Friday, April 28, 2017

Swing Journal 4.28.17

In this post I’ll go over some of my basic core practicing beliefs.  Then, I will go to the 1 Swing Journal post per week, next week.  I'll get back into the What to Look For posts and the other goodies.

In the previous posts I described the Drive Hold Release and the upper and lower body movements that I work on in order to, one day, execute the Drive Hold Release.

In this Swing Journal, I will usually try and focus my efforts on one or the other…either the Upper Body Movements or just the Lower Body Movements.

I find that it generally works best just to concentrate on either the upper body or the lower body, not both at the same time. Sometimes I can do both at the same time, but too much mix-matching between lower body and upper body mechanics tends to mean a larger learning curve.



One of the keen coaching methods I observed was from Bill Parcells. Parcells is arguably the greatest developer of Quarterbacks in the history of the NFL as he not only went to 3 Super Bowls with 3 different QB’s, but each QB regressed after he left and he made lesser talented QB’s like Ray Lucas and Quincy Carter became respectable starters and Vinny Testaverde became a Pro Bowler under Parcells’ watch.

Parcells had a thing with each of the QB’s in where he would remind the QB of ‘when you get into trouble.’ For example, with Tony Romo Parcells would say ‘when you get into trouble, your footwork is the issue.’ With Testaverde he would say ‘you get into trouble when you start audibling too much.’

With that, I’ve got a few of ‘when I get into trouble’ mantras:

1. When I get into Right Pelvic Tilt too early in the downswing (this is a real killer, almost can’t hit the ball out of my shadow).

2. When I don’t get Right Shoulder external rotation in transition.

3. When I don’t get enough knee flex at address (weight gets too much on my toes at address and it’s an impending disaster).

4. When I get ‘lazy’ with my backwing (lack of backswing pivot)


I find this ‘when I get into trouble’ to be more productive than taking notes after each range session. Somedays you’re just not going to have your A Game. You may not quite have the hand-eye coordination you usually do or you may just struggle with concentrating that day. Thus, taking notes after each range session is ‘chasing mechanics’ and often certain mechanics will be incorrectly blames for struggling (while other mechanics will be incorrectly credited for that one day you happen to hit it well).

Find 3 or 4 ‘when I get into trouble’ mechanics and stick with it.


***

As far as my practice goes, here are some tenets that I believe in that have worked for me over the years that I’ve either gained from experience and/or discussing with motor skill learning and neuroscience experts.

You’re trying to ingrain your golf swing, you’re not going to the chiropractor.

If you go to the chiropractor they will try and set you up for appointments 3 times a week. Eventually about a year down the road they’ll cut it back to 2 times a week. And eventually that will lead to 1 time a week.

Why?

Because chiropractors are adjusting your spinal column and at first they need to keep adjusting the vertebrae constantly so the vertebrae will stop moving out of place.

Golfers tend to think that way with their golf swing. They think if they can constantly observe their swing, it won’t get out-of-whack. Instead, they are actually putting themselves on track to never ingrain your swing. You’re better off having issues where you do not execute the mechanics you want in order to eventually have the lightbulb go on that will determine what you have to do in order to properly execute the mechanics you desire.

I use slow motion practice

I’ve found that full-swing, slow motion practice works the best in terms of ingraining new moves. The best way to do it, IMO, is to do it with a ball, in front of a mirror and try to execute the moves *exactly* how you want them. This actually beats over-exaggerating a move. The issue is that I don’t have a full length mirror that I can bring out to the range.

When I use slow motion practice the best, it’s amazing how I can take it to the course and have an out-of-body experience. Not only can I visualize the shot I want to hit in my pre-shot routine, but when I’m really going good I can visualize watching myself hit the shot in my pre-shot routine..

I also like to use Ikkos’ CopyMe Golf system which provides visuals to copy and bring in your swing. The video I’m using now on Ikkos is this one below:



As you watch Sadlowski’s belt you can see how he rotates the pelvis by focusing on his tailbone as well as he doesn’t get into Right Pelvic Tilt too early.


I randomize my practice

Some excellent thoughts from Mike Hebron on the subject.





Casual Rounds are a great way to become Unconscious Competent with your swing.

Dr. Fran Pirozzolo discusses 'massing' versus 'interleaving' practice.  Massing is much like going to the range and hitting shot after shot usually to the same target.  Interleaving is more like randomizing the practice, but also getting out to the course and bringing what you have been working on to the golf course.

The issue I've found is that the score and 'embarrassment' gets in the way.  A golfer starts playing poorly and it's easy to get away from what you've been working on.  The brain almost goes into survival mode and reverts back to old mechanics rather than new mechanics.  And the different environment of the course where the lies are uneven, there's greater consequences to a bad shot, the wind plays a larger factor, etc. all serve to sabotage the golfer.

By taking score out of the way and putting more focus on getting the mechanics 'right', the golfer can start to use this to ingrain the new mechanics more quickly AND take these mechanics from the range to the course.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Swing Journal 4.26.17

n the last post I described how my goal with the swing is to develop a low rate of closure and low overtaking rate release referred to as the ‘Drive Hold Release.’ While it may sound like we are just trying to put my hands in a position of the Drive Hold Release, what we are actually working on are the mechanics prior to the release phase of the golf swing. Those mechanics will make it easier and more likely to execute the Drive Hold Release. Without those mechanics…it’s unlikely I will obtain a Drive Hold Release.



Before we go on, it’s important to note a couple of my beliefs thru my experience as a consumer of golf instruction.

I don’t buy into swing models.’

I don’t buy into ‘swinging your swing.’ The swing is learned and not innate.’

The problem with swing models is that very rarely you see one person do everything an instructor desire. Let’s say an instructor has 6 key pieces to their swing. Usually you will see a great player have 4 or 5 of those pieces. Or they execute those pieces sorta similar to what the instructor teaches…but they exaggerate it enough that it doesn’t look the same…but, it’s essentially doing the same thing.

Thus, expecting me or any golf student to execute the model is likely an exercise in futility and could be very detrimental.

I would rather figure out what I do well and what I do poorly. Figure out what hurts my ballstriking and what does not hurt my ballstriking and then attack those weaknesses and try to come up with mechanics that have some resemblance to what the golf instructor wants to the point where it is no longer a detriment to my game.


***

I break down Kelvin’s work into Upper Body Mechanics vs. Lower Body Mechanics. I’ve found that this helps me understand the swing better and better break down things so I can practice them more effectively.

I prefer to work on either just Upper Body or just Lower Body mechanics if I can. Working on both at the same time can be problematic.


LOWER BODY MECHANICS

Strong Pelvic Rotation on the downswing
Avoid Right Pelvic Tilt too early in the downswing
Femurs will Abduct in transition and then adduct into impact (Sam Snead Squat)

We are trying to get pelvic rotation in the downswing because we don’t want the pelvis to stall otherwise it will be near impossible to obtain a Drive-Hold Release. IMO, the players that continue to swing the arms with a stalled pelvis will develop a Roll Release (high rate of closure). Those players that stall their arms with a stalled pelvis will develop a Flip Release (high overtaking rate).


The diagram above is showing the back view of a human and getting into right pelvic tilt. The reason we want to avoid Right Pelvic Tilt too early in the downswing is that the pelvis rotation will stall. Right Pelvic Tilt is more of a ‘sliding’ motion of the hips than a rotational motion.



Here’s a pic of Dustin Johnson in the downswing. He is in LEFT Pelvic Tilt which aids in him being able to continue to rotate. You will also see that both of his femurs are in abduction, aka the Sam Snead Squat. Eventually his femurs will adduct and help keep the pelvis rotating thru and past impact.




As far as ‘weight’ (aka Center of Pressure) transfer goes, it should look something like this:



You will see that in the backswing Victor gets his weight all on his right foot.




He then transfers his ‘weight’ to over 80% on his left foot in the downswing.



However, before impact his hips are still rotating and that causes his ‘weight’ to be nearly 50/50 at impact (actually 52% on his right foot/48% on his left foot)



This is described as a ‘fishhook’ trace because of how the CoP trace forms a pattern that looks like a fishhook. This is common with the drive hold release in the golf swing.


UPPER BODY MECHANICS

Lumbar Lordosis in Backswing
Lateral Bending of the Spine in Downswing
Rear Shoulder External Rotation
Getting Center of Mass of Club below the Net Force of the Hands

Kelvin describes lumbar lordosis in the golf swing on his blog. That’s usually not a big issue for me other than I occasionally get ‘lazy’ in the backswing and don’t get into lumbar lordosis and have to be reminded to do so.

Since Kelvin’s methodology focus on rotating the pelvis with little lateral movement (rotational = biased towards a slice), we counter that slice action by moving the torso more ‘underneath.’ Meaning that the rear shoulder moves downward, sorta creating an ‘oblique crunch’ in the downswing while the pelvis is rotating. As Kelvin once told me ‘It may feel like you’re making an over-the-top move with your pelvis and making a swing to hit a hook with your shoulders and torso.’

The movements of the upper body (linear movements) and lower body (rotational movements) not only counter each other to produce a more square path, but there is a ‘coupling action’ in the body where the pelvis will rotate *more* when the spine tilts into to the hips. This is described in this video by Dr. Bob Olivieri.



Dr. Olivieri is discussing this with regards to the backswing, but it applies to the downswing as well.

So…we are trying to rotate the pelvis to create a drive-hold release which will help control the face and dynamic loft. But, with this rotation of the pelvis it will also help with club speed. And that’s where many of Kelvin’s players and Lucas Wald’s players hit the ball very long…the rotation of the pelvis helping create more club speed (all the while a drive-hold release helping control the face and dynamic loft).

So in essence, we are trying to get a lot of pelvic rotation with lateral bend (i.e. the oblique crunch).

However, all of this is for not if the player gets into Right Pelvic Tilt too early. The coupling action disappears when the golfer gets into Right Pelvic Tilt.


***

Lastly, the motion of the arms and shoulder joints is important. I would certainly consider this motion an Upper Body Movement.

The big key is the external rotation of the rear shoulder in the downswing:


The external rotation of the rear shoulder helps get the Center of Mass below the Net Force of the hands (aka getting 'on plane' instead of being 'over the top').

The shoulder joint is also the fastest moving joint in the body so if it is externally rotated in the downswing it will eventually internally rotate with great force.  And all of this leads back to the 'Drive Hold Release.'

Here's a good video from Grant Hooper, who never actually took a lesson from Kelvin, but simply read his articles and the progress he made.  Not only was the progress amazing, but Grant describes so many of the key pieces such as the lateral bend of the spine, not going into right pelvic tilt (feeling like your rear shoulder and rear hip are going to 'kiss' in the downswing).  As well as the external rotation of the rear shoulder.




Tomorrow, I will go into some of my practice beliefs.  That post should be much shorter.





3JACK

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swing Journal 4.25.17

I’m going to try and not fill up the blog with Swing Journal entries. I will try to keep the Swing Journal entries to no more than once per week as the blog is really about looking at a smorgasbord of things involved with golf that the reader can find interesting and useful to improve their own game. However, this week I would like to get a few entries in as I want to go into my current swing philosophies.

Again, these Swing Journal posts will be tagged as ‘Swing Journal’ for readers to easily go back and view if needed.

Anyway, here’s a swing video I took of myself a month ago:



And here’s one that I took of myself about a year ago, right before I started striking the ball extremely well.



We can see some differences as my backswing is more upright and my downswing is steeper, both of which I have been trying to avoid.

Currently, I still work on a Kelvin Miyahira (www.kelvinmiyahiragolf.com) swing discipline. I have worked on this swing with both Kelvin and Lucas Wald.



This goes into one of my key beliefs in golf swing improvement:

“It’s alright to work with one particular coach on a consistent basis for about a year. Afterward, you should seek out a new coach that teaches the same swing philosophy for a different set of eyes and perspective on your swing (provided you are happy with the first coach).”

It’s very easy to get into a rut with any coach, but when you feel you’re onto something good it’s hard to make that change. Instead, change over to a new coach but keep the philosophy the same. Eventually, you can go back to that original coach.

***

You can read about Kelvin Miyahira’s swing philosophies and research on his blog on his Web site at www.kelvinmiyahiragolf.com.

I think the most popular misconception about Kelvin’s work is that it is based on hitting it long or that it’s based on the Jamie Sadlowski golf swing. In essence, my perspective on Kelvin’s philosophy is that he feels that the ‘Drive-Hold Release’ is the superior release style in golf. So, it’s not actually about swinging like a long driver as many of the Re-MAX long drive competitors do not have a Drive-Hold Release.

Kelvin has discussed the Drive-Hold release extensively on his blog, but my best way to explain the Drive-Hold release is:

1. It’s a release pattern with a slow Rate of Closure.
2. It’s a release patther with a slow ‘overtaking’ rate.

One can discuss the supination of the wrists, pronation of the lead forearm, etc…but if you understand Rate of Closure and Overtaking Rate…that’s what the Drive-Hold is about. And consistently, the best statistically proven ballstrikers on Tour tend to have a Drive-Hold release, like Dustin Johnson:



The rate of closure will affect the golfer’s ability to control the face.

Are there great golferst that have a high rate of closure? Sure. Phil Mickelson and Martin Kaymer are great examples. However, their ballstriking tends to run hot-and-cold with Mickelson being, at times, a dreadful driver of the ball (historically a great iron player). Kaymer has been as good as the #1 ranked player in the world and a US Open winner to a guy that seemingly falls off the face of the earth. When they are running on all cylinders they are very long off the tee and tough to beat. But their level of consistency with their ballstriking is a different story.

Players with a high rate of closure release styles will be referred to as a ‘roll release.’ They are rolling the forearms, wrists and hands and they swing thru the ball.

Overtaking rates tend to cause more dynamic loft issues. Thus, players with high overtaking rates tend to hit the ball shorter and can have some distance control issues. If the dynamic loft should be at 25 degrees with a particular iron, theirs may be at 31 degrees and thus they are hitting the ball higher and shorter. These types of releases are referred to as a ‘flip release.’

Many people confuse the ‘flip release’ with the high handicapper ‘flipping at impact.’ The difference in the ‘flip release’ by a Tour player is that they are typically ‘flipping’ thru and after impact whereas the high handicap ‘flipping at impact’ starts to flip prior to impact. The good news about the flip release is that a player can be very accurate with a flip release if they are are not ‘rolling’ the release. The face angle is stable and that means shots are starting more on-line and are curving less. Also, more of the flip release players on Tour tend to be good from 75-150 yards. Unfortunately for them, those shots don’t count as much as shots from 150-225 yards and drives off the tee.

The dreaded release is the ‘flip-roll’ release where the golfer has a high rate of closure and a high overtaking rate which means difficulty in controlling the face angle and the dynamic loft.






3JACK

Friday, April 21, 2017

3Jack Swing Journal 4.21.17



Since I did the ‘re-boot’ of my blog one of the things I wanted to get back into is a swing journal. This time I wanted to make this more detailed and perhaps a little more interactive. I don’t proclaim to be a ‘swing expert’, but I do believe I’m an expert at consuming golf instruction.

It’s a wonderful tat to have.’ – Andy Dufresne

I believe that my experience in golf instruction and continuing to learn how to ingrain new movement patterns along with understanding the pitfalls of trying to improve and when I’m on the right track and when to fold a bad hand can be helpful to other golfers of all different handicaps.

But first, I wanted to give a background on my swing and swing instruction that I’ve received.

As a junior golfer I virtually received almost no golf instruction. I took a lesson when I started at the age of 11 years old and then took a lesson from David Orr (yes, that David Orr www.flatstickacademy.com). It was 1 lesson and we worked on the ole ‘towel under the left armpit connection drill.’ As a junior golfer my learning of the golf swing came from reading the occasional Golf Digest tip and playing…A LOT.

You could only hit the ball about 160 yards in our driving range where I grew up playing or you would strike the houses. So a lot of my ‘practice’ was just going out and playing. Or occasionally dropping some balls when nobody was around and hitting them from the fairway or tee box. It was routine for me to walk and play 45 holes a day. The most holes I ever played in one day (and walked all of them) was 90 holes.

When I started college I had a major issue…not only was I struggling with my swing…but the old Golf Digest tips didn’t work. Even worse is I had virtually NO knowledge of the golf swing. I actually used to think that you took your divot behind the golf ball. With some more knowledge these days I better understand how that lack of knowledge helped me in some senses play so well, but by this point I was struggling so bad that I needed knowledge in order to fix issues.

And the big issue with the lack of knowledge is that I had no idea what teachers knew what they were talking about and which ones didn’t. That goes to one of my main rules about golf instruction:

At the end of the day, an instructor is judged by how well they improve their students.’

This is why I find it critical that when seeking a golf instructor that a golfer look at their students and how well they improve.


*** 

During my college days, I then became obsessed with golf instruction and trying to ‘crack the code’ to the swing. In that time I purchased and read just about every book I could find, took out every golf magazine swing sequence…put it into a plastic sheet and kept it in a loose leaf binder. And I sought out instruction from numerous instructors including:

Butch Harmon
Jimmy Ballard
David Leadbetter
Mike Bender
Rick Smith

Eventually I got into Homer Kelley’s The Golfing Machine with the help of Chuck Wike (www.chuckwike.com) and that seemed to help the most. However, I was still a better ballstriker as a junior golfer than a college golfer.

After I graduated college I played golf for one more year and then quit the game for 8 years, re-starting in 2009. Here’s what my swing looked like when I first got back into the game after the lay-off:







Soon after I started up with Ted Fort (www.fortifiedgolf.com) and started employing the ‘Hitting’ procedure from The Golfing Machine (in college I was using the ‘swinging procedure’).




I had some good success with that and dropped my handicap to a +1 in about 10 months after the 8 year lay-off. I then started to work with John Erickson (www.advancedballstriking.com) which was a much flatter swing ‘plane’ methodology.



I actually hit the ball well for a good period of time using this methodology, but my club speed was down to the 102 mph mark. I did find on Trackman that I was virtually ‘zeroing out’ all of my numbers with the attack angle, face angle, path and swing direction all at 0 degrees. It would explain why I started hitting the driver extremely accurately.

Eventually, I moved to Florida and started working on M.O.R.A.D. with George Hunt (www.georgehuntgolfacademy.com). Some of the same principles from TGM and John Erickson applied, but the ballstriking and club speed (up to 110 mph) more importantly improved:





George ended up moving away from Florida and I eventually started to see instructors like James Hirschfield and Brendan Kennedy (http://www.heathrowcc.com/golf/garl/instruction)

Eventually I decided to start working with Kelvin Miyahira in October of 2014. I remember the first lesson I had with him I shot 68 at the Legends Course at Orange Lake Resorts. Of course, it wasn’t always 68’s and striping the ball from there. I took a while to understand it which I spent the better part of 2015 doing. I also started working on my swing with Lucas Wald which goes back to one of my big theories about being a golf student:

It’s okay to work with a golf instructor repeatedly for about 1 year. If you like what the instructor is teaching, you may want to find another instructor that teaches a very similar swing philosophy in order to prevent getting in a rut with a single instructor and getting a fresh pair of eyes to attack issues in your swing.'

In 2016 I was committed to playing in golf tournaments and got my handicap up to a +4. These swings were in March of 2016, about 2 months before I started playing arguably my best golf ever (May 2016). I won an amateur event, finished 2nd in another and me and a friend won a 2-ball event. I also shot 65 on 6 different occasions (lowest round ever is a 64 – twice).





As luck would have it, a lot in my life changed in that time as I moved to the Boca Raton area, then moved back to the Space Coast area and had a lot of time that I didn’t get to play golf. I did in 2016 get my club speed as high as 117 mph with the driver on Trackman (and as high as 105 mph with a 3-iron). I checked it a couple of months ago and it was at 113.2 mph.

Right now, I'm at a +2 handicap.  I had some 'struggles' and started to regain my golf swing during vacation in December.  I started to experiment with some new things and they were working well until I had to take a few weeks off due to a bronchial infection.

The past 2 weeks I've struggled with my golf swing, but have managed to keep my scores from being awful with a 74 (+2 over) at Juliette Falls and a 72 (Even Par) at Orange County National - Panther Lake course.

In my next journal entry, I will give a video of my current swing and some of my beliefs on the golf swing.




3JACK

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What To Look For: Valero Texas Open



The Tour makes its way all the way down to San Antonio this week for the 95th Texas Open.  The Texas Open dates back all the way to 1922.  It wasn't named the Valero Texas Open until 2002 as the Valero Energy Corporation bought out the naming rights to the event back then.

The tournament has always been played in the San Antonio area which usually means a blustering wind and fast conditions.  With fast conditions that means that the shorter hitters tend to favor the course over the longer hitters.

Reviews on TPC San Antonio are mixed, but more biased towards the negative side.  Some of the holes are a bit too tricky for Tour players' tastes and many of them hate the design of the greens which are often very undulated.  The event is now ran by Greg Norman's company, Shark Enterprises, and I have to wonder if they chose the TPC San Antonio design since it more resembles an Australian design that Norman grew up playing.

The 213 yard par-3 3rd hole is a good example of why some players have a disdain for the course.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE PICTURE)



Not only is there water in front of the hole, but it's a difficult up-and-down past the hole.  A couple of years ago there was a stiff 35 mph tail wind which made it virtually impossible to stop the ball and players made bogeys left-and-right.  It's also the 'most critical' par-3 on Tour...meaning that is has the highest average deviation in score between the field and top finishers of any par-3 on Tour.

Personally, I sorta like the course because it's a different flavor of course than your normal event and it has some beautiful sight lines.  Furthermore, the 18th hole is a 'critical hole' and the 17th hole has a substantial deviation in scores as well.  So, you can possibly see a lot of drama going on the last 2 holes of the event.  It's also an iron player or putter style course given the difficulty of the approach shots and the undulations in the grens.


Projected Winning Score: -9


3JACK'S FAVORITES

Matt Kuchar +1,800
Ryan Moore +2,200
Brendan Steele +2,200
Ollie Schniederjans +2,800
Adam Hadwin +2,800



3JACK'S DARK HORSES

Tony Finau +2,800
Byeong Hun-An +5,000
Martin Laird +5,500
Cameron Tringale +12,500
Robert Garrigus +20,000




3JACK

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Edel Single Length Irons Interview with Devoted Golfer TV

Here's an interview from Devoted Golfer TV with David Edel on his new Single Length irons:








3JACK

Friday, April 14, 2017

Correct Hub/Hand Path Produces Lag with Shawn Webb

Here's a video from Shawn Webb discussing how 'proper' hand path and hub path produces lag, using GEARS technology.







3JACK