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That has to be the first time I've ever heard anyone tell someone to avoid full swing practice if they are playing well! Would you mind expanding on that a bit?

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Avoid it like your mother-in-law.

 

 

My mother came early for Christmas one year, in November. I bought her a plane ticket to South Africa in August because she was driving my wife, and subsequently me, nuts. 9 months of your mother in law are enough for a life time.

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That has to be the first time I've ever heard anyone tell someone to avoid full swing practice if they are playing well! Would you mind expanding on that a bit?

 

I know you weren't asking me, but I'll throw in my two cents:

 

I think the point you're missing in James' response is the idea of not going to the range unless you're working on something. I would agree with this. Too many people go to the range to meaninglessly beat balls. If you have no intent for your practice, it is unlikely you will derive any major benefit. It could be something technical like a certain position you're trying to ingrain, it could be tempo, or it could be hitting certain types of shots, but you need to have something specific that you're working on when you go to the range.

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With all due respect to Matt I think the real point that James is making is don't waste time on the range when you need to be on the putting green.

 

I don't go to his extreme but if I'm hitting the ball well I hit very few balls on the range - I basically get a small bucket, go through my warm up, hit a few balls squenced like I'm playing on the next course I'll play and then hit to a target inside of 100 with the balls I have left over before moving to the trap, the putting or the chipping green - that's where I spend my time - the trap, the putting and the chipping green.

 

The only time I hit lots of balls on the range is when something is not right or when I haven't played for a while. Even then I try to avoid lots of balls. Like most of us my droid works well enough as a camera, I can get a friend to video some shots from some angles, watch the video, saunter over to the mirror and work through what is ailing me without the blisters and bad back. If it gets bad enough I have a pro to call on.

 

Regardless I really appreciate it James.

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I like the cute girl option. I'll normally go for the kid on the range but I'm going to start looking for the cute girl as my primary when giving balls away. :blink: :blink:

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James,

 

The past couple days I've been playing a short course, and have ended up with a ton of ~75 or 50 yard shots into the green. The course is also at altitude, so it's throwing off my distances (ex. a full 56 degree wedge shot flies 110). Could you share your thought process for these short shots?

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That has to be the first time I've ever heard anyone tell someone to avoid full swing practice if they are playing well! Would you mind expanding on that a bit?

 

 

Basically I agree with what everyone else has said. Bad habits are easily developed on the driving range when you don't have somebody standing behind you watching each swing. Also, in terms of return-on-investment time spent practicing your short game pays out way better than time practicing your full swing.

 

That doesn't mean you can't warm-up at the driving range, but you better have a plan and stick to it!

 

 

 

 

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James,

 

The past couple days I've been playing a short course, and have ended up with a ton of ~75 or 50 yard shots into the green. The course is also at altitude, so it's throwing off my distances (ex. a full 56 degree wedge shot flies 110). Could you share your thought process for these short shots?

 

 

 

Great question! Inside 100 yards I really try to visualize what would happen if I hit the ball into the hole. I'm not necessarily trying to make the shot, but at this point I need to start plotting a path to the hole and understanding what that's going to look like.

 

Also, the closer you get to the hole the more important distance control becomes. Go out to your short game practice area and drop 10 balls at 30 yards, 10 at 40 yards, 10 at 50 yards, 10 at 60 yards, and keep going all the way out to 100 yards. Hit a few from 30, then bounce up to 70. Then go up to 50. Then go back to 100. Mix it up and you will start to get the distance control dialed.

 

Finally, I feel that a lot of the control I have over these shots comes from my legs and my lower body. Using those bigger muscles to "feel" the shot helps me be much more consistent and avoid big misses.

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I'll take exception to that " ...not trying to make the shot..." portion. To my mind every shot should be trying to hole it if the green can be reached, if trying to hole it won't be too risky of falling off the dance floor. Sometimes you get lucky and it really should be a lifetime habit to put yourself into a position to benefit from a bit of luck. :rolleyes:

 

I would add that in trying to make the shot you also need to read the green as well as you can from a hundred yards away, which can be difficult. That's where course familiarity is an advantage, though the more obvious features such as slope, bumps and bulges ought to be visible.

 

 

Shambles

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Question for the pros: As a 17 handicap my game is up and down as expected. I have streaks of good rounds and bad rounds. I practice 2 days per week. The problem i am having lately is with my mid irons. Either from the tee box on par 3's or from the fairway, I have been grounding alot of shots out to the right. The ball doesn't come up more that 5 feet off of the ground. After impact the ball just squirts out low and right, rolls maybe 30 yards. Its a round killer of a miss.

 

I think is a weight shift problem or a tight grip problem, but I am having trouble identifying the issue.

 

Any thoughts?

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Sorry to disagree with you here shambles but I'm going to - touring pros don't try to hole every shot and there's a reason why - Pins don't often or always reside in the middle of the green - they are normally tucked on one side or another, near some sort of trouble or another - Even at 100 yards it's pretty rare that I'll go directly at a pin - I'm normally looking to put it in a position to leave a makeable putt - I like 100 - great number for me as are 85 and 70 - those are my prefered numbers to lay up to.

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Quick question, as I believe I stumbled onto something while mowing my grass (weird, I know). As I was riding around in the heat, cutting grass, I started thinking about how poorly I've been driving the ball as of late (my last round, I teed off primarily with my 13* 3 wood on every hole save the par 5's and 1 par 4). I outdrove my cousin, who's going to college on a golf scholly on most holes even doing this, as I can murder this 3 wood, and we're normally side by side on our drives. But I couldn't hit my driver a reliable direction.

 

Anyway, as I was riding around, I began thinking what could be causing my troubles. I mentally went through my setup, and swing and couldn't think of anything. After mowing, I came in and showered. It began raining, so I was still thinking about it. After the rain (thankful for it, it's been 100+ for a week here), I went outside with my driver and went through everything. I found that my shoulders were aligned about well right of my target (right handed golfer). I opened them up to a comfortable position and took some swings. It felt better. So I went and got a few balls out of my practice bag and hit them out through the pasture behind my house. Every one produced a nice booming draw that was close to the 5 yard draw I used to play.

 

So, my question for the pro is, where should one's shoulders align in relation to the hips and feet? Same line, slightly open or slightly closed? I felt with mine opened to around 5 yards left of my target felt the best for me, and allowed me to feel like my shoulders were clearing on the backswing and were free and cleared easily on the downswing.

 

So where should the shoulders point?

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You guys are great - keep the questions coming!

 

@Knappbuilders I understand that you are frustrated with your mid-irons. How are your shorter irons? If you hit those just fine then take your mid-irons out and leave them in the garage.

 

Seriously though - the two points that you brought up are valid. Tension is actually the #1 cause of bad golf shots in amateur players, so focus on using your big muscles to swing the club instead of using your small ones to hit the ball.

 

Weight shift is also an important element in the golf swing, so if you're having trouble with that you can try hitting a few shots where you actually step through toward the target with your trail leg to ensure you are getting a complete transfer of your weight.

 

Oh, and all that stuff I just said doesn't mean anything unless you spend at least 75% of your practice time on putting and short game wink.gif.

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@RookieBlue7 it's amazing what kind of revelations you can have when you are cruising around on some grass, isn't it?

 

First of all, if you are using a Tour Spoon to hit it by your cousin who is about to be paid to play college golf I don't think we have a problem at all. My honest recommendation would be to put your driver up for sale on E-bay and start working on your putting until you go blue in the face. I like low scores better than big drives.

 

However, your question about shoulder position is a fantastic one so I will address it anyways. I've found that for the most part golfers shoulders naturally fall fairly parallel to their feet (and within PGA TOUR averages) when they address the ball. That being said, I'm an outlier. When I hop on the 3-D motion capture it's easy to see that my shoulders sit wide open when I address the ball naturally. This makes it difficult for me to make a nice shoulder turn on the way back, and it (combined with my left leg being about 1.5" longer than my right) often results in me going into back bend (reverse spine angle).

 

The key is that you position your upper body to be able to rotate around your spine efficiently. This usually means that your shoulders are right about parallel with your feet and the target line, but it differs a bit from individual to individual. If your shoulders are too open or closed you will often tilt instead of rotating. Do some shoulder swings in front of the mirror and see if this seems to be what is going on in your case, and let me know. Also keep an eye on your hip position - if your trail hip is higher than your lead hip at address you're going to have the same problem.

 

Keep up the good work! biggrin.gif

 

 

 

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Very interesting -

 

Often times I'll notice that friends who are having trouble with direction have their shoulders aligned open or closed to their feet.

 

I've long believed that you can play with your shoulders a bit open but that it is nearly impossible to do so with your shoulders closed. Any thoughts?

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I've long believed that you can play with your shoulders a bit open but that it is nearly impossible to do so with your shoulders closed. Any thoughts?

 

Why is that? I thought having a closed alignment would be easier to draw the ball.

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@R.P. Jacobs II my apologies for not getting back to you sooner!

 

As far as I know Smash Factor is not limited by the USGA or R&A. It is simply a measure of how well you hit the ball. I know instructors who work with elite players and have seen smash factors of 1.53 or 1.54 on Trackman more than once!

 

What is limited, however, is the Coefficient of Restitution (COR). This is basically a measure of how springy the clubface is when it is impacted by a golf ball. Golf's governing bodies have placed a limit on COR of 0.83 and most manufacturers have spec'd their clubheads out so they are right up to the limit.

 

Hope this helps answer your question- let me know if you're looking for something different! cool.gif

 

 

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@ Steve - It's probably my bias - both Nicklaus and Trevino whom I grew up watching play had open stances as does Freddy Couples - it really was a question is it better to play from an open stance than a closed stance - again strictly from my limited experience guys who play with close stances seem to be very subject to coming over the top on their shots.

 

There are multiple ways to hit fades and draws - Once you understand how to do it you can use the stance method but ultimately you have to undertand that a draw occurs by getting the ball to spin towards the left on its axis (for a righty). I stand square to the target and hit a small draw - I suppose that means that I hit a push draw. Whatever it works and is very repeatable. I do open my stance just a bit to hit a fade/slice but again my bigger concern is getting the ball to start on the proper line with that right axis turn spin - getting it to curve is easy - getting it to curve the proper amount is the trick.

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Sorry to disagree with you here shambles but I'm going to - touring pros don't try to hole every shot and there's a reason why - Pins don't often or always reside in the middle of the green - they are normally tucked on one side or another, near some sort of trouble or another - Even at 100 yards it's pretty rare that I'll go directly at a pin - I'm normally looking to put it in a position to leave a makeable putt - I like 100 - great number for me as are 85 and 70 - those are my prefered numbers to lay up to.

 

Trying to hole out from a hundred or more yards does not necessarily mean shooting directly at the pin. More often, it makes better sense to allow for the roll out and letting the ball go to the hole, thus your target landing is not the pin, but a part of the green that will let the ball go to the hole, or as close to it as possible. Check out Tiger's shot into the 18th green recently. That was not an accident, but it was an instance of correct thinking.

 

 

Shambles

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Trying to hole out from a hundred or more yards does not necessarily mean shooting directly at the pin. More often, it makes better sense to allow for the roll out and letting the ball go to the hole, thus your target landing is not the pin, but a part of the green that will let the ball go to the hole, or as close to it as possible. Check out Tiger's shot into the 18th green recently. That was not an accident, but it was an instance of correct thinking.

 

 

Shambles

 

And unless I'm mistaken none of us are Tiger or anyone else on tour - Often times they have lines of approach that are far different because they put more spin on the ball - at least than I do. That's the advantage to spin.

 

I can't agree with the blanket statement that tells an amateur golfer to fire away at the pin all the time - you have to know your tendancies and play to the closest safest spot, occasionally that is the area around the pin and when it is we have a green light. Also one hopes that the spot gets closer to the pin the closer you get to the green but as we know that's not always the case. :angry:

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