Another Set of Eyes
The Texas State Senior Open is in town this week, so I'm getting to see some old friends from the club pro ranks, as well as tour players like Mark Brooks, Ronnie Black and others. To watch these guys in their 50s and 60s hit shots with such ease and precision is inspiring, to say the least.
At the same time, I'm shaking off the rust from my 2-1/2 month layoff since mid-August, as we have our season ending Member/Member tournament next weekend, and my perennial partner was curious whether I had any intention of practicing or playing before our first round. So, I've been making my daily afternoon sabbatical to the range to hit 2-300 balls to re-acquaint myself with my golf swing. The hardest thing for me is to get back to my transition rhythm, and s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.
Anyway, I was working through my range balls yesterday, looking for my triggers and re-connection, when Shawn MacDonald came up and asked if he could make an observation. I knew Shawn when he was a teenager shop assistant at the country club back in the 70s, when I played with his dad. He's a club professional up in the Texas panhandle now. Shawn pointed out that I was moving off the ball in the backswing, which was putting me out of position to make the forward swing I know. Voila!! Another set of eyes saw something I could not feel, and I began making crisper and more solid contact.
Then we got into a deep dive into Hogan's pivot and back to my roots learning from "Five Lessons" and "Power Golf", but that's another story.
What I'm trying to convey to all of you here is that the golf swing ... your golf swing ... is a constantly changing animal. It is for golfers of all skill levels. That's why tour players go through streaks, just like the rest of us. But they always keep another set of eyes close by to help them figure out where they went wrong.
If playing good golf is important to you, find someone who cares about your golf and knows your swing, and work with them enough to have them be your "other set of eyes". Preferably your golf professional, of course.
It will make "finding it again" much easier when you cycle through those "lost it" periods.
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It's so rare that I run into anybody who could make such an observation (for free anyway). I need to find a way to be around better and more observant players. My body awareness is good, and I wouldn't mind input - it wouldn't screw me up to make adjustments.
@onedollarwed: But on the other hand...isn't unsolicited advice usually poorly received? I know that's usually because it's poor advice, but my point is more that people with good advice might be reticent to speak up, not because they won't get paid, but because they don't want to be thought of as an ass.
2-300 balls a day? Whoa! My coach recently referred me to a book "Practice to Learn Play to Win" by Mark Guadagnoli from UNLV. The emphasis is quality practice, with fewer balls, and more thought in between to promote better learning: more effective practice. I have found this to be a huge help especially with tempo - it might help your transition Terry. If I get through 60 balls in less than 50 minutes - I give my session a fail.
Kurt the Knife says:
"... your golf swing ... is a constantly changing animal."
Kinda like mine is like...did you ever see the movie "The Thing"?
@jpj; So true! ...and a funny thing happened out on the course today. I was paired with two other guys sharing a cart; one had just bought a dozen "like new" balls at the counter before I checked in (is that two bad signs: young guys (around 30) getting a cart and buying so many balls?) Anyway, with some luck I parred the first five holes. And so one guy asks me to watch him while he swings and not to be shy: just tell him how to fix it. They were spraying it all over on the way to losing about a dozen balls each. So I watch from behind to start, and I can see that his alignment is way off: one hole way left, the next way right. When he aligns way left-massive slice: aligns way right, smother-hook. One time from about 90 yards out, he aligned so far right, that he's not even facing the green - comes over the top and grounds it left of the green! Anyway, I offer to help him align straight - which he readily accepts. Now at least we can start to read the ball.
Anyway, he doesn't even know what ball position is and as JPJ would predict, I can't really help him because there are too many things going on. I explain to him why his ball is hooking and slicing (the physics of club face angle and spin), which he is really happy to understand, but is helpless to control his body or ball position. His vision is horrible and he has forgot his glasses and so can't even find his shots - or see his ball flight!!! His back is awful from injuries and he has no tempo. So his buddy keeps telling him to remember how he played a couple of week ago - the SoCo swing. I mean holy crap, I'm so sick of this lameness on the course. And his buddy was sprayin' and prayin' the whole way too! This is what has happened to golf! One guy had been great basketball player, and the other is currently a top high school football coach in the state, and this is all they can manage. Mind you, not beginners at all... eeesh!
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