Finding my old ball flight pattern and how it can help you.

First, a description of how I used to hit the ball. For the last 10-12 years I have played some good golf and some great golf, but it was all manufactured and my feel was not good. When I shot low, it was lots of straight shots, no ability to control a draw and a complete inability to hit a cut. Mos really low rounds were due to great short game days.

When I was at my best in the best part of my career, I would set up at the target, start the ball right of it and the ball would either go dead straight, or draw perfectly at the target. Actually, my best rounds were the days were the ball never turned over at all. When that shot didn’t fit, I would aim left and play a cut. Just like the draw, the best shots would go straight and the ones that cut would end up perfect. In other words, the shots that ended up close, were slight mistakes. When I was hitting the ball 10-15 feet to the fat side of the green all day, I went low.

Kind of like a line drive hitter in baseball making a mistake and hitting a home run.

The problem with me in those days was I was plenty good enough to win on Tour, but not good enough in my approach to make it through Q-school. I know that makes no sense, but I could shoot 10-20 under par for 4 days on any course when I was on, but did not have the management skills to whiff it around for 72 when I was having a bad day.

Anyway, that was the ball flight I have been looking for for a long time and it dawned on me Friday why I haven’t been able to produce it for years. That is the time frame where I have been manipulating the club into positions and trying to consciously sequence body moves.

THAT DOESN’T WORK!!!!!!! DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I went out to hit balls Friday and worked on keeping my rear foot square. I still kept kept feeling out of sync and stuck and remembered something Steve Bishop said about my swing. My shoulders were open at impact. In other words, they had turned too much toward the target by the time I had hit the ball and he was totally right, as I could feel it. I wasn’t aware of it until it was pointed out, I just knew it felt bad. That told me my shoulder turn going back was short compared to the length of my backswing. In other words, too much control in my arms and hands.

I then saw someone I knew who was working on restricting his hip turn. I told him that even Jim McLean has admitted that is balderdash and imitated the massive hip turn of Bobby Jones for him.

Low and behold I felt really free, my shoulders didn’t feel open at impact and my lower body fired on the downswing as it hadn’t done in several years…which allowed everything to sync up.

I thought it over and several things dawned on me. Through all of these years of trying BS mainstream golf techno garbage, it had become habit even though I no longer try these things, nor do they seem apparent in my swing at first glance. Instead of making a free shoulder turn, I subtly “put” the club in each position of the back swing. That very subtly cut my shoulder turn down in relation to my hands and arm swing and that is why I go too far inside initially and lift to keep it on plane. So even if I make a decent downswing, I am going to be out of position and out of sync. I also tried the Jim Mclean hip restriction nonsense for a year and that also didn’t allow my shoulders to turn freely…and that bad habit stuck with me…because I didn’t reverse the process.

These things are all fine if I want to be the club Champion at a local course, but not fine if I still want to play golf for a living. I need to free myself up even if some of the things might not be “correct.”

Here is the key for improvement at all levels. In order to attain your own personal, natural free swing, you must do one thing. Reverse the process of all the bad habits you plagued yourself with. Some are self inflicted, while others were introduced by an outside agency and then self inflicted. ūüėÄ

As you saw in my video from a few weeks ago, every time I have really tried to make a good shoulder turn (the cliche of getting your back to the target), I always end up over rotating and can’t get back to the ball.

That’s where squaring up the rear foot came in.

So today, after imitating Jones’ free hip turn, I put the other two pieces of the puzzle together and got my old ball flight pattern back. I could also control trajectory really well, which I used to have trouble doing. I had freed myself up.

I hit a bunch of great wedges in a row, some nice 5-irons and some 2-irons that went about 240-250 that never got above the tree line at the end of the range when I tried to keep the flight down.

Then the driver came out and I hit several nice 300 yard drives with soft draws. I then really stepped on the next two and I got some jaws to drop from the guy I was talking to and another guy hitting next to me. These were bombs that were low penetrating BB’s and I have no idea far how they went as they were still bounding with quite a bit of steam when they reached the tree line at the end of the range. The tees were all the way back and after hitting balls at the range for the last 10 years, I don’t remember hitting balls with that much heat into the trees with the tees all the way back, unless there was a serious downwind.

Even if the swing I used Friday isn’t totally perfect and has some “flaws,” it doesn’t matter as I am freed up and it is close to the right swing for me. When I give lessons, all I do is make SUGGESTIONS on how I think each student can free themselves up and find their own best personal swing.

I wouldn’t mess with Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson or Ricky Fowler. I wouldwant videos of their swing from the past and when they struggled, look for what was different.

Two things. One, I am obviously excited because this is a long time coming. Two, one good range session does not equal a revival of my career. I need to groove these habits and learn to trust them as old bad habits will creep back in under pressure easier that it is to goad me into a rant about Hank Haney and Dave Pelz.

I also went over to the chipping green and this improvement in shoulder turn helped my pitching and chipping just as much. DUH!!!! Again…

Now onto how this affects the world at large, as some thoughts occurred to me on why ams get locked up.

I am going to have a post and video about “inside/out” and “keeping the club in front of you” and this is on topic. Some of what follows is a bit technical, but I will simplify it in the later posts.

If you try too hard to swing inside/out, your arms/hands will start your takeaway too far inside and you are dead. You will either have to reroute over the top or lift the arms to set the club in a good position. Both of these are equally bad as your lower body will not work well if either of these takeaways happen and your shoulder turn will be short compared to the rest of your swing. I do not try to swing inside/out, but my takeaway was an inside and lift for many years now.

If you make a good shoulder turn and your arms work properly with the shoulder turn, the body will work together in sync and the club will attack the ball at the proper angle.

I will go more into all of these subjects and how it can help you in the posts and videos of the next two days.

As I have said many times. I am never talking down to anyone. I know most of what I write as I have had the problems as well.

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9 Comments

  1. banchiline

    Another good one Monte . I have a question .

    Your quote…….” If you make a good shoulder turn and your arms work properly with the shoulder turn, the body will work together in sync and the club will attack the ball at the proper angle.”

    In your opinion what do the arms have to do to work “properly with the shoulder turn” ?

    Reply
  2. Calvin D

    Monte,

    Did you get video of that session? If not you’d better get it while you’ve “got it”.

    An aside: You have helped my game immensely, especially the inside and lift, and the inside and
    over the top videos where I saw myself clearly in both cases. Tough habits to break but I started trying to take it back a little above the plane (weird feeling at first) and suddenly I’m playing actual golf.

    Reply
  3. s.

    Here’s what I like about this post. Everything:

    “BS mainstream golf techno garbage:

    “1) Too much control in my arms and hands, manipulating the club into positions, and trying to consciously sequence body moves.

    “2) Restricting hip turn is balderdash. I need to free myself up. ”

    *

    I’ll tell you one way I freed myself up. A long time ago, Rocky Thompson was doing a mini-lesson for Golf Channel. He began talking about the golfing great George Knudson, a past PGA Tour pro from Canada. I remember seeing Knudson play only once–when he won on Shell’s Wonderful World. Knudson had a somewhat unique swing, but it featured a lot of free hip-turn (NOT by thinking about turning hips.)

    Anyway, Rocky continues that all George Knudson ever said about the swing was Right-Heel-Left-Toe. It finally dawned on me that Knudson was setting up with RHLT as his backswing balance. Your friend Pavlet has said that all he ever thinks about is staying balanced.

    Now, if I set up thinking RHLT, and if I make a real swing without trying to manipulate anything at all, my swing is going on the inside path, and I am also getting out of my own way on the backswing. And, with that balance, I’m ready to go forward with the downswing.

    And, I found out that it works with chips too. As a result, the only thing I ever have to think about with my lower body is RHLT, and I’m DONE. (On the downswing, the balance reverses, but it happens too quickly to think about.)

    Then, all I have to do is making a real SWING without trying to manipulate body parts–just like you said.

    Reply
  4. s.

    P.S.

    With Right-Heel-Left-Toe, it threw me off for a while wondering if Knudson was talking about a “particular” toe. Actually, “toe” is just everything forward of the instep, the ftont part of the foot.

    Reply
  5. s.

    P.P.S.

    I’ll try to embed a George Knudson clip:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKDmsI5wWvM&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    Reply
    • Steve Bishop

      Heh. This video is a great find.

      I have been saying for years that there is a pivot point in the back-swing and a pivot point in the front swing. It’s great to see someone from long ago who is recognized as a great player and teacher who essentially is saying the exact same thing counter the this recent “Hooey” regarding hip turn.

      Turn around a stable right leg, then shift forward with the lower body to get the left leg planted, and turn around a stable left leg. It’s not hard really. People “stupidify” it all the time. If you can walk you should be able to make this move.

      Reply
    • Steve Bishop

      Also, notice how his front foot stays FLAT on the ground for the finish.

      Reply
  6. Walter Nizza

    Hey Monty thats right out of Ben Hogans FIVE LESSONS WRITTEN in 1957

    Reply

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