I’ve been meaning to do this for a while…

Earlier this year I received some sample golf balls from Vision Golf. Boz, the founder, is an Aussie who is taking on the big guys head on. I reckon he is doing something great here and the product is top notch.

The golf balls are bright colours and have a big number on them. Boz can tell you more about them here, but performance wise they stack up. Give them a go if you want to try something new and innovative.

The Vision Golf Ball

In the spirit of this blog I thought it would be good to offer these balls to you guys. And the best way to do that is to get you to earn them. So here’s my plan.

Let’s have an Ask Cameron blog post. You get to ask me any golf question that you want answered. Get creative and specific because I’ll award the best (I’m the judge) questions a pack of Vision Golf Balls. Best of all I’ll answer the questions below.

The aim is to turn this into an informative post, help out the guys at Vision Golf and give you guys the chance to win some new golf balls.

All you have to do is come up with ONE question and post it in the comments section below. Keep your eyes peeled for my replies.

Go for it, enter your question below.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Grayden Provis - June 18, 2010

Was just watching the coach of the LA Lakers addressing his players. He said “if you trust you will play free and if you play free you can’t be beat”. Sounds like a plan.

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    Cameron - June 18, 2010

    @ Grayden: Like it. Once heard Roger Federer say he didn’t know how he played tennis. He just hits the ball. Not a bad strategy either.

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David Pryde - June 19, 2010

Danny Ennor,
You might have golfer’s hip which I had repaired several years ago i.e. A torn labrum.
To ease pain if you don’t see your doctor try turning you front foot 45 degrees or so outward to ease the rotation pressure as you swing through.

Cashie I cannot believe these things could happen to a bloke who has traditionally been ‘touched by a pixie’.

Cam,
Looking forward to trying a yellow ball at metro on my return from holidays os, although sometimes I think my colour should be pink!

Cheers
DP

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    Cameron - June 21, 2010

    @DP: Got lots of pink ones here.

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Nigel - June 21, 2010

I’m fascinated by the philosophical approach – a very Buddhist worldview. You can’t argue with the idea of “letting go”, unfortunately it is alarming how difficult this can be. I just played the front nine with my best score ever, and then couldn’t repeat the same on the back and continued to “shank” the ball off the tee to the enormous glee of my friends.
I’ll keep trying.

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    Cameron - June 21, 2010

    @Nigel: This is something that I hear a bit and something that I would struggle with. If you consistently stuff up the second nine (or the last few holes) then you are getting in the way. The solution is to take a deep breath and keep swinging freely. The adult mind likes to take over – but you’ve got to not let Pesky win.

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Grayden Provis - June 22, 2010

Hi Cam……not sure what you’ll think of this so will be interested in your comments…..I know you’ll let me know if you don’t agree! :-)…..

I’d been doing some hard thinking and I’d come to the conclusion that I might be cheating. I reckoned I might be starting to do my counting / singing BY ROTE so that I could secretly be still thinking about the golf swing.

In order to test my theory I decided I needed to give myself something harder to do while swinging the club, something that would REALLY occupy my mind, something that would be IMPOSSIBLE to do if my mind was elsewhere. I decided I would describe in detail how to peel a carrot.

Describing to someone how to peel a carrot should run something like this (I peel left handed):

“Take the carrot in your right hand with the top of the carrot near the butt of your palm and the bottom of the carrot between thumb and forefinger. Turn your right hand over so that the palm is facing up. Take the peeler in your left hand and place it at the top of the carrot and make slow, smooth strokes away from you taking care not to get your thumb or fingers. Rotate the carrot in your palm and continue to peel all sides. Once the peeling is complete top and tail the carrot with a knife….” By about now you would have hit the ball and watched it through to landing.

My first attempt to describe how to peel a carrot while playing a golf shot went something like this:

[Stepping over imaginary line] “Take a carrot in your right hand and….. [slight pause while addressing ball]……then …..hold the…..peeler…..and then…[pausing briefly while taking the club back]…while your scraping…….take care not hurt…….but…..[hit ball]……”

JUST AS I THOUGHT. I COULDN’T DO IT. IT CAME OUT AS DISJOINTED GOBBLEDYGOOK BECAUSE MY MIND WAS STILL ON THE GOLF SWING.

So I tried it again…..and then again…….and then again. It was REALLY HARD. Why? Because I wasn’t prepared to truly LET GO of what I was doing with the golf club. Trying to describe something as simple as how to peel a carrot became virtually impossible.

To check that it wasn’t just that I had forgotten momentarily how to peel a carrot I stopped swinging for a minute and stood there and silently recited to myself the peeling routine. No problem at all. Straight through it, no pauses, no groping for words. Easy.

Here was proof of what I suspected. I was not TRULY letting go while doing my counting / singing. I was cheating. I was doing the counting / singing by rote so that my mind could secretly still be on what I was doing with the golf club.

What to do?

PRACTICE. Not hitting balls per se but hitting balls while describing how to peel a carrot. And you don’t even need to be at a golf course to do this. In fact its probably preferable NOT to be at first I would suggest. Go out the back and try just hitting leaves or something. And don’t just use the carrot routine over and over or you’ll learn that by rote too and start cheating again! Describe how to change the blades on a mower or anything else that you’re familiar with ……mix it up. When you can run a SMOOTH, PAUSE-FREE, SENSIBLE commentary on any topic at will while swinging a golf club I reckon you’ll TRULY understand what it is to be on automatic. Not that I’ve got it down yet by any means. Far from it. But I think I at least better understand now the nature of the “state” I’m trying to get in to. Give it a go. Be prepared to be spooked though. Its very uncomfortable at first. That Pesky never gives up without a fight!

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    Cameron - June 23, 2010

    @Grayden: Great comment this. You’ve highlighted a fundamental flaw in my coaching. I have assumed that I have been ramming home the importance of losing yourself in the shot and staying distracted. This is a fundamental process of automatic golf. You definitely can’t have it both ways – you can’t be automatic and still be worried about the shot. It’s not possible! I’ll add that most problems golfers have with automatic is that they don’t (can’t) let go for the duration of the shot. So maybe I need to rethink my process/explanation and see if I can do better.

    If you think about how we drive a car we really do things like “describe how to peel a carrot” (I love that btw). Just this morning I was having a conversation on the phone while driving to work. I got so lost in the conversation that before long I was at work with no idea how I got there (has that ever happened to you?). It’s funny and proof that we can successfully perform motor skills without much thought. For some reason we don’t approach golf in the same way.

    When I started working this stuff out years ago I spent hours and hours in my parent’s garage. I went through the routine time after time – I never hit balls – but I wanted to make sure I could do the entire routine without being distracted. After a while my golf swing became a dance – and i have never since worried about my golf swing.

    This is great insight Grayden – it really is. Thanks and keep up the good work.

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Gregor McCulloch - June 23, 2010

Grayden
This is very interesting. Is it possible that the brain after a length of time does not see something as a distraction when it processes it so many times and needs a change every now and then to keep it interested.

Gregor

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    Cameron - June 23, 2010

    @Gregor: I think you reach the holy grail of automatic golf when everything becomes automatic. I find it almost impossible to hit the ball if I’m thinking too much – my game is almost always on auto pilot. Doesn’t mean I always play great golf – it just helps.

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Grayden Provis - June 23, 2010

After continuing to practice this I’m noticing that if I do switch back to counting / singing I actually do it MUCH BETTER. I think the carrot peeling exercise was an “aha” moment in that it let me experience quite graphically how far away from a truly “detached” state I was when counting / singing – even though I THOUGHT I was detaching. I wasn’t. I think this might be the club-throwing exercise lesson again. It lets you “feel” the thing you’re after. Once you “feel” something you “get” it. We can be told things but its only when we EXPERIENCE them that we truly understand.

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Grayden Provis - June 23, 2010

“I have assumed that I have been ramming home the importance of losing yourself in the shot and staying distracted”
You have. I think what this shows however is that there is “distracted” and there is DISTRACTED.

“You definitely can’t have it both ways – you can’t be automatic and still be worried about the shot”
Exactly. But this shows me that even though I didn’t THINK I was worried about the shot I obviously still am. I must be. My mind is obviously still on it to some extent or I would be able to do the carrot spiel while swinging no problem.

“Just this morning I was having a conversation on the phone while driving to work. I got so lost in the conversation that before long I was at work with no idea how I got there (has that ever happened to you?)”
Yes. And thats EXACTLY the state I want to be in when I’m hitting a golf ball. But the carrot routine has shown me just how far away I still am from that state even though I THOUGHT I was there. For me the good news is that the carrot routine also now gives me an extra tool I can use to get me into that state. Others may not need to do this – although if I had to put money on it I’d bet that most people will struggle with the carrot routine like me and are therefore possibly not “distracting” as well as they think!

“I went through the routine time after time – I never hit balls – but I wanted to make sure I could do the entire routine without being distracted”
I think thats the key right there. Especially the “not hitting balls” bit. I walk around the block at night for exercise. On last night’s walk I practiced the carrot routine with no club or ball. I would stop on the road verge, imagine a leaf to be a ball and do the full Cam-routine while trying to peel the carrot. As I said before, VERY difficult at first. I repeated it over and over. Walk 100m, do it again (I expected a patrol car to pull alongside at some point and say “There, there Mr Provis, come with us now, everything’s going to be just fine”). Gradually, I started to get the hang of it. There’s still a little sticking point at the bottom of the swing right about where I would contact the ball…. the carrot spiel sort of shudders a little bit right there. But I’m going to keep working at it until my carrot peeling is smooth and glitch free. Then I’ll do it with changing mower blades or painting a fence or whatever else takes my fancy. I want to be able to do it with ANYTHING at will. THEN I know I’ll be truly dissociating from the motor skill I’m performing. THEN I know I’ll be truly “driving the car but not knowing how I got to work”! I reckon practicing this is going to do more for me than any time on the range right now.

“You’ve highlighted a fundamental flaw in my coaching”
I don’t think so. I think I’ve just discovered another exercise which I can add to the tool box to help me better understand what being truly “distracted” actually FEELS like….just like the club throw exercise helps me understand what a sound swing feels like.

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Don Godfrey - June 24, 2010

Grayden, re carrot peeling,
Great post. This was happening to me as I sang a song I knew well, or counted to 10 etc.
I actually started counting backwards from 100, and then in 3’s , didnt think of the carrot . Its like a lot of things that appear simple on the surface, the more you get into it, the more interesting and challenging it gets.
One of the interesting side effects of automatic for me, is that it counters focussing on the result, as well as the mechanics of the swing. Every golfer who has blown the last few holes of what was going to be their best round, will know what I mean. Adrenalin is a wonderful hormone, but some of us produce too much and at the wrong time, ask Greg Norman and a few others !! There is no sport I have played where this is as destructive as it is in golf. Automatic has taken time to get established for me because, like you , my controlling conciousness was sneaking in when I gave it the slightest chance. I am encouraged that someone like Cameron, who has been working on it for a long time, can do it more simply with a poem etc. I will persist.
Don G

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Bernie Folkes - June 24, 2010

Hi Cam & all
Wow post 100, amazing. Cam, you must be really on to something. There has been some wonderful and thoughtful comments. They have certainly got me thinking. Love the “Grayden” insights. Never thought much about carrots except eating them. Can appreciate where we are all heading. I know myself that “pesky” can be and is still a concern. However, I am determined to send him on his way. What I am finding interesting and frustrating is the number of “so called swing experts” I play with. I am trying to politely ignore them, however, some still persist.
Take care all. Keep up the great work. Am dying to see what Cam comes up with next and how Grayden’s carrot process is coming along.
Bernie

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    Cameron - June 24, 2010

    @Bernie: Funny you mention it Bernie. Got something in the pipeline that I’ll be launching soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

    PS I don’t know where Grayden gets his ideas – I’ll never look at a carrot the same way again!

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Bill Harrington - June 25, 2010

Help – need to get more distance due to a long hospitalisation recently. How do I check out shafts that have more flex which should aid my low clubhead speed

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    Cameron - June 29, 2010

    @Bill: Get your local pro to give you a hand. There are so many options available I wouldn’t know the best one for you. The other thing is to keep swinging freely – don’t let fear or self-doubt get in the way.

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Grayden Provis - June 28, 2010

My first attempt yesterday at playing a round using the carrot routine. Hmm. Not sure. It actually had a surprising side effect: being COMPLETELY dissociated from the swing like this seemed to diminish my enjoyment of the game a bit. Think again of the analogy of driving to work deep in conversation. You’re so dissociated from the physical actions you’re performing that you get to work and can’t even remember how you got there. You might have performed the motor skill (driving) well but you don’t really experience the PLEASURE of it because you weren’t even aware that you were doing it. I think I want to be more “present” during my swing than that, I just don’t to be consciously manipulating it. Aware but not manipulating, I think thats the go. Singing might be better at achieving this balance after all. Its been interesting experimenting though. I always think its only by PUSHING the boundaries that you find out where the boundaries actually are.

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    Cameron - June 28, 2010

    @Grayden: This requires further comment. I’ll put together a new post soon. Some good stuff here.

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John Stead - June 28, 2010

Hi Cam,
I found that automatic golf ain’t rocket science. Get behind the ball, stick with your decision, count, get set swing. Simple easy to follow. Will let you about the golf adventures with Lukey.
Cheers Steady

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    Cameron - June 28, 2010

    @steady: welcome to the wonderful world of automatic golf.

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Grayden Provis - June 29, 2010

Steady: You know what, I think you’re right. I’m just going to count and hit it. And then I’ll count again and hit it again. If my mind wanders and goes to places I don’t really want it to I’m not going to worry. I’m just going to keep counting and keep hitting. Its about all my pea brain can handle anyway. After counting and hitting 85 times I’ll be done. I will have played golf. Who knows, over time I might only have to count and hit it 82 times…..then 80…..then….

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    Cameron - June 29, 2010

    Yep, reckon that’s a good idea. Sometimes we over think things and make golf harder than it needs to be. I have a pea brain too – and the simple strategy outlined by Steady works just fine. Welcome back Grayden!

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Dean Bramich - June 30, 2010

hi guys just thought i’d check in i’ve been doing the automatic system for a few rounds now and have found it to be a bit of a challenge. Last week i played my usual sat game went through my usual routine of warming up etc then headed for the tee. i didn’t have practice swing and then went through my routine a proceeded too hit a good shot which finished up by the pin 12 ft away wow good start i thought .made apr and moved on strangely felt at ease with myself .the next holes was ok but then i hit a good shot on a par for that landed about 10ft from the pin shitty with myself because the ball did’nt release and run up closer i then made the puttfor birdie .the next hole was disasterous with me hitting four shanks totally wiping the hole .however the next hole i made birdie again wow what the hell is going on i thought .i managed to get my self together and have a reasonable round of golf with three birdies ion the back nine .i can’t remember when the last time was that i did that .at the end of the game even though my front nine wasn’t as good as the back nine i felt good not tired as in weeks gone by and i think that the autonmy of my golf contributed to that thanks cam will keep you informed how i go this week dean

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    Cameron - June 30, 2010

    @Dean: Thanks for the update. Sounds like you experienced what I call “remarkable golf”. Although you still had some ups and downs – for the most part your golf game was exceptional.

    There’s nothing quite like playing well and walking off the course with more energy and enthusiasm.

    Well done!

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Brian McKay - July 28, 2010

Cameron,
I’m 65 and not as flexible as I used to be. How important is it to do warm up exercises and what would you recommend for someone my age?

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Barry Ashbolt - July 30, 2010

Greetings Cameron
I am a newcomer to your site and am in the process of soaking up the valuable information I have already found. I started Golf way too late in life (56) but I am by anyone’s standard a Golf addict and love the game. However, having had quite a few lessons and reading and watching all manner of instructional material I suffer from the dreaded analysis paralysis as soon as I get over the ball.

I was delighted therefore to come accross the info on automatic golf and the related stories and videos. I feel sure that armed with this information as oposed to the “just hit it” advice of my golf coach, I will be able to move forward with the development of my game.

Thanks again for the site.

Barry

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    Cameron - July 30, 2010

    @Barry: Welcome aboard Barry. I love the simple approach and reckon it’s the best way to get over nerves, fear and paralysis. Unlike some coaches, I have an actual method to my madness. Take a peek through the site and let me know if you have any questions.

    Cameron

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Brad Oliver - August 2, 2010

Hi Cameron…have been using your wonderful approach now for about 4 months.
I started out by counting, but found what works best for me is to simply get set, then pull the trigger without any thoughts of mechanics, tempo etc.
I allow my body a practice swing, and then if Pesky agress that this swing feels like a good way to execute the shot, I simply address the ball and let it happen. This way I get his permission prior to execution so he usually stays quiet.
I use this teqhnique on every shot ……except chipping as this is my greatest weakness and the fear I have just won’t allow me to “let go”.
My chipping gets so bad (I am a 2 handicap btw…..down from 5 since going automatic) I generally blade, chunk or even double hit a la TC Chen. I now have to chip cross handed or even texas wedge it, such is the fear I have of chipping….particularly the 20 metre range.
So, I look forward to your book on chipping or f you have any other ideas I could use to overcome my sheer terror of chipping. If I could chip, I would get down to scratch…..no doubt about it
I’m also a fan of Tim Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf…he shares a lot of your philosophies as I’m sure you would be aware.

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    Cameron - August 3, 2010

    @Brad: Thanks for posting. I know it’s hard but you’ve got to strive to chip the ball without fear – you’ve got to use the same approach as you do with other parts of your game. Start slowly (without competition) and work your way up. There’s no instant fix here. Also, I don’t mind you using the Texas Wedge, this is fine. You can also chip with a 6 iron because that helps too. I’ll post some more lessons on chipping sometime soon.

    Keep up the good work.

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Iain Edwards - August 3, 2010

DEAR CAMERON — CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DECISION TO OPEN YOUR WEB SITE – THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU WILL RECEIVE

KIND REGARDS IAIN EDWARDS

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Fay MacDonald - November 8, 2010

I have noticed some of my junior golfers swing down across the ball and it looks like a cutting action which creats a left to right ball flight, (R handers).
What causes this and is it an ok action. It even shows up in their putting. I am a serious golf student and share my learning experience with 25 Junior Golfers at Urunga so I take your tips seriously.
Thank you Cameron.

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    Cameron - November 8, 2010

    @Fay: This is quite a common action. It causes a pull, fade and even a slice. A great way to overcome this is to encourage them to hit a draw – start the ball right and see if they can bring it back to the left. A simple drill that pushes learning further.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Cameron

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Brian Deen - November 9, 2010

Hi, Cameron, enjoy the freeness of the swing which I have wanted to feel for many years of playing, and not so well to date. I now count from well behind the ball, see things that I would not have taken any notice of in days gone by, enjoy the view, walk confidently to the ball, sometimes smiling and just hit the thing. I also don’t care too much about results, though they are improving on their own, seemingly without too much effort. I walk onto the green again seeing things that I didn’t notice in the past, and rarely leave the ball short, but am confident that when I do hit past the hole, I can sink the return putt. Three putting is very rare, and I walk off the course having enjoyed my round, and the simple pleasure of knowing that I have done my best, for that round, and I will return to this beautiful place. I am loving golf again thanks to your invaluable and incredible approach to the game. Thank-YOU CAMERON.

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    Cameron - November 11, 2010

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your kind words – you made my day. I’m so glad you’re having more fun and playing better. Keep it up!

    Cameron

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Declan Toal - November 11, 2010

hi cam ,playing great golf tee to green recently but i am getting very yippy around the green especially on pressure putts .finding it hard to get putter head back.played automatic last year with great results but cant get back to that way?

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    Cameron - November 11, 2010

    @Declan, You need to keep going automatic. There really is no quick fix here. Sounds like you’re thinking too much and not trusting your game.

    Have you changed your approach from last year? And if so, why?

    Let me know.

    Cameron

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Declan Toal - November 23, 2010

thanks for your reply .played yesterday and for the first time this year i played automatic golf .shot 70 .best score this year.i used to be yippy with putter but i thought of how aaron baddely putts and it worked . thanks

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Peter Galliott - December 7, 2010

Hi Cam
Must say your approach to putting and chipping back off the back foot has produced some good results for me over past few rounds – getting closer to hole and then putting out. Have2 rounds of 26 putts and another of 28 so it has improved this part of my game. Still struggling with the automatic swing as a number of times have come in over top of the ball – obviously I am not completely letting go of thoughts during my swing – will keep trying the counting process to exclude pesky interfering. Thanks for for all your great advice.

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Phil Eltringham - December 23, 2010

Hi Cameron, When I tee up hit a golf ball, most of my playing partners are still talking about the previous players drive. They apologise for talking while I’m hitting. Talking never bothers me as my swing is automatic. I liken it to cricket. A player has a split second to get in position, decide what shot is required and then executes it while the ball is moving at 100 km an hour plus. It shouldn’t be hard to hit a golf ball that is not moving and required basically the same swing over and over again. Golfers make something that is reasonably simple, extremely difficult. I’ve never read a book on how to chop wood or hammer in a nail. We sometimes miss the nail or the log so it’s never going to be perfect but the automatic approach (in my mind anyway) is simple and works.

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