Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Bobby Jones was a 4 time Major Championship winner and the most popular amateur golfer of all time.
Much really isn't known about his ballstriking in regards to how precisely he stacked up against his peers as most people prefer to discuss what he has done for the game as an Amateur, the Masters and sportsmanship. However, I think it was safe to say that Jones was a great ballstriker for his time if not the very best.
Jones had a very inside golf swing, probably designed for the hickory shafted golf clubs
It would be extremely interesting to see how Mr. Jones would hit the ball with today's modern equipment.
Ben Hogan has arguably the most popular golf swing in the history of the game which has been analyzed more than any other golf swing in the world. Mr. Hogan is considered by many to be the greatest pure ballstriker of all time.
There's a lot of talk that Mr. Hogan used a 'single plane' golf swing, but I fail to see it and look at him as another classic double shifter.
There's also plenty of other controversies in regards to Mr. Hogan's swing. He's often referred to as a 'swinger', yet I think he's more of a 'hitter' mainly because of his wish to have '3 right hands' during his swing. I think he was a 4-barrel hitter pattern who used the CP release. Plus there are all of those people who feel that they have figured out Hogan's 'Secret' as well.
While Hogan's swing is beautiful from a technical standpoint and he was a fantastic ballstriker, what tends to draw many golfers to his swing is that Hogan didn't have instant success on Tour. In fact, he almost quit the Tour due to just about going broke since he suffered from a hook he couldn't get rid of. He then was bound and determined to eliminate the hook and when he did, he won 9 tournaments his first year without the hook. He went on to win 9 Majors and finished in the top 10 in the US Open (the ultimate 'ballstrikers tournament') 16 times in a row.
Strangely after a near fatal and near crippling car accident in 1949 which gave him a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots, his swing and ballstriking improved He would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations, but learned more and more about the golf swing and improved his motion and improved his results.
Hogan was listed at 5'7" and 140 pounds, but many say he was actually shorter than that. In his earlier days he was a pretty long hitter, even participating in long drive contests. He lost some distance as he got older, but given his size, age and injuries he was quite long with those parameters.
Mr. Hogan gathered information on the swing from greats like Henry Picard, Sam Byrd and Mike Austin. He wrote arguably the greatest instructional book of all time '5 Lessons of Modern Fundamental Golf' and his equipment company arguably made the best blade irons and persimmon woods of all time.
3-F-7-C BOBBING is raising and/or lowering the Head by faulty movement of the back or knees, and disrupts the Shoulder-to-ball radius.For those who don't know exactly what radius is, here's a picture.
From the face on view, the golf swing moves in a circle and the radius is the clubshaft and the left shoulder. So if a golfer 'bobs' their head due to faulty back or knee movement it disrupts that straight line radius that is formed between the left shoulder and the clubshaft.
3-F-7-D. SWAYING is basically incorrect weight shifting due usually to a faulty Pivot. Swaying can be in either or both directions --- with the swing or in reverse. It produces abnormal trajectories, erratic timing and a teetering Balance. It is usually an attempt to replace the Pivot in working toward a Turn and a Weight Shift (7-12 and 7-14).
Simple enough. Most people understand what a sway is, but Mr. Kelley states that it's an attempt to replace the Pivot (a rotation of the body) with a weight shift. Furthermore, it results in abnormal ball flight trajectories, erratic timeing and teetering balance. Note that he says 'teetering' balance which means the golfer may be too tilted in their swing and fall off balance looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa instead of the balanced Eiffel Tower.
3-F-7-E. All these malfunctions are just different ways of disrupting the same geometrical alignment --- the downward and outward arc of the Clubface. The farther back toward the right foot that the ball is teed, the farther down to the right of the target must be the line of the Clubhead's Down-Plane angle of approach to Impact --- that is, the more pronounced must be the Clubface slide across the Line of Flight through Impact (2-J).
So the 'snares' disrupt the downward and outward motion of the clubface. The clubface may go downward and inward or upward and outward or upward and inward. If the ball is teed more towards the back foot, the clubface must go more out and to the right. Thusly, a ball teed up more forward requires the clubface to go more towards the left.
Off Plane execution can produce Shanked Shots.
So if a golfer is off plane in the downswing, it can produce shanks. I hear a lot of golfers say that a shank usually is due to coming too far from the inside on the downswing. That definitely can cause a shank. But more often than not, and it's not even close IMO, golfers who shank usually come way over the top.
The correct concept of an 'On Plane' procedure is driving the Club --- not 'a little downward and a little outward,' -- but 'Down Plane.' Down Plane to full extension, per 2-C-0 and 2-L#2. (Also study 2-F, 2-N and 2-P).
So you really need to extend that right arm on the downswing so you get that proper DOWNWARD and OUTWARD motion. Not just a little downward and outward, but really DOWNWARD and OUTWARD.
Aiming a Square-Square Plane Line to the right of the target is another effect of these disruptions. Stepping to the opposite side of the ball --- or reference line --- will prove it isn't faulty eyesight. It is habitually, but unwittingly, allowing for Pulled Shots result from, among others these three major misconceptions.
1. Clubface 'Square to the Target at Impact' for all shots (2-J-1)
2. Clubhead Path 'Down the Target Line' through Impact (2-J-2)
3. Flattening the Right Wrist through Release for Clubhead Velocity (4-D-1)
Homer Kelley is saying that there are 3 major misconceptions.
- Clubface Square At Target at Impact
- Clubhead Path Down the Target Line after Impact
- Flattening the Right Wrist through the Release for more Clubhead Speed
So the face shouldn't be square at the target at impact, it should be *slightly* open. Otherwise you will hit a pull.
The clubhead path should not be down the target line after impact, it should be slightly 'outward' after impact. Otherwise you will hit a pull.
All of which close the Clubface with a resulting Line of Flight to the Left, causing the Computer to silently align the entire Machine to the Right as a corrective move. It is not really an optical illusion at all: Only one 'cure' has surfaced --- hit, at first, Chip Shots TO THE RIGHT OF YOUR STANCE ALIGNMENT, AS YOU SEE IT. Finally, this will reprogram the Computer away from its fixation that all shots have the same relationship to the Stance Line and you can work it back to the geometrically correct alignments you only thought you were using. Check that the Grip is per Hinge Action (2-J-1) and that the toe of the Club is not raised at Impact.
So the three misconceptions Homer Kelley mentioned will close the clubface. This will cause your brain (or your 'computer') to subconsciously align your body to the right of the target as a way to correct your problems. This is not an optical illusion. So hit some chip shots with your 'normal alignment' and then hit them to the right of where you are aligned. This will reprogram your brain to not square the face to the target, not have the path going down the target line and not flatten the right wrist in the release.
Bobby Jones liked to talk about how the game is played between the ears. Homer Kelley just further expanded upon it.
You can use a laser point and stick into the grip of an old club or tape it up on the grip or put in on a wooden dowel. The Smart Stick can be found at www.smartstickgolf.com
Monday, April 27, 2009
In Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine', he discusses 'snares' which are flaws to the golf swing. Mr. Kelley discusses them in 3-F-7. Let's take a look:
3-F-7-0. MACHINE ADJUSTMENT CHECK LIST The Twenty-Four Stroke Components are those things the Machine should do. Then there are some indications and symptoms of maladjustment - things it should not do. (See 4-D and 6-D).Remember, Mr. Kelley looked at the swing as a 'machine' with 24 parts (aka components). So the components are things the golf swing *should* do and there are some maladjustments that golfers make that the swing should *not* do.
3-F-7-A. STEERING is the Number One malfunction -- The Bent Left Wrist and Clubhead Throwaway. Any or all of the following faults during Impact may need to be adjusted out --- holding:So somebody who 'steers' (like myself) does any or all of the following:
1. The Clubface square to the Target Line
2. The Clubhead on Target Line
3. The Clubhead on a level or upward path.
A very successful and anti-steering therapy is an exaggerated 'inside-out' Cut Shot, per 10-5-E. (Study 2-J-3, 2-N and 12-3-39.) You always Swing along the Plane Line but not always along the Flight Line. So learn to dismiss the Flight Line. Depend on Clubface alignment for direction control (2-J). In fact, learn to execute all Plane Line Variations (10-5) to remove all uncertainty from your Computer (14-0).
- Clubface square to the target line (instead of the clubface 'closing' naturally)
- Clubhead on the target line (instead of being arced inward)
- Clubhead on a level or upward path (instead of going 'down, out and forward).
Also note how Mr. Kelley stated that steering is the 'number one malfunction.' I'm not sure if he means it's the most common malfunction or the worst malfuction or both. I'll have to figure that out.
Take a look of this picture of Kevin Na's swing.
The red line shows the 'circular plane' that Kevin Na is swinging on. Na is on his 'circular plane' and the toe of the clubhead is pointing upward. A 'steerer' would either have the clubhead still on the target line and/or have the clubface pointing at the target right here.
Some people ask why it's important to have the club in these position similar to the way Na has it after impact when the ball is already gone. The reason being is that in order for the golfer to get in whatever position they are in right after impact, they must *prepare* for it *before* they hit the ball. So if you are a 'steerer', then you are essentially steering right before impact and that causes less than optimal golf shots.
Furthermore, steering usually results in a 'bent plane line', which I will describe later
3-F-7-B. QUITTING slows or stops the Hands during Release and is almost always a semi-conscious maneuver to change the Down-and-Out Clubhead Path (2-J-2) to an On-Line Path through Impact, on the mistaken assumption that this is the purpose of the 'Wrist Roll' (2-G) and/or 'Wrist Bend (6-D-3) and that such Clubhead control is, somehow, automatic Clubface control. That is a distorted interpretation of Sequenced Release (4-D). This results in:'Quitting' is when the hands slow down, often times due to the golfer 'stalling' their pivoting hips. Mr. Kelley also believed that this was a 'semi-conscious' move by the golfer due to misinterpreting the finish swivel.
1. a Bent Plane Line (Steering 4-D-0)
2. a shortening of the Swing Radius (loss of effective Mass); AND, depending on Impact Hand Locations results in either:
3. a 'Down Only' Clubhead Path (deep Divot or 'Fat' Hit 1-L-14);
4. an 'Up-and-In' Clubhead Path (Topped Shot 2-J-2)
Also study 2-C-3. The inherent power loss causes the player to swing even faster, aggravating the who situation. Rhythm (2-G) is the solution --- Quitting is actually impossible with proper and continuous Rhythm. So are many other faulty moves during the Stroke. During all Strokes --- INCLUDING, AND ESPECIALLY, WITH PUTTING.
SUSTAIN THE LAG! That is, Hitting or Swinging, losing Lag Pressure not only produces Quitting but jeopardizes Rhythm and destroys the Basic Motion, and worst of all, dissipates the Line of Compression (2-0 and 6-C-2-o)
Mr. Kelley states that 'quitting' results in a 'bent plane line.'
A bent plane line happens when the a part of the clubshaft is not pointing at some part of the target line at some point in the swing. Bent plane lines can actually happen in the backswing or the downswing, but Mr. Kelley is talking about a bent plane line in the follow through for 'quitters.' Robert Allenby here has a 'straight plane line.'
A 'bent plane' would have the golf clubshaft much more vertical so the clubshaft is pointing more at his toes or extremely flat so it's pointing towards the caddy. That being said, usually a bent plane line in this position is very vertical.
Mr. Kelley also states that 'quitting' decreases the width of the golfer's swing (aka shortening the swing radius). And depending on where the hands are at impact that will result in either fat shots or topped shots because the golfer cannot move the clubhead in the proper 'down, out and forward' motion.
And because a golfer 'quits' it causes a loss of power and the golfer will then try to swing harder which only makes the situation worse. The solution according to Homer Kelley is proper rhythm and he states that with proper rhythm the golfer cannot quit. Here's Mr. Lynn Blake dropping knowledge on what rhythm really is.
Mr. Kelley concludes that rhythm is the key with ALL strokes, especially the putting stroke. Regardless if the golfer 'hits' or 'swings' the golf club, they need to create lag and then *sustain* the lag. Quitting causes the golfer to not sustain that lag and destroys all type of rhythm.
Part II coming up....
Byron Nelson had tremendous success early on in his pro career with 52 PGA Tour wins and 5 Major Championship Victories. His greatest season was in 1945 where he won a record 18 victories which included 11 victories in a row. He also had the lowest stroke average ever that year (68.33) which held up for 55 years. He also held the record for 113 cuts in a row made, before that was broken by Tiger Woods as well.
Strangely, not a lot is known about his ballstriking abilities, in large part because he pretty much retired pretty quickly from the game to pursue other opportunities. He seemed to have pretty good length off the tee and I've heard stories of his amazing accuracy. In fact, the USGA made the golf ball hitting machine 'Iron Byron' which was named after him.
Nelson appeared to use a 'double shift' plane, using a float loading technique with a CF release.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Furthermore, here's a Web site link explaining 'The Magic of the Right Arm.' (http://www.golfswing.com.au/ppage.php?id=164)
This is pretty much the Brian Gay golf swing. He happens to be a master of using the Right Forearm in his golf swing. And from the looks of it, once you start to 'get it', it's very easy and repeatable stuff that will produce great shots.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
We also worked a bit on address position and footwork. Mainly not getting the weight on the toes and having the heel raise because it's 'pulled' up off the ground from the momentum of the swing and not 'lifted' off the ground by getting the weight up on the toes.
Anyway, here was my swing before seeing Ted:
My play started off pretty well after the lesson, then it became wildly inconsistent. In a 3-day stretch I shot 72 (on a 142 slope) which consisted of hitting 4 of the first 10 greens and then hitting the last 8 greens in regulation. The next day I shot my worst round of the year with an 84. And then the last day I shot 44-32 (-4 on the backside) for a 76 on a 139 slope.
One of the parts of my swing that improved was the downswing plane. I was doing a nice job of getting on the plane on the downswing.
It's difficult to see the clubshaft in this photo, but it's right in the middle 'covering' my right arm.
One of the issues I started developing was a bit of an over the top move again. I tried to figure it out and then I thought the problem was my backswing was getting too upright. Thus, I started taking the club back a too far inside.
I like the flatter and rounder golf swings and I was executing a flatter swing, unfortunately I was going about it the wrong way. One of the issues I have with my swing is that my club starts down on the downswing pretty upright, then I have to try and flatten it out. When it doesn't flatten out, it comes over the top and that dramatically impacts my ballstriking.
Thus, Ted and I got back into 'right forearm tracing.' Since Brian Gay's victory at Harbor Town, a lot of people have asked me about his swing and they generally like it. I tell them that Brian uses 'right forearm tracing.' In fact, Brian has stated that it has resurrected his career.
So what is it?
In TGM terms, the golfer tries to feel the #3 pressure point (the base joint of the right index finger) is tracing the club back and through. Almost like if the golfer had a laser pointer in their right hand and were trying to get the laser pointing back and through. But what we worked on with it was tracing the clubhead back and through on the *target line*. There is no conscious effort to arc the clubhead. It's actually *straight* back on the target line and *straight* through the target line. The clubhead will *naturally* come in on an arc and come through on an arc and you have to remember to keep the clubface square instead of having it closed.
I suggest you get a laser pointer and a stick it on a club or try with a flashlight and you'll see that you can get the laser pointer pointing back on the target line on the takeaway and still take the club back on an arc AND have a square clubface.
However, in order to do 'right forearm tracing', you need to get the right arm on plane at address. If you want to learn more, go over to Lynn Blake's Web site and purchase his 'Alignment Golf' DVD.
Anyway, here's my latest swing only 1 day after my lesson with Ted.
I hated the Titleist drivers. Liked the Cobra and thought the R9 was a solid club. But the driver I liked by far and away the best?
The Mizuno rep told me that this was a great club, particularly for the low handicap player, but Mizuno doesn't do that great a job of marketing the driver.
The Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK hybrid is not only the easiest club I have ever hit, it also feels fantastic. I've have yet to hit a poor shot with the Fli-Hi and the MP-600 has a very similar feel and I was hitting it L-O-N-G.
It also has a classical look.
I know a lot of people like to get some new equipment, but have a lot of brand loyalty. But I thought some of you who are looking for a new driver should give the Mizuno MP-600 a look.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Homer (Kelley) told me one time that very few golfers actually go all the way down. Almost all reach the Ball and begin their upward Motion before the Low Point is reached.
"Even Tour players," he said. "They almost all come up, and I'm really kind of surprised when I see them still take a divot."
I asked him for the name of a player who did go all the way down.
"Trevino," he said with a lowered voice and a growl.
"I like that guy. He hits a wedge, and you've got to help him get the club out of the ground!" - Lynn 'Yoda' Blake
Lee Trevino is a 6 time Major Championship winner and a 29 time winner on the PGA Tour. He was known as one of the greatest ballstrikers of his generation and arguably the greatest wedge player of all time.
His swing was a bit unorthodox because he had some extreme positions. For instance, most golfers are told to side on playing with an open stance over a closed stance in case they need help with their pivot and Lee played with a very open stance. He also had a huge loop in his swing which came down very shallow on the hands plane. His customary shot was to aim left and push it down the middle or aim left and push it a tad and fade it a tad down the middle. But, he was also known as a brilliant shot maker who could hit it low, high, fade it or even draw it. That being said, he usually avoided hitting a draw due to being averse to possibly hooking the ball in the future.
Back when Putting 'Guru' Dave Pelz first got into analyzing the game, he originally tried to find out what the great golfers have in common. This was well before Pelz had concluded that success from 100 yards in correlates to golf scores.
So Pelz went out and charted every golfer on Tour and had the task of figuring out where the golfer's target was and then charting how close they were to the target. According to Pelz, Trevino was by far and away the best he had ever charted and if Trevino was just an *average* putter, he would have had more Majors than Nicklaus.
As far as Majors go, Trevino won the PGA, US Open and British Open each twice. He was particularly strong at the US Open and British because the US Open places such a premium on fairways and greens, a Trevino specialty and the British requires great trajectory control, another specialty of Trevino. However, the Masters is a tournament he struggled at since it usually favors the longer, higher hitters unless you have a draw and are a great putter, none of which were Trevino's strongsuits.
I would suggest checking out Lynn's free videos at http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/ and then go out and by his 'Alignment Golf' DVD. Anyway, here's a couple of videos of a recent interview Lynn did on ESPN Radio, kind of going over Lynn's golf instruction career, his relationship with Brian, and some other stuff on 'The Golfing Machine.'
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Mac O'Grady has become one of the game's most eccentric and curious personalities. He turned pro in 1972 and attempted to qualify through the PGA Tour Q-School 17 times before receiving his PGA Tour card.
O'Grady's swing concepts derive from Homer Kelley's book 'The Golfing Machine.' Even more amazing O'Grady is able to play scratch golf both right handed and left handed. He's a better player right handed, although is left handed swing is downright superb. There was a period of his career where he swung right handed and putted left handed.
In this sequence, it appears that O'Grady goes from the hands plane to the turned shoulder plane and then returns to around the elbow plane on the downswing.
I particularly mention the phrase *this sequence* because according to rumors, O'Grady actually has a bunch of different swing patterns that he can utilize. For instance, he supposedly has a different sequence for clubs based on desired ball trajectory. For instance, he supposedly has a pattern for a low driver shot, medium driver shot, and a high driver shot. And the same goes for the long irons, mid irons and even the short irons/wedges. It's also been rumored that his low trajectory wedge swing pattern is actually the Stack and Tilt swing pattern as Stack and Tilt creators Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett are both former students of O'Grady's MORAD swing philosophy. O'Grady has also been rumored to be a master 'swing impersonator' being able to do spitting images of golfing greats like Nicklaus, Hogan, Snead (whose swing is a model for MORAD *allegedly*)
Some of O'Grady's former students include Jodie Mudd, Gary McCord, Steve Elkington, Chip Beck, Vijay Singh and Seve Ballesteros.
As a ballstriker, Mac was considered one of the very best if not the best by many of his peers on Tour. He was not only known for his ability to work the ball with accuracy, but he was very long off the tee and was routinely in the top 10 in driving distance. There's also talk of him still being able to twist a hybrid around and purposedly hit the ball with the top of the hybrid clubhead, straight as an arrow about 250 yards.
Monday, April 20, 2009
This type of swing allowed Snead to generate an inordinate amount of power and make it look effortless.
Mr. Snead's swing helped win him 82 PGA Tour victories and 165 professional wins in total which included seven Major championships. Some contend that he was not that great of a ballstriker as contemporaries of his time such as Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson because he never won the US Open, but Snead finished 2nd in the US Open on five different occasions.
Snead never seemed to be that great at explaining what he did in his golf swing. He often referred to the grip pressure as 'feeling like you're holding a bird with both hands. Strong enough to keep it from flying away, not light enough so you won't kill it.' That was a commonly referenced piece of instruction, but over the years you find more golfers using a tight grip because Mr. Snead failed to mention that he had humongous strong hands.
There's also this video where Mr. Snead talks about over-swinging, despite the video at the top of this post showing that he was way past parallel in his prime.
Mr. Snead could probably be considered the 'creator' of the one-piece takeaway and his swing is very much the model for Mac O'Grady's MORAD swing method. And his finish was very similar to the finish that most S&T golfers use
Footwork is more important than most golfers realize. It's the foundation for your balance. I used to work on my footwork fundamentals by practicing barefoot in our backyard. When you swing barefoot, you experience the feeling of your feet anchoring or "rooting" you to the ground. At address, you feel as if your toes are almost up in the air and free. Your weight is established on the balls of your feet and somewhat back toward your heels--never out on the toes.
I have a few friends who are engineers from Georgia Tech and when I asked them about the video, they told me it's true, the sound that Mizuno irons are making are due to them providing a softer feel.
I hear a lot of people ask about the softest feeling irons. A few years ago there was a study taking golfers using forged irons versus cast irons in a blind test and the results were that the golfers could not tell the difference in the softness in the feel.
However, according to Scratch Golf founder Ari Techner, what the study failed to show was that it's not about whether the club is forged or not, it's about what type of steel is being used.
I've tried out quite a few clubs and here's some of the softest feeling irons I've hit:
I carry the 52-degree Gap Wedge of the Nickent ARC series (it's bent down to 50 degrees). From the Nickent Web site (http://www.nickentgolf.com/)
A true forged iron for the player looking for a classic iron updated with the most current technology. The blade design has Accelerated Rebound Core (ARC) technology, which creates an internal cavity that allows the club to have the effect of perimeter weighting. It works like a corked bat. This results in an iron with the look and feel of a true muscle back with the playability and ease of use of a modern cavity back.
A high-rebound elastomer is positioned directly behind the impact zone for a lively, solid reaction off the face while elimination vibration.
I really like the Gap Wedge I have. The rumors have been swirling that Nickent could be going out of business soon and I like the Gap Wedge so much that if the price of the ARC blades goes down drastically, I may purchase a set soon even though I love my Mizunos. But these clubs do have a great, soft feel. The Nickent ARC iron set goes for about $799.
Miura irons (http://www.miuragolf.com/) are known for their soft feel. I hit some the other day quite extensively. I thought they had a very nice feel and if you're looking for an old-school type of blade designs, this is certainly your club. However, I actually thought my Mizuno's were slightly softer. Miura irons go for over $1,200 a set.
Scratch Golf (http://www.scratchgolf.com/) irons are forged from 1018 Soft Carbon Steel, which according to Scratch Golf is the softest and most responsive steel in golf. I've tried their JLM Wedge, but I didn't really care for it. But when it comes to their other wedges and irons, they've received rave reviews, particularly for their soft feel. Scratch Golf iron sets go for about $1,200.
KBS Tour shafts have become increasingly popular on all of the major tours. I have yet to hit some of the KBS Tour shafts, but these shafts have received nothing but rave reviews. I've been told they are almost like a cross between the True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts and the Rifle Royal Precision steel shafts, only better. KBS Tour shafts go for about $25-$30 a shaft.
Iomic grips (www.iomicusa.com) have become increasingly popular on the Tour. In fact, Verizon winner Brian Gay uses them on his irons. They are made out of elastomer instead of rubber and they are water resistant as well as help make the shots feel 'softer.' They go for about $30 a grip.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Nicklaus had a single shift golf swing that was eschewed by many instructors for having a 'flying right elbow.' In reality he was just working off the squared shoulder plane and still held the 3 imperatives of the golf swing that Homer Kelley talked about in 'The Golfing Machine.'
Probably the most dynamic part of Nicklaus' swing was his very wide takeaway, something that was not utilized much before he came along and is now frequently used by golfers on the Tour.
As a ballstriker, before the days of statistics, Nicklaus was consider a great driver of the ball since he was ungodly long at one time and had good accuracy off the tee for somebody of his prodigious length. His best clubs were the long irons, particularly the 1-iron which he could take out on tight holes and blast it past many golfers' drivers and hit the fairway time and time again.
However, when it came to his short iron game it was usually widely criticized by other plays. In fact, you would think that Jack was one of the worst ever short iron players according to many of his peers and Dave Pelz did not have much good to say about Nicklaus' bunker play. But if there was one thing that Nicklaus' critics could never deny was his smart play and hitting the big shots in the clutch. Like this shot, which got yours truly into playing the game religiously.
Brian Gay, a student of Lynn Blake's and Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' just shot a Harbour Town Tournament record -20 (67-66-67-64) to win by ten shots, making only 2 bogeys the entire tournament.
- 2nd in driving accuracy
- 3rd in GIR
- 3rd in Putts/Round
- 3rd in Putts/GIR
Gay's work with Lynn Blake consisted of getting the right forearm on plane at address and 'tracing the right forearm' through impact. He seemed to really start to 'get it' midway through 2008 and wound up being 31st in the money list. This season he got off to a great start, but could not do well enough to get a victory. For those who followed Brian, you had the feeling his time was about to come.
Here's a preview video Brian did with Lynn Blake called 'Golf Stroke Fundamentals', which can be found at http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=532
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Moe Norman is arguably Canada's greatest golfer along with arguably being the greatest ballstriker of all time. His feats include 55 Canadian Tour victories, 33 course records, and 17 hole-in-ones. Even more astonishing is Moe was a terrible putter, in large part because he eschewed reading putts and liked to 'miss 'em quick.'
He woke up every day knowing he was going to hit it well. He just knew he was going to hit it well. Every day. It's frightening how straight he hits it. It's like Iron Byron, the ball doesn't move. - Tiger Woods
Moe's unorthodox *looking* golf swing drew the ire of some, but also drew the praise of many others. Moe stood quite aways from the ball at address with his clubhead about a good foot behind the ball.
Eventually in the 90's a golf group that promoted Moe's swing stated that Moe used a 'single axis' swing plane, but from this swing photo sequence, Moe was clearly using a double plane shift approach.
While unorthodox, it's clear to see why Moe's swing works. He is consistently perfectly on plane throughout the golf swing. He also perfectly maintains his spine angle and axis tilt time and time again and obviously has great control of the clubface.
His ballstriking has led to some legendary stories like a time playing with Snead, Sam had just carried the creek that cross the fairway of this one golf hole. Then Moe got up there with a driver and Snead told him 'you won't be able to get it over that creek' which Moe replied 'I'll be over that creek.' And then Moe aimed at a bridge crossing the creek, hit it and it bounced over to the other side.
Or the story about Moe playing in a tournament on a course he had never played before and asking 'how does this hole play?' and one of the golfer's in the group says 'it's a driver and a 9-iron' and Moe proceeds to hit a 9-iron and a driver into the green.
One of the commonly held misconceptions of Moe is that he didn't have a lot of distance. In a video I had from an old college teammate that taped one of his clinics, a 66 year old Moe was hitting his 5-wood about 225-235 yards (back in '95 when the equipment wasn't as *hot* as it is today).
A number of things stand out from that day in contrast to what people think. First, was that Moe hit it pretty far. Everyone says he couldn’t hit it very far, just straight. But he was over 60 and he hit it far - several drives of 280 yards or more. That’s long for a 60+ year old. I can’t imagine how he hit it when he was 30. - The Secret Is In The Dirt by Mike Maves
Unfortunately, most golfers who saw Moe hit the ball saw it when he was in his 60's and usually in clinics where he was trying to dazzle the crowd with his surreal accuracy. Snead, Lee Trevino and Paul Azinger have called Moe the greatest ballstriker they had ever seen.
He certainly was one of a kind.
"Golf is happiness
It's intoxication without the hangover
It's stimulation without the pills
It's price is high
It's rewards are richer
Some say it's a boys pastime
Yet it builds men
It cleanses the mind
Rejuvinates the body
It is these things and many more
For those of us who know and love it
Golf is truly happiness" - Moe Norman
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tiger's ballstriking has been a very debatable issue over the years as he once was easily the greatest ballstriker on earth and now has slipped a bit, most notably due to his inaccuracy off the tee with the driver. But to add fuel to the controversy, Tiger used to be an excellent driver of the golf ball. Take a look at his 'Total Driving' rankings over the years:
As I posted before in my statistical analysis of Woods' game, he's become more of a bomb n gouge type of player, but his bombing has not improved nearly to the level the rest of the tour's bombing has improved. However, he's become a much, much better 'gouger.'
Tiger has gone through at least 3 different swing changes in his career, going from his high school swing to a Butch Harmon style swing to a Hank Haney influenced golf swing. I actually believe that his 'swing overhauls' have actually hurt the game of golf because the rest of the golfing public tends to think they need a 'swing overhaul' themselves when they really need to develop one good swing that is repeatable first, then if they want to take their game to the next level consider a 'swing overhaul.'
Tiger's shining moment as a ballstriker came in the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach where he demolished the field and showed a precision, accuracy and power in ballstriking that the game probably has never seen before.
Currently, Tiger's problems with driving accuracy seem to mostly stem from a 'laid off' move at the top that Tiger appears to want to correct, but cannot correct it on a consistent basis. Despite fighting his swing in the Masters, he still finished tied for 6th. If he can regain his old ballstriking form, he will likely be untouchable.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Most people do not understand the concept and spirit of 'The Golfing Machine.' First, it's not a 'method.' It's basically stating that there are almost countless ways to effectively hit a golf ball and then it catologues all of the ways. Homer Kelley looked at the golf swing as a 'machine' (hence the name) and stated that there are 24 parts to this particular machine and each of those parts can have 12-15 variations.
Furthermore, there are only 3 imperatives that the 'machine' must have:
- Flat Left Wrist
- Clubhead Lag Pressure Point
- Straight Plane Lines
In essence, The Golfing Machine goes over every different method to hit a golf ball effectively and can explain each method which includes the Stack and Tilt and the SliceFixer method. And the spirit of The Golfing Machine is not to say that one method is the best or the worst, but that there is a best method for each individual, thus it's a customizable method. To add, The Golfing Machine does not care for wholesale swing changes, but more or less finding the parts of the 'machine' that are producing unsatisfactory results and make tweaks and adjustments to those particular parts so the golfer can start developing satisfactory results.
What it comes down to is that a person who understands 'The Golfing Machine' can take a look at a swing and break it down. Fred Couples has a very different golf swing from Sergio Garcia. But from it, I could categorize their grips, hinge actions release actions, plane shifts, delivery paths, etc.
The Stack & Tilt is one method of hitting the golf ball effectively. Unlike 'The Golfing Machine' which goes over almost every method under the sun of hitting the ball effectively, the Stack and Tilt is just one particular method of hitting the ball effectively.
The inventor of the Stack & Tilt is still a bit unknown. Some say that Mac O'Grady invented the Stack & Tilt and is indeed one of the patterns he developed mostly for short iron shots with a low trajectory window. Others say that Mike Bennett & Andy Plummer came up with the idea after working with O'Grady and taking some of the knowledge that he gave them.
Either way, O'Grady, Bennett and Plummer are all well versed in 'The Golfing Machine.' One of the aspects of The Golfing Machine is 'low point' which is the lowest point the clubhead will travel in the golf swing. The Stack & Tilt method promotes a way of 'ensuring' the golfer's low point will be correct so the can properly compress the ball.
So again, the Stack and Tilt is one method to hitting the ball effectively that was developed by people who used their knowledge of 'The Golfing Machine' to create the Stack and Tilt pattern.
The SliceFixer (aka Geoff Jones) method is based mainly around the '9-3 drill.' This drill consists of swinging the club back until the left arm is at '9 o'clock' and then swinging down until the right arm is at '3 o'clock' in the follow through. One of the main keys is that after impact the hands are supposed to go 'low and left', creating a 'centripetal release.' This type of pattern is very much based off they style of swing Ben Hogan utilized.
Like the Stack & Tilt the SliceFixer method is just one method of hitting the ball effectively. It's actually very much like the 4-barrel hitter pattern described in 'The Golfing Machine.' The 4-barrel method means the golfer uses all 4 of the power accumulators as described in 'The Golfing Machine.' Homer Kelley described this as the most dynamic golf swing available. However, Mr. Kelley made sure to note that a golfer with a well executed and consistent '3 barrel' swing (only using 3 of the 4 power accumulators) would be more effective than an improperly and inconsistently executed 4-barrel swing.
And as Homer Kelley describes, there is no 'best' or 'worst' golf swing, but there is a 'best' type of swing for each golfer. Just as the Stack & Tilt method may not work best for some people, the SliceFixer method may not work for many people (personally I believe most golfers need to get on the elbow plane on the downswing to use the method and/or have quite a bit of forward shaft lean at impact).
Where The Golfing Machine sometimes fails is that many Authorized Instructors tend to fall in love with or only feel comfortable teaching a particular type of swing pattern or two. Also the Stack and Tilt and the SliceFixer method really preach the pivot action in the swing and many Authorized Instructors tend to focus more on 'educating the hands' while the pivot takes a backseat.
But again, think of it this way:
The Golfing Machine = catalogues and understands almost countless patterns.
Stack and Tilt = one method of hitting the ball.
SliceFixer = one method of hitting the ball.
The Golfing Machine = explains the S&T and the SliceFixer method (along with the countless other patterns).
Miller's swing was a random sweep release with a circular delivery path as opposed to the snap release so many golfers like to see.
Miller's most glorious moment was the 1973 US Open where he overcame a 6 shot deficit to win the championship at Oakmont CC. Oakmont is arguably the toughest golf course in the United States and Miller's final round of a 63, hitting all 18 greens in regulation along with having an average birdie putt shorter than 10 feet long is a ballstriking feat that will likely never be duplicated.
As a commentator he's known for his straight forward, highly opinionated and blunt commentary which irks many, but it's always tough to argue with a man who knew a level of greatness that only a handful of people have ever achieved in the game of golf.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
'Champagne' Tony Lema, winner of 12 PGA Tour Events from 1962-1966 along with being the champion of the 1964 British Open, was one of the most popular players of his time. He died in a plane crash with his wife transporting him to an exhibition in Chicago in 1966.
- "Golf is like solitaire. When you cheat, you only cheat yourself."
- "In choosing a partner, always pick the optimist."
- "You build a golf game like you build a wall, one brick at a time."
- "If I had to cram all my tournament experience into one sentence, I would say, "Don't give up and don't let up!"
- “Many kids might have made jails instead of pars and birdies if it hadn’t been for Loosh. He knows kids- how they think, how to talk them and what do for them. As long as I’ve known him he’s been willing help kids for nothing in return.” - a quote by Tony about his golf coach Lucius Bateman (after which there is a driving range named in Alameda, California).
- "A buoyant, positive approach to the game is as basic as a sound swing."