Monday, June 29, 2009

My Putter Fitting Experience

With my struggles with the flatstick I decided to get a putter fitting through The Golf Doctor (www.golfdoctor.com) in Woodstock, GA (suburb of Atlanta). I had never had a putter fitting as this didn't become popular until I was in my 8-year layoff from the game, but I was curious as to how it worked and willing to do anything to get back my old putting performances.

One of the first things I discussed with owners Ed and Matt Grabowy (a father & son team) was about the 'C Grooves' on the Yes! Putters and if they worked. Matt told me that they did indeed work to his surprise and even more surprising was that he felt that the Taylor Made Rossa line of putters that have the grooves on them prevent even less skid.

Skid-roll factor is present in all putters due to them having loft. Here's a video showing some skid on a putter's initial launch.



The Grabowy's use the Mitchell Studio Putter Fitting system which also utilizes the same type of video as shown above. Here's a pic of what the Mitchell Studio looks like.




The key is to get as minimal skid as possible so the ball can get rolling right away.

As Geoff Mangum posted months ago, the Yes! putter line claims that they have zero skid on their putters, but as Matt explained like Geoff explained, their way of measuring skid is different from how just about everybody else measures skid. In the video above, Yes! measures skid as to how long it takes the ball to start to rotate whatsoever. However, the standard measurement of skid is when the ball officially rotates 90 degrees. So it's not to say that Yes! putters do not help prevent skid, but their claims of zero skid are a bit flawed.

The Mitchell putter fitting studio is a great tool, however it comes with some problem. According to Matt, one of the issues is that you can only use one type of camera with the studio, a JVC camera that the company has stopped manufacturing. Also, he cannot save the data or the video and has to print out the data results because of that. Lastly, you only get about a foot over video coverage on the putt. Mitchell makes excellent, top of the line, clubmaking tools. However, I believe another manufacturer could quite easily create something even better than their current putter fitting studio.

I am currently using a Mizuno Bettinardi C-06



If there's one reason to look at getting fitted for your putter it's to check the specifications. The Mizuno Web site says the C-06 should have a lie angle of 71* and a loft of 3*. Instead, my C-06 had a lie angle of 70.5* and a loft of 4.5*. With that, my skid with my putter that I brought in was 13.2 inches. We eventually tried a Taylor Made Rossa Fontana putter and my skid went down to 10.0 inches. That's a 24.2% improvement!. When we bent the Bettinardi to 3* loft, the skid was at 11.0 inches, a 16.7% improvement!

Obviously, the bent loft in the Bettinardi did not improve as much as the Taylor Made Rossa Fontana, so we then figured that the weight may be part of the problem. We tried to 'back weight' the putter which is sticking a weight up on the butt end of the grip which makes the putter head feel lighter. But when we did that, my skid actually increased.

So we then determined that I needed a putter that had a heavier putterhead. We tried out a Never Compromise putter which has a heavy putter head and the skid decreased.

In the end we found that my lie angle should be about 74*, my loft should be no higher than 3* and I should stick with a face balanced putter (My mis-hits were dispersed so a putter with a high MOI would be helpful) and a heavy putterhead. I looked around and the putter that seemed to fit that mold was the Yes! Victoria II putter



It has a 72* lie angle (which I will bend just 2 degrees) a 2.5* loft and a fairly heavy putter head (370 grams).

I highly recommend the putter fitting process and trying to find somebody with a Mitchell Putter fitting studio or the equivalent. I also highly recommend going to the Golf Doctor if you're in the Atlanta area. They also do clubfitting using the Trackman Launch Monitor device.




3JACK

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kids, Don't Try This At Home

Damn.





3JACK

Twin Taly Use

A poster over at LynnBlakeGolf.com posted this video showing another use with the Taly. This is how to set the right forearm on plane at address.







3JACK

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Understanding the Basics of TGM - Part VIII

Here's a couple of new videos I have on 7-17 of Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine.'








3JACK

Friday, June 26, 2009

What We Can Learn from David Duval and Seve



Often times I hear golfers say that you really shouldn't get into learning the swing or learning about your putting because it will provide 'information overload.' I've never really agreed with that assertion and I think that philosophy is something that can get most golfers in trouble.

This past week when I was watching the US Open and seeing a rejuvenated David Duval, NBC later on went to interview Duval about his improvement. Duval stated that one of his problems was that before when he was hitting it great, he didn't have any idea of what he was doing and he would just hit it long and straight. That's great when it's working, but when it wasn't working for David, he had no idea what the problem was much less coming up with a way to solve it. He said that now he knows much more about what he's doing.

I recently came across this post from Geoff Mangum over at his www.puttingzone.com forum on the subject of 'not knowing' and why it's so hazardous.

I saw this recently about Seve Ballesteros. He appears to be the model of the fabulous talent who doesn't know why and how he plays well, and so stands to lose everything in one fell swoop:

"What I recall most from one-on-one interviews with Ballesteros are his mindfulness of the growing toll of his obsession, and his acute sense that the clock was running out. Even in English, he had a knack for a good sound bite"I was Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods"but his considerable insight was best expressed in quiet moments. He could admit that where Woods had made good career decisions, he had made bad ones. The one he rued the most was the first: turning pro "too young, too young" at 16. He recognized himself as a prisoner of arrested development. Biggest thing, he never learned how to lose...Yeah, the game made him. And the game destroyed him. - Lee Trevino

It most stunted his ability to improve. Ballesteros treated his gift as a fixed entity, magically formed on the sands of Pedrena, not to be tampered with. When it finally stopped being enoughhis crooked driver betraying him at the U.S. Open in particularhe worked furiously to change his swing, but with the impatience of someone unable to find a diamond he had dropped. Just as he distrusted the specialists who tried to help him with his troublesome back, he distrusted swing coachesand saw dozens of both. Once, asked to put his flawed impact conditions under the scrutiny of a launch monitor, he countered with bravado: "My hands are my computer." The truth is, Ballesteros didn't really know how to get better, and was essentially finished at age 35."

Jaime Diaz, "The Sadness of Seve: Haunting memories linger long after his game faded", Golf Digest, Jan. 2009.

This echoes my basic point: talent without know-how is not a reliable way to get thru the years of professional golf competition. Ian Baker-Finch, Johnny Miller, even Arnold Palmer all reached a point where the winning ground to a halt and couldn't be fixed. Certain supposed top putters have lost it and haven't yet gotten it back: Chris Riley, Nick Faldo, ... others. Mike Weir lost his putting for about five years -- exactly the wrong five years, too. He seems to be doing better, but you never know whether he has real know-how or he's just on a streak. We'll see.

Bottom line: learn about the body, rather than rust grooving a move and thinking you're talented.


This happened to me as well, of course not nearly as the same level. I was one of the better junior golfers in New York state, but when I hit college I started to struggle and couldn't figure out why. Things like 'you're taking it back too fast' or 'move the ball up further in your stance' really didn't work. Had I knew a little more and had better coaching in high school, I think it could have saved me some agony in college and thereafter.

Here's a Geoff Mangum video that I think you may enjoy. BTW, one of Geoff's students, Mike Goodes, recently shot a 57 at a course in Greensboro, NC.






3JACK

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Look At Tim Simpson

This video was brought to my attention by one of my readers. Check out the swing of Tim Simpson.



Notice anything familiar?



And here's a look at Simpson's GIR rank through a period of his career:

YEAR...............RNK

1985.......................15th
1986.......................29th
1987.......................8th
1988.......................16th
1989.......................12th
1990.......................6th
1991.......................62nd
1992.......................1st
1993.......................18th
1994.......................48th
1995.......................7th





3JACK

Congrats to Lucas Glover

A belated CONGRATULATIONS to US Open Champ Lucas Glover. Glover is known for ranking currently #1 in Total Driving as well. Here's a look at his swing.



Big time float loading procedure here and just a beautiful golf swing.




3JACK

Perfect Swing Plane Training Aid

Saw this 'training aid' that I thought some readers, particularly instructors would be interested in. It's a swing plane board, but it's inflatable, so the golfer can actually hit golf balls off of it, and it's much more portable.





You can find this device at http://www.gaspsystems.com/category-3-p-psp---perfect-swing-plane-53.html





3JACK

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Wilson Staff Prototype Irons

Ricky Barnes was using these this week.





3JACK

Flop Shot with Phil Mickelson

Nice video by Phil on how to hit the flop shot and how to do it with different types of lies.






3JACK

Shot Routine

About a year or two ago, when I was still 'retired' from the game, I was watching the Golf Channel and I thought Frank Nobilo did a great job of explaining the pre-shot routine of the Tour pros versus the average amateur. The one thing he mentioned was how many Tour pros have the same type of pre-shot routine as an amateur, but they are executing that pre-shot routine dynamically vs. statically.

For instance, I have a pre-shot routine where I will take 2 practice swings right by the ball, then move back behind the ball and pick a target. Then I will step up to the ball, aim, and hit my shot. The average amateur will do everything in pieces. They'll take a practice swing and stop. Then take another practice swing and stop. Then get behind the ball and pick out the target and stop. And then line up to the ball and stop. Then finally take the swing. The Tour pro will do the same type of routine, but keep moving throughout and this releases tension, curbs fear and over-thinking. I kind of like to compare it to one big 'slur' of the pre-shot routine. Sort of like a sober person telling the bartender 'I will have a shot of whiskey' versus the drunk person saying 'Illhaveashotawhiskey.' Believe it or not, I think you want to 'slur' your pre-shot routine.

Watch this video on the footwork of Billy Casper and Gay Brewer again and notice how they are not using 'static' pre-shot routines and that they feet are moving while they are aiming and getting into their address position.



I also think this Shawn Clement video on pre-shot routine is very good as well.



Although the one thing I sort of disagree with Shawn on to a level is about the body parts. I don't think you should not think about them all together. Mainly because feel and body parts often go hand in hand. But I don't think of it as 'position golf' where one would think exactly what position they want a certain body part in. But rather a 'sensing' of a certain body part or two. For me, I have to sense the right forearm and elbow. I'm not thinking about them being in a certain position, but getting it on plane at address and having that right elbow 'nearby' the right rib cage at the top of the swing is sufficient enough for me.

However, I found it interesting that Shawn mentioned 'pictures' as one pretty good golfer who happens to be a pretty good golfer talks about 'pictures' in their putting routine. You may want to follow this as well.




Happy Fathers Day to all you Dad's out there.




3JACK

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Creating More Lag

A poster over at GolfWRX.com asked about how one would create the most lag possible, wanting a Sergio-esque type lag of the club.

Before I go into it, I will say that it's not ALL THAT it is cracked up to be. Brian Manzella has been ardent in showing the possible faults of having massive amounts of shaft lean at impact. Shaft lean causes the clubface to open and thus a golfer with a lot of shaft lean has to swing to the left in order to counter the opening of the face caused by the shaft lean. He's got the math, so have him explain it to you.

That being said, I get a little concerned when I read people saying to the effect that the problems with shaft lean mean that flipping isn't all that big of a deal. There can be problems that need to be fixed FIRST before flipping is solved, but flipping is a big issue. Furthermore, give me a person with too much shaft lean over a golfer with a flip. Because one could teach a shaft leaner to just swing left. A flipper will take longer to get rid of the flip.

And with all of that said, STOP worrying about swinging left until you actually get a lot of shaft lean. While I love Brian's work, I think so many of his posters misunderstand his points about D-Plane and Shaft Lean and start thinking that they have to swing left when they have such a flip through the ball that they need to concern themselves with that first.

The problem also is that if a golfer has a solid, Flat Left Wrist at impact, they should not mistake themselves with the idea that if they could get more shaft lean they would even be better. In fact, they might get worse.

So here is some of the keys I believe that can cause more lag in the golf swing.

SWING PLANE



I believe that if you want to maximize that trigger delay and lag, the 'Sergio-esque' golfers usually work off the elbow plane on the downswing. Look at the greats who had that tremendous amount of lag...Hogan, Snead, Sergio. All worked off the elbow plane on the downswing. Then look at guys like Nicklaus and Tom Watson, both worked of the Turned Shoulder Plane and didn't have that massive lagging look to their swing. They still had a ton of lag pressure, though and hit the ball very long in comparison to their peers. That being said, I believe the downswing plane should come naturally. In other words, if you work off the turned shoulder plane, don't try to force yourself to the elbow plane.


PIVOT

This is probably as important as any. Improve your pivot, you will increase your lag. Here's a great Manzella video on the pivot.



I will also be having a video on Footwork as well and how it relates to the pivot coming up soon.


PRESSURE

In my flying wedges video I talked about this in a little bit of detail. I believe that lag is not really about maintaining angles or even speed for that matter. I believe it is about pressure. Homer Kelley talks about the pressure points a golfer has in the golf swing. Whichever one you use or if you use a combination of pressure points, the MAXIMUM pressure should be at impact.

The best way I can interpret it at this point is that it's very difficult to sustaine maximum pressure in the golf swing for very long. Saying that you can sustain max pressure for a split second is probably being generous. So once you hit max pressure, it's not going to be there for too long. And once it's gone, it doesn't come back. So once the max pressure is made shortly after the power will be released from the golf swing.

That's why I talked about not getting the max pressure on the startdown. You will release all your power and speed in the startdown if you do. You want that power and speed at impact, not the startdown.

So, if you get the max pressure AT IMPACT, the lag angles you have formed are still intact on the downswing because that power has yet to released. If you get max pressure on the startdown, then the power is going to be released before impact and you'll lose those lag angles you covet.

I believe the reason why Hogan was the ballstriker he was is that he could create more pressure than any Tour golfer ever and sustained that pressure longer than any Tour golfer that had ever lived.

But note that I said 'Tour' golfer. I'm sure the Long Distance Driving Champs could create more pressure and probably sustain it quite well. And I'm sure some will ask about Moe Norman, whom I consider the greatest ballstriker ever. Moe created plenty of pressure and did a great job of sustaining it. The major difference between Moe and Hogan versus the rest I believe comes to clubface control. Nobody controlled the clubface like those two (and I believe Moe controlled it better than Hogan, but it's splitting hairs) and while lag, pressure, and a flat left wrist are important, golfers need to remember the importance of clubface control.

If lag was ALL THAT, then this guy would be one of the all time greats.





3JACK

Friday, June 19, 2009

Understanding the Basics of TGM -- Part VII

Finally, a video on the flying wedges. Any further questions, feel free to ask me here or at Richie3Jack@yahoo.com






3JACK

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Debunking The Straight Left Arm

I think the biggest problem golfers face is that they have developed such poor, erroneous or non-consequential concepts that they believe to be quality, correct and important concepts of the golf swing that they never improve. One goof over at the GolfWRX.com forums would lead the world to believe that all you really need to do is practice the fundamentals and all the fundamentals are is a proper grip and a proper address position and you're all good to go. Furthermore, there's really only one way to properly grip the club and address the ball in this goof's opinion. This is really hazardous teaching because it ignores a ton of other fundamentals to the golf swing and if somebody like Lee Trevino or Moe Norman were to ask for some advice, this good would be changing address positions and grips that don't need to be changed.

One of the worst swing theories that I hear all of the time, something that drives me absolutely batty is when a high handicapper starts talking about 'keeping the left arm straight at the top of the swing.' This is a complete fallacy with little importance, unless you are really bending the left arm. My guess is that this started with people way back in the day trying to emulate Ben Hogan's swing. But, here's a bunch of darn good golfers and let's take a looksee at their left arms at the top of the swing.

PAUL CASEY


JB HOLMES



SAM SNEAD


RETIEF GOOSEN

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trevino's Advice to Woods


Interesting article of at the Wall Street Journal about Trevino saying he could get Tiger to start hitting more fairways. You can find it here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204482304574220271513874890.html


One interesting tidbit:

“I saw the ball falling right, but I had no idea how the hell he was doing it. So I came back and worked it out for myself,” he said. Like Mr. Hogan in his younger years, Mr. Trevino was plagued by a wicked, out-of-control hook and wanted to change. “I did it completely wrong, I’m sure, but the only way I could figure out was just to grab the club and hold on for dear life.” By “hold on” Mr. Trevino meant delaying the rotation of his wrists through impact.


Just a great example of learning feel from mechanics.




3JACK

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brewer vs. Casper -- In a Footwork Battle Royale

A great video from what looks like an old 'Shell's Wonderful World of Golf' special between Gay Brewer and Billy Casper.



Here's the pic to freeze:



They both used what I like to call 'old school footwork' where they pulled the left heel up off the ground in the backswing and then planted it on the downswing. Something that great instructors like Kelvin Miyahara or Shawn Clement would recommend. But the big thing for me is the right foot. Casper is on the left and he's got it down perfect. Brewer's heel is up off the ground and sliding towards his left leg. I'm not so sure I would say he's 'pulled' the heel off the ground like I would like to see it done...but notice that the weight really isn't on the toes either and more or the side of the ball of the foot. So the heel is not being 'lifted' off the ground by Brewer either. In my most recent post I noted that I was getting 'antsy' with my footwork again. Meaning, getting up on the toes slightly with the right foot and lifting the heel up off the ground instead of having the heel pulled off the ground. It's almost astonishing of the ratio of Tour pros, current and in the past, who understand this simple, but powerful concept.





3JACK

Game and Swing Update 6.15.09

I've played with a few guys in tournaments who are now on the Tour, namely Tom Scherrer and Jason Gore. I usually get asked on their play and usually the person asking the question thinks that these guys just have these out of the world short games, particularly with the flatstick. Even the scratch golfers tend to think this. So when I tell them 'not exactly', they are surprised by that.

From a general standpoint of the golfing population, they do have a very good short game and putting. But most of the prowess in the short game is wedge shots, bunker play, chipping and pitching. Again, it's not to say that they stink at putting and they can have some great days rolling the rock. But from my experience these guys have plenty of days where they won't 'wow' you with the putter. They'll limit mistakes, usually pretty steady from 5 feet in and may make an occasional deep one. But it's not something that I would write home about. And truth be told, this is probably why Gore failed to make the top 125 on the money list in 2009 and Scherrer struggles to keep his card. Both are FANTASTIC players, but it goes to show you how tough it is to make it on the PGA Tour.

The thing I usually go into detail about is how well they strike the golf ball from tee to green. Scherrer isn't known as a 'ballstriking God' and they are not talking about his swing like Hogan afficianados do, but for him it's quite amazing that he can go days hitting every drive about 280-310 yards, very solid and very straight. It's stunning at just how down the center of the fairway he can be with so many of his drives. And hitting 16-18 greens, peppering a few flagsticks on a non-PGA Tour course that is still a test for most good golfers is something he can do without breaking a sweat. And the silly thing in all of this is Jason Gore is a by far better ballstriker IMO, it's not even close. Gore hits the ball like Scherrer, just noticeably further.

Anyway, Saturday I finally had one of those 'PGA Tour like ballstriking days.' 16 greens in regulation and I peppered the flagstick on 5 occasions with approach shots into the greens. Furthermore, I hit 3 of the par 5's in two, which makes the 5 peppered flag sticks even more remarkable since I can't count those 3 par 5's into the equation. One of the par 5's I hit in 2 for the first time ever. And I only missed one fairway and with a tailwind and a downslope, we figure I hit one drive on one of the par 5's approximately 360 yards (I really dig those new Callaway Tour-i golf balls as well).

I had been hitting the ball a shade below that phenomenal performance (I shot a 68 on Saturday and couldn't putt worth a lick) the previous few days, but I 'lost' it on Sunday and still wound up shooting a 76 on a 7,300 yard course with a 142 slope and a 75.3 index. Here's a look at my latest swings:



One of the swings I took is with the Manzella 'Never Slice Again 2.0 Twistaway' method. I actually only use the 'twistaway' on the downswing. I've actually been using it about 5 times a round. Using angled hinge, it's a bit difficult (but not impossible) for me to hit a big draw. Also, downhill lies and/or lies with the ball below my feet are difficult to hit without some type of left-to-right action. So now if the pin is tucked to the left part of the green, I can just aim at the middle of the green and bring out the downswing twistaway. If it draws well, it's flagsville. If it stays straight, I'm in the middle of the green with a good sized birdie putt. On the courses I play, which have very hilly terrain, a lot of times it's set up so the water is on the right and the lie you're likely going to get is downhill and/or the ball under your feet. Not being able to afford to hit it left-to-right, the downswing twistaway works like magic and has been rifling dead straight shots. Here's a look at the impact position using the downswing twistaway.



Not too shabby.

Of course I had some struggles with that 76 on Sunday and the ballstriking wasn't pretty. But from watching this video, some of the same old culprits sneak up, like a closed clubface on the backswing, 'antsy' footwork, and getting a little too fast on the startdown. Thankfully, Mr. Taly is there to help out and I have other drills in place to help solve the other problems.

The putting has been problematic, but I'm tinkering with some things and I think the main problem is that I don't take the putterhead back straighter now that I'm using the shoulder rocking stroke. I'll have to video that soon.

Anyway, a key lesson here is that you can 'lose' it pretty quickly out there, even if you have a FLW at impact. Of course, having a FLW at impact sure makes your misses look a lot better. But it's always good to keep the '15th club in the bag' (aka the camcorder) handy and see if the old culprits are causing some of the problems or some new troublemakers have come into town to make a mess of the village.




3JACK

Grant Waite Swing - Face On

Here's a David Orr video of Grant Waite's new 'Stack & Tilt' swing from the caddy view.





3JACK

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Congratulations to Brian Gay



Congrats to fellow 'Swamp-ite' Brian Gay on his second victory of the year, this time by 'only' 5 strokes at the St. Jude Classic this past weekend. I'm guessing a lot of people will ask me about Brian's swing pattern since we have a similar type of motion and I am taught by Ted Fort, Lynn's right hand man in the teachin' biz.

There is a Brian Gay golf stroke fundamentals video at http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/index.php/Premium-Videos.html

Here's a preview for it:



Although just because you like Brian Gay's swing doesn't mean that you would be best off modeling your own swing after it. That's why I suggest Lynn's 'Alignment Golf' DVD which provides help for every golfer, regardless of what pattern works best for them.






3JACK

Saturday, June 13, 2009

'Quitting' and 'Over-Acceleration'

I've gotten some questions on 'over-acceleration' of the clubhead. It's actually a term from 'The Golfing Machine' which author Homer Kelley warns the reader against. I believe that 'Over-Acceleration' and 'Quitting' are almost synonymous with each other, so I'll explain 'Quitting' first. 'Quitting' is a slowing down or stoppage of the hands thru the impact zone.

Let's take a look at the swing sequence of the antithesis of 'flipping', Mr. Lee Trevino.



Take a look at Trevino's hands in frames 7, 8, and 9. At frame 7 the hands are by the right thigh. Then in frame 8 they are in between the legs. Then in frame 9 (impact) they are by the left thigh.

It's safe to say that Trevino's hands are moving 'forward', more towards the target right through the impact zone and they are moving at a pretty steady rate.

The golfer who 'quits' basically comes into the impact zone and their hands stop moving towards the target like Trevino's do in the swing sequence above. Or if they don't exactly 'stop' they slow down a whole bunch. Thus the term 'quitting.' Here's about the best pic I could find.



Look at this golfer's hand LOCATION at impact. At impact, his hands are about opposite of his right leg. That is about the same LOCATION as Trevino's hands in frame #7. Except Trevino's clubhead is nowhere near making contact with the ball and instead the clubshaft is about parallel to the ground.

So what happens with the flipper is that his hands go from the top of the swing to about his right thigh on the downswing. And then once they about reach a point by the right thigh, they either slow down or stop completely. BUT, the force of the swing means that the clubhead will reach the ball and make contact somehow. So, if the hands are not moving and DRIVING, the only way that clubhead can come in contact with the ball is to bend the left wrist and flip the wrist thru the ball.

Now, one of the reasons why golfers 'quit' is that they actually over-accelerate the clubhead. Over-acceleration is something that usually happens right in the impact zone and consists of the clubhead going past the hands. However, a lot of the time it happens in the start down. The golfer gets too fast on the start down and by the time they reach impact, the clubhead has now over-accelerated past the hands.

There's other causes for this as well. A poor pivot is one of them. If the pivot is poor or stalling in the impact zone, it's very difficult for the golfer to keep driving those hands thru. That's why when we chip or pitch, we usually do it from a slightly open stance. The chip and pitch swing is so short that we really don't have much time to pivot, so by opening the stance up we more or less 'pre-pivot' and thus the hands can keep driving thru impact.

However, that's also why using 'basic' and 'acquired' motions are so effective in learning the proper impact alignments. In these motions you really shouldn't open up the stance (aka 'pre-pivot') and thus you need to force yourself to pivot just enough and keep those hands driving thru impact.

I also think a problem with a LOT of golfers is that it starts with the right index finger and the right thumb. Ben Hogan referred to the right index finger and right thumb as 'swing wreckers' and I find this to be incredibly true with a ton of golfers. If you were to take a clubhead and 'flip' thru impact the easiest way to do so is to do it with the right index finger and right thumb. This also flattens out the right wrist.

To delve even further, the pressure of the flip caused by the right index finger seems to get in the middle joint of the right index finger. This is interesting because many golfers use the #3 Pressure Point which is the base joint of the right index finger, and 'aim' it at a point out in front of the golf ball. So IMO, having pressure less than an inch away can be the difference between a flip or a flat left wrist.

However, I think golfers should probably think about the other pressure points besides the #3 PP. The 'swinger' can use the #2 or #4 pressure point and the 'hitter' can use the #1 PP (which is what I use). But, if you were to drive the hands steadily forward, you find that the only way you can do it is with some sort of pressure. That's why I have been talking about lag not being about 'maintaining ANGLES' it's about 'maintaining PRESSURE.' If you have pressure you can continue to drive those hands forwards, sustain the lag and have that flat left wrist at impact. If you lose the pressure, then all of that is for not. As Homer Kelley said, lag is ELUSIVE, meaning once you lose it...it's gone. Once you lose that pressure, it's gone and not coming back. That's why my swing feel is primarily to bring the maximum amount of pressure at impact. If I get it at the startdown, I'll lose it pretty quickly and come impact it's already gone. LAG IS ELUSIVE.

And I hate to harp on this, but another reason why the Taly is such a powerful training aid. It teaches the golfer how to keep those hands driving forward and eradicating 'quitting' and eliminating 'over-acceleration of the clubhead.'




3JACK

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hinge Action In Putting

I made a post about the hinge actions according to Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/06/understanding-basics-of-tgm-part-vi.html) and one of the things I mentioned was that vertical and angled hinging can be used in putting, but the golfer should avoid horizontal hinging when rolling the rock. Some readers wanted me to expand more upon that.

First off, let's go back to what the hinge actions are briefly. Here's a pic of Tom Tomasello's hinge actions.



Again, pay attention to where the white mark is facing on the clubface.

Pic 1 = Angled Hinge (Clubface at a 45 degree angle, 'No Roll')
Pic 2 = Horizontal Hinge (Toe pointing at the target, 'Full Roll')
Pic 3 = Vertical Hinge (Face pointing at the sky, 'Reverse Roll')

Here's also a video showing the hinge actions:



The first 'swing' = Horizontal Hinge
The 2nd 'swing' = Angled Hinge
The Last 'swing' = Vertical Hinge

Now with the putter, you just want to use either the Angled Hinge or the Vertical Hinge.

In my last lesson with Ted Fort we went over this. We had taken a look at my SAM Puttlab results and he had taken a look at my putting stroke and what we saw was a 'mixing of components' for two different types of strokes. This is not a good thing.

Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner to show the SAM Puttlab results, but what it basically showed was that I had an 'arced' style of backstroke, but a Straight Back-Straight Thru (SBST) type of thru stroke.

When Ted and I discussed this he mentioned that I need to match my backstroke components and my thrustroke components together. So, I either needed to create more of an arced thrustroke or create more of a SBST backstroke.

One of the big keys here is to note that like the full swing, there are almost countless ways to effectively putt the ball. Nicklaus' putting stroke was different from Locke's, which was different from Crenshaw's which was different from George Archer's. The key is to find what works best for you.

When Stan Utley came out with 'The Art of Putting' and pretty much denounced the SBST method, he was right in that SBST method may be damaging to a lot of golfers. But, it's not to say it's not a valid method. You just need to have the proper components and a golfer who succeeds at using that method. The same for the arced stroke.

Anyway, Ted showed me two simple methods. One was for the Arced Stroke method and the other was for more of a SBST method (which Ted...a great putter in his own right...uses for his own putting stroke).

The Arced method utilizes angled hinging.

In the method Ted showed me he wanted me to feel like I was sensing the #3 Pressure Point and tracing a line back and thru the target line. Sort of like 'Right Forearm Tracing' for putting, but I was tracing the target line instead of the plane line. This would create a closed putter face at finish and a nice arcing putting stroke.

Unfortunately, I could not get it to work and I've practiced and practiced with it and my putting has pretty much stunk. If I had a very average day putting on Thursday, I would have shot about a 68 (if I had a good day putting it could've been about a 65), instead I wound up shooting a 73.

Fortunately, Ted decided to show me the other way although he didn't think at the time it would be something I would like. This method consisted of using vertical hinging and letting the shoulders rock back and forth and essentially stroking the putt with the shoulders. But it's very important to use vertical hinging. If the clubface gets too closed, I will miss everything to the left.

Ted also noted that this method requires the golfer to be more upright. I was using a Cleveland Classic #3 putter and could not get the method down partly because it has a standard lie of 70 degrees. Now I have a Bettinardi C-Series 06 putter which is 1* upright and I'm able to make the shoulder rocking w/vertical hinge putting stroke a lot easier.

Please note that I still believe I probably have *some* arc to my putting stroke, but it's much more SBST than what Utley teaches.

Perhaps two of the greatest putters ever, Ben Crenshaw and Loren Roberts, used distinctly different putting strokes, with Crenshaw being an arced stroke with angled hinging and Roberts having more of a SBST (he actually cuts across it slightly) with vertical hinging.



This picture in particular tells a lot.



Again, there's almost countless ways to stroke the ball, but the components should match each other. If you hear Crenshaw talk about putting, he talks a lot about the hands whereas when Loren Roberts talks about putting, he talks more about the shoulders rocking. So a decent idea is:

hands based stroke = angled hinging

shoulder rocking stroke = vertical hinging.




3JACK

Homemade Smart Stick

Here's a video I found with somebody who made their own homemade 'SmartStick.' Obviously, you cannot use this outdoors or in a well lighted room, but if you're looking for something affordable and simple, this is it.





3JACK

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golf Digest Weight Shift Article


Great Golf Digest article saved by John Erickson (aka Lagpressure) on weight distribution of PGA Tour golfers back in the 80's at different points in their swing. You can find the rest of the article at http://advancedballstriking.com/weight.html



3JACK

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TGM vs. SliceFixer

One of the PM's or E-Mails I tend to get is in regards to SliceFixer's (aka Geoff Jones) method of swinging the golf club and how that relates to The Golfing Machine. In a recent PM from a blog reader on the subject, he passed along that Slice was saying that TGM's 'hitting' pattern as 'slinging.'

For those who don't know the SliceFixer method the main concept is to get the golfer to release the hands 'low and left' which is something Ben Hogan did as Slice is a student of Hogan and his golf swing. Slice prescribes the '9-3 Drill' to help those interested in executing the method.



Of course there's much more to it than just 'swinging low and left', but that is the main gist of it.

I like Slice's work and he's a wealth of information, but I find it necessary to define some things here.

First off, as good of a teacher as Slice is, it's still a *method.* The Golfing Machine is a system (or it is at least supposed to be). A method is one particular way of swinging the golf club. So Slice's students...for the most part tend to grip the club a certain way, address the ball a certain way and have very similar components throughout the swing.

The Golfing Machine's system says that there are almost countless versions of swings that can hit the ball effectively on a consistent basis and that each swing consists of 24 parts and each part has anywhere from 3-15 variations and there's only 3 imperatives of the golf swing. So 'in spirit' The Golfing Machine tries to find the best style of swing for *you*, whereas SliceFixer's method tries to get the golfer to executing his preferred type of method. Of course, this does not always apply because there are some TGM Authorized Instructors who tend to feel comfortable only teaching one or two swings (in fact, I wouldn't feel too comfortable teaching 'swinging' to somebody and I used to have a 'swinging' pattern.)

This isn't to say that Slice's method is bad. Obviously, he has plenty of excellent students who can really stripe the ball and I probably wouldn't be eager to play a $20 Nassau against them anytime soon. And as far as 'methods' go, I would stack up Slice's with the rest of them mainly because it is focused around improving the pivot which to me is the lifeblood of the golf swing.

One of the goals of this blog is to help golfer's improve their games and the best way I've seen that is through The Golfing Machine. So while Slice's method is very, very good if not excellent...the fact is that because it is a method it may not work for everybody. However, if one can properly follow The Golfing Machine, I believe without a shadow of a doubt they will eventually find the golf swing that suits them best. The main problem is that so few follow The Golfing Machine correctly. In fact, I believe if Slice was able to follow The Golfing Machine correctly back when he made his 'journey' to find his swing, he would have likely have found the swing that he teaches today.

But again, you have to follow The Golfing Machine correctly and it shows here by Slice's statement that 'hitters' sling at the ball. My instructor Ted Fort is probably the model of the 'pure hitter' method, this certainly doesn't look like a slinger to me.



In fact, I think Slice has completely misunderstood the concept of 'hitting' in The Golfing Machine with 'swinging' which has much more of a 'slinger' look to it. The Swinger uses horizontal hinging which has the clubhead down the line with the toe pointing directly at the target. Homer Kelley described the horizontal hinging action as a 'full roll' type of release.



The 'hitter' uses Angled Hinging where the clubface is more at a 45 degree angle. Homer Kelley says the Angled Hinging action is a 'no roll' type of release. And guess who used Angled Hinging?



In reality, the hinge action and release action that Slice recommends has been around for quite some time. The hinge action is an 'Angled Hinge' by TGM terms and the 'swinging left' action is a 'CP Release' by Mac O'Grady's MORAD terminology.

As far as using the SliceFixer method, I think one had better work off the elbow plane on the downswing and have it come quite naturally. Brian Manzella talks a lot about 'swinging left' IF you have a lot of shaft lean in order to prevent you from hitting it to the right or having to hit a hook in order to get to the target. I tend to agree with this notion (although I'm still studying it so I can fully understand it), but the key is the shaft lean. I think too many of his posters get caught up on swinging to the left and not only do they not have enough shaft lean, but they tend to flip at impact and swinging left does them no good in that case.

I believe that the greats that had a ton of shaft lean usually operated off the elbow plane on the downswing and those golfers used the 'swinging left' technique (aka CP Release) and were able to hit great shot after great shot. Hogan and Snead used the CP Release. Both operated off the elbow plane on the downswing and both had a lot of shaft lean.



Somebody like Nicklaus who worked off the turned shoulder plane, couldn't get that massive amount of shaft lean and therefore didn't need to swing left.





3JACK

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hitter Revelations, Part III

Here's Part I and Part II of my 'Hitter Revelations'

Part I -- http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/05/hitting-revelations-part-i.html
Part II -- http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/05/hitting-revelations-part-ii.html

Again, these are my revelations and they may or may not work for you.

1. I'm hitting the ball very consistently right now and a big thank you goes out to Mike Maves (aka Sevam1). In Mike's latest update of his e-book, 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' he talks about lag not being about 'maintaining angles' and instead about 'maintaining pressure.' Sevam likes to talk about footwork and I agree with him, but that's not my main 'revelation.'

As I stated in my second part of my 'hitter revelations' I really feel that #1 Pressure Point pressing into the base joint of my left thumb. Almost like a palm heel strike with my right arm.




One of the 'revelations' that I've had is that I have to feel like the most amount of pressure applied with the #1 Pressure Point is right at impact. Homer Kelley talks about the 'drive loading hitter' needing to have a S-L-O-W startdown and I have found the very best way for me to have a S-L-O-W startdown is to just focus on the maximum amount of pressure right at impact. This is especially crucial when I want to hit a big bomb. Instead of thinking about getting the most amount of clubhead speed, I need to think about betting the most amount of pressure and getting that pressure right at impact. Because if I start concerning myself speed, the speed winds up occuring at the startdown. Every golfer wants the max speed at impact. But, I don't concern myself with speed now. I concern myself with pressure and getting max pressure at impact and that gets my max speed. Right now I'm hitting the driver very, very well.


2. Strangely, the #3 Pressure Point in the downswing does not work for me. It's great in the backswing, but in the downswing if the pressure is more towards the #3 pressure point instead of the #1 Pressure Point, I will sling hook it. Even more strange, if I get the pressure up in the middle and ring fingers of the right hand I hit a cut.


3. I went over the hinge actions in a recent post (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/06/understanding-basics-of-tgm-part-vi.html) The hitter uses the angled hinge action. The swinger tends to use the horizontal hinge action. Here's a Tom Tomasello picture of him using all 3 hinge actions, make sure to see where the white stripe is pointing on the clubface.



Pic 1 = Angled Hinge
Pic 2 = Horizontal Hinge
Pic 3 = Vertical Hinge

Over at LynnBlakeGolf.com I asked about the hitter 'horizontal hinging' and was told it was not advisable because it's not the natural hinge action of the hitter (angled hinge action is).

I've found this to be true because now you're just adding timing into the equation and if your get the face closed too quickly, you'll hit a hook. When I want to horizontal hinge, I just feel like I'm hinging until the right palm is facing the ground. In fact, it's very much like Brian Manzella's 'Never Slice Again 2.0' pattern, except without the backswing twistaway.

And that's exactly how it works. If I'm in a position where I cannot afford to hit a slice, go with horizontal hinging and I'll be fine. Today on #18 I had to lay up since we were playing 4-man best ball and the rest of my playing partners were out of the hole. So I pulled out the 4-iron with a downhill lie and water all along the right side. So I went with the horizontal hinge, sort of a half version of Manzella's 'Never Slice Again 2.0' and I striped it perfectly down the middle and had a wedge to the green.

I also used this a couple of times with the driver. But it really only works if I play the ball wayyy up in my stance. Again, make sure there's quite a bit of room on the left side just in case you hook it. On #12 I used it after getting sick and tired of hitting the right fairway bunkers and I hit a hook up the left side that went long and I was in good shape, but I don't think I would try that too often as it just missed some trees. So, if I have to hit a hook around some trees, then horizontal hinging is mandatory. If I have a shot where I cannot afford to lose it right, then I'll consider horizontal hinging. Otherwise, I'm thinking there's not a lot of use for it.


4. I use the turned shoulder plane on the downswing and I use angled hinging, both of which tend to favor a fade. If I'm struggling, especially with a cut, I find that trying to hit roundhouse hooks on the range really helps. The inside-to-out path helps with preventing coming over the top and the horizontal hinging can help make sure that the angled hinge action is not becoming a vertical hinge action.





3JACK

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Latest Swing 6.8.09

Here's the latest swing w/o the Taly, here's I'm hitting an 7-iron.



Here's the latest impact, with the left wrist flatter than a board!






3JACK

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How I developed a Taly Swing

Keep on getting PM's and e-mails (Richie3Jack@yahoo.com) on the Taly, how to use it, which one to use, etc. On Tuesday I was at the range after playing a round and an older gentleman saw me using the Taly and then taking it off and striping shot after shot. He asked me some things and talked about how he admired my ballstriking (not saying that I'm a great ballstriker by any means, but I was striking it well that day). We then talked about Moe Norman and Mike Austin and others, eventually he asked me about the Taly and I gave it my rave reviews and he said 'really? I've had that thing for 3 months and don't even use it. It doesn't even work.' Then I showed him how I use it, which is completely different from the way he uses it.

Eventually he watched me hit a few more golf balls and another person came along and watched me as well and the older gentleman says 'he's got something I lack, talent.' I then proceeded to tell him that talent wasn't necessarily the problem, it was 'lack of quality information.' Now, this person was probably pushing 70 years old and I don't expect him to play to scratch, but lack of quality information got him into the mess he's in today and ingrained a lot of bad habits, created a ton of confusion which led to frustration and now a 3 month old Taly that he doesn't use. With some quality info and practice, I believe he wouldn't go to scratch, but his improvements would amaze him.

First off, let me say that the swing instruction guides that Taly Williams uses are certainly valid, but the problem is that he's trying to create feels for people instead of letting the golfer create their own feels. So his feels may work for you, but may not work for your golfing buddy that you play skins games with on the weekends. Also, the Web site has 3 different Talys, but one of them (white) is priced $10 cheaper. Just get the white one. They are all the same exact thing, just the change in color. I have no idea why white is such a 'lesser' color and is $10 cheaper. But go to http://www.taly.com/ to place an order.

ADDRESS POSITION WITH THE TALY

This to me is the crucial part of understanding how to use the Taly and I learned it from Lynn Blake's Web site straight from the man himself. Without this bit of info, the golfer is likely to get screwed up and not understand how to use the Taly properly. The first thing to do is to establish an address position with 'impact hands.' You basically move (or 'forward press') the hands forward until the clubshaft and the shaft on the Taly are parallel, FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT, with each other. Here's a pic of 'impact hands' with the Taly device.




The Taly is strapped to my left arm and hangs down from there. The shaft on the Taly is now close to parallel with my clubshaft as I have moved the hands forward. The hands are now in a position that they would be at impact, thus 'impact hands.'

IMPACT ELBOW

While the golfer wants 'impact hands', it's important to also have 'impact elbow.' Regardless of what the critics say about having the right forearm on plane at address or even at impact, any critic with any credibility will concur that the right elbow should still be slightly bent at impact. So, don't just move the hands forward until the two shafts are parallel with each other and create 'impact hands.' You need to make sure that you create impact hands while still having the right elbow bent.


THE CURRICULUM

IMO, it's very important to follow this curriculum because what we are trying to establish with the Taly is two things:

1) Proper Mechanics

2) A 'customized' feel for the golfer to use so they can repeate those Proper Mechanics over and over again.

You must follow it in that order. You cannot try to go with a feel first and hope that will give you the proper mechanics. To me, this is the most misunderstood concept of 'The Golfing Machine', even by many Authorized Instructors. The Golfing Machine is a FEEL ORIENTED book! Once I understood that all of the mechanical information and jargon was just Homer Kelley's way of getting the golfer to create their own customized, subjective feels, that's basically when my ballstriking and scores took off.

The problem with popular instruction is that a lot of it is 'here's a feel that you should try and this will put you in the proper mechanics.' Homer Kelley basically said 'here's the proper mechanics, when you execute them correctly how does that feel to YOU?'


PART 1 OF CURRICULUM - BASIC MOTION

With the Taly swing I developed, the main thing I've worked on is the clubhead lag and flat left wrist at impact. The Taly accomplishes this when the golfer keeps the clubhead trailing behind the red ball on the Taly. You can also use the Taly for the backswing plane and clubhead path, but since I barely have even used it for that, I wouldn't call it my 'Taly Swing.'

Basic Motion is a TGM term for taking a normal stance and then taking a stroke that goes 2 feet back and 2 feet through, about the same length as most chip shot swings.

The goal here isn't the ball flight or how the ball is struck, the goal is to have the proper mechanics which consist of keeping the red ball on the Taly in front of the clubhead.

Work with Basic Motion FIRST. I suggest doing it until you get about 10 shots using the proper mechanics. Note how I didn't say 10 swings. I said 10 shots. You need to get down basic motion first to a degree. So if that takes 500 swings to finally get 10 shots that use the proper mechanics, so be it. I doubt anybody will have that hard of a time mastering Basic Motion, but you get the idea. You can't possibly have a flat left wrist at impact with clubhead lag pressure in a full swing if you can't do it when only going 2 feet back and 2 feet thru.

And if you start getting it down, before moving to 'Acquired Motion', take a few basic motion swings and do them with your eyes closed and in slow motion.

Remember, NO SHORTCUTS. Follow the curriculum to a tee and success will follow. Take shortcuts and all bets are off.


PART 2 OF CURRICULUM - ACQUIRED MOTION

By now you should have gotten the 'Basic Motion' down pretty well so we can move to 'Acquired Motion.' Acquired Motion has the golfer take it back until their right forearm is parallel to the ground on the backswing and then on the thru swing. This is often referred to as the 9-3 position, but should not be confused with SliceFixer's 9-3 drill which works on something else.

Same concept as the Basic Motion, try to get it down. If after say 25 swings you cannot get it down, THAT'S GOOD! Believe it or not, NOW you're starting the learning process! Just go back to 'Basic Motion' and try to feel the difference between when you do it right with the Basic Motion and when you do it wrong with the Acquired Motion.

Ask yourself things like 'do I feel differences in the pressure points of my hand? How about my forearm? How about my tempo?' And yes, close your eyes and swing if you have to.

And once again, when you get the acquired motion down, take a few mechanically correct swings with your eyes closed and going in slow motion and 'feel your way around.'


PART 3 OF CURRICULUM - TOTAL MOTION W/IMPACT HANDS & IMPACT ELBOW

This is where I feel most golfers will start to 'lose' that feel of keeping the red ball out in front of the clubhead. So I would suggest as you transition from acquired motion to the total motion with impact hands (and impact elbow) I would try to do about a dozen swings and see if you can execute the mechanics properly. If after a dozen swings you fail miserably, go back to acquired motion. Again, this is actually a good thing! This is where the learning process starts to begin!

If you are to go back to the acquired motion, try an FEEL the difference in what happens when you execute the mechanics correctly in acquired motions vs. the difference in what happens when you execute the mechanics incorrectly in the total motion.

Also, try taking some slow motion swings in total motion to execute the proper mechanics and keep on feeling you way around. Once you start getting this down, I do agree with Taly Williams' suggestion that I would just take 10 swings with the Taly strapped onto your arm and then take 10 swings w/o the Taly on your arm. Although when you do it without the Taly, I suggest at first still doing it with impact hands and impact elbow at address.


PART 4 OF CURRICULUM - TOTAL MOTION - MID-BODY HANDS (OPTIONAL)

This part of the curriculum is optional, although I believe most players address the ball with 'mid-body hands' (butt of the club pointing at the belt buckle) instead of 'impact hands.' But if you are a 'hitter' who likes using 'impact hands' or if you start using the Taly and like the feel of impact hands at address, then there's no real need to go to part 4 of the curriculum.

I myself use mid-body hands. However, I have found that I can use the impact hands address position for 'knockdown' shots very effectively. I have hit an extra club, but it will keep the ball down when playing into the wind. It's also good on shots with the pin in the back of the green and trying to hit a low runner like Hogan would do on back pin locations.

But the only difference between part 3 and part 4 of the curriculum is to execute shots with mid-body hands instead of impact hands. This will 'cross' the clubshaft with the shaft on the Taly a bit, but since the Taly is a very visual device, golfers who prefer mid-body hands need to understand the visualization and feel of the Taly when using mid-body hands. By now you should understand the curriculum pretty well and understanding feel and how to learn feel from mechanics. So again, try to get the proper mechanics down and if that doesn't work, 'go down a level' (be it total motion w/impact hands or acquired motion or basic motion) until you can consistently execute the mechanics properly and try to feel any difference between proper execution and improper execution and use that as your swing feel or swing thought.


PART 5 OF CURRICULUM - HINGE MOTIONS (OPTIONAL)

Another optional part of the curriculum. This consists of the golfer getting the proper mechanics (red ball out in front of the clubhead), but going through all 3 of the hinge motions (vertical, horizontal and angled). So, this gets the golfer with a Flat Left Wrist at impact, and then the three proper hinge motions. The problem most golfers have with executing the hinge motions is that they ignore getting the left wrist flat at impact. Especially with the horizontal hinge motion, they almost always get the clubhead moving past the red ball or crossing the shaft of the Taly.

Remember, vertical hinge action should only be used on short shots around the green. But it is a good hinge motion to understand for that purpose. Furthermore, 'steering' is one of the main problems golfers tend to have and it is very closely related to using a vertical hinge action in a full swing. So understanding how to execute vertical hinge action can help the golfer avoid using that hinge action in the full swing.

The big problem golfers tend to have is how to use horizontal hinge action (full roll with the toe pointing at the target) without flipping. The Taly can much easier teach this hinge action to the golfer. I suggest that when moving onto part 5 of the curriculum that you use basic and acquired motions first to get the mechanics and hinge actions down. Then move onto total motion. Also, using 'impact hands and elbow' is just fine.


SUBJECTIVE FEELS

What all of this ties into is SUBJECTIVE FEELS. That's why I often state that TGM is a FEEL ORIENTED book and that is the most misunderstood part about TGM.

For instance, when I'm working on keeping my flat left wrist at impact, my feel is to get the most pressure in my #1 PP right thru impact. Almost a feeling of a 'palm heel strike' with my right arm right into the golf ball. Another golfer may feel like they are just trying to drive the golf ball right into the ground instead of driving it into the air. Another golfer may feel like they are taking their #3 PP from the top of the swing and aiming it at a point about 4 inches in front of the ball, sort of like throwing a stone from the top of the swing in front of the ball. Another golfer may just feel like they pivot and the left arm bounces off their chest and the hands take a free ride down to the ball.

All very different and subjective feels. But those subjective feels allow the golfer to consistently execute the proper mechanics over and over again. That's why it is CRUCIAL to follow this curriculum as I've stated. The goal is get the mechanics down first and if you can't do that with say Acquired Motion, you can't move onto the next level until you figure it out. Once you get the mechanics down properly, then you can start to feel and then you can start moving onto the longer swing motions and eventually establish a subjective and customized feel for you so you can repeat the proper mechanics consistently.

The problem with the older gentleman at the range the other day is that he really had no idea how to learn feel from mechanics and was going into using the Taly 'blind.' He had no idea about 'basic', 'acquired' and 'total' motion nor did he understand that you're best off using the Taly with impact hands and impact elbow. Because of this, it was just another training aid that sat and collected dust while somebody like myself got great use out of it. Had nothing to do with talent, had to do more with understanding the biggest concept of TGM, 'learning feel from mechanics.' If you follow this curriculum, I strongly believe you will understand learning feel from mechanics and you to will see your game blossom. Not only from understanding how to keep your left wrist flat at impact, but any other component of the swing you happen to work on in the future.

Here's a great Lynn Blake video with student Colin Neeman going over the 'curriculum.'



QUICK CURRICULUM REVIEW

1. Basic Motion w/impact hands and elbow - 10 shots until mechanics are properly executed.

2. 5 proper Basic Motion swings in slow motion (eyes closed optional)

3. Acquired Motion w/impact hands/elbow - 10 shots until mechanics are properly executed. Go down to Basic Motion if struggling.

4. 5 proper Aquired Motion swings in slow motion (eyes closed optional)

5. 10 Total Motion Swings w/impact hands/elbow - if unable to execute mechanics, go down a level to Acquired Motion.

6. Once execution improves, 10 total motion swings w/impact hands/elbow with the Taly on. Then 10 total motion swing w/o the Taly.

7. Total Motion w/mid-body hands (optional). If struggling, move down to total motion with impact hands.

8. Use basic, acquired and total motion curriculum, but with the emphasis of executing the three hinge actions --- vertical, horizontal and angled. Vertical should be used primarily on short shots around the green.

9. FEEL AND LOOK. FEEL AND LOOK. Develop your OWN FEEL. FEEL AND LOOK!





3JACK

Understanding the Basics of TGM - Part VI

I know, I promised the next part in the series of Understanding The Basics of TGM would be on the flying wedges, but I need to get a video of that to explain it since I think it is much more powerful to explain the flying wedges in video over just typing up a few paragraphs on it. Basically, the video makes it extremely easy to explain the flying wedges which is a very powerful concept to understand for the golfer and just typing up a few paragraphs will likely lead to more confusion. Once I get it up on video, you'll be like 'that's what all that confusion about flying wedges was about?' (Hopefully the entire series of Understanding the Basics of TGM has gotten the readers to think that same thing)

Today I want to talk about the hinge action.

There's actually 5 types of hinge actions, but you really only need to concern yourself with 3 types of hinge actions and out of those 3 hinge actions, only 2 should be used in full swing shots. But it's nice to understand all three because if you can understand and execute all 3 hinge actions, then you will be more likely to avoid incorrect hinge actions.


VERTICAL HINGE ACTION


Vertical hinge action should only be used with short shots. You will hear a lot about the 'cut shot' in TGM circles, but what most people are talking about is using a vertical hinge action with a shot around the green. I actually just started using this quite a bit. I will use what I call a 'cut chip' and a 'cut lob.' The cut chip is your ordinary chip shot swing with a vertical hinge action. The 'cut lob' is a bit like a flop shot. The face is fanned open, but not wide open like on a flop shot and again I use a vertical hinge action. I use this shot when I'm trying to get the ball to land a little softer than normal and is especially good when the green is sloping downhill or if you know the ball is going to run on you and you're trying to prevent it from rolling too far.

In TGM, they will refer to the vertical hinge action as having 'layback.' The way I explain it is at impact the left wrist should be flat, but the wrists hinge in a clockwise motion. If I were to chip using the vertical hinge action, the clubface will point upwards towards the sky. Phil Mickelson uses a lot of vertical hinge in his short game chips:



Again, you should not use vertical hinge action with say a 9-iron from 140 yards. It's a hinge action meant for the short game. However, it is helpful for the golfer to understand because not only will it help with some short game shots, but being able to understand and execute vertical hinge action will now give the golfer the feel of what is the wrong hinge action on a full swing.


HORIZONTAL HINGE ACTION


Horizontal hinging is almost like the opposite of vertical hinging. With a chip shot length stroke, at the finish the clubhead should be on the plane line, but the toe of the clubhead should be pointing at the target. The key is to do it with a flat left wrist at impact. Most golfers who try it, wind up flattening out their right wrist to get the toe pointing at the target, which of course bends the left wrist at impact. When I try to do horizontal hinging (I actually use angled hinging), I use my normal swing feel to have the flat left wrist at impact, but right about impact I feel like I'm trying to get my right palm facing towards the ground.

For me, I find horizontal hinging a difficult procedure to repeat consistently, but it is a very powerful move and if it can be repeated consistently, that's how the Jason Gore's of the world (ungodly long, accurate and consistent ballstriker) play their golf. Here's a Ted Fort video showing golfers the horizontal hinge and how it is properly executed.


LynnBlakeGolf.com



Horizontal Hinging is great for somebody who wants to work the ball with more of a draw and to keep it lower. I will use some horizontal hinging on short shots that I want to keep the ball low. At this point I don't use it very often in the full swing since I do not feel that comfortable with it, but I plan on working on this hinge action so I can use it on full shots from time to time.

The ball tends to draw from the horizontal hinge action because the clubface is not likely to be wide open at impact. When the clubface gets wide open at impact, it's very hard to draw the ball because now the clubhead path effectively becomes more out-to-in.


ANGLED HINGE ACTION


Angled hinge action is a bit like a hybrid between vertical and horizontal hinge action. There is some 'roll' action and some 'layback.' This is a popular hinge action for hitters and a hinge action that Mr. Homer Kelley appeared to like.

In vertical hinging I talked about how the clubface 'lays back' and points up at the sky. In horizontal hinging I talked about how the clubhead is down the plane line, but the toe is pointing at the target. With angled hinging, the clubhead is down the plane line, but the clubface is at about a 45 degree angle. Ben Hogan utilized angled hinging.



I utilize angled hinge action and I generally hit the ball very straight or with a little baby fade. In order to hit a draw, I feel like I need to make more of a inside-to-out path than those who use horizontal hinging. The problem with angled hinge action is those who use it probably lose a little bit of power with it and it's somewhat easy to start steering the clubface instead of releasing it. However, usually steering and coming over the top go hand-in-hand, so if you develop a problem with steering, work on your clubhead downswing path first.

Whatever hinge action you use, it's important to note that the left wrist should be flat at impact. I highly recommend the Taly for the flat left wrist at impact and in particular if you are planning to go to more of a horizontal hinge action, which is meant a *bit* more for 'swingers.' (Angled Hinging is meant a little more for 'hitters.')


REVIEW

1. 5 hinge action procedures, really only need to know 3 of them.

2. Vertical hinging meant for short shots. Vertical hinging on full shots loses power and can lead to steering.

3. Vertical hinge action around the greens usually lands the ball a bit softer. Great for hitting shots over a bunker or trying to let the ball roll, but limit the amount of roll as the ball lands softly.

EXTRA: Vertical hinging can be used in putting as well, but should be used in conjunction with more of a 'straight back straight thru' stoke or a stroke that is very close to SBST, with an upright putter stance and a rocking shoulder motion.

4. Horizontal hinging has the full roll feel with the clubhead down the line and the toe pointing directly at the target. Great for a draw and power. Better hinge action for the 'swinger', but can be used by the 'hitter' as well.

EXTRA: Do NOT use horizontal hinging with the putter.

5. Angled hinging is a hybrid between vertical and horizontal hinging. Clubhead down the line, but the clubface is at about a 45 degree angle. Better hinge action for the 'hitter'. Produces straight and 'power fade' ball flights.

EXTRA: Angled hinging can be used with the putter. This is meant for more of a noticeably arced putting stroke path. I take the #3 PP and feel like I've got a laser pointing at the target line and then I try to trace that line back and thru. The putter head will arc if you do this properly. In fact, it cannot help but arc if you do this properly.



3JACK

Friday, June 5, 2009

'He's Going The Distance...

Coming into my last lesson I just wanted to make sure that my hinge action was right and that nothing else was glaringly bad that needed to be corrected. It actually turned out better than I thought as I was hitting the ball so well and swinging so well, Ted didn't want to change anything! But like I posted a couple of days ago, we went to work on my putting and then he saw me hit a few drivers and I started with that OTT and steer move and we found that to be a case of just being too quick on the startdown (something Homer Kelley specifically warns 'drive loaders' against in The Golfing Machine).

So, where do I go from here?

For starters, I plan on continually working on my swing in order to 'groove it down.' And the payoff has already started to show. Yesterday, I hit 16 greens in regulation and didn't take a great swing until my approach on the 15th hole. Granted, I wasn't making awful swings before then, but more or less in the so-so to decent range until that approach shot on 15. But, I was still able to hit 16 greens and pepper some flag sticks (5 approach shots were pretty flagsville). All with a lot of 'so-so' and 'decent' shots by my new standards.

That's good, but what else?

Well, the putting definitely needs to step up. Now with more greens I'm more likely to be faced with longer putts. Those have to fall occasionally to really go low.

But the other factor I plan on working soon is power.

Whether any of us like it or not, this is a power game these days. Power is the great equalizer because it can turn par 72's into par 68's for the power player and perhaps lower if there's a short enough par 4 on the course.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm trying to become a bomb-n-gouger, but more power is something I think is crucial to raising the level of my play. Get some more power, still hit the ball pure and now we're looking at a golfer who can really chew up par 5's for lunch. I think a lot of golfers are in a similar boat, so here's my simple plan of going about it.

For starters, I think any time you are trying to reach a destination or a goal, you need to first self assess where you are. We know that clubhead speed has a strong correlation to distance, so the first thing I plan on buying to give a self assessment is a clubhead speed monitor. This one uses doppler radar technology and is affordable and appears to do the trick.



It goes for $99.95 and can be found at http://www.probablegolfinstruction.com/SwingSpeed/swing-speed-golf-radar.htm.

Now, I know what you're thinking 'didn't you say that 'swingers' generally hit the ball further? So why not go to a 'swinging' pattern?'

I think 'swingers' generally do, but it's important to find that pattern that works best for you, and believe me I've tried swinging, it doesn't work for me. Also, I still contend that a 'hitter' can hit the ball quite a ways. The real goal is to increase clubhead speed without losing accuracy and still hitting it pure.

Part of the problem is that I need to get into better shape. Which I will eventually do, but I also plan at taking a stab at the 'Speed Chain' from which I've heard rave reviews about.



Here's a video of a golfer using the Speed Chain.



The Speed Chain can be found at http://speedchaininstructions.com/ for $129.95.





3JACK