Sunday, May 16, 2010

Help A Tiger Out...

Saw this article in Golf Magazine and flinched a bit:
"Golfers with really fast explosive hip rotation, like Tiger, tend to get flatter on the downswing. So if you start flat, where does that leave you to go? I'm not really sure what he's doing now. Some of the practice swings look like a gymnast's two-minute floor exercise. The golf swing is a second and a half. It shouldn't be that complicated."
I've been asked what I would suggest to Tiger, but I'll get into that a bit later because this is the type of instruction I hate to see.

It's the kind of instruction where somebody else may say that Natalie Gulbis' 'head lunge' in the downswing is due to an extra vertabrae she has in her spine.

Good grief.

The problem with most popular golf instruction and particularly 'method teachers' is that they usually focus entirely way too much on the backswing. No golfer in the history of earth has hit a ball forward with their backswing. Surely, the backswing can cause a lot of things in the downswing to happen which can cause a lot of things at impact to happen, but with pop instruction/method teachers it seems that they always harp on something in the backswing.

If Tiger's backswing is 'too flat' and thus there's 'nowhere else to go on the downswing', then why does somebody like Bruce Leitzke have a very flat backswing that produced a much more upright downswing and very good results.

(click the pic to enlarge)

Or the same with Matt Kuchar, who is flat on the downswing, but not as flat as he is on the backswing.

And does Tiger really have a 'flat backswing?'

I don't think so.

It's just flatter than it used to be (2000 swing on left, 2008 swing on right)

But again, top 100 teachers would tell us that his swing is 'too flat' and that because it's 'flat', it will just get too flat on the downswing.


Anyway, getting back to what I would do with Tiger.

First, I'd listen to what Tiger is thinking in regards to the golf swing. Like it or not, he's got 14 majors and he does know how to swing a golf club and does know a lot about the golf swing. So telling him stuff like 'you need to forget everything you ever learned about the golf swing' is arrogant and not helpful. I figure I would have to understand what he knows and how to use it to his benefit.

One of the things I would first work with him on is understanding D-Plane.

I find one of the big issues with golf and golfers from all levels is that they want to be like Fred Couples. They want to just get up out of the car, not think about much and pure it and hit it 300 yards and if they are off, make a very slight adjustment and get back on track.

The problem is, there's only one Fred Couples and very few golfers truly like him. Most golfers wind up struggling at one point or another and need to understand how to fix the problem. Then they rely on that feel so they can repeat their swing. Just the way it is.

But one of the reasons why I would want to teach Tiger to understand the D-Plane is that I would rather see Tiger get his swing turned around and then heed advice from different instructors, but all the while keeping the knowledge of D-Plane in his mind so he can take in the stuff that is valid and ignore the stuff that is garbage.

To me, being stuck with one instructor has some flaws to it, even if the instructor is great. That's because impact is objective, the rest that helps you repeat good impact conditions is subjective. So you have to find the swing that works best for you and I don't think any teacher has all of the answers. There are some I can recommend that have most of the answers, but nobody has them all. And personally, I am a believer in the saying that 'a true wiseman always has more questions than answers' and that's what I look for in instructors.

Hogan did it this way. He talked to and listened to instructors like Mike Austin, Sam Byrd, Henry Picard and others. I believe Hogan more or less understood D-Plane down pat (well before it was discussed in Theodore Jorgenson's 'Physics of Golf' book coined the term).

From there Tiger could understand about controlling the clubface, the clubhead path and the low point.

Put it this way, Tiger's big bad shot that has cost him a ton of strokes is the dead right block.

What does the D-Plane tell us?

The face is WIIIIIIDE OPEN and the path is going well out to the right. Now he needs to figure out what is causing the clubface to be wide open at impact.

As far as the rest goes, if Tiger wants to know...I'm not hard to find :)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heres a thought for you. There is not that much difference between a tournament player and the weekend duffer as you may think when you consider, that supposing you were somehow able to reach the green in one fewer stroke, and the hole in one fewer putts. You would be trimming 36 strokes per round! A question..which do you think is easier (1) reaching the green in two and two putting or (2) reaching the green in three and one putting (on a par four)? My take is, that if you reach it in three, you are more than likely going to pitch closer to the pin making a one pit much easier. that getting there in two but having to go for a thirty footer.