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Lesson #5

Today's lesson was really focused on my footwork and where the forces/pressure points are in my feet at different parts on the swing.  My new hip turn and rotation has been working out well, but I haven't been getting onto my front foot as well as I should.  I have been sitting around 65% of my weight on my front foot at impact and we'd like to see the number closer to 80% (and the number to go up even more after impact to show acceleration through the ball).

We focused on keeping the weight in the middle of my feet so that I didn't get too far out over my toes at any point.  On the downswing I really concentrated on getting that weight into my left food through the middle of the foot.  I really had to concentrate on a feeling of the weight going to my front outside heel so that I wouldn't get out over my left toes.  Syncing up the torso and hip movements with the footwork is definitely a work in progress, but I left the lesson understanding exactly what I needed to work on and I was able to match up everything with a few swings before the lessons ended.

The last thing we worked on today was a little better setup with my shorter clubs.  I had a habit of setting up with my hands too even with the head on my wedges, which caused me to add loft and expose the leading edge to the ball (two not very good things).  We worked on ball position (slightly further back) with my hands slightly forward and it allowed me to compress the ball much better and get a better launch angle.

All in all, another fantastic lesson with progress being made and a good understanding of what I need to work on leading up to the next lesson.

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Well it got up to 65 in New Jersey today so I took the day off to get in my first round of the year.  I went in with low expectations since I am in the middle of this swing change, but I was excited to see what I could do on the course.  I posted my score in the What did you shoot today thread, but @GolfSpy MPR asked me what worked and what didn't during my round, so after thinking more about how the round went I thought I would post a quick summary here.

I shot 3 over on the front and 2 over on the back for a +5 77.  Weirdly enough, I played better overall on the front, but was hurt by a double bogey on 9.  Funny thing is, the only reason it was a double bogey is because I have no idea what my iron yardages are (they have gone up a good amount because my swing speed has gone up).  I was 180 out and I choked down on a 6 iron (my previous 6 iron distance was about 185 carry) and I hit a beautiful high draw that carried about 10 yards over the green and bounced behind a tree.  

When my new swing showed itself, results were great.  However on the course I found myself more like to revert to my previous tendencies just based on simply muscle memory.  This was even more apparent towards the end of the round as became a bit tired (first time I've walked 18 since October).  It definitely can take away more positives than negatives from today and I know I need to spend a lot more time on the range really making my new movements become second nature before I can start to see consistent results on the course

 

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20 minutes ago, jlukes said:

Well it got up to 65 in New Jersey today so I took the day off to get in my first round of the year.  I went in with low expectations since I am in the middle of this swing change, but I was excited to see what I could do on the course.  I posted my score in the What did you shoot today thread, but @GolfSpy MPR asked me what worked and what didn't during my round, so after thinking more about how the round went I thought I would post a quick summary here.

I shot 3 over on the front and 2 over on the back for a +5 77.  Weirdly enough, I played better overall on the front, but was hurt by a double bogey on 9.  Funny thing is, the only reason it was a double bogey is because I have no idea what my iron yardages are (they have gone up a good amount because my swing speed has gone up).  I was 180 out and I choked down on a 6 iron (my previous 6 iron distance was about 185 carry) and I hit a beautiful high draw that carried about 10 yards over the green and bounced behind a tree.  

When my new swing showed itself, results were great.  However on the course I found myself more like to revert to my previous tendencies just based on simply muscle memory.  This was even more apparent towards the end of the round as became a bit tired (first time I've walked 18 since October).  It definitely can take away more positives than negatives from today and I know I need to spend a lot more time on the range really making my new movements become second nature before I can start to see consistent results on the course

 

This is a constant battle for myself as well. Keep plugging away at what you are working on. Nice to see the payoff though.

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16 hours ago, jlukes said:

When my new swing showed itself, results were great.  However on the course I found myself more like to revert to my previous tendencies just based on simply muscle memory.  This was even more apparent towards the end of the round as became a bit tired (first time I've walked 18 since October).  It definitely can take away more positives than negatives from today and I know I need to spend a lot more time on the range really making my new movements become second nature before I can start to see consistent results on the course

As always, enjoying your updates. The task of transferring the range swing to the course swing is one that I'm obviously interested in as well, although I won't be seeing a course for (at least) another 2.5 months. When you're on the range, how much are you working on technique vs. target?

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17 hours ago, jlukes said:

Well it got up to 65 in New Jersey today so I took the day off to get in my first round of the year.  I went in with low expectations since I am in the middle of this swing change, but I was excited to see what I could do on the course.  I posted my score in the What did you shoot today thread, but @GolfSpy MPR asked me what worked and what didn't during my round, so after thinking more about how the round went I thought I would post a quick summary here.

I shot 3 over on the front and 2 over on the back for a +5 77.  Weirdly enough, I played better overall on the front, but was hurt by a double bogey on 9.  Funny thing is, the only reason it was a double bogey is because I have no idea what my iron yardages are (they have gone up a good amount because my swing speed has gone up).  I was 180 out and I choked down on a 6 iron (my previous 6 iron distance was about 185 carry) and I hit a beautiful high draw that carried about 10 yards over the green and bounced behind a tree.  

When my new swing showed itself, results were great.  However on the course I found myself more like to revert to my previous tendencies just based on simply muscle memory.  This was even more apparent towards the end of the round as became a bit tired (first time I've walked 18 since October).  It definitely can take away more positives than negatives from today and I know I need to spend a lot more time on the range really making my new movements become second nature before I can start to see consistent results on the course

 

This is a legitimate question of mine, I'm not trying to be argumentative at all, so please don't take it that way. 

If you can replicate the results of your new swing on the range with ease, but struggle taking it on to the course, wouldn't the only way to get past that be, playing on the course instead of spending more time on the range? Won't spending more time on course help you get past the mental demons better than hitting balls on the range? If the mechanics are there, it seems like the only problem left is the mental hurdle of using the new mechanics on course. Therefore, wouldn't the only way to get past the mental hurdle, be to play on course?

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... GB13 one of the best ways to describe this is to think about walking. We have walked a certain way our entire lives and if we decided we wanted to shorten our gait and change our foot angles, we would need to repeat that on a treadmill or on a hike paying constant attention to our new movements. But as soon as we started walking in our normal lives, we will revert back to our normal gait and foot positions. We have to do the treadmill and hike over and over again to retrain our normal patterns. 

... So to change your swing, you need tons of repetition at the range, at home or in front of a mirror before the change can start to take root and grow. For most, that means that getting on the course will usually strand you between what you have naturally done and what you are trying to change, or No Mans Land and this causes many to give up because it is mentally draining. But continuing to practice and the new moves will eventually carry over to the course. Just remember that Tiger, arguably the best golfer to ever play the game, took a full year to facilitate a change on the course. And that is hitting thousands of balls every day under the watchful eye of an instructor and caddy. Of course he executed thousands of swings before the change so needed many more than the average golfer to make the change. As an instructor I subscribed to the conventional wisdom that it takes 3 new swings for every 1 old swing to make a permanent change. It just takes lots and lots of practice time, dedication and discipline. 

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10 minutes ago, GB13 said:

This is a legitimate question of mine, I'm not trying to be argumentative at all, so please don't take it that way. 

If you can replicate the results of your new swing on the range with ease, but struggle taking it on to the course, wouldn't the only way to get past that be, playing on the course instead of spending more time on the range? Won't spending more time on course help you get past the mental demons better than hitting balls on the range? If the mechanics are there, it seems like the only problem left is the mental hurdle of using the new mechanics on course. Therefore, wouldn't the only way to get past the mental hurdle, be to play on course?

The question is whether there is any kind of bridge between these. So on one extreme, you'd have range work that is totally focused on swing form, without any regard whatsoever for targets/outcomes. There is a place for this, especially when making a change. On the other extreme is a pressure shot on the course that, for whatever reason, you absolutely must pull off. You only have one chance. In that case, you care only about outcome.

In between, there are varying blends of emphasis on swing vs. outcome. It seems to me that there is a way to make that transition on the range. This is where range games (rather than beating balls, which I'm sure jlukes isn't doing) are important: you begin to add the pressure of outcomes into your practice itself.

For me, this is where my SkyTrak comes in: I can work on my swing while being also having the pressure of producing very specific outcomes. I'm hoping that this will end up easing my transition of swing changes to the course come springtime.

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6 minutes ago, chisag said:

... GB13 one of the best ways to describe this is to think about walking. We have walked a certain way our entire lives and if we decided we wanted to shorten our gait and change our foot angles, we would need to repeat that on a treadmill or on a hike paying constant attention to our new movements. But as soon as we started walking in our normal lives, we will revert back to our normal gait and foot positions. We have to do the treadmill and hike over and over again to retrain our normal patterns. 

... So to change your swing, you need tons of repetition at the range, at home or in front of a mirror before the change can start to take root and grow. For most, that means that getting on the course will usually strand you between what you have naturally done and what you are trying to change, or No Mans Land and this causes many to give up because it is mentally draining. But continuing to practice and the new moves will eventually carry over to the course. Just remember that Tiger, arguably the best golfer to ever play the game, took a full year to facilitate a change on the course. And that is hitting thousands of balls every day under the watchful eye of an instructor and caddy. Of course he executed thousands of swings before the change so needed many more than the average golfer to make the change. As an instructor I subscribed to the conventional wisdom that it takes 3 new swings for every 1 old swing to make a permanent change. It just takes lots and lots of practice time, dedication and discipline. 

Thank you! That is a wonderful answer! It seems like as with everything in golf, there is a happy medium, and everything takes immense amounts of dedication and practice.

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19 minutes ago, chisag said:

... GB13 one of the best ways to describe this is to think about walking. We have walked a certain way our entire lives and if we decided we wanted to shorten our gait and change our foot angles, we would need to repeat that on a treadmill or on a hike paying constant attention to our new movements. But as soon as we started walking in our normal lives, we will revert back to our normal gait and foot positions. We have to do the treadmill and hike over and over again to retrain our normal patterns. 

... So to change your swing, you need tons of repetition at the range, at home or in front of a mirror before the change can start to take root and grow. For most, that means that getting on the course will usually strand you between what you have naturally done and what you are trying to change, or No Mans Land and this causes many to give up because it is mentally draining. But continuing to practice and the new moves will eventually carry over to the course. Just remember that Tiger, arguably the best golfer to ever play the game, took a full year to facilitate a change on the course. And that is hitting thousands of balls every day under the watchful eye of an instructor and caddy. Of course he executed thousands of swings before the change so needed many more than the average golfer to make the change. As an instructor I subscribed to the conventional wisdom that it takes 3 new swings for every 1 old swing to make a permanent change. It just takes lots and lots of practice time, dedication and discipline. 

Couldn't have said it any better myself.  

It falls in line with the age old saying "you'll get worse before you get better," which is why many end up giving up on their swing changes or avoid lessons in the first place

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2 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

As always, enjoying your updates. The task of transferring the range swing to the course swing is one that I'm obviously interested in as well, although I won't be seeing a course for (at least) another 2.5 months. When you're on the range, how much are you working on technique vs. target?

This is a great question, and the answer is : It's a mix

Here is my range routine that I have settled into:

When I grab a club out of the bag I pick a target and line up accordingly.  I then make several practice movements that exaggerate the new moves that I am learning.  I then hit several balls at half speed while exaggerating those movements and then begin slowing increasing speed with each ball until I reach full speed.  The moment that I hit a ball and the result is poor, I take a step back and slow it down.

So really, it is a focus on technique with a target direction and a desired impact feeling and ball flight, but I am not worried about hitting a specific yardage (especially while hitting cold range rocks)

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5 minutes ago, jlukes said:

  I then make several practice movements that exaggerate the new moves that I am learning.  I think hit several balls at half speed while exaggerating those movements and then begin slowing increasing speed with each ball until I reach full speed.  The moment that I hit a ball and the result is poor, I take a step back and slow it down.

So really, it is a focus on technique with a target direction and a desired impact feeling and ball flight, but I am not worried about hitting a specific yardage (especially while hitting cold range rocks)

 

... GREAT stuff jlukes! This was one of the real eye openers for me when I started teaching. If someone was executing a reverse pivot with their head moving toward the target in the backswing, telling them to hold their head still and do not move toward the target was useless. They already felt like their head was still so telling them to do what they already felt like they were doing was no help to them at all. Often I would start asking them to move their head a full 1 foot away from the target and maybe they keep their head still. Of course they felt like they were actually moving their head back 1 foot. Sometimes I had to increase it to 2 feet! So exaggerating the movement is essential to making a change because rarely what we feel we are doing is what we are actually doing. 

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18 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

The question is whether there is any kind of bridge between these. So on one extreme, you'd have range work that is totally focused on swing form, without any regard whatsoever for targets/outcomes. There is a place for this, especially when making a change. On the other extreme is a pressure shot on the course that, for whatever reason, you absolutely must pull off. You only have one chance. In that case, you care only about outcome.

In between, there are varying blends of emphasis on swing vs. outcome. It seems to me that there is a way to make that transition on the range. This is where range games (rather than beating balls, which I'm sure jlukes isn't doing) are important: you begin to add the pressure of outcomes into your practice itself.

For me, this is where my SkyTrak comes in: I can work on my swing while being also having the pressure of producing very specific outcomes. I'm hoping that this will end up easing my transition of swing changes to the course come springtime.

The range is necessary to groove the mechanics as @chisag says... many repetitions.  When the mechanics become repeatable, then the swing must go to the course as @GB13 stated.  Playing games on the range only goes so far.  I'm not saying that it's not necessary to keep going to the range to groove your swing, but at some point the differences between range and course must be experienced with the new swing.  The balls are different; the ground is different; the grass is different (at least at my course); the view is different; the consequences are different.  

To take it to the course...  rather than play a round, I like to head out on the course when very few people are playing.  I play certain holes from different locations where I can hit a variety of shots.  My tendency has been to think about swing mechanics, especially after making a change.  I have to focus on trusting my swing mechanics and only think about the shot shape and my target... a difficult thing for me to do!!

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Lesson #6

I had my 6th lesson yesterday and we started off by talking about my round on Tuesday.  I explained what was working, what wasn't and where I was struggling the most.  I warmed up and started taking some swings and we talked about my left misses were coming from my weight getting too much in my toes and thus causing me to come over the top.  We worked on exaggerating the feeling that the weight was staying in my heels throughout the swing.  The pressure mat showed that while I felt the weight was in my heels, it was right in the middle of my feet where it was supposed to be.  This is just another example of exaggerating the opposite feeling of what you are trying to get away from.

We also widened my stance a bit, as it was definitely on the narrow side - especially with the scoring clubs.  Getting my stance a little wider helped me with my weight transfer and rotation as it reigned in my lateral hip movement while still letting me post up on and rotate around my front leg on the downswing.

I have two more lessons to go and I am really happy with the progress I have made so far.  Is my swing transformation complete? Not even close.  However, I understand the concepts and the moves and I am beginning to put everything together on a much more consistent basis.  I am realistic and I know that this entire season is going to be a journey.  My work and family life doesn't allow me to practice much, so I know the full swing changes won't become second nature as fast as I would hope.  I just have to continue my journey, work within my own time constraints, and keep my expectations realistic.  I know I am on the right path and I am excited to see where it leads me.

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The subject of weight transfer in the swing deserves its own thread, but since it's a big part of @jlukes journey .. as well as my own! .. thought I'd share something interesting I picked from my pro yesterday -

One of the (many!) things we're working on is .. and you've all heard the terms .. loading into the trail side then unloading/shifting your weight onto the lead side. 

I was rehearsing my new back swing in front of a mirror when he walked out and came back with a board, approx 1x3 with a green grass-like covering and a 1" square dowel across the middle of the bottom side. He put it down and said, step on it and do a 1/2 swing.

Well it's a balance board - developed and sold by Mark Sheftic, a pro at Merion (wow!!), who has made the use of Ground Reaction Forces a key component of his teaching. Learn more about the board here...

http://myteachingpro.com/marksheftic/PressureBoard/PressureBoardVideos.aspx

The idea is to actually FEEL your weight shift back and then shift forward, and let me tell you it is an eye opener! It was truly one of those "Ah-HA!!" moments.

If you're thinking BodiTrak - yes, that (expensive) tool will show you on a screen where you weight is but with this simple board (cheaper and a good DIYer could put one together quickly) you feel where your weight is and feel when your weight shifts. Nice!!

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5 minutes ago, cksurfdude said:

The subject of weight transfer in the swing deserves its own thread, but since it's a big part of @jlukes journey .. as well as my own! .. thought I'd share something interesting I picked from my pro yesterday -

One of the (many!) things we're working on is .. and you've all heard the terms .. loading into the trail side then unloading/shifting your weight onto the lead side. 

I was rehearsing my new back swing in front of a mirror when he walked out and came back with a board, approx 1x3 with a green grass-like covering and a 1" square dowel across the middle of the bottom side. He put it down and said, step on it and do a 1/2 swing.

Well it's a balance board - developed and sold by Mark Sheftic, a pro at Merion (wow!!), who has made the use of Ground Reaction Forces a key component of his teaching. Learn more about the board here...

http://myteachingpro.com/marksheftic/PressureBoard/PressureBoardVideos.aspx

The idea is to actually FEEL your weight shift back and then shift forward, and let me tell you it is an eye opener! It was truly one of those "Ah-HA!!" moments.

If you're thinking BodiTrak - yes, that (expensive) tool will show you on a screen where you weight is but with this simple board (cheaper and a good DIYer could put one together quickly) you feel where your weight is and feel when your weight shifts. Nice!!

Great stuff, CK.  My pro uses the BodiTrak system and it is so key for me.  It allows me to not just see where my weight is at different parts in the swing, but if I am pushing off with the correct parts of my feet.  Such an underrated tool.

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On 2/11/2019 at 3:12 PM, jlukes said:

Great stuff, CK.  My pro uses the BodiTrak system and it is so key for me.  It allows me to not just see where my weight is at different parts in the swing, but if I am pushing off with the correct parts of my feet.  Such an underrated tool.

Thanks! I was so impressed with the feel that I'd gotten from trying that balance board that I went into the garage and put together one of my own...

IMG_20190212_122302200.jpg.730e0c74b020f3b83d52fb144ef45cb9.jpg

IMG_20190212_122321397.jpg.84f75938a5b89223e6989c985b57fefa.jpg

Just happened to have a good size board and piece of square dowel in the scrap bin and slapped them together with heavy-duty carpet tape (double-sided, very sticky).

Been working on getting the sequence into my swing as...

  1. step back
  2. swing back
  3. step forward
  4. swing forward

I know it sounds so simple but the board helps with the "When" of when you shift your weight relative to everything else moving.

An unexpected benefit of the board not being too wide is if I'm too far out on my toes then I can't finish into a balanced position, so it's helping me with that tendency also.

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Lesson #7

Today was my 2nd to last lesson and everything is really coming together.  I am making all of the right movements, just not consistently yet, but the swings are getting better and better.

Today we focused on finding the right balance between the feeling of rotating the left hip and pushing off from the ground.  When I focus more on the ground, I lose some rotation and get a little more lateral.  When I focus more on the rotation, I tend to not be as explosive.  

The more I swing , the more the rotation and the ground force will sync up and I will be clicking on all cylinders.  The video from today shows one of my better swings, even though the rotation stalled a bit.  I was still accelerating at the point of impact and the pressure down and through my front foot was distributed properly and not out over my toes, so again, some good and some work still to be done. 

Progress has been made and it continues to be made.  I have a long practice session set for tomorrow, so I really will be working on syncing everything together.

I wanted to add that I have received some really thoughtful and motivating direct messages over the last 7 weeks.  I want to thank everybody that has reached out in this thread and through direct messages to compliment the work I am doing and encouraging me to stick with it.  Sharing my journey on this thread keeps me honest and motivated to keep improving!

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4 minutes ago, jlukes said:

Progress has been made and it continues to be made.  I have a long practice session set for tomorrow, so I really will be working on syncing everything together.

Nice!!! 👍

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