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TOPIC: Finding your Optimal Swing

Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 5 months ago #10848

  • Doug Burke
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Since joining The Dirt 9 months ago, I started by experimenting with Mike Maves ideas, then Steve Elkington, then Jackie Burke, then Lee Comeaux, then Dave Parker, then Dave Tutelman, then Mo Norman, then Ben Hogan, then Dariusz Jedrzejewski, then Martin Ayers, then Howard Karasick, and sometimes with a mix from all of them simultaneously. Each guy has great ideas and each has given me ideas that helped along the way. I am the one who experimented with these ideas and got me to where I am today. My belief is it is up to me to figure out how to play golf to the best of my ability and find my optimal swing...there is not one secret that will transform you into a great player overnight. It is an individual journey and you are the only one who knows what is best for you. I'd like everyone who is searching for better results out on the golf course to know that The Dirt is where you can find it. You have the opportunity to study many different ideas here and then get out and experiment to figure out what works best for you. This is one of the great things about The Dirt is the great golfers who are here and everyone really supports each other's journey along the way. You can learn so many different perspectives here at The Dirt and we are all so fortunate to have this site. Mike Maves deserves so much credit as he is a great teacher and is so knowledgeable about golf. You can see Mike's brilliance in action with what he has created here at The Dirt with the support of Steve Elkington...who we also owe a great deal. In 9 months, I have transformed my golf swing and learned so much here at The Dirt. I feel so excited about what is next in this journey. After playing 18 holes today, I went out and recorded these swings as a 9 month SITD progress report.


Please share with us your progress report and your journey to find your optimal golf swing.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 5 months ago #11098

  • Doug Burke
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My day started with snow on the ground and my captain called to say A-team was on. Our team won 15-3 today for a 3-0 sweep of our division and we advanced into the playoffs. My swing key today was to get the takeaway started with my hands moving inside before allowing the club to move (i.e. Martin's half moon takeaway). This allows me to feel the weight of the clubhead during the entire swing. After the match, I went out and recorded my swing to see what I was doing. My swing felt very simple today and I was very comfortable with it so it was very exciting. Looking forward to the playoffs.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #11420

  • Doug Burke
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We got the win 10-8 today to advance to the semifinals of A-team. My swing key today was to keep my hands in front of my thorax so the club shaft would be between the my right shoulder and my neck so it wouldn't cross the line at the top of my backswing. It worked very well today...still have more work to do. After the round, I went out and practiced it some more. My head movement continues to stabilize more during the swing. My swing felt simpler this week and I was very comfortable with it in competition. I will keep working on it this week to be ready for next weekend.

Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #11437

  • Bob Perry
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Really like the swing, Rock. Congrats on the team success, also.

Bob
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #11558

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Went out today to work on getting the takeaway more on the inside to get more containment and feel the mass of my arms and club. It is feeling very comforatable. Decided not to concern myself with crossing the line at the top of the backswing or winding my arms and just work on this one thing. Working on making a little bit of progress in every practice session as I know exactly what I am working to achieve now.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #11636

  • Doug Burke
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Our team won the A-team final today. I went out afterwards to record my swing. My swing keys during the matches this weekend were to get the grip end of the club moving more inside on the takeaway and keeping the left heel pressed down during the swing. Very happy with how I played this weekend and looking forward to a great year.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #12392

  • Doug Burke
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1. Sweep your left shoulder parallel right (to the target line) so it is where your right shoulder was at address at the top of the backswing. At address, make sure your left shoulder, hip, knee, and heel are in alignment with your hands centered on your body or sagital plane. The takeaway should be a lagging club takeaway which gets your hands moving inward before the clubhead moves which forces you to make a subconsious reaction to the weight of the club which you will now feel for the entire golf swing.
2. Move your right butt cheek parallel left (to the target line) so it is inline with your left heel at the top of the backswing. 1 and 2 are in sequence.
3. In transition, move your left shoulder parallel left (to the target line) as you did on the backswing while keeping your right butt in transition over your left heel (don't hold it back, but you need to sequence the transition so it is over your left heel as you move the left shoulder to the left). You will feel a seperation between the upper body and lower body.
4. You should have a clear shot at the ball. You will feel the upper body and lower body sequence together through impact and you will feel a tremendous down force on your left heel just after impact. The swing will feel very powerful and effortless. You will get a very pure feeling golf shot.

Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #12393

Rock. I don't think they have given out any awards on this site yet. If they ever do I would cast my vote for you to receive the first Dirt Dude Award. Keep on Rockin.

Mike Mac
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 4 months ago #12394

  • Paxton Berry
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Rock, here is my insight into your swing that I have always seen throughout your journey. In no way am I saying change or take my text to the bank, just give it a short ponder. You stand up in your bs which you have grooved and maybe natural. Coming into impact you have to make room to allow for the lengthening of the arms/club length due to natural forces which erects your posture and influences the right foot to assume a tip toe position. If you can set up with your right arm extended away from the body and then assume an atheletic posture to the handle with both arms away from your body as they will be under the full swing I think you will find it easier to keep your posture and balance. The right hand index pressure point should plumb under the dominat eye at impact. When hitting a driver the the plane is flatter and has more outward force while the shaft droops about 4 degrees. The pp of the right index finger will be about 3-4 inches further from your body than say a 7 iron at impact so the right index pp needs to be more away from the body on the sp. If you will set up with the hands closer to impact distance from the body and not let the club counter your posture due to the weight of the club the body will dictate the club instead fo the club dictating the body.
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12420

  • Doug Burke
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Paxton,
I appreciate the feedback. You are spot on with your comments. I am working on all of the things that you mention and much more. I have decided to make incremental progress over a long period of time. When I force any one thing to occur, then I tend to ruin my overall swing and the results so I decided to just keep working away at it until it all comes together. I admit there has been very minimal progress with my head movement and right foot, but I continue to believe that I will be able to improve it. I have videos where I roll the right foot properly through impact, but I don't do other things well and/or the results aren't good. Ditto for the head movement. I have never taken a video at full speed where my delta posture from address through impact is zero with a Driver so this will be the toughest challenge for me to stare down...delta posture is near zero on my irons. I believe this is the root cause of why I do what I do on the backswing so I don't have to make all of the posture adjustments in the release move. I believe I need to get my upper and lower body stronger to handle the outward and downward pull of the club through impact. I'll let you know when I figure out how to do what you said. I know exactly what I want my swing to look like and the results I will achieve. It is a very enjoyable process to figure out how and to actually do it. I have gone through hundreds of experiments to understand the effect of every idea I think will make an improvement...and it is incredible to me how many great ideas were failures. I like how this swing looks overall and the results were very good, but I know there is still work to be done. I am not satisfied and I will do better. I will remember your advice and that you cared enough to say something that was helpful.
Thanks,
RockPaxton Berry wrote:
Rock, here is my insight into your swing that I have always seen throughout your journey. In no way am I saying change or take my text to the bank, just give it a short ponder. You stand up in your bs which you have grooved and maybe natural. Coming into impact you have to make room to allow for the lengthening of the arms/club length due to natural forces which erects your posture and influences the right foot to assume a tip toe position. If you can set up with your right arm extended away from the body and then assume an atheletic posture to the handle with both arms away from your body as they will be under the full swing I think you will find it easier to keep your posture and balance. The right hand index pressure point should plumb under the dominat eye at impact. When hitting a driver the the plane is flatter and has more outward force while the shaft droops about 4 degrees. The pp of the right index finger will be about 3-4 inches further from your body than say a 7 iron at impact so the right index pp needs to be more away from the body on the sp. If you will set up with the hands closer to impact distance from the body and not let the club counter your posture due to the weight of the club the body will dictate the club instead fo the club dictating the body.
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12421

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I figured you already knew what I had to say just felt like throwing my 2 cents in. If your ballflight is good and you are consistent with it while scoring I would not change anything. A perfect swing on tape does not mean a perfect round on the course. No two people even walk the same when actually breaking it down on video and we all get from a to b. The more I study swings the more I appreciate the individuality of them and find it is what we like as peers, and that is the personality of others that is not ourselves to bring difference in our own boring world.
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12463

  • Doug Burke
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Working on maintaining my right knee flex. Slight improvement on the up/down back/forward movement of my head. My body is still compressing and straightening through impact. Still have not found one experiment that has effected that and allowed me to get my delta posture to zero in 9 months of experiements with my driver. Hit the ball well today. Tried about 50 experiments yesterday and all were failures so it feels good to make a little bit of progress today.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12500

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Decided to work on activating my biceps on both arms in an attempt to isolate what my body was doing. This is the first time I have been able to get the club shaft to bisect my left shoulder after impact. Activating the biceps apears to flatten the shaft through impact. Still wasn't able to get my body to maintain posture through impact, but it is pretty cool to see the up force through impact and the downforce after impact by increasing my control of the club with my biceps...not very big ones I might add...but this is all I have to flex right now...I know the follow through is painful to watch, but I had to go for it and keep my feet on the ground so I could analyze the effect.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12507

  • Chris Graham
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I like your endeavour in trying to find the “missing link”, however not being that up with it on a biomechanical level doesn’t the bicep work by contracting and closing the angle, hand to shoulder. I’m only guessing here but would the “activation” of our triceps work better as the triceps’ are a major source of power due to the extension of our arms through the impact zone. Just doing some dry swings thinking about this feeling, I do get a good sense of connection between the upper arms and chest which is never a bad thing and also a slight flattening of the swing.

Just some casual thoughts

Cheers Chris
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12524

  • Doug Burke
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Chris,
I am sure there are many arm muscles that are being activated in transition and in the release move. The basic thing I have noticed over the last few months is my right bicep and forearm are getting more muscular. I believe your triceps do get involved in the downswing...I'll focus on that some more to better understand the sequence of the bicep and tricep in the downswing. I am noticing my release move is evolving into more of a feeling that I am hammering down with the sole of the club and less of a feeling of side-to-side movement of the hands. If you take your club straight over the top of your head by bending both arms and smash the sole in front of you on your sagital plane (midline) is movement that I am talking about and what I was trying to accomplish with the bicep experiment. I was attempting to contract the biceps...like a body builder who is showing off his biceps and holding that feeling in transition until I smashed the sole of the sole toward the ground. If you look at my impact postion, you will notice that the right elbow is bent quite a bit and doesn't fully extend until well past impact. My biceps...mostly the right bicep being contracted well into the downswing allows a better feeling of compression of the golf ball. The downsing happens very fast so it takes an incredible amount of focus and concentration to process everything that is happening in real time You can see before I pull the trigger that I am going through an entire checklist of every part of my body to command my mind to process the feedback that I get with every experiment. I was surprised at how the bicep effected how the club exited through the left shoulder in the follow through and the smash I got on the golf ball by focusing on the biceps. As I have said in the past, this is what is working for me and I may be the only person in the world with my body type and swing so please take what I am saying as my perspective. I am still learning.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12525

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Worked on keeping the right knee stable and letting the left knee go forward. Was able to show how the knees work from an open, square, and closed stance. From an open stance, I allowed the left knee to go forward the most. From a square stance, I allowed it to go forward a little. From a closed stance, I kept both knees stable. For a beginner, this closed stance will allow you to feel what I am feeling in transition and in the release move. I can also do Martin's wind/unwind move from all three stances...feel like I am able to slam the sole down even more powerfully then I show here. Maintaining stability in the lower body is very important in getting all your power into the clubhead. There is a sequence where you release the club as I described and the clubhead pulls your body around that gives an incredible pure contact. At 9:02:360, you see an example of what I am working to achieve in my follow through of keeping my head and butt in the box (same horizontal and vertical line as address) and how to automate it. I find that when I achieve this position is when I get the best combination of straight and power. Starting to believe that having my body vertical through impact may actually be what I need to do.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12531

  • Chris Graham
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Doug we are all still learning, that why we visit SITD and all its offerings.

As far as a bent right arm I think most if not all great ball strikers have this position but then are bolt straight after impact that’s where the energy is. As in martial arts or boxing you don’t aim at the tip of the nose, you aim for the back of the head through the nose! Not a pleasant analogy but it works.

You obviously like the idea of the club exiting through your bicep on the follow through, do you still keep a wide arc or does it feel smaller or more compact with your bicep focus. Does this effect distance or shot shape?

Cheers Chris
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12536

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Chris,
At 9:02:080 is where I have maximum lift where the right arm is parallel to the ground after impact. My body is straight The thing I need to improve is my head needs to be rotated more toward the target so I don't put as much stress on my neck. Your comment about the nose and the back of the head resonates with me although I never tried it. I will try it. Do you have an idea of where you envision that to happen or do you keep that idea at all times during the swing? At far as swing radius, I am trying to stay with a tight radius for a long as possible during the swing. Dave Tutelman wrote an article about this comparing how a figure skater gets the arms in tight to speed up and then lets the arms go out to slow down. Martin Ayers talks about maintaining containment. This is what I have been working on for months. The radius increses during the release move and is at maximum radus after impact. You can see in the frame after where I have maximum lift that the weight slams down on my left heel as the club start going up...I have a 60 fps camera so I may not have the exact instant where this happens. I feel it gives more effortless power to have a tight radius than maintaining a large radius...either works so it is up to each individual to figure out what feels best and produces the best results for them. The journey for me is to find the optimal swing for me...effortless power, efficient, repeatable in alll conditions, and accurate.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12541

  • Burk McDuff
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Doug Burke wrote:
The journey for me is to find the optimal swing for me...effortless power, efficient, repeatable in alll conditions, and accurate.
Thanks,
Rock

Rock...You're striking the ball so well, who's to say that it could be even better?....but, if I may, please watch the position of your head change (with respect to the little notch in the treeline) when you start your takeaway. My experience with the same thing tells me that a bit more spine stability (which actually makes me feel as though I'm falling in front of the ball) may make it even easier for you to keep your hands in front of you, thus making everything even easier....Burk
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12542

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The nose and the back of the head thing is really more to do with swinging through a given point (the ball) instead of hitting at a given point, just being aware of this helps a lot of players find some fluidity in there motion. It’s also a good thought for players that get a little steep at times.

The article by Dave Tuelman you mention, that’s go me very intreged, it makes sense in a lot of ways I’ll have to look into it.

I’ve made a similar observation as Burk has towards your head movement it’s not a lot but enough for me to think you may be starting the motion by just lifting your arms, cause and effect? Or it can also be from the fact you want to feel that power move of slamming the left heel down, to do this we need to feel up to come down?

Just a couple of thoughts but please cast them aside if there not on key, keep up with the good work

Cheers Chris
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12554

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Thanks Burk and Chris! Had a good experiment. I went out and straightened by neck out at address and was really concentrating on holding some tension in my neck during the swing and that stabilized my head movement a little more...still not perfect, but I see progress in that area...didn't stabilize my weight during the swing as well as in other experiments...can't think of everything. Tried swiveling the head through impact and that did not help...was hitting a little bit of a wipe to the right. Didn't get to experiement too much with the nose/back of the head idea, but I did try it a few times and it is a nice idea. I'll keep honing in on it.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12556

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Good swing there Rock.

Are you trying to keep your head back for a specific reason?
I don't know if the thought of keeping your head back provokes this, but each backswing you take starts by you losing your posture and straightening your head.

If you take a swing analysis tool like V1 for example, trace a line at the back of your head. As soon as your backswing starts, you'll see that your head comes across the line.
I could be wrong here, but because you have straighten out during your backswing, your shoulder line is a lot more flat now, which promotes a wider arc of swing and therefore more of a hook/push pattern.

It is often the case for people with poor flexibility of their hamstrings or poor strength in their gluts to rise up during the backswing. I'm not saying that this is your case because I don't know if your are tight/weak from this area, but it would probably be a good thing to get an evaluation from someone who is familiar with golf fitness evaluations.

I hope I didn't confuse you with this posting

All the best

Charles, physiotherapist and golf maniac
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12559

  • Bill B
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Rock,

Looking good it's tournament time for you
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12574

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Charles,
Yes, I noticed the issue with my posture and head movement. Doing some cardio, stretching, and weight lifting to get healthier and I hope that will result in improvements in this area. I am making incremental improvements over the past 9 months. Still more work to do. I appreciate you sharing your perspective with me and will let you know when I figure out how to improve. I went to Greg Rose many years ago. He said there were many issues. My determination back then was that I had to make what I have work to the best of my ability and also work on improving my strenghts and weaknesses over the long run. This is still my approach. I can get it into the hole with the strengths and weaknesses that I have.

Bill,
Yes, it is about time to suspend my experiments after A-team and start honing my scoring out on the course to be ready for the State Open qualifier. I am ready to start the climb up the mountain again...it has been 9 years now since I tried to qualify for a State Open and played in one. We'll see if I can still do it and hopefully climb higher than ever.
Thanks,
Rock
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Re: Finding your Optimal Swing 3 years 3 months ago #12584

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Rock
I am splaying in Puget Sound Am in2 weeks can't wait. Good luck you will do great
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