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"Swing your Swing" vs Lessons


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I thought long and hard (that's what she said) about entitling this one "Getoffmylawn's Swing Odyssey" but that would be yet another third-person self-absorbed post, so I digress.  But, I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how one balances the need and desire for lessons from professionals with the need to dig it out of the dirt and game what swing works for you.

Some background on me...as many of you know, I've been taking lessons from GolfTec for a while.  I thought I had only taken 8-10, but looking back through my account, I've actually taken 15 in total, and I've gotten better.  I came to GolfTec a 13 handicap, and here's what I looked like at impact:

1517493435_GT1.PNG.fb47bb46ae3b1e9642a4b7944b8cda8d.PNG

As you can see, I'm very folded up at impact and there is a lot of forward sway.

Now, I'm a 6 handicap, with obvious room for improvement, but I'm also in a better position at impact:

2033571474_GT2.PNG.ad0dedd7ecc58e93b7db9e1c4b6daebe.PNG

That compression sleeve on my right elbow kind of obscures the fact that I'm less folded up and have my arms much more extended, and I'm not sliding nearly as much.

So, why the post?  Because GolfTec in particular, and a lot of other coaches, seem to have a tendency to want to fit you into a mold of what should be happening and maybe don't do the best job of working with the nuances of your particular swing.  My very last lesson from GolfTec, right before winter, I came to my coach hitting a lot of blocks, and the diagnosis was that I was sliding forward too much and not staying behind the ball, and that I needed to use more hands/arms to release the club.  That last part about hands and arms has had a serious negative impact on my swing...for a while now I've gotten very scoopy and was making impact with my wrist in extension, resulting in some cuts, high ball flight, and a loss of distance.  2 weeks ago on the range, I basically said "screw it" and resolved to get back into a more bowed Rahm-like wrist position at impact, and the net result has been great...I've regained about 10 yards of distance, a lower ball flight, and can hit the draw when I need it.

So, what's the lesson learned?  Obviously, lessons have value, but when is it time to swing your swing?  

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22 minutes ago, Getoffmylawn said:

So, what's the lesson learned?  Obviously, lessons have value, but when is it time to swing your swing?  

We always hear the famous swing you swing line but hat does that really mean?   I believe people have to have some fundamentals but also the leeway to make some motions that may not be technically right but deliver the club properly at impact.  As a player I think that we just know when it is time to move on from instruction and move on to coaching.   I posted a thread about coaching vs instruction a while ago and maybe that is the crossroad you have reached  

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44 minutes ago, cnosil said:

We always hear the famous swing you swing line but hat does that really mean?   I believe people have to have some fundamentals but also the leeway to make some motions that may not be technically right but deliver the club properly at impact.  As a player I think that we just know when it is time to move on from instruction and move on to coaching.   I posted a thread about coaching vs instruction a while ago and maybe that is the crossroad you have reached  

That’s fair, “swing your swing” is pretty cliché, but (as you pointed to) the challenge seems to be getting a basic understanding and improvement of your fundamentals versus understanding “here’s what I do when I’m successful”

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1 hour ago, Getoffmylawn said:

  My very last lesson from GolfTec, right before winter, I came to my coach hitting a lot of blocks, and the diagnosis was that I was sliding forward too much and not staying behind the ball, and that I needed to use more hands/arms to release the club.  That last part about hands and arms has had a serious negative impact on my swing...for a while now I've gotten very scoopy and was making impact with my wrist in extension, resulting in some cuts, high ball flight, and a loss of distance. 

I have found the above to be a common problem with nobody to blame. The instructor was probably correct in his assessment and you were probably correct in applying it. But the part that nobody knows until the fix is implemented is what other matchups will be affected. A double edge razor thin line for sure. 

 

Swing your swing, get in the correct positions, improve your skills. All things we hear all the time and in reality all need to be applied to be effective. The key is finding the balance. I took my first lesson in 2019, another one in 2020 and then a month long series early this year. First one was just to understand what was happening within my swing. Second was to verify I was correcting the issues and the series was to ensure that the more time I spent practicing that I didn't get farther away from what I was trying to accomplish. The first 2 lessons were very good for me, was able to finally get to scratch. The series was ok but I did not get a lot out of it because after almost 2 full years of getting myself corrected, the only improvement I could make was improving my skills. My swing is not perfect by any means however it is pretty much as good as I can get it. Now it is bringing my skill level up. It is all part of the journey and will vary for everyone at what point they need to make changes or just go dig it out. 

 

I will say that going from a 13 to a 6 is a very large improvement. There may be room with more instruction to go lower, but it also may be increasing your skills first and then more lessons after. 

 

Never ending battle of this game. 

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4 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

I will say that going from a 13 to a 6 is a very large improvement. There may be room with more instruction to go lower, but it also may be increasing your skills first and then more lessons after. 

 

Never ending battle of this game. 

This is exactly the direction I think I’m going…find a good instructor IF I get off the rails, but start now turning to a skills focus rather than a technique emphasis.  I’m starting to poke around Adam Young’s stuff given his emphasis on skill development…

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13 hours ago, Getoffmylawn said:

That’s fair, “swing your swing” is pretty cliché, but (as you pointed to) the challenge seems to be getting a basic understanding and improvement of your fundamentals versus understanding “here’s what I do when I’m successful”

Swing your swing as we hear from Palmer wasnt swing your bad fundamental swing. It was more about being your own person and swing with your tempo, moves, etc but do the things right that need to be down right. Monte has talked about this in various posts on wrx. All pros have their own swings but they all do a lot of the same things at certain points in the swing. 

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Sure enough, I post this and then hit a bunch of blocks in a scramble today.  I chalk it up to overall fatigue but I had a hard time staying behind the ball today.

@cnosil, you’ve dabbled in Adam Young’s stuff haven’t you?  Thoughts?

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On 5/12/2022 at 2:41 PM, Getoffmylawn said:

So, what's the lesson learned?  Obviously, lessons have value, but when is it time to swing your swing?  

 

... Great thread! When I was teaching, I always felt like it was both. I will always remember a seminar with the IPGA where they said Raymond Floyd would have surpassed Nicklaus in wins if someone would have "fixed" his extremely laid off backswing and then went on to show the positions of where he should be as opposed to where he was. Radically different. Needless to say like all truly great players, his impact position was perfect and repeatable. Herein lies the problem with many instructors. Golf is about the ability to hit the shot you want and very little with achieving specific positions. Sure, we would all love to swing the club like Adam Scott or our own bens197 simple but very effective and repeatable swing. But those swings are very natural to Adam/bens and they are swinging their swings. 

... My personal philosophy for most of my students was I wanted them to swing their swing, just get better at it. There is obviously a difference between a repeatable swing and a swing with "flaws" that are not corrected during that swing. If you begin the backswing by lifting the club outside the line with little shoulder rotation, but rotate your shoulders later in the backswing until your position at the top looks text book, there is absolutely no reason to change your backswing. Just look at MLB pitchers and their forms all all over the map. 

... I also feel most golfers start with a swing that is uniquely their swing and begin a circle of knowledge that can correct the flaws that prevent them from playing well. Lets say they are dragging the club through impact with their body and need more wrist hinge so they begin a journey of wrist hinging that is too much or too little until they get it right. Much of what they do is exaggerated looking little like their original swing, and by the time they have it where it needs to be they have come full circle and close to exactly how they originally swung the club but with more wrist hinge. My guess GOML is your swing had some flaws that Golftec addressed and you were able to incorporate them while maintaining the foundation of your swing. 

... If you have any back ground in athletics and know how the kinetic chain works to throw ball or swing a bat you probably have a good idea how to swing a club ... until you start gathering knowledge that indicates you are doing some things "wrong" and begin to fix your flaws heading down the road to madness, of course some of it necessary and some of it ill advised. A really good instructor can help you figure out which is which. I think everyone should take some lessons at least once. 

... And finally golf is just very difficult and most have unrealistic expectations. I accepted the fact long ago that I can shoot a 66 or a 76 on any given day. I do not try and fix the problem when my ball striking was off and shot the 76 because nuances of my swing will be different tomorrow. I imagine your staying behind the ball problem will not be there next round. Early in my career I tried to figure out what I was doing well on the days when I was really on but that only made me aware of things I should have ignored and the rest of the round suffered when I should have just kept hitting shots and ignored my swing. We all have demons that stalk us from within.

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2 hours ago, Getoffmylawn said:

 

@cnosil, you’ve dabbled in Adam Young’s stuff haven’t you?  Thoughts?

I’ve done some light reading about his methods and have done a little of his stuff related to managing where you contact the ball on the face.  I think @GolfSpy MPRhas gotten a little deeper. 

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Its a fine balance. Alot of people fail with lessons because the new move or positions feel weird, the ball flight is not ideal, the contact is not consistent, and so they go back to their comfortable old swing. How many people have been a 18-14 handicap for 12 years? Swinging your swing isnt working. Sometimes you need to put in the time and work without worrying about ball flight, and slowly build your swing building good habits. I would think if you had dropped 10 strokes in 15 lessons with the same instructor that you would have some confidence to continue with their methods. 

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14 hours ago, scooterhd2 said:

Its a fine balance. Alot of people fail with lessons because the new move or positions feel weird, the ball flight is not ideal, the contact is not consistent, and so they go back to their comfortable old swing. How many people have been a 18-14 handicap for 12 years? Swinging your swing isnt working. Sometimes you need to put in the time and work without worrying about ball flight, and slowly build your swing building good habits. I would think if you had dropped 10 strokes in 15 lessons with the same instructor that you would have some confidence to continue with their methods. 

Everybody has a ceiling in terms of index related to their physical strength/speed, golf skills, and amount of time to play and practice. Many people will never be better than a 14 index. For others that is a 10, 5, etc. Many think lessons will automatically fix them, but don't have the time available to dedicate to the lessons plus all the individual work making those changes which takes thousands of reps. 

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As some of you know, I've also been taking a series of lessons at a GolfTec, and .. over time (...I'm a very slow golf learner 🤪) .. I can see the progress in my results on the course.

One thought - and this may be semantics - is that at GolfTec they try to get you to swing more alike to the pros .. but *not* like the pros. If you can swing like a pro or like Adam Scott then wow wonderful, but they're aware they're dealing with regular people / recreational golfers who want to get "better" (whatever that means to each student).

The way I look at it is when they show me a vid clip of Rickie Fowler or Aaron Baddely hitting a ball they don't expect me to swing like that - they're showing me a "model" .. or a target .. to work on moving towards.

Will I get to that target? Quite honestly, no - hard no. But will I get closer than I am now? With instruction and practice I believe so; and I believe the effort will help me hit "better" shots on the course.

A thought about "swing your swing" - what that implies to me is you're not thinking about instructions about positions, whatever from your lessons, and you don't stand over the ball with swing thoughts running through your mind, etc. - ie. you're not playing "golf swing", instead you're playing the game of golf when you're out on the golf course.

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1 hour ago, BMart519 said:

Everybody has a ceiling in terms of index related to their physical strength/speed, golf skills, and amount of time to play and practice. Many people will never be better than a 14 index. For others that is a 10, 5, etc. Many think lessons will automatically fix them, but don't have the time available to dedicate to the lessons plus all the individual work making those changes which takes thousands of reps. 

Most people dont reach their ceiling. They have no idea what their ceiling is. They have a cardboard box over their head thinking this is it. They have been sticking with the same swing flaws for years and spending time and energy trying to time things better with marginal gains. It needs to be rebuilt. You dont have to have lessons. Not knowing the right coach or the financial element is an excuse. There's never been more free and wildly available instruction online. It will take reps, but you can do 10 minutes a day in your back yard. Don't let time be an excuse. Its a valid excuse to not be scratch, but not to completely stall progress. Strength and speed are helpful no doubt if your goals are to hit it 300 yards. But for playing solid golf, its an excuse. Theres no reason a man in good health with average athleticism cant swing it faster than Lydia Ko (5'6 140), Minjee Lee (5'5 132), or Brooke Henderon (5'4, 120). They are all putting it out there 260 yards. It's about working on the swing and creating consistently solid impact. 

Breaking 80 does not take great genetics, a gym membership, lessons upon lessons, 4 range sessions a week, or a wife with amnesia. It can take being humble, finding your faults, and being willing to let familiarity and comfort go to get into some odd feeling positions. What we are doing is wrong but feels right, so doing things right is going to feel wrong until you have engrained it. 

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15 minutes ago, cksurfdude said:

A thought about "swing your swing" - what that implies to me is you're not thinking about instructions about positions, whatever from your lessons, and you don't stand over the ball with swing thoughts running through your mind, etc. - ie. you're not playing "golf swing", instead you're playing the game of golf when you're out on the golf course.

Agree here. On the course you have to play with the swing you have that day. You might need to make small adjustments to how your are hitting it on that particular day, but getting over technical is going to doom you. The range, the backyard, in front of a mirror, using a training device is where get focused on movements and positions, and where to develop and toy with a variety of swing thoughts or intentions. 

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3 minutes ago, scooterhd2 said:

Most people dont reach their ceiling. They have no idea what their ceiling is. They have a cardboard box over their head thinking this is it. They have been sticking with the same swing flaws for years and spending time and energy trying to time things better with marginal gains. It needs to be rebuilt. You dont have to have lessons. Not knowing the right coach or the financial element is an excuse. There's never been more free and wildly available instruction online. It will take reps, but you can do 10 minutes a day in your back yard. Don't let time be an excuse. Its a valid excuse to not be scratch, but not to completely stall progress. Strength and speed are helpful no doubt if your goals are to hit it 300 yards. But for playing solid golf, its an excuse. Theres no reason a man in good health with average athleticism cant swing it faster than Lydia Ko (5'6 140), Minjee Lee (5'5 132), or Brooke Henderon (5'4, 120). They are all putting it out there 260 yards. It's about working on the swing and creating consistently solid impact. 

Breaking 80 does not take great genetics, a gym membership, lessons upon lessons, 4 range sessions a week, or a wife with amnesia. It can take being humble, finding your faults, and being willing to let familiarity and comfort go to get into some odd feeling positions. What we are doing is wrong but feels right, so doing things right is going to feel wrong until you have engrained it. 

 

... The mistake I see many instructors as well as better players make is thinking others can accomplish what they have accomplished. Or swing the way they swing. But golf is an extremely difficult game, especially for those that did not have an athletic background. Concepts many of us take for granted that grew up playing sports are foreign to those that never played other sports. Just watch a baseball film and you will see actors pushing the ball, not throwing it because they have no idea what a kenetic chain is. Ko, Lee and Henderson are very talented athletically and there are plenty of men that will never come close to hitting a golf ball like they do. Out of shape and/or physical limitations are more the norm for the typical American than being in the same kind of shape as a LPGA Pro whose job is to be in the best shape possible. Working out is a big a part as practicing 1000's of wedges. It really is unfair to compare the two. 

... I do understand your point of repeating the same flaws and expecting different results or worse, just accepting their ceiling. But it was my experience as an instructor that  "rebuild" should only be attempted by a select few that have the time, the drive and most importantly the ability to rebuild their swing. Most would be much better off doing what they already do ... just do it better. Swing your swing. In other words an inside take away with an over the top weak slice can be turned into a less inside and less over the top swing that makes more soli contact and produces more of a power fade. Attempting to change something ingrained as their swing DNA just isn't very easy and can result in complete frustration for the player. There have been tour players with an inside take away and an over the top delivery and a myriad of other "flaws" that have had a good career. One of my snowbird playing partners is a retired 65 yr old ex teacher that never played any other sport. He is over weight and has a bad knee. He played knock off clubs that didn't fit him, never took a lesson and rarely broke 100. I booked a fitting for him and he ended up with a full bag of new clubs that fit him. I have made a few subtle adjustments over a 2 year period that has him making better contact and hitting better shots. He rarely completely duffs a shot now. He shot an 89 (compliments of a hole in one) but breaking 90 consistently will probably never happen for him. He is thrilled to be shooting in the mid to low 90's. I view him as the typical American golfer. To be fair he could surprise me because he listens when I give him advice (which is rare) and he really wants to improve but he will never break 80 because over weight, bad knee and lack of athletic talent will always hold him back. 

... Lastly I would add that for most all of us, what we are doing and what we think/feel we are doing is almost always different. I applaud anyone attempting to get better and that includes improving their swing but without the watchful eye of someone that understands what they are trying to accomplish with their changes, it is very difficult to accomplish a swing change on your own. This is the reason there are millions of golf magazines/videos/training aids that have players spinning their wheels, better one day and worse the next. And most that play this great game will never break 80 and many will never break 90. Sure, a golfer in good shape with a good work ethic and the time to devote to golf can break 80 but they are the minority. 

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Driver:     :cobra-small: LTDx 10.5* ... LinQ M40X 6F3
Fairway:  :taylormade-small: SIM2 Max 15/16.5/18* ... Tensei Raw Blue 65R
Utility:      :taylormade-small: UDi 18* ... Even Flow Black 85R
                 :taylormade-small: DHy 19* ... Diamana Ltd 65R
                  :taylormade-small: Sim Hybrid 22* ... Diamana Ltd 75R
Irons:        :cobra-small: 5-Pw Forged Tec ... Steelfiber i80R
Wedges:   :taylormade-small: MG3 50*/MG3 58* LB ... Steelfiber i95R
Putter:      :cleveland-small: Hunting Beach Soft 11S 33.5"
Ball:           :taylormade-small: Maxfli Tour '22/TP5x '21

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18 minutes ago, chisag said:

 

... The mistake I see many instructors as well as better players make is thinking others can accomplish what they have accomplished. Or swing the way they swing. But golf is an extremely difficult game, especially for those that did not have an athletic background. Concepts many of us take for granted that grew up playing sports are foreign to those that never played other sports. Just watch a baseball film and you will see actors pushing the ball, not throwing it because they have no idea what a kenetic chain is. Ko, Lee and Henderson are very talented athletically and there are plenty of men that will never come close to hitting a golf ball like they do. Out of shape and/or physical limitations are more the norm for the typical American than being in the same kind of shape as a LPGA Pro whose job is to be in the best shape possible. Working out is a big a part as practicing 1000's of wedges. It really is unfair to compare the two. 
 

To be fair, I never said anyone can hit the ball like they do. Thats a discredit to them and their efficiency. I said we already have their strength. Thats what I am comparing. You can out bench Nelly Korda. Being stuck at a handicap and thinking that you could only get better if you had more strength is a fallacy for most. The concept of golfers working out is fairly new. There have been plenty of out of shape professionals throughout the years. There are plenty now. And thats just at the highest level. Really we are talking about breaking 80 here. Im in miserable shape. I can barely put my socks on. Breaking 80 for me has nothing to do with working out or being strong or flexible or having speed. Its completely in striking the ball properly and hitting it straight-ish over and over again. There are plenty of amateur women, seniors, 300 plus pound people, people with one arm, people with one leg, that can break 80. I used LPGA players, just to point out that strength and speed are probably not your number 1 problems. 

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EDEL SMS WEDGE TESTER

  • Driver: :ping-small: G400 MAX
  • Woods::cobra-small: F6 Baffler AD DI 8S
  • Hybrid: :cobra-small: F7 Hybrid AD DI 95s
  • Irons: :srixon-small: Z585 5-6, Z785 7-PW, Modus 120x
  • Wedges: :cleveland-small: RTX4 50, Modus 120x:taylormade-small:, Hi Toe 56 & 60, Modus 120x
  • Putter: :EVNROLL:  ER3 @ 33"
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2 hours ago, cksurfdude said:

One thought - and this may be semantics - is that at GolfTec they try to get you to swing more alike to the pros .. but *not* like the pros. If you can swing like a pro or like Adam Scott then wow wonderful, but they're aware they're dealing with regular people / recreational golfers who want to get "better" (whatever that means to each student).

The way I look at it is when they show me a vid clip of Rickie Fowler or Aaron Baddely hitting a ball they don't expect me to swing like that - they're showing me a "model" .. or a target .. to work on moving towards.

This is what any good instructor does. There are things all pros do in the swing, they also all don’t swing like each other. They have movement patterns and that’s what good instructors get their students to do. Within the limits of their body make the same movements as the pros especially those who have similar body types. Proper pressure shift, how the hips move, what the arms and hands do. Most amateurs do the opposite of the pros. 

2 hours ago, cksurfdude said:

about "swing your swing" - what that implies to me is you're not thinking about instructions about positions, whatever from your lessons, and you don't stand over the ball with swing thoughts running through your mind, etc. - ie. you're not playing "golf swing", instead you're playing the game of golf when you're out on the golf course.

Yes and no. Everyone should be striving to play golf and not golf swing. But the swing your swing is swing with your tempo and rhythm, your movement pattern, etc but make sure you are moving the right way

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Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

Irons: PXG Gen3 0311T w/Nippon modus 120

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 50*, Tiger grind 56/60

Putter: Scotty Caemeron Super Rat1

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I'm a bit frustrated with myself for entitling this thread "Swing your swing"...maybe some of us are getting wrapped around the axle concerning what that term really means.  What I was trying to communicate or speak to was the challenge instructors face is identifying the difference between nuances in your swing that need to be "fixed" versus characteristics that aren't necessarily textbook, but also don't prevent you from playing solid golf.  

Some quality inputs here regardless...

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Driver:  :honma:TR20 460, Ventus Blue 6 S, 65g Stiff

FW:  :tour-edge: CBX 119 3w, 15,  Project X Evenflow Blue 65g Stiff

Hybrids:  :callaway-small: Apex Pro 3 & 4H, Mitsubishi MMT 80g Stiff

Iron: :mizuno-small:JPX 919 Forged 5-GW, Aerotech Steelfiber i95 Stiff

Wedges: :vokey-small:SM8 54 S Grind bent to 55, 60 M Grind bent to 59, Aerotech Steelfiber i110 Stiff

Putter: :odyssey-small: White Hot OG Double Wide, Stroke Lab shaft

Ball: :titelist-small: Pro V1X

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20 minutes ago, Getoffmylawn said:

What I was trying to communicate or speak to was the challenge instructors face is identifying the difference between nuances in your swing that need to be "fixed" versus characteristics that aren't necessarily textbook, but also don't prevent you from playing solid golf.  

Oh yeah got it - I haven't been playing as long as most of you, yet in that time I have seen plenty of "ugly" and what look to me as inefficient / poor function swings BUT .. a lot of those same people are able to make the golf ball fly towards the hole!

Separately I think what a few mentioned earlier may be appropriate - maybe you've (GetOffMyLawn) "outgrown" either GolfTec and/or that particular instructor .. and may benefit further at this point from on-range coaching where you're hitting to actual targets and watching ball flight..?

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WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver (Recoil ES 450/F3)
..Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 (UST ProForce V2-HL 5/F3)
..Callaway Epic Max 5W (PX Cypher 50/5.0)
..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZT9/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
..EvnRoll ER5 or MLA XDream (Edel EAS 4.0 on the bench)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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45 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Most amateurs do the opposite of the pros. 

Yep as I get clearly reminded of each lesson 😂😂

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WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver (Recoil ES 450/F3)
..Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 (UST ProForce V2-HL 5/F3)
..Callaway Epic Max 5W (PX Cypher 50/5.0)
..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZT9/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
..EvnRoll ER5 or MLA XDream (Edel EAS 4.0 on the bench)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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