I played as a kid, got to about 10 handicap, never hit the ball that well, good putter and no dramatic misses got me to 10. I then lost golf time to another sport, and after that finished I decided to give golf another crack, virtually a newbie again at about 33yo. I joined another forum online, and saw Lag (Erickson) posting some amazing stuff about old players, old clubs and of course the swing. At around that time (I think) he started Advanced Ball Striking classes for anyone (was maybe doing private coaching?), and I had barely played any rounds and decided it was worth the initial investment to see if the first 3 drills were good.
I (and others there) loved the drills. It was bashing a bag at first, from memory right hand only, 2 iron (must be 50yo+ blade
) from right hip, to impact bag. He hated the idea of anyone hitting balls at a range, he said this drill and 2-3 others should be all the practice and warmup you need after you get this swing, everything else should just be playing. In fact when a couple of people complained their ball striking wasn't improving he wouldn't hear it, as he didn't like you hitting the range during the course. He said the only way to learn his swing is build a strong core and fundamentals, and the drills do that for you. I remember one of his quests was to "hold the lag" until after impact, talking club head lag here, and he had photos of the greats doing something like that. He wanted us to get way flatter swings, and bend our irons 4 degrees flat. He constantly complained the modern game has been ruined by modern equipment, and par 4's should sometimes be well hit driver and 2 iron, but instead par 5's are most often well hit driver and 7 iron. That courses are made for bombers and putting was now far more important than accurate ball striking on the tour. He tried (and failed) to qualify for the US Open using 1950's equipment in about 2009.
I did it for a while and made it to module 4 (of 10 I think) before the stress and time of work and family meant golf was becoming difficult to achieve, and not fun when I went out. The first module was pretty easy, and addictive, but it got diffificult after that, and there was a lot of drilling for a week, send him a video, and he'd reply you still aren't doing it right, and you had to do it another week before sending the next one in. He wasn't mean, but it was tough work trying to get it right, and I'd say for someone like me was going to take a year of drilling to get close to finishing. The big problem is I still had only touched on things Monte says we can't control, and therefore when I went out on course would struggle to get consistent contact, as we still hadn't touched on backswing or transition (we had covered setup from memory), which for me would likely have been inside takeaway, and lord knows what for a transition. That said, when I did get it right, I was hitting it pretty long (250y with persimmon) and loved the feel of the old equipment, and in fact still use the old blade irons.
All that said, when I started up 8 or so years later (now 42, started again 4 months ago), I didn't go back. It was really hard work, and it's not only the time and effort, but the commitment to one guys POV, which I'd lose a little faith in, and constantly sending him videos. I went to the forums, and it looked like it had really slowed down after I left, and didn't see any real evidence of anyone I'd been doing it with still there, and talking it up, in fact didn't see evidence that anyone had taken their 18 handicap swing to scratch, and that's 8 years ago. It's possible I didn't look hard enough.
Bradley Hughes (2masters) was there is spirit from what I could tell. He was a very famous Australian golfer when I grew up, always in the top 10 in local "majors", which often featured 2-3 world top 10's. He didn't run anything there, but said his view of the golf swing was revitalised by Lag, and during that time made a big run at an Australian Masters after years of not playing/featuring, and also gave us a tonne of stories about the tours/players/lifestyle. It seemed those two became close friends, not sure if they still are.
Since my return I have seen bigger overall gains in my swing and practical knowledge of the swing watching Monte videos, monitoring myself and using a skytrak, and in shorter time. I'm still time strapped, but can squeeze 30+ minutes a day most days, and given skytrak, can see a lot more results of the ball striking day to day. I'm also playing the TGC sim tour with it, so get a bit of practical golf course play in each week, even if it is off a mat. Reults are really peaking this last week with ball striking, and even though I may be on a hot streak, I am definitely in new territory for me when it comes to consistent ball striking, and am looking to work hard to cement some of these improvements, and look forward to even more from more Monte drills soon.