Archive for September, 2010

A funny thing happened to me on the way…

(the golf part of the story eventually comes and you want to stick around as it is precious)

actually, it wasn’t on the way to anything. I regularly go to one of the local casinos and play Texas Hold’em. I am not ready to win the World Series of Poker main event, but I can hold my own against anyone.

For those of you that play, you will recognize the type of person in this story.

There was a blowhard at the table. He was drinking, talking smack every hand, even the ones he was not involved in. He kept trying to call rules violations on everyone, tried to intimidate people into folding when he was weak and goaded them into calling when he was strong.

One particular hand he made a significant raise before the flop and I had AQ. I put him on pocket J’s or pocket 10’s, so I called. The flop was A, Q, 5 all of different suits. He checked. I was flipping my cards with my thumb while holding them and thinking and he yells out, “that’s a check!” It was nowhere near a check and he yelled for the floor man. He made a big stink and rather than hold up the game, I relented.

It was an obvious ploy as he knew I was now ahead of him and he wanted a free card.

The turn comes and it’s a K. I bet more than the pot and half of his stack. Those who play Hold’em will tell you if he has J’s or 10’s, he is way behind, has no pot odds and should fold.

He calls. The river is a J and I know if he has J’s or 10’s I have lost. He checks trying to trap me and I just check. He flips up Jack’s and starts a little victory dance and chastises my play. Funny enough, for checking the flop, when I really didn’t and he postured to get that taken care of.

The next hand he tries again to pull some rules nonsense and I say, “You are probably the kind of guy who carries around a rule book in his bag and tries to call a violation on every hole.”

He went berserk, stood up and said loudly, “Oh, don’t talk about golf, I would destroy you. I will play you for $1,000 a hole. I am a scratch golfer, I played at Long Beach State and I once shot a 62.”

I said, “Sounds good. Tell me where to show up and bring cash. I don’t take personal checks.”

Wish you could have seen the look on his face. He got up without saying a word, went to the floor man, asked for a table change and had the floor man pick up his chips to bring them to the other table.

My only question. What is it about me that I always attract the ire of these idiots? Golf course marshals telling me I need to hit or leave the course, locker room security guards drawing their sidearms because I don’t have the correct ID, golf instructors who teach people how to swing like a robot coming to my blog and telling me I have no idea what I am talking about.

Just lucky, I guess 😀

I went by him as I was going to the bathroom and said, “poker is about tells and only people who are higher handicaps use the term “scratch golfer.””

Everyone at the table he had changed to heard his tirade and laughed themselves out of their chairs.

Good Grief Charlie Brown.

I liken the modern amateur golfers to Charlie Brown and most golf instruction media to Lucy in video #1.

As you can see in video #2 and #3, this guy sure does know how to practice taking it back inside and burying it inside on the way down so he can swing inside/out…and look at that awesome lag/forward shaft lean he has going.

In my analogy, the over the top, hang back and cast in his swing when he hits the ball is the equivalent of Lucy pulling away the football and Charlie Brown falling on his butt. Of course he has the ultimate scratch finish. The scratch finish is when you hold and pose. The ultimate scratch finish is when you are so pure, you point the club at the target with extended arms.

This is an extreme result of what I have been talking about. Making lag the primary goal of the golf swing. Most of you have not fallen down this hard, but seeing an extreme personified can often open your eyes.

PS-He probably goes through this routine (plus stepping off yardages twice, throwing up grass and changing clubs three times) on the course before and after every shot, causing a 6 hour round. I hope he sees this blog post and videos. I don’t like soliciting to people, but I hope he comes to me, because he can’t be having fun playing like this.

Please send this to all of your friends who have fallen, or are about to fall into this trap.

Understanding your feel.

(skip to the last line if you don’t want to read my ranting and raving 😀 )

“Feel is not real.”

No truer words were ever spoken about the golf swing. Jim Furyk says he feels like he swings like Hogan. Need I say more?

Many people get angry when they hear that. They disagree or resign themselves to the fact that they can’t get better without learning the swing in parts…i.e. learning to hit positions in the swing.

Aye, there’s the rub. If your feel is not real and you try to learn the swing in parts…is that not the worst recipe for disaster imaginable?

Making your golf swing better is not about adhering to an arbitrary standard. It is about making your swing fit you and be more efficient.

“How do I do that?”

Well, you must understand your feel. Your feel is the swing your body creates at this moment with no purposely performed manipulation. More often than not, that won’t be efficient.

To digress a moment, my philosophy of the golf swing is the exact opposite of almost everyone out there. Most people think diagnosing the problem is difficult and the fix is simple. I believe the diagnosis is extremely simple and the fix is a long drawn out, “retraining the feel,” process.

In other words, most instructors (pro and rank amateur alike) have a laundry list if nitpicks that all need to be addressed at the same time and a quick fix tip at the ready to cure each one.

I believe there is usually one or two issues in a golf swing that cause the rest of the problems. Once you address those problems, it’s a two step process.

1. Find out what feels are creating that issue(s).

2. Find a drill/swing thought/different feel to replace the bad one…and over the course of time, the new feel will become automatic.

Important Addendum. As I have said before, you don’t cure a problem by doing the opposite of that problem. You don’t cure aiming way left by feeling like you aim way right, because eventually you will be aiming right.

YOU NEED TO FIND THE FEEL THAT CREATES THE DESIRED RESULT. That is sometimes a trial and error process, but far from insurmountable.

Something I don’t understand.

Most amateur golfers will freely admit they don’t understand the golf swing at all or know much about it. Yet they think they know enough to diagnose their own problem, pick a fix for that problem and implement that fix…or do the same for a fellow duffer.

Now let’s look at the odds.

1. What are the odds they diagnose the problem correctly?

2. What are the odds they pick the right fix?

3. What are the odds they implement the fix properly?

Now multiply 1x2x3 and you get an astronomical number. In other words, it’s never going to work.

So my question is this. Why not just play and have fun, or understand that getting better is a process and that it takes time?

The way to improve at all levels is to UNDERSTAND your feel. I will write about that tomorrow.

You can really simplify your swing

if you just pay attention to these two videos.

Beating a dead horse.

(I will get to yesterday’s questions and discussions. I have two sick babies and a wife out of town. Luckily I wrote today’s post a few days ago. LOL)

I am still getting emails and comments on my youtube videos that say I am promoting a cast when I talk about not forcing lag and what a proper release is.

To paraphrase here is the gist of what I hear from almost everyone.

“Amateurs can’t do what you are telling them because they cast and need to actively hold the angle in order to not cast.”

If you are casting, the fix is not to purposely hold the angle, lead with the handle, etc. You don’t fix problem A by doing the opposite of problem A, or you end up with problem B…which is all too often the shanks when people start messing with this concept of adding lag.

The fix is to learn the feel of a proper release…and/or figure out why you cast. Casting is almost always caused by too much dominant hand grip pressure (right for right handed golfers) or a swing that is too long…and very often both.

Do the drill from the post on Monday where you rotate to a club at waist level. Try the natural rotation I am promoting in that video and try and cast it at the same time. It’s almost impossible to do at 1/10 the speed while doing this drill. Imagine how difficult it would be at your full swing speed even if it is only 75 mph.

A natural rotation of the forearms and club face makes a cast a physically intrusive process even at a slow practice swing speed.

I don’t understand why this is so difficult to understand. Having the right arm rotate over the left gradually in the downswing as centrifugal force acts on the club head and having the left wrist cup and right wrist bow (what happens to the two wrists in a cast) is hard to do even on purpose. Try it and you will see what I mean.

Here is a video on where I distinguish between an active cast and a passive cast, the reasons why they happen and simple ways to alleviate the problem.

PURPOSELY CREATING LAG, LEADING WITH THE HANDLE, HOLDING OFF THE RELEASE OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, ISOLATES THE HANDS FROM THE REST OF THE SWING AND OFTEN CAUSES PROBLEMS WORSE THAN A CAST.

Where I stand

I want to continue to simplify my ideas about golf for both myself and all of you. A reader continues to suggest that I am not always diligent in answering questions.

There is a message board and I really would like to expand the discussions. I don’t know everything and the more discussion that goes on, the more we can simplify our golf games.

Simple will definitely lead to lower scores for all of us. So bring your ideas, questions, friends having problems with their game, etc.

Tomorrow I have YET ANOTHER post explaining that a proper release is not a cast…and actually how a proper release will prevent a cast…and more on the dreaded lag topic.

I hope tomorrow’s post will create a lot of nice debate and questions on the message board. Don’t be shy, ask some today. Create a debate. After all the terrible information we have been exposed to from the experts, there literally is no such thing as a stupid question.

Message board link