Archive for February, 2012

A drill for good hip rotation

I am not a believer in keeping the rear foot flat. I believe it restricts hip rotation.

This drill will stop you from snatching the club in transition (getting quick), stop you from hanging back, reduce EE and help better hip rotation.

Use hip shift and rotation to pull the right heel off the ground to start the dowswning.

Now this drill is not exactly what happens, nor is it exactly what you want to do, but it has very positive affects.

It gives you feedback on how the body will feel when it shifts and unwinds in transition…which in turn will give you feedback on how the body should wind up in the backswing.

You know I am not a believer in the hips getting out in front. That is why this drill works. If/when you do this drill you spin out, or feel your arms are getting stuck, you are probably doing that when you swing.

Again, it is a feedback drill to teach you proper sequence. If it makes you do something bad, then the drill works as a diagnostic and helps you find a feel that moves you in the correct direction.

Accuracy of golf course yardage markers

I constantly hear ams of all handicaps, mini tour pros and PGA Tour pros complain about sprinkler yardages, yardage posts and yardages their caddies gave them.

I have been guilty of this myself.

Once during a round in the midst of shooting a 65, I hit a shot on a par 3 to about 2 feet. A 25 handicap asked me how far it played, he knifed the ball over the green and told me I gave him the wrong yardage because he knows how far he hits it.

Another time I gave out a yardage to friend and he airmailed the green by 30 yards. He yelled and screamed at me. We come to find out, he hit 6 iron, instead of the 9 he intended.

The yardage markers being wrong is almost always ignorance or stupidity on the part of the golfer.

If you take what I am about to say literally, you will improve your golf game.

The more solid I hit a shot, the more accurate the yardage markers seem to be.

The more I pay attention to the lie, wind and other factors that affect how far a ball goes…the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less I worry about how much distance I am getting out of my irons, the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less serious I take myself, the more accurate yardage markers seem to be.

The less I worry about the EXACT yardage I have, the more accurate the yardage markers seem to be.

I had a rough weekend

This will pertain to some of you and your golf game at the end of the post.

I like playing Texas Holdem. I play once a week and have become a decent player. Recently I have gotten really good at the technical aspect of the game, but am getting killed. This last weekend was just disgusting how bad my luck was. I made the right play at the supposed right time and got killed. I got big hands and lost out to bigger hands. I got all in way ahead and got sucked out on…and this bad run has gone on for a long time.

Examples:

Flopped nut straight, guy who flopped top pair hit runner runner full house.

I ran into pocket aces with pocket kings twice.

I had pocket aces, had a guy with pocket 10’s push all in on me preflop and hit a 10 on the turn.

Just a bad run of luck and I discussed with my friend who was sitting there with me how they could have been played differently.

The point…I am laying off till my birthday in May because I am frustrated with the results and instead of beating my head against the wall…

…realize the bad luck isn’t as bad as I perceive and I am compounding the bad run by pushing myself into bad reads and bad plays.

Some of you are probably in the same place with your golf games and need to take a few weeks or even a few months off to get the frustration out and get the passion and love for the game back.

Start fresh so to speak.

I basically took all of 2009 off from golf and just wrote this blog and got a fresh start.

It’s not the old joke of, “Take two weeks off and quit.”

It’s purging all of the bad feels, bad attitude and bad juju.

Take some time off, until you wake up one day and you would commit several misdemeanors just to get to the course and whack a ball.

Shoulder turn drill

First off, if you are reading this and thinking, “This guy is a moron and teaching people to reverse pivot…”

…you are not doing it right.

This drill is not for you if you have a weight shift problem. This drill/feel is if you have an upper body movement problem and/or lack of shoulder turn issue.

To initiate the backswing, feel your right shoulder (for right handed golfer) go toward the target. This is especially effective if you have too much lateral movement off the ball with the upper body.

To initiate the downswing, feel the left shoulder go away from the target. This is especially effective if you have a tendency to get the upper body in front of the ball. A huge issue for many lower handicappers. For those that tend to snatch the club with the hands, you will be less likely to do so. It is also very helpful in creating tilt behind the ball at impact…which you all know I am very fond of.

Hold a shaft in front of your chest and practice this in the mirror. You will see how effective it is in fixing the issues I have described what it is useful in dealing with. Practicing with a shaft across your chest in front of the mirror will help you create a 90* shoulder turn to the spine with this as well.

The angle of the¬†shoulder¬†turn is everything

Here is a post and video from two years ago…and the principles are still true. The vertical shoulder turn on the downswing (I have found) is one of the leading causes of early extension (Goat Humping)

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Golf is action/reaction. Most golfers are too flat going back and too vertical coming through. Even PGA Tour players have these issues. Watch Dustin Johnson. He is so vertical coming into impact, he has to massively wrench the club flat and around him to keep the club from getting away from him. He does this with a hip turn that 1 in 1,000,000 people are capable of.

That’s fine for a World class player who manages a severe body action, but for most golfers, having the shoulders turn 90* to the spine on the backswing and downswing is the easiest way.

Most amateurs whip the club too far inside to start the backswing. This initiates a very flat shoulder turn and lots of late arm lift. This can result in rerouting over the top and a shoulder turn that is also too flat through impact…or more often, a shoulder turn that is way too vertical in order to “help the ball in the air,” or an attempt to come from the inside.

All of the techno babble aside, maintaining the T (LINK) or a 90* shoulder turn keeps things simple.

Here is a video describing some of the shoulder turn issues that cause problems.

“This course is too easy”

(The last statement at the bottom of today’s post, is my profound view of golf and where it needs to go.)

I was inspired to write this after -7 won at Riviera and I again heard someone on the range yesterday making the same old, tired comments about traditional golf courses. He was dumb founded at how Tour players couldn’t shoot lower on such an “easy” looking course.

The so called, “Well Manicured Muni” attitude that most golfers take on a course that has tees, fairways, trees, small greens, fairways and rough.

Here is a conversation I have had literally hundreds of times. Change a few words and the name of the course, but it’s the same conversation.

I know this is the umpteenth time I have talked about this and it is not meant to be a rant as much as evidence at how uneducated the golf public is about the game…and by default, uneducated on how to get better.

21 handicap…”Monte, what’s your favorite course in the area?”

Me…”Newport Beach Country Club.”

21…”Really? That course is so easy.”

Me…”So I assume you shot 65 when you played it?”

21…”No, of course not.”

Me…”Then 5 or 6 shots under your handicap?

21…”No, I actually shot over 100, but I was having trouble hitting the fairway and I missed a lot of short putts. My chipping wasn’t so good either. I had some chips where I was only 30 feet from the hole and couldn’t get it withing 20 feet.”

Me…”Probably had nothing to do with the fairways being narrow, the rough being difficult and all of the short putts having break.”

That is how you make a course hard. Small fairways, rough that makes missing the fairway and green a penalty and greens that have subtle slopes, so short putts have break. For regular, every day play, the rough only has to be long enough to alter shots. Not so long you can’t find your ball, or can’t advance it.

However, the average golfer finds the tools that Alister Mackenzie and Donald Ross used as unfair and Mickey Mouse, yet rock piles in the fairway, water falls, 5 tiered greens and canyons in the middle of the fairway as devices that make a course “pretty and challenging.”

Modern courses have wide fairways, but your ball is lost if you are 6″ off the fairway. They also have greens the size of military bases and multiple tiers…but most of the tiers are flat or they would be unplayable.

The way I describe modern golf design is way too many 2 shot penalties for bad shots and unfortunate good shots and way too few 1/2 shot penalties for marginal shots.

You play an old style, US Open type course, you have a 1/2 shot penalty staring you in the face every time you address the ball and almost no two shot penalties, unless you completely leave the property into the parking lot of a strip mall.

The same can be said for the old Scottish Links courses…except replace the strip mall with a sheep pasture.

Modern designs will empty the ball pouch of your average 21 handicap on a bad day, have pros standing in the middle of the fairway scratching their heads not knowing where their ball is and the 13 handicap micromanaging his straight in 4 footer after he blocked his hybrid 20 yards right of the green and had it redirected to near gimmie range.

OK, so it was another rant of sweeping generalizations, but now that I am teaching, I don’t have my headphones on at the range and hearing people say dumb things about Riviera and slip seamlessly into, “hold the lag, complete your back swing and low and slow,” leads me to also believe there is a 2 minute preshot routine lurking, as well.

To sum up…if we minimize swing crack, play “muni style” courses, we will play faster, shoot lower and have more fun. In other words, swing crack, modern course designs and long preshot routines, lead to higher scores and less fun.

What makes me different?

I have a solid understanding of technical data, but my study has been more about people. Approach, incorrect assumptions causing incorrect movements.

In my study of the golf swing, I noticed patterns and have figured out why people end up where they do.

I watch and listen and notice why people all end up in the same bad place. Trying to implement the same cliches in the same misguided fashion.

Coming over the top because they are trying too hard to swing inside out.

Getting out of spine angle because they are trying to widen the arc.

The thing that makes me the most different is how I perceive things. Most “experts” on the swing look at a golfer and find a wide variety of issues and complicated missteps according to their “swing ideal” and 23 step swing checklist where each point needs to be perfect…then the fix is easy with some miracle method, cliche or Marquis de Sade worthy training device.

I see the swing issue each individual has as very simple. A setup and/or linchpin swing issue that will lead to the rest of the swing lining up. However, the fix is really difficult. Not in it’s implementation, but in it’s interpretation.

Each golfer has a different way of processing information, different physical abilities and most importantly, different levels of kin-esthetic awareness (feel and body control).

My students quickly find out that I tell them the same few things over and over again, but it a different way and/or context.

I hope each time what I say takes them in the right direction and is the linchpin for everything to fall into place. If I find out it is not, I attack it from a different direction.

What usually gets in the way is the misconceptions they show up with. I can’t possibly know every wrong assumption they come with. One student the other day…I didn’t realize he thought proper arm rotation off the ball was actually wrist manipulation…and he was was familiar with my “Plane and release by feel video.”

That is what this blog is about for me. Throw everything that comes to mind at the wall and hopefully it will stick and quash all of the misconceptions people have, so they can just setup and take a swipe at it.

That is mostly what my lessons are about. Dispel the misconceptions…see what happens…then offer some direction.

I believe a lot of info out there is just well marketed misconception on a stick.