The Biggest Golf Loser

Time to try a new game; The Biggest Golf Loser.  This is a game where I try and lose as many bad habits with my golf swing as possible.  A little background:  For the last seven years, I have averaged between 8 and 9 GIR per round.  Amazingly consistent but amazingly mediocre.  This year is no different and I am right on the number at 8.32.  Recently I have been struggling even more with my iron game, so much to the point where I’ll have a shot of 100 yards from either the fairway or light rough and have no idea if I can hit the green.  This shot is a simple 3/4 gap wedge for me and is my bread and butter, my go-to play.

The trouble started at the tail end of my Myrtle Beach trip where I started either blowing these shots way right with a huge push cut, or hitting them fat.  Yesterday at Bear Trap Dunes in Delaware I decided to work on my swing and had one of those range sessions that make you want to quit.  Oddly enough, I was piping my driver, but every iron in the bag was all over the place.  Just pure garbage.  Thank God for mobile phones, so I whipped out mine and shot the following video with a 6-iron.  WARNING:  Parental Guidance Is Strongly Advised.

The best part about this video is the swing of the lady in the background wearing the pink top.  Seriously, it’s a good thing that you can video yourself when you have no move and then compare your swing to a model.

Call me nuts but I used the Adam Scott wedge shot below as my measuring stick.  You’re probably thinking, “What’s this idiot thinking; he’s going to hit iron shots like Adam Scott?”  No, but I can see why my game is all over the place and the key in the Scott video is the lack of moving parts.

In my video, I am setting up poorly, with my weight too far back.  On my back swing, I rise up and keep the club moving back with my arms long after I’ve finished my shoulder turn.  Then I transition to my downswing with an upper body lateral move to the target and release the club way too early.  Where this garbage came from I’ll never know, but that’s golf.

In the Scott video, notice how restricted his back swing is and how little his head moves as he transitions.  He fully rotates through the ball, even though it’s just a wedge shot, and you can see both his shoulder blades on his follow through.  I cannot get to this position without putting myself in traction, but if I focus on fully turning through the ball, I might be able to solve for that early release.

So much to work on but where to start?  Actually, I’ve started today by carefully working on a more restricted back swing and to keep my head level.  I’ve decided not to play for the next three weeks while I work on some corrections and allow them to sink in without the pressure of scoring.

Do you see anything else in this pretzel factory or do you think I have a handle on it?  Hope you are hitting it better than me right now.  Play well!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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7 Responses to The Biggest Golf Loser

  1. I would move the ball one ball forward in the stance. This will square you up better. Maybe even a ball and a half. Try those positions and see what happens.

    • Brian Penn says:

      Vet, I have always thought to move my ball position up with the irons, but then when the swing goes awry, seems like the natural thing is to keep moving it back and make earlier contact. I will try that and commit to it. Got to give it a chance. Thanks for pointing that out!

      Brian

  2. Brian

    I feel your pain. We all have swing troubles from time to time. Here is what I noticed:

    Your first movement with the club slides your shoulders backwards an inch or two. You move them back, but not always to the same position.

    I think your stance is open during your swing. Hard to tell, but that would cause the first two pushes.

    Using Adam Scott as a model is a brilliant idea. If you are going to copy a swing, his is awesome.

    Last thing, I would play 9 holes a week and use all your new skills without keeping score. This limited play will help ingrain your training.

    Keep is posted on how thongs are going! Good practicing!

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim, I kind of like that idea of playing 9 holes without score. I need to think about that because this is one time when I will be playing golf swing (primarily) and not golf. The last time I took a lesson in earnest I found it very difficult to play shortly thereafter.

      Thanks!

      Brian

  3. Hey Brian,

    The one thing that jumped out to me is your spine angle at address tilted away from your target, and you maintain that through the swing and at impact, which will likely lead to a bit of a scooping action and poor contact. Adam Scott really “covers” the ball with his chest and his spine angle is straight up and down at address (from that viewpoint). I’m no golf instructor, but making sure to “cover” the ball with your chest and then maintaining that spine angle through impact is something I’ve discussed with my instructor to improve contact and control ball flight. Otherwise, I thought your action looks good! I believe your answers lie in your setup and not your swing. Hope this helps!

    Cheers
    Josh

  4. I’d like to add that the spine angle tilted away at address may actually be helping you with your driver as it promotes “hitting up” on the ball, but it’ll doom your iron play

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, through my entire season, I’ve been hitting the driver well. Your comment about the spine angle makes sense and I know from some down the line video I’ve taken, I come out of my spine angle on the downswing which will kill your iron game because the tilt is greater than the more upright move with the driver. All this is starting to make sense now. I know my rhythm is pretty good; always has been, it’s just those damn angles that are so hard to fix. I’ll keep at it and hopefully post a more satisfactory video after I’ve worked this for awhile. Thanks for your spot on observations!

      Brian

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