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    Posted: 05 September 2008 at 5:13pm
So I'm not sure where to start... this isn't going to likely read like a normal post; and doesn't necessarily belong in any specific forum - it's more the notes of a golfer who's learning and struggling and learning some more; who's starting to understand the wisdom that has been shared with him as his own understanding grows deeper.
 
I had 'that day' in my shortgame yesterday:  "See it, feel it, hit it" - by and large chip shots were ending up close (for me), up and down 7/13 times, 29 total putts; standing over every putt I felt like I was going to make it (including a 6 footer for bird!)  All on an 'away' course with greens that are appreciably faster than my home course.
 
Ray had the 'of confidence and ego' post; this was it, fully distilled.  I was confident of my ability to make the putt, confident that my chip shots would land close.  I just 'knew'.  Even when they didn't work out like I saw them in my head, it didn't erode my confidence - I was certain that the next one would indeed go in.  Sure, I misread a couple, and hammered some past (or left them woefully short). I don't know how to explain it - I'd stand over my ball, ready to pull the trigger, and simply felt that this putt was going to be close.  Further, only once did I experience the 'fear of the miss' - a horrible first putt left me 9 feet with a fair bit of break and downhill; I didn't putt that one to make it, just to not miss it.  Sure, my 3rd putt was a tap in, but it wasn't the same as I'd been all day.
 
Chuck has mentioned to me that my swing is good enough to shoot in the 70's.  At first I thought he was yanking my chain (or bustin' my balls), but the more I delve into the mental side of this game, the more I realise he was very likely being serious.
 
It seems to me that short game practice and control of my mental self is truly the key to scoring well.  While solid fundamentals help to increase repeatability, I think that simply swinging the club the same way - even if fundamentally poor - doesn't hold one back as much as an inability to focus and a poor mental state.  At least, it seems to me that way at this point.
 
______________________________________________
 
I'm not sure which is better - to edit my first post or make repeated ones... perhaps I'll do both for a while, and see how the first post reads.
 
At any rate, I just finished reading The Thin Green Line - JP Newport's year long journey from a 3 capper to his attempt at Q school.
 
Perhaps I simply need to realise that this is a game.  I went to the range today and played a little game - the game was to simply swing as smoooooooth as I could while keeping both feet planted and to note how the ball flight was.  That was the only thing to focus on:  being smooth in my rotation through the ball.  No mechanical thoughts, no manipulations, no tinkering, just simple takeaway and smoooooth on through with feet planted.
 
I did pretty good at this game - after a while I got away from the game (swinging quickly, aggressively) but I noticed how my directional control was vastly improved at seemingly no loss of distance...
 
I'm not looking for a magic bullet, but you can probably guess how I'm going to approach my ballstriking over the few remaining rounds of the waning Canadian season...
 
_______________________________________________
 
Played a course with rock-hard greens and managed to shoot an 87 (70/136 rating/slope).  Dropped my HC to 19.71.  Granted, the course was only 6180 yards, but I (obviously) couldn't break par from the junior tees.  The exciting part was meeting a friend playing with his wife and son at the turn and getting 'in' on their skin game (high stakes - $1/hole).  I managed to steal 3 skins (of a possible 8 - I got in after the first hole) two with birdies and one with a great up and down par.  I didn't feel comfortable over any putt outside 2 feet... I just didn't have a feel for the speed of the greens.  It could be time to trade some money to Doc Cohn for a better brain...
_______________________________________________
 
There's a reason why it's called a shoulder turn, yet all too often I'm a fan of the shoulder fold.  It feels like turn, but it's not (in much the same way a hip slide can feel like a turn.  But it's not.)  Reading about the 'master key' lead me to work on the turn... another thing I need to practice over the winter. 
 
Utilizing the turn and combining it with a synchronized rotation on the downswing provided effortless power - 'set it and forget it' arms and hands was back in action (and apparently the decline in my amount of turn was the issue... or so it would seem).
 
The only downfall to this 'system' is that if I try to "hit" the ball at all I dig an immediate trench that starts before the ball - which I can only assume is because I'm throwing the club and chucking away the clubhead.  I guess if I 'stood up' in time I'd thin it.  At any rate, my primary job should be to capture these eureka moments (as I find I'm coming back to them far too often).
 
But it should come as no surprise that 'recouping' a solid fundamental (like a shoulder turn) should result in a better ball flight.  Heh heh... duh.
_______________________________________________
 
I just finished playing in a 2 man scramble event.  The lesson of the day was ball position, ball position, ball position.  I've been diligently practicing with the Practice Tee to try and ingrain ball position, and it paid off for about 12 holes - some very, very good shots that were only a handful of feet off target (L/R deviant).
 
The trouble started when I started getting sloppy in the preshot routine (any surprise?)  I flared a drive waaay right (first non-laser of the day) and had to use my partners ball which had ended up under some trees.  Needed a low trajectory shot, so I played the ball back (in hindsight, way, way too far back) and promptly topped it so hard there was a 6 inch trench... I'd like to say that I realised that it was ball position and fixed it and went merrily on my way, however it just started a tailspin as my confidence got sapped away.  (Truth be told, on the next shot, I did fix my ball position and hit a beauty!  However I screwed up the alignment part and hit it OB right.  )
 
However, when the ball position was where it should be (using ray's idea of more or less always playing it ~3 inches inside the left heel and adjusting the right foot as necessary) I was hitting it very well.
 
Shoulder turn.  Wrist set.  Alignment.  Ball position.  Synchronized downswing.
 
SWABS
 
These are my critical keys for practice.  Obviously come game time it should simply be ABBA (alignment, ball position, balance, accelerate), but not until the time is put into SWABS. 
 
This padawan is still learning the ways of the force.
_______________________________________________
 
Just a quick note - shoulder alignment is very important.  Chipping around the front lawn, the ball flight follows the shoulders.  Everything was a pull until I closed them, then it was target, target, target.
_______________________________________________
 
Well, I've got a few rounds under my belt now, and the year looks promising.  Shortgame seems to be the limiting factor right now - lots of par putts left as tap in bogeys.  Normally I start the year in the high 90's for a month or two, then get to the low 90's for the other 4 months with an occasional dip into the 80's.
 
This year?  Starting with mid-low 90's... with no touch or feel around the greens.  I'm still struggling to play brainless golf (not trusting the drill work; but 4 years of thinking mechanically is difficult to overcome)... but overall like the progress.
 
Once again I'm learning the importance of a warmup - I've had no warmup for any of the rounds I've played thus far (coincidence, I swear), but about the 30-40 stroke mark, I find I'm feeling better and shots are straightening out and getting more consistent... and it seems there's always little things to remember year after year - like a 3/4 swing will go just as far as a 'full' swing, but fly lower with more spin and better contact.
 
2009 may be the year of the 80's for me, if I can just get over myself.
_______________________________________________
 
Grrr...argh.
 
Well, I find myself in that horrible 'tweener' place.  The place where the swing development has come along enough that the bandaids from the old swing have all fallen off - and don't work anymore.
 
I hit my absolute best shots when I feel as though my head is kept squarely behind the ball.  Especially on short pitches and chips.  If I let my head (and consequently my upper body) move on these shots, it's a disaster.  Pulls, blocks, squirrley low right curving shots...  blech.
 
I guess I'm far from done drilling - time to find a way to 'cement' that head in place behind the ball.
_______________________________________________
 
Tournament time this weekend.
 
Played 9 in the local men's league last night, and have found the 'magic' when I managed a 36 at the same course (even par).
 
Granted, I didn't find the magic until the 6th hole... this is truly a game of opposites.  Stop trying to hammer the ball = ball hammered far and on line.  Setup properly, then focus on where I want to deliver the clubhead to the ball.  It's coming around.
_______________________________________________
 
Well!  It's nice to see I had absolutely nothing to say for a year and a half.  The last post previous to this was the end of June, 2009, just before the Blind River Invitational (in which I didn't play as well as I would have liked, but put it back together the next day and won my flight by retrogression.)  I did manage to break 80 in 2009 shooting a tidy 39/39 with a pair of birds, one front and one back.
 
2009 saw me start the year having come home from the inaugral RST clinic, and drill like a madman and practice my putting until late May when the season started up here.  It paid off as my handicap tumbled from 22.4 to 16.6 with a slew of rounds in the 80's and a stellar 80 (with a back 9 37) on a course I'd never seen before.  Prep and practice a good golfer makes!
 
2010, however, I did very little drilling and even less putting practice - a great reason my my cap only dropped a couple points to 14.5.  It was a tough year of finding the cup, and while I hit great shots more often, there were enough stinkers to keep me from having a real stellar round.
 
Reading my blog again just reinforces for me the brilliance of the RST learning system.  It reads like a homeless drunk rambling about the state of the union while shaking a banana at people.  Perhaps I had nothing to write about in the latter half of 2009 because I was using the blog as a place to keep notes about the swing, about "discoveries" I had made, that kind of thing... and I found the El Dorado of golf instruction - the RST system.  No point in treasure hunting once you've found El Dorado.  Highlights this year didn't include typical milestones - I didn't break 80 again (but did shoot 80 on the number), but I was told by a guy who taught at Royal Montreal that my swing is "Mister Rogers boring - no moving parts, no huge slides or club redirects... nothing good for a teacher to work with.", and again while golfing in Cuba that my game and my swing didn't match (from a fellow from Quebec who had played on the Canadian tour many years ago who had some classic action and has deft touch around the greens).  I had stretches of striking the ball much better than I ever had - thinks I never used to appreciate.  It seems I've finally hit enough balls that I can tell that my striking is off because of the sounds I'm hearing at impact - thuddy or thwacky instead of crisp and clean.
 
Time for the paradox; even though I've found El Dorado, I'm still exploring as it were.  I've spent countless reps drilling move 1, thousands drilling move 2 (although it still doesn't feel right, having some "binding" feeling with rt. forearm rotation following rt. elbow flexion) and I'm not sure I elevate the shoulders enough.  But I've never really worked on move 3 too much - until the last couple days.
 
The net is up and the mat is down and I was hitting some really thwacky shots, knowing I was chopping wood or trying to "sync up" my downswing (a strong theme in earlier blog posts, which, while I was reading, was silently screaming "What are you thinking?!?!") - so I went back, deep into the archives of the rotary swing and dredged up the 'squash the bug' idea.  It would seem that it's the key to my move 3 trigger - planting the left heel (not that it ever leaves the ground).  But it seems to get me grounded and my weight shifted and impact is clean and crisp, and the follow through is pro.
 
I need to find better lighting for the hitting area, then I can post a video.
 
And perhaps I need to post my progress more.
_______________________________________________
 
It seems odd for me to update at this point - Christmas Eve - but if I don't put it down I may have to "rediscover it" again.
 
I've been in the habit of every time I head out to the garage for whatever reason, I grab my 6 iron and go through my PSR and then hit a shot.  Or rather, chunk a shot.  Consistently.  Chunky.  Every time.  So inevitably I'd go back and drill myself to the top and take some video and try to figure out why I was chunking it.  Setup looks good.  Backswing had the hips moving a little early, but not the (apparent) end of the world.  Plane was a little steep coming down (shaft up where the delt meets the bi/tri).  And *chunk*.  I then made a swing and paid attention to my weight.  Outside right heel to outside left toes.  Odd.  Try again, thinking about keeping that weight inside.  No dice.
 
OK.
 
Back to swaying.  OK - weight in my heels (or through my ankles at address).  Good.  Take a swing.  Outside heel to outside toe.  WTF.  Sway some more, double checking that weight.  Review my clinic notes and find a little gem:  Roll the ankles in slightly.  Ah.  Yes.  That. 
 
Sway.
Roll.
Swing.
Pure.
Inside right heel to inside left heel - and effortless.  Big smile
 
Repeat - same result.
 
It's played out now for a couple days - setup, roll, good strike.  Sweet.
_______________________________________________
 
 Time for another post - another "gem".  Cruising the website, enjoying Chuck's swing I noticed his trailing upper arm position at the top, where it was vertical - literally perpendicular to the ground.
 
I wondered how close I was to this, and the answer is:  not even.  Member geronimo offered a reference to the RST manual where Chuck showed how much humerus rotation he had - forearm to darn near 2 o'clock, I couldn't get to 10 minutes past 12.
 
So the work began.  Stretching.  A lot.  Some video, examination.  It turns out that I was adding "right elbow float" to flexion, rotation and shoulder elevation.  Not a lot - a couple inches, maybe 3.  But it became quickly identified as the source of my occasional fat shot that seemingly came "out of nowhere".  I need to take more video to double check my progress - but I can write that I'm definitely hitting the ball better now that my right arm action is limited to flexion and rotation; no more flotation!
 
The ball is now rocketing off the clubface (yes, even into the net) - the impact sound is different, and the ball is also now rocketing out of the net - something it didn't do pre-elbow work.  I'm giving consideration to a helmet and safety glasses.
 
The other thing that's very exciting is that it translates beyond irons (I do most of my work with a 6 and 9 iron) to the driver - just crush after crush, impact feels so pure.
 
So to borrow a page of the drunk, homeless guy:  Roll those ankles, keep that elbow in!
 
_______________________________________________


Edited by LowPost42 - 23 January 2011 at 8:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gwlee7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 September 2008 at 5:20pm
Quote While solid fundamentals help to increase repeatability, I think that simply swinging the club the same way - even if fundamentally poor - doesn't hold one back as much as an inability to focus and a poor mental state
 
Welcome to the real game of golf.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rayvil01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 September 2008 at 11:29pm
Ray had the 'of confidence and ego' post; this was it, fully distilled.  I was confident of my ability to make the putt, confident that my chip shots would land close.  I just 'knew'.  Even when they didn't work out like I saw them in my head, it didn't erode my confidence - I was certain that the next one would indeed go in.

The best feeling and fun of golf is to stand over the ball with that confidence...I think. 

Good for you, LP.  And if CQ says you can go into the 70's, what other authority do you need? 

Winter is coming.  Before it arrives, go out and bend the course to your will for the day.  Who deserves it more than you? 

Regards
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swing_King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2008 at 7:29am
Originally posted by rayvil01 rayvil01 wrote:



The best feeling and fun of golf is to stand over the ball with that confidence...I think. 




No, Ray, the best feeling in golf is to stand over the ball with that confidence and then pull off the shot you had in mind.
12Hcp
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rayvil01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2008 at 1:02pm
Originally posted by Swing_King Swing_King wrote:

Originally posted by rayvil01 rayvil01 wrote:



The best feeling and fun of golf is to stand over the ball with that confidence...I think. 




No, Ray, the best feeling in golf is to stand over the ball with that confidence and then pull off the shot you had in mind.


SK, I'm thinking that the WORST feeling for me personally is to stand over a ball with zero confidence.  So, this is the opposite.  When I'm playing really well, that great result is less, "WOW" and more like, "But, of course."...and I'm immediately into the next shot or I'm checking out the scenery and chilling while walking to the next shot. 

But, I'm sure that "best" and "worst" feelings in golf are totally individual. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swing_King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 September 2008 at 1:09pm
True, Ray, true. I'm coming from the perspective that pulling a shot off that you've seen and have total confidence will happen is the best feeling because it's the closest to pure Zen or Mushin. It may not give the biggest emotional hit, but it is the most satisfying at a deeper level.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LowPost42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 September 2008 at 8:33pm
I'm not sure which is better - to edit my first post or make repeated ones... perhaps I'll do both for a while, and see how the first post reads.
 
At any rate, I just finished reading The Thin Green Line - JP Newport's year long journey from a 3 capper to his attempt at Q school.
 
Perhaps I simply need to realise that this is a game.  I went to the range today and played a little game - the game was to simply swing as smoooooooth as I could while keeping both feet planted and to note how the ball flight was.  That was the only thing to focus on:  being smooth in my rotation through the ball.  No mechanical thoughts, no manipulations, no tinkering, just simple takeaway and smoooooth on through with feet planted.
 
I did pretty good at this game - after a while I got away from the game (swinging quickly, aggressively) but I noticed how my directional control was vastly improved at seemingly no loss of distance...
 
I'm not looking for a magic bullet, but you can probably guess how I'm going to approach my ballstriking over the few remaining rounds of the waning Canadian season...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LowPost42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2008 at 6:25pm
Played a course with rock-hard greens and managed to shoot an 87 (70/136 rating/slope).  Dropped my HC to 19.71.  Granted, the course was only 6180 yards, but I (obviously) couldn't break par from the junior tees.  The exciting part was meeting a friend playing with his wife and son at the turn and getting 'in' on their skin game (high stakes - $1/hole).  I managed to steal 3 skins (of a possible 8 - I got in after the first hole) two with birdies and one with a great up and down par.  I didn't feel comfortable over any putt outside 2 feet... I just didn't have a feel for the speed of the greens.  It could be time to trade some money to Doc Cohn for a better brain...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LowPost42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2008 at 5:20pm
There's a reason why it's called a shoulder turn, yet all too often I'm a fan of the shoulder fold.  It feels like turn, but it's not (in much the same way a hip slide can feel like a turn.  But it's not.)  Reading about the 'master key' lead me to work on the turn... another thing I need to practice over the winter. 
 
Utilizing the turn and combining it with a synchronized rotation on the downswing provided effortless power - 'set it and forget it' arms and hands was back in action (and apparently the decline in my amount of turn was the issue... or so it would seem).
 
The only downfall to this 'system' is that if I try to "hit" the ball at all I dig an immediate trench that starts before the ball - which I can only assume is because I'm throwing the club and chucking away the clubhead.  I guess if I 'stood up' in time I'd thin it.  At any rate, my primary job should be to capture these eureka moments (as I find I'm coming back to them far too often).
 
But it should come as no surprise that 'recouping' a solid fundamental (like a shoulder turn) should result in a better ball flight.  Heh heh... duh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hayes959 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2008 at 12:25pm
LP42,
 
Good blog and thanks for sharing your golf life.  Just a few comments.
 
In your original post you mentioned just knowing it was going in the hole.  Two times over the last month, including yesterday, I had putts that I just knew were going draino.  The putting lines were clear and the hole looked like a bucket.  I walked up to the 11th green to mark my ball yesterday, peeked a the line and instantly read about a 6" break and knew I would make it.  Birdie from about 14'.  I had 4 putts like that yesterday, just knowing it was going in.  I made three and burned an edge with too much speed on a downhiller.  What has led to this?  I have been real busy over the last month and haven't played, nor practiced much.  No expectations and I am looking forward to just getting out and playing golf.
 
You also mentioned just chilling out while practice and swinging smooth.  I am returning to my old club next year and one of the reasons is because there is a core group of guys who like to practice and just mess around on the range and the practice area.  Last week, my friend and I played this game chipping to a hole about 25 ft away.  Each ball was worth 10 cents and we alternated shots until one of use holed the shot.  the loser had to pay up 10 cents for each shot we missed in total.  It cost me $6.10.  We just played a game without grinding on mechanics.  this past Sunday we were on the range hitting wedges over the trees to a blue flag on the practice green.  Just grown men activing like young boys.  that stuff works.  Play games and improve mentally and mechanically.
 
Again.  thanks for posting.
 
 
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