tips for overcoming 'hit impulse?

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spindrift99

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I did some searching on these forums but didn't find much. I am a textbook 'victim' of what is described here:



When the ball is there, it's like I have yip....trying to hit the ball instead of swing though. I can 'feel' that my visual/mental fixation on the ball is taking all my attention/focus, causing a quicker backswing, way too fast of a transition (I actually start my downswing before finishing my backswing, which not only makes for bad consistency but is also terrible for my back!), and I don't follow through very well. Whereas when the ball is not there, I'm actually able to focus on even 2 things (GOOD things): slow/smooth back, and then whip the club through a section of grass towards the target. (During the swing through the grass, I'm strictly focusing on the TARGET and where the club should END UP...I'm not focusing on a ball because there is no ball...obvious, right?). BTW, I would note that I have people videotaping me showing the massive difference, and yes, the swing without the ball is going through the right spot, and the club is in a good position at top and a good arc through the place where the ball 'would' be, so my setup and swing without the ball is indeed 'quality'. (as evidenced by when I get through a bunch of balls on the range as mentioned below, I can eventually stripe my shots, and a 9 iron is 135yds and very high trajectory)

I have read various tips, the most common one being 'focus on a blade of grass in front of the fall'. Sounds easy, but it's not (because I KNOW the ball is there now). So, I'm curious if anybody has had this 'hit instinct yip' and found crafty/successful ways to conquer it. Any shortcuts or 'surefire ways' to get over this hit instinct?

I read some things about focusing more on the target (and swing the club towards the target) during the swing. Is that something I should try to mentally focus on the most, and see how it goes?

I will say that when on the range, after warming up and hitting maybe 20 balls, I can ALMOST forget that the ball is there and just swing through the ball (repeating my practice swing ease/feel/whip/lag, focusing on the target and the followthrough). So maybe it's just more practice, but I'd like to practice with a purpose.

Or, maybe I can design a pair of special high tech glasses that literally block the ball out of one's vision, and replaces it with grass (half serious, that would be an awesome invention, wouldn't it? It would probably be banned in tournament play...hahhh)

thx for any tips from experience!
 
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WLG1952

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Best info I ever received was to not pay any attention to the ball. Just let it get in the way of the club head. Not sure if that's a good response to your question, but I've used it for a few decades.

Once I take my stance, other than ball position, the ball is just sitting there.......in the way of my club head's downswing, and follow through.
 

fistfullofbeer

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Same problem as yours. And I have been told what @WLG1952 and he is right on point. You need to swing through and just collect the ball than hit the ball. That being said, that thought does not work for me consistently.

One thing that has helped me is trying to focus on keeping my head behind the ball during my downswing. Since my main issue is pulls or pull hooks, that thought prevents me from coming across the ball (outside-in). Its still a work in progress and the end result is still dependent on the transition and downswing but in general I make a lot more consistent contact with that thought during the downswing/transition.

But like most people will tell you here, the feel/thought is so personal that YMMV.
 

titleist981

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I did some searching on these forums but didn't find much. I am a textbook 'victim' of what is described here:



When the ball is there, it's like I have yip....trying to hit the ball instead of swing though. I can 'feel' that my visual/mental fixation on the ball is taking all my attention/focus, causing a quicker backswing, way too fast of a transition (I actually start my downswing before finishing my backswing, which not only makes for bad consistency but is also terrible for my back!), and I don't follow through very well. Whereas when the ball is not there, I'm actually able to focus on even 2 things (GOOD things): slow/smooth back, and then whip the club through a section of grass towards the target. (During the swing through the grass, I'm strictly focusing on the TARGET and where the club should END UP...I'm not focusing on a ball because there is no ball...obvious, right?). BTW, I would note that I have people videotaping me showing the massive difference, and yes, the swing without the ball is going through the right spot, and the club is in a good position at top and a good arc through the place where the ball 'would' be, so my setup and swing without the ball is indeed 'quality'. (as evidenced by when I get through a bunch of balls on the range as mentioned below, I can eventually stripe my shots, and a 9 iron is 135yds and very high trajectory)

I have read various tips, the most common one being 'focus on a blade of grass in front of the fall'. Sounds easy, but it's not (because I KNOW the ball is there now). So, I'm curious if anybody has had this 'hit instinct yip' and found crafty/successful ways to conquer it. Any shortcuts or 'surefire ways' to get over this hit instinct?

I read some things about focusing more on the target (and swing the club towards the target) during the swing. Is that something I should try to mentally focus on the most, and see how it goes?

I will say that when on the range, after warming up and hitting maybe 20 balls, I can ALMOST forget that the ball is there and just swing through the ball (repeating my practice swing ease/feel/whip/lag, focusing on the target and the followthrough). So maybe it's just more practice, but I'd like to practice with a purpose.

Or, maybe I can design a pair of special high tech glasses that literally block the ball out of one's vision, and replaces it with grass (half serious, that would be an awesome invention, wouldn't it? It would probably be banned in tournament play...hahhh)

thx for any tips from experience!
I'm working on the same thing as we speak. The hit impulse is killing my game , the old advice of "just let the ball get in the way" is the most non helpful advice i've received. I'm trying to concentrate on the front side of the swing.....best of luck to us both. Think that I'll try to swing to the target tomorrow at the range.
 

mig

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Welcome spindrift99.
Stressors can affect development in a lot of sports. Lotsa academies nowadays try and remove as many stressors as possible when learning a movement since folks can get ‘stuck’ like you are describing.

Not sure where you are in your development, but you might devote a lot of time to swinging without a ball. If, like you mentioned, a ball changes your swing, I’d take it out while you develop. Once you have practiced the movement enough introduce something that isn’t a normal ball. Maybe a tee. If the tee isn’t affecting things then add a whiffle ball. If the whiffle ball isn’t affecting things…..

The point is to engrain the movement and feel of the movement in your nervous system first, then stressors (context) are less likely to change the movement. Example- in certain archery academies in Korea the beginners spend a month or so learning to lift their arms without lifting their shoulder blades (an essential fundamental). No bow, no arrow, no stressors. once they learn to do that a bow is introduced. They have found if you start with a bow and arrow and target a lot of bad habits creep in that are really hard to extinguish later. One isn’t focused on the movement but on an outcome first.

if you are accomplished and having the problem, changing your focus can help. One technique is to change the focus. For example, having someone focus on making good sounds can help. We know what a good swing and divot sounds like. Or have the focus in what the feet are feeling or to swing with the feet. Play around and you’ll find something to take your mind off an outcome (hit ball) and more on the movement.
 

WILDTHING

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I wouldn't focus on a blade of grass but mentally picture a string of dandelions on your intended path for a few inches post impact. Your objective would be to use the edge of your clubface to cut through all the stems while also 'seeing/feeling/predicting' impact such that the ball will go over an intermediate target about 6 inches in front of your ball. The more proficient you are , the more distal your external focus can become (ie. like picturing the trajectory of the ball all the way to a distant target/flag)

You have to practice external focus until it becomes second nature but it will pay dividends in the end.
 

thewilderside

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Absolutely struggle with this myself. I have a tendency to stall out with the lower body after contact.
 

pattyboy21

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I have to fight that impulse constantly. What helps me is to focus on the transition from backswing to downswing: up top, I like to pause and "gather" everything (by gather, I mean that I move everything back in toward myself after a wide takeaway); down below, I like to feel like my weight shifts from the instep of my right foot to the outside of my left foot, and I want to start that just before the pause and gather up top. I have a little 3-syllable sound I play in my head that helps coordinate the timing of all that.
 

Bernoulli

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I remind myself quite often that it’s a golf swing not a golf hit.
 

WILDTHING

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This is one of my favourite SC videos from many years ago (it might help).

Setup matches the picture
Do some practice perpetual motion swings to your intended target
Watch the blur of the club and then 'move your machine' to address the ball predicting dynamically how the club will impact with the ball to match your picture.
Then 'just let go' and do that perpetual swing feel again 'cutting the dandelion stem' as you swing to a target (you have to trust your swing).

 

wazzubrew

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There is a book about this called "The Keys to the Effortless Golf Swing" which is all about curing hit impulses. I listened to it while driving and didn't get to golf for a few weeks after so I've mostly forgotten about what's in it, but I think there was some valuable stuff in there about this.
 

gmiller598

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This concept is the bane of my existance. I can swing freely in my yard. I get on the range or even more so on the course and I just change because I see the ball. It worst for me on the driver.
 

spindrift99

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Thx for all the feedback! Yeah, IMHO, the ‘ball is just in the way’ concept isn’t a very helpful tip of how to deal with this hit impulse...rather it’s the final result once you get PAST the hit impulse. ;-)

i like the idea of grooving the swing without a ball, but ideally with something other than just grass. Like a tee. Of course, when there is just a tee (like a plastic hitting mat tee), I can very nicely whip(swing!!!) driver right through it, great lag, great finish, proper swing path. 240fps slow confirms this. But still, when the ball is there, it all changes: ‘Hit the ball’ instead of ‘swing through the tee’.

But I’m gonna keep trying to focus on just swinging through the tee....and eventuality, maybe, hopefully, I’ll be able to ignore the ball.

i did have some lessons where the instructor said to focus on smacking the tee out of the ground (at least when it’s teed up), I never really worked very much on that, so maybe thats something I can try. Maybe another thing is work hard on ‘not caring’. (Soundsweird, right?! Hah). Meaning...Knowing that the ball is there, changes the whole mental situation because I know that the outcome matters now. But really I think what I need to in order to still make a nice smooth swing is like you guys said, i have to actually forget about the ball, ***which means*** i have to not worry or care about where the ball is going to go. Just swing, and if I’m confident that my general swing mechanics are decent, then the strong odds are it will be a pretty decent contact and reasonably straight, at least we can hope! God this game is so maddening!!! Hahh...
 

razaar

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@ spindrift99 my guess is your issue relates to your head mechanics when a ball is in play. In order to get a full shoulder turn the head has to move slightly away from the target and even turn away from the ball a little. Bobby Jones was an advocate of tilting the head slightly towards the target With the head turned slightly away from the ball so that the left eye has a clear view of the ball and the right side of the nose is in view of the right eye. This is the view of the ball the golfer should get at the top of the backswing. This was an element in Jack Nicklaus golf swing.
Most people who maintain a fixed head and strive for a clear view of the ball fail to achieve a full backswing. The head turned slightly towards the ball will trigger spinning shoulders when the left shoulder is brought to a halt in the backswing.
There are several other factors that can cause your problem, but the head mechanics is a good place to start.
 

uitar99

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A thought that has worked for me is to think "slow my swing". It works for me. Better ball distance and flight.
 

DG_1234

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I believe the most common example of "hit impulse" is found around the greens for chip shots.
 

TrueMotionMatt

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We use Freezers and your legs to start the downswing...over time, the hit impulse will slowly go away. Also, hitting balls indoors without reacting to where the ball goes is key... You also have to video your swing and make sure you're swinging correctly indoors.

The hit comes from caring where the ball is going and a misconception....players push from their trail side vs. pull with legs and torso from their lead side. You have to do a lot of reps of pulling before this goes away and keep working at it.
 
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spindrift99

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My takeaway (no pun intended), is that I’ll work on following ideas:

- practicing hitting a ball when there is no visual outcome (like hitting into a net...I can really sense that this will help a lot...actually when I use to do this, I recall I had little to no hit impulse. And, a **few times** when I’ve played usually by myself, I’ve been able to casually repeat my smooth practice swing with the ball, and now I recall the reason was because I literally told myself, “ah, whatever, don’t worry or care about what’s gonna happen with the ball. Just be chill and don’t give a damn”. And it was a great result.

- focusing on sweeping through the tee (or imagining a tee), or imagining a string of dandelions

- focusing on going back slow and smooth (I’ve done this with extreme mental effort and it’s worked. I’d like it to not require extreme mental effort though. Like first bullet up above. )

Again, this is all easy for me when there is NO BALL. It’s the visual fixation on the ball that I have to get away from.

Btw, for those that who do not have this ‘hit impulse’ it may be impossible for you to truly understand it, or for me to fully describe it to you. And you guys/gals are lucky to be in that situation. ;-)
 

spindrift99

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Okay Boss, @spindrift99 when your in your home range use this drill.

Thanks!! And your previous tip of hitting into a net to ‘not care about the outcome’ will also really help. Just not being able to tell the outcome (and thus not caring about it) does nearly the whole trick of avoiding the ‘hit’ impulse.
 

nlk10010

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Long thread so I apologize if these have been mentioned before (and apologize for the length of this post):
  • There are those who insist the "hit impulse" doesn't exist. It does, in the sense that the swing changes when you place a ball in position. Note there should be no claim that this impulse is the only thing preventing you from hitting a great shot: Even without a ball, your face might be open at impact, or you might be swinging outside-in or be suffering from any other number of swing maladies. The claim is simply that the swing changes when you go from no ball to ball: In my case my hands go from leading the clubshaft at impact to scooping (I know this because I take innumerable videos), my arms buckling as the clubhead gets close to the ball. It's due to the body stopping its rotation as I approach impact, the arms taking over (again, at least in my case);
  • One thing that HAS worked, intermittently, for me (and if it works for me it will work for ANYONE) is to take a series of practice swings IMMEDIATELY before you hit; i.e. tee up the ball (or not), take your setup just out of reach and start swinging, then IMMEDIATELY step up and swing. The practice swings give you the FEELING you want and if you don't think too much and obsess over that ball on the ground your mind will tend to ignore it. Doesn't work every time but it does every once in a while which can give you confidence;
  • As someone said above, practice without the ball. Try to ingrain the proper feelings; if you do that intensively enough then your "little golfer" will eventually get the idea;
  • Sequencing is really something that can help. When my hands feels me gripping a club and my eyes see a ball on the ground that "little golfer" says HIT IT. I have tried pausing at the top of the backswing (I know it doesn't exist) and then starting my rotation from the ground up. It rarely works. As soon as my mind says "ignition sequence started" my arms swing the club at the ball. If you can work on that, again, maybe without the ball, you will be much closer to curing that impulse, as much as ANYONE can cure it (see Bobby Clampett);
  • Just one other thing connected with the above: Everyone's different, but for me rotating the pelvis FIRST, then the torso, and letting the arms follow is really what you want (e.g. Paul Wilson). I have had some success by practicing separation of the pelvis from the torso/arms and rotating, or twisting, the pelvis, quickly, as the first move in the downswing. I seem to catch the arms unaware (ha ha) and make progress in getting them to follow, as opposed to tensing up, shortening up, and topping/missing the ball.
I don't want to come off as a phony expert here, but in the case of the hit impulse I AM an expert.:ROFLMAO: Video with/without, see what's going on and either practice without the ball or try the practice swing method or try to force yourself to sequence correctly. One side-benefit of all this is that it thoroughly convinces you that the body has a mind of its own: No matter what you try to tell it to do your body will revert to what it's accustomed to doing.

Good Luck.
 

Buckeyegolfnut

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Best info I ever received was to not pay any attention to the ball. Just let it get in the way of the club head. Not sure if that's a good response to your question, but I've used it for a few decades.

Once I take my stance, other than ball position, the ball is just sitting there.......in the way of my club head's downswing, and follow through.
A tip I read many, many years ago worked for me for quite a while, especially when hitting Driver. Imagine that the golf ball is a soap bubble! All you want to do is swing the club and pop that soap bubble.
 

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