Sunday, November 30, 2008

No, He Didn't Create Star Wars



That's what a PGA Tour quality yardage book looks like. This was created by the Godfather of the modern day Tour yardage book, long time Tour caddy George Lucas.

The pic above is a yardage book of Lucas' for TPC Sugarloaf (just outside of Atlanta). My grandmother bought me the Doral yardage book. Unfortunately I lost it since it was about 15 years ago...and I have never played Doral.


You can find these yardage books (for $20) at http://www.tpkgolf.com/geo-lucas-yardage-books.html. There's 150 different courses that Mr. Lucas has made yardage books for. You can get the list e-mailed to you by contacting the Web site and requesting a copy of the list. They also have your own "starter kit" so you can create your own yardage book for you own course. It's only $5.99 and can be found at http://www.tpkgolf.com/product-pages/accessories/golfers-yardage-book-kit.html






3JACK

My Journey Into Buying a New Flatstick






Got a new flatstick. The pic above actually isn't the putter I have, mine is a *slightly* different model, the Cleveland Class #3 putter (http://www.clevelandgolf.com/putters.html).




I was at the PGA Tour Superstore today and just goofing around looking at stuff. I plan on getting my old man a gift card for some irons since he's hitting the original Tommy Armour 845's that don't even come close to fitting him. So I wanted to see how much I should put on the gift card for a combo set of irons and while I was there I wanted to look for some putters.





I had purchased a Founders Club standup putter about a year ago as a practice aid to help with my alignment. I will give it credit, it does work pretty well and it got me to notice that I was aiming too far right of the target. Eventually I noticed I was putting pretty well with it or at least better than I was with my Ping Pal 2 flatstick and I decided to keep the Standup putter (pic below) in my bag.








But eventually I noticed a problem. For starters, if it's a bit windy it won't stand up. The other problem is it is H-E-A-V-Y. Of course, it has to be heavy in order for the flatstick to stand straight up on its own. Thus it is difficult to use on fast greens and I was likely to ram it right through the break.

One of the cool things for me in my "comeback" is that I feel I am armed with much more knowledge about the game in general. I didn't really intend to buy a putter, but from what I've learned over the past few months, I was better equipped to know what to look for in a flatstick. Mainly:

1. Lines on a putter have proven to be bad for a golfer's alignment.

2. Accuracy of alignment can be dictated by numerous things like the line on a putter, offset, hosel type, loft, etc.

3. Ideally you want to find a putter that looks square to the target to you and is square to the target.


Of course, I got this information from Edel putters (http://www.foundersclubgolf.com/images/products/large/4913_5.jpg & http://www.edelgolf.com/) and David Orr (http://www.orrgolf.com/).


Since I was at the Superstore which has more putters than any store I've ever seen, I wanted to take this knowledge and see what I came up with. Now, it was hardly scientific, but I probably cannot afford an Edel putter, much less go and get fitted for one (no fitters in Georgia). So basically I was looking for different type of hosels, club shapes and line patterns. Note that I don't align myself using a line, but according to some students the presence of a line alone hurt their alignment.

I have a slight right aim bias. In order for me to square up the putter, I often have to feel like I am aiming at the left edge of the hole instead of right at the middle of the hole. So with this mass collection of different putters, I wanted to feel like I was aiming at the middle of the hole and then get an idea of my alignment.

I found that the plumber's neck type of hosel (pic below) usually yielded the worst results, usually far right of the target






As far as lines go, almost every single putter these days has some sort of line on it. The only putter that really didn't have it was the Ping Piper series putter (pic below):




And perhaps I was a bit biased with this knowledge, but my aim seemed better with a putter that didn't have any alignment lines.

For the most part, I had some sort of right aim bias with each putter. But I found that the putters I best align myself with either have the short slant hosel (like my Cleveland Classic #3) and the face balanced hosel (like the Ping Piper) and the heel based hosel (like the pic below).

I didn't align well with the center shafted putters. Not as bad as the plumber's neck hosel, but was not much better.

What was odd was I actually was aligning left with the Taylor Made Spider putter. The putter I aligned best with? The Odyssey Black Series I #7 putter (pic below):


THEN, I tried the Cleveland VP2 milled putter, which is basically the same putter as my Cleveland Class #3, but with a different type of mill. It was a little softer and I seemed to align a tad better, and I started to wonder if the difference in the *color* of the alignment line may have made a difference. According to one Edel putter owner, he saw a difference in alignment when getting fitted for his Edel putter when they switched from a black line to a white line. And because I aligned myself so well with the Odyssey Black Series i #7 putter (a steep $270), which also has a black line, I could be onto something. Either way, I could always just paintfill the line black.

The big problem I faced was that the prices of putters are pretty outrageous these days. So much for the poor economy driving prices down. It's not happening in the golf world. Like I mentioned, the Odyssey ran for $270. That was about the same price for the Ping Redwood putters and the cheapest non-Cleveland putter I saw was a Ping Karsten Series going for $89.

I was quite happy with my alignment on the Ping Zing 2 style of putters so I tried to see how I would align with different putter head styles that still had the short slant hosel. The Anser style of heads produced horrible results. The other style of clubheads were a mixed bag.

So I stuck with the Cleveland. Personally the Ping putters that had the same style felt like you were hitting rocks unless it was the Redwood series Zing 2 which is really soft. But again, you go and pay $270 for a slightly softer feel.

I wound up taking the Cleveland Classic #3, paying $65 for it and putting a Pingman grip on it and calling it a day. But I believe I have a better idea of what to look for in a putter from now on. And if it doesn't work out, I still have the LPAS aid to help out (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/lpas-training-aid.html)







3JACK

The Must Read Web Site for the Serious Golfer



One of the Web sites that I visit frequently, but have failed to mention here on this blog is http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/.


Here's an excerpt from the site:



I started playing golf about 6 years ago, when I retired from practicing medicine, and I noted that no free online review of the full golf swing was available. There are many golf-related websites that offer a beginner golfer a few free golf tips, but I could not find a single golf-related website that offers beginner golfers a free in-depth, scholarly analysis of the modern golf swing. I therefore decided to write this scholarly review of the modern golf swing, and this free online review is entirely based on traditional golf instructional teaching. Readers should note that this review does not offer a beginner golfer any secret formula that will magically enable him to instantly perfect his golf swing. I don't believe in wishful thinking (magical formula or secret formula), and I personally believe that a beginner golfer will most likely perfect his golf swing if he has an in-depth understanding of golf swing mechanics, and a ready willingness to practice-practice-practice. I suspect that only a small subset of beginner golfers are really interested in acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the golf swing, and I hope that this educational review will successfully help educate that small subset of beginner golfers.


The site is downright excellent, incorporating a variety of swing philosophies and methods from teachers like Leadbetter and McLean (yeah, I know) to Bobby Clampett (Impact Zone book), Ralph Mann (Swing Like a Pro book...something I need to buy and read). But in April of 2008 the author of the Web site, Jeff Mann, started reading Homer Kelley's "The Golfing Machine" and the site is very TGM oriented. In fact, here's what Jeff Mann has to say about "The Golfing Machine."



The TGM book is an extremely difficult book to read, and understand, and it will take the average reader a few hundred hours of intense study to fully understand Homer Kelley's ideas/concepts. I plan to write a number of review papers in the next 2 years (2008-2010) explaining (in my personal way) why some of Homer Kelley's key ideas are so important.


I use this Web site as a reference all of the time with my swing. It's basically like having an understandable version of The Golfing Machine online, and for F-R-E-E. Furthermore, Jeff Mann does a really good job of dispelling myths and debunking flawed theories and explains why. This site also introduced me to Shawn Clement's great videos on YouTube, which I found extremely helpful...so the higher handicapper should be helped even more.


I highly recommend this site for anybody who is semi-serious about the game and wants to understand how the swing works...whether it be at the basic, fundamental level or the advanced, complex level.











3JACK


Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Stupid Drill I Came Up With...

One of the difficult parts of the game I struggle with is that I often feel I can make any putt on the green and most of the chips around the green. At the risk of sounding like I am tooting my own horn, I consider myself a solid, but unspectacular putter. I think this causes some inconsistency. Since I usually go for the hole regardless of the shot, I'll tend to make some putts and chips that the normal person would never make. On the other hand, I tend to have some very bad days and not get up and down or make that long 2 putt when I should.




One of the things that caught my eye in Dave Orr's "Reading the Greens and Understanding Touch" video (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/reading-greens-and-understanding-touch.html) is...as Orr puts it..."it's where you LEAVE the chip that is important."




According to Orr, his studies showed that golfers by far made their highest percentage of putts when they were below the cup AND to the right of the fall line (for right handed golfers). It's not even close.




Obviously, the best putt left is on the fall line and below the cup, but the odds of a golfer being left with a putt where they are exactly on the fall line is very, very slim. So get in the "southeast" quadrant and you are in the best position to make the follow up putt and get up and down.




Now, that does not mean that you should never try to make a chip. In fact, when I started to think about it a little more, I know there's plenty of chips that I have a decent chance of making because there are makeable chip shots. I figure on those shots it's worth going for because if I miss the shot, I'm likely to be left with such a short putt that the break of the follow putt really won't be an issue. This provided I hit a decent chip. Your risk/reward values are probably a bit different from mine.




Anyway, here's the drill "I came up with."




Go the practice green and find a hole and a spot where you want to chip from. Now, go to the hole and find the fall line. I use my Exelys Breakmaster (this thing is G-R-E-A-T http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/exelys-breakmaster.html) to find the exact fall line. Obviously, I cannot use this during a competitive round, but I figure I will be charting greens for competitive tournaments when I can and it also helps train my eye better.




Now, take a regular full length #2 pencil (pic below) and place it in the direction of the fall line and OVER the hole. It should cross over the hole.




I like to use a yellow pencil because it's easier for me to see the direction of the fall line with the yellow colored pencil from the spot where I am chipping from.

From there, hit about 3 or 4 shots with the goal of leaving the ball below the cup and to the right of the fall line. After hitting the shot, try and make the follow up putt with your putter. One thing I noticed was how much easier it was for me to get up and down when I left the chip in the right spot. I could leave a chip to 6 feet in the correct quadrant of the fall line and make that much easier than a 3 footer in the "North West Quadrant."





3JACK

VJ Trolio and the Final Missing Piece to the Puzzle

Some interesting stuff over at VJ Trolio's Web site (www.troliogolf.com). Trolio is the author of 'The Final Missing Piece of Ben Hogan's Secret Puzzle.' You can find the book at www.thefinalmissingpiece.com.

Here's a look at his swing and what he calls "The Final Missing Piece to the Puzzle."








3JACK

Homer Kelley and Albert Crews


There are many spectacular facets of Homer Kelley's (pic above) The Golfing Machine book. But probably the greatest facet of the book was it tailored to a countless amount of different style of golf swings. Mr. Kelley understood that while there may be some positions in the golf swing more optimal than others, there have been countless successful golfers with varying style of swings, some of which are completely unorthodox and often considered "ugly." What's pretty amazing was that Mr. Kelley didn't grow up playing the game until he was an adult and was not even a professional golfer. Just a very smart guy that wanted to use his smarts and apply it to the golf swing.

Don't believe me and think The Golfing Machine is a bunch of mumbo jumbo, highly technical stuff. Well, here's an odd grip and swing style that Mr. Kelley was keen enough to describe back in 1968 as a perfectly acceptable way of swinging the club...also known The Golfing Machine 10-1-E cross hand grip.




3JACK

LPAS Training Aid

I got an early Xmas gift as my mom paid for the LPAS (Laser Putting Alignment System) training aid. I've actually wanted a laser alignment system for quite some time, but back when I was really playing golf (about ten years ago), all laser alignment training aids went for around $500. The LPAS goes for $40-$50. The double sided adhesive tape is a bit cumbersome. Eventually, you learn how to get the paper off the double side tape, but it's not the stickiest substance. However, according to the instructions, you can use other types of adhesive tape instead of the tape that they provide you.



The top level instructors tend to go about laser alignment in a different fashion. They will put a little mirror on the club face and then shoot a laser from the target to the mirror on the clubface and see where the laser points to off the reflection. That's a bit more of an efficient way of doing it, but the LPAS should be fine. David Orr recommends it and Science and Motion (the makers of the SAM puttlab) endorse it as well.



One of the many things I really agree with Dariusz Jędrzejewski (author of the Biokinetic Theory of the Golf Swing) is the importance of the head and eyesight in the golf swing. Particularly on the dominant eye and how it plays a roll in your game. Posting with Dariusz on the GolfWRX.com forum, I asked him more about the dominant eye and he mentioned that right handed golfers whose dominant eye is their right eye tend to aim left of the target (left aim bias). On the other hand, right handed golfers whose dominant eye is their left eye tend to have a right aim bias.



I would have to imagine this is true. I'm the rare case in that I'm in the latter scenario...I'm right handed, but my left eye is my dominant eye. And for years I've had issues with aiming too far right of the target. Ben Hogan supposedly had a left eye as his dominant eye and he used to aim right of the target. And I'm willing to bet Snead's dominant eye was his left eye (by the way his head is positioned throughout the swing) and he aimed right of the target.



Furthermore, there's David Orr's research that says that 54% of golfers he researched had a left aim bias and 26% had a right aim bias and 20% had a straight aim bias. Most right handed golfers have a dominant right eye (usually your dominant eye is on the same side as your throw with). So if Orr's research show that the majority of golfers have a left aim bias and the major of golfers also have a dominant right eye, then logically one could deduct that:



Right dominant eye = left aim bias

Left dominant eye = right aim bias



Anyway, it doesn't take much to be misaligned. 1 degree off and you'll see a noticeable difference in alignment. David Edel of Edel putters (http://www.edelgolf.com/) believes that the putterhead, hosel and alignment markers along with other factors effect alignment greatly and that's why he has roughly 30 million different combinations for his putters.



Fortunately I've got about five putters laying around with different hosels and clubfaces and I'll try them out and see what works for me.



As always, if you really want to improve your putting I suggest checking out Orr's Web site forum at http://www.orrgolf.com/. There's a lot of great information there. And I got my LPAS at their Web site, http://www.thesmartergolfer.com/











3JACK

More on Moe and Transition

In the last post I talked about starting the downswing hip rotation sequence before the backswing gets completed. It's a bit difficult to know if I'm on to something because while many people believe that's what should happen, others believe it's just an optical illusion.

Although it's hard to be it could be an illusion after watching this video of Moe Norman's swing



And then there's this video. Like the video says, watch the shadow of the club and Moe's lower body. The lower body is moving forward while the shadow of the club is still moving back a little.



I'm starting to believer there's really four types of golfer transitions:

1. Golfer moves the lower body forward before the backswing is completed.
2. Golfer moves the lower body first, but not until the backswing is completed.
3. Golfer moves the upper body forward first (aka casting).
4. Golfer moves the lower and upper body at about the same time.

#1 or #2 seem to easily be the most optimal. As I've mentioned, you can see the #1 transition in golfers like Hogan, Moe, Padraig and even Tiger. But you can see the #2 type of transition in players like Snead, Sergio, Trevino, etc. I was studying footage of Nicklaus' swing and it appeared at times he was a #1 and then as he got older he was more of a #2 type of transition.

I think being either a #1 or a #2 all depends on body type, flexibility and sense of timing. I think as I've gotten older, I need to become a #1 since I don't have the flexibility in the hips that I used to have, so essentially by starting the hip turn forward before the backswing is completed is like giving my rigid hips a head start. Snead is a great example of #2, but he had surreal flexibility. Just take a look at his swing.



How flexible was Snead? Well I charted him for 140 degrees of shoulder turn! It would probably explain why Jack lost a lot of distance only into his late 30's and early 40's. He was becoming less flexible and instead of using the #1 style of transition (hips go before downswing is completed), he went intot he #2 style of transition.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on it for now. I'll be working on it and I'll post here how it's coming along.




3JACK

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ben, Moe and Padraig...something in common

I typically don't try to get into much of Hogan's swing because I believe he had superb flexibility and timing. The former I believe allowed for him to not only survive that car crash, but to come back striking the ball better than ever.

Anyway, one of the issues I'm struggling with coming back from surgery is my thru pivot blows. Too much hanging back and my hips don't get nearly open enough at impact. Like Mr. Hogan, I am right handed, but my lead eye is the dominant eye. That allows for me to more easily get body rotation on the back pivot and keep the head behind the ball at impact because I can easily see the ball from those positions with my dominant lead eye.

I'm starting to believe one of the big reasons why I'm struggline with thru pivot is I don't start it early enough in the swing. And if Hogan's videos are showing what I think they are showing, he actually starts his thru pivot BEFORE the backwing is completed. Here's what I mean:







However, it's hard to find tour pros with that same type of move at the top. Most of them seem like they are ready to move their hips forward before they complete their backswing, but don't. However, once the backswing is completed they are more than ready to begin the downstroke with the hips rotating (well, sliding a tad and then rotating). Here's what I mean with Charles Howell's swing.







The only person I've seen make the similar type of Hogan move is Padraig Harrington. Here's a link to a video of what I mean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4z01QOUdFo

But the other golfer who had this same move? Moe Norman. And last I knew this guy hit the ball pretty darn well.







For now I'm still working on some maintainance issues with my address and at the top of the swing along with getting the club a little more shallow on the downswing. But once I can get back into stretching exercises full time and once I get the maintainance issues and downswing path down, I think my goal is to try and start the hip rotation before the completion of the backswing. It seems to have worked pretty good for Ben, Moe and Padraig.





3JACK

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Fun with Ben, Moe, and Lee

Mike Maves (aka Sevam1) always has good posts, but came up with a real dandy yesterday, the first part of which has him freezing his nuggets off while impersonating Moe, Hogan and Trevino and doing a pretty darn good job at it (http://sevam1.blogspot.com/2008/11/goofin-on-ben-and-moe-and-lee.html). Lee wasn't incredibly long, but I'd say he was average length off the tee for a touring professional at the time he was playing and that qualifies for enough power to be considered a truly great ballstriker in my book. I just get sick of hearing how Tour Player X is a great ballstriker and when you look at their statistics they are like 155th in driving distance.

Anyway, the real meat of his post is in his new YouTube video below. Plus, you get to see him DANCE~!:



Vertical Drop, Horizontal Tug.





3JACK

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Top 10 Suggested Myrtle Beach Golf Courses, Part II

6. The Legends Heathland Golf Course (Myrtle Beach)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCl3fhWt58E

Another course that's always in great condition with great service. I haven't been there in a long time, but when I left it had hands down, the best driving range I had ever been on. When I was playing as a pro, despite having free access to the range at a course I worked at, I often would go the Legends and plop down $10 to go to their range. That's how awesome it is. Legends is a 54 hole resort and the Healthland is the best of the bunch, followed by the Moorland course, and then the Parkland. All of these courses are links style, but even if you don't care for links style courses, you'll like this. If you're going to stay at a pricey resort, this is probably the best on the Strand.


7. Tidewater Golf Club and Plantation (North Myrtle Beach)



Tidewater is routinely ranked in the top 5 and deservedly so. Sometimes they've had some issues with their greens, but if the course is in decent condition it's worth it because the layout is so incredible.


8. Myrtle Beach National Golf Club - King's North Course (West Myrtle Beach)



King's North sort of runs along the lines of True Blue for me. While I didn't detest King's North like I did True Blue, I thought it was pretty overpriced and relied on a gimmicky hole. That being said, I would say 90% of the golfers I've met absolutely love the course and it's usually in terrific condition. There are also 2 other courses at Myrtle Beach National (South Course and the West Course), both of which are decent designs, but their condition sometimes leaves a little to be desired. However, I've met a few people that told me that they really stepped up the conditions at those courses recently. So you can probably get a cheap replay rate at these courses or if you want to play some moderately priced courses and ignore King's North, it may be worth a shot to try the West and South Courses.


9. Heritage Golf Club (Pawleys Island)

The Heritage Club is also owned by the Legends Group and once again, it's usually in tip top shape and with great service.


10. Long Bay Club



There's actually a plethora of great golf courses in the North Myrtle area (and those that are just inside the North Carolina border), but Long Bay is the only course I have ever played up there. That's why you won't see Barefoot Landing Fazio Course on my list or Grande Dunes or Oyster Bay, etc. Long Bay Club is a Nicklaus design that seems to get some credit, but not nearly as much as Pawleys Plantation. But personally I would play Long Bay over Pawleys Plantation every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It has four absolutely fabulous holes in #7, #10, #13 and #18 that live up to their hype. Pawleys Plantation came off to me like Nicklaus not exactly being able to decide what he wanted to do with the course. Some parts of Pawleys seemed to be like he wanted to build a championship course and then some parts more of a resort course and then he just seemed to run out of land. But at Long Bay you get the feeling that Nicklaus nailed exactly what he had in mind.




3JACK

My Top 10 Suggested Myrtle Beach Golf Courses Part I

I lived five glorious years of my life in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina...often affectionally known as "The Golf Capitol of the World." As far as golfing goes, the community certainly lives up to the hype, with almost 100 golf courses, most of which are of great design and in pristine condition, in such a small area. There's plenty of golf shops in the area, including the PGA Tour Superstore (if you like golf, you MUST check out one of these stores if they are nearby) and Golf Dimensions. For the most part, it's a golfer's paradise as it's a community that caters to golfers in so many ways. I usually get asked what courses I suggest somebody should play. With the spring season coming up, here's my suggestions.

But before I go on, here's some simple tips for enjoying your stay in Myrtle:

1. Typically the best way to find the best deal is to call a few days before and make a team time. Problem is that you really can't do this in the spring since almost every course will be booked (that may be different in 2009 with the problems with the economy). But in the winter season (usually mid December to February 1st) and the summer season (Memorial Day to Labor day) you can just call up and get a better deal than you would out of some sort of golf package. The fall season (Labor Day to mid December) is a bit trickier. It's the second busiest season of the year in Myrtle, but if you're a single or a double, you should be able to call up and get a tee time at a good price. I really believe that September is the best time to golf in Myrtle as the weather is perfect, but still warm enough to go swimming and enjoy the night life, it's less busy and you can usually just call up and get your tee time. However, there's always the threat of hurricane season.


2. Know your group. If your golfing in a group that you know is going to Myrtle pretty much just to play golf...then feel free to schedule a morning tee time and perhaps you'll get a replay round in. However, if your group is planning to hit some of the bars and strip clubs, you better schedule an afternoon tee time because it's almost a guarantee that somebody in the group will be too hungover to play and they'll still get charged for the round of golf (most courses have a 48-72 hour cancellation time). This usually ruins the trip as somebody is going to be none to happy that they just got charged for not even playing golf.


3. Try and rent a condo or some place with a kitchen. Unless you have no problem with affording going out to eat every time, it gets expensive. Between eating breakfast, then lunch, then tipping the bag drop, then going out for dinner, it really adds up. Hell, if you just go out for dinner 3 times instead of 5 times you'll save some nice cabbage and you can then use that money for a replay or to buy some more golf balls or whatever. A lot of people have no problem paying for going out, but I have ran into countless tourists who go to Myrtle for their first time and love it, but realize that eating out cost them a bundle and the next time they go they make sure they rent a place with a kitchen and stove so they can cook some of their own meals.


4. Have fun. You're not trying to qualify for the US Open and even if you're playing poorly, this sure beats the hell out of working. So enjoy yourself.


Anyway, here's my top 1-5 (5-10 will be in part II of my post) suggested golf courses:

1. The Wizard (http://www.mysticalgolf.com/) - West Myrtle Beach






The Wizard tops my list not because I think it's the greatest course in Myrtle Beach since it's far from that. But I firmly believe this is a course that golfers should schedule to play first in their trip. It's a links style course that's always in impeccable condition. It's a solid design, but it's wide open so you can bust out the driver and for many who haven't swung a club in months, it's just a good confidence builder. The company who owns the Wizard also owns Man O'War which is adjascent to the Wizard and the Witch that's about 5 minutes away. I believe you can play the Wizard and then get a replay at Man O'War and the Witch if you desire. Out of the three courses, the Witch is the best of the bunch and Man O'War is probably the second best, but all 3 courses are some of the best conditioned courses on the Strand. However, as a confidence builder that's still a pretty good course and is in good condition, I don't think anything beats the Wizard.


2. Caledonia Golf and Fish Club (Pawleys Island)





I used to work at Caledonia, but I can safely say without any bias that it's a top 3 golf course on the Strand. And I have honestly had golfers who have played Pebble Beach say they preferred Caledonia over Pebble Beach. Now, I'm inclined to disagree with them, but that's what I've been told. It's not very long, only about 6,500 from the tips...but it's about all the 6,500 yards you can handle.


3. True Blue (Pawleys Island)

I'm not a fan of True Blue, but the last I played there was ten years ago and I heard they made a lot of changes in order to make the course more enjoyable. True Blue is a very polarizing course...either golfers absolutely adore it or detest it.





4. The Dunes Golf and Beach Club (Myrtle Beach)



Not to be confused with the Grand Dunes Golf Club (which I hear is great). The Dunes Club is a more of a traditional style golf course and is probably the best conditioned course on the Strand. It used to be the site of the Senior Tour Championship. For my money, it's the best course on the Grand Strand. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL8urWnWz6A)





5. World Tour (Myrtle Beach)



World Tour is a brilliant concept that has been well executed. Instead of having an architect design their own original golf course, World Tour is a 27 hole course where each hole is "patterned" after a famous golf hole. For instance, World Tour has its very own Amen Corner and #18 at Bay Hill. However, great ideas lose their luster without proper execution. But there's no worries here as World Tour is in tremendous condition and the service is superb. The only problem with World Tour is if you're expecting an exact replica of these famous holes you're bound to be disappointed. The lack of hilly topography from the beach area alone is not going to lend way to the elevation changes that many of these famous holes have. But nonetheless, it's still an excellent golf course. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WJvR6-F0FE)







Up next, Part II











3JACK

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Biokinetic Golf Swing


Biokinetic golf is an attempt to help create "automatic golf swings" through the study of biomechanics and biokinetics. This swing theory was written up by Polish golfer Dariusz Jędrzejewski and works on finding a swing based upon human body limitations instead of human body capabilities. Like TGM, it's not a "one swing fits all" theory, but a vast variety of different swings based on differing limitations of each human body.



I haven't read all of it yet, but what I like about it is how it address the human body whereas TGM tends to avoid that completely. I've only read parts of it and Jedrzejewski has discussed things here and on the GolfWRX.com forum that I never new, but makes a lot of sense. For instance, according to Jedrzejewski states that if you're lead eye is your dominant eye, then you're likely to aim too far right to the target. I'm one of few I know whose lead eye is their dominant eye and I struggle with aiming too far right with all of my clubs. Another good tidbit from Dariusz is on hip rotation. He says you should imagine the downswing hip rotation as you trying to sit on a high chair behind you. He says imagine that your body is facing north and there's a high chair southwest of you, right behind you. You then try to rotate the left hip on the high chair. Dariusz states that in order to rotate the hips, the left hip has to actively rotate and the right hip (for right handed golfers) is just there for the ride. I'm currently working on footwork, but once I get that straightened out to where I feel comfortable with it, I'll work on that left hip rotation because through pivot is my biggest issue right now.



Anyway, from what I've read it's been really good stuff and very interesting. I'm not sure how much of it I will apply to my swing, but if a couple of things work for me, then it was well worth my time.



You can check out 'Biokinetic Theory of the Golf Swing' at Dariusz's Web site at http://www.biokineticgolfswing.ecom.net.pl/











3JACK

Update on My Swing



As some of you may know, I quit the game for the past 8 years after playing competitive golf as an amateur, collegiate athlete and later on a pro. Just as I got the itch to get back into the game, I had to have major surgery. I'm allowed to take light, full swings (pic above) and just wanted to give an update for those who may actually care.



I'm basically working on drills. I've got a few problems as I see it:



1. My irons need to go - they are old and have graphite shafts in them and my biggest struggle (high trajectory) is due to some swing flaws, but using graphite shafted irons doesn't make things any easier.



2. Not quite shallow enough on the downswing



3. My thru pivot, quite frankly, sucks.



4. I baby flip through the ball




So now I'm working on some drills, like hitting 1/2 shots and 3/4 shots while keeping my right foot flat and using a FedEx box and aiming it right of the target so I come down more from the inside.



While I want to get some new irons badly, I promised myself that I won't get new irons until I improve my lag and get it so that I'm "covering the right arm" on the downswing. The latter has been accomplished. My lag isn't awful and I'm not casting the club, it's just that my pivot blows and I've probably lost a lot of flexibility from the surgery.
Anyway, Doctor says I can play full time come December 17th and I'm looking forward to it, but not the cold weather that comes along with it.
Until then...
3JACK

Saturday, November 22, 2008

TGM Guy Explains the Golf Swing

If you haven't seen this video yet, you should have. Might be a little confusion, but it is (without joking) straight out of Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' book








3JACK

A Look at Scratch Golf Equipment

I took up the game in 1987 at the age of eleven. Sometimes I'll talk to some juniors and they have never even SEEN a persimmon wood live and in person, much less hit one. Over the next eight years or so, club technology changed dramatically. Drivers went from persimmon to metal to oversized metal to titanium. Golf ball technology changed with seamless technolgoy and graphite shafts...as they say in Donnie Brasco "fuhget about it."



As I took my break from the game, the technology has plateaued or at least in comparison to the late 80's and most of the 90's. The irons have changed with the blade irons being almost as forgiving as the cavity backs now, with more weight moved to the back and center of the club to get the COG more towards the sweetspot instead of the heel. They used to say that a shank was "almost a perfect shot." That's because a lot of irons back in the day, particularly blades, had the sweetspot located more towards the heel. And we've also seen the invention and use of the hybrid. In fact, when I check bags of PGA Tour players, almost all of them have some sort of hybrid and seeing the Gap Wedge in a bag is pretty rare. I believe that's because on the PGA Tour, these guys are going to need something like a hybrid on a long par 4 or a long par 3 and while they may only use it for 1 or 2 shots a round, they cannot afford to hit those shots with anything but the proper club (in this case, a hybrid). And because they have so much talent, they can get buy with just a sand wedge and a lob wedge.



I believe the next big thing in technology will be along the lines of what Scratch Golf is doing...customization. But not just getting fit for lie angles and grips, but extreme customization. By going to the Scratch Golf Web site, one can choose a wedge and then select from 18 different grinds and 7 different finishes. Furthermore, they can customize the color of the ferruls, paintfill, stampings, and other swing specs.



The big issue that I think Scratch Golf will face is that the big OEM's have the money to get tour endorsements and will just customize clubs for the tour pros while mass producing their clubs on the market. The regular golfer doesn't get the same thing that the tour pros get (which has been going on for quite some time), but because the OEM's have the endorsement of the big names on tour they will get a lot of business just because of that.



Anyway, keep an eye out for Scratch Golf (wedges are not cheap, $199) and check out their Web site at http://scratchgolf.com/











3JACK

Sample Science & Motion (SAM) puttlab results



The SAM puttlab Web site does a better job of explaining things than I do:





SAM PuttLab is an analysis and training system based on an accurate ultrasound measurements. It analyzes the 28 most important parameters of your putting stroke and displays the results in easy to understand graphic reports. Discover your individual strengths and weaknesses for a better and more efficient training.

Within seconds the system gives you an individual feedback on your putting strokes. The analysis reveals even the smallest details of your movements and allows you to develop improvements and training strategies. SAM PuttLab utilizes ultrasound sensory analysis and therefore is far more precise than any other similar system on the market.


David Orr recently posted a sample of what the SAM Puttlab reports look like. This is for Nationwide Tour player Elliot Gealy, most golfers...regardless of skill level...don't have results this good.





Even Meg Mallon's stroke is not as good as Gealy's:





And believe it or not, neither is Loren Roberts:




However, as you can see Roberts is probably just as consistent as Gealy and is extremely consistent at keeping the face perfectly square at impact. Gealy is consistent, which is extremely important, but his face gets a tad bit open at impact.




Unfortunately, one of these things costs about $10K, which is way too much cabbage for my taste. I know Tiger Woods has 2 SAM puttlabs and Padraig Harrington uses the SAM puttlab extensively.



From what I've heard, you can get a lesson with the SAM puttlab for $50-$70 which in my mind is more than worth it.



Here's a list of locations they have on their Web site (http://www.samsports.us/locations.htm), but I would google search some SAM puttlab instructors since there are several more than they claim. For instance, Orr isn't even on their list of locations and I also found a SAM puttlab at one of the sister courses at my club....which also wasn't listed.








3JACK

Friday, November 21, 2008

Loren Roberts & Ben Crenshaw putting strokes

Don't get much better than this:


Ben Doyle Swing

Here's TGM guru Ben Doyle's swing:




Don't think it's all that great? Well, look and look at the swing again. I doubt Ben is hitting bombs out there, but his lag and trigger delay is superb.




3Jack

Bobby Locke Putting Sequence

Many will ask who Bobby Locke was. Locke was a South African and played 9 seasons on the US Tour. From 1947 to 1950 he won 11 tournaments on the tour and was considered by many of his peers (i.e. Snead) to be one of the greatest players ever. His game was mainly known for two things...his ability to hook a ball and do it accurately (in fact, one teacher...whose name I forget...was a student of Locke's and mention that he's the only guy he ever saw hook a ball from the sandtrap with a downhill like)...and he was known as one of the all time great putters. Some say that he putt hookspin on his putts, but that has been highly debatable. Here's a look at his putting sequence.





Find out more information about Bobby Locke at Geoff Mangum's Web site, http://www.puttingzone.com/





3JACK

Old Merry Mex Swing Sequence Photos



Frames 9 and 10 are beauties.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Exelys Breakmaster

Just got my Exelys Breakmaster in the mail. For those who don't know what it is, David Orr talks about it a little in his Green Reading Video, but it's a digital reading device. It always points to where the slope of the green is straight and downhill. In the pic above, it shows a downhill slope of 2.7 degrees going in the upper right hand corner.



Personally, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to gadgets that I think are worth your time. But, I figure that for $80 if you can map out your home course it will probably help save you a stroke or two a round and that's well worth the money. I asked Orr if there's ways to map out the greens like the pros do in a fashion so you don't hold up play and what to look for....and he mentioned that he will be releasing another premium video with Charlie Wi and Billy Mayfair's caddies called "On Tour With David Orr - Mapping Out Greens."









3JACK

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rare Ben Hogan Footage

After watching this video, I don't know what's cooler....having Ben Hogan hit balls in your backyard or having a backyard right on the ocean where you can hit balls into. So combining the two may have just made my head explode.

Awesome Videos over at Lynn Blake

Some great videos over at the Lynn Blake Web site (http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=502) Lots of Ben Doyle stuff over there as well.


You're probably asking "Who the Hell is Lynn Blake?" Blake (aka Yoda) was one of the first authorized instructors of the Golfing Machine book by Homer Kelley. He taught it for awhile and then I believe he went back to working a "regular job" in the financial industry and then recently got back into the teaching game. Works with a lot of tour pros like Brian Gay and Jay Williamson. Oh, and THIS is Lynn Blake

You have to register to see the F-R-E-E videos and the photo gallery, but it's worth it. Their forum is very TGM oriented and a bit hard to understand since everybody is very advanced in TGM, but still an interesting read. Especially if you want to learn about the Bible of Golf Swing Instruction.








3JACK


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who Says Canadians Don't Know Anything About Golf?







Been flirting around on YouTube and such and came across another excellent teacher, this one from Canada, Shawn Clements. Lots of great and F-R-E-E stuff here (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=clemshaw&view=videos).




What Clements does so exceptionally well is his vast amount of drills that are simple to use and easy to explain. You don't need to go out and buy broomsticks, tires, etc (not that there's really anything wrong with that). Sometimes it's just a wall or going out to the range and using some golf balls.




I've only watched about a dozen of his videos so far, but here's some of my favorites


Hogan Power Drill (this is my favorite and is SUPERB) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNwSfz0_KDM



Hitting Through the Ball (look at the drill at the 6-7 minute mark) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBFLHjDA7rw






Also, check out his Web site at http://www.shawnclementgolf.com/. I found a really interesting article that explains the same thing that Sevam1 (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/moe-norman-and-ben-hogan-dream-team.html) has been talking about with Moe Norman and Ben Hogan's "secret", but it's explained in a different fashion. Sevam1 describes the "secret" as basically you need to pivot properly and Moe told him that the pivot is the most important part of the swing. And the feel of the "secret" according to Sevam1 is a "vertical drop and horizontal tug." Shawn's article is along the same lines, particularly with a horizontal tugging drill he talks about. The article can be found here (http://web.mac.com/shawnclement/Site/Articles_2.html)


And yes, that's a picture of Clement's swing at the top. Even more astonishing, he's a scratch player playing right handed AND left handed. The only real problem with Clements' stuff is that there's so much F-R-E-E and G-R-E-A-T stuff that he has to offer, it's just going to take a lot of time to go through it all. And that's a problem I like to have.








3JACK








Confessions of a Former Flipper and Never Slice Again Review

I've recommended him before, but I'll recommend him again...try out some of Brian Manzella's videos at http://www.brianmanzella.com/. Brian also has a bunch of great, free YouTube videos...just do a search with his name and you can find them there.

Brian's a TGM guy, which I find most of the TGM guys to be fantastic. He's actually got a Doctorate certificate in TGM (TGM has bachelors, masters and doctorate certificates in their program) as he's worked closely with the TGM guru himself, Ben Doyle and has instructed David Toms.

I've bought two of Brian's videos, "Confessions of a Former Flipper" and "Never Slice Again 2.0" (you have to go on the forum to purchase NSA 2.0). For the money, Confessions of a Former Flipper is arguably the best instructional video or book that I've ever bought and I have about 40 of them in my collection. I got the Web version of CoFF for only $10. The only thing that competes with it for the money is probably the Perfect Golf Swing Review Web site, which is very TGM oriented (http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/) and free. However, I think Brian does a little better job of explaining things and has a lot more great drills and thoughts.

I improved a bit using CoFF's drills and thoughts, but I still have that itty bitty baby flip which I believe I solved the problem (just executing it is a different story) as my downswing pivot pretty much blows right now. But, I can still get around the course just fine.

NSA 2.0 is a good video, it just didn't apply to me since I really don't slice. I bought it because of the rave reviews, but like I said it really didn't apply to me and most of the stuff I knew anyway. Still a quality video and a must if you hit a big banana. If anything, I tend to hook the ball, but if I hit it on the screws I'm usually straight. My problem is my trajectory. I may get Never Hook Again 2.0, but there's some other things I want to buy first.



David Edel Brings the Coolness With His Edel Putters







One of the cool things I found through David Orr was the Edel Putter. Don't know what it is? Well, it's only the Rolls Royce of putters! And I really mean that it is LEGITIMATELY the Rolls Royce of putters. It's not just some huge OEM that can "custom fit" a lie angle for you and charge you $250 and say they are precision milled and are the Rolls Royce of putters.


For years I firmly believed that some putters can get people misaligned. Furthermore, I felt that some putters could get the same person aligned too far right (aka right aim bias) and other putters too far left (left aim bias) and some putters aligned perfectly. That's a big part of what the Edel putter is based upon.


Did you know that lines on a putter are usually BAD for a golfer's alignment? It's not that the lines are pointing in the wrong direction, but studies have shown that golfers who use a line to align their putter usually wind up with a left aim bias. The Edel Putters have something like 30 million different putterhead, line (they also have no line) and hosel combinations. So basically Edel putters fit the golfer by finding the right combination that makes the putter head look square to the golfer and is actually square to the target.


Even cooler is that Edel putters have (IIRC) 43 different weight and loft variations so a golfer can change them when they play different green speeds. And it's been reported that Jim Furyk has used an Edel putter.


When you get fit based on what putter combination gets you best aligned, it's then custom made (like a Rolls Royce) by David Edel himself. Of course, this all comes at a cost, from what I've heard anywhere from $300-$500. But from the sounds of it getting an Edel putter should be the last putter you will ever need, unless your eyesight changes over time and you wind up getting misaligned again.


Check out Edel putters at http://www.edelgolf.com/






3JACK

Reading Greens and Understanding Touch w/David Orr






I met David Orr back when I was 15 years old although I'm sure he doesn't remember it. He's from Pulaski, NY which is about 20 miles from my hometown. In fact, I believe I was probably one of his first lessons he ever gave, all for about $10...which he didn't want, but I wanted to make some sort of gesture for taking the time to help me out. It was early spring and for about a month I got to play a lot with David, whom at the time was on the Hogan Tour (now known as the Nationwide Tour). Back then David was a tremendous striker of the ball, but was a weak putter by Hogan Tour standards. Despite not really getting into teaching yet, I admired David's passion for the golf swing which showed up in his ballstriking.

Now David has really turned that passion into putting. He's studied putting with intense focus and research, including spending time on tour. I believe David has remarked that he's done 21 research studies over a 3 year period on everything you just about manage to think of when it comes to putting.


Here's a free video from his Web site at http://www.orrgolf.com/ with Geoff Mangum talking about how the golf hole works in putting, touch and speed. (http://www.orrgolf.com/lessons/GeoffMangum/Geoff_Mangum_OneSpeed.mov)


I will also HIGHLY suggest getting David's "Green Reading Basics" video which is available at his Web site forum for $19.99 (http://www.orrgolf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=152)


I got this last week and this is always something I've struggled with even though most consider me a good putter. I'm a "tangent line" putter (putts to an imaginary hole when there's a break), but often fought with actually seeing the break. David really cleared things up here. More importantly, he really does a superb job at clearing up what the fall line is and the principles of using the fall line. I knew what the fall line was and basically used it just to clear up any doubts of which way the putt was going to break. But David goes into a lot more detail about the fall line and how the ball reacts to it and how to use it to your advantage.


I can't speak for David, but I think he would likely be more well known if he was in Florida instead of Buies Creek, North Carolina. But he seems to be loving his life there over gaining fame and making Golf Digest covers and he's doing a tremendous job at clearing up mysteries of the two big parts of the golf game, ballstriking and putting.






3JACK

The Pingman in Action

I always like to study and look at machine operated golf swings. Here's a video of the Pingman (Ping's version of the Iron Byron) in action courtesy of Brian Manzella (I highly recommend Brian's work which can be found at www.brianmanzella.com). Makes me wish I could hit a ball like that a few times a round.



video

Moe Norman and Ben Hogan, the Dream Team


Some great videos discussing the golf swing can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=sevam1&view=videos.
The user (handle Sevam1) claims that Moe Norman was taught the "Hogan's Secret" and that Norman told him the secret in a conversation in the parking lot that lasted about 5 minutes.
He refers to it as the "vertical drop and horizontal tug." Although it's probably not what you think it is as he's not talking about the hands and the club, he's talking more about the lower body. Lots of stuff about pre-torqueing in these videos.

Say what you will, Sevam1 can really stripe and is attaining the ever elusive ability to "sustain the lag."

What's really interesting about his swing (and check out the video "fun with the driver") is that it's like a mix of Moe and Hogan. He's got that same type of "just fold the right arm" on the backswing motion and downswing motion that Hogan had and that down the line release that Norman had.

I'll say this with a bit of caution, while he definitely stripes the bejeesus out of the ball, I'm not so sure that his type of swing will work for everybody because of flexibility issues. While he probably doesn't look at himself as an adonis by any means, he's certainly flexible and more flexible in places I can't achieve and I'm 6'4" and 185 pounds (although by the same token, I'm sure there are parts of my body that I'm more flexible than he is). One notable area is the left arm where he teaches to rotate the arm inward on the takeway without rotating the clubface. I simply cannot do that.

Still, lots of great stuff here like the video on posture and how the "Top 50 Teachers" have screwed all of us up...myself included and if this swing doesn't work for you, a lot of his swing thoughts, philosphies, etc. probably will. I don't fully understand his lower body philosophies but he claims that Norman told him the most important part of the golf swing is the pivot and that's what he basically bases his swing around. And if you watch any really good player...past or present, they almost always had a great pivot. Instead, we are too busy teaching backswing planes (which have their importance, but if you can't pivot you really can't play).

And what I really, really like about his videos is that he seems to really understand what makes a ballstriker. A great ballstriker is a guy that can accurately hit shots, consistently hit shots and consistantly hit different types of shots. I think there's a misconception that Hogan (or even Moe for that matter) just hit a nice power fade every time and hit greens and fairways. Instead, the power fade was his stock shot, but he was out there hitting the ball low, high, draws, fades, etc. Whatever the hole called for. Lastly, he also understands that good ballstriking consists of POWER. I can't tell you how many times I get frustrated when golfers and golf instructors get focused in on controlling the golf ball while giving up a lot of yardage to do so. Truly great ballstrikers hit the ball with some power. They don't need to have JB Holmes-esque length off the tee, but trying to control the ball at the cost of losing power just seems silly and un-fun to me.

So check it out and tell me what you think.




3JACK

Monday, November 17, 2008

Update

I got rid of the Golf Swing analysis posts. The blog has changed as I want to get more into the fun side of the game. Whether it be talking about swing theories, golf gadgets, players from the past, courses, equipment, etc...that's what the new blog will be all about. Should have a new post up tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a look at Hogan's swing sequence: