Archive for March, 2010

The Release…

Looks like I will post my week long, five part series on the release this up coming week. After that, I will do more on approach and “playing” the game. I really think next week there is going to be something for everyone. That is why I want all you guys to send links to all your golf buddies. Everyone who watches and reads will have at least one “A Ha!” moment that will help their game.

It is very simple stuff. How the body should work naturally/automatically and some common sense ways of looking at it.

There are five different videos and I will have a few short thoughts accompanying each.

Part 1-Why an early/gradual/proper release is not a cast.

Part 2-I will prove why lagging on purpose and other cliches don’t always work correctly away from the drawing board…and I am not even going to use a golf club to prove it.

Part 3-The benefits of a proper release. All of the nasty problems it can help you with.

Part 4-Go back and watch the “plane and release by feel” video in the archives on the right side of the page and I will have more on that drill and what it can show you about good and bad releases.

Part 5-The importance of a cohesive and consistent swing from chipping though driver and how a proper release is even more important on wedges and the short game.

I also finished my book about my career. It is being looked at by some people smarter than me. So far people are really enjoying it…even the non golfers. I thought it was just about some fun and difficult experiences I had, but apparently it is more than that. Hopefully it will also be ready next week and like the videos on release, there is going to be something for everyone.

I will update here when it’s ready and where to get it.

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I am going to start some more posts on approach.

My week long video montage on release is still coming and I will still post a lot on instruction, but I am going to start posting more on how to “play” the game.

The biggest problem I see with course management is people not understanding their limitations. Again, I include myself in this.

Understanding your limitations is not just understanding your skill level. It is understanding your normal shot pattern. In addition, and most importantly, it is about understanding what your limitations are TODAY.

I cannot illustrate examples for every conceivable scenario for every golfer, but here is an example that you can adapt to your game.

I was playing with a friend who is about an 18 handicap. He plays a big fade, bordering on a slice some days. We come to a 180 yard par 3 with a pin tucked back right behind a bunker and short siding to the right was going to be a difficult up and down for me…never mind him. I took a 7-iron at the middle of the green and tried to fade it…it went straight and I had about a 25 footer for birdie, from pin high. Not Tigeresque, but I was satisfied with my shot.

My friend gets up there, aims right at the pin, starts it at the pin, hits his patented fade and misses it short side. I asked him…”Jim, why did you aim at the pin?”

“Isn’t that the object of the game, to aim at the pin,” he said.

I replied, “no, the object of the game is to have the ball finish at the pin. You hit a big fade, so you need to be aiming at the far left hand side of the green.”

He hit another one, and of course, hit it dead straight. “See, that’s why I aimed at the pin.”

It didn’t dawn on him there was an error in his thinking on both shots. He played for the perfect shot on the first one and got in trouble when he hit his baseline shot. On the second one, he played for his baseline shot, hit a perfect shot and ended up in an easy up and down position, even for an 18 handicap.

You want to play every shot where you get the best combo of a good shot being good and your regular miss being playable.

I think every person reading this would absolutely be on my side of the debate. However, over 50% of the people reading this would be on my friend’s side of the debate when they have a club in their hand.

I have a theory. 73.485% of the brain that we use goes dormant when we have a golf club in our hands. Since we only use 5% of our brains, that means we are using barely over 1% of our brains when we play golf…it looks like it and the results support it.

I used to struggle at Q-school, because when I didn’t have my A or B game, I didn’t know how to wipe it in the fairway, blade it in the middle of the green, top a putt to within 3 feet and wish the 3-footer in. That is why Tiger is so great. He doesn’t shoot lower scores on his good days than everyone else on tour. He rarely has the low round of the week even when he wins by 15.

He shoots the lowest rounds in the field on bad days when his game is off because he knows how to manage his limitations on his bad days.

Trust me on this. You all need to learn what you do on your bad days, learn how to manage it and you will see your bad scores come way down.

Let me be clear. I am not saying you must be more conservative. That got me in trouble. I am saying learn your shot pattern on good days and bad…and learn how to play to their strengths and weaknesses.

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

Changing your approach temporarily, can help you out of a rut.

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 McCavoy 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.

Right foot/left foot

There is always lots of discussion about whether the feet should be flared, square, turned in, etc.

Just like most things in the golf swing, it is very individual and dictated by how you swing the club and what mistakes you make or physical limitations you have.

To me, the right foot (back foot for righty) should never be flared intentionally. It can cause over rotation and getting the club behind you and it can also make it difficult for your lower body to clear in sync with the shoulder turn.

If the right foot is flared, it is a long time thing that came naturally and it causes none of these problems, then there is no need to change it.

I like the right foot to be square/perpendicular to the foot line. Turning the right foot in is not always a good thing, because if you are inflexible it can restrict your movements.

Turning the right foot in as a drill on the driving range is sometimes helpful, but a square right foot is going to be most effective for the vast majority of golfers.

The left foot (front foot for righty) has a more flexible range of how to place it. Many people get a great benefit from flaring the left foot to give the lower body more room to clear. Those with over active lower bodies that get out in front and get the swing out of sync, may benefit from a square or turned in left foot.

I can’t tell you individually what to do, but you can use this info as a guide to tinker yourself.

I will leave you with one last one. When chipping and pitching, you may find it very helpful to flare the left foot and turn the right foot in. That will put them parallel with each other. There is a double benefit for this.

One, the turned in right foot will help you keep the swing shorter for better acceleration on a short shot. The flared left foot combined with the turned in right foot kind of sets the hips in a “pre-cleared” position and allows you to have the lower body out of the way while allowing it to be very quiet.

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

Why posture is so important.

You need two things at address. Balance and your arms and hands to be hanging straight down out of your shoulders. That will create a minimum of tension.

If you are reaching for the ball and your shoulders are rounded, or your shoulders are up in your ears because there isn’t enough room for the arms to hang down, there will be a lot of tension.

If any of these issues exist, the arms will not only take control, it will be tough for them not to take the club to a bad place.

This all being the case, your first priority should always be balance and relaxed arms at address.

If you have these two things, it will be much easier for your shoulders to rotate properly to start the backswing.

Having a relatively “straight spine” and bending at the waist and the knees the proper amount is the key to this and that is different for each golfer depending on that person’s anatomy.

LINK to what “Straight Spine” really means

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

The New Groove Rule

In case you guys were wondering, I have no problem with the rule. It probably helps me out a great deal because I put a lot of spin on the ball. If it were up to me, the PGA Tour could go back to steel shafts persimmon woods, all muscle backed irons and heel shafted putters with a sweet spot the size of a pin head.

What is sad is there kind of has to be one set of rules for everyone…eventually or else there is a breakdown in competition at some point. I don’t know where to draw the line.

It is kind of a domino affect, but I wish ams out for a good time could play the way they wanted to with plutonium filled drivers if it helped them enjoy the game more.

PS-anyone know a website with a list of conforming clubs. I have to get a new set…and I actually have to pay for it…UGH!!!!!!!

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

The most arrogant people on Earth are mini-tour pros.

(A re-post)

They may not be the most arrogant on a literal scale, but when you compare attitude to accomplishment, they take the cake.

If you have won on the PGA, Nationwide, or any of the top International Tours, you can golf your ball and I don’t condone arrogance, but I understand and accept it.

What I am talking about is guys whose top line on their resume is a 3rd place finish in The Screen Door Open. A tournament that was played on their home course, was a one round event, they shot 69, cashed a check for $800 and think they are 8 large buckets of balls from making the Tour.

They show up to driving ranges with their Rodney Dangerfield Bag, shirt one size too small, giant white belt, sunglasses, florescent shoes, perfect set of matched irons and a flunky they can pontificate to loud enough for everyone on the range to hear how great they are (been guilty of a few of these things myself).

Well, there was one such egomaniac on the range a few days ago, hitting balls a few stalls down and I heard one of the funniest lines ever from the guy hitting balls in between us.

I normally have on my Oakley OROKR sunglasses with the music on loud enough to tune out everyone else, but this day I was listening to an audio book. I know I made fun of people with sunglasses, but I don’t wear hats and the Oakley OROKR’s allow me to listen to my ipod wireless.

Anyway, Mr. Scratch says to his flunky, “look at this massive lag I am creating. There is no one in golf who creates as much as I do. I just don’t know whether to get ready for the ReMax or Q-school.”

The line about lag was all I needed to hate him. 😀

I won’t lie, he moved it pretty well, but not close to World class long drive and watching him hit wedges was comical. This guy probably shot 65 at his home track with all the pins in the middle of the green and convinced 10 of the guys he plays with to sponsor him. I have seen this scenario 1000 times if I have seen it once.

After really stepping on one, he almost did a Jack Hamm grunt and walked after it a few feet. “No one on this range could get within 50 yards of that.”

This pompous ass had been going on for about 15-20 before this boast of epic and idiotic proportions and the guy hitting balls in between us had by now, had his fill of this clown.

In my younger days I would have rudely corrected this fellow about the inaccuracies of his self aggrandizing. Now, I just giggle to myself almost hoping it provokes them into getting in my face.

Anyway, I had worked my way through the bag to driver, right as Mr. Scratch had hit and posed over the previously described “bomb” while he and his flunky marveled at it. It rolled about 10 yards short of a tree line that is out there about 320.

I won’t lie, I put a good rip into my first drive and I once bounced it into the tree line with some serious heat left on it. The guy hitting balls in between Mr. Scratch and myself says, “This guy in a T-shirt and tennis shoes just pissed on you. So why don’t you shut the **** up and go apply for the LPGA Q-school…maybe you can out drive some of them.”

I got a hernia trying not to laugh as I pretended to walk to my car to get something. When I came back, Mr. Scratch was gone and I had quite a nice conversation with the guy who ruined his day.