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When (and how) do you actually take swing changes from the range to the course?


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So I'm a high-cap golfer who has an ingrained swing from the past 20 years that is somewhat functional, albeit inconsistent. Distance is good, because I'm 6'5" and 260# and can generate a lot of clubhead speed, even if it's the wrong way. And by wrong way I mean from the top of the backswing I pull the handle HARD rotating everything around my shoulders, which basically throws the club so that by impact it's way ahead of my body rotation. It results in a stall/flip move that has my hips and shoulders basically square at impact and my hands directly in line with the ball instead of in front of the ball. And it's a LOT of work to generate that speed... I'm relying on physical strength rather than rotation.

 

It's a wonder I can hit the ball, and a wonder that it's mostly straight. I guess that's what practicing the wrong thing for 20 years will do--you compensate. But I'm squaring the clubface via the flip rather than via rotation of the body, and thus contact is inconsistent, and I have a 4-way miss (thin/fat, left/right) based on getting perfection in the timing. 

 

Coming back to the game after a 5 year layoff, I feel like I could improve my timing with a lot of range work, and with some good short game practice might reduce my index from 23 into the low teens. But as I get older and that strength goes away, my distance will go away too, and I feel like this current swing will have a built in "ceiling" in that contact will never be consistent enough to get into single digits or better. I'm committed to remaking my swing and doing it right.

 

The first step is trying to get the mental "feels" of rotating and opening the hips through impact, because I don't think I've ever done it. I screwed up most of the past month trying to focus on the full swing and add rotation, and probably came damn near injury because I was doing all my old bad things wrong and trying to introduce something I had never learned to do right. So I went to the YouTube and really looked at drills.

 

I found an epiphany today on the range with some AMG and Clay Ballard drills, that completely clued me in on how to rotate from P6 through impact. I then played around with how to get from the top of the backswing to the P6 that AMG suggests starting their drill at (which is not the P6 I achieve in my swing) and had another epiphany on what dropping the hands and right arm and reconnecting the right arm to the body means, and discovered this magical thing called "lag". 

 

Who would have thought?!

 

But here is my conundrum. It was a day of all drills, just basic ideas on how the swing is supposed to work. I probably didn't hit more than 10-15 actual full swing shots, and on those only hit my 8 iron. Because this is all so new to me, I was spraying. I hit some real beauties amidst the spray, but because I was only at 75% swing speed even then those shots weren't full distance. 

 

I'm playing 18 with my buddies on Sunday. It's at a course longer and more difficult than our usual 3600 yard par 60 executive track (tee times are difficult to get in SoCal these days), and although we don't have a money game, I really don't want to play like crap.

 

I can't bring this new swing to the course. I'm going to try to hit the range again on Saturday to continue working on what I need to work on, but that's not going to be nearly enough to actually make the swing course-worthy.

 

So I've got two questions:

 

  1. When you're working on a big swing change, how long do you really work on it on the range before you'll actually deem it course-worthy? What are your milestones to do so? For me this is a MAJOR swing overhaul so I am sure it'll take 6-12 months before I really ingrain it into my brain. But as I progress, I hope that it won't take 6-12 months to actually start using it on the course, because then I'm using my old barely functional swing the whole time?
  2. When you're working on one thing on the range and NOT taking that swing to the course, what do you recommend for warm-up? My thought is to go to the range at the course before my round for warm-up (30-40 balls), and not even act like there is a new swing at all--just warm up with my old swing as if nothing at all had changed. My goal is to avoid leaking my new swing into my old because they're fundamentally incompatible. 

 

Thoughts?

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I've gone from a 18 cap to a 5 over the last 18 months. I've done this plenty.   First, I think the idea of having different swings is not reality. It may feel like it sometimes, but your sw

Let yourself play golf on the golf course. Have fun and try to score well. 

 

Then get back to the range. Your expectations seem very reasonable. Keep grinding away and eventually the changes will show up in your golf swing. 

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Just play.  Allow yourself a swing thought or intent.   Bring in what you find comfortable but don’t start practicing and having a different thought or intent every swing.  
 

Unless it is a round to practice the new motion - and this a good idea - where you  aren’t keeping score but still want to test the new motion on the course - I would do these late in the day and for maybe just 9 holes and sometimes hit multiple shots if conditions permit.

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I like the make mechanical changes at first into a net to take the result out of it. I use a lot of video to confirm changes and a lot of 50% swings. Once my speed comes back and my brain is starting to become more comfortable (I confirm using video the new move is taking hold), then I take it to the course. Whatever single feel or swing thought I’m using, I make a conscious effort to do that in an exaggerated fashion prior to my routine / when my playing partners are hitting. Once I’m getting into the shot, I try to move focus externally to the target and the shot required. 
 

Side note, I feel like 30 min of work on the changes before my bed time routine really helps it stick more rapidly. I was the type to study before sleep in school and felt I retained info better. 

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I struggle to not take changes out onto the course straight away. I am pretty sure that that goes against the grain and I am sure that I am not taking the changes onto the course in exactly the way that I want them to bed in but I struggle to think of having two swings - one for the range and another for the course.

 

In saying that, I have always liked to have a swing thought, something to be conscious of and having a swing change in mind in my view is simply an extension of that. 

 

To be fair as well as I am typing this, I am thinking when I was younger, I used to grip left hand low. It was only when I went for lessons when I was 13 or 14 that that got changed and having had a lesson, I was straight out onto the course with it and I am not sure that there could be many bigger changes in the golf swing to head out onto the course with.

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I take swing changes straight to the course. I used to wait but realized just delayed my progress. Personally, I need to be 100% committed to the swing change. If I'm not doing it on the course, I'm not fully committed. And if I am executing properly, my ball striking should be better so why not do it on the course?

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17 hours ago, betarhoalphadelta said:

Thanks. I know it's too new for me. So I'm going with the old swing on Sunday.

 

I'm sure that various WRX folks have done this in the past, though, so I'm wondering if anyone has been in the same place and can offer their own take...

 

I've gone from a 18 cap to a 5 over the last 18 months. I've done this plenty.

 

First, I think the idea of having different swings is not reality. It may feel like it sometimes, but your swing on Monday and Sunday are not all that different. You shot 14 over on Saturday and 25 over on Sunday with the same swing, the same faults. You just happened to make better compensations one day over the other. The real differences are months apart where you have actually engrained real changes into the swing.

 

What I recommend, is getting to the range before the round and see what you got on that day. I swear I'd be wildly inconsistent and hit draws one day and fades the next. Thins one day and fats the next. See what you got, make your adjustments and leave the range with ONE simple thought that is working on that day. Could be hit the inside of the ball,  or balanced finish, or just make good contact. Whatever you work out on the range to get good strikes, you take to the course and go try to play well. What you dont want to do is take 1000 practice swings thinking grip, takeaway, weight shift, transition, wrist bow, slot, hold, lag, rotate, turn over. And then try to analyze every shot and make difference compensations throughout the round. You are probably not good enough right now to be able to diagnose all of your own real faults and fixing compensations just leads to other compensations and poor and infuriating play. 

 

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Callaway Mini 1.5 14*

Cobra F6 Baffler 17.5*

Callaway Apex 20* AD DI 85s

Cleveland UHX 5 utility 23*

6-PW Srixon Z785 Modus 120S

50 Cleveland RTX 4

56 and 60, TM Hi Toe

EVNROLL ER3

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Thanks everyone. For this, it's such a major change that there's no way I can try to take it out Sunday, but I'm going to try to get as much range time in as possible such that I can try to have it on the course as soon as I get moderately consistent with it. My current issue is inconsistency, so that's not a high bar lol...

 

If that means my swing on the course is an 85-90% swing and I give up a little distance, so be it. It'll still be better to start gaming it once I feel like I'm 80-90% as consistent as with my current swing.

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In the summer it's easier, but I always find a small bucket on the range and 9 holes before sunset to be a great intermediary between lesson - range - playing. 

 

The 9 holes lets you hit a couple balls and ignore the score, trying to put golf holes in your eye and put a bit of pressure on your new movement to see if it holds up.

 

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Going to have to practice and commit to this change faster than I thought.

 

Played yesterday and had no intention of working in the change yet. Especially as I couldn't make it to the range Saturday due to rain. On the course, my ballstriking was all over the place... I was getting misses that were unlike any of my usual misses. I am worried the change was leaking in despite me not planning to implement. 

 

Going to need a lot of range time between now and my next round, which will probably be the morning of the Super Bowl. Only problem is that the rain here in SoCal means that my normal range is closed as it's too muddy for the ball retrieval cart. It generally requires at least 2 days after rain to dry out and be usable... And it rained hard overnight and is slated to rain again on Thurs/Fri.

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1 hour ago, betarhoalphadelta said:

Going to have to practice and commit to this change faster than I thought.

 

Played yesterday and had no intention of working in the change yet. Especially as I couldn't make it to the range Saturday due to rain. On the course, my ballstriking was all over the place... I was getting misses that were unlike any of my usual misses. I am worried the change was leaking in despite me not planning to implement. 

 

Going to need a lot of range time between now and my next round, which will probably be the morning of the Super Bowl. Only problem is that the rain here in SoCal means that my normal range is closed as it's too muddy for the ball retrieval cart. It generally requires at least 2 days after rain to dry out and be usable... And it rained hard overnight and is slated to rain again on Thurs/Fri.

Sounds like a great time to go see Monte.

Enjoy every sandwich

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7 minutes ago, glk said:

Sounds like a great time to go see Monte.

With the way COVID is ripping through Orange County right now, it's not a great time to see anyone lol!

 

I did reach out to him last week and when either the numbers here calm down and/or I manage to get the vaccine, I plan on getting a package of lessons. 

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1 minute ago, betarhoalphadelta said:

With the way COVID is ripping through Orange County right now, it's not a great time to see anyone lol!

 

I did reach out to him last week and when either the numbers here calm down and/or I manage to get the vaccine, I plan on getting a package of lessons. 

You could do online live via FaceTime or zoom.  Anywhere you can make a swing, set up a phone/table and hit anything (I hit paper wads wrapped in duct from my garage).   

Enjoy every sandwich

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Go play with 6-8 clubs in your bag from the longest or shortest set of tees. If will force you think more about managing your game than your swing. 

 

I constantly working on my swing, fundamentals, & process (getting into each shot).

 

Fundamentals (aim, distance control, impact, clubface control, balance)

 

Swing (getting my up move in the backswing steeper, keeping the more pressure on my lead side on the backswing, & getting my out in front during impact motion)

 

Process (Visualization of ball flight, where to stand to improve aim, reading the trees, understand pin position, calculating risk)

 

I work on these things though outside of playing

 

When I'm playing, I'm trying to score 

 

You can't think swing on the course 

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