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High handicapper--looking for swing feedback due to inconsistent contact


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Hey all...

 

Been playing golf off and on my whole life, but I just came back after a 5 year layoff this summer. Trying to get back into the game and actually take it seriously enough to improve this time. 

 

I had a 30 minute free "swing evaluation" that will likely lead to some actual lessons, where the pro used video/trackman/instruction to show me what I was doing wrong. At that point I was over-rotating to the point my clubhead pointed right of the target line at the top of the backswing, leading me to an extremely steep downswing and coming over the top. I think I've done a halfway decent job of cutting that out, and it gave me more of a slight draw flight path. 

 

But I'm still dealing with a lot of contact inconsistency. Essentially it's a 4 way miss. Could be a pull, could be a push, could be thin and low off the sole, could be fat and badly chunked. 

 

I finally got my son out to the range on Sunday and got some swing video, so I'm hoping you can let me know if this is just a lack of practice issue or if there are some big swing flaws here.

 

My suspicion is that I'm getting my hips too far forward instead of keeping them back, causing me to stall through impact and get into a spacing/timing motion where I'm having to pull out of the swing to avoid digging into the turf and can't make it repeatable enough for consistent contact.

 

Let me know what you think:

 

Face on view -- Was a good strike, might have had a very slight fade to it but overall on target. 

 

 

DTL 1 - Also had perhaps a slight fade path, but mostly straight shot with good contact

 

 

DTL 2 - I don't remember the flight path but I think I liked it lol...

 

 

DTL 3 - You can see clearly that I impacted well before the ball, closing the clubface and giving me a nasty low pull hook.

 

 

DTL 4 - Loved the flight path on this one, started just barely right of the target line and turned almost imperceptibly left exactly where I wanted it.

 

 

Let me know what you think. Apologies for the dark video--it was a busy day on the range so we were on the lower deck in the shade.

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I'd agree that based on what you struggled with previously that it sounds like you've done a good job reigning that in. There are just a few classic things going on here that are causing your inconsistencies, let's look at your sequence:

112600415_ScreenShot2021-01-06at2_42_14PM.png.6ecc9e7515afc52fad7c42b46a91a893.png

So going panel by panel, there are two main things to look at here; clubface/path, and hip rotation. 

Panel 1 - You've worked the clubface pretty far inside your hands and gotten the clubface quite open. Generally your clubface angle at this stage should more closely match your spine angle (which you have maintained well) but we can see it is far more open/toe up. This creates problem number one which is excessive clubface rotation that will require more hand action to time up and square at impact. 

Panel 2 - Decent position at the top with a well maintained spine angle. A bit over rotated for an iron though with your left heel coming up and your hips rotated very far, which creates problem #2 in that they will need to start rotating fast and/or early to stay in correct sequence, and they do the opposite....

Panel 3 - Your arms are now disconnected from the rest of your body as they have come down out of sequence. Your shoulders are still pretty closed, as are your hips, and this combined with the open clubface that you set up in the takeaway is a recipe for a scoop/flip move at impact which we'll see at the end. 

Panel 4 & 5 - A logical continuation of Panel 3, your hips have only barely cleared the ball and your weight appears close to 50/50 when you should be up on that front leg at this point. Your left wrist and elbow have broken down, your right hand has flipped, and you've scooped the ball while squaring the clubface with your hands. You're likely hanging back to give yourself time to do this, as getting up on your front leg at impact would cause you to lose the ball out to the right. Your body hasn't cleared your hands have nowhere to go but into flip mode here. To your credit, you have resisted a lot of the early extension problems that would normally be present here in that you haven't "humped" the ball by losing hip depth and causing you to come way over the top, and there is room for your arms to pass the body, but the aforementioned lack of body clearing has not set up a good impact position for you to take advantage of this. 

Let's compare this to a Rory sequence:

1965213146_ScreenShot2021-01-06at2_51_28PM.png.4b5805df4c7e9f83e1f3d6dc4f9e30a9.png

Panel 1 - Club much more even with/slightly outside of the hands with the face angle more closely matching the spine angle, this would be considered a square "neutral" takeaway. 

Panel 2 - A pretty "neutral" amount of rotation as well, loaded into the right hip and left foot on the ground. 

Panel 3 - The club has worked down slightly open, but you can see his hips here are in the same position that yours are at impact, and his shoulders are much less closed. 

Panel 4 & 5 - The hips have cleared and the shoulders are slightly open, all indicative of the body clearing needed to create the correct sequence and space for the arms to maintain that slightly forward shaft lean we want to see. 

Here are the two impact positions side by side to highlight the difference:

1678964986_ScreenShot2021-01-06at2_43_53PM.png.680a437f791de4de86f7b86d5d82e41a.png

You can see the wrist angles are flipped with your right wrist straightening (flipping) and Rory's maintaining it's angle, and your left wrist and elbow have flexed (broken down) while Rory's have stayed locked straight. Everything here is a product of what came before and fixing/neutralizing those issues one by one will help get you in sequence and to the correct impact position. Neutralizing your takeaway and your clubface angle, beginning your downswing with the correct sequence (hip/body rotation with arms following) and allowing all of that to reduce your need to flip the club and get your weight moving forward. All of this should be done with the help of a qualified professional, and keep your eye out for them to recommend similar sequence of addressing the issues. Good luck!

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Thanks @Valtiel

 

Re: Panel 1, that's one thing that the pro highlighted too during my swing evaluation, but it looks like I resorted to my bad habit of rotating the club too much during takeaway. That's something that I noticed myself during watching the videos, especially face-on. I rotated as soon as I drew the club back. 

 

I also saw the face-on view at impact position and hated it... I wasn't quite sure what "flipping" was until I compared that to various youtube videos and realized my position was horrible... Which of course is brought on by stalling and not clearing my hips to allow my left side to straighten out. 

 

I plan on going to that pro on a periodic basis for lessons. It was a really positive experience for me as I'm an engineer, and the ability to correlate what I think my body is doing with video, and correlate that with Trackman so I see the tangible effects "in the numbers" so to speak. 

 

In the interim, do you agree that some of the things in the below videos from Athletic Motion Golf would be good to focus on?

 

To work on maintaining proper hip depth in the rotation, transition into the slide and opening of the hips:

 

 

To work on emphasizing clearing of the hips so I can maintain a straight left arm through impact and positive shaft lean, and avoid flipping?

 

 

Specifically the "closing the face and then forcing not to hit left" drills?

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You have an issue with your backswing, it's shallow/inside, so your downswing is steeper in relation. You need to flip that around, a steeper takeaway to shallow the downswing.

 

I had that same issue, took forever to fix, main reason was that the right way felt too easy, that i wasn't doing enough work.

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14 hours ago, BottleCap said:

You have an issue with your backswing, it's shallow/inside, so your downswing is steeper in relation. You need to flip that around, a steeper takeaway to shallow the downswing.

 

I had that same issue, took forever to fix, main reason was that the right way felt too easy, that i wasn't doing enough work.

 

Yeah, I can see that. Sometimes I do a good job of taking the club away straight back and without a lot of rotation, but from my old days (teens) of manufacturing a hook or slice based on takeaway deliberately inside or outside it always feels like I'm trying to hook the ball when I take it away wide. 

 

13 hours ago, laneholt said:

Beta- what type of engineering degree do you have ?

 

Electrical.

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6 hours ago, laneholt said:

Beta,

 

     Wouldn’t the DS and impact affect the flight of the ball more than the BACKSWING?  Their are as many different back swing on the PGA Tour as their are players , but their shaft angle at impact is within a few degrees of each other . Test have been done - approx. 46-50 degrees , I believe !
just saying ? 

At the end of the day, the only thing that affects the flight of the ball is the clubhead speed, direction, face angle, effective loft at impact, and where the ball impacts the face, for the miniscule time and point(s) in space that they're in contact. 

 

Getting all those things correct is easiest if you have a fundamentally correct downswing. And it's easier to have a good downswing if your backswing is also fundamentally correct. Otherwise you're compensating to get things where they need to be at impact. 

 

Nothing wrong with compensating if you can do it effectively and consistently. I played as a single two weeks ago and one of the gentlemen I was paired with had a swing that I would generously describe as hideously ugly... And he beat the pants off me. I wouldn't ever advise to someone to swing like him, but he got the clubface to impact the ball in a consistent and functional way. 

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Went to the range last Thursday trying to work on this, and screwed myself up. Trying to do too much, think about too much, change too much all at once. Not good. But the key was trying to maintain hip depth, and instead of allowing my left hip to rotate forward on takeaway, to focus on my right hip rotating backwards with slight forward left hip movement around my spine to maintain depth. But I was also trying to do those anti-flip drills and the two together just screwed me up. 

 

Played on Sunday and actually had a front 9 that was the round of my life... +2 on the front, with 5 pars, 1 birdie, and three bogeys. +13 on the back (lost about 5 strokes due to crappy sand play), but overall better than my usual round at +15. On the front, I wasn't hitting the ball all that well (4 of 9 GIR) but on the holes I didn't make the GIR I scrambled better than usual and made par on 2 of them.

 

On the bright side, I only had one true shank all day. But my ball flight was all over the place. What got me was a weird hook that appeared. Good shots started right of the target line and had a gentle draw back on line. Bad shots (usually longer irons) turned left way too hard. Had a few block pushes but most turned left. 

 

Went to the range today and one of the things I was thinking about a lot was this: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IxllCJRKS4

 

The portion of that video that stuck with me this time was that the amateur's pelvis was centered over the back of his heels rather than over the middle-ish of his feet, and he had no real shin angle. This (obviously) leads to making it hard to maintain hip depth when your upper body is centered ahead of you. I started setting up a little closer to the ball, flexing my knees a little more and really making sure my body was more centered, and focused on rotating around the center rather than holding my right hip still and rotating the left only forward. I also was making sure I didn't over-rotate on the backswing to avoid bad positions and inhibit getting too steep on the DS.

 

I feel like I'm making progress. I'll have my son at the range with me this weekend so I can actually quantify it with video. But my ball flight is still all over the place. I feel like I'm getting better rotation overall, but I'm still trying to flip because it's such an ingrained habit so if I flip too much I get a pull hook, too little I get a block push, and just right I get a beautiful draw right onto the target line. I worry I might have too much of an inside out path, but I'm not sure how I got there...

 

Anyway... I guess more videos coming over the weekend!

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I can get from my house to Lake Elsinore, CA via well maintained freeways around the mountains, a curvy road that cuts through the mountains, or I can take my Jeep on bumpy fire roads over the mountains. All will get me to the destination. 

 

That doesn't mean they're equal even though I end up in the same place at the end. 

 

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Lane is correct about the back move, all reasonable options are open because impact and beyond intention dynamics will affect everything else, and can even work its way back into finding a new grip.   

 

If you ever get tired of performing in front of machines and radars trying to straighten out a crooked game, or just need a sanity break do this.   

 

Take 2 alignment sticks and attach a 24" sting between them.  Stick them into the ground about 5 feet in front of you toward the target.   When finished the 24" wide string is also 24" above the ground.   Hit your irons full speed under the string.   The longer irons are not that difficult but you will greet a new challenge when getting to the short end of the bag. 

 

At the moment you kick loft into the ball, you lost the down.    The string drill task management may start to lock in some correctives for you.   

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41 minutes ago, golfsticks said:

Lane is correct about the back move, all reasonable options are open because impact and beyond intention dynamics will affect everything else, and can even work its way back into finding a new grip.   

 

If you ever get tired of performing in front of machines and radars trying to straighten out a crooked game, or just need a sanity break do this.   

 

Take 2 alignment sticks and attach a 24" sting between them.  Stick them into the ground about 5 feet in front of you toward the target.   When finished the 24" wide string is also 24" above the ground.   Hit your irons full speed under the string.   The longer irons are not that difficult but you will greet a new challenge when getting to the short end of the bag. 

 

At the moment you kick loft into the ball, you lost the down.    The string drill task management may start to lock in some correctives for you.   

Interesting idea... Haven't heard of that one before. 

 

But I'm a bit confused. 5' ahead and 2' high (of the ball) is an angle of just under 22 degrees. I realize if you have your hands ahead of the ball and are not flipping, your launch angle will be lower than the loft of your club. But are you supposed to keep a 9 iron or PW under that string? 

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Yes, try to keep them all under but balls today are range rocks so the difficulty is there, but so is the benefit.    You may find that the task's requirements will seep into all aspects:  how you stand, where weight is and where it turns to, how you grip, everything, all at once.   Don't question if what you believe needs to be done to address the task is not found in the latest issue of Golf Tips magazine, just do it.   Feel free to kick the string up to around 30 inches above the ground.  

 

Then sense the differences between your posted swings, and what you sensed trying to complete the task,  but do not post any string drill swings, just experience them on your own.  When you start sensing differences is when ball striking and learning starts to become fairly routine.     It's not a unique drill, it's pretty old. 

 

Here's a taste, different swings confronting the task.

 

 

 

 

 

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So I read this thread and something clicked: 

 

 

Specifically what Monte said about pushing down into the ground. All of a sudden the concept of how to recenter prior to the club getting back would properly sequence and be a much different focus that the rotation... 

 

So I did my best to put it into practice. I didn't have enough balls to hit to really practice as much as I'd like, as I aggravated my golfer's elbow doing a project around the house yesterday, but I wanted to get my son out to the range and to at least give this a shot...

 

I think I'm seeing some improvement. 

 

 

 

I can tell I'm keeping my hip depth on the backswing appropriately, and from face-on I can see that I'm starting that recentering movement earlier. The flip is MUCH less pronounced and I have at least some forward shaft lean.

 

I worry that I'm swaying too much rearward on the backswing, causing my earlier forward motion to merely be replacing too large of a sway. My hips are more open than the previous swings, but I don't think they're as open as they should be...

 

Thoughts?

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The more I look at this, the more I think I'm basically going fool's gold with my recentering/weight shift...

 

I'm moving laterally too far backward on the backswing, and then overcompensating with a huge move forward into the downswing. Turned what should have been a shift into a slide... And the recentering looks a lot later than it "felt". Gotta go back to the drawing board on that. 

 

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