More on yesterday’s topic

On Sunday, I watched ams of different skill levels hit balls to an approximately 150 pin.

Here is what I observed…and it meshed with what I have observed for 30 years.

Golfers that are around 10 handicaps hit less than 1 out of 10 that land within 10 feet and hit more than half that land outside 40 feet.

Golfers that are over 20 handicaps basically have to get lucky to hit a ball that lands with 20 feet of the hole.

I am not just talking about left and right. Overall distance from the hol

The odds of golfers at these skill levels hitting a ball online and the actual distance they think they hit it and hit it solid enough to hit the ball that distance is small.

“Yes Monte, we know we suck, stop being such a jerk and telling us how bad we are and actually make a point.”

I am glad you are all thinking that, because I have an answer.

Because golfers have such skewed expectations of what they should be accomplishing on each individual shot, they ruin their swings and golf games.

You hear golfers that shoot 85 giving personal stats that would lead the PGA Tour.

I once had a guy tell me he needed a 4 degree driver because he hit the ball too high. I told him it was probably a swing issue or setup issue and his response was, “I know I am handsy, but I carry it 290 and I hit 80% of fairways, so I don’t want to change my swing.”

I played with him and he carried it about 230 and hit 4 fairways on a wide open course that I hit 13 of 14 on.

One of my closest friends got down to a 5 and I once measured his expectation on each individual shot and he would have shot somewhere in the mid 50’s had he met those expectations.

“OK, Monte, you know everything and we know nothing. Please impart us with your genius, oh all knowing Oz.”

I know I often come off that way, but it not from a place of arrogance or superiority. It is from a place of personal failure and frustration for all of us.

…and here is the point.

Golfers using such ridiculous expectations end up thinking they need to adjust their swing after each “unexpected” non perfect shot they hit.

I have proven to students over and over again. Good shots and bad shots are nearly the same swing. The body sequenced in a slightly different manner, but look the same…and essentially are the same. Changes take weeks and months to become apparent to the naked eye.

All that being said, adjusting your swing after each bad shot (even if the self diagnosis wasn’t horribly incorrect in most cases), is chasing windmills.

It is no less ridiculous than taking out your wrench and closing the face on your adjustable driver after spraying your first drive to the right.

You get better by repeating the same swing and accepting it will hit bad shots sometimes (actually often, not adjusting your swing each time you don’t hole out from the fairway.

Working on something so you can improve is one thing, but when I watch a student hit 5 great shots in a row and hit one ball a hair fat and left and ask me why that happened, I empathize with those who commit murder suicides.

The worst offender of today’s rant…is yours truly.

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17 Comments

  1. Robert Johansson

    I had 5 different swings when I competed.
    still played great for me. its the Indian.
    I play 18 tomorrow as my home course opens up finally.
    Golf is scoring, swing is what it is.

    Reply
  2. banner12

    And on the other hand, sometimes it’s not the swing or the sequencing, but the movement. Get slightly in front of the ball with the same swing and you have a push/push slice.

    Hit it ever so slightly off center and you’re 2 clubs short.

    That’s why I always wondered why irons are so small. Make them over-sized with a super large sweet spot and watch consistency improve.

    Reply
  3. woody

    “Make them over-sized with a super large sweet spot and watch consistency improve.”

    –Couldn’t disagree more. Hand-eye coordination is the only thing that will give you solid contact. With a big head, you confuse your eye, making it harder for your eye to determine the sweet-spot.

    And, you add air resistance.

    Conceivably, a big head might help if you’re trying to steer the club. By not trusting your unconscious mechanism, you’re more likely to miss, and the big head might at least get you a piece of the ball.

    Reply
      • woody

        I guess if game-improvement clubs gave somebody confidence, theoretically they could help. However, I believe that it would mostly be people fooling themselves to justify the expense of the new clubs.

        This was from a blog called The Wedge Guy (Edilon golf?):

        “Perimeter weighting can only effect bad hits, not bad swings–but amateurs find thousands of ways to get the club back to the ball. In their game, bad contact is the result of swing variations. A little outside the line here, inside the line there, over the top, too much hand action, etc.

        “Bad shots are caused by bad swings, not bad hits. Your pushes are caused by inside-out swing path, not a toe hit. Your pulls are caused by outside-in paths, not heel hits. Your hooks by a rotating clubface at impact, your slices by a glancing blow with an open face.

        “However, for testing clubs, Iron Byron makes a fundamentally perfect swing every time. To test off-center hits, the researchers simply move the ball so that impact is made on various points around the face. Never an over the top move … never an over-rotation of the hips… never a handsy slap at the ball … never anything but a perfect and repeating swing. WELL, THAT ISN’T THE WAY YOU MIS-HIT GOLF SHOTS.” (emphasis his)

        Reply
      • Robert Johansson

        some companies build clubs with extra confidence. Going Pro ask your wife first…your body and hands and brain needs feedback, a better clubhead allows that which a game improved club does not.

        Reply
      • banner12

        LOL! Anyone who thinks game improvement clubs make people worse has never played with forged blades and persimmon woods.

        Reply
  4. Jason

    It’s such a mind game. There is one thing that actually helps. Target focus. Think about what you want to do in the shot (Draw/Fade) Set up for that then only focus on where to start the ball, nothing else. No swing thoughts, no positional thoughts, just the target and swing in that direction. Misses come from blacking out on that focus during the swing by swing distrations. I challenge people here to give this a go next time on the range or during a rounds. I think Monte would benefit so much from this. I know I dont have the talent to break 80 but target focus for me is the difference between shooting ine the 80s and shooting in the 90s. Imagine what it can do for a pro like Monte. Having said that, I’m very happy to be anywhere on the green from 150 out to be honest, anything closer is a bonus. I also think game improvement clubs are for peole that dont play much at all. If you play regularly, I don’t think it matters what you use. You still have the same sweet spot. I know it doesn’t matter for me. I think forgiving clubs allows you to miss bigger if you ask me because the off centre shots fly further.

    Reply
    • Robert Johansson

      correct, swing to target is really simple and will cure any swingcrackers.

      Reply
  5. Marshall

    That is why the average handicaps for amateurs have not changed for 25 years and these adjustable clubs will do far more damage than good. In the hands of the average golfer it is a disaster. 90% of golfers and fishermen inflate their performance.

    Reply
  6. Marshall

    I agree with the comment on the game improvement clubs…and have tested on myself by have several different 5 irons with at the range. When I am hitting it well they all work and when the swing is sour they all suck.

    Reply
  7. Andrew from Addis

    Game improvement clubs improve little but well fit clubs improve a lot. I am truly amazed at how many people use stiff or extra stiff shafts (I use a 6.5 Project X, I am a real man :-)) that they can hardly bend over their knees far less when swinging.

    Hitting easy with low expectations but high confidence is the way to be more consistent and to get a few withing 30 feet.

    When asked what is the worst part of my game I always answer my brain simply because I do not practise what I preach (Properly fit clubs aside).

    Reply
  8. Jason

    Fully agree about shafts. What is worse is driver loft. Most need more. Depending on swing speed there is a point of diminshing returns with the irons too. A lot of people will not hit a 3 or 4 iron any further than a 5 iron.

    Reply
    • Andrew from Addis

      I think the diminishing returns with the irons depends on the person. I love and always have loved long irons. When I was in my thirties I carried a driver and 1 iron to lob wedge. Everyone always used to sat “Only God can hit a one iron”. That made me feel pretty good 🙁

      Now that I carry 3 woods I have tried replacing 3 & 4 with hybrids but found teh returns very limited.

      Reply
  9. Jason

    I have a friend that can hit a 1 iron. I have done it a few times, but it’s tough. With the irons it boils down to swing speed. I use 3 and 4 hybrids myself though. Sometimes I even use a 7 wood for fun. I can only imagine the looks on people’s face when you cracked that 1 iron down the middle LOL.

    Reply
  10. Andrew from Addis

    Was just thinking….

    You measured shots that got inside 10 feet from 150 yards. I was thinking inside 10 yards. I have a simple rule: from 220 to 100 yards get it inside 10% of shot length and do not miss on the bad side. I would be satisfied with the 40 feet shots – I know I can two putt and walk away with par. As I said in another reply “have low expectations”. Any ten handicapper who expects to put a 150 yard shot inside 10 feet is living in a Kim Jong Il golf world.

    Inside 100 yards standards need to go up but not to an expectation of 6-8 feet.

    Reply
  11. Jason

    LOL Andrew. I have heard about the Kim Jong world of golf. Apprently he has a perfect game in 10 pin bowling too.

    Reply

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