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  1. 17 points
    Here's a student many will tell you "lacks flexibility." He thinks it (sometimes, when I haven't seen him in awhile ), other instructors have told him he lacks flexibility, etc. His hips sway right, his torso turns about 75°, and he lifts his arms up to "finish his backswing." It's a bit better in the left photo here because he's been working on this for quite some time now, but even still you can see those trademark things: hips sway back, no secondary tilt, head rises, arms lift, turn isn't great. On the right you can see him doing the wall drill. You set up near a wall. You note how much space you have between your trail hip and the wall, and then you put your arms across your chest and make a backswing while you strive to increase that distance. Make the gap between your trail hip and the wall get bigger. Voilà! Secondary Axis Tilt, hips going forward during the backswing (yes, a bit too much, but this is a drill, exercise, or "feel"), head not going up, more torso turn. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. As always, these are actual swings, not posed shots. 2017-09-15: Edited the title. Originally it was "Lack of Flexibility and the Wall Drill". We teach this to people who DON'T think they lack flexibility, too. Even kids.
  2. Every now and then, someone comes onto the forum with a grand idea about how "natural" the golf swing should be, about how "modern instruction is too technical," and about how they, despite rarely having broken 90 and having taken a few lessons and having seen a few YouTube videos, have the solution for what ails all golfers across the land. In this topic, I'd like to quickly tackle a few of the arguments that are commonly lobbed out there by these types of people. These comments are often made as if they're self evident, and obvious, when in reality they're just based on a hunch and a tiny dash of personal experiences. These comments are also often made by someone who has had limited success in the game, in part because — I believe — that the work it takes to get down to a low single digit handicap, for example, tends to make one very aware of just what is actually required. Note: I'm one of the first guys to tell you that I think most instructors aren't very good. And I have reason to dislike those guys more than most, because they actually make it more difficult for me to do well in my instruction business. If the perception is that instruction is bad (because it is), then that de-motivates people to seek out good instruction. It's a bit of a sinking tide lowers all ships sort of deal. What's the reputation of used car salesmen? Poor, right? I imagine nobody hates that reputation more than the good used car salesmen out there, as they have to work harder to overcome their perception of their peers as well as the normal things that come up in selling a car. In no particular order, then, here are some pins and my short (for me) responses knocking them down. Golfers Should be Taught the Basics and then Left Alone to Do What is Natural There's nothing natural about the golf swing. It's not even a move we've developed via evolution as a necessary hunting/gathering/whatever type move, like throwing or hitting something might be. Fewer than 20% of golfers ever get instruction, so most of what you see on the golf course is people trying to do what is "natural" to them. How's that working out for them? Not very well - most people's "natural" golf swing is a train wreck, and the reason why they can't break 100 very often. As humans, I'm not going to argue that we don't have some sort of natural hand-eye coordination. We do, to varying degrees. But golf is a whole new world of precision and speed with very little margin of error. So, yes, with a little practice the average human can get pretty good at making contact with a ball nearly every time they swing a club… but that motion, what they come up with "naturally," will often not be very good at all for playing golf. No Other Sport is as Technical as Golf Instruction Two quick things to say to this: Other sports are easier. I played soccer for a long time, and a bit of hockey. Skating isn't all that complex. Even puck-handling and shooting isn't all that complex. You can say things like "you roll your wrists like this, drag the puck like this, and then flick like this" or whatever, and that's - at most levels - about as complex and difficult as it gets. Golf is much more difficult than virtually any other sport - nearly every muscle in your body is involved in the thing, we have to hit shots accurately with the longest implements swung about as fast as anything else, our margin of error is ridiculously small (a putt from 3' with dead weight misses the hole entirely if it's not within 4° of accurate… and that's a three footer… have the wrong clubface angle on a driver by 3° and, hooo boy!). Anyway… golf is freaking difficult. Other sports, at the higher levels, are also incredibly technical, making the statement above in red a lie. Pitching coaches have all sorts of video and 3D motion capture devices. They analyze all kinds of things. Do we do this in Little League? They often aren't all that "technical" at the early stages, but things can ramp up for the better players. Some pitching camps and clinics will expose younger kids to this stuff. Every sport has things to gain from using science and technology, and the higher level you get. Other sports are incredibly technical. If you consider Formula 1 or NASCAR a sport, those sports are incredibly technical. Everyone is a Feel Player and Modern Instruction is Too Technical I agree that everyone is a feel player, and that giving a player too much technical "stuff" is bad, but that's inherent in how I stated it: "too much." Nobody would argue that giving the student "just the right amount" of technical "stuff" is bad, because again it's inherent in how I wrote it: "just the right amount." Some take this even further, and say things like "any technical information is too much," as if telling someone some basic technical thing is going to short circuit their brains and lead them to a complete inability to function. The truth is, mechanics are how you hit the golf ball. Someone who has the clubhead 18" outside their hands at A6 DL has bad mechanics, and those need to improve for them to be a better golfer. I see my job as an instructor to focus the student on the mechanics they need to improve (their "priority piece"), and then I use feels to get them to change those mechanics. The hypothetical student swinging across the ball here would understand that we generally want the clubhead somewhere inline with the hands at A6 DL, but feels are how we'd get there. Feels, drills (drills are just motions or exercises that help encourage the new mechanics to feel more normal and repeatable at higher and higher speeds), and other tools are what allow the students to change the thing, and if they understand the basic mechanics, they'll have a better chance of continuing to practice on their own properly. When students leave my lesson, they should understand the hows, whats, whens, and whys of their lesson: what the priority piece is, why it's important, when it occurs in the swing, and how to go about improving it. But the last thing is almost always feels and drills to enhance/encourage those feels. If the Instructor Talks about Mechanics, the Player Will Only Think About Mechanics This one comes about because sometimes people don't give enough credit to other people. If I tell a student "Okay, from the top what you're going to see is your hands shifting out, the club shaft steepening, and kicking out to here at A6 where it's 18 inches outside of your hands. This is why your good shots are big pulls and your bad shots are slices and wipey cuts" that doesn't mean the student is going to be thinking about "okay, my hands need to do such and such, my shaft needs to do this and that, and at this point, I want to have the clubhead and my hands at this point in space…" They might think that if you stopped the lesson there, but that's literally ten seconds of a lesson, and the next thirty plus minutes is often you working with the student to find the feelings, drills, etc. that help them improve those mechanics. If the student feels like his hands travel down toward his right pocket from the top of the backswing to fix the issue, then that is what the student leaves with, as well as an understanding of the what, when, why, and how… My students aren't thinking about mechanics. They know the mechanical change we're trying to make, yes. But I give people the credit they deserve: they can understand what mechanical change we're trying to make, and even why, while still being able to process, understand, and remember HOW they should go about making that change. Instructors who Draw Lines on Video Only Care about Positions, but the Golf Swing is a Dynamic Moving Thing High speed video is like having super-human vision. I say that a lot, because it's true. I wrote a lot more about this one here, but in short… the "positions" in the golf swing are merely "checkpoints" through which we pass through while making a dynamic motion. So that golfer with the clubhead 18" outside his hands at A6 DL that I've used a few times… on camera, he wants to start seeing the clubhead lining up closer to the hands. But he can't get there just by kind of posing it there, he has to get there dynamically, by finding the feeling that lets the clubhead pass through that "checkpoint" dynamically. At the end of the day, too, the camera often becomes more for the student than the instructor. The student can see that "wow, I did it!" They can try a feeling and see what happened in reality. They can experiment with how much of a feeling is needed to get something to pass through the "checkpoint." And they can use the photos the instructor makes and the notes they write down for them to continue guiding them as they practice. An Instructor with Lots of Gadgets is Obviously Too Technical Gadgets — launch monitors, high-speed video, pressure plates, SAM PuttLab, FocusBand, training aids, GEARS, etc. K-Vest… etc. — are tools. The good golf instructors I know have a lot of tools at their disposal. Just because they have every tool available to them doesn't mean they use them in every lesson. High-Speed video, for example, is like super-human vision. The golf swing happens too fast to see little pieces, and yet given the margins of error we have in the golf swing, we sometimes need to see those little pieces. And… I don't believe for one second that some of the famous instructors that pre-dated technological advances would have continued to teach the way they taught before. Ben Hogan would have been one of the first people to buy a FlightScope or Trackman, I think. The old instructors would have loved using high-speed video. Technology would have expanded their tool box, and they'd be foolish not to give themselves more options. As the saying goes, when you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But when you have a full toolbox, you can fix all kinds of things, even if you don't use every tool in your toolbox on every job. Golf Instruction is One Size Fits All and Does Not Adapt to the Student / Golf Instructors Have Only One Method and Everyone Fits that Model I've heard some people say that some golf instructors teach one thing to everyone. I think every instructor tends to have things they prefer, or like, but the best instructors are incredibly flexible. For example, I "prefer" something closer to a one-plane swing… but I have a number of students with Justin Thomas style backswings, very high hands, very two-plane-swing type motions. My only real constraints are working within the 5 Simple Keys®, and I'm always working toward improving one of those in the full swing. My instruction, and the instruction of good instructors I know, is highly personalized, and that doesn't just mean what they're actually told to do and fix and change in their golf swing. Some students aren't going to visit the range very much, so they're given lessons which focus on things they can do at home for 5-10 minutes per day. Vice versa for someone who I see 3-5x a week hitting balls 20 feet from me at Golf Evolution - they might get more drills you can do while hitting balls. Some students are able to "buy in" more if they understand some of the little details of what they're doing. Other people just have complete faith in you and are confused by or don't want to hear anything except what they're supposed to be doing. They don't even want to know why; your word is good enough. Some students learn by observing. Some like external cues, others internal more. Some like auditory assistance. People learn differently, and while you won't always get this perfect, good instructors try to notice those things and tailor everything they do and say to fit that person's mentality. Heck, one of my students loves to shoot the breeze, and get his little priority piece in about ten minutes, hit balls for five more minutes, and then shoot the breeze for a bit more. Then he goes off and works on what he was given, occasionally sends me a text with a follow-up question. He was a 22 three years ago. He's a 4 now. Getting to know your golfer, your student, is important, and while poor golf instruction might be one size fits all, good instruction is not. Golf Instructors Tear Down Your Swing before Building it Back Up Again This almost never happens, and when it does, odds are high that the instructor is horrible, lazy, or at best unimaginative. I've never actually heard a golf instructor say this to a student, and I've sure as heck never said it to a student. Golfers come capable of breaking 100, or 90, or 80… or whatever. They come with skills. What good instructors do is correct the priority piece at the moment, leaving everything else the golfer is doing well already alone. Oftentimes, fixing one thing improves several other things, too. I had a mother of a golfer — a girl, not a great swing, but she can sometimes shoot in the 80s, and other times barely breaks 100 — tell me that she didn't want to get instruction for her daughter because "she has a unique way of doing it and she doesn't have time to start over from the ground up and rebuild her swing as she's already a sophomore." Uhhhh… right. So just because the perception is out there, and because a few instructors might actually take this approach (e gads!), it doesn't mean it's valid or widely done. Let me put it another way… an instructor who wants to "rebuild" is telling you that they're incapable of working with the skills that you have now, and that he is only capable of teaching you how to play golf if you swing one way the entire time. He's saying that he's incapable of finding and fixing a priority piece while using the skills you already have. It's an utterly ridiculous way to approach instruction. The cynic in me thinks that anyone who says this is basically trying to lock you up for a bunch of lessons. After all, you can't "rebuild a swing from the ground up" in only two or three lessons. Comparing Someone to a PGA Tour Player is Pointless Because Golfers Aren't Built Like PGA Tour Players Golfers are built like PGA Tour players. Like PGA Tour players, they have two arms, two legs, a head, fingers, hips, and all sorts of body parts in common. They're also using similar tools — clubs, balls, etc. — and trying to perform a very similar task. Instructors often use a PGA Tour player to show something being done correctly. For example, if someone doesn't transfer their weight/pressure to their front foot, I might show them a PGA Tour player doing this, so that the person a) understands that it can be done, b) starts to realize that it probably should be done, and c) has a glimpse into how it's done or what it looks like. Then, I work with that student on feels that produce better mechanics - squishing a foam ball under their lead foot, bumping the fridge door closed from the top of the backswing, letting the hips coast downhill, etc. Average golfers may not be able to swing like a PGA Tour player, but they can certainly improve at one of the 5 Simple Keys®, the commonalities found in all great players, and comparing a golfer to a PGA Tour player can often be illuminating for the student. Plus, as the student begins to have success improving her mechanics, she'll often be thrilled to see you comparing her swing to a successful golfer and happy to see that, at least in the piece you're working on, she "looks like an LPGA Tour player" (or whomever). No, we don't show an 85-year-old guy the golf swing of Justin Thomas and say "we want you to swing like that" and leave it at that. But if JT does some small piece that the golfer in front of you can do, the comparison may be perfectly valid. I Saw a Video Online and it was Bad, So Lessons are Bad Videos online are often NOT lessons. Even videos of private lessons are often not the same as a true private lesson, because the instructor is often talking to the audience behind the camera as well as the student in front of him. Online lessons often focus more on mechanics than "feels," but that's almost bound to happen when you do not have a student right there in front of you. Videos try to give generalized instruction, and because everyone's feels may vary, they almost have to focus on the mechanics, trusting players to do the mechanics themselves and to find their own feels. Outside of saying "students often tell me they feel like X, Y, or Z when they do this move," videos can't really get into feels much, because two people given the same feels might produce very, very different mechanics, and both could be "wrong," but they'd feel like they did what you asked (and they're being honest, because they did the "feel" they were told to feel) and consider the video and the instructor in it to have failed. If You're Not Hitting it Better at the End of the Lesson, It's a Bad Lesson If this one said "you should know how to hit the ball better at the end of the lesson," then cool. But no, not every golfer is going to be hitting the ball better at the end of every lesson. You want to know a sure-fire way to hit the ball better at the end of a lesson? Do nothing. Just have your student hit 7-irons for 35 minutes or so. By gosh, they'll get in a bit of a groove and be hitting the ball better at the end — hey, why wouldn't they, they've been hitting a 7-iron for 35 minutes straight — than they were at the beginning. That's not a lesson. There are a ton of lessons where the student will need to work on something for a few days, weeks, even months after the lesson. They may be slightly worse for a time, and then as they begin to get better and better at the new skill, meet and then surpass their previous performance level. Golf is hard®, and changes take time to incorporate at full speed. If you insist on hitting the ball better at the end of the lesson, on being literally a better golfer at the end of a lesson, right at that moment… then you're likely only looking for band-aid type lessons. Quick fixes. The thing is, those types of lessons often don't last. There are occasions when they do, but true, lasting changes often take time. Changelog: Version 1.0 - 2018-12-18 - Initial Draft. Version 1.0.1 - 2018-12-27 - Added an image so that embedding this topic elsewhere will use that image. I plan for this to be a living, breathing document of sorts, and I'll add things here and there, revise the wording, etc. as time goes on. Changes for more than grammar/spelling/clarification I will try to note in the changelog.
  3. I'll take the bet. It would be quite a story to tell in prison.
  4. 11 points
    While it's always a great idea to spend some time with a qualified fitter, there are a couple things you can do on your own to see if your irons are properly fit for you. Recent feedback I've gotten from several fitting experts is that the technique of drawing a sharpie line on the back of a ball is better for dynamic lie fitting than using a lie board. The sharpie test is simple and allows you to hit balls off grass. The lie board with tape on the sole is obviously a popular method but the board is raised off the ground and the surface is different than grass. These differences can influence the club at impact and your swing. The lie board can encourage some players to sweep the ball while some players have a tendency to hit more down than normal, so it can be tough to get accurate and clean readings. Big reason why I like and wanted to share info on the sharpie test, I think it's best if you can accurately represent what will happen on the golf course. Here's how to go about performing the sharpie test. Draw a heavy vertical line on one side of the golf ball with sharpie and place it facing the club head. After impact, the line should be transferred onto the club face. If the line is perfectly vertical your lie angle is good to go (right pic). If the line is tilted out towards the toe of the club (left pic), your club is too upright and the lie angle needs to be flatter to get the line to vertical. Vice versa , if the sharpie line is tilted towards the heel your club, the lie angle is too flat and you would need to bend the club more upright. The test won't tell you exactly how much you need to adjust the clubs but it's a good start. For a static test, use a business card. Since it's static the test doesn't account for the fact that players are usually higher with the handle at impact, along with some shaft droop but it's something I recommend you do in combination with the sharpie test and getting your height/wrist-to-floor measurements. For this lie angle check, take your address position on a hard surface with the handle at a proper height; butt of the club pointing at or somewhere between the belly button and top of your zipper. Have someone slide a business card under the sole of the club. If the lie angle is correct, it should stop the where the one end of the card is at the center of the club (pic below). If the business card reaches the heel, the club might be too upright, too flat if the card doesn't slide to the middle of the face.
  5. 10 points
    This showed up in my Facebook feed this afternoon, and like most things, it made me think of golf. In particular, it made me think of improving and swing changes. I see it all too frequently. A new golfer hits a few good shots and thinks they have what it takes to play at a high level. I would be lying if said the same thoughts didn't go through my head almost 20 years ago when I started playing on a regular basis. I assumed that after a year or so of playing every weekend and hitting balls on the range once or twice a month, I would be ready to compete on tour. It didn't take long for me to figure out that it isn't that easy. I still figured that I could get to single digit handicap after a few years. Ummm... Nope. After many years and now only being a few years away from being able to play on the senior tour, I'm still not even close. It's OK. I still love to play, and I am a lot better than I was. After many years, this is what I am learning the most. It takes a lot of dedication and many reps to change even a little something in my swing. I am not swinging until my hands bleed, but putting in a little time every day is definitely making a difference. For those of you who are REALLY interested in making a change and improving, take a look at what it takes to succeed. For many people, the winter months are almost here. Don't waste the next few months. Figure out a way to work on your priority piece inside and get to work.
  6. Yeah, I get that. I’d be tempted, but realistically even if the odds for me were dead even, the upside isn’t worth the downside. 5 years in prison would have a much larger negative impact on my life, than $5 million would have in improving it.
  7. I'm going to speak as an instructor, and one who is completely confident that for the vast majority of my students, I'm doing a damn good job. I'm not insecure, but I'm also not going to say I'm perfect, either. I'm sure I could do a better job with some students. But it's tough to say, and you never really know. A brief story. I had a woman this past summer who was swinging WAY over the top and left. Like… more than I'd almost ever seen. So I could have gone two ways with her, and I chose what I considered "Way A" - a tougher but ultimately more "correct" way. The rest of the lesson went poorly, I thought, but she was getting the motion down better and better, so I kept going with it. At the end, feeling as if maybe I should have gone with the "easier" but "less correct" "Way B," I told her I wanted to see her in two weeks and I'd give her a half price lesson. I told her I wanted her to keep trying to do what we'd worked on (it's still the right thing, but she was having trouble hitting the ball anywhere on the club face, the change was so big for her). Anyway, two weeks goes by, and I meet her on the lesson tee. She is very nervous. I'm thinking "oh, man, oh no." She says "I'm so nervous. I've been doing what you said… and I'm hitting the ball so well I can't even tell you. Better than ever in my life!" I watched her hit a few shots, recorded a few, and said "wow, that's great. Let's work on your chipping or short game or putting or something, what you're doing there is awesome." So sometimes the instructors don't even know if the lesson was "good" - sometimes in a span of 45 minutes it's impossible to suss out exactly how someone will best learn something, how someone is going to practice, etc. The woman above trusted me and was just making such a big change, she couldn't hit the ball even as poorly as she had before, but as she got even used to it over two weeks… she started hitting it great. The golf swing is a physical motion. Yes, your brain "controls" everything, including your "feels," but it's a physical motion. All golf swings are repetitive, and none are natural. Some people have better hand-eye coordination than others, some have more speed than others, some may have played more stick sports as a kid… whatever. But the golf swing is not at all a "natural" movement, and instructors who say that, honestly, I think they're just scamming you. Marketing to you. Conning you. Those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive at all. I use technology. Hell, I wrote Analyzr, video swing analysis software. I use video in nearly every lesson I give, always. I use SAM PuttLab. I use FlightScope. I use training aids, and I draw lines, and so on. But I see my job as finding that one biggest change, the "priority piece," for that golfer to work on. Tour players are still valid comparisons, not because you should have the same flexibility or speed as them, but because they do the 5 Simple Keys®, and can serve as a good demonstration to show you what should be different. The high-speed video is for me at first, you bet. I can see things with high-speed video that you cannot see with the naked eye. I don't always need it, and the more I teach, the more I know what I'm going to see on the video, but it's still helpful to see the degree. It's super-human vision, after all - who would turn that down? But after the initial analysis, and after me seeing it… the video and the lines are for the student. I produce pictures for the student with their feels, and show them how that changes their golf swing. Yes, it's in photos… but the photos remind them of what they're after, what their "priority piece" is and how to work on it. I don't like blanket statements, either, but almost always, if you're leaving a lesson without photos or notes or something like that, I'm likely to feel you've gotten a bad lesson. A band-aid. A quick fix. My job is to take what can be quite technical and boil it down. To know the ocean's worth of information, but to give the student (oftentimes) what amounts to a tablespoon. Some golfers can handle a cup or a gallon. Most are good with a tablespoon. Those two things don't have to go together. "Too technical" is a fault, sure, but an instructor can be "technical" himself without exposing that much "technical" stuff to the student. And not all "line drawing" guys are technical. Everyone is a feel player, after all: They fog the minds of everyone. You're not alone in that. Just three quick things there… Those sports are comparatively much easier than golf. They have more margin for error and are simpler overall motions. Nobody has to start out training golfers by "filling their heads with technical mumbo jumbo," either. I just finished teaching 16 juniors today. In my last group, I have four girls. One is working on feeling like her left shoulder slides backward (to her right) across a shelf, the second is feeling like her hands drop down from the top of the backswing, the third is making her backswing motion feel "smoother" (the way her hips and knees work), and the fourth is trying to point the club to the left at the top of her backswing. That's it. That's their "priority piece." There is a TON of technical mumbo jumbo known by high-end pitching instructors, soccer players, wide receiver coaches, hitting instructors, and so on. Despite the fact that those motions are orders of magnitude simpler with much wider margins of error than the golf swing. You're arguing against a straw man, of sorts. Golf is hard.® It's not soccer. I've played soccer at a reasonably high level (varsity as a freshman, on a traveling team through that same year, until I quit to play golf instead), and it's so, so, so much simpler. No, we don't. Most instructors are pretty bad. You shouldn't be, as strict adherence to that standard will lead you to value band-aid fixes over actual golf instruction. It depends on what you mean by "better at the end of it," but if you mean "hits better shots at the end" then I disagree on occasion. Like the woman in my story at the top - she ended up getting a great lesson, and was what she needed, and she was nearly whiffing at the end of her lesson. Some guy who has been coming over the top for 40 years and who plays to a 12 doing that has figured out how to make that "work" to some extent. Making a lasting change that might let him become an 8 handicap might not happen inside of 45 minutes - he might need to keep working at it. But if he got a good lesson, that golfer should know what he's working on, know why he's working on it, know how to work on it… etc. Then, honestly, it's up to the student to actually do it. Some priority pieces take a little time and effort. I challenge myself with every student to "change the picture" as quickly as possible. Often that means asking for some feeling to be exaggerated. Then the student can see the change, and can be excited about it. It shows them quickly that they CAN do something. Then it's up to them to actually do it. A hundred times. A thousand times. Whatever. The golf swing isn't natural, but the habits (good or bad) that people build up are natural, and often fixing those bad habits feels very unnatural for quite awhile. You might not be an actual "better golfer" at the end of that lesson, though. You keep adding in stuff like "technical mumbo jumbo." I know almost all the technical mumbo jumbo you could want… and some students like to know what "palmar flexion" is. Others just want to know "twist the grip" or "turn the door knob." Not necessarily. Particularly for a really bad and really ingrained habit. You said that in response to "No type of instruction always helps." I took that to mean that for some, a more technical lesson can work, while others benefit from being a bit less technical. For some, a certain feeling or drill will work, but it likely won't work for everyone. And that's true. You're a different person than every other one of my students, @Don Golfo. The lesson that works for you, even if someone else was given your same exact golf swing and thus had the same exact problem, may not work for that student at all. I might have to explain things completely differently, or come up with a completely different drill, or whatever. There is no one type of instruction that always helps. And you know what else? You can give a great lesson, and if the student doesn't practice… it can all be for naught. The student has a responsibility too. They can't expect to take a lesson and just be "fixed." Technology doesn't do that, no. The instructor chooses to do that. I gave a lesson on SAM PuttLab the other day where a student had a severe inward arc on the backswing, swung the putter out way to the right on the follow-through, and left the face open (or it'd feel like a snap hook). I could have taken that information and gone a ton of directions with it: Show him the graphs and charts and paths and numbers and explain what it all meant. Show him the picture of his putter head path and clubface at impact and explain how to fix it. Show him nothing, but tell him how to fix it. And all sorts of other hybrid or subtle variations. What I did with this student was basically the middle one - showed him the path, showed him how that was leading to a clubface too open, and then said "feel like you take it back with the face shut and on a straight line." (He didn't take it back straight, but it was much less inward). He did that and we looked at those two data points to see what had changed. Then, using the picture of his path and the face angle number as his guideposts, he messed around until he found the feelings that worked for him, within a very narrow, specific framework. Any of the three solutions (or variations) could have worked with all sorts of different students. Some might be interested in the more technical stuff, about how if the putter is on a certain plane and if your shoulders are on this plane, and you move this way, the arc should be 15° with the face staying square to that arc but opening to the target line… and others just want the simplest of simple things. Maybe, but not necessarily. If the student doesn't take his notes, his pictures, what he learned during the lesson, and go practice it properly, even though he knows why, how, and what… then whose fault is that? The student's. I can give a great lesson that the student completely understands, that he improves at during the lesson, and see the guy in a month and if he hasn't continued to work on it, to make it a habit… he can be exactly the same as he was, with no improvement.
  8. Toughen up. Sorry, but if little things like that are getting under your skin, you’re going to struggle if it comes down to the wire and there’s any real pressure. Use the little annoyances as a means to prove to yourself, your own mental toughness.
  9. 9 points
    When I was teaching drum lessons, students would complain that they weren’t getting better. I would ask how much they practiced since the last lesson and then listen to the excuses. I would tell them that if they really want to get better, they need to spend 3-4 days a week practicing for at least 15 minutes. Just taking lessons from me was not going to make them improve. The purpose of the lesson is for me to teach them what they need to practice, but practice is where things happen. I would explain that they can’t do 60 minutes on 1 day and call it a week. They need to practice almost every day. I would cover the principle of practice with students up front and they would agree. They would be dedicated for a week or so and then fizzle out. Just like golf, drumming is hard. If you take a second and try to make each arm and leg do something different, you will get what I mean. The basic rock beat is to have your right hand tap a repeating 4 count, your right foot tap on the 1 and 3, and your left hand taps on the 2 and 4. To add some spice with 4-way independence, have your left foot tap on every 1 count. Once you have that down, you need to double the times that your right hand is tapping counting, “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and”. If you have never played drums before and was able do that with ease at a pretty fast pace, I would buy some drums today and rock out! People usually can't, BUT I can usually teach someone how to do that in less than 30 minutes. It’s very slow at first, and then slightly faster, then faster and faster. Now you have all had your first drum lesson for free. I'm not a golf teacher (yet), but I believe the same principle applies. Sadly, most drum students give up after a month or so. This is why there are so many used drum sets for sale on Craig's List. It doesn’t make sense to take lessons unless you are willing to put in practice time on your own. “Why do I need an instructor if all I have to do is practice?” you might ask. The instructor is there to check up on you and make sure you are going the right direction much like an airplane pilot is monitoring the navigational instruments and making adjustments. Sometimes they have to make major adjustments and other times a small one, but they can only make one adjustment at a time. The plane will not change course if the rudder and ailerons do not respond. This would be like a student who doesn’t practice. I think that most instructors teach something different on each lesson to make the student feel like they are getting value for their money, even if the student has not progressed from the last lesson. I think they are doing a major disservice to the student even though the student is more likely to stay engaged for more lessons. The student thinks that they are progressing when they really aren’t, and after a few months, their scorecard will confirm that. A math teacher does not progress to calculation before a student is competent with addition and subtraction. I hope not at least. If a student sees results from good teaching, they will be a student for life. I went to a drum clinic with a famous drummer a few years ago. It was Todd Sucherman who is currently playing for Styx. This guy is really awesome! I arrived early and got a seat in the front row. He played for a while and blew everyone’s minds. Then he started taking questions. He picked me and I said, “Since you’re a drummer, you have to be working on something, so what are you working on now?” He first looked shocked that someone would ask that question. After all, he is a master at drumming and making a living doing it. He then cracked a smile, let his guard down, and said he was working on some stuff from Buddy Rich, and it was “totally kicking his butt”. Even masters who are proficient at their craft are always trying to improve and learn something new. To apply that to golf, I think everyone needs a teacher if they want to get better. For someone who is content to play the game and enjoy doing it, that’s fine. For most of us, time is not in great supply, but trying to do the 5 Minutes Daily Practice Challenge has opened my eyes. I realized that I was like one of my students who wasn’t putting in the practice time needed to get better. I also learned that 5 minutes a day is not a lot of time. I hear a lot of people asking on TST how to find a good teacher, but I would say that first you need to commit to being a good student. Commit to a regular practice regimen, and then go find a good instructor. Anyone who is trying to improve should be posting in 5 Minutes Daily Practice threads regularly
  10. I spent the better part of two days conducting this test last summer. I tested a few situations: In chart form: And for those who like the visuals… I used a PerfectPutter and positioned it far enough away that the ball wasn't bouncing at all but close enough that the ball wouldn't deviate too far from the intended line.1 I used Snell MTB Black balls. The flagsticks were standard Par-Aide fiberglass flagsticks. It wasn't windy, but there was often a little breeze.2 I tested on the flattest section of the greens I could find. The actual holes were as level as could be. Rolling the ball from close distance minimizes this anyway. I rolled balls from all around the hole so as not to overly damage one portion of the hole. Also, little "tracks" can form even after a few putts, so I wanted to balance that out as much as possible. The flagsticks were relatively centered in the hole, with only a little "wiggle room." I did not measure how far away the balls that didn't go in ended up; I considered it pretty obvious that a ball that hits the flagstick is going to finish closer to the hole than one that doesn't. This was clearly the case. I alternated five ball rolls with the flagstick in, five without. Then five without, and back to five with it in again. On putts where results seemed highly variable, I rolled more putts - up to 100. On putts that were a given (like 3' by speed at the center of the hole), I rolled fewer putts; as few as 10. I conducted the test on different holes and from different angles. I simply moved on when I felt I'd rolled enough balls at the holes that I could start to see a change to the lips, like some of the balls were "denting" or "rounding" the lips a little. I used holes where the lips appeared to be somewhat uniform (though obviously the specific soil density can vary around even a uniform looking hole). Stimp speeds were 9.75 to 9.9 feet. Distances off-center were done with a centered laser calibrated to aim straight (angular error in the laser was oriented upward) with a ruler across the hole, confirming both the proper hole dimensions and the distance off-center. I tried to roll balls from the same spot(s) on the PerfectPutter, but obviously there was some little error there - a few millimeters. I never rolled more than five balls at a time - and no balls ever hit a ball or balls in the hole and bounced out because of that. If balls did pile up on one side or in the front or back of the hole, I'd remove them. This rarely happened, though, as the holes are deep enough and only four balls would be in the hole when the fifth ball was rolled anyway. I'll add more information if I remember anything relevant. 1 Even with the PerfectPutter, you often can't make more than half of the 20-25 foot putts you roll across a real green. Just the tiniest deviation, hitting a bump slightly differently, can magnify over the duration of the putt and miss high or low even though you're trying to release the ball from the same exact spot on the PP. 2 One of the putts that almost surely would have gone in (as 98 others did) I felt was knocked away by the wind moving the flagstick at just the right time. Conclusions Leaving the flagstick in helps quite a bit, particularly on shots that are at the edges of capture speed/effective hole size. For example, at 4' by speed and 3/4" off-center, that's just beyond the capture size (only 8/100 went in) without the flagstick, but the flagstick took enough speed off that a 44/100 putts dropped with the flagstick in. At 3' by speed, the capture width of the hole is about 0.8 to 0.85" wide: wide enough for all of the 3/4" putts to go in, but few of the 1" putts. With the flagstick in, the 3/4" putts still went in, but the 1" putts that just nicked the flagstick scrubbed enough speed from the ball that a few more (14/50) putts went in. The largest percentage gain was the 6' speed at 1/2" off-center. At this distance from the center, only one putt went in (I would swear that I rolled it like all the others, but sometimes a putt that would have popped up and out hit some part of the hole just right and popped up and fell in), but since the contact with the flagstick (look at the image above) was still pretty flush, a lot of speed was taken from the ball and 45/100 fell. This is still fewer than half, but because the 1/100 is so low, the percentage is the largest. Similar inferences can likely be made on the 5' by putts - at 1/2" it's awfully close to the edge of the capture width of the hole, and at 3/4" is pretty much beyond it (again, though, a pesky 1/100 putts went in). These low make percentages without the flagstick make it possible for the delta between the flagstick in vs. out to be in the upper 30s to lower 40s.
  11. The 2019 Newport Cup Las Vegas, NV* So, just a quick note to say that @mvmac and I are looking at having the 2019 Newport Cup, a six-on-six Ryder Cup-style event in mid- to late-October, 2019 in or very near to Las Vegas, NV. Follow this topic if you'd like to stay apprised, and begin thinking of what you might say in your candidate video. * The event as a whole and the location are both tentative but likely at this point. All are encouraged to apply, but teams will likely still be comprised of 10 handicappers or less (it simply makes everything easier). While we'll encourage as many new players, we're not opposed to players making their second or third recent appearance. Costs will likely be the same as the last time - about $750-800 plus however you choose to get there. Regarding "goodies" we're not looking to top what we've done in the past, but Mike and I like goodies too. 🙂 Competition time frame is mid- to late-October, 2019, with teams chosen by mid-August. Format will likely be similar to 2017, with some small changes likely coming to the "Challenge Ball" idea. I may update this bullet list as I think of other things, or things change. That's all I have for now. You can't officially begin applying now, but you can denote your interest, and you can "follow" the topic so that you get instant updates. https://thesandtrap.com/newport-cup/ Edit: Add the appropriate "Candidate" badge/award to yourself here: https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/99617-2019-newport-cup/?do=findComment&comment=1421967 Thank you!
  12. 8 points
    Dr. Sasho Mackenzie had a quote in the March issue of Golf magazine that I liked. Listen, there'll always be science-deniers and the belief that none of what I or other researchers do is necessary. They're going to be eroded away. There'll be fewer and fewer of these people once the community realizes that science and technology are simply about learning and understanding better ways to swing a golf club. I no longer feel bad for the instructors who fight it, because the information's out there. If they've got a theory that's different from mine, fine. I'm open-minded. I'll listen. Maybe I've made a mistake, but if they don't have an argument other than, "I believe in my method," then okay. I can't do anything else. We can't have a logical debate. I just feel bad for the golfers they're teaching. Emphasis mine. Unfortunately, another quote applies: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
  13. Winter golf in the Frigid Mitten involves finding an open course, dressing in layers and accepting sub-optimal conditions. One won't get much roll in the fairway Casual "water" can be an issue And the greens will have some loose impediments Digging your ball out of a bad lie can require a bit of club cleaning Unless it is snowing, the courses can look very playable And you run the risk of running into some crazy old guy wandering around on the course. [Photos taken 2/5/2019 at Huron Hills Golf Course, Ann Arbor, MI]
  14. I was emailed by a Wall Street Journal writer who is doing a piece on the flagstick rule and below is the majority of the email I sent him in response. (I'll also mark any corrections I have to make in red.) I'm sure you may have seen the MyGolfSpy test results published late yesterday: https://mygolfspy.com/flagstick-in-flagstick-out-2019-new-golf-rules/ My testing was similar to theirs except that: I rolled the ball from closer to the hole than they show in their picture. From even as little as 5' away, a ball can enter the hole +/- over 1/4" from where you've aimed it. I only tested balls that rolled about 3-6' past the hole, as 9' is starting to get ridiculous for putting (when Dave Pelz tested it back in the 90s, the flagstick could only really be left in for chips, and 9' is more reasonable for chip shots). I rolled significantly more balls than MyGolfSpy did. They rolled 20 per situation, or about 480 putts. I rolled over 2000. Lou Stagner rolled about 2500, per his Tweet. I measured at more points than MGS. I measured at dead center, 1/4" off center, 1/2", 3/4", and 1" (at 1.1" off center the ball doesn't touch a 1/2" diameter flagstick). My results in a nutshell: There's a distinct advantage when the balls hit the flagstick versus when they don't. Because a ball can still go in at 6' past speed when hitting the center of the hole, the biggest advantages lie to hitting a ball just off center a little - 1/2" off center had the biggest gains in my tests, with 1/4" and 3/4" next. At higher speeds hitting the center would ramp up considerably, though, as a putt going 7' by will almost never go in the hole even if dead center, but will still go in the majority of the time with the flagstick in. I didn't note the distances of the average miss, but it was exceedingly clear that when a putt missed with the flagstick in the hole, it remained MUCH closer to the hole than the putts without the flagstick in the hole. Anecdotally, a putt hit with 6' by speed 3/4" from the center of the hole might roll four feet away, a putt length that's missed 10-20% of the time by amateur golfers, yet with the flagstick in the hole it remained at a tap-in length (under 2'). There are times when the flagstick appeared to kick a ball out that would have gone in, but that was balanced by the times when a ball seems likely to miss but the flagstick takes off just enough speed that it can fall in. Differences there may be due to just slight differences in exactly what little piece of dirt or grass or whatever the ball hit, or how angled the stick was at the moment the ball hit it. I did not test a flagstick leaning away or toward. I have no reason to doubt what Dave Pelz said years ago: a flagstick leaning slightly toward actually helps more; it deflects the ball downward and into the hole. In other words, the flagstick offers an advantage on putts that are going over 3' beyond the hole (flat green, stimp ~9.5). For putts that would travel < 3' beyond the hole, there's no advantage or disadvantage. That said, there are other small points that lead toward an advantage: A flagstick in provides even more fine-grained aiming points on shorter putts. A golfer could aim "right edge of the flagstick" or "between the flagstick and the edge of the cup" and that's more precise than aiming at an empty hole. The shadow of the flagstick can sometimes be on or near your line and provide for an aim aid from even 10+ feet away. Players who like to "take the break out" and hit a putt more firmly now have the flagstick to act as a "backstop" of sorts, helping them more. From farther distances, the flagstick has shown to aid players in depth/distance perception, making it easier to get your longer putts closer to the hole. (This is why I advise my players, both students and my college team, to have the flagstick tended when they're far away, even if they can see the hole.) Two other thoughts, if I may, with the last one here being somewhat important as it speaks to the failure of the Ruling Bodies. 2. Not only are putts that would roll 3'+ by if they missed a concern, putts have to also hit the middle 2.2" of the hole (1.1" from center). The hole is 4.25" wide, but a ball that hits the outer inch of the hole is completely unaffected by the flagstick. A putt that truly lips out or lips in wouldn't even touch a non-leaning flagstick, and so those results are unaffected. In other words, I don't expect this to have a BIG change in golf. The two criteria are pretty rare: - Putt must be going 3+ feet beyond the hole. - The center of the ball must roll over middle 2.2" of the hole. All other putts are completely unaffected by whether the flagstick is in or out. That said, imagine how much this scenario would play out differently: Two players competing and going head to head come down to the final hole. Both hit their approach shots to about 30'. The first player, the better putter, lags his putt to a foot. The second player, a poor putter (at least in this case), hits his ball too hard, hard enough that it would go 7' past the hole if he misses, but instead it smacks the flagstick and drops for the victory, when previously the best he could have hoped for was to make a 7' putt to tie. All of the above segues into what I think may be the biggest issue in the whole thing: negligence by the USGA/R&A in changing this particular rule: 3. The USGA/R&A (Ruling Bodies) stated when they first proposed the Rules change and again when they finalized it that there was no advantage or disadvantage to having the flagstick in or out. They also never showed any tests and this statement defied what we'd always held to be true, and what tests are now showing to be true: that there IS an ADVANTAGE to leaving the flagstick in. And the thing is, hitting the flagstick from a putt on the putting green was not penalized for about eight or twelve years around 1958, and then a penalty was added, so why go back? Green speeds changed, but the hole size is still the same so a ball arriving at the hole with the same speed and location will still fall or not just as often as in 1958. The Ruling Bodies used the "time savings" as the reason for this change, but which will take more time: Someone occasionally having to wait to putt when they're well away from the hole and their buddies are too busy raking a bunker or something to tend or pull the flag, or Groups with people of different opinions taking the flagstick out and putting it back in even once or twice per green 18 times per round? I could make the argument that this flagstick rule, because people are slow to accept the results of the studies being conducted on this, will actually slow play down more than it speeds up play. Only in groups of golfers who basically never take the flagstick out will the pace of play be increased. Dave Wedzik and I maintained throughout the commentary period a website at flagstickrule.com that voiced some fairly vehement opposition to this rules change. I emailed several USGA representatives and members of the Rules committee that I'd met and knew personally, and provided feedback via the commentary forms the USGA/R&A made available to the public. In each I expressed my displeasure with this rules change, and implored them to conduct some actual studies or tests so that they could see that their "no advantage or disadvantage" line was incorrect. They were derelict in their duties, in my opinion, and have changed golf at a fundamental level. As the brief time in the 50s, we no longer play to a hole, we play to a backstop. The poorer putters out there have gained on the better putters, because they're most likely to need the flagstick to help stop or slow a putt struck a bit too firmly. Imagine if the Masters or U.S. Open this year comes down to the last hole and someone smashes a ball off the flagstick to win by a shot! I thought that there was almost no way that this proposed rules change would stick, and yet it did, so while I'd like to think that this rules change will be reversed to what we've known for decades, my hopes are rather slim. I encouraged members of my site, The Sand Trap .com, to write too, and many of them did as well. They wrote to say the same types of things: that leaving the flagstick in IS an advantage, and that the Ruling bodies should actually look at testing this rather than relying on a guess. And again, I'm weighing all of this against the understanding that these types of outcome-changing events are going to be rare: again, the putt has to be traveling 3+ feet (on the PGA Tour 4+ feet) beyond the hole and be within 1.1" of the center of the cup to even matter. But hey, you can flip a coin and get heads five times in a row, and so in the final round of a major, there is a chance that someone that someone smashes a ball off a flagstick and in two or even three times. That's a very real change, both in standing in a tournament and in money earned. In a world where "every shot counts," I'm disappointed that the Ruling bodies didn't even test their basic assumption, particularly when the only actual testing done to that point (the Pelz study from the 90s) said the opposite and what we now see as the truth: leaving the flagstick in is an advantage. Dave and I have our recommendations here: https://lowestscorewins.com/tips/putting-with-the-flagstick-in.
  15. 8 points
    There's a reason @david_wedzik and I trademarked the phrase "Golf is Hard"®. https://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error Here's a par three that is often a 7- or 8-iron (but can be a 6-iron). A driver on a par five. And another par three that plays from 190-220 yards. In all three cases, you have about +/- 2 or 3° in which to hit your shot, or else we deem the shot "a failure." Set your expectations properly, and give yourselves the credit you deserve when you DO hit a fairway or a green. It's phenomenally difficult!
  16. 8 points
    It is pretty incredible for me to realize that this Sunday, April 9th, will mark two years to the day since I was injured while playing golf down in Florida. I have not been able to play a round of golf since. It may seem to some that this is a pretty terrible thing for someone who loves the game of golf. As I have mentioned in the earlier blogs, it was pretty tough at first. I got through that season. The past two years have changed me in so many good ways and I am very thankful for what has happened and what I have been forced to learn through it. I am very pleased as I would image the readers of this blog are as well, to switch things from mostly talking about the past as it is time to start to discussing the future and what is happening right now. I will be back down in Florida next week in the same area where this all happened. No, I am not going to try and play my first round of golf at the course where this all happened two years ago. That seems like a bad idea to me. I grew up playing a lot of baseball, so I may have a few superstitions. I will just be taking a much needed break and get some rest from my crazy work schedule. When I get back however, I will begin taking my first swings at the range which will be the topic of the next blog, in about two weeks. I have been doing a lot of strengthening and stretching this spring, trying to get the wrist into shape. Does it feel the way it was before the accident? I am not sure it ever will. I do think I am as ready as I will ever be to try this again though. The wrist still feels strange some days. There is a dull irritating pain from either the scar tissue, or the surgery or nerve damage many days, but I think I will be able to play through it as long as the tendon holds in its place. I know I have been overly cautious along the way but I really don’t desire to have that surgery ever again. I needed to give it as much time to recover as I could allow. All that is left is each moment I spend in the present which will decide the future outcome of my love for playing golf. It is nearly time to get back out there and I would lie if I said I did not feel some sense of anxiousness about it. This time though, I have the strength and the perspective to handle whatever the outcome will be. For many of us golf is or has been more than just a game. I would truly miss playing and experiencing all the beautiful sights and sounds if this does not go well. I would miss the challenge of trying to better my play of it. I would miss the back and forth between good friends and competitors. When you are forced to do without however, you find these things are ultimately replaceable in some capacity, you find there are many incredible things to experience. So don’t be disappointed or feel bad if this does not go well. Golf may bring great enjoyment to us, but it should ultimately be nothing when it comes to happiness. I get that from things that truly matter. It is time to stop rambling though, and it is time to get to work. See you when I start swinging.
  17. 8 points
    There is a course here locally in Northwest Arkansas called The Blessings. I dearly want to be "blessed". Super exclusive club that only has 100 or so members, but is where the University of Arkansas golf teams practice. I saw on the ASGA website that the 2016 US Mid Am qualifying is being held at The Blessings. I instantly thought, "I'm in! I can finally play that awesome but super, super hard golf course" 7500 from the tips 77.7/148 rating/slope. Unfortunately I am an 8 index, and in order to even be eligible to qualify for the US Mid Am you have to have a max handicap of 3.7. I've been between a 7-9 index that last 2 years and quite frankly, have been complacent. I'm better than most guys I play against, but I want to play in more serious state and regional tournaments. Win my club championship. Excel at the game I love. I signed back up for Evolvr (awesome) and have been working on getting better at practicing. If I practice correctly, I will eventually play better. I have a pretty good attitude when it comes to the ups and downs of golf. Triple? Oh well. Move on. Need to make 2 birdies so its only really a bogey. I've been with Evolvr about 4-6 weeks now and at first I was confused. My mind and body were not connected because my practice sucked. I thought I could make a swing change by simply doing a few drills and then getting right back to full swings. Shoot....how hard can it be to change a swing that has been engraved for 7 years and thousands of swings? Hard. Very damn hard. I became very frustrated. I was spending 5-6 days a week with a club in my hands and making minimal progress. Then @iacas reminded me of the 5 S of practice. I wasn't doing the Slow part... This last week I put in time, worked hard. Even went to the range for 30 minutes only to hit 10-15 balls. It showed. Since the 5/1 revision my handicap shot up from a 7.3 to an 8.6. Then Wednesday I shot an 81 from the blended tees. (6.7 differential) Lower than my current handicap, so if I kept this pace up I would eventually have a lower index. Then Saturday I shot a 78 from the men's tees. Came out 41 on the front and a 2 over 37 on the back with a bogey bogey finish. Things are clicking. 5.9 differential. Handicap was estimated to come back down to an 8. Today, from the blended tees I shot 77 with a 40 on the front and another 2 over back 9. 3.4 differential. Index is projected to be a 7.5 if I dont play again before the 15th. Things are going in the right direction. I dont care if I come out in the US Mid Am qualifier and shoot 90. The course, after all, is going to be extremely hard. My goal for 2016 is to be good enough to just get there. Play that awesome golf course by earning it, and compete. Lets see how this goes.
  18. “That Rule is So Unfair!” A Rules Geek’s Generalized Guide to Hot Takes and Overreactions | Rules Geeks I apologize for the length of this post. If I had more time I’d have written a shorter one. – Erik J. Barzeski “That Haotong Li penalty was an outrage! He didn’t gain an adv… My reasons against a lot of the "hot takes" by fans over rules issues are: They Get The Rule Wrong They Don’t Appreciate that Rules Cover Many Situations They Don’t Understand the Reasoning Behind the Rules They Don’t Understand the Underlying Principles They Misuse the Word “Fair” They Assume Intent Matters They Think “The Spirit of the Rule” Matters They Side With the Players Take a few minutes to read it. I'd love to hear what y'all think (in the comments over there).
  19. My book arrived today and I am at my 11 year old daughters basketball practice. Tonight just got a little less painful.
  20. Yea so, just to clarify to anyone who was wondering, (and feel free to skip over this, I won't be offended) I have this disease called adhesive capsulitis. Here's a link to the wikipedia page if you want a crash course in it. There's a lot of misinformation on it (for example, you cannot prevent it once you get it), but it'll give you a basic idea of what it is. The term "frozen shoulder" is a catch-all used by both doctors and physical therapists to describe any shoulder condition that is both painful and includes loss of ROM (range-of-motion). Unfortunately, adhesive capsulitis gets conflated under this umbrella term. In most cases, rest and some physical therapy will help someone dealing with ROM loss due to an injury to the shoulder; in my case however, PT is both useless and detrimental during the first year or two of the disease. PT only becomes effective once the ball-socket joint begins to "thaw," or rather, when ROM shows signs of returning simply on its own. My left shoulder became symptomatic in June 2016 and didn't show any signs of thawing until September. Even back in July I tried to putt, but the pain was so severe, I left after five minutes. That was a really depressing day. The unfortunate reality of this disease is that even doctors don't know how to cure this. If you see five orthopedic surgeons, three will tell you to get intense PT, one will tell you to get surgery, and one will tell you to do nothing for two years. The latter doctor is the one who understands the condition the best of the five. And I can do PT now that I'm thawing, but rather than do that, I'm just playing golf, which is doing the exact same thing, and is obviously way more fun There is some debate among researches how this disease happens. Some think it is caused by trauma, some believe it is genetic, some believe there may be a viral component. IMO, this is genetic. I thought this was caused by golf, but when the other shoulder became symptomatic in December 2017, and I had done jack shit for over a year and a half at that point, I knew right away this was a disease. The symptoms and their trajectory were exactly the same. Typically, when your second shoulder goes, it's less severe than the first. That was the case for me. Someone I met online who also has this joked that "maybe the 2nd one is easier to deal with because we realize at this point to not do any PT for it?" I agreed. This disease can also attack the hips, but it's much rarer. I've met people online who have had the frozen hip too. I had hip pain in late October that lasted 4-5 weeks, so I was scared my hip was freezing too, but it turned out just to be a minor strain from all the walking I do daily for exercise. I guess anytime i get hip pain now, I'm going to have a panic attack, but such is the nature of the legacy of this disease. Experts have told me I should gradually regain ROM over the next five years and that if I'm lucky I could get 90% back, which I would take at this point. I may get none or I may get 100%. I've met people online who stay frozen forever, with no thawing phase. I know people who are over nine years into their disease. I've met people who had botched surgeries that say this disease is a cakewalk compared to what they deal with now. Within the community, I'm one of the luckier ones, believe it or not. I have something like thirty CVS ice packs in my freezer. It helps a lot. I'm something of a pro at tying ace bandages around my shoulders without any help I also did do PT for this for months in the early going and learned lots of tips and tricks for rehabbing injuries. I definitely learned the frozen cup trick! Plus, I've always had some trouble shortening my backswing, so if there's anything good that comes out of this, that's probably it! Star Wars up in Port St.Lucie was awesome! Outback Steakhouse! Erik getting his usual coke zero! Yea, the sick thing about that was my right shoulder was JUST starting to become symptomatic when we hung out. I think I even mentioned it to you that my right shoulder was feeling weird, but it wasn't for two more months where the symptoms became great enough where it was obvious to me it was happening. Yea, following golf these last 2.5 years has been tough, and for long stretches I disappeared entirely from it. I didn't watch any majors last year. I watched the Honda Classic just because I live down the street from PGA National, but that was it. It was simply too difficult to enjoy it, partly because of the pain, partly because I didn't know if I would ever be able to play again. It's been fun the last couple weeks catching up on tournament highlights, guys like Tommy Fleetwood who have risen to prominence, and watching content from new social media stars like Erik Anders Lang and Brodie Smith. I even got a Mevo in the mail today. And yea, you're right about the shorter backswing. Maybe we should inject @saevel25 with a droplet of this disease to help him with shortening his swing finally? JK. I'm surprised I can hit draws with only max 90 degrees of external rotation from both shoulders. This condition has been extremely difficult though, as you can probably guess. I've gotten the blues at varying times in my life, but I've never suffered depression like this before. The wikipedia page actually gets that part of it pretty spot on. It sucks. But I like to think the worst is over now with this. I appreciate the reply! Yea, so ice essentially just numbs the area, so I get relief from the pain for only a short period of time, but it's better than nothing. Not everyone responds to ice with this, but I do for some reason. Heat makes it worse for me, and I even tried to do hot tub therapy for a while there. I agree that with this particular condition, ice doesn't actually solve anything besides reducing symptoms for a little bit, but I'll take any relief I can get. I basically tried to mix up my usage of pills so I wouldn't overdo any one thing as well. Aleve one day, Tylenol the next, then I would give myself one or two days a week where I would take a Percocet or Tramadol or other opioid. I was very aware of the addiction risk since I know that a huge percentage of people who end up addicted start from the exact situation I was in: chronic pain. It can be from a sports injury, cancer, a car accident, whatever. The rest of the days, I simply just suffered and drank a glass of wine or ate crap. It sucked. I took a ton of vitamins and did try to eat healthy on some days, but I'm not sure it did anything. The avatar works even better when Brandel is in some sort of controversy or scandal. Like when he blocked Dufner or when he makes some claim that has been proven false already. And thanks for the compliments on the post. That advice I gave @Faksakes this morning was definitely born out of learning it the hard way. I simply don't have the strength anymore to waste my time figuring things out on my own. Maybe those of you who have been blessed with decent health can take this advice to heart and focus more on working with a qualified instructor. It really is a waste of time to go searching for it through the dirt because, frankly, life's too short and I'm not Ben Hogan. I just cannot afford to waste a single swing working on the wrong thing anymore. I only get so many swings I can make in a month so I have to make them all count. This doesn't mean I don't have to work hard to get better, I just can't afford to work on the wrong thing. It's funny that I haven't run into her once in like a year and a half or something. I used to see her all over town, but that time at Bed, Bath and Beyond up in Jupiter was the last time. Shame. Maybe she left town? My stalking game is totally slacking these days. But thanks, Michael, I appreciate it!
  21. Posting a life update. Golf game may start to suffer a bit and I don’t have plans to do many more bigger tournaments for a while. But, I’ll try to keep it up at work. My future pga tour star was born last night 😉 he’ll get a club in his hands quick! Already has a good grip. I don’t know, maybe me just playing instead of tinkering so much will be good for me. A good force.
  22. Shot my lowest round, 63, weird thing is I was just missing it well and putter was really solid. Definitely had better ball striking (contact wise) rounds lately. Out of eight makable birdies putts, inside of around that 7-8ft circle I made six of them. Then made two 25 footers and chipped one in just off the green on 16, almost putted it but changed my mind lol I got really nervous on 17 tee, never been -8 before and just stuck with the process and managed to birdie 18. http://www.gamegolf.com/player/mvmac83/round/2432567
  23. 7 points
    I once heard a story of a kid in Florida who practiced his backswing (at the range, with a ball at his feet) for nearly three hours. Let me say that again with a little added emphasis: he practiced his backswing for nearly three hours. He didn't hit a single ball. Didn't even make a downswing. He recorded, used a mirror, checked his video, and made backswings for nearly 180 consecutive minutes. That's madness. The backswing is an important part of the golf swing. A lot of golfers get off track with the backswing, and then must undergo a series of compensations from there until well after impact to hit the ball anything like they want. So, often, practicing the backswing is important. It's often a student's priority. For example, this student: He would roll the clubhead under the plane during the backswing, push it across or over the top of the plane later, and then just swing left from there. The balls were actually landing at the left corner of what's visible in this photo, some 60 yards left of where it appeared he was aiming. Anyway, that golfer now looks like this in practice: He, like almost everyone I have practicing backswing things, does what I call the Three-Step Backswing Practice Routine. Okay, I don't call it that; I just made that term up now. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing where you look in a mirror, turn your neck to look at your hands, or whatever you need to do to do it properly (which is often exaggerated). The intent here is to make the swing the way you want to, and see how it feels, and check it right then by looking at whatever body part(s) you need to. Reset in your address position. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing looking at the golf ball. Ask yourself mentally if the backswing was "good." Reset in your address position. If the answer was no, go back to step 1 or repeat step 2. If it was "yes," move on to step 3. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing looking at the golf ball. Ask yourself mentally if the backswing was "good," and then if the answer is "yes," reward yourself by hitting the golf ball. I don't even care much at what speed you hit the golf ball (it depends on your ability to hit it somewhat cleanly so you don't get frustrated). You see, I found that I could get students to make awesome improvements to their backswing when I said "okay, rehearse, make a good backswing." They'd do it, and it would be perfect. But then if my instruction was to "make that backswing and hit the ball," they'd lose 80%+ of what was good, because their focus shifted dramatically toward "hit the ball." By breaking it down and making them think "rehearsal backswing, reward if good," it prevents that shift to the golf ball from ever really occurring. Forcing the golfer to ask themselves "was that good?" before being allowed to make a downswing allows them to focus on making the backswing properly without worrying about the golf ball. And then, most of the time, the student makes a much better downswing because the compensations are minimized or gone. In this case, for example, we didn't spend one second talking about the downswing, and yet… So remember, three steps to improving your backswing without boring yourself out of your ever-loving mind: Make a rehearsal backswing while looking at it and making sure it's good. Make a rehearsal backswing while looking at the ball. Make a rehearsal backswing and, if you can say "yes" when you ask yourself if it was as good as it was in #1 and #2, hit the ball as a reward.
  24. 7 points
    Well, today, I walked up to my boss and told him that I am retiring at the end of the year. I turned in my resignation but it was more than that. I kissed goodbye to work, period. For many reasons, that was one of the hardest thing I had to do in recent memory. It took a lot of convincing on my part. I worked since I was 14 for 29+ straight years. I studied hard, got into a good school, majored in Computer Science, and worked my butt off for many years to climb up the corporate ladder. The longest vacation I ever took was 10 days, rarely calling in sick. I spent more time at work than at home. Most of people I know and deal with are from work. Work has been a dominant part of my life. To stop working means that my life is changed forever. I need to make new friends, create new daily routine. That's a scary transaction, one that I don't know how it is going to turn out. I had to repeatedly convince myself that I have what it takes to start a new, different, and better life. Then there was the question of leaving a $250k/year cushy management job with prestige, and lots of fringe benefits. I know some leave more lucrative job than that but most people will kill to have mine. Many of my family members and relatives will look at me as if I lost my mind but I did a lot of math and convinced myself that I can make it work. It took a lot of convincing. A lot. What convinced me even more? As I got older and became more financially independent, I lost tolerance to bad politics people play - blaming others, taking someone's credit for his own, scheming, stabbing people on the back, doing unethical things to advance, .... Without much exaggeration, my boss and one of his henchmen is right out of Dilbert, and/or The Office TV series. I felt like I was selling my soul to these unscrupulous people to pay mortgage, to pay for the privilege of playing golf at nice courses, wining and dining at fancy restaurants, etc.. Well, no more selling my soul. It's time to pick the people I want to hang around with instead of being forced to dance with the devils. But the biggest convincing I did? Life is just too short. At 53, my body will only degrade. It's now or never to improve on golf. It's now or never to climb the Half Dome, hike into the deepest part of Grand Canyon, run a marathon, rebuild a vegetable garden in my backyard, read good books, never to worry about setting the alarm clock to go to work, ..................................................................................................... There's just too many fun things to do that sure beats work. That sure convinced me.
  25. To me, a pro not knowing the rules is like an accountant not learning about the new tax laws. When they don't understand the rules, they feel dumb and go on the attack, "rules are unfair", it's just ignorant.
  26. Yes indeed, what a great game golf is and a game that, for the most part can last a lifetime. I'm a senior golfer living in central British Columbia and I finished the last season with a nine handicap. I'm a member of a semi private club, the golf course plays to a par 71 and is always in beautiful condition. Our course is heavily bunkered and water comes into play on numerous holes. I started swinging a golf club when I was around 6 or 7, I lived on a small island off the coast of Scotland and in the mid 50's golf was only for the well to do folks. Our home backed onto the only golf course on the island so I was able to sneak on, find a couple of balls under the gorse bushes and whack away. I'm in my early 70's fully retired now and I will play around 12 rounds a month. Last Summer I had a ten day period where I just simply played the best golf of my life, I shot my age four times and bettered my age ( 73 ) twice ,,, totally unexpected but as we all know " on any given day " ,, I mean it didn't take long to get back to normal scores ( my average would be around 77 ). I'm extremely thankful for what I have, my wife who is not a golfer is my biggest fan I tee it up regularly with a super group of guys and we are basically all in the same handicap range. We have 112 senior members at my club and only 18 with single digit handicaps and last season I won the Super Senior Championship with rounds of 77 - 76. At my wife's encouragement last Winter I was professionally fitted for a set of irons at GolfTec ,,, what a wonderful experience that was. The fitter was one of the best in the Province and we spent a good deal of quality time together. The fitter was absolutely meticulous, I've always been a big fan of Mizuno golf equipment so I chose Mizuno. We narrowed it down to two models, the forged and the " Hot Metal " and I really must say that after testing both seven irons with the same shaft and using my play ball I just couldn't tell the two clubs one from another, I chose the " Hot Metal ". But as we all know it's mostly all about shafts these days, we chose UST Mamiya recoil 95's F4, I was quite surprised when the fitter said we were going with a stiff shaft. He finished the irons off with a Golf Pride MCC Plus 4 grip, they are wonderful grips. I had a set of Pingi3 irons with graphite shafts we checked the degree of loft in my new Mizuno 7 iron against my Pings ,,, identical but I was ten yards + longer with my new Mizunos. Golf ,, so different from other sports, I was a hell of a good right winger in my soccer team years ago but all in all you just can't play that game and many others ( football, tennis, ice hockey etc, etc, ) when you are in your senior years. So roll on the new season, probably around six weeks away, can't wait. I've been blessed with good health and I've had the opportunity to play some great courses over the years ( The Old Course at St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Turnberry, Royal Troon, La Costa to name a few ). I will make only one change in equipment for the new season, my putter, I've had the same old Nickent " Pipe " putter for ten years and I'd gladly replace it if I could but I've never been able to find a replacement. I came across a Mizuno / Bettinardi mallet style putter that I purchased so that will be about the only change for 2019. In the meantime to those of you that live in warmer climates and are out there hit them long and straight and others like myself waiting for the snow to disappear hang in there ,, won't be long. Oh by the way for lessons on how to dig up a few bunkers and greens check out Mr. Garcia he's a friggin expert at it ,,, the as@#$%e ,,,,, Cheers guys.
  27. If one goes to the USGA site and looks at what is offered on the worldwide handicap system, due to debut in less than a year, the information is a bit vague. This leads me to believe there continues to be negotiations and tweeks to the formula being proposed. The article shared by @Rulesman from the Australian golf association had the most details, as far as I could see. What we know (or think we know) - Changes from the current USA system 1. Currently the formula takes the 10 best differentials of the most recent 20. The new formula will be the best 8 of 20. That will tend to lower handicap indices initially. 2. Currently a player needs at least five 18 hole differentials (or the equivalent combination of 9 hole differentials) in order to have a USGA index. This will change to three (54 holes). 3. The current maximum indices are 36.4 (M) and 40.4 (F). The new maximum will be a course handicap (not index) of 54. 4. Currently there is no adjustment for varying playing conditions. In 2020, there will be an adjustment made to differentials scored on days when the conditions are considered to be abnormally difficult. The details are missing but it is thought the adjustments will be relatively small. 5. Currently, the ESC is based on a player's course handicap. There is a table that displays the ESC for each range of course handicaps. The new ESC maximums will be based on what a player's "net double bogey" would be. In the past a player with an 8 course handicap just took double on whatever hole they experienced a disaster. Now one needs to consider the hole's handicap rating. As an "8" course handicapper, when the easiest hole on the course is a par 4, take a 6 (no strokes so net double is 6). Hardest hole is a par 4, take a 7 (1 stroke given so a net double is 7). This is a bit more complex so entering scores into the computer "hole by hole" might allow the computer program to figure out where you get strokes and what the ESC should be. If one calculates ESC manually, knowing the hole's handicap ranking will be mandatory. 5. The article from Australia talked about a "soft cap" of "3". The USGA talks about a "memory". Essentially, there will be a system that compares one's lowest 12 month index against your current index. If your current index is more than 3.0 higher than the 12 month low, you will be adjusted down. The adjustment will be 50% of the difference between your 12 month low +3 and the computed index (clear as mud?). An example is best. Bob's 12 month low index is 12.5. The latest index computation shows him to be 17.3. That is more than 3.0 higher than his 12 month low so his index is adjusted down. 17.3 - 12.5 = 4.8 4.8 - 3.0 = 1.8 1.8 x .50 = .9 Bob's adjusted index is 16.4 (12.5 + 3.0 + .9). I think I have this right but absolutely check me on this item. 6. The article from Australia talked about a "hard cap" of 5. I take that to mean that a player's current index can never be more than 5.0 higher than his/her 12 month low. 7. Again, the Australian article states that the ".93" factor will remain unchanged. In the USA the formula uses a .96 "bonus for excellence". If the Australian article is correct AND the formula is the same worldwide, we will have a .93 "bonus for excellence". As our club's handicap chairman I have a keen interest in all this. No doubt there will be some changes and new wrinkles before 2020. If anyone comes across new information, be sure to share it here. Thanks!
  28. So, @Puttin4Dough, I'm going to give you about ten times the respect you've shown me here by treating your post as a serious one, though every indication is that this will be a complete waste of time. First, I now believe that you're referring to this part of my opening post: The point there, IMO, is pretty clear: the good used car salesmen have to work to overcome the reputations of their peers. I could have used other fields. For example, a lot of people are skeptical of chiropractors, and I imagine the good chiropractors hate that the bad chiropractors taint the reputation of their field as a whole. The post I made is several weeks old, and is over 3300 words long. So when you said this: I didn't connect that to a sentence or two I'd written weeks ago in a 3350+-word post, particularly since you didn't quote it or refer to it specifically. ADD? Again, man, the post is several weeks old, and you didn't even quote it. @saevel25 got it. I think almost everyone else got it. Why, when so many others "get it," do you so often seem to need things explained to you? You didn't understand what the "conning yourself" topic was about, even though something like the phrase "this thread is about…" was used. Now this. Nah. Not only does your logic fail there ("folks dislike instructors" because "I allow students with lousy swings to build upon a false premise"?), but you've likely got no real idea whether instructors are liked or disliked, nor does what I do (even if you were correct about your assumption, which you're not) influence whether "folks dislike instructors." And what's a "false premise"? You talked about fundamentals, and how you wouldn't let someone with "bad fundamentals" continue forward. There are a couple of problems with your post: You assumed that I let someone move forward with "bad fundamentals." I've only ever said I don't tell them to "forget everything and start over" or "rebuild from the ground up" (or other variations of that idea). What are "bad fundamentals"? You've never defined them. The first point is simply a bad assumption on your part, and an incorrect one. If I see someone with a poor grip or setup, I often fix that, then get down to the priority piece. A little time spent perusing even Member Swing topics would show you this. Hell, the first thing I had @DaveP043 do was to change his setup - he was about a 3.4 index or something at the time and telling him to "forget everything and start over" would have been absolutely bonkers. I'm only mentioning him (Dave) because he's anything but a sycophant, and he'll tell it like it is. Oh, and he got down to his lowest handicap ever with two pretty basic lessons (and good work on his part). To the second and more interesting point… what are "bad fundamentals"? I fix a lot of grips, a lot of setups, and so on, but as I see things, there are only five commonalities of the game's best players, and every lesson I give works at improving one (or more) of those things. Often the grip or setup affects that, and so they're worked on. But I don't make people "start over." And what's a good "fundamental"? Tommy Gainey's swing doesn't look like Jim Furyk's, or Tiger Woods, or Jack's or Arnie's or Vijay Singh's. Phil Mickelson has won over 40 PGA Tour events and five majors with a swing that many wouldn't really say they love. Those guys all had different grips. Zach Johnson and Paul Azinger both have really, really strong grips: one hit a fade, the other plays a draw. But all of those guys do five things really well. @GolfLug had an injury, and thus, felt comfortable gripping the club somewhere between 45-60° strong. I couldn't "start over" with him because he had "bad fundamentals" or he'd simply not be playing golf anymore. I worked with what he could do, and he's done well with that, "bad fundamentals" included. So, no, I think you erred in two ways here: You assumed I just let people have bad "fundamentals." You've not defined what "fundamentals" are. I wrote more here: That post is from 2011, and I've not read it in awhile, but I imagine it says: Fundamentals are not the same as commonalities. Everyone has to hold onto the club, and stand at the ball, and align somewhere, but great players have done those things differently, so those things aren't commonalities. "Fundamentals" (GAPS) are still important, and I adjust them in a lot of lessons. What i don't feel the need to do, however, is "forget everything and start over." That's, as I said before, utterly ridiculous. The golfer in front of you already knows how to break 80, or whatever… They don't need to "forget everything!" Beg to differ. Huh? I'd respond more here, but… I legitimately don't even know what you're saying with this. I don't "con" my students. I don't lie to them. I don't tell them they're better than they are. I'm honest and direct with them. I work with them to achieve their goals. I talk with them about how to practice after the lesson. I create notes and images and will send them home with those, or videos, so that they can continue to understand their own swing. I have repeat students because they get "hooked" on improvement, not so I can keep giving them the same lessons over and over again, and not because I've sold them on a 15-lesson package because we've had to "forget everything and start over." So now you're gonna insult the guys who I've helped here on the forum, with thousands and thousands of posts containing a TON of free information, all backed by the science and experience I've got at my disposal? There are people on this site whom I've never met who attribute this site to having a huge impact on their game. Well, you're finally right about something, because I'm not two guys. Or even one girl, or π people. I'm also not a cat, or a ladybug. And, I live in Erie, PA. I live here primarily because my stepdaughter, a pretty damn good golfer in her own right (and a smart kid), whom I've known since she was 1 year old, has a biological father who wouldn't let us move anywhere else. Not that I mind living in Erie too much. I'm in the top six Best in State for PA. I was on the Best Young Teachers list. I wrote a book that's sold incredibly well, to Tour instructors, Tour players, and 30-handicappers alike. The guy I work with has been on Tour, and he'll tell you plenty of great things about me. I've got a bunch of other smart friends in the industry, I've been out on Tour and inside the ropes as an instructor, and I'm proud of the work I've done. Dave Wedzik, by the way, would also tell you that when he was out on Tour he gave lessons. He'd tell you that if he could, he'd refund every last one of those lessons now because they were garbage compared to what he does now. In other words, "never played on Tour" has virtually nothing to do with being a good instructor. Did David Leadbetter play the Tour? Chris Como never did. Sean Foley never did. Dana Dahlquist never did. Hank Haney never did. A ton of great instructors never played the Tour, and there are a bunch of guys who did play the Tour who give terrible lessons. Tour players are great at hitting a ball, great at playing golf. They're often "stupid monkeys" (that's a compliment), but playing golf at a high level is a completely different skill set than being able to coach or instruct. Huh? We're a Division III school (i.e. no athletic scholarships), and I only ever have two or three players who live in Erie, and are thus even eligible to play. I've had students win professional events, national collegiate tournaments, college conference championships, city championships at both the adult and U18 level (the last three years, Golf Evolution students have won nine of the last 12 "majors" in junior golf in Erie). We've had national Drive, Chip, and Putt winners. We've coached guys who have won club championships, state-wide senior amateur titles, AJGA events, HJGT events, and so much more. We've coached top women and men D1 college players, All Americans… European and PGA Tour players, LPGA Tour players… And I've coached guys who never broke 100 in their lives and then who, after working with me, are now working on breaking 80. I've taught women who only took up the game at retirement to play with her husband… and then taught her husband after his wife started beating him regularly! And I'm not saying that to "take credit." I'm just a guide. They put in the work, the effort, the time, the balls. They go out there and achieve. I've been grateful to help them to those things. But don't come at me with crap like "your team members can barely win a city championship." It's ignorant at best, and at its worst, well… Nope, that's not what I want. What I want? To help people play better golf. That's all.
  29. This is a bit of a "put up or shut up" kind of forum. In that spirit, I'd suggest that, if you care to be taken seriously, you find some way of supporting your claims. Perhaps some Game Golf or Arcos data showing real-life distances. Perhaps some Trackman records. Better still, post a video of yourself in the Member Swings area. Until then, you'll continue to look like a typical troll.
  30. I'm hesitant to say "I'm back," but for all intents and purposes, I kind of am Granted, I'm in so much pain right now writing this post, I probably can't hit balls for like two weeks or something, but this is just a reality I'm living in right now. The good news is, I'm trending in the right direction with my recovery, so over the next few years, it should get a bit better each week. But I don't want to jinx anything. I played my first round back a few weeks ago, shooting 95 from 6199 yards at Abacoa. You'll notice a bottle of wine in the top left corner. Yea, chronic pain sucks. It took three weeks for the pain to subside after this round. I used to never drink too, but now, a couple glasses of wine is better than more oxycodone and vicodin. 2.5+ years of chronic pain and counting takes its toll. I'll be alright with this stuff, don't worry. Pain killers are a necessary evil to getting through chronic pain, and I'm thankful I had a doctor who understood this. I resisted taking anything for over a year, but I broke down eventually. I can honestly say that they helped me get through this. That aside, as soon as the pain went away from that round, I went back to Abacoa on Friday and filmed my swing to see what the hell it looked like after all this time. Here it is: A face-on pitching wedge, first of the day. Maybe you noticed how fat I got since 2016? Yea, comfort eating helps too. So yea... first observation was, "yikes." Followed by, "I probably don't need to see a DTL view," followed by, "Christ, my hips don't effing slide anymore." So after some practice, I finally got this picture about an hour later: Also, the ball position was too far back so I moved it forward. This 2nd swing is a six iron. A bit better. Ball probably needs to be a bit more forward here too. Afterwards, I went into the clubhouse to get some lunch when I ran into Brian Creghan, who IMO is a good teacher. We caught up on the last few years, and he was genuinely happy to see me. I showed him video of my swing, and he said if I wanted he could give me a free half an hour after lunch, so being how I'm not totally stupid, I accepted right away. He agreed I needed to slide my hips and shit, but also told me to swing my arms across my chest faster relative to the pivot. I agreed right away. Then he has me do this old Mac drill where I hit a bunch of balls in a row without thinking much. I'd never heard of this, but it was pretty cool how it did unlock some better sequencing right away. After that, I practiced it on my own for a little while before heading home, mixing in some slow-steady drills that I learned from Erik and Mike. It was a great day, the first where I got to work on my swing in a very, very long time. As you may have guessed, the pain the next day sucked, and well, I'm feeling it still today, four days later. It stinks, but it is what it is. I can't make my shoulders worse by doing this, and from what I understand about this disease, I'm actually helping it in the long run by golfing. Also, maybe you noticed my limited range of motion as well. I can't swing past A3 much. I can't externally rotate my shoulder beyond 90 degrees either. I cant raise my arms above shoulder height. I seem to have just barely enough to make a functional swing, but it's really hard to generate much speed. I probably averaged like 215 yards with driver in that lone round I played, and that's with a modern Callaway driver that everyone seems to hit 290+ these days. Then again, it's hard for me to give a shit about score or distance or anything like that right now. It's unbelievable to be back. It was emotional after that round. I had a hard time containing myself in the car on the ride home. I'm pretty thankful to be able to get out there again. I hope my health can continue to get better each day and that this isn't a one time thing. The last 2.5 years have forced me to realize how lucky I was to be able to play this game in the first place. So much in your life has to be right for it to happen. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I have more of these to share here over the next few years. I feel pretty lucky right now just to be able to write one.
  31. Here is an image that I will use to explore a little bit of my perspective on this. What you see below is a Shot Zone overlaid with a green and the nearby hazards. The size of the green and the Shot Zone and the hazards and all of that is irrelevant for this take, as is the player's ability level. It could be a second shot on a reasonably short par five for a PGA Tour player coming in with a 3-iron, or it could be a short wedge shot for an 18 handicapper - it doesn't matter. What matters is that this is the last hole of a match or tournament and that the player needs to get up and down (the actual score doesn't matter here - if it helps you to think of it as being for birdie, so be it) to win and to get down in three to tie. Finishing second is irrelevant. I've positioned the Shot Zone to maximize the chances of the player making 2 or 3. It comes at a higher average score, regardless of where the hole is located, but increases the chances of the player making 2 or 3. As you can see there are 30 shots in this Shot Zone. Were there more, we might see a bit more clustering toward the middle, but not a lot (Shot Zones are often pretty wide, flat bell curves - the "middle 50%" often occupies about 70%+ of the area). Five of them are in the drink - offering virtually no chance of making 2 or 3 (he'd have to chip in from the drop). Three are in the bunker - he might get up and down 0 to 2 times, or hole out 0.2 times (out of 3). Four are in the rough - he may hole out about 0.3 times out of 3, or get up and down 1-3 times out of the four. 18 are on the green, and he'll one-putt some of those for birdie, and will average two-putting the rest. In this type of situation, you can't play for the lowest average score - you've got to GamePlan for the highest odds of getting 2 or 3. So, the player built a proper GamePlan here. Yet five out of 30 times, when his ball finds the drink, hitting what is a perfectly normal shot this player is going to look to blame something, and quite often, that player is going to look to blame his mental game. Seven more times, when he pulls it into the bunker or long/left into the rough, he's likewise going to seek out something to blame, though not quite as severely as he still has a small chance of holing out or getting up and down. Roughly 8-12 times out of 30, this player is going to look to blame something, despite every shot seen here fitting within his normal distribution of shots, within his Shot Zone. THIS is one of the reasons why the average golfer vastly over-states the mental game aspect. Everyone is going to be a bit nervous on this shot, and yes, there are rare cases where a guy flubs this shot so badly that it doesn't come close to fitting into the Shot Zone (remember, though, a Shot Zone for a 90s golfer includes only about 80% of their shots - the other 20% aren't even really true "outliers"). The player who shanks this shot or lays the sod over it might have had a mental game issue, but those times are quite rare. Most of the time, players hit pretty normal shots that fit within their Shot Zone. But because of the small sample size of one, because of the human nature to try to find a pattern and/or to place blame, they often arrive at "the mental game." Though baseball has recently slightly softened its stance that there's no such thing as "clutch" hitting (and if you look at the "clutch" hitters, you'll often find that the list is full of nobodies, not the stars of the game), the truth of the matter is that we as humans seek out patterns, and the larger the emotional weight, the more we seek out a pattern and/or blame. For example, as a kid, I remember thinking that every time Lee Smith came in to close the game against my Pirates, that the Pirates were going to win. It felt like the Pirates owned Lee Smith, despite him being one of the pre-eminent closers of the era. The truth is probably that the Pirates had a slightly better chance against him than average, but that Lee Smith still did his job more often than not. But because overcoming a 4-2 deficit with a walk-off homer one time (or whatever), followed by a scrappy 4-3 victory when he came in at 2-3 and a runner on first… it cemented a pattern that was really just two random events occurring close together. A small sample size. Is this player more clutch than the one above? Less of a choker? No. That player is just better. They aimed at the same place; if they were truly attempting to get 2 or 3, they'd aim a bit further left to get rid of those two water balls. But I kept the center of the Shot Zone the same to make the point more clearly that two players could literally have the same GamePlan, but the better player is still going to win more often through skill, not mental game. A lot of people will tell you that Tiger Woods is a "clutch" putter, right? Heck, he made a 15-footer on bumpy greens to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open, right? "Expect anything different?" Well, if you understand the statistics, you would have and should have expected that putt to miss. That was what was likely to happen. And you should have expected this putt to go in, and yet… it didn't: Why? Sample size. From 2.5 feet or so, Tiger is gonna make 99 out of 100. This was the 1 that missed. The putt mattered, too, as it was in a major and as we know, Tiger Woods hates making bogeys… so how do you think he feels about making double bogeys? What's Scott Hoch remembered for? Missing a short putt at Augusta National. But that's one putt, and Scott Hoch was known for years as a human ATM, as he cashed good sized checks at a ton of PGA Tour events, winning 11 times. Humans are really, really bad at detaching emotion and failing to understand randomness. I've said it a few times, but you can have a crappy mental approach to a shot, and still hit a good shot. In the post-shot routine, you don't go back and "blame" your mental game because you feel there's no "blame" to assign. Likewise, you can have a good mental game, but if you put the shot in the water, humans will often go back and play a little revisionist history (or blame a gust of wind that didn't affect the shot at all, or something) - they'll say "you know I was never quite ready over that one" or something. I'm a pretty darn good putter. I win a lot of putting competitions and I'd be one of the better putters on the PGA Tour if I was put out there. I once holed 15 out of 28 putts in a match against Dave, all over 20 feet, including the final putt from about 25 feet to close out our second match which went to a tenth hole (the first match was 18 holes and he lost by about six). I realize, though, that I'm no more "clutch" than anyone else. I just make a few more putts over a large enough sample size than someone else. Another thing people don't realize? Out of the 30 shots above (golfers often take about 34 full swings in a round of golf - 18 tee shots and ~16 approach shots. Some days you get a pretty even distribution. Some days you hit a few more of the poor shots from the Shot Zone above, and some days you hit more of the good shots. Imagine you bet $1000 on flipping a coin, and you choose a coin because it was minted in your birth year. You choose "Tails" every time, and the first three times you flip the coin it lands on tails, and you win $3,000. You'll probably go around saying "this is my lucky quarter, it never lets me down." Then suppose that the next time, you get heads, and lose. But then you get tails two more times… your mentality continues to be reinforced. It doesn't matter that if you continued to use the coin, it'd average out to 50% over time. You're looking at a small sample size of random events and, because of the emotional context, assigning far more value to it than you should. The coin isn't "lucky" just as the guy with either the smaller Shot Zone or the guy who randomly hits a good shot instead of a water-bound shot isn't "more clutch" or "have a better mental game." When Trump was elected, I heard a bunch of people saying "oh, the polls have him at 10 or 15%" or something. That statement would often be followed by "he's got no chance at all!" A 15% chance is not much smaller than the odds of playing Russian Roulette with a six-shooter and a single bullet… yet humans are bad at understanding chance or probability. Theoretically, if you held that election 100 times, Donald Trump wins 15 of them. It just so happened that 2016 was one of those times when the bullet was in the chamber and not in one of the other five spots in the revolver. Again, humans are typically very bad at this sort of stuff, because: Humans are emotional. Humans seek to place blame and find patterns. Humans are bad at understanding probability. Humans would often rather blame their minds rather than their physical abilities. All of those things speak to why human beings vastly over-state the importance of the "mental game." P.S. I'm still not talking about outliers, but those people are outliers for a reason: they're abnormal. If you literally have the yips on short putts with any pressure, or you can't find the clubface when you're down twenty bucks despite otherwise playing to a 5… you're an outlier with a glaring mental game weakness. Get help and improve. P.P.S. I don't count GamePlanning as a mental game thing. A 90s golfer can learn in 45 minutes how to GamePlan almost perfectly for the rest of his life. It's an SV④ skill in LSW, but not one that you have to "practice" - you just have to learn it once, ideally from the last half of Lowest Score Wins. 🙂
  32. Here we go. These are the pictures from 10-27-18. Made a lot of changes. Most of it was very natural for me and it mostly how I used to swing. There’s a chance progress will fast...probably best that it’s winter and I won’t be able to push it too fast.
  33. Just got back from Streamsong. Very nice place, very pricey, it's in the middle of nowhere but I'm glad I went and played the three courses. I doubt I would come back anytime soon, it's not awesome enough to be an every year destination for me, although it seems like I'm in the minority on this one. By the time I was done, I spent over $3,000 for 3 nights and 5 rounds of golf, that isn't what I'd call a value, courses weren't that awesome. None of the guys I went with said they would come back anytime soon. We're going to go to Whistling Straights for our guys trip next year. The Lodge Was very nice, room was huge, but pretty much wasted, by the time I was done golfing and eating, I only went there to sleep and take showers. But it was cool looking out the window and seeing an alligator swimming around in the marsh most mornings. Food was good, didn't make it to the Italian Restaurant but everyone who went said it was good. Loved the top of the roof bar. Great place to watch a sunset and have an after round drink and cigar. Didn't make it to the pool or the outside fire pits. As for the question about drinks, I stopped and bought beer and some alcohol and kept it in my fridge, I walked around with a beer and no one said anything to me. Alligator From Room Courses I walked and used a pushcart every morning round (You have to walk in the mornings, no carts), but took a caddie on the last day. I found it pretty easy to push a cart, I even thought about just carrying my bag, but the pushcart worked fine. When we played in the afternoon we took carts. The price for a caddie is pretty high, I was the only one who walked and pushed a cart, everyone else took a caddie for every round. $90 + tip, was a little too pricey for me. We did have to take fore caddies when we rode and that ran $40-$50. Oh and make sure you bring cash if you're getting a caddie or use the ATM, you can't charge that to your room. If you want a good caddie, ask for Manny or Del. Del used to be a pro in Pittsburgh and Manny plays in some mini-tour events in the Florida area. both were excellent caddies. The golf was good, but the greens, imo, were almost unfair at times. I've never seen so many three and 4 putts in groups ever. Red Course This was the first course I played, 38-43-81 Combo Tees, I played horrible on the back 9, I 3-putted 7 greens total. I couldn't figure out the speed of the greens to save my life, I don't think I've ever had so many 6-8 foot comeback putts. If you get on the wrong side of the hole you're pretty much screwed. Red Number 1 Red Number 16 (loved this hole, 76 yard long green) The second time we played, we decided to play the black tees all day, 6600 Yards with the back 9 at 3,500 Yds and was playing into a good breeze most of the day. So 40-43-83 for me on this day. Again, putting killed me. Just could never get the ball close to the hole to have an easy putt. I had 3 - 3 putts on three of the first four holes. And I had several more after that. Putting and hitting fat wedges killed me most of the weekend. This round I was definitely tired towards the end, played the last 4 holes 6 over. Blue Course This was the second course we played and it was my worst round out of all of them. 42-43-85, it was hot and I think I even putted worse on this course. Just never had an easy putt all day, couldn't seem to get the ball close to the hole to have a reasonable chance at birdie or an easy two putt. I chunked a bunch of wedges as well, which didn't help. Drove the ball great all day, in fact I drove the ball great all weekend, just couldn't score. The second time we played this course was on Sunday, our final round, Decided to take the caddie, started the round with three putts on the first two holes. Threw in two more and finished with a smooth 40 making the turn. Doubled 10 & 11 and figured here I go again. Finally parred the 12th hole with an easy two putt, but lipped my birdie and then managed to birdie the next three holes. I had a crazy putt on 17 for birdie and made bogey (another 3 putt, again on the wrong level), so I ended up playing the last 7 holes 2 under. 40-38-78 View From Blue Tee #1 Black Course - We played this for our second round on Friday and Saturday, although i only played it once, was too tired on Saturday to play another round) This was probably my favorite layout of the three, but the greens were a little hokey in places (11 acres of greens total). 40-40-80 (played 17 in almost dark and didn't finish 18 as it was do dark), plus the damn mosquitoes came out and there are so many they could almost take you away ; The crater hole was interesting, made par on that one. Just had some crazy long putts over mounds and hills and the only thing missing at times was a clowns mouth at times. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the Black course, must've been too tired. I did however do the putting course at the Black while the other guys were playing the Black and that was pretty fun. The Food Each course had great food. The food out on the courses themselves were great, Tacos on the blue, BBQ on the red and the lobster/shrimp roll on the black were very tasty. The burgers at the Black course were fantastic, as well as the brisket sandwich I had at the Red/Blue was outstanding. The steak restaurant at the Blue/Red course was also very good. Even the cajun mac and cheese I had at the lodge restaurant was very good. All in all a great trip, plus the guys I went with were all cool, so it was a lot of fun. Lots of betting games, ended up losing $28 for the 4 days, which was good, with as bad as I shot the first three days.
  34. 6 points
    I was tempted to post "I doubt it," but I have this blog to use, so I'll use it for a quick discussion of this. I've taught a few thousand people to putt. I've never seen someone with their finger down the shaft who I would consider a "good" putter. More often - far, far more often - those with their finger down the shaft have distance control issues. The pressure they apply with that finger leads to added loft and wrist flipping, while many good putting strokes have de-lofted putters (4° turned down to 1°) and lead wrists that are slightly more in flexion than they were at setup. I understand what people think they're feeling - the pressure of the shaft/grip being applied to that finger - but again I've got SAM data and visual data (recorded) that leads me to these types of statements. I'm not super picky about putting grips. I putt with a pretty standard/classic reverse double overlap. My daughter is a single overlap kinda gal. I've taught claw grippers, crosshanders, etc. I could put the finger down the shaft (at least for awhile), and remain a good putter… but part of the reason I might be a good putter is that I don't put the finger down the shaft, and I've learned to control the putter swing by having a better wrist action than the one that the finger down the shaft encourages. Again, I've never seen a good putter who can actually control distance well with the finger down the shaft. Take it for what it's worth. P.S. If you try to putt without the finger down the shaft for awhile, don't judge the results immediately. Give it some time. And read this: P.P.S. Just because I've never seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It only means I've never seen it…
  35. On the list of Things That Annoy Me, "lying about driver distance" is somewhere around 22,313. "People ranting on the internet about people lying about driver distance" is at 22,312. 😂
  36. I saw this. I don't think it's that bad, to be honest. He still shook his hand. Do we need a timer on the handshake to decide what's classy and not classy? He went from tied for the lead (I believe) on the tee at 15 and finished 6-6-3-8. I don't blame him for being frustrated one bit. If that had happened to me, I would have gotten out of there as soon as possible, too. I really don't see this as an issue.
  37. 6 points
    It is always fascinating to me how all sports seemed to have developed a structure that tests the participants for a sufficient length of time to separate the wheat from the chaff. In football one has to play both halves. Remember the Super Bowl? The seventh inning stretch doesn’t end the game, the 8th and 9th innings must be played. Long ago when the game of golf was being formed, somehow the founders knew that 9 holes would not require the consistency a truly sound golfer must have to succeed. No, the test would have to 18. A recent tournament in which I played reminded me of what I might call “The Nine Hole Conundrum.” The “NHC” is that a double-digit handicap player can play almost like a scratch player, but only for nine holes. If 18 holes are played, the longer contest inevitably sees the player revert to the norm. In the tournament, Greg had a rough start Wednesday. Our shot gun start began on #16 and he was 5 over par when we made the turn to #1. At that point he became a changed man. He shot -3 for the front nine. Every shot was struck crisply, putts were holed and he even chipped in for a birdie. Then, when we moved to #10, he fell back to his original form. At the end of the day, he had shot 33-49-82. Most of us can probably recall how we once (or still?) were in search of “breaking 80” (or 90 or 100). We could perform admirably for 9 holes. It was totally frustrating to know we had the skills to reach our numerical goal but lacked the consistency to hold it together for a full round. I don’t have the answer. While I do have those consistent 18-hole rounds, there are many times where I fall prey to the “NHC” and turn a promising front side into a mess.
  38. 6 points
    I am subtitling this: “the Tao of Cipher” Last week I was able to play my first full round of golf in over two years. It was not pretty, but it was so much fun. I completely chunked about nine shots and I took at least 4 penalties. I had the absolute best time doing so. A co-worker and I took a couple business partners out and it was very rewarding to be able to do that again. All the hard work, patience and time weighing the tough decisions have been to the benefit of playing again without a concern at this point and without any sort of swing alteration to do so. I am incredibly pleased with the result and with being able to play again. It gives me great joy to know there are many days including yesterday in which my wife will mention the positive change she has seen in me. I don’t want to keep bringing up perspective, because I think it is and has been the least relatable thing in this blog so far based on the reactions and comments. I will just leave this series to be for now with a few final thoughts. This is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me, even if my wrist decides to give out next week. If everything continues to go well don’t be surprised if I play quite a bit less than I did in the past, but also enjoy the game more than I ever have. Don’t be surprised if I do not work on the swing at the same level or someday soon really at all. Don’t be surprised if there are days I would rather go throw a disc into some chains or go fishing with my son and daughter nearly every weekend. Don’t be surprised if I have little to no interest in playing competitive golf. I will however probably try and get the game in shape enough to qualify for and be part of the Newport Cup if I am lucky enough to be chosen. I was looking forward to that the last time and I would like to redeem that missed opportunity. I am most looking forward to meeting some of people I have not met yet from the site and also seeing those again that I have. Thank you to all who have read this series and have wished me well over these past couple years. If anyone comes across this blog in the search for information on this injury, please reach out to me if you are experiencing the same thing. I know the information out there is not great. I will possibly try and continue with another series of blogs in the future, but for this series on the “Reflections on Golf and Life After ECU Injury” I am signing off, for now. Wishing you all great health and don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy each day you are.
  39. 6 points
    I enjoy Rules discussions. One learns a few things and also experiences another’s perspective. I started playing competitive golf late in life (35 or so) but I made it a point to learn the Rules well before I ever entered a tournament. Frankly, I see no point in playing any game without a clear understanding of the Rules. Collecting double the rent on an unimproved Monopoly or “castling” in chess are details and one can play either game without knowing the rule. One is likely, however, to see more success if one is aware of all the “details”. Still, for all our efforts we all stub our toes on occasion. A discussion about Rules recently got me thinking about my top Rules snafus. I cleared a long cross hazard off the tee and got to my ball. It was just where I thought it would be, having barely cleared the hazard. Yep, “Titleist” was clearly visible. I laid up short of the next hazard because of a poor lie. Then I discovered that the “Titleist” I had hit was not my “Titleist”. That was the last time I have done that, so far. I and my other three competitors were finishing up a decidedly indifferent one day tournament. The organization that ran this particular event had a condition of competition that every foursome was to finish the round within 4 ½ hours or, if over that number, finish within 12 minutes of the prior group. As usual, every group suddenly stepped on the gas with about 3 holes left. For whatever reason, we just could not be bothered with sprinting between shots on the last holes. As we turned in our cards, the official said, “everyone in the group has been assessed a one stroke penalty.” He got ready for a tirade but we all shrugged and said, “okay.” He was momentarily stunned and then smiled. “I have never had 4 people accept a penalty so easily.” That was, however, the last time I was penalized for slow play. In the final round of our three day City Championship, I was surveying my severely downhill putt for par. As I addressed the ball, it rolled a ¼ turn. I had not touched it but back in the day, after taking one’s stance and grounding the club, any movement was on you. I announced the penalty and, fortunately, was aware enough to move the ball back to its original position prior to playing the next shot. I stopped grounding my club on the green for several decades. We were playing a tournament at my home course. I typically played the “White” tees but for this event, it was “Blue.” The driver of the cart I was sharing drove up and parked next to the “White” tees. I had honors. You can guess the rest. My pre-shot routine now includes checking the tee color. Of course, I have made both the ride and walk of shame back to the tee after losing my tee shot and neglecting to hit a provisional. Some might say I hit too many provisionals but honestly, I don’t plan to ever make that walk back again in a tournament. With the proposed changes to the Rules, I am getting ready to go back to “school.” There will undoubtedly be fresh opportunities for me to “step in it” a far as Rules breaches. Still, it won’t be because I did not continue to study and attempt to understand the Rules.
  40. 6 points
    The first TST-Michigan outing is in the books. We exceeded our target with a total of seven TST’ers meeting up in Okemos, MI. A few observations: It was interesting meeting the people behind the user names and avatars. My plan was to get to the course a bit early to put out a small “TST” sign to attract the members as we wandered in. Before setting out the sign, I passed a gentleman a couple times and I strongly suspected he was part of our outing. Why? No idea other than he seemed as interested as I in everyone wandering around. Yep! @JonMA1. We got lucky with the weather. While it was much chillier than we might have wanted, there was no rain. We have had a very rainy start to the year in the Soggy Mitten (aka Michigan) and attempting to select a day without rain is a real crap shoot. A few members had to drive close to 2 hours. For me, nothing is more depressing than making a long drive to the course in the rain. I often look at user names and make assumptions. One looks at @MSchott or @tlazzol and it is easy to assume that their first name starts with “M” and “T” respectively. And so it turned out that was the case. Then we get to @Wally Fairway. Okay, his last name was unlikely to be “Fairway” but I might have bet his first was “Walter” or “Wally.” Wrong! Joe? How the heck is WallyFairway named Joe? I am not sure how @Braivo connects to Mark, but maybe next time I can get in his group and find out. Amazingly, we all got there a bit early. Considering the traffic, construction projects and distance some had to travel, getting everyone there 30 minutes before tee time was a minor miracle. Every time I looked at @dennyjones, I felt like wagging my head side to side. I wonder why? I think we all left with the feeling that we could have played better. Still, we all hit some good shots and next time we will have great weather and our “A” game. I witnessed one of the best birdies in a long while. We had a fairly hefty par 3 (184 on the score card). It is cold. The wind is in our face. There is trouble between us and the hole. There is greenside bunkering. @tlazzol struck a pure hybrid/wood and hits the green. Then rolls in about a 35-footer for birdie. Outstanding! If/when we have a next time, we might consider setting up a “game.” No big stakes but maybe play one group’s best ball score against the other for a drink after the round. Also, we will try to recruit an even dozen players. Aim high!
  41. 6 points
    I watch my daughter, @NatalieB, play golf. Sometimes better than others, but this year, almost always in the 90s (and once, so far, in the 80s). She's playing from 5,000 to 5,300 yards, and she'll take 36-42 putts, and miss the green with chip shots, and hit the occasional shot that goes 20 feet when she's 140 yards out… And yet, she breaks 100 virtually every time. The other day she had two four-putts and a few three-putts, started with two triples and a quad in the first four holes… and shot 95. And yet, full grown men playing from 6200 yards who hit their driver farther proportionally than she does from 5200 yards sometimes struggle to break 100. My gut, instant reaction is often something like "my goodness, you have to play some pretty bad golf to not break 100!" But then I consider a few things. In no particular order… Generally speaking, @NatalieB advances her golf ball. It might be 120 yards at a time, but the truly bad 20-footers are few and far between. Generally speaking, because @NatalieB's good drives top out at under 200 yards, she doesn't hit them sideways too far. Generally speaking, @NatalieB aims away from all trouble, even if it puts her slightly in the rough. She just tries to hit the green from even 30 yards out, and eliminates nearly all risk with most shots. And that's it. That's pretty much how Natalie can break 100 without too much trouble. So why can't others? Why can't grown men, while a little girl can? And the reasons are simply the opposite of what's stated above. Guys struggling to break 100 generally don't advance their golf ball. They will flub more shots than Nat will in a round. When you're looking at shooting 90 to 95, five flubbed shots put you close to 100. They remove any margin of error. Guys struggling to break 100, when they hit their clubs, are not accurate. They might hit their ball 250 yards, which even if hit the same angle offline, travels much further offline! Guys struggling to break 100 don't take the conservative lines to every hole, every fairway, every shot. Long story short, and the real purpose of this post, which is borderline "too long to be a droplet," is this: if your goal is just to break 100, you could probably do that within a few weeks: focus on hitting your hybrids and irons somewhat solidly and putt and chip "okay." However, if your goal is to play good golf for the rest of your life, and to keep improving, just trying to break 100 is the wrong way to go. It'll set you back. You won't learn to hit your driver or longer clubs, you won't learn to take the right risks, and you won't learn to play the game the way you'll play the rest of your life.
  42. 6 points
    Every golfer has the thought at some point.. "If only I could consistently shoot in the 70s, then I would enjoy golf more." We get lost in our heads, dreaming of a fantasy where golf was one day an easy game. What if we didn't have to worry about water hazards, sand, or OB? What if 3-footers didn't bring us anxiety? What if we could enjoy that pure strike that we long for on every single shot? I'd argue that the better a golfer gets, the more enjoyable the game is. But.. not in the way that most golfers imagine. In this post, I will be examining our love affair with golf, how we can enjoy the failures that the game inevitably brings us, and why golf will never get easier (but can become more enjoyable). Why Do We Love Golf? What is fun about slicing a golf ball into the window of a house, or duffing a chip into the bunker? If you're a bit more experienced, what is fun about making a triple bogey on the last hole to shoot 82? Even at the highest levels, what is fun about missing a 5 footer to make the cut in a big tournament? Golf is a game of heartbreak. For every great shot, there are five bad shots. You will fail by most standards 99% of the time. You might spend hours on the driving range, and perform worse the next day. If you hit one shot in the wrong place, your entire round could turn for the worse. So why?? Someone explain to me why we love this game so much?? From another perspective, it does feel amazing to hit a pitch shot off tight turf, watch it bounce short of the hole, spin, and stop an inch from the cup. It also feels rather pleasing to hit a low stinger down the middle of the fairway on a tight par 4. Heck, it even feels great to make that dead straight 3-footer on the last hole to shoot 72! In reality, our love affair with golf comes from something completely out of our control. In pyschology, this external force is called "operant conditioning." More specifically, as we practice golf, our behavior is being reinforced on a "variable-ratio" schedule of reinforcement. In psychological terms, this means that our behavior (hitting another golf ball) is reinforced after an unpredictable amount of responses (you never know when that "pure" strike is going to come). This reinforcement schedule is often noted as producing a high and steady rate of response (why you can't get yourself to stop hitting golf balls). What you might not realize is that this type of operant conditioning is seen in one of the most addictive activities known to man... Gambling. Just like we pull the lever on the slot machine over and over, waiting for the symbols to line up, we also stand on the driving range, hitting ball after ball, waiting for that "pure strike" to happen. In other words, we are literally addicted to golf. Fortunately, golf is quite a productive and healthy behavior! But like all addictions, it can take control of us sometimes, and we find ourselves wishing it was the other way around. How can we improve our games to the point where golf doesn't take control of us? Wouldn't we enjoy it more if bad rounds and bad shots didn't bother us so much? How to Love this Brutal Game If you have read any number of golf books, business books, goal setting books, etc., then you understand what "the process" is. I know how redundant it may sound, but "the process" is the key to enjoying this game AND being successful at it. In our society, external outcomes are praised. We chase after these desires like mad men, and then when we finally achieve them, there is only a brief moment of satisfaction. Golf is no different. Each and every one of us are striving for a better game, and often have a specific level that we would like to reach. It might be breaking 90 for the first time, breaking 80 for the first time, or even winning a competitive tournament for the first time. Unfortunately, in the midst of these desires, we find ourselves judging every single shot we hit, every single score we post, what others think of us, and even becoming self critical during practice. In the end, where the ball lands, what score we shoot, and what our handicap becomes are not in our direct control. They are external to us. They aren't part of the process, and therefore will not produce lasting satisfaction if we choose to focus on them. The process is something more elusive, complex, and demanding. So What is "The Process?" In order to truly love golf and improve your game, you must dedicate yourself to a mindset that is common among elite performers. And that mindset is one that doesn't fear failure. It is a mindset that enjoys the process more than the results. Finally, it is a mindset that falls in love with endless improvement Notice that I did not mention anything about shooting good rounds of golf, winning tournaments, or beating your buddies on the weekend. All of these things are out of your control, and will be products of an effective process. Instead, you must focus on what you CAN control, and then TRUST that your preparation will produce the results that you so desire. By adopting this care-free (not care-less) attitude, those bad shots, bad rounds, and negative thoughts won't seem so damaging. Remember, the number on the scorecard is your compass. It tells you where you are pointing at the moment, but certainly does not require you to keep moving in that direction. If you shoot a high score, that simply means you have some thinking, learning, and practice to do. Nothing else. Making up an irrational story in your mind about your lack of skill as a golfer is a waste of time and mental energy. When you notice that you have started to think in a destructive way, simply bring yourself back into the moment, take a deep breath, and move on. Remember, golf is just a game. If you can understand this concept, you WILL enjoy golf more, and you WILL improve. Does Golf Ever Get Easier? You might look at the pros on T.V., and think to yourself: "If I could hit it like that, golf would be easy." What you don't realize is that each of these professionals is grinding over every shot, whether you see it in their eyes or not. Sure, they are more confident off the tee than 99.9% of the world's golfers, but that doesn't mean that golf is "easy" for them. Just like your home course provides you with challenges, the USGA/R&A provides these tour pros with challenges such as long rough, lightning fast greens, and humiliating pin placements. Rather than wishing golf to be easier, why not learn how to enjoy the challenge more? As a golfer who has shot 64 all the way to 104, I have a general understanding of what each stage of the game feels like. From my experience, if you focus on the process, and fall in love with continuous improvement, golf does become more enjoyable. Think about it in terms of money. In the book "Happy Money" by Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn, the authors report that once the average household reaches a minimum threshold of income ($75,000 in the U.S.), they experience a greater satisfaction with life. As the household increases over this threshold, happiness no longer correlates with rising income. For most people, golf is the same. Once you reach a certain skill level (usually when you can break 90 consistently), golf does become more enjoyable. At this point, you are able to get off the tee, keep the ball in play, and make a few putts here and there. Unfortunately, everything past this level becomes pure desire, and will inevitably bring a golfer frustration more often than not. So what are you to do after passing this satisfactory level of skill? Are you doomed for the rest of your golf career? Certainly not! You are just going to have to focus less on results, and more on the things you can control. Golf is enjoyable as long as you constantly seek ways to refine your process. Bad scores don't matter given you focus on improving your method of preparation and mindset rather than your score. Sure, there will be brief times where you might feel the game slipping. At these times, ask yourself what things you can control. Focus on the process. Be ambitious, yet detached from the results. Do something every day to improve. If you do these things, golf will remain the most difficult game known to man, but you will enjoy it. What do you think? Why do YOU love golf?
  43. I don't believe that the sum total of the payments to the caddie were $3k. I also don't think that Kuchar having made $45M in his career is relevant. A Snickers bar costs $1.79 to a billionaire and a poor person alike.
  44. This isn't a bad video. I like it for showing most all of the changes.
  45. Why do you care so much? If people want to lie to themselves, that's their problem. I'm actually a bigger fan of using the median as an indicator of typical driving distance because the mean is influenced too heavily by large differences in the tail end of the numbers. This being golf, you're going see a much larger difference from a shot shorter than normal dispersion than longer so the egregious mis-hit has a disproportionately high influence on the outcome.
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  • Posts

    • Finished For All Mankind. Great alt-history show and space! Seven episodes into Little America. Birdie. Keep a box of tissues handy.
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    • Posted this in the goal thread, but thought I would copy it here, as well, so that I can easily reference it and be held accountable. Goals: Keep a single-digit handicap. I got down to a 9.1 last year (8.9 now with the handicap system change) from an 18.4 at the beginning of the year, but a stretch during the summer where I played or went to the range pretty much daily is bringing that down. I'm probably between a 9-12 or somewhere in there, so I want to improve to the point where I can stay in the single digits. Break 80 over 18 holes and break par on 9 holes. I've shot an 81 for a full round and even par on 9 holes, but never broken either benchmark. Win at least one half of our men's league. We break the league into two seasons and then the winners face off, so I want to win one of the seasons to have a chance to play for the overall title. Fix my attitude on the course. I am a super perfectionist and I get way too upset over bad shots, which often leads to another bad shot. I also know it can be frustrating to play with people who are overly negative, so I want to improve my on-course demeanor. How: Get lessons for the first time. I have never taken lessons, so I plan on starting that as the Michigan golf season gets closer. I hope to get one every month or two, depending on finances/time. Practice better. I have a tendency to just bang balls at the range, so I need to focus my time better and remember to take video. The lessons will hopefully give some guidance on what to practice, as should being more diligent in posting video to my swing thread here. Eliminate the blow up holes. Hopefully the lessons will help with this, too, as a lot of my big numbers come from driving the ball into terrible positions/OB, but I also have a tendency to play the hero shot or not focus enough when I am taking my medicine, which leads to more issues. Eliminate the three putts. I am pretty good at reading the break of greens, but I am dreadful at speed control. I leave a huge number of putts short, and often put myself in situations where I leave myself a 5-10 footer after my first putt. Track my stats. I plan on tracking my FIR, GIR, and stuff like that so that I have a better idea of where I need to improve. I keep track during the round, but never end up doing anything with the data afterward. Read Lowest Score Wins. I got the book for Christmas, so I need to carve out some time to dig in.
    • Goals: Keep a single-digit handicap. I got down to a 9.1 last year (8.9 now with the handicap system change) from an 18.4 at the beginning of the year, but a stretch during the summer where I played or went to the range pretty much daily is bringing that down. I'm probably between a 9-12 or somewhere in there, so I want to improve to the point where I can stay in the single digits. Break 80 over 18 holes and break par on 9 holes. I've shot an 81 for a full round and even par on 9 holes, but never broken either benchmark. Win at least one half of our men's league. We break the league into two seasons and then the winners face off, so I want to win one of the seasons to have a chance to play for the overall title. Fix my attitude on the course. I am a super perfectionist and I get way too upset over bad shots, which often leads to another bad shot. I also know it can be frustrating to play with people who are overly negative, so I want to improve my on-course demeanor. How: Get lessons for the first time. I have never taken lessons, so I plan on starting that as the Michigan golf season gets closer. I hope to get one every month or two, depending on finances/time. Practice better. I have a tendency to just bang balls at the range, so I need to focus my time better and remember to take video. The lessons will hopefully give some guidance on what to practice, as should being more diligent in posting video to my swing thread here. Eliminate the blow up holes. Hopefully the lessons will help with this, too, as a lot of my big numbers come from driving the ball into terrible positions/OB, but I also have a tendency to play the hero shot or not focus enough when I am taking my medicine, which leads to more issues. Eliminate the three putts. I am pretty good at reading the break of greens, but I am dreadful at speed control. I leave a huge number of putts short, and often put myself in situations where I leave myself a 5-10 footer after my first putt. Track my stats. I plan on tracking my FIR, GIR, and stuff like that so that I have a better idea of where I need to improve. I keep track during the round, but never end up doing anything with the data afterward. Read Lowest Score Wins. I got the book for Christmas, so I need to carve out some time to dig in.

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