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MPR: The Single Digit Project

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Looks like a fun project.  As another point of reference, I'm NOT self taught.  I started out as a yute having lessons and many have commented that I have great fundamentals/swing.  Decades later, I made another attempt at lessons and reaching your same goal but still could not crack the single digit code. At my iron fitting this past summer, the fitter told me "you make a really nice move on the ball". I replied thanks, but sure wished that translated into lower scoring.  I thought for sure he would say "buy the G400's and that will get it done", but instead just said that, more than anything, I really just need drills aimed at ball strike consistency.  This makes sense when I compare myself to the guys I've played with who are single digit players - they just make fewer mis-strikes.

 But you have one advantage I didn't have back then... MGS 😉.  Look forward to reading about your progress and success.  Good luck!

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Definitely appreciate the advice, and the confidence that I can see the line. Trust me when I say that I'm trying.
I have no expertise in vision, but I will note that I had glasses from the time I was five: the extra-thick, nerdy kind. I have always been massively near-sighted. After college, I got laser surgery. That gave me almost a decade of living without glasses, but my vision regressed, and by my late 20s, I was in glasses again. I have no idea if this is relevant at all, but it wouldn't surprise me if the extent of my poor vision might have some impact on my ability to align correctly.
I worked at this again last night. Once again, I used my laser to make sure everything was exactly in line. I aligned the 4-foot-stick to the hole, but this time, I backed the ball up to the 8-foot mark. I wanted to stand over the ball and get myself in a position where it looked like I should roll the ball over the ruler to make the putt.
The best I could do was moving my eyes in line with the ball, but leaning so my head was a foot-and-a-half behind the ball. I can't make a serious putting stroke from that position.
I came back upstairs, explaining my problem to my wife (she's patient). And she gave me an idea: what about standing over the putt on the left-handed side.
I immediately went back downstairs, telling my wife she was going to regret this because I was going to have to start assembling a lefty putter collection. Sure enough: if I stand over the ball left-handed, the line looks correct to me.
I then grabbed my Spider (which has a flattish back side) and rolled some putts left-handed. Since I ordinarily putt left-hand-low, the grip was normal. I kept forward pressing backwards . But I surprised myself at how many I was able to make from that side.
I'm probably not going to switch to putting left-handed this season. I mean, I'm crazy, but that crazy? (But if any lefties here have a decent mallet that's exiled to a closet....)

Sounds like eye dominance may be in play. Move the ball/ruler forward and back in your stance. It may also help if the ball is in front of the ruler instead of behind. Basically imagine the line you setup to is behind the ball. If you visualize this, it may also help you avoid going outside the line on the backswing.

Putting is about decisions and understanding the impact of those decisions. What works best for you is the right way!

Wish I was closer, we could have some great discussions on this topic.
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Planning to get in the garage for some full swing practice today (it's a beautiful 24° day!), but did some short game with in the basement this morning. I've been doing a lot of random practice from 10–20 yards. So today I put that to the test: a skills assessment, with three shots each from 10, 15, and 20 yards.
Turns out, practice helps:
Screenshot_20190216-122947.jpeg
I'll obviously be interested in how this translates to the course, but my short game (according to Game Golf) was one of the weakest parts of my game. If I can turn that into a strength, that'll go a long way to my reaching my goal here.

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Because I've mentioned it on a couple occasions, here my combo high-tech/low-tech indoor short game practice setup:

I turned the screen toward the camera to show the SkyTrak display (though it's small). It's asking for a 12 yard shot, which I hit.

The question: how many takes were needed to make this video? 🙂

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:33 PM, GolfSpy MPR said:

I was doing some putting work last night. I aim for a straight-back-straight-through stroke, and as is common with that method, my prevailing tendency is a backstroke outside the line, and through stroke that cuts across the ball.

Inspired by the new putting mirror from PuttOut, I decided to hack together a putter gate. I have a mirror, so I drilled some holes in it that would hold my Balls of Steel (actual product name). Viola!

Depending on how strong your stance is on the SBST putting stroke, I think you'll see some good improvement after reading/working through the book I recommended to you yesterday. It changed my thoughts for sure, and I'd definitely argue that I'm a much better putter than I used to be. 

Great idea on the putting mirror! I have the balls of steel as well and have never really liked them for their intended use. This seems like a much more practical use for those paper weights and I don't even have to drill holes on the mirror I have. Can't believe I never thought of that before lol.

Edited by TR1PTIK
typos
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9 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Because I've mentioned it on a couple occasions, here my combo high-tech/low-tech indoor short game practice setup:

I turned the screen toward the camera to show the SkyTrak display (though it's small). It's asking for a 12 yard shot, which I hit.

The question: how many takes were needed to make this video? 🙂

I would seriously suggest getting a board or mat to put under your feet to give yourself an even lie.  Right now you are practicing chipping with the ball consistently one inch above your feet which could cause some bad habits when you get to some neutral lies.

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2 hours ago, jlukes said:

I would seriously suggest getting a board or mat to put under your feet to give yourself an even lie.  Right now you are practicing chipping with the ball consistently one inch above your feet which could cause some bad habits when you get to some neutral lies.

Good call. I've tended to mix it up: I've done a lot of shots without the mat at all. Just trying to avoid making a wear spot in my green. But you've given me an idea: I'll probably also do some practice standing on the mat and hitting off the green, to work on ball below my feet lies.

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Because I've mentioned it on a couple occasions, here my combo high-tech/low-tech indoor short game practice setup:
I turned the screen toward the camera to show the SkyTrak display (though it's small). It's asking for a 12 yard shot, which I hit.
The question: how many takes were needed to make this video?


Got freaked out for a second when I saw the dude in the upper right corner peeking through your window, until I realized it was just a reflection.
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MPR, just an FYI on a few things on putting that have worked for me - obviously may or may *not* work for you...

1. I usually wear my progressives when I play, and there is DEFINITELY a pronounced curvature in the peripheral vision. If you have thick lenses it may be more pronounced for you, and thus have an effect when you're standing over a putt and then looking sideways towards the hole.

2. I keep my grip pressure as loose as possible, just shy of letting the putterhead twist in my hands on impact; more fingertip pressure vs in the hands.

3. Once set up, I think of "locking out" my wrists and elbows to try and encourage a more rocking the shoulders movement.

4. I either pick a spot in front of the ball that I want to roll the ball over - ie. my starting line - or I align the reference line on the ball to my intended putting line.

* Either way once I've picked my line - from behind the ball - I square up the putter to that line and then I use it.

Once I decided to trust the line and make my putt along it, I started making more putts and getting the rest much closer.

If i second-guess myself when i set up to a putt then I'll step out, step behind the ball and double-check my line. 

Hope maybe something in there helps...

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1 hour ago, cksurfdude said:

Once I decided to trust the line and make my putt along it, I started making more putts and getting the rest much closer.

If i second-guess myself when i set up to a putt then I'll step out, step behind the ball and double-check my line. 

I had too much second guessing last year.  It was really often enough that it should have struck me as a problem.  I finally discovered I can't line my alignment line on the ball up correctly.  I suppose if that makes it into my top five hardest things about golf, the outlook isn't so bright. 😢

I've been practicing Eric Kaplan's body locks (vid posted below). i have yet to shovel snow off a real green to try them out in the real world, but am hopeful they will allow for some big improvements this year.  When I do use the line on the ball, I find I can roll the line end over end pretty well.  That might be a solution to having trouble seeing the line over the ball.  As long as you don't suck at aiming the line on the ball (so embarrassing), and you can put a stroke on it to roll it end over end, some good speed control should lead to the sound of putts dropping.

I tried the SBST, but agree that there are some weird manipulations unless I get in some positions that are uncomfortable after a short time.  So now I am content with whatever curved path I get from the body locks.  Some impact tape has shown that it is working quite well.  The problem with this is I am thinking about a putter with some toe hang and that HB SOFT 11 is whispering in my ear.  Like the kind that gives you shivers.

 

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Continuing to work on my putting and short game; we're back to subzero temperatures here, and so hitting in the garage creates problems. It's cold on the hands (even wearing two gloves), and I have no idea how much to trust anything from SkyTrak when I'm playing with (literally) frozen balls and clubs.

But I have definitely noticed a problematic tendency that's creeping into my new swing: consistent toe strikes. That is a new thing for me; if anything, my strike pattern has historically been heel-based, with the occasional shank tossed in to confirm that I'm hitting too close to the heel.

But now nearly everything is on the toe. And those with a toe-biased pattern know this: toe shots feel terrible. And for me, they tend to accentuate my big miss, which is a giant hook.

What's the cause? Consider these pictures. The first is my address and impact position from last July, when I first received my G700s:

image.png

Holy high handle delivery, Batman!

And this is my address and impact (admittedly, without a ball) from a couple of weeks ago:

image.png

[Pardon me while I admire that second picture for a minute.]

Now, there's still some work to do on that second picture: I still haven't solved my tendency of tipping my head and upper body toward the ball as I swing, which I suspect is a factor in trying to make consistent contact.

But I love the shaft position at impact. It is so much more shallow than the "before" picture. But I think that this is what is leading to the toe strikes. Imagine soling a club behind a ball, and then raise the shaft. What you've just done is move the strike point toward the heel. Look at how far my hands have gotten from my body in the "before" picture, and how much closer they are to my body in the "now" picture. By shallowing out my swing, I've moved my strike point toward the toe.

So it'll be back to the foot powder spray for me, trying to teach myself where the swing need to come through the ball to make center-face impact.

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What does your path looks like when you see toe strikes? I don't recall off the top of my head if SkyTrak gives you any amount of club data besides club speed and AoA, but I've read that toe strikes can sometimes be caused by an out-to-in path and my experience seems to reflect this. Another thing to consider based on the images provided is that the high hands move of your old swing would work the heel closer to the ball and now you're moving in the opposite direction. Could be that you just need to position yourself a little closer to the ball (and it will feel uncomfortable at first).

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12 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

What does your path looks like when you see toe strikes? I don't recall off the top of my head if SkyTrak gives you any amount of club data besides club speed and AoA, but I've read that toe strikes can sometimes be caused by an out-to-in path and my experience seems to reflect this. Another thing to consider based on the images provided is that the high hands move of your old swing would work the heel closer to the ball and now you're moving in the opposite direction. Could be that you just need to position yourself a little closer to the ball (and it will feel uncomfortable at first).

SkyTrak doesn't give club data. I'm planning to get my SwingByte on my club and do some swings to get swing path data.

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Interesting results for you with the toe strikes.  Improving my rotation has actually eliminated most of my crazy toe strikes and moved my contact closer to the heel!

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I'm not one that is going to give out advice to anyone, but I do offer my support in your quest.  It's good to have specific and realistic goals and a path to achieve them.  Kudos to you!  I was single digit for 15 years before some annoying surgeries got me away from the game and I lost my short game.  Working on it now and seeing good promise.

I will offer this, however, as it's my constant mantra to myself --- tempo, tempo, tempo.

Good luck!  

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41 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

 

And this is my address and impact (admittedly, without a ball) from a couple of weeks ago:

image.png

[Pardon me while I admire that second picture for a minute.]

 

Now if you can just find a course with pews down each side of the fairway you'll be in heaven (not literally)😃

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@GolfSpy MPR What camera and/or app are you using to combine those still frames? 

By the way, I've always found it difficult to get out on the course on Sunday's due to wanting to go to church...so good on you for combining the 2 things I love. 😉 

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Just now, M. Parsons said:

@GolfSpy MPR What camera and/or app are you using to combine those still frames? 

By the way, I've always found it difficult to get out on the course on Sunday's due to wanting to go to church...so good on you for combining the 2 things I love. 😉 

My process is clunky but effective.

I'm on my computer. I open the video in YouTube and step through to get it on the frame I want (the < and > keys on your keyboard let you advance and back up a frame at a time). I hit "Print Screen" to get a screen shot.

Paste the whole thing into Photoshop. Crop it. Advance the video in YouTube to impact; screenshot; paste as a new layer, with the opacity set at 40%.

That last bit is the key: if you can paste a layer into whatever software you use and then change its opacity, you should be golden.

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On 2/21/2019 at 8:05 AM, jlukes said:

I would seriously suggest getting a board or mat to put under your feet to give yourself an even lie.  Right now you are practicing chipping with the ball consistently one inch above your feet which could cause some bad habits when you get to some neutral lies.

One of my biggest concerns with my little mat in the basement...

Keep at it, @GolfSpy MPR. Love following your progress. We'll eventually have playable weather in Michigan.

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12 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Continuing to work on my putting and short game; we're back to subzero temperatures here, and so hitting in the garage creates problems. It's cold on the hands (even wearing two gloves), and I have no idea how much to trust anything from SkyTrak when I'm playing with (literally) frozen balls and clubs.

But I have definitely noticed a problematic tendency that's creeping into my new swing: consistent toe strikes. That is a new thing for me; if anything, my strike pattern has historically been heel-based, with the occasional shank tossed in to confirm that I'm hitting too close to the heel.

But now nearly everything is on the toe. And those with a toe-biased pattern know this: toe shots feel terrible. And for me, they tend to accentuate my big miss, which is a giant hook.

What's the cause? Consider these pictures. The first is my address and impact position from last July, when I first received my G700s:

image.png

Holy high handle delivery, Batman!

And this is my address and impact (admittedly, without a ball) from a couple of weeks ago:

image.png

[Pardon me while I admire that second picture for a minute.]

Now, there's still some work to do on that second picture: I still haven't solved my tendency of tipping my head and upper body toward the ball as I swing, which I suspect is a factor in trying to make consistent contact.

But I love the shaft position at impact. It is so much more shallow than the "before" picture. But I think that this is what is leading to the toe strikes. Imagine soling a club behind a ball, and then raise the shaft. What you've just done is move the strike point toward the heel. Look at how far my hands have gotten from my body in the "before" picture, and how much closer they are to my body in the "now" picture. By shallowing out my swing, I've moved my strike point toward the toe.

So it'll be back to the foot powder spray for me, trying to teach myself where the swing need to come through the ball to make center-face impact.

One thing I'm noticing, (obviously not an instructor), is the on your actual swing is that you body has moved significantly toward the ball (in the picture to the right). I do think that is causing you to stand the shaft up, because if you stand where you are at impact the shaft will be that upright. I'd suggest trying to keep your hips farther away from the ball at impact. 

 

(Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, I've had a looooong day.) 

Edited by GB13
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