Friday, January 30, 2009
It's a golfer who casts the club and is trying everything he can to figure out why he does it and how he can solve it. I just recently looked at his FAQ's.
What really causes casting?
I'm not sure. That's what I'm trying to find out. Conventional wisdom is that it is caused by poor weight shift, but I don't buy it. Proper weight shift may help retain clubhead lag, but I don't think it creates it. See the Jack Nicklaus page of this website for evidence of that. My bet is that if you were to take weight shift completely out of the equation by cementing the lower body into a barrel, that an accomplished golfer would still create clubhead lag, and the average golfer would still cast the club.
I took a couple of lessons from Jimmy Ballard about 12 years ago and he's known for his big move off the ball and even I don't think of Ballard's move as really a weight shift, just more a lateral movement of the body with the weight staying in about the same place it was at address.
And I doubt that if you were able to cement the lower body in a barrel that the accomplished golfer wouldn't cast. There may still be some who don't, but then the impact position would be accompanied by a chicken winged lead arm at about impact. But most accomplished golfers would be forced to cast if they couldn't move and rotate that lower body.
If you want to improve, why don't you focus on the short game? Afterall, that's the quickest way to take strokes off your game.
Because I want to learn how to quit casting the club first, okay? Gosh!
Why don't you just take lessons from a qualified instructor?
I took quite a few lessons up until about four years ago. My last 30 or so lessons were taken from three different instructors (the last one was Golf Digest's top-ranked instructor in the state of Washington). I took the lessons with the sole purpose of learning how not to cast the club. The amazing thing is that after stepping through the requisite instruction on grip, setup, and backswing with each of the instructors, they all seemed to be guessing. They all had me go back and forth between more weight shift, less weight shift, earlier weight shift, later weight shift, more hip rotation, less hip rotation, etc. It always became clear to me that they didn't really understand why I was casting the club anymore than I did.
There have been a lot of great golfers with unothodox swings. Why don't you quit trying to swing "pretty" and just go with what works best for you?
Because no matter how unorthodox the swing, there has never been a great golfer that cast the club. Conversely, very few recreational golfers do not cast the club. Yet, the experts say creating clubhead lag is not so much a matter of skill, as it is of using the proper technique. They say that anyone with even the slightest amount of coordination can do it
Although the question has some merits...the instructors and clubcaster are worried too much about things that make the golf swing look prettier, but do not make the swing more effective. Swing plane has very little to do with club casting, but makes the swing look prettier. A better pivot action would help create more lag.
But even then, you don't have to create Hogan or Sergio like lag to hit the ball very, very effectively.
So if creating clubhead lag is just a matter of proper technique, how come hardly anyone ever learns that technique?
Great question. The few lucky people that create clubhead lag, have, almost without exception, done so naturally all of their lives. To me that either suggests that there is some obscure physical difference between those that create clubhead lag and those that don't, or that there is a serious problem with standard golf instruction.
Those who create clubhead lag do it through pivot and there's some who really keep their 'minds in their hands' so those hands don't get past the pivot on the downswing.
The reason why it's technique and people rarely learn that technique is too many instructors:
1) Don't know anything about the flat left wrist at impact
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Instead. I'll talk about the 'new ball flight rules' which are really just the 'old ball flight rules' correctly stated. Here's a post from Logan over at GolfWRX.com on the 'new ball flight rules (http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=213121&hl=perfect+draw)
Simple ball flight laws. The face angle determines where the ball starts and the path determines where the ball curves. The numbers are slightly more technical, and both face and path play small roles in both starting line and curve, but the majority lies in what I told you.
So, if you are starting it to the right and it is staying out right or even slicing, then your path isn't in to out enough.
If your path is 10 degrees in to out, then your face can be as much as 9 degrees open (to the target line) and it will still be closed to path resulting in a draw.
This is how people hit push draws, and basically the basis for S&T. Swing in to out a controlled amount with a face that is both open to the target line yet closed to the swing path. A good example is swinging 10 degrees in to out with a 5 degree open club face. Ball will start right due to the open face and curve left due to the open face being closed to the swing path (10-5=5)
I had this discussion earlier today via PM and am going to copy and paste the rest of it. ....
My instructor always uses a model and draws a picture showing a path that is 10 degrees in to out. Then shows the result of that path with 4 different club face positions.
-15 degrees open results in a push fade.
-Ball starts right because face is open and then fades because face is open to path
-10 degrees open results in a straight push (my preferred miss)
-Ball starts right because face is open and stays on that line because the face matches the path
-5 Degrees open results in a push draw (money shot)
- Ball starts right because face is open and then draws back to the target because face is CLOSED to the path. See how although the face is 5 degrees open to the TARGET line it is still closed to the PATH of the swing? Once you understand this you will REALLY understand the golf swing and what makes the ball do what.
-0 degrees results in a straight overdraw
-The ball starts on target and draws low and left of it....now I think you know why.
Hope that helps. Sounds to me like your face is either far too open to your decent path, or your face is a decent amount open but your path is not in to out enough.
So let's say I want to hit a hook where the ball starts to the right and then hooks to the middle of the fairway. I will just aim right of the target with the CLUBHEAD at the point where I want the ball to start. Then I will aim my body to the right and swing along the path of where my body is aimed. The more I want to hook the ball, the more right I will aim my body (which gives more of an inside-out path. If I want to hit a lesser hook or a slight draw, I'll aim less to the right.
And the same works with fades and slices. Strangely, I can hook and draw it on demand, but I struggle a bit with hitting a fade on demand.
Still, it goes much more beyond hitting draws and fades on demand. If you're making solid contact and hitting a push slice, now you know that the face is open (causing the ball to go to the right) you're cutting across the ball.
1) Hinge Action Education
Per 2-G: "For a Practice drill, Educate the Left Hand (5-0) to reproduce - with Zero Pivot - the three Hinge Actions, distinct and separate, while swinging continuously back and forth. First without a Club, then with a short Club, then with both Hands. Then with increasing Pivot motion using the Right Forearm per 7-19. Learning only one Action isn't so helpful because you won't know their differences.
Brian Manzella, a certified G.S.E.D. in 'The Golfing Machine' just posted up a new video that beautifully explains the accumulators. Check it out at http://homepage.mac.com/brianmanzella/.Movies/manzellashort7.mp4
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Anyway, here's a video of his swing. If you can manage to stop it right before impact, it's really impressive.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Recently there was a golf article stating that JB Holmes and Tiger Woods had the same exact swing speed. But the reason why Holmes hits the ball so much further than Woods was according to Trackman, Holmes hits about 3 degrees up with the driver whereas Tiger hits about 3 degrees down on the driver. This goes against the common Homer Kelley principle of 'hitting down' with all of the clubs. You still hit down with the irons, but with the driver you're *best off* hitting very slightly up on the driver (although hitting down on the driver can work, you just lose some distance.
I'm planning on getting some new irons in March and will use Trackman to help fit me. Although a warning, Trackman is still hard to find as it costs $28,000 plus $300 a month. Fortunately, I have a clubfitter that has Trackman. And then down the road I'll look into getting a new driver (although I like my current driver).
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Brief History of Left Side Connection
Left side connection was invented by Sam Byrd and later popularized by Jimmy Ballard. Byrd was a sensational golfer (25 tour wins) who also played pro baseball at one time. He was known as 'Babe Ruth's legs' as he often would serve as a pinch runner for Ruth. during his time spent with Ruth, he began to learn Ruth's trick for hitting the ball with power by putting a handkerchief under his lead arm.
Later on, Byrd used this idea for his own golf swing and then taught it to Ben Hogan and according to Byrd, it got rid of Hogan's hook. It was later popularized by Jimmy Ballard who was the most popular instructor in the world in the late 70's thru the mid 80's. Ballard used this method with players like Hal Sutton, Curtis Strange, Rocco Mediate, Jim Colbert and many others. The theory being is that if the golfer can keep that handkerchief under their lead armpit while swinging, it will allow the big muscles in the body to swing the club and hit the ball instead of using the arms and hands to swing the club and hit the ball. In fact, I believe that Left Side Connection is just a way for the golfer to learn how to pivot properly so they can use the pivot to power the golf club instead of using their arms and hands to power the golf club.
What's the Drill For Left Side Connection
Take a golf glove or a handkerchief or a nerf ball and stick it under your lead armpit (left armpit for righties). Stick it WAY up there. Now, go and grip your golf club and take your stance. You should now feel that the upper left arm is pressed up against your upper left chest right around or on the left nipple area.
You want to swing the club while keeping that glove/handkerchief/nerf ball under your lead armpit and don't let that fall out of your armpit until THE HALFWAY POINT OF THE FOLLOW THROUGH. Even more importantly, you want to keep that upper left arm pressed against your upper left chest until the halfway point of the follow through. You will not be able to make a proper follow through if you keep that lead arm connected for the entire swing to the finish. At the halfway point of the follow through, it's alright to start folding the lead arm and allowing that glove/handkerchief/nerb ball to fall out. Here's a video showing a golfer using the left side connection drill. You will see what appears to be a white glove fall out of the golfer's left arm at about the halfway point of the follow through.
Again, this is just a drill. I think it's VERY important to not worry so much about the glove/handkerchief/nerf ball falling out as it is to keep that upper left arm pressed against upper left chest.
That's very much what SliceFixer's 9-3 drill is about. It's about keeping the left side connection up until the halfway point of the follow through.
Pictures of Left Side Connection In Action
One of my favorite pictures is of this baseball player's swing at impact. As you can see, the left arm is still 'connected.'
But yes, just about every golfer on the PGA Tour is 'connected' as well.
Now, I believe that most pros on tour do NOT actively think about left side connection. But I do believe that their left side connection comes naturally because they have a good/great pivot action and those hands are not getting too fast and out in front of the zipper on the downswing.
Where Golfers Screw This Up
Most screw ups consist of losing the connection at some point. However, the first thing I would advise against is trying to keep both arms connected. Many amateurs will also try to keep their right elbow tucked in. This isn't the problem (usually).
As you take it back you should feel the pressure of the upper left arm go from pressing against the upper left chest to more towards the middle of the chest. You will often hear about people having their left arm across the chest on the backswing. That's what a correctly connected left side will create for the golfer.
On the way down, many golfers are so used to being so active with their arms and hands that the will start to slide the left arm downward. That also can lose the connection. At the top of the swing it's *usually* best to keep the upper left arm pressed up against the chest and to start thinking about pivoting your lower body.
The last part that usually screws up golfers is that they lose their connection at or just after impact. Remember, it has to stay connected up until the halfway point of the follow through. But many golfers when they are about to make contact with the ball get disconnected. Again, that's what SliceFixer's 9-3 drill helps with so much. It keeps the left arm properly connected until the halfway point of the follow through...or the 3 o'clock position of the golf swing.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
What Is Pivot?
Simply put, pivot is the rotation back and thru of the hips, core, torso and shoulders. There's some talk of the knees and other parts of the body 'pivoting', but they really do not turn.
Why Is Pivot Important?
The key to powerful, accurate and consistent shots starts with a flat left wrist at impact. The history of the game has seen great golfers using all sorts of grips, address positions, swing planes, etc. Many of these have been considered unorthodox and even flawed.
Moe Norman stood a mile away from the ball with his clubhead a good foot behind the ball at address. Woody Austin stands extremely close to the ball. Hogan was considered to have a very weak grip and Paul Azinger played with an extremely strong grip. Trevino, Couples and Furyk all looped the club out to in. Guys like Hogan and Stewart Cink had very flat golf swings. Nicklaus was knocked for a flying right elbow. Miller Barber had a big time flying right elbow.
All different grips, swing planes, address positions, and some very big 'flaws.' All hit the ball great. Why? Essentially they all had a flat left wrist at impact. Not a single tour pro, even the Kenny Perry's and Eamonn Darcy's of the world had a bent left wrist at impact.
But having a flat left wrist at impact is easier said than done. And where most people screw up is that you need a GOOD pivot to have a flat left wrist at impact. In fact, every golfer who has played on the PGA Tour for any amount of time has had a good pivot. And it's no coincidence that the all time greats usually had phenomenal pivots.
Here's a pic showing the path of the clubhead in relation to the target line:
As you probably know already, the correct path of a clubhead in the golf swing (as shown above) has the clubhead going inside on the backswing and then coming at the ball from the inside on the downswing. Then it makes contact with the ball and eventually comes back to the inside on the follow through. It essentially makes an arc as shown by the green arc in the picture above.
Because of this natural arc as shown in the picture, this FORCES the pivot to be important.
A good rule of thumb is to have a pivot such that the hips have rotated enough so the zipper is about facing the target at impact.
However, most amateurs, particularly the high handicapper have only rotated the hips so they are square at impact.
So here's what I want you to do.
Grab a club.
With your hips square to the target try to follow thru with the clubhead going to the inside of the target line.
For the most part, the only way to do that is to 'flip thru' and bend that left wrist. Now, you could keep the left wrist flat, but it would be very uncomfortable and would consist of a huge chickenwing of the left arm. Not very natural and doesn't happen.
Now, grab the club again and get the zipper pointing near the target. Next, try to follow thru with the club head going to the inside like it's supposed to. You should notice that now you 'have room' to bring that clubhead naturally to the inside without bending the left wrist.
Also, go out to your golf course and watch some bad hackers chip and watch some good players chip. The hackers will chip with a SQUARE STANCE and inevitably flip their wrists thru impact. The low handicappers will chip with an OPEN STANCE and keep that left wrist flat at impact.
The reason being is that the chip shot swing is a short swing. We don't really have enough time to pivot in a chip shot swing (and YES, you HAVE TO pivot a little bit in a chip shot). So what the low handicapper is doing is opening his stance as a way to 'pre-pivot' at address. So at impact that zipper is facing near the target and the hands have enough room to return the club to the inside on the follow thru while having a flat left wrist. The high handicapper starts off with a square stance and has no time to pivot in the chip swing and thus that flips those hands thru impact.
So that's why the pivot is so important. It's really the only way a golfer can keep that flat left wrist at impact. The pivot also generates more clubhead speed than somebody who is swinging the club without any pivot whatsoever.
What is a good pivot?
I believe the most important part of the pivot is the thru pivot (aka the pivot in the downswing) because you hit the ball with your downswing and if you can master that, you're pretty well off. Here's a video of essentially what should be going on in the thru pivot.
Now, Manzella puts the club inside his left hip which is just fine. However, I feel that a good rule of thumb is keeping the hands behind where the zipper is POINTING. It's also very important, as Manzella notes, that hands don't pass that point until about the halfway point of the follow thru.
You will often hear instructors talk about golfers 'quitting' or 'stalling' their pivot and that causing the flip. What often happens is that they do keep the hands behind where the zipper is pointing at impact, but right after impact the hips stop pivoting just a tad and the hands get past where the zipper is pointing before the halfway point of the follow through.
However, as important as the thru pivot is, the backswing pivot is important because it usually puts the golfer in position to have an effective thru pivot and get that zipper out in front of the hands. Again, I use the word usually as I've seen some golfers with so-so backswing pivots and then have tremendous thru pivots.
As I typed earlier, the history of golf has seen great golfers with all sorts of different swings. And while all of the great golfers have had great pivots, there's more than one way to pivot. So there's not one correct way to pivot.
Types of Pivot Action
There's plenty of ways to pivot, but I will try and name three very common types of pivot motions.
Ballard Method - Ballard method is a name I give for a Jimmy Ballard type of pivot. It's a rotation of the torso, hips and shoulders backward, but also a very big 'move' to the right in the backswing and then of course a big move back to the left on the downswing. Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton and Rocco Mediate are great examples of the Ballard Method
I believe that the Ballard method gets the weight over the middle of the right leg. It does not go out of the right leg because the ankles and feet are not meant to bend that way. The ankles and feet are meant to bend inward.
Rotary Method - This is very popular with today's golfer. A lot of golfers talk about rotating their body around their spine. Mike Maves has a rotary golf swing.
The rotary golf swing method has the weight and torque on the INSIDE of the right leg.
Stack & Tilt - I think we've all seen it. But it's more like the modern rotary method, except for the majority of the weight is on the front foot for the entire swing.
These methods and many more can work. But if there's two things about these methods it's that
1) The hands are behind where the zipper is pointing on the downswing
2) The weight is predominantly on the left leg at impact.
Now, there's a lot of talk and debate about 'hands controlled pivot' vs. 'pivot controlled hands' (I use the latter), but again it's something that depends on the golfer and their preference and what works for them. And it's still a bit too complicated and unnecessary for this post. Instead, this post is here so people can understand why the pivot is so important, what are some characteristics of a good pivot and *some* of the different types of pivot.
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada
Notable Works: Shawn Clement 4 Hour Golf Instruction DVD
Notable YouTube Vids: 'Hogan Power Drill', 'Hogan Power Move', 'Power Leverage', 'Legs and Footwork'
Notable Credentials: Top 25 Instructor in Canada
Web site: http://www.shawnclementgolf.com/
The first time I came across Shawn Clement was reading Jeff Mann's Perfect Golf Swing Review Web site (http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/) On Mann's Web site, he links to this excellent YouTube video:
Impressed with this video I noticed that Clement has roughly 100 YouTube instruction videos. And learning more about Shawn, he is a scratch golfer both RIGHT HANDED and LEFT HANDED (and a former Canadian Tour player). And when I looked at his Web site, I came across a great article that was very similar to what Mike Maves was teaching (http://web.mac.com/shawnclement/Site/Articles_2.html)
Shawn probably won't make the Golf Digest and Golf Magazine instructor rankings unless he begins to teach a few successful PGA Tour professionals. However, that in no way means that he's not a great instructor. He understands the physics, geometry and biokinetics of the golf swing and can explain it in a very clear and simple manner. Furthermore, he is a fountain of helpful golf drills. I highly suggest anybody over a seven handicap to watch all of his YouTube videos and read his articles.
Location: Lake Nona, FL
Famous Students: Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Trevor Immelman, Michelle Wie
Notable Works: 'Faults and Fixes', 'The Fundamentals of Hogan', 'Lessons from Golf's Greats'
Notable Credentials: Golf Digest 'Top 50 Instructor', Golf Magazine 'Top 100 Instructor'
Training Aids: Swing Link
Web site: http://www.davidleadbetter.com/
David Leadbetter probably has drawn more scrutiny than any other instructor in the game. In fact, the nickname for him by many PGA Tour pros is 'Lead Poison.' He's certainly not the first big name instructor in the game of golf, but he marketed himself to a point of popularity than no other instructor before him came close to until Butch Harmon, Dave Pelz and Hank Haney came along. If there's one thing to possibly credit him for, it's that he is sort of like the 'Tiger Woods of instructors' by bringing forth a ton of popularity in golf instructors which helped others get more lessons and charge more for the lessons and generally make a lot more money.
His swing method in general terms is to set the wrists early in the takeaway, turn the shoulders 90 degrees and turn through. And while that has drawn a lot of scrutiny, so has his success with golfers. Many believe that his success was do to having more of an 'eye for talent' and some question whether or not his assistants had more to do with the success of Price, Els, Sergio and many others.
Either way, he's undeniably the biggest name teaching professional the game has ever seen and I doubt we will ever see anybody topple his name.
Location: West Linn, Oregon & Orlando, FL
Famous Students: Aaron Baddeley, Mike Weir
Notable Works: Stack & Tilt Golf Swing DVD
Notable Credentials: Inventors of the Stack & Tilt Swing method
Web site: http://www.plummerbennettgolf.net/
Training Aids: Medicus Golf Club endorsers
Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer are both former mini-tour players trained in 'The Golfing Machine' and in the M.O.R.A.D. swing method. Eventually they took that knowledge and created a golf swing that contradicts the classical style of golf swing.
The classical style of golf swing calls for some sort of shift to the right leg and at least having 50% of the weight on the right side and then shifting the weight back to the left heel at impact. The Stack & Tilt method has the golfer keep the majority of the weight on the left leg throughout the entire swing (yes, I know there's more to it than that, but I'm trying to simplify it). This also creates a bit of a 'Reverse C' look of a finish and was generally eschewed by big name instructors.
According to Bennett and Plummer, years of hard work and research went into inventing the S&T method and later on they tried it with Tour pro Tom Scherrer, who grew up in central NY with Bennett. But there are many who believe that they 'stole' the method from Mac O'Grady and it's a swing method O'Grady employs for a low trajectory wedge shot.
I've never been a big fan of the method for various reasons. I'm not as critical and short sighted as some of the big name pros were in the Golf Digest article a couple of years ago. But, I believe that it's very difficult for high handicappers to learn and there's just a *better* way to accomplish what the S&T method tries to accomplish.
The biggest thing the S&T tries to accomplish is to get the weight on the left foot at impact instead of the golfer 'hanging back' and having to flip through. It's mainly a method for the advanced golfer trying to eliminate the hook. It's also a method meant more for accuracy than distance.
However, it works and I also believe it will NOT hurt the golfer's spine in the long run. It's wildly popular with amateurs and will probably continue to be for at least the next five years. Here's a video of inventor Mike Bennett's golf swing.
Location: Spicewood, TX
Famous Students: Phil Mickelson
Notable Works: 'How To Putt Like the Pros', 'The Putting Bible', 'The Short Game Bible'
Notable Credentials: Golf Digest 'Top 50 Instructor', Golf Magazine 'Top 100 Instructor'
Training Aids: Pelz Putter Clips, The Truthboard, Pelz 'O' Balls
Web site: www.pelzgolf.com
Dave Pelz was a member of the University of Indiana golf team during the same time some guy Jack Nicklaus was a member of the Ohio State golf team. During their time playing against each other, Pelz often wondered why Nicklaus would beat him every time out. This was what sparked his interest in researching the game.
However, that was sidetracked by Pelz's career at NASA after graduation. But the desire to learn more about the game kept haunting him and eventually he started his research into the game.
The common misconception about Pelz is that he's always been a putter and short game guy. It doesn't help that in his first book 'How To Putt Like The Pros' he eludes to getting into the game solely to understand putting more. However, in a later book entitled 'The Short Game Bible' Pelz describes a different tale. He wanted to figure out what's the best way for a golfer to lower their scores. He then started physically charting golf shots on tour by himself. He would get an idea of where the pro golfer was aiming, let them hit their shot and then take off running and getting an estimate of how far off the golfer was from their intended target. After compiling the data he found that the golfer's with the lowest scores usually did the best from 100 yards in.
Pelz was looked at as the absolute guru of the short game, particularly since he had the NASA credentials and did a ton of research. However, lately his name has been surpassed by Stan Utley and his popularity has somewhat waned over the years.
Pelz used to be adamant about utilizing the straight back and straight thru stroke. And it made good sense. But now that Utley's book 'The Art of Putting' came out and so many golfers had success with it, Pelz has changed his tune about using the SBST stroke. He's also taken quite a bit of criticism from Geoff Mangum, mostly for his 'optimal speed' of putts being 17 inches past the back of the cup. As Geoff Mangum explains in a post in regards to his 'One Best Delivery Speed for Touch From Physics' YouTube video
Pelz' 1977 data DISPROVES his later claims about 17" past the hole: Golf Digest July 1977, pages 52-55. His later "claims" about 17" never mentions this 1977 article or share his data proving it, because he has none.Still, it's tough to discredit what Pelz has done for the game and even in Mangum's book 'Optimal Putting' he says that the SBST stroke can work just fine. I've been a good putter since I was 16 years old and used the SBST stroke throughout my D-I college team years and putted pretty well with it. Now I use an arc stroke which I feel is better (Mangum also says an arc stroke is fine in 'Optimal Putting'), but generally I believe that there's way too much made out of what type of stroke pattern a golfer has.
Pelz's science only proved what everyone already knew: the go-by distance does depend on grass type and condition.
Others who have tried to duplicate his research to check it conclude that his claims cannot be accurate.
Furthermore, just about every teacher in the world has been wrong and changed their philosphies over time. So Pelz is not the only instructor to ever get something wrong.
Over the years, Pelz has come up with quite a few great training aids, like the putter clips, the truthboard and the 'O' balls. Plus, his chipping, pitching and bunker play techniques can work for lots of golfers.
He's likely to remain a mainstay as far as big name instructors goes for the next 20 years or so. However, the greatness of Pelz lies in that he doesn't rest on his laurels and always seems to find ways to improve his techniques and gain further knowledge.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Location: Carmel, CA
Famous Students: Steve Elkington, Bobby Clampett, Brian Manzella
Notable Works: How to Build a G.O.L.F. Game DVD
Notable YouTube Vids: Steve Elkington w/Ben Doyle Using All 3 Hinge Actions
Notable Credentials: First Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine, G.S.E.D., Golf Digest Top 50 Golf Instructor, Golf Magazine Top 100 Golf Instructor
Web site: http://www.bendoylegolf.com/
Ben Doyle is considered by many to be the foremost authority on The Golfing Machine as well as being its most famous instructor (other than the author Homer Kelley himself). He not only has taught famous players like Steve Elkington and Bobby Clampett, but has also taught famous instructors such as Brian Manzella and Jim McLean.
Unfortunately for Doyle, he sometimes doesn't get quite the recognition he deserves and even worse, many erroneously believe that his work with Clampett ruined Clampett's career, when it actually was the exact opposite of what happened. Clampett had worked with Doyle at a young age and was developing into golf's next superstar. Clampett always had an excellent short game and with his work with Doyle he was developing into one of the all time great ballstrikers. Think of a guy that many thought was going to hit the ball like Ben Hogan but with a phenomenal short game to boot.
However, Clampett was striving to become better and started working with other instructors. Clampett had a very flat golf swing and instructor after instructor tried to change that and it turned the once future phenom into a struggling journeyman. Eventually Clampett caught on as a great announcer and moved on. However, he also went back to Doyle and got his game back on track and is actually a pretty darn good player (he's doing pretty well at this year's Bob Hope Classic), but given his commitments as an announcer, instructor and family man, focusing on his own golf game is low on his priority list.
I first caught onto Doyle when I read Clampett's 'Impact Zone' book and then watching some of Brian Manzella's videos, particularly 'Confessions of a Former Flipper.' I then watched some of Doyle's lessons on video from the LynnBlakeGolf.com Web site.
I think a common misconception that people have of Ben Doyle is that he's trying to teach one particular type of complicated golf swing. Nothing could be further from the truth. He's basically trying to get the golfer to swing the club while keeping a flat left wrist at impact. Watchng the swings of Manzella, Elkington and Clampett you will see each having different golf swings, yet the results are excellent.
Part of the problem that Doyle has when it comes to increasing his tour student load is his location. Being located in Northern California is a bit of a trip for tour pros whereas the big name instructors are located in places like Phoenix and Florida which are common residences for tour pros. That also effects his rankings in golf magazines, but there's no doubt in my mind that he's as good as any swing instruction teacher going today.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Famous Students: Brian Gay
Notable Works: Alignment Golf DVD
Notable YouTube Vids: 'Lynn Blake Explains Rhythm & Hinge Motion', 'Colin Neeman, A Lesson With Lynn Blake.'
Web site: http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/
Credentials: The Golfing Machine certified G.S.E.D.
Lynn Blake was an amateur golfer who wanted to learn more about the game. He then decided to read and understand Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' to possibly help take his game to the next level. Eventually he learned more about 'The Golfing Machine' from the author himself, Homer Kelley.
Blake took his knowledge then started and conducted 40 golf schools in six states. While he was wildly successful, eventually Blake returned to the financial industry and quit teaching the game.
Twenty years later, in 2004, Blake returned to the game and began teaching again. This time he was certified as a G.S.E.D. Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine and has taken off ever since. His most notable student is Brian Gay, one of the shortest hitters on tour, but arguably the most accurate golfer on tour along with being a great putter.
I had originally seen some of Lynn's pictures of golfers on the Web with his symbol on the corner of the picture. Eventually I didn't know who he really was until I came across a YouTube video of him and Brian Gay:
Then I got to see his Web site (www.lynnblakegolf.com). I believe the best facet of the Web site is the free videos where he shows lessons from Ben Doyle, the late Tom Tomasello and some of his own work.
He hasn't received any votes yet, but that's because I believe not many pollsters either understand or know about his work. His 'Alignment Golf' DVD is something I plan on buying soon as it's received rave reviews, but at $79 and the struggling economy I think most people will shy away from purchasing it. Also, his forum can be very intimidating since it is heavily TGM influenced and referenced. But there's still a lot of great information to decipher thru.
Still, I can understand how pollsters may not know much about him, but there's no doubt in my mind he's one of the best in the game.
Location: Texarkana, TX
Notable Works: Encyclopedia Texarkana book
Notable YouTube Vids: 9-3 drill
I first came across SliceFixer when I joined the GolfWRX.com forum and was reading the 'Swing/Fitness' section of the message board. There was a lot of talk about SF's '9-3 drill' which he posted a YouTube video of.
I then read his 'Encyclopedia Texarkana' book which is a good, informative read...but a bit sloppy and scatterbrained in its structure. Slice is coming up with a new book soon and I look very forward to reading it.
I ignored the 9-3 drill at first since I really didn't understand it and was afraid of coming over the top. But as I developed my own swing and using the left side connection, I realized more of the beauty of the 9-3 drill. Unfortunately, I see a lot of golfers on YouTube that I think don't fully grasp the 9-3 drill and are doing it very wrong.
However, Slice has a lot of golfers with some very impressive golf swings. You can see a bunch of his golfers' swing at http://www.youtube.com/user/slicefixer. And he's a teacher that focuses heavily on the pivot of the golf swing, which I believe is so important to the golf swing, yet usually neglected by golf instructors.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada
Notable Works: 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' e-book
Notable YouTube Vids: 'The Move', 'Moe/Ben Hogan Secret', 'Fireside Chat About Moe Norman and Ben Hogan'
Web site: http://www.secretisinthedirt.com/, http://sevam1.blogspot.com/
There's three factors that helped me improve my golf swing by leaps and bounds were:
1. Brian Manzella's YouTube video 'Hips, Hands and Clubhead' which allowed me to understand what happens in the thru pivot.
2. David Orr's video explaining the accumulators which got me back into left side connection throughout the swing and "blasting the left arm off the chest."
3. Mike Maves' 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' e-book.
I first came across Maves when I was fooling around on YouTube and read that he learned Ben Hogan's 'secret' from Moe Norman. Maves had an excellent swing and looked like he was absolutely striping the ball with major power. Still, I remained a bit skeptical because almost on a yearly basis there's somebody claiming they know Hogan's 'secret.' But as he kept on posting videos, more and more of what he was talking about made sense and he kept on striping the ball into the lake.
Eventually the infamous GolfWRX.com thread got started and I started off reading the first few pages, but largely ignored it since it was getting out of control. Eventually I kept on reading about the amazing success posters were having using Maves' method, but I really didn't fully grasp it. So, I was eager to read his book 'The Secret Is In The Dirt.'
As I've mentioned in my reviews, 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' at the very least is what the future of golf instruction books should be. Not only did it contain text and pictures, but it also included YouTube videos now available in the new Adobe Acrobat reader. Furthermore, the book goes into the *journey* of Maves' discovery. Not only does he make his instruction very easy to understand, but reading about the journey just made it more of an interesting read.
However, I was still skeptical that Maves' book would work for me. One of the interesting things I found about the book (and his video) was when he asked Moe Norman what the most important part of the swing and Moe replied 'the pivot!' From there I thought and thought about it and concluded that Moe was pretty much right and that got the entire improvement of my golf swing started. I then had to re-learn what was a good pivot and then re-learn how to achieve a proper pivot.
And that's what Mike's e-book accomplished. It did work for me. In fact, it worked for me almost right away, once I finally understood what the secret and the move is and more importantly understanding what I did wrong when I did not do the secret and the move correctly.
I see a lot of Mike's fans also read this blog. And after watching shots like this, anybody can see why he has followers like this:
Location: Greensboro, NC
Famous Students: Shaun Micheel
Notable Works: Optimal Putting book
Notable YouTube Vids: 'One Best Delivery Speed For Touch From Physics', 'Fall Line Definition'
Web site: http://www.puttingzone.com/
I got introduced to Geoff Mangum as he was referenced quite a bit by David Orr in Orr's posts around the web. Later on, Orr and Mangum collaborated on the YouTube video 'One Best Delivery Speed For Touch From Physics.'
In my 'comeback' which is only about 3 weeks long, I knew I was a pretty darn good putter. However, there was still a lot of things about putting that confused me. One of them was Dave Pelz's 'optimal speed' being 17 inches past the back of the cup. I was very confused by this. For instance, I would hit an uphill putt that would go 24" past the cup and think that it looked like the putt was rolled way too hard, but since it wasn't too far away from 17" past the cup, the speed was fine.
Mangum debunks this theory and many other theories on putting. I've read his 'Optimal Putting' book which is a little hard to understand, but if you're dedicated to learning the book you can get through and learn more about putting than you ever imagined.
It also helped that I share a pretty similar putting stroke philosophy as I like to take it back with my LEFT arm and then let gravity do the work on the thru stroke. While I really didn't learn anything new from that aspect, it at least confirmed what I was doing was pretty close to correct.
Mangum's book 'Optimal Putting' also goes into detail in regards to the neuroscience involved with putting. Here's one testimonial in regards to Mangum's studies of neuroscience:
“Geoff Mangum knows more about visual science than anyone in golf. As the national director of research for the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (and a golfer), I constantly search the Internet for vision neuroscience to pass along to Optometry teachers at schools around the world, and I am always amazed that I find exactly what I’m looking for ONLY on the PuttingZone.com website instead of on the university websites and other conventional research science sources. I can’t imagine that any other golf instructor knows more about vision in putting than Geoff!” - Dr. Selwyn Super
Mangum probably won't get many votes because he pretty much only teaches putting, but as far as teaching one part of the game goes, there's probably nobody that knows as much as Mangum does.
Next up, Mike Maves.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Location: Buies Creek, NC
Famous Students: Keith Clearwater, Charlie Wi, Neal Lancaster
Notable Works: Green Reading Basics, Putting Acceleration
Notable YouTube Vids: Warchant and Walrus, Foot and Leg Action, Putting Touch and Feel - Dynamic Profiles
Notable Credentials: Golfing Machine Certified G.S.E.B., Director of Instruction Campbell University Pro Golf Management Program
Web site: http://www.orrgolf.com/
I originally met Dave Orr back in 1991 when I was 15 years old. At the time he was playing on the Hogan Tour (now known as the Nationwide Tour) and other mini-tours. I played golf with him off an on for about a month and then he moved down to North Carolina and I didn't hear about him again until this past year (although I had heard through the grapevine he was working for Campbell University's PGM program).
Back in 1991 David was an excellent ballstriker, but struggled with the putter by Hogan Tour standards. He was just getting into teaching back then and had a passion for teaching the swing. In fact, I believe I took one of the first lessons he ever gave, a $10 deal (he didn't want the money, but I couldn't take a lesson off him for free) working on left side connection. I used left side connection with good success that year. I vividly remember getting some looks on the range playing a big high school tournament and having a headcover stuck under my left armpit, but I got the last laugh as I made states that year as a sophomore, something that was a pretty big accomplishment given how tough the Section of high schools we played in. Strangely enough, 17 years later I went back to the left side connection and using another Orr video that was one of the three major pieces of instruction that helped me get rid of the flip (http://www.orrgolf.com/video/powerpack1n2.wmv)
What I think makes Dave a great teacher is he's very strong at understanding and teaching all facets of the game and different styles. He seems to prefer to teach the Stack & Tilt pattern, something I'm not a fan of, but can also teach a more conventional swing pattern. But where he has really done a great job is with his extensive research on putting which consisted of nearly 700 subjects ranging from high handicappers to tour pros. The passion David has in regards to the golf swing he turned it to being able to roll the rock. Just reading David's posts in where he gives the information from the studies and watching his 'Green Reading Basics' video has improved my putting immensely. I have very little confusion now in regards to putting other than wanting to get my putting stroke analyzed by the SAM puttlab.
Here's a video of one of David's students, Brooke Goodwin.
Up Next, Geoff Mangum
Name: Brian Manzella
Location: New Orleans, LA and Louisville, KY
Famous Students: Craig Perks and David Toms
Notable Works: Confessions of a Former Flipper, Never Slice Again 2.0, Never Hook Again 2.0
Notable YouTube Vids: Hips, Hands and Clubhead. Brian Manzella Live Episodes. Catch the Drop.
Notable Credentials: Golfing Machine Certified G.S.E.D.
Web Site: http://www.brianmanzella.com/
Training Aids: The Sheriff (putting training aid)
I first heard about Manzella when I was reading Jeff Mann's Perfect Golf Swing Review Web site (http://perfectgolfswingreview.net/). Mann doesn't reference Brian too much, but the basic introduction was there, Brian is certified in TGM and I figured he probably knew his stuff. Later on I did a google search looking for an explanation of 'float loading' and it led me to his Web site. Float loading is a pretty easy concept, but for some reason nobody really cares to explain it in a simple and concise manner. Well, Brian did.
I instantly became addicted to his YouTube videos because he not only knew his stuff and made it simple to understand, but he also explained it in a fun way.
There's essentially 3 things that helped me get my swing to looking better than it ever has (it's almost striking it better, but given the long layoff I still have *some* consistency issues). One of them is his YouTube video that I have posted here time after time and because it is so helpful
Not only does Brian know quite a bit about the game and the golf swing, but he's a teacher that doesn't rest on his laurels and continues to learn about the game. He's utilizing Trackman technology to learn more about the physics of the golf swing. And he probably does as much as anybody to scour the earth to read and watch anything when it comes to golf instruction.
I think it's kind of a shame that he has not gotten any votes yet. I think part of that is because his readers probably do not read this blog and I get the feeling that he rubs some people the wrong way. Maybe it's because he's not afraid to call out some teachers for what he perceives as erroneous swing philosophies. If there's one thing I realize, it's that people sure get heated when it comes to not agreeing on parts of the game, particularly golf instruction. But either way, Brian Manzella is one of the best in my book.
Next up, David Orr.
I understand the backswing part of it, but I'm still a little confused into exactly what the downswing motion/swing thought/swing feel is. Here's what the video poster said about it over on GolfWRX.
I think the most accurate way to describe it is that you are pulling everything away from 'your' target on the downswing, which is the ball. Initially when I got this backswing nailed down I couldn't figure out why I was still slinging DTL. Where it has improved, and has room for improvement for me.....is that I pull with the right side also. Maintaining my angles and pulling in the direction of increasing those angles.
I really like this video because it's instruction based around the pivot, the lifeblood of the golf swing. I'll have to at least try the backswing pivot part of this motion and combine it with the pre-torque at address.
Monday, January 19, 2009
In Hogan's day, all outsoles were flat with no additional traction.The only interaction with the turf came from the spikes. When the metal spikes were placed around the perimeter (usually 11 spikes per shoe) there were some large areas that did not have any traction. Thus, Hogan would have seen some benefit from adding a couple of spikes. There were some comfort issues back in his day though. The spikes under the ball of the foot would often cause discomfort and could lead to blistering on the bottom of the foot.
The current state of golf shoes is very different. Most courses will not allow metal spikes. Plastic cleats are the norm. When the industry went through the change from spikes to cleats there was a change in the overall outsole design theory. Now outsoles are designed with various traction elements that enhance the traction provided by the cleats. FootJoy studied the impact of each cleat position on the overall traction and stability ofthe whole shoe. It was found that certain positions (such as the toe cleat in the "old" configurations) had very little to no impact on the groundforces in the golf swing. We found by moving the toe cleat more medially, traction was enhanced. From this study the current 7 cleat configuration combined with traction elements molded in the outsole was found to provide the optimal traction and stability while enhancing comfort. We went so far as to test shoes without the cleats and found the traction provided by the molded elements in the outsole was nearly as good as those with the cleats in. Bottom line: the traction provided by today's golf shoe technology is better than the state-of-the-art in Mr. Hogan's days. No modifications are needed.
Nancy A. Santos
So, the search continues.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Hmmm....that's a tough one. I don't think there's just one way to do it. I contemplated it even more and then thought about the most accurate golfer I ever saw, Moe Norman.
I actually never saw Moe hit balls in person. But back in around '97, one of my college teammates showed me a video of one of Moe's clinics he attended. Moe came out and didn't say word at first, and was hitting what looked like a 6 or a 7 iron. He hits a few balls and they look like solid shots, but I start to wonder what is so special. Then the camera pans out to the range and I see Moe hit a shot, the camera tracks the ball and when the ball lands, a few balls bounce up (kind of making a splash effect).
I then understood what Moe was demonstrating. Essentially Moe was hitting a few balls out to the range and then he would try (and succeed) to hit the ball so it would land on the balls he already hit on the range. 'Impressive' doesn't do it justice, considering I can't hit the RANGE PICKER with a 7 iron. This guy is hitting GOLF BALLS as his target.
So what did Moe do?
Well, here's a video of his swing
Here's 3 things I notice about Moe's swing that I *think* made him so accurate and that were different from the rest.
1. The plane lines of the swing (DTL viewpoint). Todd Graves explains it well here. However, I don't agree with everything he said. Graves thinks that you need a good plane to have a successful swing and really you don't, just ask Jim Furyk and countless others. Also, I'm *not sure* if Moe *technically* had a single axis plane (I could be wrong). But I believe that Graves is very much on the right track, if you keep the angles of the club parallel to the shaft angle throughout the swing, you've increased your chance to hit the ball accurately. However, you still need a flat left wrist at impact, otherwise all bets are off.
2. Moe had a very good pivot. This video looks like Moe's swing just before he passed away. I've seen video of Moe's swing 5-10 years before this and he has a much better pivot. And then I've seen pictures and video of Moe's swing from the 60's and 70's and he had a phenomenal pivot. This pivot allows him to keep the left wrist flat at impact.
3. Spine angle. Look at the video and look at his spine angle from the DTL and then the Face On View. The spine angle stays the same through the swing from both vantage points.
Perhaps I'm right or perhaps I'm wrong, but this is what I see. Particularly #1 and #3 are things I've never seen somebody do nearly as well as Moe did it. And I believe all of it is for not if Moe couldn't pivot well and keep that left wrist flat through impact.
I still think pivot is what needs to be learned first because you don't have to have #1 and #3 to be a very good ballstriker. Furthermore, most golfer's pivots are not worth a damn. So learn the pivot first and if you get that down and want even better, you may want to try some of the things I see from Moe's swing.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
From studying this training aid a bit more, I think it is a solid training aid. Mainly because it is teaching the golfer 'left side connection' without really mentioning it that way. If you look at the swing, the red ball cannot move like it's supposed to unless there's that upper left arm 'connecting' to the upper left chest right by the left nipple.
And the key to the Taly is to hit the ball 'without swinging your arms.' That's a 'pivot controlled hands' motion where the pivot moves first and the hands follow. I recommend the 'pivot controlled hands' motion because I find that is the motion that most golfers have success with. There's also the 'hands controlled pivot' action where the hands go directly downward in the downswing first and then the pivot follows, but I find that not only myself but many other golfers struggle executing that move.
The only criticism I have of the Taly is that I believe that most golfers would be well off doing a 'left side connection' drill and just taking a golf glove or a nerf ball and sticking it up high on the left armpit and not letting it fall out during the swing (up until the halfway point of the follow through). They could do a lot of 9-3 golf swing drills and work it out just fine. And like I said, there are some golfers who are better off using a hands controlled pivot motion than the pivot controlled hands motion that the Taly promotes.
However, the Taly may work great for you instead of using a left side connection drill. They can be found at www.talygolf.com for $70.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Spring isn't too far off and once again a lot of golfers will be making the trip to Myrtle Beach. For first time Myrtle Beach golfers, here's some Do's and Don'ts
DO check out the first part to my Favorite Courses in Myrtle (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-top-10-suggested-myrtle-beach-golf.html)
DO check out the second part (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-top-10-suggested-myrtle-beach-golf_25.html)
DON'T expect the rates to go down because of the economy. Unfortunately, the courses set their rates ahead a year in advance. You could get some lower rates in the summer and fall because usually the courses get less business and they are not completely booked up and you can call in. But in the spring time, the courses are usually fully booked and you can get on unless you made a tee time way in advance.
DON'T expect the courses to have less play. People want to golf and probalby made these tee times months and months in advanced. And even with the economy, there's still a lot of people that will play golf in these tough times.
DO expect the courses to be in fantastic condition. This is Myrtle's peak season and the courses expect top notch conditions from their grounds crew. People get fired when the conditions do not meet the coure's expectations. Also, the one thing that usually causes problems in Myrtle Beach course conditions are heat and rain and it's just beautiful in the spring without a whole lot of rain (most rain happens in the fall in Myrtle).
DON'T book an early morning tee time unless your 100% confident that you have no problem getting up in the morning as well as the rest of the players in your group. You miss a tee time in Myrtle, you likely won't get to play AND you still get charged for the round. You're better off scheduling a tee time in the afternoon, getting there in plenty of time and still allowing you and your group to go out at night, have a good time, and be rested for the next day of golf.
DON'T act like you own the place because you paid the greens fee. Courses can have up to 250 players booked EVERY SINGLE DAY and if your group is taking 6 hours to play, you're essentially screwing over everybody on the course that day.
DO expect 90% of the courses to be double teed. If you can still book a tee time and do not want to tee off #10, call the course and see if they can schedule you to tee off #1 instead. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club has a particular problem with this since #9 is a 100 yard par 3 and #18 is a beautiful, picturesque par 4 over water. One of these holes is a great finishing hole, the other is a lousy finishing hole. So if that's important to you, then just ask the pro shop if you're teeing off #1 or #10. The courses HAVE to double tee because it's the only way you can really get 200+ golfers out there playing every day. If they didn't double tee, then the rates would go way up and you would have to book tee times even further in advance.
DO tip the bag boy. $1 a bag ain't bad and they'll even wash your clubs for you if you're not a complete ass.
DON'T expect to haggle prices, even on replays. The people working in the pro shop simply cannot change the price for you.
DO know what you're getting into with replays. Know that you're going to have to obviously play in the morning if you want to play a replay, meaning you will have to get there on time. And also know that you and your group probably hasn't played golf in awhile and even with carts, it can just make for a long day. People get tired and then to make matters worse they go out later that night and are dragging their feet the rest of the trip.
DON'T buy equipment or golf balls at the pro shop. The PGA Tour Superstore and Golf Dimenions have far better prices. The only thing worth buying in the pro shop is apparel that has the course's name on it, if you're into that sort of thing.
DON'T expect a driving range at Caledonia, perhaps the most popular course on the Grand Strand. They have a net and people get frustrated that's all they really have. You can go to True Blue across the street and use their range without a problem, but you better pay close attention to your tee time.
DO get good directions, even drive by the course the day before you play it, while you stay there. Again, you miss your tee time and you're likely screwed.
DO stay at a condo if you can, even if it's not on the beach. You can save a ton of $$$ by cutting down the times you eat out in half and instead cook your own food.
DON'T book two tee times on the same day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). Too tough to hope that play is moving quick enough to make the afternoon tee time. I've seen plenty of golfers do it, but too many times it doesn't work out.
DO check out the driving range over at The Legends. Best driving range I've ever been on.
DON'T go to those Eagles and Wings shops. They're all the same and they're all junk.
DO promptly flip the bird to anybody in those shops who tries to say that because you touched a shirt or whatever, you now must pay for the shirt. It's illegal and it's garbage. Of course, you shouldn't be there in the first place.
DO go to Villa Romana. Fabulous italian food.
DON'T act like you're playing in the US Open. It's alright to focus and want to play well, but there's no need or reason to have to read putts like Bernhard Langer from 7 different vantage points. Slowing up the entire course really, really sucks.
DON'T think that because you're playing behind women that they are slow. A little secret, female golfers in Myrtle Beach are by far the FASTEST players on the Grand Strand. They know exactly how far they hit the ball and will hit it to about 10 yards behind the group in front of them every single time. It's almost uncanny. Usually the people that slow up the course is that group of 12 that decide to play for some money.
DO try to take it all in. The golf, the beach, the restaurants, the nightlife, the weather, etc. I lived in Myrtle Beach for nearly five years and I would move back there in a nanosecond if I could. As fun as it was to live there, it's even more fun of a place to visit. So enjoy.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
At impact stability of m stance was like being glued to the ground. It gave me a great sense of being able to hit 'through the ball'.and
Percentage of golfers who improved the consistency and accuracy of their shots using a 5-iron during testing . 88%
Hi-Tec's Web site is at http://www.hi-tec.com/us. They also have a dealer locator section. It's an 8 spike pattern and goes for $129. I'll have to get a look at them up close, although I'm still partial to the Adidas 360 Tour line of shoes.
Here's the main reason why I don't care much for the S&T method. Just take a look at the stats of the main proponents of the method:
Aaron Baddeley...............290.3 yds
Tommy Armour III........287.7
Tommy Armour III......183
Tommy Armour III..........66.5%
Total Ballstriking (Total Driving Rank + G.I.R. rank)
Tommy Armour III......239
Some of these numbers are mediocre, some of them are bad and some of them are alright. Now I know, these guys could wax me up and down the course all week long, but by tour standards nothing is really 'wowing' me right now. And the S&T poster boy, Aaron Baddeley, put up some poor numbers last year.
From what I've been *told*, the S&T is more or less Mac O'Grady's low trajectory shot with a wedge method. O'Grady supposedly has different types of swing methods according to the club and trajectory he wants to hit (and I say supposedly because I'm just going off what I've been told as I've never taken a lesson from O'Grady himself). And supposedly O'Grady has a swing method for low trajectory, high trajectory and medium trajectory shot with the long irons, then the short irons, the mid irons and the driver. So the S&T is allegedly the low trajectory wedge swing method, but for all of the clubs.
The thing I like about the S&T method is that is gets the weight on the left foot at impact which I feel is crucial regardless of the pivot method used. What I don't like about it is that I feel it constricts the shoulder turn and back pivot in the swing and that kills power while not exactly ensuring accuracy. Sam Snead had 140 degrees of shoulder turn in his prime and not only killed the ball, but was accurate too. Hogan had about 110 degrees of shoulder turn. The S&T guys seem to have 90 degrees or less shoulder turn. And by looking at the stats, I consider being average length on tour to be long in the grand scheme of things, but none of the S&T'ers are really hitting bombs nor are they deadly accurate. Again, I acknowledge they are FAR better than myself, but when it comes to revolutionary methods, I expect revolutionary results from the poster boys for me to change my swing methodology. And I think there's ways just as easy to accomplish what the S&T method accomplishes without losing that power.
Anyway, here's S&T inventor, Mike Bennett's, golf swing
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I've only played 4 1/2 times so far. Putting has been pretty good and learning stuff from David Orr and Geoff Mangum has just made my usually good putting even better. I started off with only 1 three putt in the first 51 holes I played. That's actually pretty amazing if you ever saw the course I play at, a Davis Love III design with a lot of tiered greens and greens with big swales. Just generaly a lot of T-O-U-G-H pin positions. Plus, my ballstriking isn't really up to snuff, but I'll get to that later. After those first 51 holes, I then slipped quite a bit and had 3 three putts in a 14 hole span. Although those three putts consisted of 50+ footers that practically broke off the face of the earth. I played Monday and didn't make many putts as I was playing a new course and their greens didn't have nearly the break, but I didn't have a three putt all day long. I will say that I've pretty much been a good putter since I was 16 years old and when I hear good putting Tour pros talk about putting they talk a lot about confidence and for whatever reason I have pretty much felt that there's not a putt in this world I cannot make and I approach every single putt like I can make it (even if it's not true). I'm not sure how you get that type of mindset, but I think it helps me to look TRULY forward to putting. Most people I know dread putting and look at it like an annoyance of playing the game.
Chipping has been okay, although for having a good short game I've never been the greatest chipper. When I'm chipping well I usually have my A-Game going. Pitching has been surprisingly very good. I really dig the new Vokey 54 degree wedge and I'm glad I junked the old trusty rusty 56 degree Cleveland. Bunker play and flop shots have been as good as they have ever been. In fact, I feel I'm now very, very good at those long greenside bunker shots. Before in my 'prime' the ball would shoot out of the bunker with too much loft and fall woefully short. Now it's got that nice trajectory, skips on the green twice and spins to the pin. In fact, I hit one of the greatest bunker shots of my life about 2 weeks ago and I've always been a darn good bunker player.
Now onto the full swing. Still have some problems here and there. However, I chalk it up to something I call "mental STAMINA." It's not that I cannot focus or that I lose focus as the round goes by. But it's that I'm still struggling to get into that golfing mindset where I'm focused to a degree on every single shot. I'm really working on letting my pivot control my hands and not losing the torque on the inside of my right leg. But I'll lose that on shots throughout a golf round and then I start slinging it and the quack hooks and other god awful shots start coming out. I'm basically focusing on trying to eliminate the "god awfuls" from my round. On January 8th I had 4 of them, then on last Saturday I had 8 of them, then on Monday I had 6 of the 'god awfuls.' That doesn't mean I plan on never hitting a bad shot, but I'd like to get rid of those 'god awfuls' that can ruin a round. But between the layoff, the surgery, not getting to play or practice THAT much, getting rid of an old bad habit (flipping and not using my pivot properly)...it's going to take time.
That being said, I do feel a bit more consistent. In the past it seemed like I really had to work at it on the range or I may come up with a round where I couldn't do anything right. Now, it may take me about 30 range balls to start to get in a groove and I seem to be playing halfway decent and if I can get rid of the 'god awfuls', I will see a dramatic drop in my score.
One thing I'm noticing is that I'm getting better and better with my trajectory and getting more and more power which is an indication to me that I'm getting better and better with my pivot. Like I mentioned in the 'Some Further Thoughts On The Secret Is In The Dirt Book' post (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/01/some-further-thoughts-on-secret-is-in.html), I've occasionally hit some eye popping shots for myself.
One 'eye popper' of a shot pretty much explained my game in a nutshell. Typically I outdrive my dad and his friends by about 30-50 yards, depending on what set of tees they are playing. Then on Saturday I really crunched one and outdrove the other three guys...all of whom hit pretty good drives by their standards by about 125 yards. Unfortunately, I wound up taking a double bogey on the hole.
And that's another one of my problems. It was on a par 5 and I had a difficult downhill lie and 240 yards into the green and thought I could make it with a 3 wood. But the layoff has still given me problems with those tricky and difficult shots. In retrospect I should've hit an iron and then given myself a wedge into the green, but I'd like to hit these tricky shots or tricky lies a lot better. I think this comes from playing some golf by myself where I can get a tricky lie and figure out how to hit the shot and if I hit a bad one, plop another ball down there until I figure how to hit those tricky shots.
That's pretty much about it for now. Lots and lots of work to do, but I also see more and more improvement each week. I appreciate the kind thoughts and words of encouragement.
With that, here's a nice lesson from Shawn Clement on how to properly hit those tricky shots using proper leverage.