Archive for June, 2011

The left hip and the hands cancel

While standing behind a golfer…the left hip goes left and the hands go right. These actions cancel and it looks connected and fluid.

That is what creates the inside out swing path. If the left hip doesn’t clear left, the hands have to pull the club left to hit it. Also known as a snatch and/or OTT.

Any effort to purposely swing inside out when the left hip isn’t clearing left, is a DISASTER. Disconnected, shanks, blocks, snap hooks, etc.

The point of today’s post is not as technical and complicated as it sounds. I am illustrating that the golf swing is not something where you can “zero out” certain aspects.

It is an action/reaction movement.

Today’s post is on the same wavelength as holding the lag. You can’t hold the lag with the hands or the hips won’t turn properly or in sync. The club needs to release, the hips turn to prevent it from happening too quickly.

Two opposing forces work together to produce the desired motion.

If you try and swing inside/out on purpose, BAD!!!!

If your left hip moves away from the ball, clears and allows your hands to go “out” to the ball…GOOOOOD!!!!!!

That is why you must create feels that produce synchronized movements, versus isolating one body part and creating a specific movement or position.

Grip pressure

Let me start with this.

Death gripping is bad because it will isolate the hands and mostly likely cause a bad release and/or prevent a good one from happening.

The “bird in the hand” grip pressure is also bad, IMO. If you grip the club too light, your hand action gets sloppy and you can’t help but snatch the club in transition.

That leaves us everything else in the middle and that is what you need to search for. So I will say on a scale from 1-10, eliminate 1,2,9 and 10. Then find what works for you between 3 and 8.

This is another one of golf’s trial and error processes. You need to find what works for you. It should be obvious after a few buckets of balls what pressure works for you. If it feels good and produces a good ball flight, it is probably correct.

To add to the fun, you might find that a grip pressure of 7 works for your left hand and a 4 for the right hand produces a feel and ball flight that is perfect for you.

Confused? Good. At least that’s what the golf instruction and training aid industries want. How else can they sell you DVD’s and the latest spine bending device in order to knock 5 strokes off your handicap and add 40 yards to drives.

…or, you can have someone who has a basic idea point you in the right direction and you find what works for you.

Since the hands are your greatest feedback mechanism in golf, finding the right one with regards to grip pressure is HUUUUGE!!!!!

I am rethinking the prevailing thoughts on grip.

“Matched hands” has never really felt comfortable to me whether the grip was strong or weak.

Lately I have been hitting it pretty well, but my grip feels awful…and has throughout my struggles. It is still affecting my chipping, as chipping is all about feel.

To me, grip is not about what’s right in a textbook, but what gets your hands on the club in a way that allows you to have good posture at address and allows you to release the club without grabbing it.

On Sunday I decided to practice chipping and pitching and experiment with grip until I got one that felt good and produced good results.

What I ended up with is something that sounded weird at first, then made perfect sense in the end.

A strong left hand and a weak right hand.

“WHAT THE HELL????!!!!”…is probably what most of you are thinking right now. “Monte has lost his mind!”

I would have reacted the same way to someone else suggesting this just a few days ago. Let’s forget everything we have been told and know about golf for a second and just look at it from a common sense angle.

Stand straight up and down with no club and just let your arms hang at your sides. You get “matched hands” where the back of your left hand points toward the target and the palm of your right hand points at the target.

If you put your hands on either side of a golf shaft flat like that, and just closed your hands around the grip…that is the way I was taught to grip it. I never liked the feel of that, but that is the way I was taught, so that is what I did most of my career.

I listened to a few others and did a few experiments with strong grips so I could get my hands out of it and “hold off the release.”

LOL, I know, I know, but I was ignorant.

Anyways, gripping the club like I described above creates a supposedly neutral grip, which makes it hard to release it without the hands taking over big time. So that is bad…and never mind a weak grip.

Remember, the worst hooks are not created by a club that is too closed coming into impact but one that is way too open coming into impact…necessitating a flip to prevent it from going right.

A strong grip never allows the right hand to get on top of the shaft until really late (will probably do a video at some point to explain this) coming into impact without creating a massively shut club.

So what the heck are we supposed to do?

Get back in the same straight up and down stance with your hands at your sides and no club. Start to bend at the waist and knees, while letting your hands hang straight down and start bringing them around to the place where you would grip the club and see what happens.

Low and behold the hands start to turn in…and the result is the thumbs face each other producing a strong left hand and a weak right hand.

That is the way natural body mechanics set the hands when your hands are in a position to grip a golf club.

So my question…

WHY IN THE WORLD DON’T WE GRIP THE CLUB THAT WAY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I am sure there are all sorts of golf theorists who will have all sorts of reasons why this won’t work…but there are probably the same ones that say hold the lag.

It creates square shoulders at address makes it difficult to whip it too far inside…both of which will go a long way to avoiding over the top for the higher handicappers.

For better players, it makes it less likely to get the right elbow stuck behind the right hip coming into the ball.

So it helps eliminate the worst issues of bad golfers, the biggest issue good golfers face and lines up the hands the way they would hang naturally.

What’s the down side?

Keep an open mind, try it on some short shots and tell me what you think.

Again, grip can be very individual, I am just suggesting a way not too many have…and a way that actually makes some sense when you put aside what we have been told was correct.

60?

I don’t care what the course is like. 60 is not bad. Mr. Cantlay can play. He obviously showed that during the US Open.

He also showed that following up a joke of a great round with another good round is really hard.

I didn’t get to watch any of the golf this weekend, but wanted to comment on how great I thought the 60 was.

I also wanted to point out that the guy who won the tournament has a golf swing that stinks when using the criteria being used by most everyone in golf circles. He doesn’t have massive lag and he moves all over the place…but he gets it to the hitting zone which is all that matters.

I don’t think most of the people involved in instruction both as pros and aficionados are concerned enough with the last phrase.

They criticize swings that get the ball to the hitting zone perfectly for really inane reasons…and glorify swings that have technical merits yet get the club to the hitting zone poorly.

I have a controversial post on the grip tomorrow. I am bound to create havoc and ire with what I say. 😀

It definitely falls under the category of my new motto: “I am through worrying about offending people who don’t like me anyway.”

When to go for it

It is the same for nasty looking tee shots, hero shots into the green, risky flop shots to tough pins and down hill sliding putts with lots of break.

Do I go for it?

It is exactly the same as picking up on a pretty woman. Real confidence almost always works. Fear and false bravado almost always fails.

Almost every golfer has a backswing that is too long

The worse the golfer, the more likely their back swing is too long.

This is the result of several different factors. “Trying to complete the turn” and other similar cliches are one cause.

Arms and hands controlling the swing is another.

I have said this again and again. The golf swing is individual and no two people are going to have the same dynamic and you must have a backswing that matches your body and skill level.

I have sat on the range watching people hit on a launch monitor and seen this 1000 times if I have seen it once.

A long sloppy arm controlled backswing that produces 80 mph of club speed and 110 mph of ball speed.

Followed by a short compact shoulder controlled back swing, that allows the hips to clear and produces 95 mph of club speed and 140 mph of balls speed.

Then the proverbial, “That shorter back swing feels so powerless, I don’t think I can do that.”

It doesn’t matter whether it’s launch monitor numbers, or just eyeballing a drive that goes 10-20 yards farther, it’s all the same.

YOU MUST FIND YOUR OPTIMUM LENGTH BAKCSWING.

…and for some it’s might be the left arm (for right handed golfer) just getting to parallel to the ground or 9 o’clock. Others may get to cliche parallel, but most shouldn’t.

The issue is finding the end of your shoulder turn and that will not only make it easier to accelerate, it will make it easier to link things up and hit the ball more solid and consistent.

For most, that is a shorter backswing.

What is the world coming to?

Here is yet another GolfWrx thread on forward shaft lean (lag) and how to get it artificially.

I would chime in and say the original poster’s inconsistency and lack of forward shaft lean is a lack of lower body turn (which is going to be made worse by using the hands to increase forward shaft lean), but that would just be a waste of my time and it will fall on deaf ears…or a blind eye. This thread is a case of the shanks waiting to happen for everyone reading it.

LINK