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MPR: The Single Digit Project

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53 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

If you haven't heard about it already, I strongly recommend a can of Dr. Scholl's foot powder spray to help you with strike. Spray it on the face, and you'll be able to see where strike location is. More importantly, you'll be able to LEARN strike location by sound and feel. If you are swinging in that 90-100 MPH range, you should definitely be getting a little more distance. I've lost speed over the last couple years, and now hover at the 100 MPH mark. Carry distances of 220+ are certainly possible at those speeds.

The foot spray is definitely something I've intended to do for some time now. My biggest issue is having a place to swing driver. My garage ceiling is just low enough that I clip it with the long club. Practicing outside isn't possible this time of year here (the high Friday is 2°). Practicing outside at the house in good weather concerns me, because my bad miss is the popup off the top line of the driver (with the easy potential of going over the net toward nearby homes).

I may end up trying the foot spray indoors with practice balls, which I'm sure will delight my wife and my dog, in very different ways 🙂

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Good luck MPR...This will be fun to follow.  I know you have the dedication to make it happen, I am quite envious of your home setup.

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

The foot spray is definitely something I've intended to do for some time now. My biggest issue is having a place to swing driver. My garage ceiling is just low enough that I clip it with the long club. Practicing outside isn't possible this time of year here (the high Friday is 2°). Practicing outside at the house in good weather concerns me, because my bad miss is the popup off the top line of the driver (with the easy potential of going over the net toward nearby homes).

I may end up trying the foot spray indoors with practice balls, which I'm sure will delight my wife and my dog, in very different ways 🙂

I hear you on the cold weather. I haven't hit a ball since early November, but I'm fortunate to have enough space in my garage (and a heater!) to be able to practice through the winter months.

It will still make a lot of noise, but you can also just use a rubber tee without a ball. I've done this when swinging indoors. It's pretty easy to imagine where the ball would have been based on the mark left by the tee.

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13 hours ago, Wedgie said:

inside my left heel to outside my left pinkie toe.

Just want to raise and hand and shout reverend.  This has helped me out tremendously off the tee.  Not sure if it's due to playing off the rack or not.  Definitely not saying it will help you @GolfSpy MPR, but I am a firm believer in ball placement for my own game.  

 

Looking forward in following your journey this year!  

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Sneaked in some SkyTrak time during lunch today. Wanted to get into the garage today, since it's a balmy 30°, with the highs dropping into single digits this weekend.

As I was just doing a little practice, I brought only my driver and 8 iron. I reconfirmed that, even with a swing that exits low and left, the ceiling is just too low. Even if I can make a swing, the ceiling is always on my mind; I can't swing the driver freely in the garage. I did choke down three inches and hit some aggressive bunts, but that's not a shot I need to be practicing 🙂

With the 8 iron, I did some warmup swings. The best part of having the SkyTrak is (obviously) the feedback, but especially off a mat into a tent, it is absolutely essential to know when the mat is allowing you to "get away" with a fat shot that would be punished on turf. The SkyTrak keeps you honest: without a clean strike, the ball speed drops notably.

After a brief warmup, I set up a Target Practice challenge, at 155 yards (which is quite ambitious for an 8 iron). Of the six shots in the challenge, I think I scored points on 4 of them. Here's my chart:

Screenshot_20190115-130840.png

The second shot was a total fat. The spin rates remain very, very low, which is probably accurate given 1) swing speed and 2) the G700 irons. I'm pretty sure that the smash factor number (PTI, last column) can be entirely ignored. The SkyTrak doesn't directly measure club data, so if it's guessing low on swing speed, the smash factors are going to be really high.

All told, I was pleased with the number of target hits, but it's clear that the strike needs work, so that I increase spin and carry and stop getting this much rollout.

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2 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Sneaked in some SkyTrak time during lunch today. Wanted to get into the garage today, since it's a balmy 30°, with the highs dropping into single digits this weekend.

As I was just doing a little practice, I brought only my driver and 8 iron. I reconfirmed that, even with a swing that exits low and left, the ceiling is just too low. Even if I can make a swing, the ceiling is always on my mind; I can't swing the driver freely in the garage. I did choke down three inches and hit some aggressive bunts, but that's not a shot I need to be practicing 🙂

With the 8 iron, I did some warmup swings. The best part of having the SkyTrak is (obviously) the feedback, but especially off a mat into a tent, it is absolutely essential to know when the mat is allowing you to "get away" with a fat shot that would be punished on turf. The SkyTrak keeps you honest: without a clean strike, the ball speed drops notably.

After a brief warmup, I set up a Target Practice challenge, at 155 yards (which is quite ambitious for an 8 iron). Of the six shots in the challenge, I think I scored points on 4 of them. Here's my chart:

Screenshot_20190115-130840.png

The second shot was a total fat. The spin rates remain very, very low, which is probably accurate given 1) swing speed and 2) the G700 irons. I'm pretty sure that the smash factor number (PTI, last column) can be entirely ignored. The SkyTrak doesn't directly measure club data, so if it's guessing low on swing speed, the smash factors are going to be really high.

All told, I was pleased with the number of target hits, but it's clear that the strike needs work, so that I increase spin and carry and stop getting this much rollout.

Nice! Does 15 yards of roll with an eight iron mirror what you see on course? That seems really high. 

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14 minutes ago, GB13 said:

Nice! Does 15 yards of roll with an eight iron mirror what you see on course? That seems really high. 

I agree that it seems high. Thesis: from what I've read, hitting of a mat decreases spin, and not trivially:

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/mats-vs-grass-whats-difference/

I need to figure out how to factor that in in my practice.

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I agree that it seems high. Thesis: from what I've read, hitting of a mat decreases spin, and not trivially:
https://blog.trackmangolf.com/mats-vs-grass-whats-difference/
I need to figure out how to factor that in in my practice.
Interesting article. I know the top club fitters like TXG really were picky with the mats they chose. Ian at TXG stays the ones they use give identical feel and numbers to hitting off tightly mowed grass.
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Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do. And in your case MPR you just don't have access to a golf course or range or instruction. Not easily anyway. And...to top all that off the weather in your area closes the courses for months on end. I don't know how folks like you do it honestly. Get out man!!! Get out!!

Seriously, and I haven't read every comment but your driving distance is really low for a young man of your age. You appear to be in good physical shape too. Please don't take this wrong but I know 12-14 year olds who can hit their driver 250 yds. I'm not kidding! I have no idea about your swing really but I can only guess you're arm swinging. When I see that move/swing out of golfers the ball goes nowhere. Well... maybe 192 yards. Keep working on it. 🏌️‍♂️

 

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15 minutes ago, Jon Brittan said:

Thanks for the shout-out @GB13

My bits of advice:

  • Get a notepad and on the last page write your full target goal, be that making scratch or the PGA Tour, whatever, you are going to refer back to this repeatedly when setting your short-term goals, but you're going to close the book on that for the time being and not be solely focused on that, we now need achievable targets to remain motivated.
  • Set simple targets for your improvement, not easy but something you could expect to achieve in a month, for example, with regular and focused practice. This is how we're going to improve our game rapidly, but being achievable also helps keep motivation and morale high.
    • Targets can be simple and decide how far you want to push yourself and how you want to achieve your aims.
    • Do you want to be as good as possible as soon as possible? Then pick your biggest scoring weakness to work on and set hard targets like approach proximity etc
    • Do you want the game to be fun and improve at the same time? Set yourself short term goals like hitting more greens in regulation than your last round. Having fewer putts than your last round
  • Play as much as possible. Swing a club every day if you can, even if it's only a few times and it's not at a ball, but do it all with focus on what you're trying to achieve.
  • Use cameras and data as much as you can. It's one thing to eyeball your range balls, it's something different to have a launch monitor and see every aspect of your ball launch and know how each change you make affects your result. You can also target specific areas to improve with each session.
    • I use a piece of software called Kinovea, which is useful for a bunch of reasons. It's free, for a start, but it allows you to set a short delay on "live" camera feeds and multiple inputs, so you can have both an in-front and a down the line camera on a four second delay, take your swing and then look at the screen to see it back immediately. It also allows you to record, to put two videos time-synced next to each other so you can compare your swing from today with your swing from a point in the past or even to a professional's swing and you can measure angles etc easily
  • Practice with the intention of improving, play with the intention of enjoying. I, personally at least, really hampered my scoring for a while when I got to the point I knew I could get birdies, I started trying too hard to give myself the chances and making silly mistakes where I would then be scrambling to maintain par. I scored better when I focused on making par on every hole. My best golf has come in the last few weeks where I'm letting ShotScope record my rounds for me and not even bothering keep tally at any point in the round, simply focusing on every shot as it comes.
  • No matter how a round goes, always find something you did well and something you can learn from. Never waste a bad round dwelling on the fact you didn't play as well as you wanted, make it work to your advantage and think about what you can learn. Never allow a better than usual round to make you think all is perfect, appreciate what went well, think about anywhere you got lucky and look for the bits you still could have done better.

 

That's become quite extensive, so I'll leave it there other than to say one last thing. Everyone is different and has both different ways of learning and enjoying their activities, so find what works best for you, try new things and enjoy the process.

Good luck!

This post is gold. Thank you.

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17 hours ago, PlaidJacket said:

Seriously, and I haven't read every comment but your driving distance is really low for a young man of your age. You appear to be in good physical shape too. Please don't take this wrong but I know 12-14 year olds who can hit their driver 250 yds. I'm not kidding! I have no idea about your swing really but I can only guess you're arm swinging. When I see that move/swing out of golfers the ball goes nowhere. Well... maybe 192 yards. Keep working on it. 🏌️‍♂️

Plaid,

Definitely no offense taken to this comment; like I noted, that driving distance is embarrassing. The longest drive Game Golf ever recorded for me was about 280, and that was in pretty neutral conditions. I know there's way more in the tank than what I'm getting.

I'm definitely making swing improvements this off season (more on that to come), but I'm pretty certain the key to better distance for me is found in strike. I don't claim to have a dime-size wear spot on my irons, but I'm at least a decently consistent ball striker. But there's something about the large driver head that throws me, and I have a very hard time repeatedly hitting a useful part of the face.

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20 hours ago, Jon Brittan said:

 

  • Use cameras and data as much as you can. It's one thing to eyeball your range balls, it's something different to have a launch monitor and see every aspect of your ball launch and know how each change you make affects your result. You can also target specific areas to improve with each session.
    • I use a piece of software called Kinovea, which is useful for a bunch of reasons. It's free, for a start, but it allows you to set a short delay on "live" camera feeds and multiple inputs, so you can have both an in-front and a down the line camera on a four second delay, take your swing and then look at the screen to see it back immediately. It also allows you to record, to put two videos time-synced next to each other so you can compare your swing from today with your swing from a point in the past or even to a professional's swing and you can measure angles etc easily

Great mention on Kinovea. I've used it in the past. The only problem I have with it is that it's not available for Mac OS. Great piece of kit though. I especially like that I can use their measurement tools to see club speed and ball speed with a reasonable level of accuracy.

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On 1/15/2019 at 7:11 PM, Jon Brittan said:

My bits of advice:

(etc.)

Fantastic. Really great stuff! Thank you!

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Spent some time in the 10° garage on Saturday hitting shots. Poorly. A lot of bad contract, mostly fat shots that SkyTrak was (appropriately) punishing me for. This week, I'm hitting Walmart for some spray powder. It's time to focus on strike improvements.

Two observations from Saturday's practice. I did another skills challenge from 135 and down, with slightly worse results than the first time:

Screenshot_20190121-095522.png

I had one badly fatted shot on the 75 yard distance, which really killed that number. 105 continues to be a problem. It should be a full 54°. Maybe it needs to be a gentle GW? I'll test that.

I also did a little video work. Turns out, feel isn't real (apparently, that saying exists for a reason). Felt like I was really shallowing the shaft in transition and fighting the early extension. In reality, it's a bit better, but I still have a lot of improvement to make there.

On the plus side, I hit well over 100 shots in bitter cold, and two days later, my left hand isn't in sharp pain. The fat shots certainly hurt on Saturday, but it looks like (hopefully) whatever I strained in my hand is improving. Ideally, that will let me get back to SuperSpeed swings, maybe by next week.

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Also something I'm trying to figure out: how much the freezing temps are going to affect my SkyTrak results. A couple of considerations:

  • I keep my balls that I use for SkyTrak in the house in my golf bag. So the balls are not starting out at 10°. That said, our basement this time of year is still sub-60°, so they're not warm to begin with.
  • A lot of articles about golf ball performance in the cold factor in the changes to ball flight with the colder air. SkyTrak doesn't know about that; it's set to ideal air temp and fairway conditions.

So the question for me is going to be something like this: how quickly does a (say) 55° ball drop to being a 10° ball? Does hitting the same ball over and over (as I normally do) help keep its temperature up? And how much of an effect is that temperature drop on distance and spin rate?

I might have to leave a Q-Star Tour out in the garage, and hit a few shots with it and a ball from inside back-to-back, to see if I can (with an inconsistent swing) isolate any results there.

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4 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Also something I'm trying to figure out: how much the freezing temps are going to affect my SkyTrak results. A couple of considerations:

  • I keep my balls that I use for SkyTrak in the house in my golf bag. So the balls are not starting out at 10°. That said, our basement this time of year is still sub-60°, so they're not warm to begin with.
  • A lot of articles about golf ball performance in the cold factor in the changes to ball flight with the colder air. SkyTrak doesn't know about that; it's set to ideal air temp and fairway conditions.

So the question for me is going to be something like this: how quickly does a (say) 55° ball drop to being a 10° ball? Does hitting the same ball over and over (as I normally do) help keep its temperature up? And how much of an effect is that temperature drop on distance and spin rate?

I might have to leave a Q-Star Tour out in the garage, and hit a few shots with it and a ball from inside back-to-back, to see if I can (with an inconsistent swing) isolate any results there.

I read an article a couple months back (can't remember where) about the affects of cold weather on equipment and your swing.

Isolating the ball, the ball's temperature lowers to the outside temperature almost immediately, hence why the USGA allows your to warm your golf ball before the round. Hitting it over and over, won't keep it warmer. You're just not hitting it in quick enough succession. 

The distance drops 1 yard for every 10°. Keep in mind this is for the ball and clubs only. Your swing in colder temperature will be slower. Your muscules aren't as warm and you won't be as flexible. Also, depending on what you are wearing, extra layers can and will slow down your swing. 

Temperature has a neglible affect on spin. The difference in compression ends up being fairly small so you won't get any crazy reading on spin. If spin gets affected at all, it will be just a bit lower. ~100rpm. 

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2 minutes ago, GB13 said:

I read an article a couple months back (can't remember where) about the affects of cold weather on equipment and your swing.

Isolating the ball, the ball's temperature lowers to the outside temperature almost immediately, hence why the USGA allows your to warm your golf ball before the round. Hitting it over and over, won't keep it warmer. You're just not hitting it in quick enough succession. 

The distance drops 1 yard for every 10°. Keep in mind this is for the ball and clubs only. Your swing in colder temperature will be slower. Your muscules aren't as warm and you won't be as flexible. Also, depending on what you are wearing, extra layers can and will slow down your swing. 

Temperature has a neglible affect on spin. The difference in compression ends up being fairly small so you won't get any crazy reading on spin. If spin gets affected at all, it will be just a bit lower. ~100rpm. 

That all makes good sense. Thanks.

Just before doing the skills test, I set up a target at 130 just to hit PWs at. I just couldn't get the ball there, and it was driving me nuts. Some, again, were obviously bad strikes. But even on good strikes, I was falling short. I suppose a completely frozen ball might be as good an excuse as any 🙂

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You could always use a small space heater directly next to the balls you're using. Might help. I'm wondering what kind of clothing you're wearing that sort of cold and how your swing actually reflects what you'd see in the summer. You could be in for some trouble if you only learn how to bunt the ball due to limited movement. That said, any gains on strike location will carry over to a changing swing fairly well as you learn to how to control the club handle and club face better.

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6 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

You could always use a small space heater directly next to the balls you're using. Might help. I'm wondering what kind of clothing you're wearing that sort of cold and how your swing actually reflects what you'd see in the summer. You could be in for some trouble if you only learn how to bunt the ball due to limited movement. That said, any gains on strike location will carry over to a changing swing fairly well as you learn to how to control the club handle and club face better.

I actually have a propane heater in the garage, like this: https://www.amazon.com/Dyna-Glo-TT15CDGP-Liquid-Propane-Heater/dp/B0044R8Y4Y/ref=sr_1_4

It's not going to warm the whole garage at these temps, but it's a decent way of warming up the hands from time to time. As for clothing, I had on jeans, a flannel shirt, and a quarter-zip jacket. And a winter hat. Honestly: I play at least a month of my season in the same outfit 🙂

I'm not born here, but we Yoopers adjust to the cold 🙂

EDIT: here's a terrible video of a swing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/XSC54KiRPfYmDfsH9

The lighting is entirely inadequate, so I'm not going to even make the effort to convert it to YouTube. But you can see that I can make a full swing.

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