Been working on mechanics, but know that there are much more forgiving clubs.  Figure will get more serious about that during the winter.  

Only difference in equipment would be that I am culling through all the balls the golf ball fairy leaves in my yard on a daily basis and using just the Pro V1.  It is great playing a high quality ball for free :)  

 

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Swing: Ball forward for all shots; adjust width with right foot. Also, a considered pause at the top slows and shortens my backswing.

Decision: Read USGA's "play it forward " chart and Barney Adam's writing on the same.

Equipment: Mizuno JPX- 800 HD 4-Gap and JPX Hi-Fli 3 and 4 are working great for this old guy.  -Marv

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Swing Change:  I have just been focusing a lot on keeping my head steady and rotating the hips.  Following through has been a big issue of mine in the past as I tend to get lazy I guess and just stop my follow through not long after impact.  Being conscious of those two things has really helped the scores this year. 

Decision Making:  Being smarter with my shots.  Not going for every pin as I have done in the past.  My putting is at a point that I feel confident in 2 putting from anywhere on the green.  I still occasionally have a 3 putt, but that is once every few rounds and is directly attributed to not placing the ball where I intended.  Going for par 5s in 2 more often.  If I feel the shot I am about to hit is playing anywhere 250 and in I am going for it.  If not, lately with how dry the courses are, I am laying up to a number around 90-120, but I am looking to change that up to getting as close to the hole as possible where I can still control a chip shot.

Equipment:  Switched from my Nike VR Pro Blades to Mizuno JPX-850 forged irons.  This has been a huge change for me in a positive way.  I am hitting my irons 10-15 yards longer that with my previous set which is never a bad thing.  I have more control over them I feel as well, playing a nice 5 yard draw.  I switched from my Nike Method putter to a Scotty Cameron.  This has also been a huge improvement for me.  I never thought a putter could make such a difference, but the way I have been putting lately and the confidence I have with that club is excellent.  I also switched from the Nike RZN Black and Pro V1x balls to the Vice Pro Plus.  I'm not entirely sure if my better play is attributable to the ball switch or club switch, but I tested the Nike, Titleist and Vice side by side with all the clubs in the bag, and I felt that Vice either outperformed, or was too close to justify paying more for a ball that I was getting the same results with. 

Great thread BTW.

 

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