Dhartmann34's Swing Battle and Journey....

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dhartmann34

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I was inspired to do this by @IceyShanks. I love checking in on his journey and thought it’d be fun to do something similar…especially because it makes me hold myself accountable as it's right out in the open for all to see. THP is also a nice place to keep it because I know others out there have gone through the same things and have advice and encouragement for when things get tough.



I’ve had a swing that has been….uhhhh….. a battle for a while. Somewhere between college and now things went haywire. I think it began with wanting to hit the ball longer and then continued with bad swing tweaks, dumb practice habits, trying every tip under the sun, and the inability to really embrace how much dedication it takes for a swing change of any type.


Since joining THP that at times borders on obsession/addiction, I’ve always wanted to play better, but often struggle with the fact that my game would not get better right away when I’m trying to fix things...which of course is hard because who wants to embarrass themselves when playing golf with other ‘internet golfers’ and their 350 yard drives? :)



I originally purchased a Groupon which included 2 one hour lessons, to see if I’d like Tim, a local teaching professional with a pretty good reputation. Now I’m signed up for a set of 10 lessons (12 total with the Groupon I purchased). He has a studio on the southside of Chicago, a couple of blocks west of the White Sox ball park. Pretty sweet place.


After each lesson Tim sends a video of the things we worked on, comments, and what he wants me to practice. My plan is to post each video after each lesson...and to have lessons about 3 weeks apart, giving me time to work on the things that I need to. Tim prefers me to mostly work on the drills without the club in my hand. He thinks the club and ball tend to mess things up, at least early on while getting some basics set in stone for the posture and takeaway. He thinks that if you practice the drills at home, or at the range (even this isn't ideal to him), you should just be able to swing once you get to the course and let the muscle memory take over. Obviously, it's not that easy, and he'd never make you believe it is, but in the long run, that's what we're aiming for. This makes it super tough as I love to go to the range and hit ball after ball. So far in each lesson, I think the most balls I ever hit was 10, and that was just getting loose before we started. The swing happens, the ball just gets in the way of the club path, and the shot is the result...is kinda how Tim says it. His teachings are based off of the "Tathata Golf Method" which you can find a thread on THP or of course on the internet.


I’ve gone through 3 lessons so far. I’ll be posting the videos and talking about each lesson and what I’ve learned. I've already had struggles of course and it's frustrating when it doesn't transfer over to the course, but I'll have committed to sticking with it and really making sure that I do exactly what I'm told. Otherwise, it's just a worthless venture and waste of money.

So welcome to this. If you have questions,comments or encouragement please send it all my way. I'm hoping for a fun and successful year with all of this. Let's do this!


 

dacatalyst41

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Nice! Looking forward to following along. This is the right place for it.
 

bigskyirish

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Looking forward to following along, Derek. I tend to have at least one of the same problems in that I decide from time to time that I need to hit it farther and start trying to incorporate tips to make it happen, and my swing completely falls apart every time.
 

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Lesson 1 (Feb 27th)

Side-note...I cringe every-time I watch my swing on video. It hurts a little, okay a lot, deep down inside.

So my first lesson we focused on my setup and getting to certain points during the swing. Currently, I have a concave back, which I found out is hurting my back more than helping. I come way forward, over the top and all types of bad come from there. So I was to work on rounding my spine a little bit, and getting my glutes more involved. Tim was good about incorporatingbasketball and talking about how when you take a jump shot, you're nothing thinking about each step...like okay, catch the ball, bend my knees jump, then shoot. It's all automatic and comes without even thinking about it. That resonated with me because I play ball 2-3 times each week.

You'll see he talks about getting my butt back on the 'butt line' and we wanna keep it there on the downswing. As he said, the first lesson were building blocks and I got some nice drills to work with and practice with. As this lesson was a while back, I did work relentlessly on these drills at home. While my scores did not really improve at that point, I will say I had a LOT less back pain and my posture and whatnot have changed. These drills are still in the repertoire because I'm rebuilding my swing. Many many repetitions to make it happen.

 
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Jaymo37

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Thanks for sharing! This will be a great follow!
 

dhartmann34

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Thanks man. I'm hoping it's a good outcome for me and a good follow for those that are interested. :)

Thanks for sharing! This will be a great follow!
 

Big SoIL

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Looking forward to following along man. Seems like he's helping you build a pretty solid move there and it pretty cool that he's putting it in terms that are easily understandable and click for you. Looking forward to watching your progress!
 

dhartmann34

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So here's lesson #2. (April 12th)

In this lesson we were again working on getting me into the correct setup position. Getting my glutes back onto the 'butt line' I spoke about before. Then we're working on 'drawing back a punch' which is essentially where the swing ends. I have a tendency to over-swing and it makes my swing suffer a lot. You'll see Tim talks about 'surfing the knees' which is getting me to work on the downswing and getting a little weight to my left hand side. This is tough because even working on it, I'm still over swinging...which is rough...but I'm sticking with it and hoping to get to a point where we can move forward. You can see that my setup has a more rounded back compared to my first lesson which is a positive. Still a LOT to work on to get where I want to be.

 
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dacatalyst41

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Looks like you're creating a lot of stability. I think repeatable drills build a repeatable swing and consistency. That's what I'm trying to work on now. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.
 
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Thanks for sharing - congrats on working so hard on your game. I have no doubt you will get some great results. Like you said - its not easy and can be frustrating - but then when results start showing it will be very rewarding I'm sure. Keep at it - you are inspiring us!
 

dhartmann34

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Lesson #3 (May 28th)

Here's the most recent lesson. In this lesson, we worked on pressure in my hands. I have a tendency to get to the top of my swing and let go of the club. I'm not sure how or why I developed this nasty habit, but it's there and I've got to fix it. So we worked on being at a 2 out of 10 on the pressure scale at address and 4 at the top of the back swing...and then focused on gripping it a little tighter all the way through impact. We worked on squeezing pressure and making that pressure go throughout my body. It was an interesting part of the lesson, but helped me feel the 'pressure' aspect of things. It really did help the swing look better as you can see in the video, BUT you can still see me wanting to over-swing a bit, which will take time of course. Good lesson and I left feeling VERY positive about things moving forward.

 

dhartmann34

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A little setback since my last lesson. I have been working on the drills, but I've had a lot of soreness in my right shoulder for about 3 months now, which I think has come from all of the painting I have done lately. Doc says I need to take a couple weeks off of lifting anything heavy or doing anything athletic to let my shoulder joint heal so any hitting golf balls will not be happening, nor will lifting at the gym. He did say I could continue my golf practice motions as long as I took it slow and didn't use a club. I think the pain, heat and many golf thoughts took a toll on me during my league Monday as I seemed to have developed a case of not remembering how to swing. It was full out swing, lets call them 'forgets', which was scary. My practice swing looked and felt good...and then (insert farting noise) I'm going to chalk it all up to it being 95* and compensating for the pain consuming my right shoulder. I'm going to try to play in my league match Monday (I'm somehow in first place and need to get whatever points I can, thank you putting and chipping), but nothing until then besides practicing my drills. Maybe that's a good thing? We'll see! Depending on how Monday goes, I may reschedule my next lesson which is supposed to be June 21st to give me time to heal and work on my drills more.

I think from all of this I have to say it's great to go back and watch my previous lessons. I kind of wanted to move on from them and I think that is the natural progression for anyone taking lessons, but they really do have some good stuff for myself to look back on....so this little written journey is certainly helping in that aspect.
 

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You are making nice progress as I play golf with you on most Sunday mornings. I believe you have found a coach you click with keep up the good work

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dhartmann34

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I had another lesson today. Doctor taped up my shoulder joint so that's been helping the pain a bit. I'll be posting the video and some more thoughts in the next day or two but I wanted to put a few things down before I forgot.

1. I really have to make sure to focus on my past lessons. It's really easy to forget important little bits of information which can make a world of difference.

2. Progress will not always be shown in a day or month. It takes a lot of reps to break an old habit. I'm making strides and it can certainly be seen, but old habits die hard. I hope mine die quickly... Very very quickly...

3. Stretch, stretch, stretch

4. The driving range it's not a good place for me to practice. I'm beginning to learn that repetitions without the club are very important in setting new habits.

5. A punch in golf terms should be done with your thumb up.

6. Traffic and stupid people make me very very angry....but the trip is so worth it.

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dhartmann34

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Alright, so it's been a bit longer than a few days, but I wanted to get around to posting my last lesson. I haven't been all that into practicing or playing because I'm having a
few health issues holding me back, but I am feeling a bit better today, so I'm hoping the improvements continue.

So in this lesson we're working on a few things. You'll notice some of this we have worked on before. I need reminders...lots of them from the looks of it.

1. My Setup.... We previously worked on my setup, but I got away from where i was. My back was getting more of an 'S' curve, which I worked to get rid of. I have to focus on that while doing my drills, practicing, and playing.

2. Start of the takeaway - Here I"m working to get my glutes working back towards the 'butt line'. This line is where the butt should hit on the takeaway and then stay through the swing. You can see it in my first lesson with the example of Tiger. This has been pretty difficult for me...getting that feeling of getting that glute back and keeping it there.

3. Left arm parallel - Now the left arm will never be truly parallel to the ground, but it's more to shorten my swing because I overswing and collapse which obviously shouldn't be happening. Tim calls the left arm parallel a 'punch'. Getting that arm out there, thumb position up. This is one that will help me tremendously, once I manage to make it happen on a consistent basis. I tend to let the back of my left hand point towards the sky, which sends the left thumb to the right, leading to a flat swing plane and other issues.

4. Speed Training Drills - It's all about pressure for me. I unfortunately start with a little bit of pressure in my hands and then it gets more firm as I start swinging and then at the top, all of the pressure goes away and the club drops...and well....yeah, things happen that I'm not proud of..... But the speed training has me working on putting the pressure in the different parts of my swing. Tim says that the pressure is creating muscle memory for my body and for my swing. The are done at a few different positions in the swing.

As I've said, the past week or so I haven't worked much on any of this. Just trying to get back to being healthy. But my next lesson isn't for two weeks so I plan to spend a lot of time focusing on the drills and getting the different parts working together. I knew lessons and a swing change would be difficult and this is certainly living up to it. I'm glad I'm able to swing in here and share my thoughts and whatever. Really keeps me even more motivated to make this happen.


 

dhartmann34

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Had another lesson today and worked on the driver. I unfortunately didnt get the first 15 (average 240 carry) or so swings or last 10 (average 280 carry), but these middle ones were us working on a few setup tweaks. This included closing down my hips and shoulders a little and making sure to keep a little weight on my left foot and not letting it flare out or up as I tend to do.

We didn't do anything with the swing itself yet. The setup tweaks helped getting me to a point where I'm hitting up on the ball about 1.5 degrees and swinging a tad more to the right instead of my initial -2.0 degree and swing to the left.

I can say that the difference of where I was striking the ball on the clubface, the feel, and results were incredibly different. Gaining 40 yards of carry is tremendous and Tim thinks we should be able to get the club head speed to 110+ fairly easily. Lots to go to make it where I want to be, but it's a great start.

Kicking myself for not getting pictures of the rest of those numbers, before and after.



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I'm jumping in on the follow. I'm interested in what he is teaching you here. I like seeing how different instructors approach teaching.
After lesson 4, looks like he has you heading in a good direction. Nice improvement.
 

dhartmann34

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I'm jumping in on the follow. I'm interested in what he is teaching you here. I like seeing how different instructors approach teaching.
After lesson 4, looks like he has you heading in a good direction. Nice improvement.
Thanks. I've got another video to post from today which I'll get up soon. Today was quite a fun mix of things.

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afwcardinal

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Looking forward to checking it out. Hoping to start swinging my clubs again here in a few weeks. Trying to get my head to thinking about how to swing again. Haven't hardly touched my clubs this year.
 

dhartmann34

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I'll get the lesson video up tomorrow... But I have to say the changes we worked on with my setup yesterday were showing some positive results with my driver, 4 wood and hybrid today. I was hitting shots with a better ball flights and I picked up at least 20 yards of carry with the driver. More work to do, but excited with early results.

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dhartmann34

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Still need to get the last lesson video up.... But the practice session yesterday definitely helped today. Got in 9 and hit the ball pretty solid. Bombed the two drivers I hit. Really positive stuff with the setup adjustments.


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dhartmann34

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So I've been playing a LOTof golf the past few weeks. Been trying to get in at least 9 everyday, and a few 18 hole rounds as well. Been really positive with the adjustments to the driver setup, which I have taken over to the 4 wood, hybrid and even my long irons. It's nice to be hitting the fairways, or close to and being able to hit 8 irons and less, instead of punching out of trees or having to retee because of poor tee shots. I'm not saying they don't happen, but they're far less frequent since my last lesson.

My last lesson, which was about a month ago, we worked on the setup as I haven mentioned. The real key was getting myself to be able to hit up on the ball. At the beginning of the lesson, I took about 10-12 swings and the average angle of attack was negative 2 degrees. Hitting down on the ball with woods, hybrid and the long irons makes it really tough. In reality, I needed to get it up to about 1.5 degrees positive. So we worked on my setup. I was to move the driver back about 6 inches from the ball at setup. I was then to close my shoulders off a a little bit, and tilt back a tad. While it sounds crazy, it's not as awkward looking or feeling as it may seem. In the video you'll also see Tim wants me to keep the left leg still and plant it to have something to keep me stable.

With my irons, and it carries over into the woods as well, I need to keep 'width' (essentially the 'v' of my two arms) the whole way through the swing. I tend to get to the top of the swing and then the 'v' collapses and I lose all the power in the swing and all heck breaks loose. It's been a lot of work, but I'm getting better and that's all I aim for. And while I can't really show my progress online much, I will say that my last 10 rounds have been solid and look like this (40, 75, 75, 37, 83, 38, 74, 75, 36, 40). The 83 is an outlier as I was on about 3 hours sleep and in all reality should have stayed in my bed. haha. But my handicap is trending to a 4.8 at the moment, which is better than the 6.6 it was a month ago.

I'm heading back to work this week, but I'm still going to be doing my best to keep working hard and maintain the improvements going forward.

 

dhartmann34

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This journey of mine is still going. I had a lesson back in August that was a disaster for me. It didn't click and my whole game went to shambles for a few weeks. Went from 70's to upper 80's/low 90's. Had to look back at previous lessons and go back and work on previous things to readjust. I've been much better as of late. My next lesson will come in October.

I've really been focusing on keeping width in my backswing and bringing my right arm back to the ball extended, instead of having it with a ton of lag. Lag doesn't work for me. Width and extension do.

Also been messing around with my putting a bit. Finally getting back in the groove with that as well. I feel like I have a lot of fine tuning to do with the swing, but I'm definitely in a better spot than I have been in a long while. I've been consistently hitting drives over 285, with a handful over 300 and finding the fairway with them. That excites me.

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dhartmann34

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So no recent lessons for me. I've been maintaining my practice and working on the things that have worked for me... Like the shorter swing and keeping the club head low on the takeaway to create width, and then getting the right arm back to the same position it's in at the beginning of the swing to maintain that width and square contact.

While my scores have certainly been coming down and my handicap has dropped quite a bit, there's still a lot to focus on. I can say that my driver is becoming one of the best clubs in my bag. It's extremely strange to say that because that couldn't be further from what has been over the past 5+ years, but hitting long drives in the fairway is incredible and does so much for my confidence.

I'm not sure when my next lesson will be. I've got 5 left in my package. I'm probably going to hold off until Dec/Jan as the season is ending unfortunately and I'm going to need to take some time off soon to heal up my shoulder.

But I'm really feeling positive about my game moving forward. I think good things happen if you find a teacher you connect with and if you can look at your lessons and get even more out of them than you did in the lesson itself.




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dhartmann34

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No lessons lately. Hopefully when I get back from Florida. But right now I'm working on my putting stroke. I want to be more consistent since I've been hitting more greens and fairways. I need to make sure to keep my head still and centered and follow through with my trailing hand. When I don't, I tend to open up and push it way left. Here are a few shots of my stroke from different vantage points. See anything I can work on... besides my wardrobe and thin hair?


https://youtu.be/oTXfa9oZJHQ

https://youtu.be/KxUws1M04MU

https://youtu.be/NEbQZErugqw

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