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Stryker

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If it makes you feel any better, I am in Wisconsin and it's 2 degrees right now. Tomorrow we have a daytime high of a whopping 12!
It is definitely not fun. There was a place with some indoor sim bats but evidently they went out of business.
 

Stryker

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After weeks of bad weather we finally got a nice day for a lesson. This was interesting because I go through phases where I hit the driver extremely well and then it suddenly goes bad. I was just finishing warming up when the pro showed up on the range. He watched me hit some irons, I think I had a 6 in my hand, and was pleased with what he was seeing. My go to shot right now is a pretty little fade. Ball striking and distance are at an all time high for sure.


We worked on flighting the ball down and shot shaping for awhile. That is getting better but will be something I need to practice a bit more to do on demand concurrently and comfortably.

We talked about the driver. I told him I really can’t tell him what the problem is right now as it has never, and I mean NEVER, been this bad. Normally I have an idea of where the issue is and we can work on it but I swear if you watched me hit irons you would think I was a low handicap but if you watched me with the driver you would swear it was a totally different person who has never picked up a golf club. I am not exaggerating in the least either. My pro could not believe what he was seeing. Neither of us can understand why irons are so good but driver is so bad. Even my 3W is pretty good right now but for some reason I have no feel for a driver at all. The only thing I can say is everything about a driver feels awkward and wrong right now and I am totally lost on what to do.

Because we were running out of time and it is not going to be something easily fixed, we decided to wait until next time to work on it. I may slip in another lesson early next week just to figure it out. For right now, it is not even going to be in the bag. I am supposed to play with a buddy tomorrow and I refuse to even make an attempt to swing it. It is going to be 4u or 2u off the tee all day unless I feel I have to hit the 3W.

This might actually be a good thing though as bad as it is. I know that sounds weird but I finally feel like I have made some amazing and repeatable progress with irons. I can go out and hit good irons all day consistently and consistency was always my biggest problem. I can of course learn some flighting and shot shaping to take it a step further and will work on some of that. But, as I said before, I have always gone through hot and cold periods with the driver. I feel like now we can stop focusing so much on irons for a bit and as awful as driver is right now we can instead start from scratch and build that to a consistent swing as well.
 

Stryker

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Been a bit since the last update. I have been quite busy with a lot going on between work, kids, wife, etc. I have had 2 lessons since the last update. The first focused on flighting down the ball. Mostly trying to hit a flighted down draw and punch type shots. That one was a bit difficult for me as I am much more comfortable hitting a small fade with my irons. Lets just say after the lesson, there was a lot of practice still needed on these shots for me. It is difficult not to get steep with the ball further back in the stance and I tend to revert back to a bad habit of leaning towards my right side in the down swing to try and shallow it out.

I played a round last week where the driver was great. I mean I could not miss a fairway and I was hitting it really deep. This all came to a nasty end on the 12 hole. I have no idea why but I suddenly felt like I could not release the driver and was just weakly dragging the handle through the swing. This of course resulted in really high and short drives. I was still hitting fairways just not like I had been. From the 12th tee on I only hit one solid drive and that happened to be the only tee shot all day that missed the fairway and even that one was only about 1 foot left of the fairway and still in a great spot. This has repeatedly been the most inconsistent part of my game. It is also something we have not worked on at all. With that in mind, I told my pro we have to switch focus to driver for a bit until I can build a consistent swing there I am confident with because I feel like that is going to be the key to be shooting consistent scores where I should be scoring at this point. While my irons were not great that day, it was a bit on the colder side and the air was really damp and heavy which I think affected it quite a bit more then usual, my short game including my putting is at an all time high and just keeps getting better and better. Just being in a good spot in the fairway allowed me to still shoot a decent score even though conditions were not allowing me to perform to my norm with irons.

Yesterday was supposed to be the start of work on the driver. When I arrived, they were unfortunately a bit short handed at the course. Normally, my lessons run much longer then the typical 30-45 minutes but I knew that would not be the case yesterday. I went up to the range to get loose since I was there early anyway. I started as I always do with some partial wedges and working my way up and all was pretty good. I decided to work on those flighted draw shots a bit since the pro was not up there yet and something clicked and I was really hitting some beautiful little low flighted push draws right at the flag I was using on the range. I realized what I was doing different and thought to myself I could do the same with my full swing where I have always struggled to hit a draw on demand and sure enough started hitting draw after draw with full swings. It was about that time the pro showed up on the range and immediately asked me where the heck that draw was coming from all of a sudden. We talked about what I had been working on and I hit some of the flighted draws and full swing draws on command for him.

Now I have always know I have this habit at the top of my backswing to raise my hands a bit. I have no idea why I do this I just always have and all it really does is make the club steeper. We started in on a few drills to try and stop that habit and get a better load on the shaft. Basically the same drill just done a couple different ways. I would stand with my feet together or almost together to be more accurate with about an inch or so between them and take a back swing. Halfway through the back swing I would start to step out a bit with my left foot to the left side and get an early start on transition to complete the swing. I did this with the club just in my right hand to start and then both hands. This is an exaggerated feel drill but makes for a much smoother transition which has never been the highlight of my golf swing. Again, it is a work in progress as it did help quite a bit in smoothing out my transition but I find trying to do it that I don't always make a full backswing. From video, we could definitely see the shaft was loading much better then it has in the past though. Just something I have to continue to work on.

We actually ran out of time at that point without ever having touched a driver which was what our original plan was and I did mention that to the pro. He told me he felt like I would be fine with the driver and just go hit some drives and let him know if there was still an issue. Yeah....... that did not got too well. I have no idea why but I just don't feel like I can release the driver and I have no power in the swing at all. Everything is sky high and short. For the most part it was hard....... HARD left miss too. I can stand there and take a practice swing and feel fine but I can not do it with a ball there for some reason. I honestly think it is all mental but I can not fix it until we work on it and I can get the confidence I need to make it consistent which again has been my main struggle. He wanted to get together again today to focus more on that since our time got limited yesterday but I don't think the weather is going to allow that. Maybe tomorrow.

I worked and practiced hard with my irons to get my confidence and ball striking where I need it to be but in doing so we just have not put in any work on the driver or anything else at all. I am confident I can continue to hit my irons well and even improve on them but I also know how much time and effort went in to getting to that point. I am truly feeling like the same has to be done with driver now being the focus. My honest assessment of my game is that currently driver is key to unlocking the consistency I have been looking for now that irons have gotten so much better. Yes I could definitely use a bit of work on fairways as well but to be honest it is really rare I even consider hitting a fairway as I just don't find myself in a place where I need very often at all and most of the time when I do it is a par 5 and laying up would be the better decision and that is what I do. While I did say my short game and putting are at an all time high, there is always room for improvement in that area. It is solid enough right now though that I just don't feel the need to make that the focus right now. After some work on driver, I do think that will be the next area to focus on. Even though I have gained a lot of confidence and the ability to hit some different types of shots in the short game I never had before, I know I can dial it in and make it even better. I also feel like there is a splash/pitch type shot I could use often inside 100 yards with varying clubs that would be more effective then a partial wedge at times. That is a shot I have hit before but not consistently. It is one I basically have a slightly more narrow stance with the ball a tiny bit more forward in the stance. I basically can take the club with a fairly full smooth swing and throw the bounce in to the ground to pop the ball up nice and high and have it drop soft. I definitely want that option more consistently and will plan to work more on that later as well.

Putting I just need to keep doing what I am doing. The changes I made to how I grip the putter and my actual stroke have just been incredible. I have also started taking more time to line up my putts then I used to do which obviously has its benefits. Mostly before I just didn't really care all that much because by the time I got to the green I would be so frustrated with either my driver, irons, short game, or all of the above. I literally would glance at it and make a stroke more often then not. Now I did still make a lot of putts that way but I am definitely making more and better putts now.
 

Stryker

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Today was finally driver day. I knew it was going to be a lot of work as I have never really focused on working on it with a pro to help outside of an old pro I used to use who is a great guy but doesn't really teach in a way that works for me. Some history here, driver for me is hit or miss. There are days I will hit almost every fairway and drop bombs all over the course. There are days where I hit it sky high and short. Then there are days where no matter what I can't keep it in play. This of course is the biggest reason for inconsistent scoring for me. I knew it was going to be a good representation of a bad day before I ever got to the course this morning as it has been trending that way and of course it was really bad. I knew what a lot of the issues were but not how to fix them because every time I had tried the whole thing felt so awful I couldn't stand it and it made it worse.

To start, set up has always been a thing that I have struggled with throughout the bag. My irons are finally getting in a place where I feel good and pretty consistent with set up so I knew there would be some issues there. It wasn't horrible by any means but my right elbow was overly straight to the point of almost being locked so we put very slight bend in it and got it to relax more. The only other thing we did was very slightly strengthen my right hand only. That was interesting because a while back we did the exact opposite with my irons and I guess it just translated over.

The swing...... oh good grief the swing. Takeaway was way too much inside which I pretty much already knew but struggled to find a feeling to fix it. We got that squared away pretty well easily though. I also knew, because before we worked so hard on my irons they were the same, I had a tendency to lower my head about 4 inches during the backswing which helped create the falling back on my right foot I often experience because of course my hand eye coordination is extremely good and my brain knew I would hit the ground otherwise. That pretty much fixed itself though with the changes we made to set up and takeaway. I was steep at the top which again I knew was going to be an issue as it was also an issue when we started working with irons. I was doing the same thing I was with irons pushing my hands even higher and steeper at the top too. We worked on getting my wrist set better with more flexion to flatten it out and not be so steep which wasn't extremely difficult to make it change for the better.

The tricky part for me is the rest of the swing from there. I am not exactly small as though here who have met me can attest but I am quick and athletic. The problem is most of my size is of course in my core which makes it really hard to get my elbow to clear well and come more from the inside. This is why hitting draws with full swings no matter the club is a much bigger challenge for me the hitting little fades. I always feel like my elbow gets trapped there and I am not sure there is much I can do about that other then to continue to lose weight. I am down about 10 lbs or so already this year. My other issue is I always feel like the club face is wide open when I am set at the top. It is not but I struggle to feel like it is not and it leads to me doing weird things in the downswing. I did finally manage to start to develop a good feel of getting the back of my left hand pointed down towards the ground coming through but it is going to be a while before I am completely comfortable with it. All in all though I adjust pretty quickly and because I do trust my pro even though something may feel horrible I am able to make big strides pretty fast.

At the end of the session I was starting to hit much better shots but I was also pretty short just from trying to get the feels down and not swinging full speed. I stayed on the range working on it a bit after the lesson and picking up speed as I went and could see a big difference. Heck I even hit a few left which I was not expecting. The big right turn is mostly gone and I started seeing more of what I wanted to see which for me is a nice mild fade. Liberty University practices and plays at my home course and those guys were out there while I was doing the lesson and a few of them came by afterwards as I was hitting balls and made me feel pretty good with some of the comments. The plan of course is the same as it was working with irons for the last couple months. Lots of range time and hard work setting in good habits and feels and growing on that with another lesson in a couple weeks to follow up and fine tune more. I actually started feeling like I might pick up some distance in the end as well and I am not a short hitter by any means so I am pretty excited about that.

I knew when we got to driver it was going to be a hot mess as it has been this way for so long without any real focus on fixing it so I know it can only continue to get better and more consistent. With my putting improving and my irons getting better and better all the time I can already feel and see some progress. Now once the driver starts following suit I can turn more attention to wedges and short game.
 

Stryker

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A couple days ago I was at the range hitting balls and my pro’s dad showed up. He is a super guy and used to play on the pga tour. He is technically the head of golf instruction at the course but charges around $150 for a 30 minute lesson.

I was telling him I am just not getting a good start with the ball when I hit a draw and end up missing left. He told me to hit a few and then started working with me on path. He occasionally does stop and give small advice for 5 minutes or so to members of the club but he worked with me for at least 20 minutes and never charged me a dime. We made a bit of a correction in my transition to get the club in the slot better and a bit more shallow. Next thing you know I am swinging with less effort but compressing the ball so well O am not losing distance. I am also getting that beautiful push draw I was looking for.

He was a bit shocked I was able to make the changes that quickly. Now I am not saying every swing was perfect but it was a huge improvement. I take instruction well though.

I never hit the driver that day. One thing I have never been able to do is hit a nice draw with the driver. I played the next day in some pretty ferocious wind with a friend and first tee shot I start my drive up the right side and draw it dead center fairway. My friend gave me a funny look and commented how he has never seen that from me before. We finished the front 9 with me only missing 2 fairways, both just bad swings from me, but every other fairway was dead center with a perfect little draw.

I went back to the range today because I was not performing g as well with irons that day and wanted to work on it. It was probably the best range session with irons I have ever had. My tempo was great, it all felt effortless, and I was hitting that little push draw so repetitively that it was almost boring.

I did not get to driver until I had hit a ton of balls. My new driver showed up yesterday but when I got there today for some reason it was shipped with the grip uninstalled in the box. The pro shop installed it but I wanted to give it plenty time to dry so just spent a long session on irons before trying it.

The swing weight and shaft weight are both much lighter then what I have been playing and I am trying to get used to that. However, when I did my part that beautiful draw was on full display.

I feel like a few more weeks and I could see a huge difference in my game overall. My short game is improving on its own without any lessons on that yet and my putting has been quite good. Solidifying the consistency with the driver and irons will be key. My bad holes are almost always the result of one or the other giving me an issue a couple times a round and putting me in positions that I have no chance of recovering from.
 

AnthonyC

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Get it! Great thread.
 

Stryker

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So I have not had a lesson for a bit. I had the kidney stone last week and for the last several I have been busy or my shoulder has been bothering me so I have not played or practiced a lot either. I did play Friday with a cousin who I have not seen in about 2 years and that was for a round of golf. I was pretty happy when he started commenting about how good my game looked. I felt bad though as his was terrible and I destroyed him on the scorecard.

I played well enough that day, especially early to be right around where I expect my handicap to be. I honestly did not putt great to start the round but was crushing drives and hitting a lot of fairways and greens. The 5th hole was a driveable par 4. I hit a smooth little baby fade with the ball landing dead center on the front of the green with a right pin location. It is uphill enough you can’t really see much of the green from the tee box but we both thought it had a chance to go in the way it rolled after landing. I am 90% sure it hit the flag stick. Just from the ball rolling to the right side of the green but yet I found it more to the middle and back of the green. Pretty cool thought that it was most likely a near HIO on a par 4.

That was right about the time we caught some slower groups and my shoulder started aching a bit. I pretty much lost the ability to hit the types of drives I wanted to at that point but swapped to a driving iron and did well. All in all while not my lowest score I felt like I played a pretty solid round. I had a couple bad holes where I just had some bad luck with a lie making it neigh impossible to do what I wanted including a bunker shot that had about a six to eight in high lip a few inches behind my ball making it very difficult to even get a club to it.

I played today at a new to me course about an hour away with a friend I have been playing quite a bit with over the last year and a half although not much lately. Different kind of course but he too commented about how impressed he was with how I was hitting the ball and told me it was definitely the best he has seen me play with a driver and possibly irons. Again not my best scoring day but being unfamiliar with the course and some other challenges brought on by the course itself combined with some shoulder soreness I can’t complain at all. I even chipped one in today which made me smile as I have not done that in a while and it was a fairly regular occurrence not too long ago.

I am highly considering seeing the Ortho doc again. I had some issues with both shoulders last year. The left one first with just physical therapy and then a few months later the right with a cortisone shot. The right one still feels good but I am thinking I wish they had stuck my left with cortisone also and may go in and try to convince them to do it soon.

I have just started entering scores in for an official handicap for the first time ever but not enough rounds yet to spit one out. I do feel like it is going to fall around a 14-15 if my scores stay where they are but I also feel like when my body is fully cooperating and I am playing well I could possibly play as low as half that but those days are pretty rare still.

Hoping to get back out early next month with my pro and work on something new. I am leaning towards us doing some work on short game inside 75 yards. I am pretty solid from 75-100 but I know exactly what club and swimg I am taking for those shots. On the other hand I feel like 65 and in still needs some practice to fine tune that some more.
 

Stryker

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Really seeing some improvements in my game now. Last 3 times I have played:

Played with a friend that is a regular playing partner but had not played together since January for various reasons. By the time we get to the back 9, he randomly looks at my and says he has never seen me play so well and consistent.

Played with my cousin about a week after. Have not played with him for about 2 years. 5th hole is a short or 4 and I drive the green and the ball rolls up and bounces off the flag stick. He also comments he can not believe how much better my game is.

Played a 4 man scramble today. My wife’s employer does 4-5 every year and only employees and immediate family are allowed. I got invited to play with a group that had 2 guys I had played with last summer in one of the tournaments. We have 2-3 holes left and the main guy looks at me and says he just can not believe how much better I am playing vs the last time. I think we played my drives and approach shots at least 85% of the tournament.

I have been really busy with work lately and not able to get a lesson in but have managed to get in some range time. My pro was on the range the other day when I was practicing and asks what my handicap is currently at. Truth be told I have only entered 2 scores, just started trying to get official, and both days was having some tightness in my shoulder which affected my play. I tell him it’s roughly 14 but not enough scores yet to be official. He laughed at me and told me there was no way after watching me hit balls I should probably be at least 10 if not 6. Well maybe one day soon if I can get this shoulder feeling good for a full round.
 

Stryker

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Finally got my cortisone injection in my shoulder last Wednesday. It is steadily improving but not quite 100%. I played a round last Friday and while I could swing a driver, it was still not quite where I needed it to be on the range so I just played with a driving iron all day. It has been getting better each do though so I went ahead a scheduled a lesson for this morning as I have been putting them off with the shoulder issues. I did try one the week before I got the injection but the pro basically gave up due to limitations so we got no where fast that day. He is a cool guy though and basically said, I am not charging you anything for this waste of time with a big smile!

So today we wanted to get several things cleaned up a bit. I got there early as always and went through my usual warm up routine. I was swinging it ok but not quite my best. I did go ahead and go full steam on several drives before he got to the range and the shoulder held up nicely. One thing for sure I have always done that is kind of weird, and I have no idea why and never been able to stop it, is at the top of my backswing I do this silly thing where my hands raise up higher in transition. Really a bad move as all it really does it make everything steeper. We talked about that a bit and I told him I felt like I might need to feel like I was making a shorter swing to stop that from happening. That brought on a discussion about Joh Rahm and his swing. We started with a nice little drill where I would set up over the ball and then move my left foot only back beside my right. As I took a swing, I would step out with the left and start the downswing. We wanted to get the feel of starting the transition while only halfway through the backswing. This did seem to shorten my backswing a bit and like magic the silly hand raise was gone. I had already made some changes to an earlier transition from when I started this whole work on my swing to help load the shaft better and this just helped that even more. Am I really already starting to turn halfway through my backswing? Not really but it is just a feeling to get to stop those hands from raising and help load the shaft more.

I pick things up pretty quickly so that was just the first couple minutes of the lesson. We went on there to trying to improve my wrist positions in the downswing. While I am no where near as steep as I used to be we felt like we could make some improvements there as looking at some video it is still slightly steep and I still had a slight tendency to pull at the shaft of getting it to fall properly in to place. The biggest thing here was to feel like my wrists were turning the club head down towards the ground behind me shallowing it out. An interesting feeling but one that is magical. It only took a couple swings then next thing you know out comes the pure ball striking I always crave. Looking at some video of it, which I will post below, I absolutely adore the positions I am in through the swing. I am not sure I have ever made such a nice move. The shaft almost looks like its laid down my forearm coming through and I love it. I felt very effortless in my swing but was certainly producing plenty speed and power. In the video the only thing I wasn't crazy about was that particular swing had a slightly open club face but that is an easy fix and honestly there was not a thing at all wrong with the results of the ball flight as it just went dead straight. Had issues getting it to load right so just posted a link to it on Twitter


So afterwards we did a short little work on pitch shots. Probably like 2-3 minutes. And I went back to practicing. I went ahead and finished with driver. That is always where I need the most work. It’s typically a fade on my good swings but can get erratic. The wrist angle changes though seemed to help a ton. I walked away after hitting one that started up the right side of the range and drew back dead center at the back of the range. I don’t draw the driver except on rare occasions and even then not like that. I figured it was a good place to stop. As always, lots more work to do but really like the progress and love where I am at in that video.
 

McLovin

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that's a really solid swing, bud! keep it up.
 

Stryker

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that's a really solid swing, bud! keep it up.
Thanks bro! I am working on it. I can't get over how good that shaft looks coming down though. That probably is the best looking swing I have on video.
 

Stryker

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Went to the range yesterday with the kiddo. I honestly probably would not have gone if he wasn’t wanting to go. It was one of those low energy days where I just felt slow and tired. Evidently I was not so slow. I was hitting my 9i to a flag on the range I thought was a bit far for me to reach. After dropping multiple in a row within a couple feet each of the pin I pulled out the rangefinder. It was about 15 yards longer then I normally carry that club. Truth be told they were all purely struck which would account for some distance gains. Probably the most pure ball striking session I have had on the range. I stopped after that though. The 9i is just not a club I expect to do that with and I wanted to walk away enjoying that sound and feel.

I will have to go back this week and see if I can find that swing again. I also want to hit some drives which I did not do because I just didn’t feel up for it. I figured something out Friday during my round and took it to the range afterwards and it was great. Need to work on making both those swings more repetitive.
 

Stryker

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Reading @McLovin's thread the other day about his work on driver sounded familiar. I had to take a break from swinging it for the last month or two with my shoulder being so tight and sore. Since I picked it back up, it has been Bryson bad or worse. I was on the range Sunday with my kiddo and I think I hit one out of 30-50 balls that would have even been in play on a course. I have a lesson scheduled for tomorrow morning but had been thinking about that Sunday evening and most the day yesterday. About a year or more ago, my pro and I had been working on my posture with everything. I was much too bent over and we worked on getting me to stand up taller. In thinking about my issues over the last couple days, I realized I was really off balance, tight and stiff, could not release the club head, etc. The more I thought about it, the more I started thinking that maybe it was my posture that was the problem. My thought was I had really just gotten so upright I could not swing the club which would explain my balance and stiffness issues. Obviously the stiffness was preventing the club head from releasing.

I had a meeting this morning at 9:30 not far from the course so I went to the range after dropping the kids off at 7. They mow on Tuesday mornings evidently(I never go on Tuesday mornings so didn't know) so my time was limited before I had to leave for my meeting. I got loose with some wedge and iron hits and then moved on to try my thought on driver. Now I am not saying I hit everything perfectly but with focusing on a much better posture, I was instantly in balance, loose and fluid, and had no issues releasing the club head. Launch angles were much better as well. The only issue I seemed to have was more to do with face angles.(sound familiar @McLovin?). I did hit several really pretty draws though and I feel like I can actually give my pro something to work with in the morning instead of having to fix my setup and not get as much time on other things.
 

McLovin

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good work. sounds like your lesson will be more productive.

face angle is everything for me. i remember one lesson where we tried so hard to move path, but we couldn't do it. looking back, it's because of face. when i could square the face early, the path would move. if i left face neutral, my path pretty much stayed neutral as well.
 

Stryker

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good work. sounds like your lesson will be more productive.

face angle is everything for me. i remember one lesson where we tried so hard to move path, but we couldn't do it. looking back, it's because of face. when i could square the face early, the path would move. if i left face neutral, my path pretty much stayed neutral as well.
I find if I try to get a good angle at the top I can’t do it and be loose enough to get good path. I have to close it as I start the downswing. I hate that though because it is such a timing thing it is easy to be a little too much or too little.
 

Stryker

#NothingFeelsLikeAMizuno
Albatross 2021 Club
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Little more range time this morning. Duck Mast showed up and had me work on a couple things. Interestingly he was giving a lesson to a relative of Tom Watson this morning. That was kinda cool.

This was one of my off days with irons. Contact was good but just too much draw. Happens every now and then but I am not too worried about that. It will be back to normal by tomorrow I bet.

Driver was vastly improved today. Still a few misses but I could feel them in the swing and they were pretty rare. A lot of straight balls and a few pretty draws. Ball flight is looking better too with a much better launch angle. The lightbulb went on the other day and I finally realized why my driver has always been so hit or miss. A small setup change combined with a little wider and more outside takeaway gets me in a position where I can get it in the slot and swing it more like an iron. Completely changed my horrible path. All I really think about when I set up now is just swing it like an iron and presto the ball goes where it should. It’s been in my head for a while that doing that would lead me to hitting the ground behind the ball and I think that has been my biggest mental block issue. But because of setup that doesn’t happen and I would guess I am hitting up at impact 3-4* or so which is great.

I did have to go back to a more neutral grip though from what we did the other day because it was too closed swinging it that way with that grip.
 

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