Searching for the "Lost Swing"
It's the time of the year where many of us have gotten heavy into the spring season, looking forward to the summer season where we can really begin to make improvement and enjoy the game more than ever. Then, out of the blue, our swing just seems to disappear. It happens, to be sure, and this topic is in response to a plea for help from John B. in Minnesota, who wrote:
"What advice would you give a 9.5 handicapper who has just "lost" his swing? It's gone - can't find it anywhere. Can hit a dozen 7-irons in a row without repeating the same ball flight or distance. Switch to a hybrid? Draw, push slice, fat, thin. Driver? Fuggedaboudit! A lesson or two with a pro is definitely in the cards, but how do you clear the mind when you're on the range and you feel like selling your clubs to the teen-ager hitting next to you?"
Don't lose hope John, The Wedge Guy is here to try to help you. If you’ve been playing to a 9.5, chances are you didn’t just magically forget how to swing a golf club. What is more likely happening is a chain of events that has led to your despair. It happens to all of us. How did David Duval go from #1 in the world to being unable to break 80. Ian Baker-Finch went from British Open champ to being unable to break 90! As I’m consistently saying, this dang game is H-A-R-D !!

To get it back, you need to go back to the basics, and by that I mean work from the green backward. You didn’t mention whether you had lost your chipping and pitching skill, but go back there. There really isn’t much difference between hitting half wedges and full swing 6-irons. The mechanics through the impact zone are the same. So, get that pitching or gap wedge and review your mechanics while hitting 30-50 yard soft pitches.

Check ball position, posture, grip pressure, alignment. Usually, one of those is the culprit when you just “lose it”. Pay close attention to all those basics that happen before the swing starts. As you get your confidence back, begin hitting quality soft shots with paced (no more than 60% power) full swings. As that feels comfortable and you gain consistency, you can gradually and slowly work your way back up to full power.

I think it was Bobby Jones or Harvey Penick who advised: One bad round, forget it. Two bad rounds, go practice. Three bad rounds, see your pro. Not bad advice at all.

My dad had more sage advice for me when I would go south with my game as a teenager and young adult. He’d calmly tell me, “There’s nothing wrong with your game another 5,000 practice balls won’t fix.” And I still find that to be true. When a part of my game begins to slip away from me, I head to the range or practice green and grind away.

Let us know how it works out, John. Don’t force it, just go back to basics and work your way back. And I hope you enjoy that new EIDOLON wedge you just won for turning to The Wedge Guy for help.
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[ comments ]
GolfSmith7 says:
I have been doing this for a couple of weeks by keeping a journal of every thing in my game. By journaling it's lead me to a more focused practice and better results. I pay attention to the basics and it makes for me the difference.
legitimatebeef says:
I'm currently rehabilitating my swing after it fell apart recently. For me it was mainly about taking a hard unsparing look at my grip fundamentals. I really had to come down hard on myself. Some harsh unpleasant things were brought to light but its for my own good. My address position was a joke, meaning it wasn't truly solid and square. The clubface looking square at address don't necessarily mean jack squat.

For me the ideal grip is one that lets me rotate my whole being through the ball as hard as I want while delivering the club right back to its square address position. No flipping, no manipulation, no worries about timing the release, etc. This proper grip isn't the most instinctive feel, and if I don't work to maintain it I can lose it over time. But with a real proper grip so much of the swing becomes a no-brainer.
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
I don't know if anyone else has this problem but, I'll go a few weeks hittin my longer clubs excellent and my short clubs horrilbe then vice versa. Does anyone else have this problem? It seems to me it has to be something simple. I even go thru a 1 or 2 week period with a bad case of the "S" word every year. Makes no sense to me.
dartboss04 says:
i'll have a day where i lose it completely...i think sometimes it's just mental, and for me if it's going really bad it can snowball...i've been trying to really put bad holes into perspective and move on, but it's easier said than done...i've had a couple rounds this year where i've almost completely lost it, but salvaged the round on the back 9...

@bake_dawg...that's definitely happened for me...i've lost my driver for the last couple the point where i was at the range just hitting driver after driver the same crappy way about a week ago...i'm fighting a leg injury right now otherwise i'd probably be out there today trying to work through it...

i find it hard to fire on all cylinders...there's always one piece not quite there...when everything aligns it's amazing and i think that's what is so frustrating the other 95% of the time...
stedar says:
Yep yep yep yearp
Go back to basics, practice with hitting 1/2 wedge shots...

...That is definitely where I need to go. All the range practice hitting driver and fairway woods is great exercise, does nothing for reducing short game errors which cost a lot more shots than a wayward drive. I need to forget about trying to hit the driver as long as possible, and work on approach shots landing on, or at least, closer to the green. Get rid of 3-putting and get the up and down more accurate, so it is a chip and putt, if not a chip in.

I finally figured out that it is not how far one hits the ball, but how many times one hits the ball that counts.

The swing is about basics, the hitting it as hard as you can is about mental slowness :-)

Great advice Terry - keep it coming...
windowsurfer says:
I like practice and don't mind grinding it out. However, sometimes a change seems to help me. Change tees, golf course or time of day; play in a scramble or play fourball; play with a Sunday-bag of 6 or so clubs; etc. Not too scientific, but maybe a mental release that returns you to good basics, without trying to do so.
DCB63 says:
I couldn't agree more...yesterday after 17 holes with 76 strokes I was teeing off the par 5 18th. It's a steep downhill dogleg right that you only need to fade it slightly to set yourself up on a nice 230 flat to the green. I already had 1 bird on the day and was swinging pretty good for a bogey golfer....and I completely missed the t-ball. I didn't even count it as I lost my drive with a Rory like pull hook and ended up with a 7. Just when you think it's clear sailing...
barbajo says:
Thanks for the tips! Did play in a scramble on Monday which took the pressure off and was able to hit the ball reasonably. I think a couple of days off will be good, then back to the range and work on the fundamentals. Keep up the great blog - will keep you up to date on the journey back - and thanks for the wedge -- looking forward to playing it!
larrynjr says:
I finally bit the bullet and signed up for some lessons with one of the local pro's. I was more relaxed playing last night and shot "ok", for me. But I know I can play better, I have before. I want to get back there again!
barbajo says:
Tips have helped -- practiced with easy wedges, got into a groove and started making consistent contact again. Even rediscovered my long lost draw. On the range, that is. On the course, not so much. Have found that there are very few nice flat spots on the course...

But we're getting there...thanks everyone! Every golfer needs a support group!
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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