Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fujikura's ENSO Machine in Action

Here's a couple of videos showing the Fujikura ENSO machine in action:







Back in 2013, one of my Tour clients, Daniel Summerhays, got fitted on the ENSO machine and saw a dramatic improvement in his Driving Effectiveness off the tee. Here's a chart showing his overall ranking that year as each event passed by:

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)




The blue plotted points are pre-ENSO fitting and the red plotted points are post-ENSO fitting. As we can see, Summerhays ranked as high as 162nd by the Byron Nelson and was 157th for the year before using the ENSO machine. By the end of the year, in just 7 events he was able to improve his ranking for the year to 108th. The following season Summerhays ranked 43rd in Driving Effectiveness, his most effective season driving the ball in his career thus far.






3JACK

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Meaningless Thoughts on the Masters...

- This was about the slowest I can ever remember the greens at Augusta as I have never seen so many putts left short at the Masters before. While this may sound sacrilege to some, based on historical data it suggests that the make % at ANGC from inside 20-feet is probably right around the average for the Tour, perhaps a little higher than the average. Tour players usually see their make % go up on faster greens as faster greens tend to roll smoother. However, with faster greens and if the greens are relatively large (7,000 square feet or more) will cause more 3-putts. So with the normally super slick ANGC greens slowing down a touch, it likely barely affected the make % from inside 20-feet and produced less 3-putts.

- If there is an antithesis of Jordan Spieth, it may just be Sergio Garcia. Garcia was in contention after round 1 and was clearly displeasured during the round and had the look of ‘I know I have no chance of winning this thing and I really don’t want to be here.’ I’m not the type of guy that says ‘hey, it beats having a real job.’ But, you’re getting to play a course that people have dreamed of playing and you’re in contention after the first round. Maybe crack a smile or something.

- One of the best comments came from Peter Kostis when he said ‘it’s good to see flashes of the Tiger of old instead of seeing an old Tiger.’ Yes, he struggled on Sunday, but this was one of the best performances with the driver we’ve seen from Tiger in maybe 10 years. No more hitting countless 3-woods and then sawing off 3-woods when the full swing 3-wood off the tee was going awry. After the cut, he had hit 20 out of 24 fairways and on the back nine on Thursday he hit the ball far better off the tee than his playing partners. He cannot play competitive golf with that awful short game he had at the beginning of the year. But, I felt that the short game woes…while bizarre…could be fixed rather quickly and easily. And once that was fixed, he would still have to figure out how to hit his driver consistently off the tee and to hit it well with power and precision. He also finished out and event without getting injured. He was ‘hurt’ on the shot on 15 with the ‘bone that popped out’, but he now finished the round instead of shutting everything down at the hint of being injured.

- No, I don’t believe that he popped a bone back in.

- I read the interesting article of Augusta marker, Jeff Knox:

http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2015/4/11/8387479/jeff-knox-masters-non-competing-marker-augusta-national

On a side note, Knox reminded me of when I came home from college during one summer to play golf with my grandmother’s long time boyfriend in his local member-guest. There was a golfer who was a member at the course by the name of Larry G. and he had this reputation of being unbeatable at the course.

I figured that Larry G. never faced any real competition. Especially when I saw his golf bag which looked like this:



The member-guest had a fourball format (low score between the two players represents the team score), but it also awarded prizes to the player that shoots the lowest gross score. In the first round I shoot 67 (it’s an easy course) and made some putts to do it and Larry G. posts a 66. The next day I make a lot of putts and shot 65 and think ‘take that Larry G!’ Larry came in and shot 61.

I then started to think that Larry must be a really good player that nobody knows about until he played a few tournaments at different courses and literally could not break 82 in those events. Some golfers just jive incredibly well at certain golf courses. Fortunately for Knox, it happens to be the most famous golf course in the world.

- I’m pretty sure the members at ANGC are not happy with the low scoring. Unlike Tiger and Bubba, Spieth is not super long. He currently ranks 55th in Driving Distance and his club speed is only about 113 mph which is roughly at the Tour average. The issue with lengthening the course is that it may make it harder for a Jordan Spieth, but it still won’t be a problem for a bomber like Bubba Watson or Gary Woodland. And what we saw time and time again was players hitting awful drives and still ending up with close birdie putts. In fact, Spieth’s driving was quite bad on Saturday and Sunday and he shot -4 on the weekend while protecting a big lead. To me, if the club wants to lower scores they have to find a way to fix that. It’s certainly okay to allow for some spectacular shots from the trees, but at this point there is no consequence for a terrible drive at ANGC if you’re either long enough or if you’re good at pulling off rescue shots. To me, the solution is let the rough grow out more. I would NOT want US Open or even PGA Championship style of rough as that would take away from the intent of the design of the course. But, a Bay Hill or TPC Sawgrass length of rough should suffice. And it would bring back what made the course so fascinating in the 80’s thru the mid-90’s….that any style of golfer could possibly win the event.

- It’s going to be great to see Spieth destroy the straight left arm swing theory.



- After Thursday, The Golf Channel’s Notah Begay mentioned that Spieth’s metrics from tee-to-green were not all that impressive. IIRC, Spieth was something like 100th in GIR and 80th in Total Driving before the Masters. This is a classic example of traditional metrics being a poor representation of a player’s performance. More advanced metrics like my Driving Effectiveness had him 5th in that category and 6th in Red Zone play. Spieth’s domination of this season has not happened for no good reason. He’s an incredible ballstriker and an incredible putter with a very good short game and there are just no real holes in his game to cause him to make bogey and not make birdies.

- In the end, I’m extremely happy that Jordan Spieth won the event. He’s a great representative of the game of golf and watching him play gave me goose bumps thinking that this was probably what it was like to watch Byron Nelson play in his prime. Mr. Nelson was not overly long either, but was able to win 11 events in a row, made a record of 113 straight cuts, and had a scoring average record that took 55 years to break. Mr. Nelson was also an incredible humanitarian who charity generated $117 million in donations. I’m sure in the end, some will question whether a person as humble as Spieth has the personality to rejuvenate interest in the game of golf. But, the more people with the character of the Mr. Nelson and Jordan Spieths there are in the game, the greater this game will become.







3JACK

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shots That Made History at the Masters

A great documentary from CBS:








3JACK

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Short Game Secrets with James Ridyard

Here's a short game video from short game guru, James Ridyard (www.jamesridyardgolf.com) on club head path, smash factor and spin rate with the short game.








3JACK

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Hit Pitch Shots from Tight Lies w/Dan Carraher

Here's another video from Dan Carraher (www.dancarrahergolf.com) on how to hit pitch shots from tight lies.








3JACK

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Dangers of Looking For Feels

Here’s a great video, from Christo Garcia of the My Swing Evolution YouTube channel, showing an incredible transformation of one of his subscriber’s golf swings:



A lot of what goes on in this video deals with things that I have been contemplating over the last year or so…swing thoughts/feels/visuals and how they affect golf performance.

In the beginning, Christo discusses how he is looking for that one swing thought/feel/visual that clicks and gets his swing to look more like Hogan’s swing. And I think that is the main problem, he is ‘chasing feels.’

I believe his subscriber with the swing transformation, Lee Namba, is using visuals (which is a cousin to a ‘feel’) and it is working wonderfully for him now, but I think I see where the disconnect is between what Christo is doing and what Lee has done.

First, let’s get to what Christo is essentially trying to work on and in effect, what Lee has been working on.

Christo is trying to get more pelvis rotation in the downswing into impact. It appears he understands that part of the issue is he ‘goat humps’ (aka early extension) and that prevents him from getting more pelvis rotation.

Christo has also been trying to get more lateral side bend of the torso in order to help with that pelvic rotation.


THE MECHANICS

Here is what lateral side bend looks like in an animation:


(credit www.philcheetham.com)

The idea behind the lateral side bend is that when done correctly and the hips are level (or the rear hip is higher than the front hip)…this creates an action where the pelvis will automatically rotate more. Dr. Bob Olivieri and Andy Plummer discuss this in this video. Note that they are discussing this with the backswing, but the same applies with the downswing movements:



Dustin Johnson is a great example of a player utilizing a lot of lateral side bend and having a pelvis that rotates well open into impact.



Brian Gay is an example of a player with little to no lateral bend that does not have nearly as much pelvis rotation:



And in the end, we see this from Lee Namba whose transformation includes more lateral side bend, far less ‘goat humping’ and more pelvis rotation into impact. Lee states this has dramatically improved his ballstriking and I completely trust him.





WAYS TO PRACTICE TO DEVELOP FEELS

Lee Namba gave the issues he used to have and how thru a series of visuals and some feels by studying Keegan Bradley how he was able to transform his swing. Lee said his big issue was essentially his inability to drive the right elbow forward in what The Golfing Machine calls ‘pitch elbow.’



Lee eventually corrected that issue by visualizing his arms ‘swinging underneath the torso.’ Eventually he added some more visualizations and feels to produce the transformed swing he has today.

In Homer Kelley’s The Golfing Machine, he states that it is better to learn mechanics thru feel instead of feel thru mechanics. What this means is that Kelley believes that if you incorporate the right mechanics in your swing, you can eventually develop how that feels to YOU and then use those feels to replicate those mechanics.

But as Kelley said, most golf instruction at that time (he published the book in 1969) revolved around learning mechanics from feels which means the golfer would be taught to feel something in particular and then hope to incorporate those mechanics through that feel. The main issue that Kelley astutely pointed out is that what one golfer may feel doesn’t mean that another golfer will feel the same thing.

Kelley’s solution was simple…use what Kelley called ‘basic, acquired and total motion’ in order to use the correct mechanics time and time again and then develop a feel for those mechanics.

Basic Motion = A small swing where the shaft of the club only goes from about thigh high in the backswing to thigh high in the follow thru.


Acquired Motion = A larger swing, but it only goes to about where the lead arm is parallel to the ground in the backswing to the trail arm is parallel to the ground in the follow thru.

This is often referred to as (9 o’clock to 3 o’clock swing) popularized by golf instructor Geoff Jones (aka SliceFixer).


Total Motion = A full golf swing.

Kelley advised that the golfer should start with ‘basic motion’ and work on that until they incorporate all of the mechanics properly on a consistent basis. Then Kelley advised to move onto ‘acquired motion’ and finally to ‘total motion.’

The difference we are seeing today between Kelley’s recommendation and what neurologist and skill acquisition experts is that they modern day neurologists and skill acquisition experts prefer that the golfer utilize swings at very slow speed and make sure they are utilizing the correct mechanics as the golfer swings the club slowly. When the golfer does use the right mechanics, then they make the swing a little faster and keep ramping up the speed as they get the mechanics correctly. In fact, this is something that Lee Namba says he did in his practice. Oh, and some guy name Hogan used to practice using self-imposed slow motion swings as well:



I tend to believe that both methods (Kelley’s acquired to total motion swings and the speed changes methods) are a good way to go. Three of the very best ballstrikers of all time in Hogan, Moe Norman and Mac O’Grady utilized these methods in their training to become the great ballstrikers they were.


SOME CRITIQUES AND CHASING FEELS

While I praise Lee Namba’s transformation and he has used the ‘speed method’ of acquiring his mechanics, I do feel that he has chased the visuals and feels and I think there was a bit of luck on his side to make it work. And I feel that for other golfers, this may not work in such a permanent fashion like it did for Lee.

I do not feel that Lee fully understands the mechanics, but he did spot something that allowed him to back his way into getting the mechanics needed to get the swing he wanted.

As Lee said, he could never quite get enough room to drive his right elbow forward enough in the downswing. Eventually, he changed his visual to ‘swinging the arms under the torso.’ I personally feel that what Lee did was he not only swung the arms under the torso, but his brain figured out that he needed to make room for himself in order to all those arms to swing under the torso. And he made that room by creating what is called ‘anterior pelvic tilt.’



We can see in the image above both anterior and posterior pelvic tilt. The ‘posterior pelvic tilt’ is also know as ‘early extension’ or ‘goat humping.’ When we get into anterior pelvic tilt, it creates more room. For instance, look at Lee’s before and after video and look at the right thigh and its distance to the ball. With the anterior pelvic tilt (after) his thigh and pelvis is further from the ball and he has more ‘room’ to swing the arms.



But, by the same token, he is now able to rotate that pelvis because of the anterior pelvic tilt. With the ‘goat humping’ move, the pelvis cannot rotate as much and will now slide.

I also believe that Lee had been working hard on trying to externally rotate the right shoulder in order to drive the elbow forward, much like Keegan Bradley does and Ben Hogan used to do.



But with the ‘goat hump’ move, that helped stall the pelvis rotation and therefore the right shoulder would go from external to internal rotation. Now with the anterior pelvic tilt which he used to ‘make room for his arms to swing under his torso’ he can now rotate the pelvis instead of sliding it and he can now sustain that right shoulder external rotation and drive the right elbow more forward into impact. I also believe that the right shoulder external rotation aids in the lateral side bend which is why we see much more lateral side bend in the after photo of Lee’s swing.

The issue with getting somebody like Christo (or anybody else) to translate this is that their brain may not make sense of ‘make room for your arms to swing under his torso’ that Lee used. And he could very well end up trying to make the arms swing under the torso and not get the anterior pelvic tilt in order to do so. Nor may another golfer have the right shoulder external rotation to go along with it. So, in the end another golfer may just be chasing those feels/visuals and because they don’t quite understand all of the mechanics they never quite get to where they want to be.

I tend to believe this is more where modern day golf instruction is moving to…understanding the science of motor skill and skill acquisition learning and applying that to golf. Unfortunately, the golf magazines and TV shows will still give away ‘swing tips’ which usually consist of feels and visuals which only enable golfers to continue to chase feels/visuals even more without any permanent improvement and still having to go to the range all of the time.





3JACK

Friday, March 20, 2015

New GolfWRX Column: A Simple Scoring System to Record Your Stats



I frequently get asked the question ‘what statistics can I use to measure my entire game?’ The issue is that while there are many advanced methods of statistics to use, they are often very cumbersome and golfers tend to forget to record their score, take too long to record the metrics or end up inaccurately recording their metrics, leading to a skewed analysis of their game.

I’ve done countless hours of research on the game, and usually have a pretty good idea on how I performed in each area after a round, but I still use certain metrics to assist with that analysis so I can schedule my practice accordingly.

One of the main scores I like to keep is a metric I created in the 2013 Pro Golf Synopsis called the 15/5 Score. The scoring system goes like this:

• Give yourself +1 point if your par save is within 5-feet of the hole.
• Give yourself +2 points if you have a birdie opportunity inside 15-feet of the hole.
• Give yourself +3 points if you have an eagle opportunity inside 15-feet of the hole.
•Take away -3 points if your par save is not within 5-feet of the hole.

For bogey shooters, you can alter this score by giving yourself +1 point if your bogey putt is within 5-feet of the hole and use that as the baseline. I also only give one set of points for each hole. If I have a 12-foot birdie putt and hit the putt 6-feet past the cup, I only give myself +2 points for the birdie putt inside 15-feet. This is important to note because we can better decipher our putting skill using this methodology. I will go into that later in this article.

Another thing I like to keep track of is what I call ‘Impedes.’ These are any of the following:


Read More: http://www.golfwrx.com/290177/a-simple-scoring-system-to-record-statistics/