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Faksakes' Experiment


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What is The Great Experiment? 

Let me explain a bit first (warning, long and possibly boring):

Backstory

I have been a member here for a few years but not active in the last year and a half. I'm 41 and have been golfing since I was 14. My HC was around 13 for the last 10 years though I got to single digits for a few months once.

In the Spring of 2017 in my first round of golf for the year, on the third hole I took a swing with a fairway wood and heard a sickening "crack!" and I dropped like a rock. I had to be ambulanced off the course and found out I had fractured my back when the x-rays were done. I also found out I had osteoporosis and degenerative disc disease in my lower back. I had had back issues for years off an on. It was a 30% compression fracture. I went through a load of tests and scans to make sure it wasn't something worse than ostio and thankfully it was not. I took my recovery very seriously and bounced back quick. 

Two months later I was on holidays staying at an air bnb and woke up early to use the bathroom. In the pitch black I tripped over the foot-board on the bed and fell and blacked out from the pain. Call another ambulance. I had a second compression fracture in the vertebrae right below the first one. This one was 50%. This time recovery was slower but I took it seriously and got on with it. My physio works with the Canadian National Snowboard and Ski team and she was excellent and I credit her for my recovery. 

Current Situation

So currently my back is not causing me any pain unless I'm in a really bad chair for a really long time. I do my physio exercises and just started doing some light yoga as well. It was my first time yesterday doing yoga and I have to say it was pretty amazing. I felt much better after doing it although it was basic and beginner level and it was still hard as heck. I have not swung a club since that day on the course and have sold all my golf gear.

ok The Great Experiment

I am going to learn the game left handed. Playing righty all those years I swung really hard and damaged the discs as I said. My swing speed was over 110mph and I was the long hitter in my group. My swing had many flaws but it is ingrained and if I go back to swinging righty again I know I'm going to injure myself. It is too hard for me to change something I ingrained for so many years and I could never back off the speed like some can. Learning left handed I will be able to control speed much easier and I won't have all those ingrained neuro-pathways to retrain. 

So it's either lefty or no golf for me. 

The Plan:

- Take no instruction. Watch no videos. Do everything the opposite of what I did before and what most people do. My goals will be almost absurdly easy. I am simply going to listen to my body and see what happens. There will be no "scoring goals" or "handicap goals" etc. 

Goals:

Continue Physio, Yoga, Diet improvements. 

Be able to golf without injury or pain.

Use visualization, mental rehearsal and other unorthodox methods. I will explain these further as I go. 

I have no idea what will happen but I'm interested to see. I have maybe made a half dozen swings left handed in my life. Everything is going to be based around what feels good for my back. I'll have to buy all the gear again and since I'm in Canada my focus until spring will be on increasing balance, strength and flexibility. From there it will be baby steps. I'll start with chipping and putting and go from there. I think I'm even going to putt left handed. Commit fully to the change. 

If you read all that, bless you! I will post progress and further plans as we go. I miss the game so much, I just want to be able to get out there with my friends again. 

 

Cheers and wish me luck! 

 

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I don't think you understood/understand what "normal instruction" is. I am the one who wrote the "everyone is a feel player" topic. We aren't robots. We don't have switches and dials. The only re

He didn't say you ever said you did. He was simply pointing out that you don't. Constantine is one of the nicest dudes you'd ever meet, AND he's coming off an injury and coming back to golf to boot. H

He is the owner of the site and one of the best instructors in the country. You basically said he was a lousy instructor. He is giving you good information about how a good instructor does their job. 

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I don't know why you'd forego all instruction, etc.

But good luck, and please know that your long-term health is not worth chasing a little ball around, not when it comes to your back.

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Well, do be carefull, and I do wish you good luck. 

I like the idea of starting from the green backwards to the tee. Those shorter strokes/shots will give the OP's body more time to adapt to the new, left side swing.

It's better the body gives a less damaging warning during a shorter stroke, than to actually break something during a longer/faster swing. 

I actually think some healthy golfers would be better off learning the game backwards, (green to tee) if they are not going the "qualified instructor" route. 

As for the OP bypassing qualified instruction, that might be a good thing in his situation. My reasoning being how easy would it be to find qualified instruction for a golfer with osteoporosis. An instructor who knows how to teach a swing to a less than healthy golfer?

I will be looking forward to reading updates on this topic, as I have a personal interest in coming back to golf after a severe injury. Been there, done that, I have. 

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Yes I agree, it's not worth my health. I've been cleared by my doctors and physio. I was cleared actually for this past summer but wanted to work more on my strength and flexibility. My approach is going to be very cautious. If there is any pain at any point I'll be pulling out of the whole thing, which I hope won't happen. 

The reason I'm forgoing all instruction is because I don't think it works. I was self taught mostly (took a few lessons online over the years and a few in person but they never helped) and did pretty well. I feel instruction past setup and grip is useless. Actually, not useless, I think it's harmful. I know that's not a popular sentiment but that's my theory. Golf handicaps being the same more or less as 50 years ago is the evidence. I know people will say, as I did, "But people aren't working hard enough, practicing hard enough, in good enough shape etc...." and all that. I don't think so. 

I'm going to do almost everything the opposite of what convention says and see if I'm right. 

For example: "Take the course to the driving range." The idea behind that is it puts you in a game situation and will help you improve more than just bashing balls. Pretty much everyone agrees with this. I on the other hand am going to be taking the range to the course. I'm going to have huge targets to hit.

You know how they say, "Pick a small target in the fairway to aim at."? The conventional wisdom is that picking a small target will increase the likelihood of hitting more accurate shots. Even if you miss the small target, your misses will be smaller. I'll have a huge target. I'll still aim for the middle of it but my goal is to get it anywhere within the target (I'll probably have at least a circle of 50-75 yards or more I'll be aiming at). 

My target for the early stages will be even bigger. For my first few attempts at least the target will be "just make contact with the ball." Then maybe "hit it past the tee deck", then "hit it past the ladies tee" etc. Or maybe to break 100 on a 9 hole course. When I'm 50 yards from the green my target will be to get it within 20 yards of the green. When I'm chipping my target will be the entire green. When I'm putting from long distance my target will be to get it within 15 feet of the hole. When I'm closer it'll be to get it within 3 feet of the hole. Again I'll still be aiming for a spot but success is determined by hitting my set target, not a perfect shot.

I think I'll improve much faster than the usual methods people use. This method removes all pressure from the game. I don't know anyone that plays better under pressure in any sport, pro or armature. Just some people play better under it than others and so many people play terribly under it the guys that do well look even better. Proof: almost everyone hits it better on the range than on the course. 

Perhaps I will be proven a fool which is ok. I will be totally honest in my reporting. Assuming my back is fine and I can play the whole season (20-30 rounds) and that I've never played lefty, what do you think my potential will be? It'll be interesting to see if I exceed or fall below what people think.

17 minutes ago, Patch said:

Well, do be carefull, and I do wish you good luck. 

I like the idea of starting from the green backwards to the tee. Those shorter strokes/shots will give the OP's body more time to adapt to the new, left side swing.

It's better the body gives a less damaging warning during a shorter stroke, than to actually break something during a longer/faster swing. 

I actually think some healthy golfers would be better off learning the game backwards, (green to tee) if they are not going the "qualified instructor" route. 

As for the OP bypassing qualified instruction, that might be a good thing in his situation. My reasoning being how easy would it be to find qualified instruction for a golfer with osteoporosis. An instructor who knows how to teach a swing to a less than healthy golfer?

I will be looking forward to reading updates on this topic, as I have a personal interest in coming back to golf after a severe injury. Been there, done that, I have. 

Thanks man, I'll keep it updated. Hopefully I can make a return to the game I love and this thread doesn't end early. All the best.

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19 hours ago, Faksakes said:

 

The reason I'm forgoing all instruction is because I don't think it works. I was self taught mostly (took a few lessons online over the years and a few in person but they never helped) and did pretty well. I feel instruction past setup and grip is useless. Actually, not useless, I think it's harmful. I know that's not a popular sentiment but that's my theory

Yikes! I myself am self taught, but in order to refine some parts of my game and continue to improve I had to get help from teaching professionals. To say they are useless is a stretch, to say they are harmful is just outright crazy.

 

19 hours ago, Faksakes said:

Golf handicaps being the same more or less as 50 years ago is the evidence. I know people will say, as I did, "But people aren't working hard enough, practicing hard enough, in good enough shape etc...." and all that. I don't think so. 

I myself made the mistake of thinking this not too long ago. It is absolutely incorrect.

 

19 hours ago, Faksakes said:

I think I'll improve much faster than the usual methods people use. This method removes all pressure from the game. I don't know anyone that plays better under pressure in any sport, pro or armature. Just some people play better under it than others and so many people play terribly under it the guys that do well look even better. Proof: almost everyone hits it better on the range than on the course. 

 

I don't and neither does anyone I know. 

I hope you well in your endeavor to play this great game pain and injury free, but you may need to look at yourself and try to see through some of what many will view as complete fallacies in you thinking about how to best improve your golf game. 

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54 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

Yikes! I myself am self taught, but in order to refine some parts of my game and continue to improve I had to get help from teaching professionals. To say they are useless is a stretch, to say they are harmful is just outright crazy.

 

I myself made the mistake of thinking this not too long ago. It is absolutely incorrect.

 

I don't and neither does anyone I know. 

I hope you well in your endeavor to play this great game pain and injury free, but you may need to look at yourself and try to see through some of what many will view as complete fallacies in you thinking about how to best improve your golf game. 

This is the standard reply I expected and while I can appreciate your view I dissagree. I appreciate the correction on the hc thing though! Ive heard that so many times i beleived it. I still think current methods are poor though and not nearly as effective as they could be.

I think the entire approach is wrong in pretty much every sport. In sprinting for example people think we run way faster now then 50 years ago but its not true. Track technology is responsible for most of the time reductions. 

We try and make super talented athletes fit into our box. The coach knows best. Thats what we've heard forever. I think its complete bunk. Imagine having the berries to tell Tiger Woods, or Bobby Orr or Nolan Ryan or Michael Jordon that you know better than them? That they should play how the coach says? Its laughable to me. We are stunting the natural ability of all athletes. We should teach kids fundamentals and then leave them alone. Demand that they be as creative as possible and put in max effort. Thats it. 

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8 minutes ago, layup said:

We try and make super talented athletes fit into our box. The coach knows best. Thats what we've heard forever. I think its complete bunk. Imagine having the berries to tell Tiger Woods, or Bobby Orr or Nolan Ryan or Michael Jordon that you know better than them?

Two questions:

1. Are you Tiger Woods?

2. You do realize Tiger had instructors for about 35 years right?

Left to their own devices kids generally stink at golf. Most instruction is bad, I agree, but some is phenomenally good.

You’re a 14? C’mon man…

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16 minutes ago, layup said:

This is the standard reply I expected and while I can appreciate your view I dissagree. I appreciate the correction on the hc thing though! Ive heard that so many times i beleived it. I still think current methods are poor though and not nearly as effective as they could be.

I think the entire approach is wrong in pretty much every sport. In sprinting for example people think we run way faster now then 50 years ago but its not true. Track technology is responsible for most of the time reductions. 

We try and make super talented athletes fit into our box. The coach knows best. Thats what we've heard forever. I think its complete bunk. Imagine having the berries to tell Tiger Woods, or Bobby Orr or Nolan Ryan or Michael Jordon that you know better than them? That they should play how the coach says? Its laughable to me. We are stunting the natural ability of all athletes. We should teach kids fundamentals and then leave them alone. Demand that they be as creative as possible and put in max effort. Thats it. 

Wow, this post is so misguided, I don't know where to start. First, just because someone is good at a sport DOES NOT mean they are an expert at doing it. Many Tour pros are god awful at explaining or even knowing what their bodies are doing when they swing. I GUARANTEE there are many pitching coaches out there that know more about the mechanics of pitching than Nolan Ryan. Usain Bolt is where he is because of his great talent and Glen Mills, his coach. Glen Mills has forgotten more about being a sprinter than Usain Bolt will ever know. Coach Mike Krzyzewski knows more about basketball than Michael Jordan will ever know. 

Do you really think Tiger Woods would be where he is with no instruction after how to hold the club? No way!

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I think, in this particular thread, we are forgetting the OP is dealing with a serious bone ailment. That he is trying to over come his medical issue, to a point where he can at least still get out and play this crazy game to some self fulfilling extent. 

I take his statement about instruction not being worth a fat baby's butt as to how it might apply to his situation now, and before his medical problem annonced itself. We don't know his history. Also, let's face it. There are quite few charlatains out there passing themselves off as qualified swing instructors. Those poor instructors give some creedence to the OP's claims, while at the same time,  giving qualified instructors a bad rap. 

As for his statement on  HC's not improving, that's a statistic based on those golfers who actually keep a HC, and does not include "all golfers" which I have no problem believing out number those who keep, and report a HC on a continual basis. 

In this OP's case, I am inclined to cut him a little slack, and take  some of his comments with a grain of salt. I can do that because not too long ago, I was in shoes, with no expectations of ever playing golf again. This OP has a tough journey in front of him. 

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59 minutes ago, iacas said:

Two questions:

1. Are you Tiger Woods?

2. You do realize Tiger had instructors for about 35 years right?

Left to their own devices kids generally stink at golf. Most instruction is bad, I agree, but some is phenomenally good.

You’re a 14? C’mon man…

1. No. 

2. Yes and I think they hampered him more than helped. It's my opinion and I knew everyone would likely strongly disagree.

 

Question, if I got below a 14hc in two years learning to play left handed with my method would you consider my point of view as possibly correct? Or would you still dismiss it?

7 minutes ago, Patch said:

I think, in this particular thread, we are forgetting the OP is dealing with a serious bone ailment. That he is trying to over come his medical issue, to a point where he can at least still get out and play this crazy game to some self fulfilling extent. 

I take his statement about instruction not being worth a fat baby's butt as to how it might apply to his situation now, and before his medical problem annonced itself. We don't know his history. Also, let's face it. There are quite few charlatains out there passing themselves off as qualified swing instructors. Those poor instructors give some creedence to the OP's claims, while at the same time,  giving qualified instructors a bad rap. 

As for his statement on  HC's not improving, that's a statistic based on those golfers who actually keep a HC, and does not include "all golfers" which I have no problem believing out number those who keep, and report a HC on a continual basis. 

In this OP's case, I am inclined to cut him a little slack, and take  some of his comments with a grain of salt. I can do that because not too long ago, I was in shoes, with no expectations of ever playing golf again. This OP has a tough journey in front of him. 

I appreciate the open mind sir. I have some ideas that are not going to be popular and I well may be proven wrong which Im ok with. I'm not trying to tell anyone else what they should do and I can understand my point of view seeming absurd to others. I shared their opinions just a few years ago.

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2 minutes ago, layup said:

1. No.

Whew, I thought Tiger hurt his back again.

😁

No offense @layup but eschewing instruction is hardly original. Most amateurs have no instruction, have very high handicaps, and although they want to improve, don't know what to work on and how. Sure, bad instruction might be worse than none, but that's a different issue that's easily solved by finding a good instructor.

Good luck with your health ailments, I hope you don't experience any more pain.

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51 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

Wow, this post is so misguided, I don't know where to start. First, just because someone is good at a sport DOES NOT mean they are an expert at doing it. Many Tour pros are god awful at explaining or even knowing what their bodies are doing when they swing. I GUARANTEE there are many pitching coaches out there that know more about the mechanics of pitching than Nolan Ryan. Usain Bolt is where he is because of his great talent and Glen Mills, his coach. Glen Mills has forgotten more about being a sprinter than Usain Bolt will ever know. Coach Mike Krzyzewski knows more about basketball than Michael Jordan will ever know. 

Do you really think Tiger Woods would be where he is with no instruction after how to hold the club? No way!

Well as I said, I do disagree with you completly. I think coaches mostly stifle talent despite their best intentions. I think the player should be tought the fundamentals of their sport and then coached to be free on the field of play. Encourage their passion and natural drive to learn. Don't box them into ideas and concepts we have. I could have coached Bolt to a gold medal. He has it, just get out of his way.

Again I appreciate your point of view and it seems logical and sound as everyone accepts it. I think all the true superstars of sport do it their own way. Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr in hockey all did and they are the greatest of all time. All of Orrs coaches tried to get him to play their way at every level. His success at his approach silenced them as how could you tell him to play differently when hes leading the league in scoring playing defense? But they said he was the exception. I say he had it right and everyone else has it wrong. It was his refusal to be boxed in to the norm that allowed him to be great.

Also sorry for all the hockey refernces, Im a canuk haha.

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Degenerative disc disease and golf.....that's a tough one.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do, quality of life is very important and only you can decide if golf will add or subtract from that equation.  I see a lot of people play rather well with 'toned down' types of swings.  It depends on your personality if you'll find joy with that type of approach.

I hope you choose some level of instruction - but maybe find an instructor that also works with damaged people and has additional background in sport medicine.  I'd at least encourage you to choose a regular cycle of medical review to monitor how your spine holds up under the activity.  You sound like you have a good expert in your therapist to start.

Hopefully, the ability to find some sort of physicality will help you strengthen those areas that you'll need support.

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6 minutes ago, chspeed said:

Whew, I thought Tiger hurt his back again.

😁

No offense @layup but eschewing instruction is hardly original. Most amateurs have no instruction, have very high handicaps, and although they want to improve, don't know what to work on and how. Sure, bad instruction might be worse than none, but that's a different issue that's easily solved by finding a good instructor.

Good luck with your health ailments, I hope you don't experience any more pain.

Thank you sir, im hopeful it holds up and I can complete my experiment. Most amatures dont get instruction from a coach but they sure do from friends, youtube, magazines etc. My approach will also differ in several other ways. Ill post about that when we get there.

1 minute ago, rehmwa said:

Degenerative disc disease and golf.....that's a tough one.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do, quality of life is very important and only you can decide if golf will add or subtract from that equation.  I see a lot of people play rather well with 'toned down' types of swings.  It depends on your personality if you'll find joy with that type of approach.

I hope you choose some level of instruction - but maybe find an instructor that also works with damaged people and has additional background in sport medicine.  I'd at least encourage you to choose a regular cycle of medical review to monitor how your spine holds up under the activity.  You sound like you have a good expert in your therapist to start.

Hopefully, the ability to find some sort of physicality will help you strengthen those areas that you'll need support.

Thanks so much for the well wishes. I agree on the medical review. Ill be getting regular checkups with my doctor as well as my physio. I will have a follow up bone scan in the summer as well to see how the medication and exercise has gone. 

My health is the #1 priority, I will not risk it for golf. 

On the instruction it goes against my theory and I will not be getting any. It will be fun to see if my theories are a total failure like most here think or if it will be a success like I think. 

 

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Im curious where you guys think I will be at the end of the season using my methods (assuming my back is good all year)? Do you think Ill stuggle to get below a 30hc? 25hc? 

Also what would you guys consider a moderate success for me and what would you consider to be very successful?

Again my past is: averaged 13 or 14hc for last 10 years. I have 5 or 6 sub 80 rounds, my best being a 75 about 5 years ago. My lowest cap was an 8 for a few weeks then shot up to an 11. All this was right handed with none of the health issues i have now.

Just curious to see what you guys expect. 

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I just wanted to post and ask the op if he changed his username in the midst of this thread? A Faksakes started it and now a Layup seems to be commenting like the OP

BTW for what it’s worth I wish you the best of luck but I don’t see you getting below a 25hc this year but is like to be proven wrong. 

 

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33 minutes ago, layup said:

Im curious where you guys think I will be at the end of the season using my methods (assuming my back is good all year)? Do you think Ill stuggle to get below a 30hc? 25hc? 

Also what would you guys consider a moderate success for me and what would you consider to be very successful?

Again my past is: averaged 13 or 14hc for last 10 years. I have 5 or 6 sub 80 rounds, my best being a 75 about 5 years ago. My lowest cap was an 8 for a few weeks then shot up to an 11. All this was right handed with none of the health issues i have now.

Just curious to see what you guys expect. 

Learning to swing left handed might be your biggest struggle as far as how much time it takes for you find some sort of groove with the new swing.  That, and having total patience during you journey.

I too tried to switch to left handed to protect some medical repairs. Found it to be not worth the effort.

I'd venture a guess that, with no set backs, not knowing how long your season is, and not knowing your practice/play schedule, that breaking 100 would be a decent goal, while anything under 115 should also be considered a success. This after 12-18 months.

You already have some of the mental golf skills that you don't have to re-learn

In my own golf rehab, there were many months just putting, then more months of putting and chipping. More months of longer pitch shots, that finaly got to full swing approach shots. Those months of approach shots finally got  me to the tee box. 

All total, till I was comfortable swinging away, was caround 30 months. Broke 80 again after little over 3 years iirc. 

 

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Oy.

45 minutes ago, Nail said:

I just wanted to post and ask the op if he changed his username in the midst of this thread? A Faksakes started it and now a Layup seems to be commenting like the OP.

Please answer this, @Faksakes and @layup. You're both from Alberta, Canada, and @layup is talking like he's the OP.

1 hour ago, Patch said:

I think, in this particular thread, we are forgetting the OP is dealing with a serious bone ailment. That he is trying to over come his medical issue, to a point where he can at least still get out and play this crazy game to some self fulfilling extent.

I think most people are assuming @Faksakes and @layup are two different people.

1 hour ago, layup said:

2. Yes and I think they hampered him more than helped. It's my opinion and I knew everyone would likely strongly disagree.

The two greatest golfers who ever lived to this point both had coaches for the vast majority of their competitive lives.

Virtually everyone on the PGA Tour these days has coaches. Virtually every good junior player has coaches.

I'm the first to say that opinions can't be "wrong" - only facts or statements of fact can be - but you're as close to "wrong" as an opinion can get.

1 hour ago, layup said:

Question, if I got below a 14hc in two years learning to play left handed with my method would you consider my point of view as possibly correct? Or would you still dismiss it?

You're one data point. I got to a 2 without instruction. It's a silly question to ask, because unlike on The Flash on the CW, we don't have a bunch of parallel universes where we can try out "going it alone" versus "working with an instructor."

What I do know is that there are a BUNCH of people here on TST who have played golf for a long time without instruction, and then finally got some good instruction and played better than ever. They were not figuring things out on their own.

And I see a lot of kids who have some horrible golf swings. They're not going to "figure it out" after seeing only the basics. They absolutely need help.

Your position on this is ridiculous.

1 hour ago, chspeed said:

No offense @layup but eschewing instruction is hardly original. Most amateurs have no instruction, have very high handicaps, and although they want to improve, don't know what to work on and how. Sure, bad instruction might be worse than none, but that's a different issue that's easily solved by finding a good instructor.

Yes, this. Something like 19% of all golfers ever get instruction, or 14% or something.

1 hour ago, layup said:

I think coaches mostly stifle talent despite their best intentions.

That's an utterly ridiculous position.

1 hour ago, layup said:

I think the player should be tought the fundamentals of their sport and then coached to be free on the field of play.

Also, wheeee, butterflies!

Sports don't work that way. Golfers - juniors especially - don't just "figure it out."

1 hour ago, layup said:

Encourage their passion and natural drive to learn.

Good coaches act as a guide to that learning. It can sounds all peachy to say "let them be free on the field of play" but they'll work themselves into bad habits and have no clue how to get back out of them and onto the correct road. I see it a few hundred times a year.

1 hour ago, layup said:

Don't box them into ideas and concepts we have. I could have coached Bolt to a gold medal. He has it, just get out of his way.

No, you couldn't have.

1 hour ago, layup said:

Thank you sir, im hopeful it holds up and I can complete my experiment. Most amatures dont get instruction from a coach but they sure do from friends, youtube, magazines etc. My approach will also differ in several other ways. Ill post about that when we get there.

And most amateurs suck.

The better players across the entire spectrum are far, far more likely to have had and often still be receiving instruction. There's a direct correlation there.

Guys who shoot 120 aren't often getting instruction. Those who are shooting 66 are almost certain to be receiving instruction, or have done so in the not too distant past.

1 hour ago, layup said:

On the instruction it goes against my theory and I will not be getting any. It will be fun to see if my theories are a total failure like most here think or if it will be a success like I think. 

You'll have now way of actually knowing if your "theory" is a "success" or a failure. You're a sample size of one, without a parallel universe.

When we expand the sample size to millions, better players are more likely to have received or still be receiving instruction.

59 minutes ago, layup said:

Im curious where you guys think I will be at the end of the season using my methods (assuming my back is good all year)? Do you think Ill stuggle to get below a 30hc? 25hc? 

Sample size of one, dude. I got to a two without instruction. With good instruction I might have been a +2 at the same age. With bad instruction maybe a 10. Or a 3. Who knows?

Sample size of one, no parallel universes.

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  • iacas changed the title to Faksakes' Experiment
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