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Golf Habits


EnderinAZ

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I have been studying habits for some time now, mostly golf habits – trying to get rid of my bad ones and nail down my good ones. In order to further my research I thought I would ask ‘What is the one golf habit you would get rid of, tweak, overwrite’ that would make your golf day more enjoyable? How would you do it?

First let me explain a little about the human brain and habits in general. Your brain is an amazing memory device. It remembers everything, and I mean everything. It does this and stores it for future use in pattern recognition and energy conservation. Pattern recognition is first and foremost for your personal safety. Your hand is heading for your golf ball in through the low hanging branches of a Palo Verde tree. Your eyes see the 1 inch long unbending thorns, and you stop your hand. There is no internal debate, you don’t reach out and test the thorn to see if it is pointy, no, your brain has seen the pattern that matches some time in your past that equates to pointy thorns and your arm equals pain and bleeding, so no. Energy conservation is all about thinking and control every motion it would take to bend over, begin to reach for the ball, stop and stand back up. All of those body movements are done by habit, and so is 95 to 100 percent of your golf swing. Not sure if you believe me? Think about the last time you saw a non-athletic absolute beginner swing a golf club. It was almost painful to watch.

I digress. Your brain conserves energy by controlling voluntary repetitive body movements by writing those movements into your basel ganglea – the home of your habits. Do those movements a lot and those movements – all of them; how much grip pressure in each hand, where your knees are relative to the start of your swing at mid back swing…etc – are written into that “memory stack” every time you swing a club. A swing that produces a strong emotion will write that swing, again all of that swing, harder into your memory stack. Oh and your brain does not differentiate between positive and negative emotions. Stripe a nice drive down the center of the fairway and walk away satisfied. Loop a ball into a pond for the third lost ball of the day and you are ready to bite the steel shaft of your 7 iron in half. Which one of those scenarios do you think writes an exact copy of the swing that produced the ball flight into your habit stack with a jackhammer? Mildly satisfied or seething with anger.

I am truly interested. What do you do to push past that horrible shot results that came out of no where and just won’t go away?    

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

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My worst habit, and maybe others' I suppose, is frustration when a bad shot or hole sneaks in. This carries over to the next and on and on until the next hole is ruined as well.  I identified the source as self-centered fear of failure of some sort, especially in front of others. So it is that I have adopted a "process, not results" approach.

I do the same pre-shot routine for every shot, including putts. All involve a practice swing and selecting an exact target and intermediate spot target line from behind the ball, while out of the "go box".  Once in the box, doing the same thing...a glance to the target and aiming to the target line spot. Another glance to the target and go. (Sounds like it takes a long time but no, it's pretty fast even if deliberate.

Having followed my PROCESS that can lead to a successful shot, I will have done my best. The RESULTS are not up to me. I am ingraining this in my psyche and playing better, event for a SUPER SENIOR! BTW...This isn't my idea; it's been around forever. I'm just a slow learner at age 78.

Best, -Marv

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I agree to the pre shot routine . I let others affect my mental game waaaaaaaay to much . It’s not the thought of “ why is he opening a pack of crackers while I’m at address?” It’s more of it’s rude and can’t they just give me 10 seconds . That will carry into the next and next shot . The small steps before a shot helps calm my brain and keep positive . 

Not loyal to one brand , I’ll use whatever works

 

 

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Process, not results. Hmmm I have tried that, but never pushed it into my shot routine consistently through all 18 holes. It would certainly mitigate the ups and downs of good shots versus bad shots and limit the re-injection of the negative brain hormone cortisol into your system as a stress response. Note: cortisol like all brain hormones are fully used up and out of your system after 90 seconds. Going over your bad putt or shot re-injects cortisol into your system thus keeping your stress response active well into your next shot routine. Focusing on the process strikes me as an excellent way to not relive the missed 4 foot putt and move onto the next shot. Thanks!

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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Hans...not Franz what part of your physical being is effected by not staying calm? For me stress hits me in the center of my sternum with tightness and radiates outword to my lats, obliques, and abs making it hard to make a full turn. When I catch it, the stress, I focus on making a good full turn. This focus pulls the turn out of my habit stack and into my immediate attention area. If I don't catch it that tightness creates a shorter snappier swing that produces a nasty pull hook to the right. Which in turn injects a jolt of epinephrine and cortisol into my system which has the added benefit of carving deeply into my habit stack all the physical attributes and motions of that snappy hooky shot and (and this part stinks) will be the swing my brain pulls out as a habit to use as my next stressful shot. 

it is a vicious circle and why the shanks are so hard to get rid of!

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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7 hours ago, EnderinAZ said:

Process, not results. Hmmm I have tried that, but never pushed it into my shot routine consistently through all 18 holes. It would certainly mitigate the ups and downs of good shots versus bad shots and limit the re-injection of the negative brain hormone cortisol into your system as a stress response. Note: cortisol like all brain hormones are fully used up and out of your system after 90 seconds. Going over your bad putt or shot re-injects cortisol into your system thus keeping your stress response active well into your next shot routine. Focusing on the process strikes me as an excellent way to not relive the missed 4 foot putt and move onto the next shot. Thanks!

Sounds like the “habits” you are talking about deal with the dialing in the skills associated with the swing. This comes down to practice and building confidence in your ability to hit a specific shot.  This means don’t hit the hero shot during a round; play the shot you can hit 8/9 times out if 10.  

i think you would be better service to look into expectation management and just accepting the results you get and move on from there.  DECADE Golf advocates meditation to remain calm though out the round and measuring mental state to see how you do for the round.  

Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15*  w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 915H 21* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype        
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :titleist-small: 54/12D, 60/8M w/:Accra iWedge 90 Graphite
Putter:   Sacks Parente MC 3 Stripe

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Member:  MGS Hitsquad since 2017697979773_DSCN2368(Custom).JPG.a1a25f5e430d9eebae93c5d652cbd4b9.JPG

 

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I am trying to re-learn my driver swing. Never taking lessons and creating bad habits with it have slowed progression with the driver. I know what I am doing wrong... it's breaking those habits that are tough. 

I have started taking lessons and it's a slow process but one I'm taking. 

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4 hours ago, cnosil said:

look into expectation management and just accepting the results you get and move on from there.

Much easier said than done. 

Yes it is the repetition and conditioning, but the loss of focus swing, the one that is strictly from habit that kills my game. 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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21 minutes ago, EnderinAZ said:

Much easier said than done. 

Yes it is the repetition and conditioning, but the loss of focus swing, the one that is strictly from habit that kills my game. 

That is true.  Even watching the professionals, they lose mental focus.   Golf is more like a shotgun pattern than a rifle pattern;  the dispersion pattern is wide and you simply need to understand expectations and results.  

Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15*  w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 915H 21* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype        
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :titleist-small: 54/12D, 60/8M w/:Accra iWedge 90 Graphite
Putter:   Sacks Parente MC 3 Stripe

Backup Putters:  :odyssey-small: Milled Collection RSX 2, :seemore-small: mFGP2, :cameron-small: Futura 5W, :taylormade-small:TM-180

Member:  MGS Hitsquad since 2017697979773_DSCN2368(Custom).JPG.a1a25f5e430d9eebae93c5d652cbd4b9.JPG

 

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"You need to understand expectations and results."

Cnosil, you have misinterpreted my original premise of this thread. There are amazing golfers that ply these boards who have overcome the yips and the shanks, who have figured out how to play the “I hate my ??? iron. I can never hit it” club and play it well. It is these stories that I am interested in. How did you turn that hated iron into your favorite club in the bag? Was it a series of personalized lessons? Hit 10,000 range balls until the club works for you every time?

Hitting ten thousand golf balls is an example of Grit, as explained by Steven Kotler in The Art of the Impossible, A Peak Performance Primer, and is a way to completely automate the use of that iron, and for that use to be nearly perfect every time in perfect conditions and their worst, on your best days when you cannot miss a shot, and on your worst days when your focus is far afield. Most of us do not have the time, the resources, or the perseverance to work through the ‘day after day of one swing, one club, and continue on until perfect’ training regime.

But, there are golfers here who figured out how with different types of “grit”, and for my research I would really like to know how.

Now please don’t take this wrong. I do not know you, we have never spoken and I mean no slight, slur, or insult in my following response. Your statement; of knowing expectations and results  suggests to me a laissez-faire attitude that produces neither go nor bad results, just results in moving the ball. I cannot do that. I am a type A retired engineer who is driven to expect positive results. When the results that I am getting follow the flight path of a butterfly around a hedge of flowering oleanders I gear down and grind my way through the rest of the round.

I do practice meditation on a daily basis (or I drive everyone around me bonkers) and use walking mediation techniques combined with mindfulness between shots. Mindfulness keeps me present - not reliving the last hole - and focused meditation with regard to planning my next shot. I am still struggling with the focused plan (a leaves and trees thing). Anyway a fantastic resource for meditation in small bites can be found at https://www.tenpercent.com.

So how do you re-write your swing habits? What are your tools?

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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1 hour ago, EnderinAZ said:

"You need to understand expectations and results."

Cnosil, you have misinterpreted my original premise of this thread. There are amazing golfers that ply these boards who have overcome the yips and the shanks, who have figured out how to play the “I hate my ??? iron. I can never hit it” club and play it well. It is these stories that I am interested in. How did you turn that hated iron into your favorite club in the bag? Was it a series of personalized lessons? Hit 10,000 range balls until the club works for you every time?

Hitting ten thousand golf balls is an example of Grit, as explained by Steven Kotler in The Art of the Impossible, A Peak Performance Primer, and is a way to completely automate the use of that iron, and for that use to be nearly perfect every time in perfect conditions and their worst, on your best days when you cannot miss a shot, and on your worst days when your focus is far afield. Most of us do not have the time, the resources, or the perseverance to work through the ‘day after day of one swing, one club, and continue on until perfect’ training regime.

But, there are golfers here who figured out how with different types of “grit”, and for my research I would really like to know how.

Now please don’t take this wrong. I do not know you, we have never spoken and I mean no slight, slur, or insult in my following response. Your statement; of knowing expectations and results  suggests to me a laissez-faire attitude that produces neither go nor bad results, just results in moving the ball. I cannot do that. I am a type A retired engineer who is driven to expect positive results. When the results that I am getting follow the flight path of a butterfly around a hedge of flowering oleanders I gear down and grind my way through the rest of the round.

I do practice meditation on a daily basis (or I drive everyone around me bonkers) and use walking mediation techniques combined with mindfulness between shots. Mindfulness keeps me present - not reliving the last hole - and focused meditation with regard to planning my next shot. I am still struggling with the focused plan (a leaves and trees thing). Anyway a fantastic resource for meditation in small bites can be found at https://www.tenpercent.com.

So how do you re-write your swing habits? What are your tools?

I don't take it as a slight in any way;  we are just discussing golf and strategies to play better.    I still believe that my answer is still the same even with your explanation.    I hit a club poorly typically because I try to do too much with it and/or not mentality committed to my decision.  I would say a type A expect positive results person doesn't understand expectation or expectation management associated with this game.     

If you struggle to hit your 7 iron or driver or any other club  the only way to get better is to practice and learn to hit a stock shot that you can hit reliably.  Some do that at the range and some do that by playing golf.   Some course strategies:

  • Never work the ball off the tee. 
  • You can work the irons, but focus on stock shot unless you absolutely need something else.   
  • Commit 100% to every shot but understand the probabilities of success for the shot you are taking; so your Type A expect positive result mentality understands what a valid and realistic expectation is.  For example  most people don't understand that a PGA professionals dispersion pattern with driver is about 70 yards wide; amateurs get mad when they miss a 40 yard wide fairway.   From 100 yards away in the fairway a PGA pro only hits the green about 84% of the time and averages about 18' 5" from the hole which leads to about a 15% make rate. 

If practice isn't your thing you could go the buy more clubs because new clubs have to be better or change how you swing but subscribing to a new swing methodology, or watch some youtube videos.🤣

You describe yourself as an 11.5 handicap so hitting the ball probably isn't that much of a problem and with your being an engineer, I'd say learn the math behind how to play golf.   There are mathematical strategies for playing this game better and not doing a laissez-faire attitude that you incorrectly think I am talking about.   Do some research on Mark Brodie and strokes gained and the supporting systems like Lowest Score Wins and DECADE and follow Lou Stagner on social media.  Golf is a game that uses a shotgun and not a rifle.  

Edited by cnosil

Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15*  w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 915H 21* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype        
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
Wedge:  :titleist-small: 54/12D, 60/8M w/:Accra iWedge 90 Graphite
Putter:   Sacks Parente MC 3 Stripe

Backup Putters:  :odyssey-small: Milled Collection RSX 2, :seemore-small: mFGP2, :cameron-small: Futura 5W, :taylormade-small:TM-180

Member:  MGS Hitsquad since 2017697979773_DSCN2368(Custom).JPG.a1a25f5e430d9eebae93c5d652cbd4b9.JPG

 

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Habits, especially when looked at in the context of golf, is a fascinating topic for me.  

 

I recommend two books to anyone even mildly interested in the topic:  1.  Atomic Habits; An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good habits and Break Bad Ones, by James Clear.  Not a golf book, but deals with the issue in broad terms, but has very specific detail in how to implement changes.  2.   Golf Sense: Tips on How to Play golf in the Zone, by Palmer and Weber.  the title is a bit misleading.  The book covers the Alexander Technique (a way to recognize habitual action and then change it) applied to golf.  Highly recommend to the OP.

Regarding letting go of bad shots so they don't continue to show up and ruin your round:  1.  I started to celebrate my good shots.  Go ahead and show some positive emotion.  Acknowledge that that was a great shot.  "Oh yeah, look at that one!" "Great shot."  "Boy that felt good."  Hold the finish and relish the feel.  2.  For shots that are not so good, I have learned to view the result as cause and effect, not "bad." This starts on the range, where I will do a lot of "if, then" practice.   If I move the ball back two inches, X happens.  If I move the ball two inches forward, Y happens.  If I grip the club extra hard, Z happens.  it's not good or bad, it's cause and effect.  On the course, that translates into "I had the ball too far forward in my stance and it went left," instead of, "How can I hit such a crappy shot and pull the ball over into the trees, which is going to leave me no shot and I'll probably double bogey the hole and there goes my round and now I'll never play this game well and I'll be in a bad mood when I get home and my wife will get mad at me and probably divorce me and take all my money and I'll die all alone..."    

 

Expectations plays a part in it.  Sinking an eight foot putt is a reason to celebrate.  I'm amazed how often my playing partners curse themselves for missing the putt.  On the PGA Tour, the pros make 50% of their 8 footers.  Why should I, not a pro, get upset at missing an 8 footer?

 

Also, how do you evaluate your round.  I do a "good, better, how" analysis.  Instead of dwelling on my "bad" shots, I go through a round and start by imprinting the good shots.  Then look at the shot that could be better and ask "how." 

 

 

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On 11/11/2023 at 1:05 PM, alfriday101 said:

Habits, especially when looked at in the context of golf, is a fascinating topic for me.  

 

I recommend two books to anyone even mildly interested in the topic:  1.  Atomic Habits; An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good habits and Break Bad Ones, by James Clear.  Not a golf book, but deals with the issue in broad terms, but has very specific detail in how to implement changes.  2.   Golf Sense: Tips on How to Play golf in the Zone, by Palmer and Weber.  the title is a bit misleading.  The book covers the Alexander Technique (a way to recognize habitual action and then change it) applied to golf.  Highly recommend to the OP.

Regarding letting go of bad shots so they don't continue to show up and ruin your round:  1.  I started to celebrate my good shots.  Go ahead and show some positive emotion.  Acknowledge that that was a great shot.  "Oh yeah, look at that one!" "Great shot."  "Boy that felt good."  Hold the finish and relish the feel.  2.  For shots that are not so good, I have learned to view the result as cause and effect, not "bad." This starts on the range, where I will do a lot of "if, then" practice.   If I move the ball back two inches, X happens.  If I move the ball two inches forward, Y happens.  If I grip the club extra hard, Z happens.  it's not good or bad, it's cause and effect.  On the course, that translates into "I had the ball too far forward in my stance and it went left," instead of, "How can I hit such a crappy shot and pull the ball over into the trees, which is going to leave me no shot and I'll probably double bogey the hole and there goes my round and now I'll never play this game well and I'll be in a bad mood when I get home and my wife will get mad at me and probably divorce me and take all my money and I'll die all alone..."    

 

Expectations plays a part in it.  Sinking an eight foot putt is a reason to celebrate.  I'm amazed how often my playing partners curse themselves for missing the putt.  On the PGA Tour, the pros make 50% of their 8 footers.  Why should I, not a pro, get upset at missing an 8 footer?

 

Also, how do you evaluate your round.  I do a "good, better, how" analysis.  Instead of dwelling on my "bad" shots, I go through a round and start by imprinting the good shots.  Then look at the shot that could be better and ask "how." 

 

 

alfriday101 I have read Atomic Habits, Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and Badass Habits by Jen Sincero all in the search for a viable way to rid myself of an old swing habit off the tee that pushes right and fades hard, and appears in the most in-opportune times. There are several points that all of these books touch on about habit in general. The one that I found the most interesting with reference to golf is habits do not have a shelf life which at least explained why that push fade could feel so good and familiar and fly so bad as it always has even though it might be months between occurrences. The second thing they all talk about is the size of the habit you want to introduce or re-write. The smaller the better. I now know what I am doing in that push fade. I pull my hands and arms almost directly behind me while rotating my knees, hips, and torso in the same direction. I tuck my butt under my shoulders and lose all spine angle. From here I can create a ton of power but there is no way I can get the swing path back down the target line or square the club face. 

When looking at the controllable motions of the swing sequence I just described there is the start of my takeaway which immediately begins to pull away from the target line. My knees hips and torso rotate hard away from the target line with no coil at all. And well you get what I mean.  All of those motions are habitual. Meaning they are performed the same way every time which in turn means they are very hard to change on a permanent basis. Celebration is a great way to get a dopamine rush which neuroscience says a catalyst that writes habits or enforces current habits. (I do not celebrate enough) Cortisol is another habit catalyst that is released when we are stressed or angry.  So, alfriday101, your process of frustration eschewal is a good one to avoid etching in bad habits and one I employ as well. 

Thanks for the feedback and the Golf Sense book recommendation. I have already put it in my Kindle reader. 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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Overthinking becomes my downfall.....

I have a happy place, a song in my head that is a rhythm that is conducive of the shot I want to hit.  I quit thinking about that previous bad shot and sing the song in my head and let all those perfect Range shots take over ...

I find this especially helpful when I am playing match play with a partner, it relaxes me and I don't feel the pressure of the next shot....

What works for me, isn't for everyone. 

Pars & Birdies!

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On 11/11/2023 at 10:38 AM, cnosil said:

Commit 100% to every shot but understand the probabilities of success for the shot you are taking; so your Type A expect positive result mentality understands what a valid and realistic expectation is.  For example  most people don't understand that a PGA professionals dispersion pattern with driver is about 70 yards wide; amateurs get mad when they miss a 40 yard wide fairway.   From 100 yards away in the fairway a PGA pro only hits the green about 84% of the time and averages about 18' 5" from the hole which leads to about a 15% make rate. 

 

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These sorts of stats help me to remember who I am on the course and to manage expectations as has been said. I once, years ago now, always scored in the low '80's. Age, injuries and Mr. Rheumy Arthritis have taken their toll now, so I have to accept that DISTANCE is not my game, though I can get the driver out there a bit. Focus in practice is on ACCURACY; using fairway woods, hybrids and longer irons to hit TARGETS so I know how far I can reliably send them. Putting is still a work in progress. But, you know, even at age 78, I want to persevere and keep lowering that handicap like everyone else. Best, -Marv

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For starters, I don’t ever look at the total score on the card. I play each hole as a single micro event. In September, I went to Hawaii and played a course there. The day before I arrived, they aerated the greens (go figure). So putting on the moonscape that was once pristine glass was painful and almost impossible. So, the second round I played, my partner and I decided that if you could get GIR, then you would automatically have par (credit for 2 putt). We hit almost all greens in regulation and then, “Why not try for the birdie since you already have par?” - This resulted in higher GIRs, and legit par putts within a few inches (usually) of the hole. All because we changed our mindset.

For me, once a hole is complete. It is done.

The other thing I try NOT to do. I don’t swing repetitively too much. What I mean is, I don’t over do it. I might swing hitting balls on the range for an hour but I am taking time between shots to line up, routine, aim and then swing. Then I take frequent breaks. So I don’t get sloppy or too tired.

-ZoonORama (Keith)

  • Irons:  :Takomo: 101T (4-PW)
  • Wedges:  :Takomo: Skyforger 52, 56, 60
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  • Woods: :callaway-small: Mavrik 3 (15 degree), Mavrik 5 (18 degree)
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I am on board with the idea of managing expectations. At least for me, that's mostly about setting the bar for what counts as a good/bad shot. 

 

When I hit a shot that counts as bad, I try to analyze the main issue that led to the bad shot (e.g. if I hit it fat, was it because I moved off the ball in the backswing and didn't get back on it in time, because I dipped down in the downswing, ...). By identifying what went wrong, I can then try to not not make the same mistake again and have a better chance of hitting a good recovery/next shot. So I guess I try to reframe the situation and turn it into an opportunity to get better. That takes some of the negative emotions out of it.

Driver:  Callaway Mavrik 10.5->9.5, Paderson KinetiXX Launch R

Wood:  Callaway Mavrik 3, Paderson KinetiXX Launch R 

Hybrid: Callaway Mavrik 4H, Graphite Design Tour AD R

Irons:    Miura CB301, 5-gw, Aerotech Steelfiber I95 R

Wedge: Vokey SM8 54 and 58, 12 bounce, D grind, Shimada tour black

Putter:  Odyssey Dual Force Rossie II

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After reaching my senior age, I realize that my bad shots, due to lack of distance, are not as bad as they once were. It is still a game that you want the fewest strokes to get the silly ball into the hole and really that is all that matters at the end of the round.

Driver: Ping G430 SFT 10.5

Fairway Woods: Ping SFT G425 3-5-7

Irons;    Ping 425 4-LW

Putter:  Ping Sigma2 Anser Platinum

             Odyssey Tour#1 White Hot 

Ball:      Titleist Tour Speed

Bag:      Titleist

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On 11/19/2023 at 6:16 AM, EMJL said:

I am on board with the idea of managing expectations. At least for me, that's mostly about setting the bar for what counts as a good/bad shot. 

 

When I hit a shot that counts as bad, I try to analyze the main issue that led to the bad shot (e.g. if I hit it fat, was it because I moved off the ball in the backswing and didn't get back on it in time, because I dipped down in the downswing, ...). By identifying what went wrong, I can then try to not not make the same mistake again and have a better chance of hitting a good recovery/next shot. So I guess I try to reframe the situation and turn it into an opportunity to get better. That takes some of the negative emotions out of it.

Managing expectations really is a different animal altogether. Expectations live in different parts of the brain than habits, up front in your (for lack of better words) active consciousness. Trying to think of a "golf habit"? In which pocket do you put your tees? Are you momentarily confused when that tee is not in that pocket. How about where you clubs go in your bag? If you put say your 7 iron in the wrong spot and you reach for it 3 holes after the last time you can remember using it, and it is not where it is supposed to be, I can almost guarantee a flash of panic streaks through your chest before you notice it hiding up in your 3 wood spot along with the 3 wood.  You don't remember missing the hole, but there it is. That is habit. 

Take this a step further. Ever been hurt/injured and suffered through the pain to play?  I have and believe me pain is a prime mover in the realm of swing changes. Play with pain avoidance swing and pretty soon it is not the pain avoidance swing anymore, it is just your swing. So now you feel better, the pain is gone. But that crappy pain avoidance swing just will not go away. You spend hours on the range and get it worked out, then the next time you play?? You are on the third hole, crowned fairway sloping to the right to out of bounds, and sloping to the left to a very reachable pond. Your stress level goes up and BAM it triggers the pain avoidance swing. The next thing you know your ball is bouncing past the OB markers. Up front, in your mind and prefrontal cortex you fully expected and planned to hit the ball smooth as silk right down the center of the fairway. But when your stress went up your body gave itself a little shot of cortisol which is among other things your fight or flight hormonal trigger. Fight or flight lives deep inside your habit central and because you received just a little shot of cortisol and places the pain avoidance swing into your motor control circuits while completely ignoring your plans and expectations. 

My original reason for starting this thread was that there has to be at least a couple of golfers here who figured out a way to rip control of their swing out of habit central and consistently put that control into their active consciousness until their swing habit has been re-written. 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

Golf cart MGI Zip Navigator

:Arccos:

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3 hours ago, EnderinAZ said:

Managing expectations really is a different animal altogether. Expectations live in different parts of the brain than habits, up front in your (for lack of better words) active consciousness. Trying to think of a "golf habit"? In which pocket do you put your tees? Are you momentarily confused when that tee is not in that pocket. How about where you clubs go in your bag? If you put say your 7 iron in the wrong spot and you reach for it 3 holes after the last time you can remember using it, and it is not where it is supposed to be, I can almost guarantee a flash of panic streaks through your chest before you notice it hiding up in your 3 wood spot along with the 3 wood.  You don't remember missing the hole, but there it is. That is habit. 

Take this a step further. Ever been hurt/injured and suffered through the pain to play?  I have and believe me pain is a prime mover in the realm of swing changes. Play with pain avoidance swing and pretty soon it is not the pain avoidance swing anymore, it is just your swing. So now you feel better, the pain is gone. But that crappy pain avoidance swing just will not go away. You spend hours on the range and get it worked out, then the next time you play?? You are on the third hole, crowned fairway sloping to the right to out of bounds, and sloping to the left to a very reachable pond. Your stress level goes up and BAM it triggers the pain avoidance swing. The next thing you know your ball is bouncing past the OB markers. Up front, in your mind and prefrontal cortex you fully expected and planned to hit the ball smooth as silk right down the center of the fairway. But when your stress went up your body gave itself a little shot of cortisol which is among other things your fight or flight hormonal trigger. Fight or flight lives deep inside your habit central and because you received just a little shot of cortisol and places the pain avoidance swing into your motor control circuits while completely ignoring your plans and expectations. 

My original reason for starting this thread was that there has to be at least a couple of golfers here who figured out a way to rip control of their swing out of habit central and consistently put that control into their active consciousness until their swing habit has been re-written. 

Interesting way of putting things for sure.  

definitely have habits when it comes to the smaller items such as tees, ball marker, divot tool.  But then again my ADHD, I do that with my day in, day out routine with almost everything.

When it comes to re-building my swing, it makes it more difficult.  It's all repetition and practice.  

Being able to see the next shot or forgetting a bad shot tends to be easier than re-building my driver swing.  I think when you are able to build a pre-shot routine and you stick to it every single time, it makes you focus on what is ahead and not what just happened.

:callaway-small: Paradym TD Driver w/ Ventus Blue 6S

:ping-small: 3W

:srixon-small: MKII ZX 5's (4-6) w/ KBS Tour V

:srixon-small: MKII ZX 7's (7-PW) w/ KBS Tour V

:titleist-small: Vokey Wedges 50* 54* 58*

:L.A.B.: DF2.1 Putter

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19 hours ago, Josh Parker said:

Interesting way of putting things for sure.  

definitely have habits when it comes to the smaller items such as tees, ball marker, divot tool.  But then again my ADHD, I do that with my day in, day out routine with almost everything.

When it comes to re-building my swing, it makes it more difficult.  It's all repetition and practice.  

Being able to see the next shot or forgetting a bad shot tends to be easier than re-building my driver swing.  I think when you are able to build a pre-shot routine and you stick to it every single time, it makes you focus on what is ahead and not what just happened.

pre-shot routine and you stick to it every single time, it makes you focus on what is ahead...

Absolutely no debate there. That focus you speak about when tightly tuned on a specific task or undertaking turns into what Psychologist Mihaily Csikszentmihalyi (can you imagine trying to fill that name out on government form??) called flow. According to him Flow is an altered state of consciousness, a state where every decision, every action, flows seamlessly, perfectly, from the last. It is where peak performers live and live for. I have dropped into flow before, where on the back nine every shot, every chip or putt traveled toward my target as if it had eyes. I am sure you have dropped into a flow situation as well. And when you fall out of flow you have no idea how to bring it back because you really do not know how you got there in the first place. Those fantastic shots and amazing putts were a cumulation all the perfect shots in your hours of practice triggered by your laser focus and expressed by a perfect swing with perfect timing and provided to you by your basal ganglia, the home of your habits. 

Okay here is the really crappy part of this, dropping out of flow simply takes another trigger to bring back your old standby swing or one that is far less dependable. That flow destroying trigger most likely doesn't have anything to do with golf at all. One of your foursome pulls out a power bar and you realize you are hungry too. Bam! Flow is gone. You come upon the group in front of you on the next tee box and one of them is playing music in their cart and suddenly that fantastic quiet space between your ears where it is just you and the next shot is filled with the nerve grating refrain from a song you haven't heard in 13 years and do not even like! Now your flow is gone, you don't know what you did to turn it on and there is no chance in returning to it because you have Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys rattling around in you mind like a BB in a boxcar and you have 'Amen Corner' coming up for a 20 dollar nassau. 

 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

Golf cart MGI Zip Navigator

:Arccos:

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/9/2023 at 10:37 PM, EnderinAZ said:

I have been studying habits for some time now, mostly golf habits – trying to get rid of my bad ones and nail down my good ones. In order to further my research I thought I would ask ‘What is the one golf habit you would get rid of, tweak, overwrite’ that would make your golf day more enjoyable? How would you do it?

First let me explain a little about the human brain and habits in general. Your brain is an amazing memory device. It remembers everything, and I mean everything. It does this and stores it for future use in pattern recognition and energy conservation. Pattern recognition is first and foremost for your personal safety. Your hand is heading for your golf ball in through the low hanging branches of a Palo Verde tree. Your eyes see the 1 inch long unbending thorns, and you stop your hand. There is no internal debate, you don’t reach out and test the thorn to see if it is pointy, no, your brain has seen the pattern that matches some time in your past that equates to pointy thorns and your arm equals pain and bleeding, so no. Energy conservation is all about thinking and control every motion it would take to bend over, begin to reach for the ball, stop and stand back up. All of those body movements are done by habit, and so is 95 to 100 percent of your golf swing. Not sure if you believe me? Think about the last time you saw a non-athletic absolute beginner swing a golf club. It was almost painful to watch.

I digress. Your brain conserves energy by controlling voluntary repetitive body movements by writing those movements into your basel ganglea – the home of your habits. Do those movements a lot and those movements – all of them; how much grip pressure in each hand, where your knees are relative to the start of your swing at mid back swing…etc – are written into that “memory stack” every time you swing a club. A swing that produces a strong emotion will write that swing, again all of that swing, harder into your memory stack. Oh and your brain does not differentiate between positive and negative emotions. Stripe a nice drive down the center of the fairway and walk away satisfied. Loop a ball into a pond for the third lost ball of the day and you are ready to bite the steel shaft of your 7 iron in half. Which one of those scenarios do you think writes an exact copy of the swing that produced the ball flight into your habit stack with a jackhammer? Mildly satisfied or seething with anger.

I am truly interested. What do you do to push past that horrible shot results that came out of no where and just won’t go away?    

This topic is way to heavy but...

Stop keeping score. Respect the process and not the result. Stop bearing down for the rest of the round after a bad shot because that makes each and every following shot critical, when it isn't. It's just one of many. So many...

You are overthinking a process that may have many thoughts during setup but, and this is critical, just one thought during the swing. 

If you have one problem club, hit your drive and then hit from that clubs yardage until you can't stand it anymore, and then hit it again. Whatever you do, don't go mindlessly whacking a bucket of balls with that club. Hit with other clubs and hit it every third or fourth shot. 

Or you could just get that club measured to make sure it still meets specs or buy a new one. Just saying.

If it is more than one club, like all your woods, or long irons, or wedges, seek help. Lots and lots of help. Professional help. Your golfing buddies probably have plenty of tips. Surely that is a better way to go than worrying about all that memory stuff you are hoping to conquer. 

I will tell you that in 5 years time, whatever is holding you back now will not be present then. Please cease your worry over the present and worry about what it will be in 5 years because it will be something else entirely! 

😎

Ok, so mostly tongue in cheek here. But the process and not worrying about score is critical to getting better. To many people write to much stuff about golf being in the 5 inches between your ears. Even if it is 99% mental, you MUST learn to respect the 1% that isn't.

Driver: Callaway Epic 9 degree, stiff (set at 10 degrees with the movable weight in the center}

FW: Callaway Epic 3,5, heaven wood w/ regular shaft (driver shaft in 3 wood, 3 wood shaft in 5 wood, 5 wood shaft in heaven wood, all three set at neutral plus 1 degree)

Hybrids: Callaway BB19 4,6,7 (4 set at neutral plus 1 degree and 6 and 7 set at neutral minus 1 degree for gapping purposes)

Irons: Callaway Rogue ST Max 8, 9, PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 50,54,58

Ball: Titleist Pro V1, 1X, Vice Pro Plus or anything I find that day and try out for the fun of it (I haven't bought balls with my own money in at least 10 years)

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14 minutes ago, Beakbryce said:

Ok, so mostly tongue in cheek here. But the process and not worrying about score is critical to getting better. To many people write to much stuff about golf being in the 5 inches between your ears. Even if it is 99% mental, you MUST learn to respect the 1% that isn't.

Not so much worrying as writing. This is a subject that feels like it could and should be written about.

Can't say I disagree with anything you said. Thanks for the input. 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

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Hans...not Franz, the bit about opening the crackers cracked me up. It's interesting to me how some sounds I can just tune out like its nothing and others can disrupt your process. One habit that gets me is shortening my process after a good shot. The other which I hate is when the distance lines up perfectly with a full swing and I look up in anticipation.     

Josh Malone

The Villages Golf Guy

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great topic!

When I have period of bad play, I try to remember what I was thinking or not thinking during my "best" rounds.

It is hard to remember exactly, but it was usually something very simple.

If I had to put a label on it, I would say that 25% of my "good round" thoughts were mechanical swing thoughts and 75% of my "good round" thoughts were just mental distractions to block my mind from thinking about the process.

The Inner Game of Golf by Tim Gallwey speaks much to this point.

After retiring from the PGA of America, I did some demo days and club fitting for TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist, Ping, Cobra, Srixon and Mizuno.

 

 

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Very interesting topic! Always have thought the ideas around sports psychology and how athletes interact mentally super interesting. Also how the superstitions play into that. Playing hockey growing up, we are probably s9me of the most superstitious in the way we do something from pregame rituals to even the simplest task of taping a stick but I digress. Fore play golf had or still has a series called “breaking Frankie” and even though I’m not a huge barstool golf guy I found the points that the psychologist Dr Brett McCabe I think it was brought up very interesting. 
How he brings up the pre shot ritual and way of focusing and not letting yourself basically become a mess when over the ball. 
I have the pre shot ritual where I assess the shot, make my club choice, take a practice swing, step back, get over the ball make making my minor adjustments and then swing. Always trying to look down as if I’m looking through the ball to the ground below. 
My major issue is that when I’m playing great, I’m dialed and there is no swaying me from my mission. BUT as soon as my game starts to dip, it tanks. I’ve always expected perfection and when it’s not working then I start to doubt and start to over adjust, making it worse and worse. 
Also having OCD I obviously obsess over things and if I accidentally mess up something in my routine or whatever I have to restart or I feel like I’m lost. The OCD and maybe a little ADD makes me feel like my mind is moving at a thousand mph and I do everything fast af. I have a hard time slowing myself down and just letting things come to me. Dr McCabe said “don’t be in a hurry to mess up” and that kind of hit.
My friend once told me play as if a bogey is a par on every hole and that’s where something clicked and my HC DROPPED.

Been playing for about 2 years in total. Winter breaks and a 6month period when I got sick. Starting to feel like myself again and recently played a “okay” round. 
I currently have custom fit Cobra LTDx irons/wedges, a Vokey 60(cause my short game has been the best part of my game, and a Maverick 9 deg. Driver. Driving is the worst part of my game so My 4 iron usually takes alot of the long game abuse. 

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I grew up on a golf course, with parents who were determined I would be the next Nicklaus. The only problem was I wasn’t interested - especially being force fed. I lettered in football, golf & XC at a FL HS and got a full college ride for soccer. I didn’t touch another club until 28, when my ex and I decided to play nine one Sunday, when we lived in MI. I ended up going back to FL after divorce, and only played golf once in six years back.

I started up again in IL, in my late 50s - after both hips replaced and a host of stiff, messed up joints - made me reconsider the game. I’m in my mid 60s now, shoot between mid 80s to upper 90s - and enjoying every moment! I laugh at the bad shots, marvel at the good and keep my bones and mind moving. I am exceedingly competitive, except on the course. 

Why? I’m doing it for me, nobody else.

It’s all for fun and collegiality now. Hit a few balls, have a few barley pops, and 19 holes of laughs. My friends are all better, some younger, but it doesn’t matter.  We’re getting fresh air, exercise and enjoying the vistas in Central PA.  I just wish we had golf domes for winter practice, like we did in northern IL.

My mantra comes from the AT&T commercial “just hit the ball!” The less I think, the better I do. The Golf54 think box, play box mind set works most of the time. 

For most of us here, it’s JUST golf. Not brain surgery, heart surgery, or life or death. We chase a round object around a manicured cow field. Have fun!

 

Chasing my ball around the cow field, trying to avoid the “ruff.”

 

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On 1/7/2024 at 3:29 PM, Golf Dawg said:

Why? I’m doing it for me, nobody else.

What an incredible apropos way to look at golf. It is exactly the way I look at golf! 

Driver :taylormade-small: Sim Max2

Hybrids :ping-small: G430 2, 3, 4

Irons :srixon-small: ZX4 6-PW

Wedges :taylormade-small: Hi-Toe 50, 54, 58

Putter :odyssey-small: 2Ball Ten ArmLock

Golf cart MGI Zip Navigator

:Arccos:

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