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iggywriter

Seventh Year Rookie: Season in Review

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Okay, 

So this is going to be an interesting post (I hope!). The last two trips have been range trips. I've reviewed the links and watched a few videos in the last few days, and things are starting to click a little more for me. The first thing of note: Ben Hogan's Five Lessons is going to become my bible. I've started working with the grip and figuring out just exactly where to stand. I think I'm getting close here; because I'm making much better contact, and I'm starting to get a feel as to where exactly the club face is making contact with the ball during the strike. 

My SGI's, while wonderful for lowering scores, is kinda hard to use to figure out exactly how to make changes to the swing. I just don't get enough feedback or feel to understand things the way I would like. I ended up searching for a blade for this purpose, and lo and behold: I managed to purchase a Wilson Staff FG-17 3 iron and PW for a combined total of $2 (Salvation Army find). Believe it or not, the clubs are in pretty damn good shape; they could use some new grips, but otherwise, they look rarely played. 

I took the FG-17's to range today with the hopes of seeing if I could manage to hit the things. I really wasn't hopefully when I took a leap of faith and bought them. The first thing of note is that I can hit the PW about as well as I can hit the PW from my SGI Wilson set. I like the way the club feels; it's incredibly smooth and has this unbelievably smooth feeling when correct contact is made. I've never felt anything like it. 

The 3 Iron scared me; I've never tried to hit one before, and frankly, I would have preferred a 7 iron, but there wasn't one to be found. The first few swings with it were absolutely terrible. I wasn't making contact, or when I did, it hooked really far right (about 160 yards straight, and then another 20 yards with the hook). I took a break from them and went back to my standard clubs, and found that I started hitting the 7 iron consistently straight and about 140 yards. 

Towards the end of my session today, with only 25 or so balls left, I decided to spend the time focusing on the swing with the 3 iron. I discovered that I was standing too far away from the ball. I stepped in a little bit; I relaxed my hands in the grip (I tend to hold the club super tight), and I practiced the wobble. I gave a swing and knew it was bad before I looked to see where the ball was going; I could feel that I toed it, and I could feel that contact hit the mat first before striking the ball, and that little bit of vibration in my fingers let me know that if I did it again, it'd sting just a little bit more. I really didn't want to feel that sting; so I took another ball, found my stance and loosened my grip again, wobbled, and took a few practice swings. I remembered to lead with my hips this time, instead of my arms, and when I made contact with the ball it was so smooth and beautiful feeling. I can't really describe how it felt; it was just the most satisfying swing. The ball coasted upwards and I could see it still climbing, and then gently dropping out of the air. It carried past the 150 sign; probably about 160 - 165 and then a friendly bounce gave the roll at least another 10 yards or so. I repeated the swing, and got similar results on about half of my remaining balls. Each good swing felt really good; each bad swing felt really bad, but I instantly knew where the face made contact, and was able to adjust for the next shot again and again. 

I know I'm not going to be able to actually play blades anytime in the near future, but I think these Wilson's can provide enough to help me work on the mechanics of the swing, and work with my playing clubs better. This is probably going to be controversial, and I understand if a bunch of you think I'm insane, or just inexperienced, or whatever. Maybe all of that's true; but I felt something really good today on the range and I feel like I accomplished a great deal. 

Edited by iggywriter

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7 hours ago, iggywriter said:

I understand if a bunch of you think I'm insane, or just inexperienced, or whatever. 

I’m glad you got that beautiful feeling of a good strike, especially with a blade. You’re not insane. Inexperienced yes. But hey, we all started at sometime. What I want to stress is the importance of working properly toward a mechanically sound swing. I strongly encourage you to post your swing video. I know that sounds like a pain in the ass. But I’ll tell you, you don’t want to start to ingrain compensations from improper mechanics. It’ll give you so much more trouble in the long run. I played for years trying this on my own ( of course there was no internet nor video analysis available in those times) and now I’m having to unravel the garbage.

Almost anyone who hits consecutive balls one after the other will be able to groove some kind of swing to produce a satisfying shot or even better. But it’s not going to carry to your course play. By giving us a video you can at least get a priority piece so that you can be certain you’re heading in the right direction. You’ve got a good attitude and appear to have the desire and commitment to improve. I just don’t want to see you head down the road of enormous frustration by having to unlearn faults you’ve set into ‘muscle memory.’ 

Until we can see a video I do recommend you continue to explore the instructional content on this site. At least film yourself and see where you are with the 5 keys that all good golfers perform:

1. Steady Head  2. Weight forward  3. Inline Impact  4. Diagonal Sweetspot Path. 5. Clubface Control.

You can get explanations for each key in the instruction section at the beginning. Cheers.

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

 What I want to stress is the importance of working properly toward a mechanically sound swing. I strongly encourage you to post your swing video. I know that sounds like a pain in the ass. But I’ll tell you, you don’t want to start to ingrain compensations from improper mechanics. It’ll give you so much more trouble in the long run. I played for years trying this on my own ( of course there was no internet nor video analysis available in those times) and now I’m having to unravel the garbage.

 

The only reason I haven't done this yet is that I generally play solo, and practice on my own. I'm thinking about starting some lessons with the club pro again, and seeing where that will take me. Once I can get someone to capture the swing on video for me, I will totally post it. 

 

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Getting some professional instruction is certainly a good choice (assuming he/she is a good instructor.) Yeah, sadly there are still a lot of poor instructors out there. You stated starting some lessons 'again'? So did the instructor film your swing for you? Maybe you could get those films if he/she didn't give them to you (should've). Hopefully this time at least you could obtain a good video. That being said, many of us here film ourselves. It's pretty easy really. There are multiple ways to mount your phone and film your swing. I use the Gorilla Tripod. There are other small, easy to carry devices that attach to your bag, alignment sticks, bag stands if your range has them. Even if you take lessons it can be helpful to post your experience here and make sure you're on the right track.

Here are a couple of threads you might like as well:

https://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/filming_your_swing

 

 

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For anybody interested, I came across this while browsing for some new polo shirts. It's a series of tips from Greg Norman (he's always been my favorite golfer; the 2008 Open was where I really feel for his style of play...of course, that Open was eclipsed by Tom Watson's incredible 2009 Open) and there seems to be some really interesting material here. I'm curious if the advice seems sound to some more experienced members here. 

 


Golf has its trying moments, even for Greg Norman. So when you want to know how to stay out of those bunkers, hit a flock of birdies and eagles, and play better than par, this will suit you to a tee. It will help with ideas on...

 

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75% of Golf has to be mental. 

Today, I played a Donald Ross course for the first time in about two years. The course is right around the corner from where I live (Rackham; designed in 1924, but received heavy modifications to the front nine in 1983. The back 9 still play almost exactly to the design of Ross, and the front 9 are certainly in his spirit.) and it's been a favorite of mine since I started playing. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I love Ross courses (I've played at least three, maybe four...the origins of Detroit's River Rouge are unclear, but it feels like a Ross course and it has been speculated that he designed the course because it was built roughly around the same time that Rackham, Warren Valley, and Oakland Hills were). 

My tee time was at 12:52 but I didn't tee off until about 1:15 due to groups ahead of me. Winds were very heavy, and I was incredibly nervous because my previous practice session at the range had gone poorly. I took out my Orlimar Trimetal Driver and hit, and immediately regretted the swing. I was playing behind a family for the first hole, and I had troubles with my swing and making contact. I somehow managed a 6 on a par 5 without actually getting any good shots. 

I joined up with the family starting on hole two because a group behind me was catching up and the group ahead of us was a foursome. We played together thru 8, when I decided to play ahead because the group in front had finished and there was an opening to play faster as a solo. 

With the family, I managed very few good shots. I had a nice save from a green side bunker that came out 4 feet from the pin. I managed some decent drives towards the end of our time together; but it wasn't with the Orlimar. The other day, I managed to stumble across a relatively nice Spalding Dan Spikes Persimmon Driver. I loved the way it looked (I'm a sucker for classic clubs) and I bought it for $2. I put it in the bag today, because I wanted to see if I could manage to hit the thing. The first two attempts with the Persimmon ended exactly as you would have expected an inexperienced, high handicapper, to hit one. But I stuck with it, mostly because I was afraid of going back to the driver I knew from previous rounds wasn't doing me any favors. 

The back nine was were I started to feel like a real golfer. The kinks in my swing that had plagued me through the front nine started fading away. On the #9, I hit my first really great drive with the Persimmon and I started feeling confident. I relaxed and began hitting the clubs, getting solid contact and nice distance, and finding myself within par. I hit a terrible pitch and ended up boggying the hole, but on #10 I managed another really solid drive that found the fairway, and again found myself with a chance at par, before two putting and boggying again. 

Throughout the back 9 I drove the Persimmon onto 7 fairways, and missed the fairway to the left only slightly twice. The game is so much easier from the fairway than the rough, and my iron play started to go my way. Below are a few pictures, including the best tee shot of my life and the approach I had for my second shot on a par 4. I ended up with a par here (the first of the season for me) after another bad pitch left me with a two putt situation. 

The last comment of mention should be that on the #12 (another par 4) there's this blind tee shot with a slight elevation change. The fairway and the pin are hidden from view of the tee box by this massive bunker. Again, here I played the Persimmon and I knew that I had to just clear the bunker and I'd be okay. The shot felt amazing, and the sound that came off the driver was like a baseball making contact with a well swung bat. I'm not sure exactly how far I drove it, but I did take out the Orlimar Tri Metal and gave a pretty good swing with it. I out drove the Orlimar with the Persimmon by about 15 yards. 

 

EE8F78F5-399E-4DD4-93B7-BC052696D0B3.jpeg

DCD97BD2-DD73-4832-BF8B-D5A5E92F9BB7.jpeg

A2E28CFE-B23E-4ABE-AA12-11EAD515159C.jpeg

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5 hours ago, iggywriter said:

75% of Golf has to be mental. 

It's not. There's a mental factor that can affect your performance but it's mostly about physical skill and execution.

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6 hours ago, iggywriter said:

75% of Golf has to be mental. 

Nope. It's likely around 5% or so. Nowhere near 75%

 

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6 hours ago, iggywriter said:

75% of Golf has to be mental. 

If that is the case then there would a ton more great golfers.

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Here, let me fix that for you:

7 hours ago, iggywriter said:

75% of Golfers has to be are mental. 

 

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3 hours ago, klineka said:

Nope. It's likely around 5% or so. Nowhere near 75%

 

 

2 hours ago, saevel25 said:

If that is the case then there would a ton more great golfers.

Haha I was totally exaggerating, folks. In all seriousness, I've notice one of the major factors that leads to me not making good contact with the ball is feeling rushed because of groups plying up behind me, and slow play ahead of me. This was certainly the case yesterday. When the course opened up on the back 9 (because the group ahead of me only played 9, and the group I was with only played 9, so I was able to get a nice cushion alone) everything became much more enjoyable, and my driving and iron play ended up better. I mean, skill wise, it's still not very good, but I'm learning, and the back 9 yesterday made me feel like a real golfer because it was the first time this season that I felt like I actually could reach a par 4 or a par 5 in time to make par. 

 

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Today I shot a 99. One of my season goals has been breaking 100 consistently; I didn't expect it to happen so early, and so quickly. I played Rackham again today, and I felt like it was going to be a good day from the start. With my strong finish Sunday, I felt like this round could be special. 

I parred the first hole (the first time I've ever done that at any course). My drive off the tee was very good (long and straight), but I managed to find my way into a chip situation over the back of the green. I made a fairly decent chip with my 8 iron, and then hit the best putt of my life (20 feet or so) for the save. 

Throughout the front 9, I managed to par 4 times (twice on par 4's, twice on par 3's), and shot a 41 (par 36). Going into the back 9, I felt really confident. I had played pretty well on the back 9 on Sunday, and I thought the same would happen today. It ended up a disaster, and I shot a 58 to close out my round. The driver ended up being the biggest problem; I just couldn't find the fairway, and I couldn't keep the second shot in good position like I did for most of the front. I finished the final 3 holes 6 - 6 - 6 (Par 3, 4, and 4 respectively). I think I made a major mistake after finishing #16: I had caught up to the group ahead of me, and had some time to kill, so I added up my score and found that I had a good chance to shoot in the mid 90's if I played boggy down the stretch. The triple at #16 about knocked the breath out of me, and the tee shot on #17 went wide right, and managed to find the only tree without a clear view at the pin... on #18, another bad tee shot led me to trying to be creative on my 3rd shot (I ended up with what looked like a pretty good out from the sand, only to end up nearly skirting off the green). I should have two putted, but I missed a very manageable 8 footer (it was just too fast and lipped out of the cup). To be honest, I'm really surprised the third putt sank, because I really thought I was going to blow the round and end up with 100. 

The positives from today:

- The front 9 I played what I would consider excellent golf for myself

- I found the fairway on most of my drives through the front 9, and once on the back

- My short game has really improved in the last two weeks or so; I have spent some time learning how to chip and run with the 8 iron, and the versatility here probably saved a few strokes today. 

- My mid -short iron play was mostly on point; I managed a pretty creative play out of the bunker on #12 with my #6 that was the highlight of the back

- My putter is mostly good; I hit at least one putt from 20 feet, and few others from 10 or longer. I mostly two putted again today. 

- The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was just wonderful to play today. I worked this morning and wasn't sure if I'd get the chance to get out. 

The negatives: 

- The back 9 was a disaster

- The driver on the back 9

- Still not getting quite enough distance on my irons (I hit my 7 around 130 yards)

- My mental collapse down the stretch when I felt pressure for the first time this season.  

- I missed at least two birdies on the front nine today (both on the par 3's; both times I two putted after having make-able putts)

Listen, this might not be interesting to most of you here, but this felt really great today. A few years ago when I was playing regularly, I got into the grove at the end of the season and was consistently breaking 100. Doing so today, in my fourth round of the season, was a pleasant surprise. I'm hoping to do this consistently this year, and I really think with the progress I've been making, and the advice some of you have given me, has really helped. I don't believe that breaking 90 at some point this year is impossible, but that's a wish list item right now. 

 

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I had one of those rounds that was so bad, I thought about quitting for a moment. 

I played Rackham again today (I broke 100 my last time there) and nothing seemed to work. I shot a 55 on the front, and 60 on the back, for a 115. The biggest issue again was the driver. In my previous round, I played well with the driver thru the front 9, but poorly with it on the back. Today, I simply couldn't hit it. I managed to find the fairway twice, and had only one decently long drive on a par 4 that led to one of three pars for the day (the other two happened on par 3's; I hit a 4 wood pin high, almost sank the chip in, and then putted for my second par. The third, I hit a 7 iron just short of the green, pitched in, and sank a 15 footer for the best putt I've had this season). 

I had scores of 7, 8, 9, 10 on the par 5's and mostly double boogied the other par 4's and single boogied the other par 3's. I have to look at the scorecard to give you exact numbers, but I just don't want to ever see it again.

I thought I had turned a corner, because each of the last 4 rounds had seen dramatic improvement in my overall game. I started driving good, and my short game became a strength. Today, nothing seemed to work. I'm going to be taking a few days off, and I don't think I will play until next week, because I think this funk is just mental, and I think maybe I've been playing and practicing too much. Maybe I'll just spend some time at the driving range and try and straighten things out. 

Anyway, that's the round today. It sucked and for the first time in a very long time, I lost my cool on the course.  Thankfully, it was mostly empty today, so I really didn't frustrate anyone around me, because I had the course mostly to myself. 

 

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Today, I made a rash decision that led to an equipment change. I'm not sorry for it, because after hitting up the driving range, I really like the new (to me) iron set. 

I picked up a set of Ping Eye 2 Orange for a pretty good price. I've been feeling the need to switch to something with a little more feel for a few weeks now, because I've begun to notice the needs I'm having on the course weren't matching with my last iron set (SGI Wilson Reflex Irons / 2013 - 14 I think). 

I was leaning towards staying with Wilson (going to the Staff line instead because they're much better than the box sets and cheaper game improvement irons they sell) and picking up a set of the c300 or D7's but the price wasn't what I wanted to pay (and they're really not all that expensive. I could have easily afford them, but I'd rather invest that money on the course or driver range or with an instructor). Some of the used sets of Wilson Staff's I saw I rather liked. I hit the FG-v2 and they felt great. I also tried out the ci11's, and again loved them. I was really close to getting the ci11's, but I wasn't sure I wanted to play with graphite shafts for my iron set (I've always used steel and I do like the additional feeling of weight vs the lightness feeling of graphite, even if they actually weight the same). Then I saw the Pings, and immediately just feel in love with the design. They're not the prettiest looking irons out there, but there's something very interesting about the way they look. I did have to research the dot system for a little bit, because two sets were available (blue and orange). I went with the Orange because it seemed to be a safer pick, and then I took the 7-iron and gave a few swings. I bought them without hitting, because the price was right, and they looked very lightly played. 

I went to the range, got a large bucket of balls, and immediately started hitting. I noticed that the first thing I required in a new iron set was the feeling you get when you strike the ball. These felt very good, and the feedback was just enough to know if I toed, hit it center, or heeled. With the 7 iron, I did feel like I was hitting just shorter than with my old Wilson's (which I still have). With range balls, I was hitting about 115 (with range balls, I hit the Wilson's at 120. On the course, I hit them about 10 to 15 yards farther. I'm assuming the difference is just the balls. Still hitting short, but I'm just starting to focus on the game, so I think improvements in distance will come). I did have more mishits, or more toe shots with the Pings. But, almost always, I was able to correct the issue that led to that swing, and then get another good shot. I think these will work really well for me in terms of developing a more consistent shot, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they do on the course. 

There's a short par 3 course near where I live (Rammler golf club) I think I'm going to start playing on a regular basis. When I was watching the Par 3 contest yesterday, there was a really interesting statement made by the announcer that was something along the lines of: "Can you imagine just how good you could become if you just played here at the par 3 course every day or every other day. It's a great place to work on your game." (on a side note: watching Craig Stadler yesterday was really good for me. I'm a big guy, and seeing his swing sorta gave me some ideas as to what to do). The other major benefit is that it costs about $20 less to play than Rackham, and about $10 less than Red Oaks (another executive course with 4 par 4 holes). I also work in the area where the course is, so it makes it easy for me to pick up a round on a nice day before or after work. 

In any regard, I'm happy with the change. I know a bunch of you probably got started on the Eye 2's (or played them at some point in time) and they certainly feel like wonderful clubs. I've read and watched videos commenting on how great and revolutionary they were, and maybe that led to me picking a set up. I'll play them for a few seasons, and maybe think about switching to a nicer or more modern club when I figure out the game a little more. 

Now, I do want some advice: I'd like to add a Rescue Hybrid, and a new Driver to the bag. Neither club has to be brand new, but should be something that's reliable, and easy to use. I don't have a Hybrid right now, and the driver I'm using most of the time now is a vintage Spalding Persimmon (I like it a lot, actually. When I hit it right, I can get some good distance off the tee, and I do find that a good shot with the Persimmon leads to more fairways than with my Orlimar Tri Metal. The problem is mostly consistency, because when you don't hit it on the screws, nothing good comes from the shot - ever!). 

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