I have been reading The Double Connexion Again recently and it always amazes that I read something I have several times before and something sticks out.
In his discussion of habits, how they are built, or not built. What they are, and the difference between skills and habits, he makes a few interesting statements.
"Regardless of their skill level, players spend most of their time "searching"...that is guaranteed to produce a habit of change and experimentation. Players typically stick with "something that works" for a while....when that one hits a snag...and it will, they start the search again. The search is driven by a mix of doubt and hope....the search is for some subtle or missing ingredient to make the swing better. The urgency of the changes means not staying with anything worthwhile long enough to build a habit.....It is impossible not to build habits. They develop naturally from doing something again and again. The question is, what are we repeating? Most of us are repeating change,change,change. So that's what we are learning. Only a few players really stabilize their development. Even fewer manage to build an effective connection between thinking and swinging."
Especially interesting in light of recent threads by members here who are trying different methods and considering "new approaches" in their efforts.
Never quit til you have a swing you'll never forget!
No doubt about it. Always looking for the 'secret' is fun but not the path to a pro quality golf swing. LOL, I am an expert in this area!
A person can develop habits while switching around though if enough time is spent drilling. In spite of my changing grips and swing plane and such I did improve my slantidicularness a great deal by working on it. Also my impact position.
Speaking of grips I screwed myself up for one round (hopefully) by reverting to a habit of griping with lead hand too weak for my current trail hand position. I did this because I had developed a habit of gripping that way while working with IMA. With the lead thumb at 12:00 and the trail hand on top I hit a fade to slice and push the ball with my relaxed normal swing. I need my grip right now to be with hands as they hang at my sides which is turned a fair amount with the backs facing forward. This is the grip that I have played my best golf with down through the years and I should never have changed it.
Speaking of grips I find it interesting that many players start out with a really strong lead hand and migrate to weak lead hand as they progress in the game. Hogan, Player, Moe and JK are a few that come to mind. The hooks get old after a while...
Sometimes I think that the strength of the lead hand grip is not as important as we have been told. With my homemade swing the lead hand can be in almost any position and it does not seem to affect my shots. I do think that the trail hand grip simply must be in the palm and rotated between 35 to 45 degrees to the strong side to obtain the SA alignment. This past weekend at the Memphis Classic Golf Tournament Robert Garrigas had an absolutely super strong lead hand grip and he could hit the ball a mile.
This message has been edited by gsw on Jun 15, 2010 11:32 AM
Very good points and there certainly are a lot of successful players with strong lead hand grips. I am not sure how many have strong lead hand and strong trail hand though?
It is interesting that you can change your lead hand grip with little effect on your shotmaking. Perhaps you are controlling the club face orientation with your hands so it does not matter as much? Or maybe it is your trail hand that controls it?
I seem to be able to take my hands out of it and hit the ball reasonably well with a 'correct' grip without thinking about squaring it up... I think of my shot pattern as being a cone with the best shots being center and the less fortunate shots being left and right. If I can aim the cone or triangle where a shot to the left or right won't kill my score then I can play decently. If the cone gets skewed then I got problems...
I think looking for 'the secret' can be part of the path to a pro-quality swing but not testing objectively to see if a 'secret' delivers the results is the problem for many golfers (and many more not knowing what the results should be )
This message has been edited by sagf_moderator on Jun 15, 2010 5:53 PM
You are very correct. Something that I thought of many years ago in my exchanges with you. I thought hmmm, this Peter guy is smart enough to reject what does not work and he is smart enough to not try it again in a month or two to see if it will work then. Also you figured something out (benchmarks) to evaluate players swings that very consistently shows the difference between am and pro swings.
As for me I have got to get out and shoot some video to see if I am making progress or if it is in fact just the same old marginal position... I can say that I am really happy with how far I am hitting the ball so there is some hope though I don't really believe that I could have made a breakthrough so easily.
As you know I only became 'smart' enough to reject things that don't make sense or work after buying into 'just trust me' once too often Science, objective benchmarks and common sense are powerful things to bet against.
The famous "Bdog gallery"! Go ahead...pick your swing. In the above we have:
Big Grip Golf, Coventional Golf (in various flavors), IMA, Moe Swing, Mindy Blake, mike Austin, Iron Byron
Doesn't matter which swing/method you choose...if you don't get this absolute fundamental into your swing...you don't have a prayer of having a good swing. If you didn't know they all employed different methods, you'd swear they were all using the same swing.
And you are right, if you always do what you've always done, you always get what you always got.
Assuming you want to pursue a swing closer to that of an expert, you must know what it is they possess that you don't, and then you must find a way to get that into your swing. Then you must repat it enough times til it gets into your swing. That's half the battle. If you want to play there is a whole other set of things that must be learned so that you can get your swing from the range to the course.
I would bet good money that i could go to any driving range and walk up to ANY player and ask him to describe a pro impact position - Even someone that is puring it. 70% wouldn't be able to describe it, and even those that could describe it would have an impact position that is as has recently been discussed - "marginal" - definitely not pro standards. This doesn't mean that you can't score with a marginal swing/impact position. I've gotten my ass kicked more than a few times by guys that have swings WAY worse than mine - they just have a better game!
To this point, that all great swings possess common absolutes, the third edition of my book will include the exercise sequences adapted to several different swing methods - Probably a conventional golf swing, stack and tilt, and my take on single axis. It's quite a project, but it will be worth it.
Oh yeah, about me changing my swing. Yeah, you could say I've changed it. In fact if you knew anything about playing styles you would know that my playing style (persuader) is such that on one day my swing would take on the characteristics of a "hitter" and then the next day I would be looking like a "swinger". My swing will look different on different days...but that's another topic for another thread.
But one thing that hasn't changed since learning of Bertholy, is my steadfast commitment to seeking only those things common to all great swings. The Absolutes.
Never quit til you have a swing you'll never forget!
of posting something very similar, but you beat me to it. Very well said!! The big takeaway from this is that the method is irrelevant. This absolute position is the goal.
If you can't get to this 6/100s position with trail arm substantially bent, hands out in front of the body, club and shoulders parallel to the target line, then you have some work to do. If you've been using a training technique that hasn't gotten you to this point (or very close) after a few years of hard work ... then you need to try something different.
how long do you stick with a "system" before moving on? I am in the middle of a change after trying a method for over a year. I went way "above and beyond"...bought videos, some training aids, did drills daily and most importantly video taped my swing for feedback. To most people my swing looked great on video...but I remained inconsistent with ball striking and achieving proper impact. For the time and effort I put in I should have been better...so I figured, I think my "ah-ha" moments are done with, something isn't clicking or this method just isn't for me. I'm thinking many others have dealt with the same thing...I'm fairly certain my new methods are my last though!
How long you should stick with some change depends. First - How long were you told it would take before you got the results that induced you to change (forgetting whether or not it makes sense that the changes could possibly produce the results). Second - are you achieving objective metrics documenting movement towards the results you were seeking.
Tour pros will take a year or more to incorporate a small change in their swings and that from the best who practice hours every day. Why expect that it would take someone who can not invest the same amount of practice less time to incorporate a bigger change. However given that lack of 'standard information' about golf methods (see McIrishman's post 'Changing Swings - Seeking Absolutes - A Primer') you do need to know when something's not working and the sensible way to do this is objective metrics for progress.
After seeing tour pros for the first time and observing the sound of correct contact that I so seldom heard when I played, that became my goal. I tried different swings, training aids... but in the end when I compared my impact position to that of tour pros it was not any closer than when I started. I then created a benchmark and evaluated any changes I made by their effect relative to the benchmark - if they did not get me closer then they were not helping.
you must determine what your goals and objectives are. My fiance is happy to just hit the ball in the air, and see the smile on my face when she does - she will never "work on her game". What are your goals?
Once you decide what it is you want, it is simply a matter of getting the correct information, applying it correctly, and doing it enough times so that you can eventually do it without thinking about it. A swing method may get you what you want, but IMO swing methods are presented (and operate) at level that could be described as "superficial" to what makes a golf swing truly functional. Proof of this are the many members here who have tried all kinds methods and swings and indeed found improvement - but still were found wanting when it came to achieving a swing that approached pro standards or benchmarks. It wasn't until they "pulled back" and approached the swing from a more root or basic level that they began to experience improvement. Swing methods simply don't address the fundamental issues need to build a great swing.
Put another way, a fine golf swing is built like a house - all houses must have a foundation,and the framing, plumbing, and electrical etc all done "to code". Every house adheres to the same basic structure. The layout, interior design and furnishing depends on the desires and preferences of the owners. In the same way all fine golf swings possess common attributes, characteristics, and functionality. The swing method one chooses is based on the preferences of the golfer, and resides "on top" of the swing absolutes. Put still another way, the fine swing absolutes are the operating system and drivers of a computer system. The various methods are different application programs you install to use you computer.
Every component of a fine swing can be learned. It can be practiced enough times so that eventually it becomes a habit that can be executed without having to think about it. But our ability to learn and store habits is greatly diminished as we get older. This is why adults have a harder time learning all things new - not just golf. Do you know anyone who took up driving as a 30 year old compared to the 16 year old? How bout a computer novice that is an adult? They have a hard time even learning to use a mouse. We don't remember things as well, and we seem to "pick up" new things slower than we did as children.
So the first expectation you should have is that there is work that must be done, and that there will be frustration along the way. But once you decide that you will posses a better swing, if you get hold of the correct info and apply it long enough, you will achieve what you desire. It's all over but the kicking and screaming...and there will be plenty of that! But as it says in the Scripture - "Desire realized is sweet to the soul" Or as Bertholy says in his "Ode To Golf" - "Happiness is achievement...the fine golf swing is truly achievement...its price is high yet its rewards are richer". (this complete ode Moe repeats verbatim in one of his fireside chat videos).
I remember several winters ago...Lyle A posted a question to this group. I am pretty sure the question was if the bent trail wrist was truly a fundamental and something that should be in any fine golf swing. He wanted to get a consensus and make sure because HE DIDN'T WANT TO WASTE A WHOLE WINTER PRACTICING THIS IF IT WASN'T. Something like that. That impressed me. Here was a guy, arguably the most accomplished golfer of our group, a lifelong golfer of (then) 40+ years, and he is going to take a whole winter to build one fundamental aspect into his swing. His correspondence to me is that this year he has once again lowered his Index from a 1.6 to a 1.1
But it can be learned and over time you can approach more of a pro quality swing that posses SOME of the attributes...SOME of the time (after all we are not tour pros) The left is when I was method centered, the right is after I became absolute centered:
I've just switched after watching the intro Video to the IMA set-up, grip and will continue with blueprint. My question is does a certain type of swing give you a better chance to achieve a better impact position? From what I can tell here IMA seems to be a common theme....
BTW, without even practicing IMA I got a last minute invite to play a round. I decided to the give the grip/set-up a go and play off clearkey. I hooked a lot of shots and was hitting some high short drives...both new shot patterns. But overall I was pleased...
Anyways, Ive found a lot of these discussions interesting and they have shed a new light on my view of the golf swing. I've been going about getting better wrong up until recently. And Kevin, my immediate goals are centered around becoming a Consistent solid ballstriker....I'm not there yet. After that I will determine how much better I can realistically get. This has pretty much been my goal since I started down the single axis path 14 months ago.
To do this you need to hit the ball consistently cleanly and for shots from the fairway that means having the clubhead on a descending angle of attack into impact. When this happens there will be a divot in front of (not under) where the ball sat. To do this you need to maintain the angle between your lead arm and club (viewed perpendicular to the target line) until about the point where your hands are vertically over the ball. To do that requires keeping your trail arm bent at the elbow (and at the wrist or you'll be over the swing plane and will pull the ball) producing the picture you see in bdog's gallery.
Most swings are 'hospitable' to this position (meaning they allow it without actually requiring it) though some are not (meaning you'll never get here with the swing). Some swings explicitly require it (like IMA) but in my experience only the Bertholy drills teach you HOW to achieve it.
This message has been edited by sagf_moderator on Jun 17, 2010 5:01 PM
The bertholy exercises can do it....because I feel like I'm a still a good athlete with above average hand eye cordination and just about everything I've tried in my golf career has not made my swing much better. I started Kevin blueprint and I'm
seeing Improvements(video showing better impact position) One thing I've noticed with Ima setup is it's very easy to get into a single axis set-up.
of a story that I heard years ago. Supposedly when either Steve Wozniak or Steve Jobs were college students one of them had a box that would fuzz the TV reception of any TV nearby. He used the fuzz box to cause fellow students to build a huge scotch tape and metal antenna system on a TV in the dorm.
I think that a lot of golf swings get 'built' that way. Try this or that and hit a good shot mainly by accident or by changing expectation level a viola a new swing is born! The internet is full of folks pedaling crap that promises a quick fix and a great swing. Very little of it actually addresses the parts of the swing that need to be fixed. LOL we have had several people here off and on pushing absolute nonsense as the easy fix... You can try all of that stuff and if you still have the hip sway and hit impulse you will still be at the same level in the end. You will not improve.
The things that I have seen that actually help are few:
The Model Swing.
Lessons from a pro who actually knows what he/she is doing.
Hmmmm, bad players usually have a lot of hip sway and look stiff and have hit impulse.
Good players generally look fluid, have no or very little hip sway and look like they are swinging as opposed to chopping wood. Maybe those are the things to work on???