Archive for December, 2010

Have fun tonight

but be safe. I want all my students and blog readers to survive tonight’s debauchery. Drinking and driving is almost as bad as taking a lesson from The Two David’s (Leadbetter and Pelz) in the same day and playing a golf match for your mortgage that afternoon.

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“Swing Easy” is nonsense

Another oldie but goodie that more people need to hear. Another cliche that is spouted across the world that is meaningless and masks the real problem. “Keep your head down,” as most of you know, is my favorite cliche to hate. “Swing easy,” is right up there.

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I hear that phrase often both as a self dialogue and as a tip from a friend.

All it is is a cop out for not having good balance and/or rhythm.

I agree that if you swing hard and your balance is bad, you will hit the ball all over creation. However, no amount of swinging easy is going to make up for bad balance, regardless of the perceived improvement.

I will illustrate how swinging easy looks like it helps. If you are aiming at the middle of the fairway and hit a ball 30 yards off line and 250 yards…that ball is in the trees or a canyon. If you swing easy with the same poor balance and hit the ball 30 yards off line and 220 yards, you are in play.

This seems like it helps, but why mask the real problem. It’s like banging your head against the wall to make you forget about how much your broken toe hurts. Why not just relax and take some Advil.

Plus, swinging harder on balance creates more idiot force and idiot force helps you get better arm extension, which helps you square the club better.

As long as you have good balance and let the club set at the top by having good rhythm in the transition, you can swing as hard as you want.

David Leadbetter had the shanks

This was one of the first dozen or so posts I put up. It was enjoyed by all who read it, even those who like what Leadbetter has to say.

I would hope I could have a sense of humor if this happened to me.

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I have seen David Leadbetter on TV many times talking about…well, nonsense.

IMO, he ruined the tail end of Nick Faldo’s prime with that stupid yellow bean bag with his name on it that you see at every driving range. If you swing into it too many times, it throws off the rhythm of your golf swing. Ask Nick what he thinks of the yellow bean bag if you ever see him.

Impact Bag? The only impact it has is to sprain your wrists and give you lumbago.

IMO, it is no coincidence that after Ernie Els started working with him, he was not seen on the top of the leader board in any majors. No more DL for Ernie, he is back on the leaderboard.

It is also my opinion that it is no coincidence that after Michelle Wie started working with him, she went from almost winning majors on the LPGA Tour, to not being able to break 80 for a while. No more DL, she gets her first win.

Several years ago, I used to live at PGA West where they have played the Skins game, The Bob Hope and Q-school.

I was playing the Palmer course one day and there was a film crew and several carts in the middle of the fourth fairway. I decided to go watch and found DL shooting an instructional video. I decided to listen along with 10 or 12 of my fellow members.

I won’t go into the specific technical nonsense he was spouting because I don’t want to expose you to what can only be considered the golf version of pornography. Needless to say, I disagreed with it, but I want to tell you what happened.

He spouted his nonsense, tried to implement it by hitting a shot to the green…dead 90 degree shank.

Take 2…same nonsense verbally, tried to swing that way…El Hozel about 4 feet from the first one.

Take 3…same nonsense into the camera…I would like to tell you he holed out door #3, but alas, it was another right turn special.

He slammed his club on the cart and it broke.

I would like to tell you what happened next, but I couldn’t contain my laughter and had to drive away.

Moral to the story. Why is much of the world trying to improve their golf game by listening to a guy who gives out info so bad, it gives himself the shanks?

The REAL secrets to hitting the ball farther.

(I revisit this post every so often, as it has been my most popular and has helped the most people along with the Plane and Release by Feel Video (LINK))

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

Is the following the way to win the Remax World Long Drive Championship? Not by a long shot. (Wait, actually I changed my mind. This is how I did it…along with hitting lots of balls.)

Is it the way the most golfers can achieve their maximum average distance of drives while not sacrificing driving accuracy or score? ABSOLUTELY!

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. You know how I know? I tried most of them.

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. The very few exceptions not withstanding.

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 or hitting one 300 yard drive. It is about your handicap being lower 6 months from now and all of your drives having the best combo of distance and accuracy.

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 (LINK).

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 definitely 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 or delaying the release increases speed and distance. WRONG! I understand what the physics but lagging the club artificially doesn’t work. 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 (delay the release), you bury it to the inside (get stuck underneath the plane) and the club face is also open. A strong grip is a bandaid for this as you are still stuck under the plane with an open club face. If you combat this with a stronger grip, you are now flipping at it with even more force and going to hit it even farther left when you flip it to avoid the block to the right.

In addition, adding unnatural lag narrows your arc, which reduces club head speed and can increase 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. 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.

The proper amount of lag will be a result of a good golf swing. Trying to do it on purpose with your hands will isolate your hands and they will take over the swing.

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.

Jack Nicklaus said you can’t release the club too early. Need I say more?

To sum up the above mess, the release should start as soon as the down swing starts in sync with the turn of the body. These two rotations will counteract and produce a square club, as both actions will happen naturally if you allow them. Watch the video in this LINK

As you can see in this video, a release and a cast are two completely different physical movements and unrelated. Also, new ball flight laws suggest releasing too soon down the line will produce a pull, not the myth that it crates a hook.

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, “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.

OK, I have changed this to IDIOT force as I was told my 1980’s physics is antiquated. Basically, there is a force that will square the club if you are not an idiot and prevent it from happening.

9. Don’t try to increase your arc on the back swing. You want to keep the width of your arc constant. Another way of saying keeping your hands the same distance from your chest that they are at address. “Low and slow” or trying too hard to get full extension going back will get the club behind you and possibly pull your head down. Numbers 4-8 on this list go out the window when that happens. In addition, widening the arc purposely on the way back almost always leads to narrowing on the way down, which will give you a feeling of being stuck and having no room to hit the ball.

Trust me…you don’t want that.

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” or “make a full turn” 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 or John Daly, so don’t take the club back that far. 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 automatically. You have your own personal best swing. Keeping things basic will allow you to find it and actually have fun doing it.

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

I now have my own wikipedia page

I have no idea who started it, but their info was pretty accurate. Thank you to whoever did it.

Please feel free to add anything you would like to say about my swing ideas.

LINK

Pre-shot routine.

A pre-shot routine is fine, a pre-shot circus is not. A routine is: figure out what shot to hit, take a practice swing, setup and hit it.

A pre-shot routine is something to get you into a good place to hit the shot. Something that creates structure to calm you so you can do your swing automatically. Like your routine driving to work or taking a shower. You do those without thinking, that is the point. The shorter the routine is and the fewer steps it has, the easier it is to repeat.

Link to GolfSwingSurgeon.com

An awesome article on pace of play…

by the USGA president during WWII…and thanks to carrera for posting it.

I completely agree with everything, but the last sentence…and that is the sad part.

LINK

Enjoy today’s blog post below.