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      Introducing TST "Clubs!"   08/28/2017

      No, we're not getting into the equipment business, but we do have "clubs" here on TST now. Groups. Check them out here:

alfriday

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About alfriday

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  1. Is golf more mental or physical?

    Seriously, think about it...someone else could hit the shots based on your decisions. So.
  2. Is golf more mental or physical?

    Am I the only one who finds iacas's comments ironic. I mean, this is the guy who wrote LSW--a book about strategy, about building a "proper GamePlan [that] will help you drop multiple strokes using the game you have today." (p. 139.)
  3. Is golf more mental or physical?

    I don't know if golf is more mental than physical or vice versa. But I am convinced that a different mental approach/focus can help many problems in the game that many, if not most, instructors view as purely physical/swing related issues. A correct mental picture/intent can help golfers improve, and combining a mental approach with physical swing training can greatly accelerate improvement. Take an over the top swing as an example. With the pure physical approach, the instructor watches the player hit a few balls and dissects the swing into component parts. The instructor gives a bunch of physical causes: you take the club too inside or outside, you have too much weight on the front or back foot, you should be supinating your wrist or pronating it, your hips are firing too soon or too late. The instructor has the player work on a different take away for the first week. When that gets better, they move onto the next problem and try to fix it. Two months late, the player is hitting it much better on the range, but still frequently comes over the top on the course. The more the student focuses on the ball, the more likely a OTT swing will show up. The other approach: the instructor watches the student take some practice swings and then hit some balls. The instructor notices that the student rarely comes over the top for a practice swing but does so on most, but not all swings with a ball. Okay, she asks, why is the player sometimes coming over the top? Why is it worse when a ball is present? The instructor asks what the player is focused on. The ball of course. I want to hit the ball, make sure the club head makes good contact. The instructor then changes the focus of the player from hitting the ball to swinging through the ball to a target. The instructor explains that OTT is the default when the ball is the target. She gives some drills to improve focus away from the ball: the player hits whiffle balls to warm up, the player has to verbally identify the target and intermediary target and rehearse swinging out to the target, the instructor gives the student a mental image of swinging through the ball instead of hitting at the ball. After a week, the over the top move shows up less often and is not as pronounced. The instructor continues to have the student work on the mental side of swinging to the target and combines that with swing changes. In the physical only approach, the physical changes will be harder to adopt because the physical swing is fighting against the students mental image of what is needed and the student's primary focus. When the mental and physical are aligned, progress will be faster. Another way to say it: the mind directs the body. The mind is telling the body to swing one way when the ball is the target and a different way when swinging to the pin. In any case, an instructor who ignores the student's thoughts is short changing the student by focusing only on the physical. There's an old saying, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. If the instructor only deals with physical swing changes, every problem looks like a physical problem. On the course, which is more important, the physical or the mental? I don't know, but it is important that the mental image/goal/focus aids the physical side instead of fighting against it.
  4. Call Liz at Golf International. She is wonderful to work with. I have traveled to Scotland 3 times and Ireland twice (third trip starts on Friday) and used Golf International each time. The company will arrange hotel, tee times and transportation as needed. They can get guaranteed tee times at the Old Course. Cost depends on level of hotel you stay in. Top of the line, like the Old Course Hotel and Grey Walls near Muirfield can be pricy. But much cheaper alternatives are available. Liz should be able to give you a ball park figure over the phone. Liz Lee at Golf International, 212-986-9176, 800-833-1389
  5. Sounds like a focus issue. Check this out and see if it applies to you:
  6. Good suggestions for variable practice above. I know there was a study on another golf site where the control group tried to hit all shots center club face. I don't remember what the second group did. The third group, hit one shot in the center, next on the heel and third on the toe. Center contact improved most for the third group. One putting drill I have tried is to hit three putts. The first putt so it hangs on the lip and falls in. Second putt solidly in the center. Third hard in the back of the hole. Change length of putt and repeat, mixing up the order of lip, middle and back of cup. Another is to hit putts off the end of your putter or with a 5 iron turned sideways. Hit clubs to various distances. If you hit the 8 iron 150, hit it 100, 125 and 175. Hit a draw, followed by a fade, follow by a straight shot. I think the idea is to not only change clubs on the range, but to change how you hit each club. So hit a straight 7 iron, a draw with the driver, a fade with a PW.
  7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/12/how-to-learn-new-skills-twice-as-fast/?utm_term=.286eb9e9fae0
  8. What are you doing for the total solar eclipse?

    Went to Northern Missouri with my wife and son We had some sun and clouds, but the 2 1/2 minutes of totality was incredible. Kissed the wife during totality--it's supposed to be good luck. Well worth the 2 hour drive even with clouds. (My course was closed today because we got 3 inches of rain last night. Couldn't have played golf anyway.)
  9. Look at the specs for the irons, not the number on the bottom of the club. It used to be a 3 iron was 24 degrees and 38 inches long. The 24/38 rule (more a guideline) was that most amateurs don't have enough swing speed to hit an iron on a consistent basis with less than 24 degrees and/or longer than 38 inches. I used "and/or" in the last sentence because I've seen it stated both ways. Some modern 5 irons are lower lofted and longer than the 24 degrees 38 inches. The forgiving head designs help the player get the ball up, but the rule still works as a general guideline for many players.
  10. Watch this video a couple of times. If you think Shawn makes sense for you, let me know and I'll send you a list of his videos that organize his teachings into a method that works for seniors. I'm 59 and hitting the ball farther and with better dispersion than I have for years. Oh, the back doesn't hurt any more either.
  11. What are you doing for the total solar eclipse?

    We are 120 miles from the path of totality. We can go west to Nebraska or south to Missouri. Same distance either way. We plan to check the weather forecast the day before and decide which way to head. Our choice is to head to Missouri. One of the towns in the path is known as "Quilt Town" and my wife likes to quilt. The town has a very nice man cave as well. I already have the glasses and camera filters to catch the eclipse.
  12. My mirrorless camera has all but replaced my SLR. There are a few subjects where the SLR still would be my first choice, but not many. With adapters, I can use all my Leica and Nikon lenses. To me, the SLRs are getting too bulky for general/travel photography. I started with a Canon 35mm in the 70s. It was light and manageable. Even without a battery pack, the pro SLRs are bigger and bulkier than my Mamiya 7.
  13. Non golfers understanding of the game of golf

    I was watching the Masters on TV with my in-laws. After watching a group putt out, my mother-in-law asked why the players don't just putt straight at the hole. After all the golfers in the room stopped laughing, we explained that gravity is not just a good idea, it's the law. In fairness to my in-laws, they've had to explain the finer (and not so fine) points of NASCAR racing to me.
  14. Drill for consistency

    OP, Very interesting post. Your pro tells you that you are getting into good positions. You obviously hit a lot of good shots if you are getting 8 pars in a round. You say the problems come up with your long irons and driver. So, what's different on those clubs? Two things to consider: 1). Are you setting up with those clubs differently? With longer clubs it is easy to get into a bad set up or alignment. The ball too far forward, or weight too far on the toes can lead to the problems you describe. I'd start by checking balance and alignment. If you are reaching, all sorts of bad things can happen. 2). The problem could be focus. Are you worried about the shots on the course? If so, you may be focusing on hitting the ball too much as opposed to swinging the club and sending the ball to the target. Subtile difference, but it can have a major impact on the swing. If the ball is the target, your swing will be different than is your target is the flag or a spot (intermediate target) in front of the ball. As for drills, a couple come to mind. The Greg Norman drill may help. On the range, hit drives (or long irons) of varying length. Hit 100 yards, 125, 150 etc,. taking a full length swing each time. Shawn Clement's Perpetual motion drill (on Youtube) will definitely help. This is a drill that has been around forever. You keep swinging back and forth, staying in balance and centered in your stance. Ben Hogan did this drill on Ed Sullivan year ago--there's a Youtube video of him on the show if your curious. While this drill is not unique to Shawn, he gives a good explanation of it. Eye closed drill. Set up to a ball. Just before swinging, close your eyes and hit the ball to your target. Start with a short club and work your way up to the driver. The first time you try it you might want to make sure the range is fairly clear--just saying'.