Archive for December, 2013

When you stand over a shot, commit.

You are better off committing to hitting the wrong shot the wrong way, than willie nilly the right shot the right way.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

Secondary spine tilt

or tilt away from the target is important for many reasons.

Basically, the arms need room. They work down from the top of the swing (which is what creates the downward strike on an iron), but level in relation to the inclined spine.

If you have no tilt at impact, arms working level to the inclined spine are too steep. Fat and or deep divots are the result unless your body compensates.

Early extension, casting and chicken wings are a few examples.

Spine tilt at impact creates room for the arms to work level to the inclined spine, speed up and create speed and shaft lean without a steep angle of attack.

Having some at address and at the top of the swing makes it easier to have it at impact.

For those that care, this is how you get lag, shaft lean and compression (HATE THOSE TERMS). Secondary tilt creates room for lag without a steep angle of attack and gives you room to release it properly.

It is beyond me why this is such a complicated concept that much of the instruction industry seems to turn an obtuse eye.

Only 99%+ of golfers who ever played the tour had it. Everyone wants to study the anomalies of tour swings to find the magic move…why not call the magic move the one thing that is nearly universal?

Properly created secondary spine tilt.

How much do you have to have?

Some. An 85 year old man I am teaching can do it. If you can bend 1* to the side, you have the skills and don’t need a 3 hour a day TPI stretching and strengthening routine.

How do you get it?

Make a small shift into the left side in transition while keeping the head/sternum back.

You don’t need a degree in physics or kinesiology to understand this.

You need three things.

1. An open mind
2. The sense of sight
3. Access to youtube

Put any name all time and you will find all of them have tilt coming into impact and at impact…even with a wedge. The worm raping Darren Clarke not withstanding.

A side benefit. Secondary tilt creates more room for the hips to turn. Especially if you had a small lateral shift and didn’t fire the hips too early in transition…but that’s another story.

What the arms do in a golf swing

The concept is this simple. Your spine is inclined. In relation to the ground, the arms must lift in the backswing and drop in the downswing.

So using the spine inclination as “level,” you want your arms to remain relatively level in backswing and downswing (small variations part of the deal).

In the backswing, things like “low and slow” and inside backswings cause “arm drop.”

In the downswing, things like steep and over the top cause “arm lift.”

Both in relation to spine inclination.

People who try and “drop the club in the slot” often create too much arm drop…especially if there is a backswing issue.

It’s easier said than done, but the object is to keep the arms “level” through the whole swing.

Why I didn’t make the tour.

There have been questions both on the board and emails about how I seem to know about the swing and hit the ball far and give great short game lessons….

…and don’t seem dumb as a post.

How the heck didn’t I make the tour? It’s a fair question. There are two main reasons.

1. I didn’t have a lot of playing experience.
2. I had no clue why my misses happened.

My game. Obviously I was the longest hitter in the world, I was a world class long iron player and sand player. I would have easily finished in the top 10 in sand saves. A solid mid iron game, average full wedge game, a solid short game I developed playing the courses at PGA West…and a putter that got hot enough for me to win any given week. Elite inside of 5 feet, didn’t 3 putt often, but was very average in the 10-20 foot range.

I had two huge short comings. I would hit 50 yard foul balls out of nowhere and they were imminent at all times. I’d hit 5 fairways in a row with driver…and tight ones….then miss the fairway by 30 yards, then hit 5 more in a row. That was fine at a tree lined course with another fairway adjoining, but most Q-school courses are target and/or housing development courses that handcuffed me.

If the Q-school was at Torrey Pines, Southern Hills and Oakland Hills, I would have had a better chance.

I also had no trajectory and often very little distance control on shots inside 150 that weren’t full shots. When my swing was having issues, I would have to turn SW up to 130 versus taking a little off PW. Trying to hit LW 115, when I wasn’t comfortable flighting a SW, was a circus. Boy do I have some stories about funky wedge shots and off line drives.

Anyway, the driver foul balls and wedge issues were the same issue.

On #1, I really didn’t play much in college. Partly because of a personality conflict with the coach and I had other interests. Pickup basketball and pickup girls. I spent my last 2 years of college playing golf once or twice a week and not practicing at all. When I played my first Nike event (web.com), I had played less than 10 four round tournaments. Instead of learning to play golf better, I listened to well meaning “ignorants” around me and searched for mechanical reasons why I wasn’t better.

In hindsight, if I would have just played more and “dug it out of the dirt” I probably would have figured it out, but after missing at second stage of Q school a number of years in a row, I got sick of Monday qualifying and frustrated with my misses and went to “the experts” to tell me why.

Again in hindsight, they had no idea and just made stuff up. Over the next 5-8 years I got progressively worse until it was so bad, I was basically a 5 handicap who could go abnormally low on occasion.

My issue was this. I was taught to pull the handle. I have abnormally strong hands and the ability to over lag the club. Some days I would get steep both in AoA and shaft angle and compensate by early extending and over tilting (secondary).

I was told the dumbest things. I’d have divots pointing 20 yards right of the green with a wedge and be told I was too steep and to swing more out. I was told to swing more left, clear my hips more, stall my hips at impact, get rid of my lateral move off the ball, roll my wrists more…and even one big name guru, strengthen my grip to stop the blocks. This isn’t close to the laundry list of things I was told by big name gurus and their lead protégés. I would ask simple questions and got double talk. I went from only missing right to horrid two way misses.

The solution for my wedge game was a clock system, which didn’t attack the root cause. Plus when you hand me a chart that says an 90 yard wedge could be a 1030 to 9 LW or a 730 to 1030 SW choked down a 1/2″, my head exploded. I also got the yips from switching from my putting stroke that was copied from Jack Nicklaus in the 86 Masters, to a square stanced, square to square stroke.

I remember feels and visions of those swings….currently looking for old videos in a storage unit, but picture how far right you could hit a drive with a -5 AoA and +10 path at 130-135 mph.

To be clear, I take full responsibility for listening and doing it. No one forced me.

Basically, go back to me in 1993 and say, “Delay those hips from firing a hair and lead more with the right elbow and less with the butt of the club”…I might have had a career. 2013 Monte could give 1993 Monte shots and win half the time, I just don’t play 300 rounds a year (20) and don’t practice 5 hours a day (a month).

So the common misconceptions about being a bad short gamer or a crooked driver or a 10 cent head, weren’t really true. I was just ignorant in two areas and they derailed me.

These mistakes I made have really helped me as an instructor. Almost to the extent that I have done it every wrong way, so I know the way out of the hole.

You can imagine how frustrated I got when I started to learn about cause and effect and realized how fixable my issues were.

Oh well, I’ll be 50 soon.

FYI, I’ll answer any questions and honest and fair criticisms, so don’t feel I’ll be offended if it’s well intended.

Oldies but still funny

ONLY A TRUE GOLFER WILL UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THESE:

Don’t buy a putter until you’ve had a chance to throw it.

Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

If you’re afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there..

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors.

Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.

A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponents’ luck.

It is surprisingly easy to hole a fifty foot putt…..For a 10.

Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

It’s not a gimme if you’re still 5 feet away.

The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

You can hit a two acre fairway 10% of the time and a two inch branch 90% of the time.

If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.

When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

If you want to hit a 7 iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

To calculate the speed of a player’s downswing, multiply the speed of his back-swing by his handicap; I.e., back-swing 20 mph, handicap 15, downswing = 300 mph.

One of my personal favorites:
There are two things you can learn by stopping your back-swing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

Hazards attract; fairways repel.

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

If there is a ball on the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker. If both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint.

It’s easier to get up at 6:00 AM to play golf than at 10:00 to mow the lawn.

A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.

Golf is the perfect thing to do on Sunday because you always end up having to pray a lot.

A good golf partner is one who’s always slightly worse than you are….that’s why I get so many calls to play with friends.

If there’s a storm rolling in, you’ll be having the game of your life.

Golf balls are like eggs. They’re white. They’re sold by the dozen. And you need to buy fresh ones each week.

It’s amazing how a golfer who never helps out around the house will replace his divots, repair his ball marks, and rake his sand traps.

If your opponent has trouble remembering whether he shot a six or a seven, he probably shot an eight (or worse).

It takes longer to learn to be a good golfer than it does to become a brain surgeon. On the other hand, you don’t get to ride around on a cart, drink beer, eat hot dogs and fart if you are performing Brain Surgery!!!!

For the Obtuse

…and yes, I am making a little fun of you. 😀

I even provided a video.

If the issue you are trying to avoid is the hips turning too soon out of sequence…and/or thrusting toward the ball…which way would you move to avoid this?

At the top of the backswing, the target is center field, thrusting toward the ball is right field….you want your tailbone and zipper to make the initial downswing move to left field.

It’s a subtle first move in transition to keep the hips from thrusting at the ball, turning too quickly and keeping the right hip back for a split second longer to create room for the right elbow.

Zipper away

The vast majority of all golfers out there need this feel in the transition. Players of all skill levels, including tour players.

With all of the hip restriction, hip firing, lag holding and handle pulling cliches and methods being taught, nothing gets linked up.

Steep, early extension, under plane, snap hooks, shanks, trailing rear arm, right heel flying, herpes, gingivitis and GAPO (Gorilla Arm Pit Odor) result.

If the target is at 12 o’clock and the ball is at 3 o’clock, at the top of the backswing, the zipper moving away from the ball will go to 10:30…if you draw a straight line from your zipper through your tailbone out to infinity, that’s the direction it goes.

Another way to visualize. Target is west and ball is north. Zipper and tailbone go southwest.

This takes the leverage away from the hands in transition so they can’t steepen the shaft or AoA, it doesn’t allow the right hip to fire too early or out to the ball too much, creates room and time for the right arm to link up and gets you into your left heel faster.

What’s the downside? You won’t get as many strokes from better players after your handicap gos down?