Archive for May, 2012

Getting “unstuck”

It’s simple. If your right hip turns deep enough (up and away from ball) and you have a lateral shift with the lower body to initiate the downswing, that gives you room and time to get the right arm in front of the body and you don’t get stuck.

That’s why these whole restrict the hip turn and swing in a barrel concepts are so bad.

Go try and make a swing where you restrict hip turn and don’t allow lateral hip movement on downswing…and keep your right arm in front of you. Exactly, you can’t. Block and flip city.

The goal of the golf swing is to limit excess movement while not restricting free movement.

That bold statement should be the beginning and end of every book and article on the golf swing.

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I realized why I have hit a bit of a wall this year

and it dawned on me during this little layoff for my sore shoulder and on my trip to Dallas.

Now this is going to come off like over analysis and swing crack, but if you step back, it makes perfect sense…and it comes back to one basic issue. It will be the last thing I say and it’s applicable to all of you.

It came to me how I got in this pattern when I made a post on Golfwrx about what screwed me up.

Getting away from the game allowed me to see the progression.

I used to have an inside out swing path and a steep angle of attack. I would time it right and play some really good golf…but could be erratic.

Remembering my divots pointed way right and I would hit a block draw. I played the ball pretty far back in my stance and aimed left to compensate.

The swing nerds told me I was too steep and needed to shallow it out, so I needed to swing more to the right.

Now I say, “How in the world did I not know better?”

The answer, in my defense, is bog name and well respected people told me this.

Knowing what my Trackman numbers are now and applying them to what I was doing then and what this advice led me to…

I would say I had an 8-10 degree in to out from my foot line and probably a -3 to -5 AoA on driver. Because I aimed left, the path wasn’t all that much right of the target.

Trackman experts will tell you that the steeper than angle of attack, the more in to out the path gets. So when these geniuses (three of them) told me to swing more in to out, I would assume my angle of attack became even steeper to compensate.

Over time, I would bet my path got to be as much as 12-15 in to out, which led to shots that literally hit the middle of the club face and went 50-60 yards right…and snap hook that went nowhere with the driver. With the irons, I was hitting balls close to the hozel and only some pretty fair eye hand coordination prevents a permanent bought of the shanks.

My setup got more and more left and/or my flip at impact got more and more pronounced. Add some early extension for flavor…the result of an extremely vertical shoulder turn.

Over the past year, as my swing started to even out, my setup did not. Every time I started to feel good on the range, I would hit pulls and instead of adjusting the setup, I hit a wall and my path got out to the right again.

Stubborn me who had always aimed left his whole career, wouldn’t give in and aim more square…or even to the right a hair.

Your setup must match your swing when you play golf, regardless of flaws that exist, or show on that given day.

However, when you are trying to get better, setup to promote what your are trying to improve, so the flaw you are trying to get rid of doesn’t persist.

I am now going to attempt to do this and I believe my improvement will start to ascend again. Not playing enough golf is why it took my pea brain so long to grasp this concept that I instill in others.

That’s why teaching yourself can be a losing proposition.

Here is what Frank said to me in Dallas…

“Monte, you are teaching me about things that affect path and everything you have said has helped me simplify and understand what I am doing. You tell me that you are trying to get your path more left? Why the ______ do you continue to setup open?”

Hide the straight razors.

More on yesterday’s topic

On Sunday, I watched ams of different skill levels hit balls to an approximately 150 pin.

Here is what I observed…and it meshed with what I have observed for 30 years.

Golfers that are around 10 handicaps hit less than 1 out of 10 that land within 10 feet and hit more than half that land outside 40 feet.

Golfers that are over 20 handicaps basically have to get lucky to hit a ball that lands with 20 feet of the hole.

I am not just talking about left and right. Overall distance from the hol

The odds of golfers at these skill levels hitting a ball online and the actual distance they think they hit it and hit it solid enough to hit the ball that distance is small.

“Yes Monte, we know we suck, stop being such a jerk and telling us how bad we are and actually make a point.”

I am glad you are all thinking that, because I have an answer.

Because golfers have such skewed expectations of what they should be accomplishing on each individual shot, they ruin their swings and golf games.

You hear golfers that shoot 85 giving personal stats that would lead the PGA Tour.

I once had a guy tell me he needed a 4 degree driver because he hit the ball too high. I told him it was probably a swing issue or setup issue and his response was, “I know I am handsy, but I carry it 290 and I hit 80% of fairways, so I don’t want to change my swing.”

I played with him and he carried it about 230 and hit 4 fairways on a wide open course that I hit 13 of 14 on.

One of my closest friends got down to a 5 and I once measured his expectation on each individual shot and he would have shot somewhere in the mid 50’s had he met those expectations.

“OK, Monte, you know everything and we know nothing. Please impart us with your genius, oh all knowing Oz.”

I know I often come off that way, but it not from a place of arrogance or superiority. It is from a place of personal failure and frustration for all of us.

…and here is the point.

Golfers using such ridiculous expectations end up thinking they need to adjust their swing after each “unexpected” non perfect shot they hit.

I have proven to students over and over again. Good shots and bad shots are nearly the same swing. The body sequenced in a slightly different manner, but look the same…and essentially are the same. Changes take weeks and months to become apparent to the naked eye.

All that being said, adjusting your swing after each bad shot (even if the self diagnosis wasn’t horribly incorrect in most cases), is chasing windmills.

It is no less ridiculous than taking out your wrench and closing the face on your adjustable driver after spraying your first drive to the right.

You get better by repeating the same swing and accepting it will hit bad shots sometimes (actually often, not adjusting your swing each time you don’t hole out from the fairway.

Working on something so you can improve is one thing, but when I watch a student hit 5 great shots in a row and hit one ball a hair fat and left and ask me why that happened, I empathize with those who commit murder suicides.

The worst offender of today’s rant…is yours truly.

This makes no sense

Every week the WINNER on the PGA tour averages 30-35 feet from the hole on approach shots for the week.

Yet during lessons, I often have mid handicappers hit a ball 40 feet and ask in disgust why they hit the shot so far offline?!?!?!???

Video on yesterday’s topic. This is so imprtant to so many people.

Swinging to right field…swinging left

You hear both of these things, which is correct?

Actually they are both correct, but they are taught and implemented horribly…and horribly is not a strong enough pejorative.

The swing to right field is taught and implemented by disconnecting the arms and sending them out away from the body, while the club ends up under the plane on the back an downswing and either outside the target line or a flip at and after the ball.

Swinging left usually ends up as pulling the handle and yanking it left around the corner. In other words, a very steep shaft angle.

It’s no wonder why every thread on GolfWrx and other message boards in the poster asking how to get rid of snap hooks with driver and shanks with irons.

If you swing to right field with the arms, it will eventually end up in snap hooks because the path is too far from the inside.

Swinging left with the hands will eventually cause a battle with the shanks as you are steepening the shaft too much.

Swinging to right field and swinging left are nothing more than where a swing path keeps the club on the arc. From inside the target line coming into the ball (swinging to right field)…then back inside the target line after impact (swinging left).

The ball is the bottom and outermost point of the arc.

I am making a video today explaining all of this and what these ideas are actually supposed to mean.

I will post it tomorrow.

Chipping yips-Edited Sorry, got side tracked and forgot to finish the post

First off, I wanna thank all the readers in 95 different countries for continuing to read what I write. I checked the stats and that was the number since February. I assume many of the hits that are small numbers are from random mistakes on a search, so if I get rid of those, it’s still 72 nations…I was surprised to see many hits from nations like Ethiopia.

On to the chipping yips.

Had them and lately, have been helping people get rid of them. I got them when I morphed from a feel approach to a methodical and mechanical approach proposed by (for the Harry Potter fans), The Lord Valdermort of short game.

Basically what happened to me and everyone with chipping problems is something I call hot potato. As soon as the club is about to hit the ball, the arms stop as if the club was a hot potato and you want to let go of it.

The way I have been helping people (and myself) get rid of them is to make sure the arms continue to move. The “feel” that has been working for most is to make sure the right elbow (for right handers) gets all the way to the navel.

Now this is not exactly what is supposed to happen. but the thought has been almost universal in getting rid of the hot potato syndrome.

Obviously you don’t want to hit with all arms, so you have to be rotating. However, most with the chips yips stop their rotation when they stop their arms to hit at the ball.

Others have used this theory to create their own feels.

Like one person who tried this and said, “This made me feel like my right shoulder continued moving toward the target and I like that thought better.”