It’s universal

When you make a change for the better, there are some immediate timing issues and it can be painful.

When you fix something in your swing, the compensation you used to have to make up for that flaw, now creates…a terrible shot.

I have had slow moving hips and a bit of early extension for years. It’s a result of a slightly too vertical shoulder turn…and at the speeds I create, that can be problematic….DUH!!!!

Last week I had an excellent range session where I had a few “A-HA” moments with some feels. I know what results I wanted, but have been searching much of the second half of the season for a feel that gets me there.

After that excellent range session, I played Tuesday and yesterday, with some great and comical results juxtaposed.

I hit some of the most perfect shots I have ever hit. One was a 215 yard 5-iron that drew a few yards to about 3 feet into a NASTY pin position on a real tough par-3.

It’s obviously a nice result, but more importantly, my body told me the action was perfect. I can hit great shots with some terrible looking moves, but the feel of the swing told me everything lined up. The same could be said on 18, when I hit a 280 yard 3 wood, over water to about 20 feet to a pin that was 10 feet from the water. Same feel.

Yesterday I hit a 6-iron to about 8 feet on a par-5, to again, a really nasty pin, from a lie with the ball below my feet in the rough…and a 350 yard drive that I turned perfectly around a corner into a fairway that is nearly impossible to hit with a drive over 290 (would not hit that shot in a tournament, but I love to use this tee shot on this course to test my swing). It was late in the day and in the cold and I was trying to show off for some important gents who were in the group behind me and had come up on the tee.

I have hit many shots in my life as good as those four, but the feedback I got from my feel was something I haven’t experienced in a long time.

These four shots were more a result of my swing lining up correctly and feeling right, versus just pure skill…which I have relied on for far too long…and that is why I have struggled. To be even a Nationwide tour level golfer, you have to have skill and you need your swing to hold up for more than 5 holes. I have always had the former and have not had the latter in quite some time.

I believe that is changing.

I hit many other solid shots those two rounds and you are now asking yourselves why I am bragging about how great I am and not getting to the topic of the day.

Well…LOL…as great as those shots were, I had some equally poor ones when things didn’t line up and my feel ran off the tracks with this change.

In both rounds I chunked wedge shots on consecutive holes more than 40 yards short.

Three of the shots were around 90-100 yards from the fairway and one was from about 120 in the light rough. I hit all four so fat, I had 30-40 yards left.

Just layed the sod right over them. What happened? I got the club in a different (albeit better) position than I am used to and my swing and feel gave me the finger.

Several drives, especially yesterday, I hit in the middle of the club face around 260-270…which is 40-60 yards shorter than I usually hit the ball…and they were also not straight.

When you make a change, it is going to mess with your feel and timing, but it doesn’t matter what level you are at, your feel will tell you it’s right and it won’t feel that nasty when you hit a bad shot, it will just feel awkward.

That is a subtle difference, but I try and help my students distinguish between nasty and awkward feels.

The best way I can describe the difference is this. If you hit a bad shot and you feel like a folded up lawn chair trapped inside a phone booth…probably doing something bad with your swing.

If it didn’t feel all that bad, it just felt like you had no clue where the club was and you didn’t know what to do with yourself…that is the affect a change is having on your feel.

The telling part is if it feels like everything just lined up perfectly and you made an effortless move and hit a shot better than even your normally best shots…there is a very good change and your change has you on the right track…even if you dig a hole to Mauritius on the very next swing.

Good changes will feel good when you do them right. Bad changes will feel bad even when you hit good shots.




  1. Calvin

    “Good changes will feel good when you do them right. Bad changes will feel bad even when you hit good shots.”

    I’m familiar with that. Most of us are too impatient with good changes. I have just changed something and think it’s a good change because impact and ball flight feel so right; I’m turning my left elbow and belly button through the ball in concert and fairly close proximity and holding the left arm in abeyance from going off on its own. A few bad shots will probably send me scrambling through my swing crack cabinet.

    • Calvin

      This may seem like swing crack but it is simply an outgrowth of my close attention to the rhythm and release drill and its feels and action.

  2. Wally

    The Chinese can keep their big name drivers. I am the proud owner of a custom built persimmon driver by Louisville Golf yep, made in the fourteenth state of the good old U. S. of A.. And I can hit it just as far as the big name driver. When asked what it was, I said “a real golf club”

    • Calvin

      Wally, those Louisville’s are beautious. I will have one at some point.

  3. rojoass

    I don’t wanna start somethin but at what point does one determine when simple instruction has turned into a swingcrack addiction? (for them)

    I suppose everyones answer is different. I’ve found over the years most are in denial & need an intervention. I had my own intervention but it’s too long of a story to tell here.

    I’m amazed at the abundance of swingcrack around. Anyone can take a hit from the pipe anywhere , anytime. And never play better.

    That’s the sad part. Think about it……… you hit the pipe for years & let’s say you “finally” figure out what’s best for yer DNA so you decide to “swing this way or that way” & when you hit a bad shot you just go “oh well………I just didn’t execute my gig that time”.

    That’s cool. Problem is by that time it’s too damn late to learn how to play.

    • woody

      “at what point does one determine when simple instruction has turned into a swingcrack addiction?”

      When they regularly read or contribute to Manzella’s forum?

      Or (and most of the golfing world will probably disagree with me) when they start trying to control the club instead of their body.

      • Ron

        Well said Woody!

  4. rojoass

    I like that Woody. Yer right.

    And come to think of it (since you brought it up) I have for some time now……..been completely unaware of the club in my hands. It’s all about what my bod is doing. Arms & hands responding.

    I’ve never played better & with less stress.

    • woody

      Congratulations on kicking the swing crack.

  5. Jason

    Woody, about persimmon drivers, Greg Norman was regarded as one of the best drivers of all time, long and straight right up until the advent of forgiving metal drivers. He had a huge advantage that was taken away with modern equipment. Why is it that have have easier to hit clubs yet the average handicap is the same? Is it more golfers playing than ever, maybe with easier clubs we try to do too much?

    • Calvin

      Maybe it’s this; I can and will shoot 78-85 from blue, white, senior or even ladies tees.
      Distance is really, truly not a factor and so modern equipment is not really a factor.


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