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How do I stop hitting and start swinging?


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#1 Sabre3

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

I am trying to make it my winter goal to stop focusing so hard on the ball and start swinging at a target. I know without really playing it is hard to make that change but any suggestion as to how to go about starting it?

Here is what I do now. I have a hitting mat and a net in my garage. I find that hitting the ball lately is making me lose confidence. I think its due to it being cold and not getting real feedback that is causing me to make bad swings. So I have been just making swing after swing without hitting a ball and just working on feeling the club swing freely. After a few days of this I feel real good about things. I have been able to get into better positions as a result. I have been doing the Faldo pre set drill and then feeling that my lead arm (left) tends to draw a straight line back until I get to the half way point. I set the wrists and continue the should turn a bit more. This gets me in a good spot to start forward while maintaining the spine angle and keeping the head back behind the ball to impact.

So I do this for most of the week and then on the weekend I try to take that over to hitting balls. That is where things go south. I don;t feel like I hit those positions because I am trying so hard to make contact with the ball. Then I get tired and start really making compensated swings which usually leads to an all arms back swing  That all arm back swing is the real back breaker because now I start to (what I refer to as) lose my wrists. Meaning they don't feel like they are in any position to get to the ball and I need to compensate and manipulate them. Very troubling.

So this week I will go back to making swings and and not focusing on a golf ball. What thoughts or drills or anything is there I can do to take that to the golf ball in the future? Should I stop hitting balls all together until I can get outside? Any ideas are welcome.


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#2 MelloYello

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

I've never personally found that I can go inside and make swings that translate perfectly out onto the range when there's a ball on the ground. One huge difference is probably tempo. Practice swings are usually some of the most beautiful swings we make. Once we've committed to trying to hit a golf ball things get awkward. Some people tense up or try and hit 2x as hard as the practice swing they just made. In any case, they just aren't able to make a free-flowing swing and are swinging so hard they just cannot think fast enough as in the practice swing.

I'd recommend really working on tempo and making sure that when you do get a ball down in front of you that you try and focus not on distance but on the swing. Try to pay as little attention as possible to how far the ball is going. In some cases it might be best altogether to try and actually pick a distance that's 20-40 yards shorter so that you with instinctively make a smoother, more controlled swing.

In other words, if I'm making a swing modification, it's not wise that I take my 8-iron out there are try to hit it a full 155-yards or whatever. I'm better not thinking at all about how far it's going or simply making a point of trying to hit to a slightly shorter distance. like 140-yards.


Other than that, I think what you're experiencing is very natural. I know I'm familar with it. There may not be a real answer to solve it completely, but rather just practice and "getting used to" making the transition between ball and no-ball situations. You're just going to have to be very careful when you put a ball down that you still make the same swings you make at home.
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#3 sonofagunn

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

I discovered that when I made beautiful practice swings, I was swinging through the impact zone with a wide open clubface. So I strengthened my grip and find it easier to make the same motion with a ball in place.

#4 mws92

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

Try the Foley Pause-At-Top drill.  Very hard at first.  You will be amazed how much you tense up in your transition when you first start doing the drill.



#5 Jon Robert

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

This actually works. Try to keep the butt end of the shaft pointed at the ball as long as humanly possible in the down swing. It will prevent the over the top/ casting that is common to "hitting" the ball.  Force yourself to stay with it eventually the memories of over the top casting will be replaced with a real golf “swing”

Edited by Jon Robert, 21 January 2013 - 11:35 AM.


#6 juststeve

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:07 PM

Lets consider what it means to SWING the club.

To swing the club means to move it on an arc, (an arc has no straight lines) around a fixed swing center, (you will have to feel your own but its somewhere around the thoracic spine) To swing it at the target is to swing it so that the starting line of your shot is tangent to the arc where the arc touches ground.

People don’t swing because the apply leverage to the club which is the antitheses of swinging the club.  You can play great golf with leverage but its not swinging the club.  Swinging and levering don’t mix.

To learn to swing begin hitting balls with your feet together.  I mean right together, actually touching.  This drill does a number of things but relevant to your quest it will teach you to feel your stationary swing center around which the club swings.

Put in your mind the idea that force comes from the speed of the swinging club which merely gathers the balk and sends it on its way at impat.   There must be no effort to add speed by pushing on the handle with the trailing hand through impact.  That’s leverage.

Put in your mind that your job is to swing the club, it is the clubs job to get the ball in the air.

In the beginning at least allow your body to respond to the motion of the swing.  It will turn back and through if you just let it.  The club can be made to swing powered by the body pivot, I can do it myself if I want, but until you learn to make the club swing, and feel it when it does,  let the body be a follower, not a leader.

Steve

Edited by juststeve, 21 January 2013 - 12:58 PM.


#7 Sabre3

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

This is great. Thanks for the replies. I think my routine will consist of daily practice swings concentrating on tempo and then maybe making 9-3 type shots with a wedge on the weekends with a ball.

I will certainly work on that pause drill but not sure if I want to hit a ball with it or just work on the transition feel?

I also wonder if hitting off an unforgiving mat might be counter productive as my body reacts to the impact instead of free swinging?

#8 inpresX

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

From the top of the swing, focus more on pulling the club with your left arm as opposed to pushing with the right. And let the club unhinge naturally, don't flip by using the right hand.

Nothing wrong with hitting balls in your garage. But since you can't see the full flight of the ball, I would use a blade iron for the most feedback.

#9 geoffaw

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

If you can find Toski and Love's "How to Feel a Real Golf Swing", get it and start with the drills in there exp the Hitchhiker's and Melhorn drills. It is an excellent book and I feel that it goes very well with Ernest Jones's Swing the Clubhead method. It seems to me that the focus on the hands in the downswing will conflict with De la Torre's method, but JustSteve can confirm that one much better than me.

#10 juststeve

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

inpresX:

With due respect your suggestion is very bad.  First, the point is to swing the club on an arc which has no straight lines.  When you pull the club force is being applied in a straight line.  OP said he wants to swing the club, not drag it down to the ball.

Second, the club should be swung with both arms, not just the left one.  Pulling with just the left arm is not a swing and will leave the face open unless you do something else to close it.  Also you can swing the club faster with both arms than you can with just one.

The idea is to SWING the club forward in the direction of the target using both arms to do it.

Steve


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#11 Sabre3

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

Pushing and pulling is something I am trying to get away from. I can see needing to "hit" at the ball on a punch shot or in particular situations, but I feel in order to improve my game I need consistency on full shots. I can draw, fade hook and slice a ball. I just need to work on when I hit those shots. Up to now I just set up to the target and lose focus on it and try and hit the ball and then wonder why it ended up going where it went.

#12 JPGolf FL

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

(IMO)The difference in swinging and hitting is not about pushing, pulling, arcs, or straight lines. It is all in your intention. If your intention is to hit the ball your body will interpret everything differently than it does in your practice swings. So all the practice swings in the world will do nothing to help you when a ball is present.
Ask yourself this. Can I make a good practice swing? Well that depends on the intention of the practice swing. Did you just swing the club back and through? Is the club actually swinging, or did you just rear it back and thrust it forward? Did you imagine a ball on the ground and swing through that ball? A random practice swing is a useless as the completely different hack you make when you step up to a ball(not specifically you, just generally speaking)

My point is this. It is much easier to make a really effective practice swing while imagining a ball being in the way than it is to step to a ball and try to imagine it is not there so you can swing through it. So moving from hitting to swinging starts at the practice swing. if you can really imagine a ball in your practice swing, it is a lot easier to forget the ball in your reel swing. this also reminds you how important ball position is. If the ball is in the correct place, it is much easier to just swing through it. During your practice swing, pay attention to where the club bottoms out and where the blur of the clubhead is traveling.  Place the ball accordingly.



#13 inpresX

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:12 PM

View Postjuststeve, on 21 January 2013 - 01:30 PM, said:

With due respect your suggestion is very bad.  First, the point is to swing the club on an arc which has no straight lines.  When you pull the club force is being applied in a straight line.  OP said he wants to swing the club, not drag it down to the ball.
I never said to pull the club in a straight line. Since the rotation is around the spine, even if it feels like pulling straight, it will still be around the body in an arc.

#14 The Pearl

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

Steve,

I wonder if you might have an opinion on backswing length.   I seem to get the sense of swinging the club and executing  Manual's principles with about a 3 quarter length backswing.   My ball striking is much more solid.

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#15 596

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:02 AM

When I'm playing well I don't hit the ball at all.  I imagine only where I want the ball to go and how it gets there, shot shape.  If you want to swing freely, forget about the swing and the ball.  You've already practiced those things.....now play golf.  Allow the body to work freely by imagining how and where  each shot will go.  It is very hard to do if you are trying to get into positions in your swing and you are concentrating so hard on the ball.


#16 moseskipkip

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:20 PM

Sabre, I don't know if you ever visit the FGI forums, but there was a long thread titled "Beyond Belief" which did have a Link to an instruction e-book called "The Master Key" by Noel Thomas (I think!)
Still a work in progress, but it's working for me!

I would post a link but I'm not that smart!

#17 dairic

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

Relinquish direct control over the club head right from the start of the swing with a lagging club head takeaway. This way you are forced to respond to the momentum of the club head instead trying to directly steer it with your hands and arms. At the very least its a good drill to improve your tempo and downswing lag.  

http://3jack.blogspo...time-7.html?m=1

Edited by dairic, 26 January 2013 - 06:38 PM.


#18 Cwing

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

View Postmws92, on 21 January 2013 - 11:33 AM, said:

Try the Foley Pause-At-Top drill.  Very hard at first.  You will be amazed how much you tense up in your transition when you first start doing the drill.



Looks like a good drill.
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#19 DNice26

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

Its not a fcy answer but i simply envision Ernie Els swing.  Slow back and slow through....
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#20 Sabre3

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

View Postmoseskipkip, on 26 January 2013 - 06:20 PM, said:

Sabre, I don't know if you ever visit the FGI forums, but there was a long thread titled "Beyond Belief" which did have a Link to an instruction e-book called "The Master Key" by Noel Thomas (I think!)
Still a work in progress, but it's working for me!

I would post a link but I'm not that smart!
Not familiar with the fgi forums. I'll google master key thanks.


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#21 JamesBurg

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:14 PM

View PostSabre3, on 26 January 2013 - 08:32 PM, said:

View Postmoseskipkip, on 26 January 2013 - 06:20 PM, said:

Sabre, I don't know if you ever visit the FGI forums, but there was a long thread titled "Beyond Belief" which did have a Link to an instruction e-book called "The Master Key" by Noel Thomas (I think!)
Still a work in progress, but it's working for me!

I would post a link but I'm not that smart!
Not familiar with the fgi forums. I'll google master key thanks.

Google golf swing master key.  Best golf swing instruction ever written IMO.

The review of this at livestrong.com  has the instruction all wrong.  Very puzzling.

Edited by JamesBurg, 27 January 2013 - 11:27 PM.


#22 isaacbm

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.

#23 nutted

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:27 PM

View Postisaacbm, on 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.

No, please don't do this....

Just lighten you're grip.  At first you will probably only achieve it at address, but work on it, and I guarantee you that nobody "hits" at the ball with a soft grip.  Also try swinging at 50% and with a slower tempo.
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#24 isaacbm

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:44 PM

View Postnutted, on 27 January 2013 - 11:27 PM, said:

View Postisaacbm, on 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.

No, please don't do this....

Just lighten you're grip.  At first you will probably only achieve it at address, but work on it, and I guarantee you that nobody "hits" at the ball with a soft grip.  Also try swinging at 50% and with a slower tempo.

You're right, what do I know.

#25 JPGolf FL

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

View Postisaacbm, on 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.
Both good drills....


#26 isaacbm

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

View Postnutted, on 27 January 2013 - 11:27 PM, said:

View Postisaacbm, on 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.

No, please don't do this....

Just lighten you're grip.  At first you will probably only achieve it at address, but work on it, and I guarantee you that nobody "hits" at the ball with a soft grip.  Also try swinging at 50% and with a slower tempo.
Ok I'll bite.

  I agree that the grip should be light but found it kind of weird to have some simply say "please dont do this"
with no explanation.

Eyes closed gets you into feeling your rhythm and balance.  Gets a person away from being too ball conscious.

Feet together pretty much prevents a person from lunging at the ball with the intent of "hitting" at it because they will fall down if they do.

Both drills help balance and timing.

Why are these drills a bad idea??

Edited by isaacbm, 27 January 2013 - 11:57 PM.


#27 moseskipkip

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:59 AM

View PostJamesBurg, on 27 January 2013 - 11:14 PM, said:

View PostSabre3, on 26 January 2013 - 08:32 PM, said:

View Postmoseskipkip, on 26 January 2013 - 06:20 PM, said:

Sabre, I don't know if you ever visit the FGI forums, but there was a long thread titled "Beyond Belief" which did have a Link to an instruction e-book called "The Master Key" by Noel Thomas (I think!)
Still a work in progress, but it's working for me!

I would post a link but I'm not that smart!
Not familiar with the fgi forums. I'll google master key thanks.

Google golf swing master key.  Best golf swing instruction ever written IMO.

The review of this at livestrong.com  has the instruction all wrong.  Very puzzling.


James, Again we fight the good fight for the Master Key (Moses2801 - FGI)

I think some people who research the Master Key might be put off by the fact,perversly, that it only cost 6 of your fine US Dollars, as if it can only be worthwhile if you spend many times that, well verses other instructional material/pro lessons I've shelled out my hard earned sterling for,I would gladly pay many times that.

It is particularly good for those of us burdened with Left-handedness. Put your hands up any lefty that's tied themselves in knots trying to read conventional left hand/right hand instruction (Not that hand,fool, the other one!)

I have no connection or interests with those selling this e-book, it just plain works for me!

#28 Timanator

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

View Postisaacbm, on 27 January 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:

two drills:

1  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your eyes closed.
2  Hit hundreds and hundreds of balls with your feet together.

Both drills I do every morning without a ball. These drills really make you more aware of each moving pieces can compliment each other.
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#29 juststeve

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

Hitting balls with the feet together is a master drill for anyone who wants to really swing the club.  Chiefly with your feet together your swing center will remain quiet and you will have something to swing the club around.  The feet together drill has many other benefits but for quieting the swing center there is nothing better.

Steve

#30 Sabre3

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

I have done the feet together drill in the past. I am not discounting its validity but it is still possible to try and hit the ball with your feet together. I know this because I have done it.

As far as left side swinging is concerned. I am having trouble with the downswing portion. I can get on board with starting back with my left shoulder but I feel more in control if I start my downsing with my right instep.

What I am doing currently to try and combat the hitting instinct is to not use a ball as of now and build a shot routine. I took part of it from Chuck Martin's 8 count to chipping. I stand behind the "ball" and visualize the shot shape and target. While looking at the target I grip the club with my left hand as it hangs down my left side. As I walk into the shot I place my right hand on the club and waggle it. The waggle is to give me the Faldo preset drill feeling with my wrists. Then I step in and place the club behind the "ball" set on my target line. Then I do my modified 8 count. Count 1 is looking at the target. 2 at the ball. 3 at the target again, and 4 back at the ball. While still looking down at the ball (or just in front of it) count 5 is a slight kick in of the right knee to feel the right instep of my foot. 6 is an exhale that relieves shoulder, arm and hand tension. 7 is the backswing and 8 is impact. Each count has to be set to my swing tempo. So I cant count from 1 to 2 to 3 any faster than I can count 7 to 8.

That's the nuts and bolts of it and I am trying to refine it as I go. Counts 1 though 4 have a bit of waggle with them also. That waggle I would like to mimic the plane I plan to take. A little out if I want a fade. A little in if I want a draw.


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