Started with golf - looking for swing advice / really appreciate your help

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swingman123123

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Hello golfers,

I started with golf 3 months ago. I was a professional baseball player (catcher/outfielder, batting left/throwing right) 10 years ago.

I struggle with my golf swing and I tried many things. I had/have a problem with chicken wing, extension, hitting fat, hitting thin, slices, push slices, etc. (everything :D)

Here's a quick video of some of my "better swings".

it's on youtube: Hello golfers,

I started with golf 3 months ago. I was a professional baseball player (catcher/outfielder, batting left/throwing right) 10 years ago.

I struggle with my golf swing and I tried many things. I had/have a problem with chicken wing, extension, hitting fat, hitting thin, slices, push slices, etc. (everything :D)

Here's a quick youtube video of some of my "better swings".



Can you please suggest, what I should focus on?

I'd appreciate any help :)

Thank you!
 

SkidPlate

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Three main things I'd work on...
1. Shorten swing to no more than 3/4 of what you are doing now. Less even better. The mental concept of having to get the club parallel at the top is a huge learning impediment imo. In your case, your hips open way up in order to do so, making it near impossible to get your lower body leading the return swing. Notice how your right heel comes up as you start your downswing. You should be rolling off the arch. Power and accuracy are in large part contingent on your ability to change directions positively/instantaneously, not how far back you swing. The law of diminishing returns apply. Besides all that, learning is much more effective if you completely abandon any concept of trying to hit the ball far. Learning to hit pure will produce power, and it won't feel anything like you think it might.
2. Take-away is everything (after set up). You are initiating your swing with your hands, which can be done, but it's much better to move the arms and upper body as one unit in order to learn to control/power your swing with your large upper body muscles, allowing the club to swing freely at the tip of the arm triangle. One easy way to do that is just keep the butt of the club pointed at your stomach as you start your backswing; for as long as you can.
3. Keep your left arm down. You are losing connection in your lead shoulder, which makes it very hard to time your swing, and is part of the reason for the chicken wing and erratic club face angle at impact. The video below shows you how.
 

Blade Man

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Quite that lead knee. I was doing the same thing when I started. By trying to keep it still on the back swing it shortened my swing. That equaled more control and better timing. You don’t need to swing hard for the ball to go far. You need good contact. It’s something I still battle. My best strikes are smooth easy swings.
 

swingman123123

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Three main things I'd work on...
1. Shorten swing to no more than 3/4 of what you are doing now. Less even better. The mental concept of having to get the club parallel at the top is a huge learning impediment imo. In your case, your hips open way up in order to do so, making it near impossible to get your lower body leading the return swing. Notice how your right heel comes up as you start your downswing. You should be rolling off the arch. Power and accuracy are in large part contingent on your ability to change directions positively/instantaneously, not how far back you swing. The law of diminishing returns apply. Besides all that, learning is much more effective if you completely abandon any concept of trying to hit the ball far. Learning to hit pure will produce power, and it won't feel anything like you think it might.
2. Take-away is everything (after set up). You are initiating your swing with your hands, which can be done, but it's much better to move the arms and upper body as one unit in order to learn to control/power your swing with your large upper body muscles, allowing the club to swing freely at the tip of the arm triangle. One easy way to do that is just keep the butt of the club pointed at your stomach as you start your backswing; for as long as you can.
3. Keep your left arm down. You are losing connection in your lead shoulder, which makes it very hard to time your swing, and is part of the reason for the chicken wing and erratic club face angle at impact. The video below shows you how.
Hello,

I appreciate your help! I'll try that.

1) so do you mean that I should shorten the backswing, right? + try to slow down opening of the hips.
2) yeah, I'll try that too!
3) I'll try that, but it's really tough for me -- I tried almost everything to remove the chicken wing :D nothing worked yet...

Thank you!!
 

msmith740

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Check out golfcode360 and Jay Lim. As a former athlete they way he teaches and just general understanding you get will get your right, FAST. He’s great, PM me if you need more info, happy to put you in contact directly.
 

tequila4kapp

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1. Golf is hard. You are 3 months into this. It’s like a Babe Ruth all star trying to hit a Chris Sale slider.

2. I suspect you offer your baseball background as proof you are an athlete (and you are). In my experience baseball doesn’t translate to golf (hockey and tennis do), if anything it starts you at a disadvantage.

3. Most of us here are hackers who mean well. Take the advice here with a big grain of salt. Go see an instructor.
 

swingman123123

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Honestly, I mentioned baseball background, because i think it's my disadvantage - as you mentioned :) It feels like that, especially hitting the golf ball right and baseball left.
 

Blade Man

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Retraining the body for a golf swing takes a little time. One thing that helps me is slow motion swing so that I can feel the path I want to be on. Another thing that helped me is to think of the club head traveling right after impact. Of course it can’t, but the sensation keeps the arms fully extended. Do half swing to get a feel, then 3/4 swings.
 
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Acesteve

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Overall your swing looks great for someone playing for just 3 months. however as the other guys have said golf is tough and more is not always better. Your athleticism can work against you if you let it. My right hand dominance hurt me for most of my 30 years of golf.

Tommy Armour has a book originally written in the 50s in a yellow back cover that you can often get on ebay for $5. In the opening paragraph he tells of an skilled football player who walked off the practice tee after watching a 10year old girl hit straight 200 yard drives. The book provides simple and very fundamental concepts about golf that I found not intuitive from my baseball and basketball experiences. He suggests the way we hold the club (pressure points in the fingers) has a huge impact on the way we swing the club. If the grip is right, then the right arm will fold and do its part far more natural.

What I like about the book is the clear reference to what I should be doing and I read it frequently. Good self help. Take it as literally as you can. For example, he suggests you stand with knee's just starting to bend, by comparison your knees are bent alot which could lead to you lifting up in your backswing and up has to come down and this may be related to fat hits.

Enjoy the journey- think billiards not baseball. controlled speed not power.
 

Desmond

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Couple of simple things. But great for 3 months - you are missing some fundamentals.

1. Keep your head more still - wow, it is moving!

It is moving a lot on the backswing. a lot. Should move no more than an inch or so backwards. You'll notice on downswing, it does not get even close to its original position

2. Your hands are far ahead of the ball at address - far ahead - they should be slightly forward of the ball

3. You start cocking the wrists immediately - don't, be a liittle passive wiith them at start of swing.

4. Let the turn of the body pull the club back at first on the backswing until you get to a certain point. Don't use arms so much. It looks like you are feeling the clubhead on the downswing and letting the body create momentum for arms to move - good.

5. Your lead knee is okay - as long as it does not point at ball going back - but points back
 
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msmith740

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Use baseball to your advantage. It IS a lot more similar than the old guard thinks when it comes to golf. The biggest difference is spine angle. think of your baseball swing with an upright spine, then just tilt from the hips to change that and there is a great base for your golf swing. You still hit a golf ball with your lower half and your hips fire first just like baseball. It is very much the same swing, just need to keep your left arm connected to your chest.
 

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Wow, for someone playing for only 3 months your swing looks great. You already got some great tips so I could only echo those:

- Limit your backswing - less is usually more. This is one of the most common mistakes I see most amateurs make, especially women for some reason (don't shoot me, that was not meant to be sexist)
- Don't try to hit the ball too hard. Watch the guys making approach shots with irons on the PGA tour. Usually it looks like they're almost taking a half swing. I bet you'd have far better results and even hit the ball further by taking a moderate swing and focusing on tempo and contact. Let the club do the work as they say.
- Chicken wing is a killer and will lead to many of the other problems with consistency you mention. The classic "headcover in your armpit" drill works wonders for that.

You didn't mention lessons but that's the #1 thing I'd do if I was you. I started playing golf and worked for decades without lessons and all it did was ingrain terrible habits that will eventually become almost impossible to unlearn. If I could change one thing about my golfing career it would be to take lessons from day one. And not one of two but multiple series of lessons. Focus on one thing at a time and spend a few months with a pro. With what you have to build off of, you'll improve very quickly.
 

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If you are looking for a training aid to help you "feel" the difference between a baseball swing and a golf swing I would recommend a full-sized orange whip ora cousin of the orange whip.

This training aid will give you feel fo the plane of the golf swing, the need to keep the arms connected to the torso, tempo. Most importantly if you start going "over the top" it will give you a perhaps physical clue not to do that. Getting out of the plane by trying to "muscle" the club will cause the whip to be uncontrollable.

The whip also will help you feel "slinging the club, Catapault action" to develop speed especially if you grip it like you would hold a bird.

These are technicalities. As previously posted you have the basics of a good swing.

To improve your score spend significant time on and near the practice green. Reducing the amount of 3 putts by acquiring speed control and rolling the ball is essential. Then as a new golfer missing the green but being close is more probable. Learn to chip the ball with good distance control first, controlling roll out and height. Then get the direction down.

Good luck, Actually the more I practice the luckier I get. sic Gary Player.
 

TCB2010

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It looks a lot like a baseball swing and that’s tough to get out of when you’ve been doing it all your life.
Any thoughts on taking lessons? I would honestly start there so you have someone talking to you and showing you, 1 on 1.
Soooooo what’s this professional baseball thing about??? 😃
 

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Hello guys!

based on the advice you gave me I tried to reduce the head movement during the backswing and that sway move --
I think it helped to stopped hitting the ball fat and actually, it felt more natural to swing with a more straight posture!
(even in baseball, my batting stance wasn't crouched, so I really don't know what I was doing before :D - but it's definately too early to celebrate.. :))

What do you think? (5iron swing)



I think there is still some chicken wing or flipping the wrist - I need to work on that.

Tomorrow, I'll try to shorten the backswing and other things you told me!

(Regarding lessons, I'd love to take them - but there are just two instructors in my town and some guys told me that they aren't really good - so I'll see what I can do)

Thanks
 
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pattyboy21

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I played with a pro ball player in Phoenix in the early 2000's. He had a heartbreaker of a story: he was called up from the minors to pitch in the show, only to suffer a career-ending injury in the bullpen as he was warming up to enter the game. So he moved to Phoenix and started playing golf for the first time.

For a guy that just started golf, he had a great natural swing and tons of power (it looks like you do too).

I'd go work with a teaching professional and I think he would be able to get you playing well in no time. It's the athletic move that is hard to teach a new player and you've got that down cold!
 

WILDTHING

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Imho, you've got a great swing but you are 'releasing early ' (ie. uncocking your left wrist ) by active wrist torque.

You are powering your left arm in the early downswing (ie. from top of backswing to left arm horizontal) with an upper body pivot (complemented with shoulder girdle activity with a high degree of adduction of right upper arm & pitch elbow move - all good to create linear clubhead speed). But rather than continuing to use your upper body pivot to help 'swing' your left arm to release point (ie. where left arm is nearer 45-60 degrees angle with ground from a face-on view), you have stalled your pivot and allowed your right arm to actively power your downswing from left arm horizontal onwards. This means your right shoulder has stopped moving downplane (ie. stalled upper body pivot) and you are actively straightening your right arm and applying an active torque with your right wrist which will uncock your left wrist early (ie. you will lose 'lag' early and your clubhead speed will peak too soon before impact). Because your right shoulder is now further away from the ball , you have to straighten your right arm and extend right wrist (ie. flip) through impact (to prevent 'running out of right arm' by impact). A 'Flipping' clubface through impact can cause inconsistencies with ball contact and your timing will need to be very precise to square the clubface by impact.

The reason for the chicken wing is that your upper body pivot and left arm have stalled while you are still attempting to actively push the left hand/arm with your right arm/wrist/hand.

Basically your are trying to power mid/late downswing with an active wrist torque action rather than using your pivot with 'passive' wrists. You could be categorised as a 'swing-hitter' where in the early downswing you are using your pivot to power your left arm movement , but then you become a 'hitter' (active torque with wrists) for the mid-late downswing. Swing-hitting is a viable swing technique but is more difficult to time than a pure swinger who uses his pivot to 'power' his left arm from top of backswing to (at least ) release point.
 

swingman123123

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Imho, you've got a great swing but you are 'releasing early ' (ie. uncocking your left wrist ) by active wrist torque.

You are powering your left arm in the early downswing (ie. from top of backswing to left arm horizontal) with an upper body pivot (complemented with shoulder girdle activity with a high degree of adduction of right upper arm & pitch elbow move - all good to create linear clubhead speed). But rather than continuing to use your upper body pivot to help 'swing' your left arm to release point (ie. where left arm is nearer 45-60 degrees angle with ground from a face-on view), you have stalled your pivot and allowed your right arm to actively power your downswing from left arm horizontal onwards. This means your right shoulder has stopped moving downplane (ie. stalled upper body pivot) and you are actively straightening your right arm and applying an active torque with your right wrist which will uncock your left wrist early (ie. you will lose 'lag' early and your clubhead speed will peak too soon before impact). Because your right shoulder is now further away from the ball , you have to straighten your right arm and extend right wrist (ie. flip) through impact (to prevent 'running out of right arm' by impact). A 'Flipping' clubface through impact can cause inconsistencies with ball contact and your timing will need to be very precise to square the clubface by impact.

The reason for the chicken wing is that your upper body pivot and left arm have stalled while you are still attempting to actively push the left hand/arm with your right arm/wrist/hand.

Basically your are trying to power mid/late downswing with an active wrist torque action rather than using your pivot with 'passive' wrists. You could be categorised as a 'swing-hitter' where in the early downswing you are using your pivot to power your left arm movement , but then you become a 'hitter' (active torque with wrists) for the mid-late downswing. Swing-hitting is a viable swing technique but is more difficult to time than a pure swinger who uses his pivot to 'power' his left arm from top of backswing to (at least ) release point.
Thanks! Is there a drill I should focus on?
 

swingman123123

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I played with a pro ball player in Phoenix in the early 2000's. He had a heartbreaker of a story: he was called up from the minors to pitch in the show, only to suffer a career-ending injury in the bullpen as he was warming up to enter the game. So he moved to Phoenix and started playing golf for the first time.

For a guy that just started golf, he had a great natural swing and tons of power (it looks like you do too).

I'd go work with a teaching professional and I think he would be able to get you playing well in no time. It's the athletic move that is hard to teach a new player and you've got that down cold!
Thank you! :)

I'd like to take lessons, but as I mentioned, in my town there are two instructors and their reputation isn't good. But I'll figure that out somehow.

I checked a lot of youtube videos and some drills of them worked, some don't and caused pain in ribs etc. I mostly checked Clay Ballard's videos (TopSpeedGolf) and that didn't really work. Then I tried Mike Malaska's videos and I think that helped, I started to be able to stop hitting slices & topped shots. I don't know what you think about that Malaska move, but to me it makes sense - to reduce the clubhead rotation. I am not sure what's going to happen if I hire a bad instructor in my town and he is going to tell me total opposite :D
 

msmith740

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Thank you! :)

I'd like to take lessons, but as I mentioned, in my town there are two instructors and their reputation isn't good. But I'll figure that out somehow.

I checked a lot of youtube videos and some drills of them worked, some don't and caused pain in ribs etc. I mostly checked Clay Ballard's videos (TopSpeedGolf) and that didn't really work. Then I tried Mike Malaska's videos and I think that helped, I started to be able to stop hitting slices & topped shots. I don't know what you think about that Malaska move, but to me it makes sense - to reduce the clubhead rotation. I am not sure what's going to happen if I hire a bad instructor in my town and he is going to tell me total opposite :D

@swingman123123 the online platform for GolfCode360 is fantastic and will get you more than started. Much better than finding random things on youtube that will often contradict each other.
 

pattyboy21

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Thank you! :)

I'd like to take lessons, but as I mentioned, in my town there are two instructors and their reputation isn't good. But I'll figure that out somehow.

I checked a lot of youtube videos and some drills of them worked, some don't and caused pain in ribs etc. I mostly checked Clay Ballard's videos (TopSpeedGolf) and that didn't really work. Then I tried Mike Malaska's videos and I think that helped, I started to be able to stop hitting slices & topped shots. I don't know what you think about that Malaska move, but to me it makes sense - to reduce the clubhead rotation. I am not sure what's going to happen if I hire a bad instructor in my town and he is going to tell me total opposite :D
Youtube is a great resource. It kind of helps to know a bit about the mechanics of the swing so you'll be able to identify and correct faults, but I'd DAMN sure not get caught up thinking about it too much outside of practice. When you are on the course, limit your swing thoughts to a single thought if you can and then learn to PLAY golf.

You'll get it soon though because you're already a top athlete - good luck to you!
 

WILDTHING

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Thanks! Is there a drill I should focus on?
I think you need to first decide if you want to be a 'swinger' (like most PGA pros ) who power their left arm with an active pivot action , a right arm swinger (who powers the left arm mainly with his right arm - no active wrist torque) or a 'swing-hitter' where the left arm is powered by a mix of the upper body pivot, right arm straightening and active wrist torque.

A swing-hitter technique , imho, is more difficult to master than a 'swinger (active pivot)' or a right arm-swinger.

If you want to use a 'swinging' technique , then you are going to have to learn how to change your downswing hand path using passive wrists while improving your upper body pivot with the intent of accelerating your left arm through impact for several inches (with something called a 'geometrically flat' left wrist ).

Without going into 'paralysis by analysis' biomechanical details on the different 'swinging' techniques , I would give 'throwing the club to a target' drill a try (but go somewhere safe and use some old irons).

Imho, Shawn Clement is the best 'how to' swing instructor out there and he has some nice videos on how to throw clubs to a target.



I suspect that when you first attempt to throw the clubs they will go high and left if your upper body pivot stalls. Once you learn how to throw effortlessly to a target , you will then intuitively feel how the pivot can power the left arm (especially in the early downswing). It will also help you time your 'release' better without actively using wrist torque plus get your body, especially your upper body, moving 'out of the way' without stalling in the late downswing and through impact .
 

Desmond

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Malaska is good.

I'm fortunate and have an instructor for last 4 yrs and go to him occasionally now for full swing. Short game and putting - I've found what works and visit a putting instructor once every couple of years to see if anything new - I work on what my instructor and I review but even he says you've got to discover by hard work. They can't give you everything.

Occasionally, I go on youtube, look at Malaska, TXG ... looking for little things.

But I've found that once you have a basis, you look to make sure you're not getting sloppy, i.e. I'm picking up the club, tempo is too fast, I get the club too far behind me at top of swing, I don't sequence correctly from the top, don't get off back foot... sloppy. For me, when working on swing, slowing down tempo to feel what's going on helps. I also do 10 rehearsals of any move I'm trying to ingrain before I take a real swing ... and then relax.
 

M_Monty23

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Swingman,

You are way ahead of 99% of golfers 3 months in. I came from a baseball background as well and made the transition.

How does your short game look? How is your course management, aka do you have any sort of strategy getting yourself around the golf course?
 

swingman123123

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Swingman,

You are way ahead of 99% of golfers 3 months in. I came from a baseball background as well and made the transition.

How does your short game look? How is your course management, aka do you have any sort of strategy getting yourself around the golf course?
Hello!

well - regarding my course management, I don't think there is such thing yet :) I played 3 golf courses (3x 18 holes).

I am now focused on hitting the balls crisp and consistent - and I think it's going to take longer...

Regarding my short game, I mostly used my S 55 degrees wedge - for shots - 20-80m long. On the course, I was a bit afraid that I'll top the ball with the wedge full swing, so I was very cautious and used it for 1/2 swing chips... that cause the lower trajectory of the ball and a lot of rolling on the green.

I go to driving range almost every day -
Any tips of what to do there? I usually hit 100 balls.
I start with L to L drills, without the ball, then I use wedges to hit around 20 balls, then I hit some balls (50) with 7 club and then 30-40 with 5 iron...

I don't know if that is good...?

:)
Thanks!
 

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