Archive for July, 2009

Great round Tiger.

Every time I criticize Tiger’s swing and Hank Haney, Tiger throws in a round like this and a lot of people say, “see, he’s fine, you don’t know what you are saying. Tiger is awesome.”

Well, I agree with the last part, Tiger is awesome. I have never said anything less.

During the US Open I said his swing problems were affecting his short game and I got several virtual empty beer bottles thrown at me…only to have Tiger go on ESPN and say he has been practicing less on his short game to work on his swing.

Let me state a few things that are part fact and part my opinion.

1. Tiger’s entire year is built around winning majors. He would rather win one major and no other event, than 5 or 6 events and no majors.

2. Tiger is not winning majors because this swing he has and the bandaids (his word, not mine) he has to use to be successful with it, are making it tough for him to win the events he covets most.

3. Tiger can obviously win regular events doing what he is doing, but I don’t think he will win the PGA next week even if he shoots two more 63’s and wins the Buick by 10.

Tiger’s greatness is not that he shoots really low when he is on. It’s that he doesn’t shoot very high when he is not on. That is what is masking the trouble he is having with his swing. He is not shooting himself out of tournaments when he is really off.

I have said it before. He has the greatest short game I have seen in my lifetime. I am really impressed he is able to manage this dive in his swing to break par, let alone win PGA Tour events.

However, until he stops diving so much (he just needs to minimize it) and getting the club underneath the plane, he will have trouble winning majors. Which is his main goal.

HEY TIGER!!!!!

Guess why on 12 you just almost holed that 50 yard shot and your ball striking is all over creation sometimes?

On the 50 yard shot you keep your spine angle and have soft arms and hands. On full shots you look like you are trying to hit it with the head at the end of your neck instead of the head at the end of your club shaft and your arms and hands have to snatch the club to the ball.

That’s why you exit low on the short shots and control the flight and spin…and why you exit high and sometimes lose control of those things on full shots.

Stop diving so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All my ranting, insanity and redundancy aside, Frank Nobilo just showed Tiger’s head dropping almost a foot on one swing. I don’t care who you are, you can’t be the best in the world if you continue to do that…and you are going to hurt your knee again.

Edited:

You will pardon my surprise when you dove at the ball on the tee at the par 5 13th on your very next swing, got stuck and couldn’t save it with your hands.

PS to all the readers-I have said before that I am also a fan of golf and I have also experienced being in that underneath stuck position at the high club speed. It was not fun for me to go through and it is not fun for me to watch. I might institute a new fan policy where I just watch him play from 100 yards and in where it is like watching art.

Edit #2:

Tiger said on ESPN a few weeks ago that he hadn’t practiced his short game as much, because he was working on his swing. Well, Tiger, what does that tell you?

You haven’t won so many majors and countless regular events because your golf swing was perfected. You won them because you can pull of great recovery shots and have the greatest short game in the history of golf. That allows you to spray it and still win.

Now you are spraying it worse and not working as hard on you short game?

BTW, nice putt on 17.

Stepping off putts?

It was bad enough when people stepped off yardages to the exact yard. If I am not in a tournament, I will see the 150 plate and see it is about 15 yards away. If its 12 or 16, it really doesn’t matter, because a back pin might be 10, 12 or 15 past center. The fact is the wind, lie and exact hit might make 1-5 yards of variance, or even more. I am not even counting the possible flier lie. The point being, the only people who know how far they are hitting it are the people playing late on Sunday on TV…and even they don’t know down to the yard. If they did, you wouldn’t see balls airmailing the green and in the front bunkers.

It cracks me up (to the point I want to hit in to them) when I see a guys shooting in the 80’s, 90’s and 100’s in front of me, stepping off yardages…sometimes two and three times and then not hitting enough club.

That was bad enough.

Then the Dave Pelz clock wedge system convinced people to step off yardages around the green. The fact it looks like 50 is meaningless because “my 9 to 9 LW goes 47 yards and a 7:30-10;30 SW goes 53, so I have to know what the yardage is. If it is 51, then it’s a 1/2″ choke down gap wedge that is 7:30-9.”

The resulting shot is a blade over the green…

“now is this a cock and pop or is it a 9 to 9 1/4″ choke down LW. I need to step off the yardage.”

OK, now we are in serious pain. Both the people doing all of this non-sense and all of us playing behind them, but at least it’s over. Or is it?

Apparently not! I am now seeing people step off putts?!?!?!?!? The slowing of pace of play isn’t the only downside. The rest of the foursome gets to enjoy moose prints all over their lines now…and the groups following get to deal with caved in sides of the cup because stepping off to near the hole, or to the side of the hole isn’t exact enough. You have to step off with a foot into the hole.

A good friend told me about a 10 year old kid, for whom a 4 putt was a success, doing this all day under the close instruction of his PGA Tour father (for those who didn’t read that article, find it in the archives, you will enjoy it).

What ever happened to playing by feel?

Interrupting your feel will help your game.

What this means is changing something small in order to get you out of a feel rut when you are struggling. All of the following can be done for a round or two and then go back to your norm. The change in feel can help you if parts or all of your game are a little stale or if it is just terrible for no apparent reason.

Remember, only for a round or two, unless the change is a consistent improvement.

1. Change your putter. One that is balanced and feels completely different than the one you use now. Don’t buy a new one, just borrow one if you don’t have another…but I am sure most of you own at least 5 putters. 🙂

2. Change the club you hit different chips with. Instead of an L wedge out of the sand, use a sand wedge. Instead of hitting a bump and run with a 7 iron, use an 8 or 6.

3. Tee off with three wood or a hyrbid and leave the driver in the bag.

4. Change the side of the tee box you normally play from.

5. If you work the ball often, reverse the shot you would normally hit. In other words, if you think you want to hit a draw, hit a fade instead and vice versa…and do it on every shot.

6. Change your style. If you are aggressive, play very conservatively. Lay up on par 5’s, tee off to the fat part of the fairway, play for the middle of the green, lag all of your putts outside 10 feet and when in trouble, chip out.

If your are conservative, go for it, even to the point of being stupid. Ram those short putts. Go for the green when you think there is very little chance of pulling it off.

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I am sure you all can increase this list to 20 or 30 more ideas, but you get the gist. Here is what the insanity I have listed above accomplishes. Most of you have seen Tin Cup. This is like the scene at the US Open when McCivoy has the shanks on the range. Romeo tells him to turn his visor around, empty his pocket and put the stuff in the other pocket and put a tee behind his ear.

We all think too much and it screws our game up. Every once in a while we need a break for a few rounds and mixing things up and taking ourselves out of our comfort zones can help clear our minds.

Rules of golf that are terrible.

(My wife watched the season finale of the Bachelorette last night and this morning. I am now a very stupid man after being exposed to this. If I tried to write something good today, it would read like a generic golf publication article and would not helpful at all. I need 24 hours to sober up. I am going to have a real good post tomorrow for those of you that are struggling and for no apparent reason)

There are too many for me to know and list, so please feel free to add any that I missed.

The worst one, by far, is being disqualified if you sign an incorrect scorecard. I realize this is supposed to be a penalty for cheating, but this rule is imposed in some terrible situations.

A PGA Tour player can commit a penalty he doesn’t even see. Some fan can call in after he has signed his scorecard and if the tape proves the fan correct, the player is assessed a 2 stroke penalty and disqualified for signing an incorrect card.

I actually have no problem with players being assessed penalties they are unaware of, but just give the penalty and be done with it. They won’t change this rule until Tiger wins a major and the tape shows his ball moving after he addressed it with his putter and it wasn’t found out till after the tournament was over.

By definition, a divot in the fairway is ground under repair. The “play it as it lies” rule was fine 100 years ago when 3 people played the course in a day. Add the fact that every course being designed today is target golf and 400 people are hitting the ball to the same 12 square foot spot in the fairway every day.

14 club rule…LOL. So basically what you are telling me is that some 90 year old lady who hits the ball 37 feet is allowed the same number of clubs that I am? I will quote Buford T Justice…”That is pure and simple old fashion communism.” Ask any Russian, communism stinks.

No range finders on the PGA Tour? What’s the difference between a yardage book/pin sheet and a range finder? The answer is about 20-30 minutes.

It seems to me that the people who control the rules are a bunch of old fogies who don’t understand that the rules are a living thing and must evolve with the times. The original Constitution would not apply very well today and that is why dozens of Amendments have been added.

The rules of Golf have been amended…just not very well. I am sure people will tell me the Constitution has been amended poorly, but let’s keep political discussion to pompous intellectuals on CNN. This is s golf blog for pompous dorks.

Here are some rules we need.

1. Anyone throwing up grass more than once, with no TV cameras around (meaning a professional golf event)-2 shot penalty.

2. Any pre-shot routine that last more seconds than the number of yards the resulting shot travels-double 2 shot penalty.

3. Wearing an outfit, not including golf shoes, that costs more than the green fee-2 shot penalty.

4. Giving golf lessons on the course by anyone not being paid to do so-death.

5. Playing a set of tees beyond the skill level of the group and falling two holes behind the group in front-The foursome must marry Rosanne Barr, Rosie O’Donnell, Sandra Bernhard and Hilary Clinton. All future golf must be played with said spouses and none are allowed on the course till the Super Twilight rate kicks in.

6. Telling someone to “keep you head down.”-Must play all golf behind the group breaking rule 5 above.

(In case you are here for the first time, read the next article below. That is why your friends sent you here) 🙂

The REAL secrets to hitting the golf ball farther.

IMO, the most important thing in this article is the last sentence.

I am sorry, but it is this long driver’s opinion that every “swing system” ever devised will not make you hit the ball farther or play better. No system is going to work for more than a very small percentage of people…if it actually works for anyone at all.

There is also no such thing as adding 30 yards instantly by the change of equipment or change of swing from one day to the next. If you are an experienced golfer and you take advantage of everything you can, you might be able to add 10-15 yards over several months.

If you are an inexperienced golfer, distance improvement can be much greater, but it still takes time. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES IN GOLF. Any one that tries to sell you that, might as well throw in some beach front property in Florida and part of the Brooklyn Bridge. Improvement in golf is small and it takes hundreds or even thousands of repetitions for it to become part of your muscle memory. Anything else is just a band aid that ends up being a bad habit.

Experienced or inexperienced, the object of making changes in your golf game is not about shooting one low round tomorrow. It is about your handicap being lower 6 months from now.

So here are some things that will make you longer and better 6 months from now. Don’t try to do everything at once. One step at a time. If you don’t understand something or disagree…immediately disregard it.

1. A driver that fits you. To get maximum yardage from a driver, you must have the proper loft and shaft flex.

2. Increase your flexibility. Stretching every morning before you go play for 15-30 minutes (I do), will add more yardage to your game than weight lifting or equipment changes. Lower back, hamstrings and shoulders/rotator cuffs are the ones I concentrate on.

3. Rotational exercises. Any kind of motion that will help you increase how well your torso rotates. I take a small (ladies size) 6 lb. medicine ball and swing it like a golf club while engaging the core muscles in my stomach. The smaller the ball, the better. I don’t like the use of weighted clubs. It ruins your feel and can cause tears in your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

4. Balance. You can swing as hard as you want as long as it is in balance. This “swing easy” nonsense is just a band aid to avoid being in balance and having good rhythm. I wrote about this in a previous post. If you click on “instruction and advice” on the right side of the blog and scroll back, you will find it.

5. Proper rhythm. If you allow the club to set at the top of your swing, you will be able to generate more speed coming into the ball. That does not mean a really slow back swing. There is nothing worse for club head speed than a deathly slow back swing that ends in a quick transition at the top. The speed of your back swing only needs to be slow enough for the club to set. Think of the 1-2 count of a grandfather clock pendulum.

6. Constant, medium grip pressure. You don’t want it too light or you won’t be able to help but increase it during the swing. You also don’t want to death grip it.

7. A proper release. Here is where a lot of people have been misinformed. Everyone knows that throwing or casting the club makes you lose power and speed. A large section of the golf public has been brainwashed into believing that adding lag on the way down increases speed and distance. WRONG! This method has worked for an extremely small percentage of golfers, but the vast majority have been ruined by this. If you increase lag on the way down, you bury it to the inside and the club face is also open. You will have to slow your rotation to allow the club to square from that position or risk blocking it way right. In addition, adding lag narrows your arc, which reduces club head speed and increases spin because the angle is steeper. Sorry to get technical, but way too many people have been sold this bill of goods. A proper release is a constant rotation of the club face from the top of the swing all the way to the finish. A proper release will result in the wrists touching shortly after impact. Some people will be afraid this causes a hook. Actually, starting the release too late is what causes the big hooks, as a flip is necessary at the bottom to avoid a block when the face is open. Proper lower body and shoulder rotation will keep a proper release from going left. I know…a lot of info and none of it is necessary to know. I just needed to go into technobabble to inform those who have been told to over lag the club.

To sum up the above mess. Rotate your shoulders and try and touch your wrists as soon as you can. As long as you are rotating, that will be the release you want.

8. Use centrifugal force (CF) to your advantage. If it’s good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for you. If you take a bucket of water and spin around, CF is what pushes the water to the bottom of the bucket and keeps it from flying out. CF will speed the club up and get your arms to full extension if you don’t counteract it. Examples of counteracting CF: adding lag, burying the club to the inside, swinging inside/out, throwing/casting the club, diving at it with your head (are you listening Tiger?), “swinging easy,” or grabbing it with your hands and pulling it into your body. CF will also help you square the club if you don’t counteract it.

9. Don’t try to increase your arc on the back swing. You want to keep your hands the same distance from your chest that they are at address. “Low and slow” will get the club behind you and numbers 4-8 on this list go out the window when that happens.

10. Last, but not least, know what “completing your back swing” means. “Complete your back swing,” “low and slow,” and forced lagging of the club are in a dead heat for things people try to hit it farther and end up ruining their game. Golfers trying to “complete their back swing” almost 100% of the time end up making a back swing that is way too long. It ends up being a huge arm swing after their shoulder turn is finished and once your arm swing takes over for your shoulder turn…turn out the lights.

Put a shaft across your chest touching your shoulders and hold it there with both hands. Turn you shoulders as far as they will go. Then without moving, grip the club normally and extend your hands away from your body to where they would be after taking a back swing. That is a full back swing for you individually and anything longer than that is bad. More than 90% of all golfers aren’t flexible enough to take it to parallel. Almost 100% strive for parallel. Exactly 100% of all golfers who are trying to “complete their back swing” go well past their maximum shoulder turn with their arms.

If someone tells you your swing is too long and you respond, “I am trying to complete my back swing.” Guess what?

I have eight letters for you. JB Holmes. One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, with the shortest back swing…and not to be rude, but none of you are as flexible, hit as many balls or as talented as Fred Couples, Bubba Watson and John Daly. Some of you may drink as much as Daly, but that doesn’t count.
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You might think this is semantics, but it isn’t. Golf is not about forcing yourself to do what is right. It is about avoiding things that are wrong and allowing what is right to happen.

Tomorrow’s post will be a big one.

I realize yesterday’s post was weak and this one isn’t going to be anything to write home about. My wife went out of town and I have the baby by myself, so there isn’t a lot of time for profound thought.

Tomorrow I am going to give a list of things I think are important to hit the ball farther, but also lower your handicap.

I will leave you with this today. Have some fun by changing things up.

1. Play a round from the red tees and see how low you can shoot.

2. Play without your even numbered irons.

3. Play a round where you hit every shot to the dead center of the green and see what you shoot.

4. Play a round where you hit driver on every hole, no matter how tight.

5. Play a round from a forward tee where you hit no woods.

6. Play a round where you chip with a less lofted club from every shot and work on your touch.

7. Play a round where you casually check the yardage. “Yea, that 150 plate is about 15 yards in front of me.”

8. Play a round where you don’t check any yardages inside of 100 yards.

9. Play a round where you check a putt from different angles than you normally do.

10. Play a round where you think of nothing but balance and rhythm.

Try any or all of these things and see what it does to your score. I bet you will be surprised.