As my swing changes, what should I focus on?

Ooophka

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For the past 4 months I have changed my swing considerably. I started with a swing that was all arms with very little hip turn and follow through. I have been working with a coach and she and I have planned out where we want my swing to eventually get to. We both agreed I am about 50-60 percent there. My takeaway is really good. I still lead with my arms a bit on the transition down but the takeaway has really helped get my lower body more involved. I am playing about twice a week and practicing 1-2 times a week as well. When I am practicing, I feel a lot better with my swing development. When I am on the course, its a whole other matter. I have seen my scores improve (from 100+ to 86-93 depending on the day/course) but my scores are no where near consistent. I find I go a few weeks of hitting personal bests and then another 2 weeks of everything just kind of falling apart. Over the last 2 months I have been working at registering a handicap. That started out as just curiosity but it has turned into more of an obsession. When I don't score well, all I can think about is how I'm not keeping up with the handicap or the trajectory of getting better. So my question is this, as different as my old swing is to the current one, the current one will be different to the final product (whenever that is, who knows?) but in the meantime, when I am on the course, what should I be focusing on? Should I worry about my scores or should I not be keeping score at all? Should I just be concerned with contact and keeping the swing consistent or try new things on the course to challenge myself? I am a very goal oriented person so having a few things to focus on would be very, very helpful...as long as they are the right things that will get me to be the player I know I can be.

Thanks to anyone who will take time to answer my questions.
 

rollin

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great question. I have (via many lessons) rebuilt my swing basically from ground up. Honestly been going on for over 2 years. What can i say about that.....Im just not one the lucky ones in which this game came/comes somewhat easier for. So while Im still trying to engrain the changes for a long time now I understand exactly what your asking.

Imo id firstly say that challenging yourself while the swing changes are still a new process and far from yet engrained is probably a bad idea. I mean how can you challenge yourself while the swing itself is not yet consistent repeatable. I'd just keep working the swing until its much more engrained. It seems the swing changes are something your committed to so why not keep working it till it begins to grove a bit more and feel better.

One the things I find with swing changes is that it feels bad and even can be tiring to change how the body and muscles are use to moving to now move differently. At first any the swing changes Ive made all felt hard to do physically (at first). Almost like a workout in a way fighting the old way vs a new way. I still to this day (when at the range) swing the club in sections and then fully without a ball probably more than I do with a ball. I try to grove and engrain the swing. basically I don't work on hitting the ball so much as I actually work on grooving the swing. Then I place balls and hit almost sort of in between the work. of course as time passes I now hit many more balls but still work the swing in between.

Hope that helps.
 

WMac19

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My advice would be to treat score more as a representation of the ebb and flow of the game. The primary key is to stay the path of improvement by just trying to execute shots properly as practiced.

As we all are, you're well aware that there's no straight line to improvement. You've made fantastic strides, regardless of any swings in your recent scoring. Truly fantastic.

When I was shooting in your range what I used to do was identify what I could reasonably expect my best to be. Then I'd identify what the highest satisfactory score would be, one where I'd still leave the course with a bounce in my step. Then I'd identify my ceiling, the Voldemort number, one that shall not be exceeded.

On the 1st tee, the hope is always for our best round ever but as the round progressed I'd battle myself, as if playing against a version of my own self, to stay within the allotted parameters identified earlier.

Once my best possible may be rendered moot, I'd target the next and so on. If struggling, I'd battle mightily to avoid Voldemort at all costs.

But even saying this, it's a secondary game I'd play as I tried so very hard to stay in the moment and to just execute shots.

I constantly reminded myself that once the ball left the clubface, I had absolutely no control of the result. So I concentrated on what I could control. And that was club selection, course management, clearing my mind, pre-shot routine and focusing solely on the shot at hand, results be damned.

As an aside, I'm now trending to 2.1 but it was only a couple of weeks ago when I shot 10+ strokes over my average. Should've been much worse, I simply couldn't right the ship and Voldemort was breathing down my neck.

Ebb and flow, the numbers are a great guage so long as you treat it more with the recommended longer term patience as with a mutual fund rather than the potential volatility of an individual stock.

Stay the course, you're doing great.
 

tahoebum

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My advice is pay attention to the basics. Grip, posture, ball position, alignment, and tempo. When I’m not striking it well it is almost always one of those 5 things.
 

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tahoebum;n8877844 said:
My advice is pay attention to the basics. Grip, posture, ball position, alignment, and tempo. When I’m not striking it well it is almost always one of those 5 things.
This is phenomenal advice. Went and got a lesson tuesday, had been hitting the ball terribly, even for my standards. Posture and tempo were the culprits. Coach said that the reason most people are bad at golf is because they don't put in the work on the basics so they are making compensations from the start of the swing.
 

Turtlerancher

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I'm on the same journey as you having started a short time ago and found that just focusing on good, consistent contact does wonders. If you do that, and not worry about scoring, you should find your scores dropping as a result of grooving your swing and making quality contact. I went from shooting high 90s and over 100 to low 90s mid 80s this season just by finding a repeatable, predictable swing and not worrying about what I scored.
Changes are for ranges as my BIL says.
 

Ooophka

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Thanks for the replies. one thing I have found, beyond the topic of this thread, is how valuable finding the right coach is. Before I found my current one I went to another person. he was great but he didn't seem to understand my ultimate goal. He was more interested in using my old swing, then make a few subtle changes to make it work. So instead of starting from the basics he would have me move my grip a bit stronger move the ball a bit forward in my stance and swing the club more outside. While these helped there was a limit to how consistent I could get because I had obvious flaws in my swing that a grip change just couldn't fix. When I went to my current coach, she told me upfront that I was going to get worse because she had to breakdown every part of my swing from start to finish. But if I worked at it, it would get better. And she was right. For the first time in my life, I was practicing at the range on Monday, and unsolicited, someone came up to me and told me I had a nice swing. I almost dropped my club and hugged the guy!

Now, I do not mean to speak poorly of the first person who gave me lessons. His method would have gotten me there to break 90 and that was my ceiling. But my new coach wants me breaking 80 and is willing to put in the work WITH me to get me there.

On a side note. I got to use the same sponge underneath my right armpit that Nick Watney used in order get the feeling of keeping my arms connected on the back swing. After typing that, I realize now just how gross that sounds.
 

mancest

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Ooophka;n8877900 said:
Thanks for the replies. one thing I have found, beyond the topic of this thread, is how valuable finding the right coach is. Before I found my current one I went to another person. he was great but he didn't seem to understand my ultimate goal. He was more interested in using my old swing, then make a few subtle changes to make it work. So instead of starting from the basics he would have me move my grip a bit stronger move the ball a bit forward in my stance and swing the club more outside. While these helped there was a limit to how consistent I could get because I had obvious flaws in my swing that a grip change just couldn't fix. When I went to my current coach, she told me upfront that I was going to get worse because she had to breakdown every part of my swing from start to finish. But if I worked at it, it would get better. And she was right. For the first time in my life, I was practicing at the range on Monday, and unsolicited, someone came up to me and told me I had a nice swing. I almost dropped my club and hugged the guy!

Now, I do not mean to speak poorly of the first person who gave me lessons. His method would have gotten me there to break 90 and that was my ceiling. But my new coach wants me breaking 80 and is willing to put in the work WITH me to get me there.
I had a pretty similar path, worked with a guy for a couple years and I never really improved long term. 2 steps forward 1 15/16 steps back. The guy I am currently working with is helping to push me into better set up and backswing and that is going to take some work to get where I want to and there will be struggles along the way but long term I think it will get me to build a better swing.
 

FreddieMac

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tahoebum;n8877844 said:
My advice is pay attention to the basics. Grip, posture, ball position, alignment, and tempo. When I’m not striking it well it is almost always one of those 5 things.

I agree with this, I am just learning how much tempo can affect my ability to hit it where I want.
 

HappyMcGavin

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Going through the same OP. Having got back into golf this year I decided to completely change my swing, which could get me round a golf course in around 90, but was an over the top action that produced weak shots.
It's amazing as you try new things, they seem to work for a while, then don't.
When playing I don't really care about the score, at least not yet. I just try and make good contact and have a single swing thought in my head for that round (as it happens its the same one every round for the last 2 months because it's working - DON'T release the club at all).
Golf is hard, but it can also be depressing and unenjoyable if you worry too much about scores before you are consistently striking the ball to the point where a bad shot is still ok.
If you really do want to keep score, I'd score as Stableford, not strokes. That way the blow up holes don't mean as much.
 

NullNomad

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I may be WAY off base on this, but I would focus on having fun above all.
 

Turtlerancher

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NullNomad;n8877982 said:
I may be WAY off base on this, but I would focus on having fun above all.
That's hitting the nail with a big ol' hammer there! Have fun and enjoy this crazy game!
 

rollin

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tahoebum;n8877844 said:
My advice is pay attention to the basics. Grip, posture, ball position, alignment, and tempo. When I’m not striking it well it is almost always one of those 5 things.
I agree a lot here.

The first four of these is what (via my very many instruction) is called a foundation or platform from which to work from. They are something that should be (firstly) done correctly, and (secondly) done the same repeatable way every time for every "basic" swing we take. Without a steady, and proper, and most importantly repeatable foundation or platform from which to work from we don't stand a chance for consistency. If the foundation varies or better said is not solid (but wobbly) then the swing we try to take from that foundation wont be consistent.

But that said there is still the swing itself and of course the next thing is tempo. Without tempo mechanics break down even with a solid foundation. But then the swing itself has a lot of factors. Swing path, face angle, timing (not necessarily tempo yet sort of) but timing of the hands release.

Those are the things of which even with a solid repeatable foundation and a good tempo that so many of us cant repeat but only so much of. We need to have the solid foundation to begin with in order to have a real chance at repeating our correct swing but it doesn't at all guarantee it. That imo is the difference between many low and high cappers. Engraining the proper swing factors That part itself simply comes easier or harder for each person. And for me personally is a battle for years. This is at least my story fwiw. But yea I agree it begins with the things you mention. A good repeatable foundation.
 

Ooophka

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It’s also kind of inspiring when you sees stuff like this hanging on the wall (humble brag...sure...but still pretty damn cool.)
 

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rlefig

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All great stuff and similar story. Been trying to redo my whole swing over from all arms and little turn with much better shoulder turn and hip movement. Working with a coach as well. And while the scores don't always reflect progress (because my putting might stink that day, or I am in a bunch of traps) I do know the swing and shots are getting better. I am much more confident out there and usually more consistent. Just have to keep working at it and get it to those lower 80's. Then see where we go after that.
 

Ooophka

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I am not sure if this is considered progress but, before I started lessons I was fitted for a set of P790s. Shaft was stiff Dynamic Golds, +.5 inch, lie of 2 up. Last week, I was screwing around with the T-100s and did some fitting/swing testing. Shafts remain stiff but my lie has moved from +2 up to 1-flat and going back to a standard length worked best too. Talk about some serious changes to the swing where i'm delivering the club 3 lower than I was just 9 months ago.
 

DG_1234

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For the past 4 months I have changed my swing considerably. I started with a swing that was all arms with very little hip turn and follow through. I have been working with a coach and she and I have planned out where we want my swing to eventually get to. We both agreed I am about 50-60 percent there. My takeaway is really good. I still lead with my arms a bit on the transition down but the takeaway has really helped get my lower body more involved. I am playing about twice a week and practicing 1-2 times a week as well. When I am practicing, I feel a lot better with my swing development.
Keep taking lessons from her and practice more often. Comparing practice range sessions and playing, time spent practicing will be more productive than playing.
You are working on developing a swing, so when you do play a golf course, forget about score. Since you are "goal oriented" your goal can be hitting fairways from the tee boxes.
Once you start hitting more fairways, your next goal can become hitting greens.
 

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