Sunday, January 31, 2010

Video: Vintage Irons vs. Modern Irons

Here's a video that I did showing some differences in the 1963 Hogan IPT blades vs. the 2009 Mizuno MP-62 'player' cavity back irons.



I believe the irons have a 1* flat lie angle compared to the standard lie angle. Plus, since they are -1/2" shorter than standard length, they are 'effectively playing' 2* flatter than a standard set of modern day irons.




3JACK

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1 Putt = 4 Penalty Strokes

And here's how.






3JACK

Friday, January 29, 2010

3Jack's Greatest Swings of All Time - #6

#10

#9

#8

#7

My #6 greatest swing of all-time belongs to Australian great Peter Thomson.

Here's a swing sequence and some videos on Thomson:







Much of Thomson's swing looks very similar to Hogan's, but Thomson was clearly more upright than Hogan, but overall I wouldn't label Thomson as an upright swing.

Thomson once said that a golfer should think of their swing in simple terms. I think this is quite profound because if you notice, Thomson didn't give any specific 'feels' that a golfer should use with their swing and instead wanted them to come up with their own swing feels and swing thoughts, just keep it simple.

And if there's one thing noticeably about Thomson's swing, it's very simple looking. I think one way a golfer can keep their swing simple is to start with the footwork. Thomson has a flat right foot at impact and then lifts it almost perfectly and naturally after impact. He does't have his right heel way up off the ground at impact or anything that looks out of the ordinary. Get that down, then find something else to work on and think of that in simple terms and you too can see great improvements in your swing.





3JACK

Equipment Specs Thru The Years...

One of the things being discussed on the message board is the iron specifications for irons throughout the years. As time goes by, irons are becoming more upright, longer, lighter and with lower lofts.

For example, here's the specs for some 1972 Hogan Apex irons:


Now, let's take a look at the specs for the 2009 Mizuno MP-68 blades


Club...Loft °..... Lie °.....Length

3........21........ 59.5........38.75
4........24........ 60.0........38.25
5........27........ 60.5........37.75
6........31.........61.0........37.25
7........35........ 61.5........36.75
8........39.........62.0........36.25
9........43.........62.5........35.75
PW.....47.........63.0........35.50

And here's the specs for the new Callaway Diablo Edge irons:


Club...Loft °..... Lie °.....Length

3.........19.........60.5........39.00
4.........22.........61.0........38.50
5.........25.........61.5........38.00
6.........28.........62.0........37.50
7.........32.........62.5........37.00
8.........36.........63.0........36.50
9.........40.........64.0........36.00
PW......44.........65.0........35.50

From the '72 Apex's to the MP-68's we are seeing the following:

- about a 3* stronger lofts on average from the MP-68's, but the range goes from 2-4.5* stronger.

- about 1* more upright lie angle from the MP-68's.

- about the same clubshaft length.

Neither Mizuno or Hogan has swingweight specs, but Mizuno can make clubs any swingweight the customer wants so it is not really that important.


But, from the '72 Apex's to the Callaway Diablo Edge's there is even more of a difference:

- about a 5* stronger loft in the Callaway irons.

- about 2* more upright lies in the Callaway irons.

- about +1/4" longer shafts

I believe part of this is due to the differences in designs of the club, but also due to economics.

What I mean by that is that specs like stronger lies are due to the changes in the clubhead. Today's clubs (even the muscleback blades) have the weight and Center of Gravity) lower on the clubface and more in the middle of the club in order to make the clubs more forgiving and easier to get the ball airborne. So to counter that a bit, they make the lofts stronger.

I would actually like to re-check those specs on the clubshaft length on the '72 Apex irons because I have checked my measurements on my '63 Hogan IPT blades and they are 1/4" shorter in length than what is listed on the specs of the '72 Apex irons.

Lag Erickson (www.advancedballstriking.com) has been one of the biggest proponents of getting golfers to use vintage style irons and clubs that are heavier and flatter (along with stiffer flex shafts, but that’s because he wants golfers to really pivot with free will and not worry about the flex of the shaft). Here’s a look at Erickson’s personal club specs:

Club...Loft °..... Lie °.....Length

3……..20………53……..39.00
4……..24………54……..38.50
5……..28………55……..38.00
6……..32………56……..37.50
7……..36………56……..37.00
8……..40………57……..36.50
9……..44………57……..36.00
PW…..48………58……..35.50

It should be noted that Erickson’s irons have X100 shafts that are tipped ½ inch. That ‘tipping’ process just makes the shaft stiffer and he’s probably playing a shaft that is more like a X300 flex.

You’ll notice that Erickson’s shaft length is about standard with the Diablo Edge irons but +1/4” over the MP-68’s. His lofts are about standard with your typical blade muscleback iron today, but with those X100 shafts that are tipped ½ inch, that makes it more difficult to get the ball up in the air.

The lie angles are about 4.5 – 6 degrees FLATTER than you standard clubs. One of Erickson’s ‘heroes’ in golf was Hogan and with such flat lies, stiff shafts and heavy clubs it’s almost impossible to hit a hook with this setup.

That’s not to point out that it’s ‘bad’, I actually think it’s a smart approach to developing your swing. If you create clubs where you have to generate a very powerful pivot in order to hit them effectively, then over time you’re likely to do just that…create a powerful pivot.

In a sense, Ben Hogan did that. He created flatter clubs with super stiff shafts and his grips had a ‘reminder’ which basically forces the golfer to have a weak grip (I’ve been told that the ‘reminder’ feels like a piece of coat wire hanger underneath the grip).

Hogan’s intentions were to eliminate his hook and he tried that with creating equipment that made it hard to hook. But he soon found out that if you still have the swing flaws, you will hook the ball. But eventually he found what he needed to do to eliminate the hook for good and in the meantime he had built his swing to be able to hit those super heavy, super flat clubs with tree trunk like shafts.

Here’s some excerpts from an e-mail Tom Wishon sent to one of Erickson’s posters on his site:
I did get to meet and spend a decent amount of time that day with Gene Sheeley, who for decades was Mr. Hogan's personal clubmaker at the Hogan factory. Gene had a separate workshop from the rest of the factory that was sort of like the "sanctum sanctorum" and I was told that few got to venture into this workshop. So that was cool. Part of that time included being able to look at, check out and measure things on Mr. Hogan's personal playing sets that he had used over the years.

One of the things that was very interesting was that Hogan always played X flex steel shafts, tipped 2" additional for every club. Gene explained to me that he had originally done this back when he fought a hook so badly before he found his "swing secret" that the books and magazines since then have written so much about.

As he got rid of the hook and became the best ball striker on the planet, Gene said he remained with the 2" tip X shafts because he had developed the sense of feel to where he absolutely hated any shaft that he could feel bend during the swing, and especially when he released the club to impact. Even in 1987, when I think Mr Hogan was in his mid 70s and did not play very much anymore, the few times he headed out to Shady Oaks to hit balls, he still preferred hitting these X tipped 2" shafts in his clubs.

So the point is - we develop fitting parameters for shaft fitting but when a player has a very specific feel preference for the shaft, the textbook fitting techniques can get tossed out the window!

It's been more than 20 yrs so my recollection of the small details is not that good. Among the things I do remember. . .

I was shocked to see how sharp the leading edge was on his irons, especially his wedges. Any other player would hit 80% of his shots "fat", with this type of leading edge grind. they were also ground very flat both from face to back as well as from heel to toe.

I did not notice that the sole angles were "scoop" which is what they would have to be if they "sat 5 deg open".

The clubs were all quite flat in lie, also the woods bored that way. And when I say woods I mean wooden woods in his bag in 1987.

Face angles of the woods were closed, my guess at least 2* shut from what I recall. Gene said despite his old propensity to hook the ball badly, this was because of Hogan's "new swing move" .

And the clubs were HEAVY, I rememeber - both in total weight and in swingweight.

TOM
Extra stiff shafts tipped 2” in ridiculous. I knew one person who played shafts about that stiff, but he was also about 6’7” tall and generated tons of clubhead speed. Hogan was about 5’6” tall and 140 pounds!

But I think if you want to know why Hogan was such a great ballstriker, I think it was *partly* accidental. Had he not had issues with the hook, he may not have made changes to the equipment. In today's game it would probably have been hard to find a clubfitter willing to make clubs like that and with teaching they may have fixed his grip and he would've never made those changes to his equipment and then never quite developed the swing he had once he cured his hook.

That's not to say that it's accidental and you shouldn't bother trying to replicate it, but I think it does show that equipment often dictates the type of swing a golfer has.






3JACK

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My 'Case' Against Horizontal Hinging

Wanted to go over why I am not a fan of horizontal hinging (for brevity purposes, we'll call it 'HH') And why I think Angled Hinging (we'll call 'AH' for short) is better for most golfers. Don't get me wrong, I think if you hit the ball great with HH then I would stick with it, but I think HH has much more obvious flaws to it.

I'll try to present this post sort of like an attorney presenting his case, of course in a much more casual way.

First, let's look at what HH and AH are, so everybody is at least on the same page as to my interpretation of the hinge actions are (we won't include vertical hinging because it rarely should be used on the full swing).

HORIZONTAL HINGING (HH)

Post impact, the golfer hinges the club as such so the toe is pointng straight up in the air. This is also called a 'CF (Centrifugal Force) release' by the MORAD people. This is also in accordance to TGM as Homer Kelley basically says this hinge action and the toe pointing the sky is a result of centrifugal force.

HH is typically used by golfers using the 'swinging' procedure because typically the 'swinger' utilizes CF in order get the clubhead to hit the ball.

NOTE: According to Homer Kelley in TGM, a 'swinger' and a 'hitter' is NOT defined by hinge action. Instead, they are ultimately designated by what lag loading procedure they use (do they 'push' or do they 'pull?')

Moe Norman is a good example of a golfer using HH or a CF release.


ANGLED HINGING (AH)

Angled hinging is the result of centripetal force (CP) and 'radial acceleration.'

In layman's terms, the clubhead stays in more towards the body as it hinges whereas HH the club 'flees the body' as it hinges (Centrifugal force is often referred to as 'center fleeing' force). However, the big thing is that the clubface is at about a 45* angle to the target instead of the toe pointing directly at the target like it does with HH.

Here's a Ben Hogan picture showing an excellent angled hinge action.


The hitter should almost always use AH. Why? Because the 'hitter' is not supposed to use CF in their swing.

With that, here's my main arguments against HH.

1. Centrifugal Force does not actually exist

It's not saying that 'because CF doesn't exist that HH doesn't exist.' The Moe pic shows a HH action right in work.

But when you ask physicists why CF doesn't actually exist and what really is happening their answer is along the lines that all the perception of CF is that in reality it's just a case of a lack of CP.

Repeat that again, the idea of CF in reality is when there is a lack of CP.

So, in the case of HH action being a product of CF, I think it could be better said that HH action is a product of a lack of CP.

Why is that important?

Because I think it tells me that when there's a lack of CP, there's a lack of radial acceleration and that's a result of either a stopped pivot or a very slow pivot thru the impact interval.

I believe that on the PGA Tour, most of the Tour pros have a goal in mind with their swing that they basically want to rely as little as they can on hand-eye coordination and timing and more or less hit great shots consistently without relying on that.

I believe in order to do that, the swing has to become oriented around the pivot. If you have a 'lack of CP' and therefore your pivot is either stalled or slowing down post impact, you are now relying more on your timing and hand-eye coordination.

2. We actually 'swing then hit.'

According to biomechanical study and research provided from 6-degree 3D machines, nobody is a 'pure hitter' or a 'pure swinger.'

Instead, we actually do a little of both hitting and swinging. But, not in that order. We actually pull down first, then push in the impact interval.

That doesn't mean I would exactly eschew the notion of 'hitting' and 'swinging.' I think that is a good *mentality* to have when swinging the club and from there you have to figure out what works for you best. BUT, the reality is that pretty much all of us 'swing, then hit.'

But since we are hitting in the impact interval, shouldn't we angle hinge' in accordance to TGM?

I think Homer Kelley was on the right track as far as these hinge actions and what more or less powers them, I just don't think he had everything completely accurate (can you blame him?). So, if we 'hit' thru impact, shouldn't we also angle hinge?

3. CF vs. CP release

As I talked earlier, in MORAD terms CF release, which comes with a HH action, has the golfer swinging out to the right.

We've talked about the hazards on not 'swinging left' on the message board. More or less the golfer gets off plane after impact if they don't properly 'swing left.'

Thats what the CP release with AH promotes. Staying on plane post impact.

You can certainly swing to the right and be a great ballstriker, but now the Angle of Attack will have to be shallower and this could mean a more difficult time compressing the ball with irons and often means a harder time having a FLW at impact.

4. I think that HH is basically the golfer closing the clubface inadvertently past impact.

That's not a problem if the face is square at impact because post-impact the ball is already gone. But if you wind up closing the face early, all sorts of inaccurate shots an happen.

Basically I believe that AH keeps the clubface square past impact and thus if you are a little off the missed shots will not be as inaccurate.


SO WHAT DID MOE AND OTHER LIKE HIM DO?

Moe is an interesting case because he had a clear HH aka CF release, yet could hit it dead straight at the target on command as good as anybody that has ever played the game.

My belief is that if he were hooked up to a Trackman he would:

- Have an extremely square clubface angle at impact.

- His Horizontal Swing Plane would go to the right, but no more than 1*

- His attack angle, to set off the rightward HSP, would be very shallow. In fact, he told Lag Erickson that he wanted his divots to be 'bacon strips, not pork chops).

This probably produced a very square 'true path.'

If you look at his swing here, his clubface is about as square of a clubface as you will ever see, I believe he just had that face so square throughout his swing that he really didn't have to worry about closing the clubface too early and hitting a low hook.

I think the other golfer's using HH well are probably very good at not closing the clubface early and probably tend to struggle more with irons than their driver since it helps to have a shallower attack angle with the driver and swing out to the right. And I believe the HH golfers usually hit a draw.

I think it's much better to keep pivoting to 'automate the swing' and rely less on hand-eye coordination and timing and not have to worry about when the clubface closes.

But while this is 'my case against horizontal hinging', I just hope that readers understand what you need to do to use either hing action and what the pro's and cons are.




3JACK

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Endless Belt, True or False?

Endless Belt (2-K) is a concept of Homer Kelley’s that he discussed in his book ‘The Golfing Machine.’ It’s a concept that many physicists like to claim that ‘Homer got it wrong’, but also a concept that TGM followers still praise.

This blog post will give my thoughts on the subject.

I won’t bog you down with the ‘belt sander’ concept of Endless belt too much, but here’s a diagram showing what Homer Kelley had envisioned the hands and the clubs moving like in the downswing.


There are essentially 2 parts to Endless Belt.

1. The hands are supposed to stay at a constant speed on the downswing. The clubhead will actually accelerate on the downswing, especially as it goes around the ‘wheels in the pulley.’

2. The smaller the golfer’s ‘pulley’, the slower their hand speed can be to generate clubhead speed. The bigger the golfer’s ‘pulley’, the faster their hand speed will have to be faster to generate more clubhead speed.

What’s this mean?

The earlier in the downswing the golfer releases the clubhead, like a ‘full sweep release’ that means their ‘pulley’ is bigger. The later in the downswing the golfer releases the clubhead, like a ‘snap release’ that means their ‘pulley’ is smaller.

Let’s take this a little further.

When I think of a ‘snap release’ with a ‘small pulley’ I think Sergio Garcia is a great example.



When I think of a ‘full sweep release’ with a ‘large pulley’, I will use Brian Manzella student Lindsey Gahm.



Or to put it in a clearer, historical reference, let’s say Ben Hogan (snap release – small pulley) and Tom Watson (full sweep release – large pulley).

Let’s say both Hogan and Watson are hitting the same exact driver and both reach a clubhead speed of 115 mph. In order for Watson, with his full sweep release and large pulley to reach the same clubhead speed as Hogan with his snap release and small pulley, Watson’s hand speed HAS to be much faster than Hogan’s speed.

That’s the Endless Belt concept in about as clear of a nutshell as I can put it.

But back to the critics vs. the followers.

Where I believe the critics are right about their dislikes of Endless Belt is in part 1, the hands staying at a constant speed on the downswing while the clubhead accelerates.

I concur that this is incorrect.

The hands actually slow down and slow down dramatically in the downswing, right when the hands release the clubhead. Sports Science had a great video showing this with Jason Zuback’s swing. But this is the only video I could find. There’s another Sports Science episode where they show *exactly* when Zuback’s hands slow down, this video isn’t it...but it’s close.



For further proof, I would suggest going to Dr. Robert Grober’s lecture on the subject. Go to www.sonicgolf.com. Click on the SG Classroom tab. Go to Dr. Grober’s Lectures and click on ‘Golf and Physics.’ At about the 40 minute mark Dr. Grober shows some diagrams of golfers of all handicaps and shows their hand speeds and each golfer’s hand speed slows down dramatically BEFORE impact. That’s when the club releases. The hands actually accelerate before the clubhead is released and the slow down dramatically as the clubhead release happens.

So, this is where I agree with the Endless Belt critics.

However, I do believe part 2 is correct or for the most part is correct. And at the very least a good thing to understand.

Why?

Because if one wants to increase clubhead speed they should realize that they need to:

1. Increase Hand Speed

AND/OR

2. Make their ‘pulley’ smaller

I would say the large percentage of professionals have either snap or random sweep releases. Full sweep releases are not very common on the PGA Tour because it’s more difficult to get the fast enough handspeed so you can generate decent power. However, you do see a lot of full sweep releases on the LPGA Tour and it’s a big reason why the LPGA golfers generate slow clubhead speed (and then they make up for it by having an upward attack angle).

So the critics are certainly right in their problems with the Endless Belt concept, but I still find the concept a good concept to learn and understand.






3JACK

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bruce Lietzke Swing Video

Here's a video that was brought to my attention by a blog reader featuring the swing of Bruce Lietzke with Jim McLean providing commentary and analysis.



I don't agree with everything McLean says, but many of his basic points are very good to know, particularly that you don't hit the ball with your backswing. While backswing mechanics have their importance, it's the downswing that we really need to focus on more. I should know, I worked on my backswing for way too long and ignored the key elements of the downswing, impact and follow thru.

I also wanted to show this video because in the world of 'great ballstriker swing analysis', Lietzke's name is almost never mentioned and McLean is right, while Lietzke did hit a big fade...his ballstriking results were revered by many on the PGA Tour.

Also note that I couldn't post this up on the message board because it only allows you to embed videos on certain Web sites and the message board is not one of them.






3JACK

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shaft Lean vs. Downswing Lag

About a month ago I did a blog post on 'Fake Lag vs. Real Lag' that can be found HERE.

After working with John Dochety I feel like I've got an even more clear, accurate and overall better reply to that.

But first, let's take a look at Scheinblum's videos on 'fake lag' vs. 'real lag.'





In no way am I attempting to criticize Scheinblum's thoughts or philosophies, in fact I would be honored if he would join our message board. But this post is trying to hopefully give a more accurate and easier to understand 'theory' on the subject.

I don't think Scheinblum is 'wrong' with his philosophy per say, but my main issue was the thought that some golfer who hits the ball quite well and has a lot of lag would all of the sudden start changing their golf swing when I really don't think Scheinblum was targeting that type of golfer.

Funny enough, Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) book 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' talked about 'fake lag' as well and how that was hazardous as well. Later on I had spoke to Mike over the phone and I had commented how much lag he has in his downswing and he said something very peculiar to me, to paraphrase 'I don't want those angles. I want to get rid of those angles as soon as possible' in his charming Canadian accent. Here's the 'angles' Maves was talking about.


I have to say, I was quite jealous of Mike when he said that. Here I am trying to obtain those 'angles' that he has and Mike is eschewing those angles and telling me how he tries to get rid of them as soon as he can in the swing.

When John and I discussed the swing, he started off at 'impact fix' and basically described how we need to hit the ball in accordance to the way the OEM designed the golf club. And that meant minimal (but still *some*) shaft lean. If you get a ton of shaft lean at impact, essentially you are hitting the ball in a way that the OEM did NOT design the club.

What else do we know about forward shaft lean at impact?

Well, here's a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

1. Lean the shaft forward, the clubface starts pointing to the right.

2. Shaft lean usually coincides with a steeper Angle of Attack (AoA), which effectively moves the path to the right (which helps put a draw spin on the ball).

But, there are 2 other things about shaft lean.

A. The club gets 'shorter' with shaft lean.

What I mean by that is that if you were to measure from the butt of the club to the ground, straight vertically, that distance gets shorter with more shaft lean.

Hopefully these pics...the first with a lot of shaft lean ('shorter' shaft) and the second with much less shaft lean ('taller' shaft).



Like I said, I think this effects the accuracy of the club because it changes the face angle and path. I also think it effects the power (shaft lean de-lofts the club) and consistency (tougher to control the low point).

When you think of 'lag' you probably think of Sergio Garcia and Ben Hogan. Well, let's take a look at their shaft lean at impact.




So, that's why I could now understand what Maves meant by 'getting rid of those angles as soon as possible.' In order to get a 'tall club' at impact, he needs to get rid of those angles he had created.

The problem I think golfers have, including myself...is that they try too much forward shaft lean at impact.

But there's another problem with too much forward shaft lean at impact:

B. You will 'run out of right arm.'

'Running out of right arm' is something that Homer Kelley talked about in 'The Golfing Machine.' Basically, regardless if you're a 'hitter' or a 'swinger', you want the right arm bent at impact.

Take a look at a few of the greats and their right arm at impact:


Go and take a golf club. Go to impact fix. You want your shoulders and hips a little open and have a little amount of shaft lean, but the club 'standing tall' like it was designed to. Your right elbow should almost naturally be bent at this impact fix.

Now, lean the clubshaft wayyyyyy forward. As you lean the shaft forward, you no longer have a bent right elbow or as known in TGM terms you 'run out of right arm.'

So as far as 'fake lag' I think it's more of a case of golfers trying to create too much forward shaft lean.

And I think what happens is often times when you try to create too much forward shaft lean and you 'run out of right arm', that running out of right arm causes golfer's to flip.

Yes, trying to create too much shaft lean I believe helps *cause* throwaway.






3JACK

Sunday, January 24, 2010

S&T video - Releasing Club to Draw the Ball

Great video from Dave Wezdik and Steve Sieracki on 'releasing the club' to draw the ball.







3JACK

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3Jack's Greatest Swings of All Time - #7

The #7 swing of all timeis from another hickory stick era golfer, Bobby Jones.





Jones had great alignments. Dynamics and results are hard to figure since there's not a lot of discussion in regards to Jones' actual ballstriking skills. Most discussion of him is in regards to his swing, personality, amateur status and of course...Augusta National.

Either way, I would imagine his great career was in large part because he was able to strike the ball really well.

So, what can we learn from Bobby Jones' swing?

Well, his lagging clubhead takeaway.

Many instructors don't like the clubhead lagging as you make your takeaway, but I think it can be a great move for many golfers. One of the better teachers in country, Greg McHatton, uses it in his own swing.



The thing about the lagging clubhead takeaway is that it can greatly help the golfer lag the club on the downswing. Renowned teacher Paul Bertholy was a big proponent of the lagging clubhead takeaway and I'm guessing it was in part due to watching Jones' swing.






3JACK

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ben Hogan vs. Mickey Wright Video

Nice video with a comparison of Hogan vs. Wright.



Many good notes made by Dugan here, but I do like how he shows that both Hogan and Wright did stand quite aways from the golf ball. I started to notice this a bit from watching Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) swing.



Now, Hogan stands up more at address, but that was because he was shorter in height. Shorter golfers stand up more, tallers golfers tend to bend over more.

But still, I think most golfers tend to stand too close to the ball because of the more upright and longer clubs.

Anyway, two all time great swings, put side-to-side.





3JACK

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vintage vs. Modern Drivers Video

A somewhat interesting video from Miles of Golf shop in Michigan.



I think this helps dispel the myth that you can nut a persimmon just as far as you nut a titanium driver. I think the golf ball distance has to be halted or we'll just 'kill' good golf courses.

While I'm more into the old style blades and I think a persimmon driver is a good club to practice with. The fact remains that if you want to play competitive golf on today's courses, you'll need a titanium driver and this video shows why.





3JACK

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Swing Update 1.19.10

Here's some swings and some 'hammer drills.'



I'm working on flattening out my shoulder turn and really pivoting those shoulders so they are open at impact and so I can keep the club on plane past impact. I also want to stop over-accelerating the hands in order to 'save plenty of right arm' at impact and past impact.

The Hammer drills are part of Michael Lavery's 'Whole Brain Planet' book. In this video I actually do 40 hits in a row with the right hand and 21 with the left hand. My personal bests are 71 with the right hand and 49 with the left hand.

As I get better, I will move onto smaller hammer head sizes.





3JACK

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ted Fort Swing Plane Explanation Video

Ted Fort with a great explanation of 'swing plane.'



One of the great examples of a golfer who is beautifully on plane is one of Ted's friends, former professional Louis Brown.



There's a big desire and quest to have a 'single plane' or in TGM terms a 'zero shift.' Basically this is where the golfer tries to stay on the same plane throughout the golf swing.

There's talk that Moe Norman was on a single plane, but the actual video discussing this shows him on 2 planes (Turned shoulder and elbow plane). In Moe's case he was what they call in TGM terms a 'double shift' swing plane variation. He went from the elbow plane, to the TSP, then back to the elbow plane on the downswing.



I actually use a single shift which is still a '2-plane' swing. Remember, only a 'zero shift' is what they call a '1-plane' swing.

However, I tend to believe that the downswing in golfer's is too upright and they need to find ways to flatten it out. I'm not the biggest fan of staying on the TSP in the downswing...even in my own swing. I think if you have a flatter downswing you're likely to hit the ball more consistently and accurately because the way the clubs are built they really are not made to be swung upright...although I believe today's clubs tend to make golfers swing more upright than they ever should.

The big issue is if you naturally swing on the TSP on the downswing, you may want to avoid try to go to the elbow plane because it's often a futile attempt in the end. If I were going to suggest a way to do it, I would suggest finding an old forged 5-iron and bending 2* flat and hitting balls with it. Eventually your brain will tell your body that you need to flatten out your downswing. And as you get better, then bend the club a few more degrees flatter.

Since it's an old, beat up club if the club snaps from bending it then you are not out a new club or some decent amount of money. However, John Erickson...known for bending clubs...says he's never had 1 forged club snap on him when he bends them and says the most he ever bent a club was 12* flat!

Anyway, like Ted stated it really doesn't matter if you swing on a flat plane or an upright plane, but that you 'stay on plane.' However, I just find that if your *downswing* is more upright, your margin for error is less.

Also, if you look at most current Tour pros and most of the great golfers of the past, they almost all use the 'double shift' (elbow-TSP-elbow). Most of these golfers were not into the science of the game, but I believe they did this because their brains were in tune that in order to hit the ball as well as they possibly can and do it consistently, they needed to swing on a flatter *downswing* plane.

In fact, I really don't believe the 1 Swing Plane actually exists. And I've come across quite a few golfers that have tried it and to a man they all say they can't hit a driver when doing it. I know Tiger's coach, Hank Haney, worked under the '1 Plane Swing' founder Jim Hardy and is trying the 'parallel planes' that Ted talks about in the video and he also struggles with his driver.

Another key factor in plane is 'staying on plane' after impact. This post by friend of the 3Jack Blog, nyc lagster, does a great job of explaining why 'swinging left' is important.

As you can see, by 'swinging left' the golfer keeps the club on plane post impact.
I really think that's what teachers like SliceFixer, Geoff Jones, Mac O'Grady, Manzella and others are really doing with their instruction...trying to get the golfer to stay on plane after they hit the ball by 'swinging left.' How they teach 'staying on plane after impact' is a whole different thing.





3JACK

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Whole Brain Planet Book Review

I decided what I will do with the blog is that I will post my blog on my MESSAGE BOARD first, and set it up so only members of the message board can read it and get the first look at it. Then later on, about 24 hours later, I will put up the post here on the regular blog site. I think this will help provide some more incentive for people to join the message board which I believe will be one of the best, informative and fun golf message boards on the internet.

Anyway, I wanted to get into my review of the book 'Whole Brain Planet.'

Unfortunately, I first came across the Whole Brain Planet with this YouTube video.



It drew my ire in this blog post. I dismissed the video because I erroneously assumed that it was another person trying to teach some method of swinging the golf club and I am into golfer's learning a swing pattern that is something that they can execute with great repeatability.

I then learned that the book wasn't about a swing pattern and instead it was about being ambidextrous and improving hand-eye coordination.

When I saw that I could get the downloadable version of the book for $10, I decided to give it a look.

I can say this...

I was instantly impressed with it.

For starters, the learn of becoming ambidextrous appealed to me for many reasons. For years I had thought about if I could possibly do it over again, I would love to become ambidextrous. I thought it could lead to many great things, particularly in sports. In fact, when I came across the story of ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte (who now works with Whole Brain Planet founder Michael Lavery).



However, this appealed to me long before that. In my hometown in Upstate NY, there is a golfer that played on mini-tours and the Canadian Tour back before the Nationwide Tour was around. It was thought that he probably could have made the PGA Tour if the Nationwide Tour was around during his years as a pro, but the lack of a Nationwide Tour provided less opportunity and less experience.

Eventually he regained his amateur status back and went on to be arguably the best amateur in the state of NY. And this was while he worked THREE different jobs and played and practiced no more than once a week. In his first year back as an amateur he made it to the quarterfinals of the US Am, beating Manny Zerman (who was ranked #2 amateur at the time) and then losing to Justin Leonard.

Again, he did this while working THREE different jobs and playing about once a week, along with living in upstate NY where you get about 5 decent enough months of weather to play golf.

Anyway, one day I was golfing with him and he hit his drive by a tree about 130 yards away from the flag and he had no shot. Then he just casually flipped his club upside down, took a beautiful swing left handed (again, with a right handed club) and fired it dead at the flag and it wound up 20 feet from the cup. He then put his club back in his bag and casually walked towards the green like nothing unusual happened. My friend and I had to pick our jaws up off the ground.

At the time I figured it was just a case of a man having phenomenal hand-eye coordination and talent. But I also thought that if I had learned to be ambidextrous and could swing left handed pretty well, it would sure make swinging a club right handed easy.

But I thought at the time that being ambidextrous is something you basically learn to do at a very early age and those days were long gone.

Whole Brain Planet shows us that is not only untrue, but is something we can learn rather quickly if we work hard enough.

And while I'm in the infancy stages of trying it out, it does make sense. We know that people who have their dominant arm amputated often times learn how to use their other arm quite well. People who lose their dominant eye almost instantly have their other eyeball work like their dominant eye because it's forced to do so.

One of the great things about the book is that it's extremely cheap to do the drills and more importantly, Lavery shows how it can be extremely beneficial to, of all sports, golf.

Lavery came about learning about ambidextrous people from his days as an avid tennis player. While he had a good forehand, his backhand was very weak and after awhile opponents would just hit balls to his backhand and he could not do anything about it.

Eventually, by accident (seems like many great golf revelations start off by accidents) Lavery switched his racket to his left hand and pasted a forehand with his weak hand against his opponent. From there, he became determined to learn how to use both hands when playing tennis and find out everything he could about ambidextrous people and how to become ambidextrous. He later put this forth to golf, a game he played only a few times and applied what he did with his tennis game to the golf game and eventually came up with some new drills to help with his coordination. Check out this video for some of his drills he has come up with.



Eventually Lavery became a scratch golfer in less than a year.

The book itself is pretty easy to understand and what I like about it is that it's pretty easy to skim thru in the sense there are clear sections of the book where Lavery is getting into the 'nuts and bolts' of how the brain actually works. So for the person who just wants to learn how to become more ambidextrous, they can skip that part and get into the drills and such.

However, if you want proof...particularly scientific proof of what happens with the brain and why becoming ambidextrous is a HEALTHY thing to learn, Lavery has plenty of supporting, top notch evidence backing that up as well.

I'm not very well versed science wise, but one of the things that *instantly* got me hooked on the book was Lavery talks about penmanship and its importance in developing motor skills and how it can help you become ambidextrous.

One of my other hobbies is watching FBI Files type of TV shows and the science of graphology (the study of handwriting). FBI profilers often use graphology to help create a profile of a criminal if they have a copy of the criminal's handwriting. The profilers can use to to determine even finite details such as tragic events that happened to the criminal at a certain age, speech impediments, what type of job they may have, etc. It's really fascinating stuff. In fact, here's a good video discussing graphology.



As you can see in the video, the person with really odd and I guess you could say awful handwriting is a supposed vicious criminal and somebody you wouldn't want 'dating your daughter.' It's a natural instinct to think that just by looking at the handwriting and that instinct is very accurate.

I think the same goes for excellent handwriting, which usually is a trait brilliant people often have. So if you can improve your hand writing, I believe it stands to reason that you are improving at the very least your brain power, coordination and motor skill.

And while I'm a firm believer that the swing is very much the result of proper alignments and mechanics and limiting the dependence on hand-eye coordination...hand-eye coordination will always play a part in any golf swing.

In fact, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh can strike the ball incredibly well from either side. And probably the greatest 'switch hitting' golfer of all time is Mac O'Grady, who many feel is the greatest pure ball striker they ever saw.

I'm just getting into the beginning stages of the 'hammer drills' and I constantly work on the memorization drills. In fact, I can recite the 50 states alphabetically and do it backwords now. As time goes along I post videos of my progress with some of the drills. I can honestly say that I've seen some improvement in my coordination so far. And now that I'm making some adjustments to my golf swing, I hope that improving my coordination will help make those adjustments easier and quicker to execute.

For the book, go to the Whole Brain Planet Web site.






3JACK

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The 3Jack Message Board is Up!


Like I wrote in my comments section about the message board, I will continue to make blog posts here. First, here's the URL for the message board.

http://richie3jack.proboards.com/

I will also have a link to the message board on the right side of the blog.

Please note a few things:

1. I will also have the blog posts on the message board as well. I would GREATLY APPRECIATE it if you could post your comments on the message board. It just makes it easier for me to respond to all questions and comments there. I will not have old blog posts on the message board, but if you have comments/questions about old blog posts, feel free to post them there and just provide a link to the post so I know what you're talking about.

2. I WANT to promote people's golf related work. This blog gets thousands of readers each week and is a great vehicle to promote your work. The message board will allow that to happen and I will be more than happy for people to pimp their golf stuff. However, you must be a CONTRIBUTING member of the message board. A good example of this is the way blog reader Kevin Carter contributes to many golf message boards. If Kevin wants to promote his work or his club, he can feel free to do so on my message board.

If say Jeff Evans contributes to the forum like he does over at GolfWRX, I would GLADLY allow him to promote his work and products in the 'Promote Your Work' forum and promote it until the cows come home.

Without a shadow of a doubt I believe the legtimately good teachers are not afraid to 'give away some of their stuff' whereas the phonies keep everything secret until they are getting paid for their teachings/philosophies/theories. Furthermore, there is no doubt about it, if you're a teacher that gives away *some* of your stuff for free, it will actually generate more interest and more customers than those who demand getting paid first before they give anything away. The internet is a powerful vehicle for golf instructors. Giving away *some* of their teaching thoughts and philosophies has helped teachers like David Orr, SliceFixer, Brian Manzella, John Erickson, Lynn Blake, etc. get students that have come from all parts of the globe because they are sold on what they have had to say and the videos they have shown.

Like I said, this blog...which doesn't have a standard .com address gets thousands of different readers a week. Not to mention that word of mouth is the most valuable resource an instructor, clubfitter, trainer, etc. can have.

Contribute and you get FREE advertising.

It's as simple as that.

3. Once again, any type of swing method, system, philosophy, and theory is welcomed on the forum. I will encourage TACTFUL debate and will be strict with posts that resort to name-calling and condescending remarks and tone. Golf is a gentlemen's game, this will be a gentlemen's forum.

4. I am open to all suggestions, criticisms and help with the message board (and blog). You can either post them in the suggestions forum or e-mail at Richie3Jack@yahoo.com.






3JACK

The Flat Right Foot

One of the parts of the swing I like to see is when a golfer has a right foot that is flat at impact or close to it. Granted, with longer clubs this is less necessary and more difficult to accomplish, but if you can get somewhat close then that's pretty good.

As Homer Kelley states in 7-17 of his book 'The Golfing Machine', the foot action accomodates the knee action and that the heels should not be lifted off the ground, but rather pulled off of the ground by the momentum of the golfer's swing.

Essentially, I believer Homer wanted golfers to avoid getting their weight up on their toes because that meant the golfer was lifting their heel up off the ground instead of having the heel pulled off the ground by the momentum of the swing.

If anything, I think that 'lifting' hurts the pivot, can move the location of the low point, makes balance difficult and can overdo the tilting of the axis (spine) away from the target.

I always like to tell people who ask me about footwork to take their address position without a club, then get up on their toes with both feet. Now, try and pivot back and pivot thru. When you do this you'll find it difficult to pivot, but also difficult to balance yourself and you can only balance yourself when you slow down the pivot, which is not what we want.

I was reading over an old thread at John Erickson's Advanced Ball Striking forum and he said that the left knee and the right foot work in conjunction with each other. Meaning that if the left knee is flexed at impact, the right heel can stay down more at impact.

I wanted to check this out, so I looked at golfers who had a flat right foot at impact.

Here's a great pic of Hogan and Knudson at impact with a flat right foot.


If you look at impact, both men have quite a bit of left knee flex at impact. Knudson's foot is flatter than Hogan's at impact, but he also has noticeably more left knee flex as well.

Here's a pic of Grant Waite with a flat right foot at impact.


Again, flat right foot...bent left knee.

And then there's Moe Norman, probably the most exagerrated sample of a flat right foot at (and thru) impact.


But, I don't think we can just look at a few swings and pronounce this as true. So, let's take a look at the heel up off the ground players. And usually when I think of heels up off the ground at impact, I think of the LPGA Tour.


So, if you want to flatten the right foot at impact, take a look at your left knee. You may even feel like your left ankle is 'cocked' at impact. And that may help your right foot stay flatter and help your ballstriking.






3JACK

Friday, January 15, 2010

Message Board Suggestions


After looking at my most recent poll about whether or not people would be interested in joining a Richie3Jack forum, the results tell me that it's worth doing.

I want to make a forum that has the similar purposes that this blog has...to discuss the game that so many of us enjoy and to get people playing better golf.

I would really like to get 'experts' in the industry as members and involved in the forum. Whether it be 'experts' in the swing, biomechanics, TGM, S&T, MORAD, equipment, scientists, etc. I have no problem allowing them to promote their work on the site and even the blog if they contribute to helping people out on the forum.

That's one of the things I'm most proud of about my blog...I have been able to expose many golfers to things like The Golfing Machine, Ted Fort, Lynn Blake, David Orr, Brian Manzella, Geoff Mangum, D-Plane, AimPoint Golf, Scratch Golf, John Erickson, Mike Maves, etc, etc, etc...which is something that so many people would not have exposure to if they lived their ordinary 'golf lives' just reading golf magazines and watching The Golf Channel. In a sense, I want to amplify that exposure even more if I can.

Usually I get the question 'do you get paid for this?'

My answer is emphatically NO!

It's not that I wouldn't be above it, but more importantly I know what it's like to try and figure out your game and why things work like they do and just coming more baffled from listening to popular golf instruction. Furthermore, I do believe that the costs of the game need to go DOWN because that is what is driving many people from playing the game and by providing a free service I think it helps promote my philosophy that if you can get people to enjoy the game more, even if it's free of charge, then the money will eventually follow.

I think that is very lost on today's industry.

Anyway, I was hoping to get suggestions on what you would like to see in a golf forum and what you don't want to see on a golf forum. Please post them in my comments section below or e-mail me at Richie3Jack@yahoo.com.





3JACK

3Jack's Top 10 Golf Swings of All-Time - #8

To see my #10 Golf Swing of all time, click HERE.

To see my #9 Golf Swing of all time, click HERE.

Growing up in Upstate NY, there were essentially 3 golfers that people in the area discussed when it came to the golf swing and ballstriking. The first two were Hogan and Snead. The other was George Knudson, a Canadian, and given that we were not too far away from Canada it made some sense as to why his game was revered despite not being a household name in the golfing world.

Knudson patterned much of his swing after studying Hogan. I often hear that Knudson was the 'closest swing to Hogan', but I don't see them being that similar. There are similarities, but some big differences were Knudson crouched down more as Hogan stood up more in his swing (presumably because of their differences in height) and Hogan in his best years had a much longer swing that Knudson.

In fact, check out these positions at P4 with a driver.


Here is also a great video of Knudson on Shell's Wonderful World of Golf putting on a ballstriking display.



So the results were certainly there and the alignments were very good and nothing overly flawed or 'questionable' so that his swing was very much based on excellent geometry and biomechanics throughout the swing instead of relying on hand-eye coordination and 'talent' in order to execute certain nuances to his swing.

But what do I think we can learn from Knudson's swing?

For starters, he swung the club pretty flat and thus he probably used something along the lines of standard club lengths and probably standard if not flat lies. But there's more to that as the clubs in his time were shorter. The standard 5-iron length would be about 37.5 or 37.75" long. Now the modern clubs have a standard 5-iron length of 38-38.25" long. The lies are also more upright now. Standard 5-iron lie angle is about 60.5*. In Knudson's day the standard lie angle was about 59.5*.

Knudson was 5'11" tall, yet easily could managege the shorter length and flatter lies because of his swing.

I think that's one of the big issues with today's golf clubs, they are longer and more upright, which is a band-aid way of helping get rid of the slice and allowing the golfer to hit the ball longer, but it also makes golfers stand closer to the ball and swing more upright than they probably should.






3JACK

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Swinging Left vs. Coming Over The Top

Over at Manzella's forum there is a thread that I started trying to generate a definition in the difference between 'swinging left' and 'coming over the top.' After some thought and deliberation, along with asking some sharp golf minds, I think I have a pretty good definition between the two.

I thought Brian did a pretty good job giving a simple explanation of 'over the top':
Simply means the downswing starts OVER THE TOP of the backswing plane.
Here's a pic to see to further explain this.


So, if Tiger swings the club on that yellow line in the backswing and then on the downswing gets above (or 'over') the yellow line that would be 'over the top.'

However, I don't think I'm quite satisfied with that definition because I do believe an OTT swing is a bad thing, but this definition leaves it so the golfer can come over the top and be just fine.

That's why I think there needs to be a defining of 'over the top' vs. 'swinging left.' One is bad and one is good, we need to figure out WHY one is bad and one is good.

One of Brian's Academy staff members, Jim Kobylinski mentioned that he thought 'over the top' was when a golfer swings too far left to hit a straight shot. I like the idea of this as well. However, I think there's a difference between coming over the top and swinging left and hitting a nice controlled fade. Again, one is bad and one is good...why is that?

After speaking at length with John Dochety (aka Lake1926), some things started to make more sense and this definition of 'swinging left' by Manzella holds some of the differences:

(Swinging Left) Simply means the club swings left pass impact because of the D-Plane requirements on a full shot off of the turf is for the HSP or Plane Line to be left of the target and the club will SWING LEFT IMMEDIATELY AFTER IMPACT!!!!
So, the club has to swing left after impact. But the same could be said with coming over the top.

After speaking with John, my thoughts are that the dreaded over the top move is:

1. A golfer who swings the club left by using their hands and arms to swing the club towards the left.

2. That causes the golfer to get the clubhead outside the target line before impact.

3. That causes the golfer to essentially swing the club too far to the left.

So, let's say you're on a 60* Vertical Swing Plane, your clubface is at 0.0* at impact and your attack angle is -4*, the over the top move would see something like the club swinging 8* to the left instead of more at 2* to the left so the golfer can hit it dead straight or something that is a controllable fade.

Then what is swinging left?

Well, here's a diagram:


IMO, properly swinging left is:

1. A golfer who swings the club left by using their pivot to swing the club towards the left.

2. That causes the golfer to not get the clubhead outside the target line before impact.

3. That causes the golfer to essentially swing the club properly to the left in order to hit it dead straight or with a controllable fade.

As you can see in the 'swinging left' diagram, the clubhead doesn't get outside the target line, but after impact it is working hard to the left.

Why?

Because the golfer is moving the plane line to the left (or 'swinging left') by using their pivot.

So if a golfer who uses their pivot to move the plane line left and let's say they have a 60* VSP a square clubface and an attack angle of -4*, they may swing left by 3*. That's too much to hit a ball *dead straight*, but still well done to hit a nice, powerful and accurate fade.

And before anybody asks, this does apply to hitters. Hitters have to pivot well, too.




3JACK

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Swinging a Rope Video

Friends of the Richie3Jack golf blog, Rick Nielsen (TGM AI) and Ralph Perez posted this wonderful YouTube video of Rick swinging a large rope.



This is a great practice tool for all golfers, especially novices who really don't understand how to power their golf swing with the pivot. It can also teach the lagging clubhead takeaway and if you want to learn how to float load, this is probably a good way to go about it as well.






3JACK

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3Jack's Top 10 Golf Swings - #9

For my #10 Golf Swing of all time, click HERE.

My #9 Golf Swing of all time belongs to a golfer from the hickory age.

He, like my #10 Golf Swing of all time never won a major, but did win 24 times on the PGA Tour and was a huge influence on Ben Hogan. So my #9 golf swing of all time belongs to MacDonald Smith.

Here's a picture sequence of his swing. You can click the picture to enlarge it.


Smith certainly had a lot of modern elements to his swing compared to the other hickory shafted greats. A lot of the hickory guys made these gigantic moves off and thru the ball. Not saying that it's bad because the equipment often forced guys to make motions in the swing that we are not familiar with today.

It's also difficult to quantify how good of a ballstriker the hickory age golfers were since there was not nearly as much competition today and they don't have the statistics tracking their 'skills.'

However, I thought Smith's swing has transcended time and he had good results, except for the lack of victories in the majors, that he deserved a spot on the list.

What I like about his swing is that it shows that the Flat Left Wrist at impact has stood the test of time. Regardless if you're hitting a ball with the newest Ping Titanium driver or if you're using a hickory shafted mashie. Smith also has an excellent pivot here, a common theme for sure in this top 10 list.











3JACK

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Hogan 'Sound'

Brian Manzella has random live Webcam chats on his site and just had one a little while ago.

One of the questions I asked was why he thought guys like Hogan (and other golfers thru time) were able to get that different sound at impact than other golfers, including Tour pros.

This is a question I had to ask because thinking about Hogan for a second, he certainly wasn't the longest golfer, yet his shots made a much different sound. So I was thinking he:

1. Probably was hitting a different part of the sweetspot to some degree.
2. More or less compressing the ball better and more often than the other golfers.

Brian's thoughts were more along the lines of this:



Forward shaft lean with minimum downward strike. Sounds simple, but probably difficult to do.

Usually when a reader asks me about Manzella's teaching philosophy they ask me why he doesn't like forward shaft lean. My answer is that he doesn't hate forward shaft lean. But usually forward shaft lean means the golfer is hitting further down on the ball and that forces the golfer to 'swing left' in order to hit the ball dead straight.

So, if you have a lot of forward shaft lean, you'll have to increase the amount you need to rotate the plane line to the left in order to hit it dead straight and that becomes more of a guessing game.

OTOH, if you have minimal forward lean at impact, that means your attack angle is probably less steep and that means you can rotate the plane to the left less.

Let's say you get 2 golfers both hitting 7-irons. If golfer A is hitting his 7-iron with an attack angle of say -6*, then that golfer will have to rotate the plane somewhere in the range of 3* left, in order to hit is DEAD straight (face angle is important as well).

But if golfer B hits their 7-iron with a -1.5* attack angle, then their plane line needs to be rotated in the area of -0.75* left. Which really isn't much.

The issue?

Very difficult to have a shallow attack angle and still maintain a FLW at impact.

That's why most PGA Tour pros hit down on the ball quite a bit. The Tour Average attack angle with a 7-iron is -4*. And that's why I tell golfers that they need to hit down more on the golf ball because it helps them execute a FLW at impact easier. And you can still hit really good golf shots with a bit of downward attack.

But Manzella's thoughts are that Hogan obviously had the shaft lean, but didn't have a real steep attack angle. And I'm guessing probably a shallower attack angle than the Tour average. This allowed him to hit the ball every so slightly higher up on the clubface and he was taking a shallow enough divot so the ground wouldn't effect the sound.

Remember, we are talking about *sound* which has a great correlation with good shot results. But if you want to get rid of the flip, I suggest you learn to hit down far enough as one of the very first steps to eliminate it from your swing. But, Hogan's *sound* of impact is a thing that non-flippers can probably better obtain if they grasp how to have the forward lean while minimizing attack angle.

Of course, that's just our thoughts for the meantime. But Brian started floating an idea around his head of making a video on the subject using Trackman (which he now owns himself) and some type of microphone system that would measure the sound frequencies and then how to achieve it.

Sevam1 makes that type of sound on a consistent basis as well.



And it doesn't appear that he has a very steep attack angle either, nor does he preach it. The same thing John Erickson preaches as well. He doesn't want big divots as Moe Norman once told him 'bacon strips not pork chops.'






3JACK

Saturday, January 9, 2010

3Jack Goes Old School - Version 2

I recently purchased these 1963, Hogan IPT 2-PW irons off of eBay.



Here's a pic of the back of another golfer's IPT iron, since I don't have pics of that.





3JACK

Friday, January 8, 2010

Secret In the Dirt Stuff

Secret in The Dirt has a great newsletter with its first publishing. You can find that newsletter HERE.

Here's a video that they did as well.



I find SITD's venture into 2010 to be very exciting. Not only is it always fun for me to listen to Sevam1 talk about his thoughts on the golf swing, but with one of the most steadfast learners of the game and the swing in Elkington, there should be plenty of interesting findings and philosophies come 2010.

If you read the newsletter and watch the videos, the main premise the SITD gange are looking at is how the average golfer's score has not improved that much in the past 80 years, so the SITD gang want to go 'back in time' and try and best possibly recreate what golfers, like Henry Cotton, had to go thru 80 years ago by using the equipment they had, the tweed coats they wore, etc. and through that experience try to figure out why average scores have not improved since then.

Anyway, Mike Maves has sure come a long way since having a friend shoot a video of him hitting balls into Lake Ontario.








3JACK

3Jack's Top 10 Golf Swings of All Time - #10

I received an e-mail (Richie3Jack@yahoo.com) from a blog reader who liked my 'Top Ten Golf Training Aids' post and wanted me to do something with top 10 all time golf swings.

First though, I think we need to get an idea of what makes one swing 'better' than others for me. So here is my criteria.

ALIGNMENTS - Simply, how good are their alignments in their swing. Most PGA Tour golfers have excellent impact alignments, so in that sense I am looking at not only their impact alignments, but other alignments in their golf swing.

COMPENSATIONS - Obviously, impact is what's really important and is what 'counts' in the golf swing. However, if a golfer has weak or flawed alignments in other parts of the golf swing, this will likely result in compensations in order to get good alignments at impact. And the more compensations you make, the more the golfer is relying on hand-eye coordination and the more precise their timing has to be. That's fine if you have impeccable hand-eye coordination and can duplicate that move over and over, but for the average person that's a problem.

DYNAMICS - It's one thing to have excellent alignments, it's another to do it with a very dynamic motion. Somebody like Tiger may not have the greatest alignments and may make plenty of compensations, but his dynamics are off the charts.

RESULTS - I've seen plenty of Nationwide Tour golfers with good mechanics, few compenstions and good dynamics, but still fail to strike the ball anywhere as good as say Kenny Perry or Jim Furyk. If the results are pretty much the same, then look at the dynamics, compensations and alignments. But, it's always important to look at the results FIRST, because in the end that's what truly matters. And when I say 'results' I mean ballstriking skill, not scoring average, majors won, etc.

Anyway, here's #10.

MAC O'GRADY

Mac O'Grady has excellent alignments and amazingly enough can do it both right handed and left handed and make each swing look almost exactly like the mirror image of each other (I've got his right and left handed swings in a scrapbook). There's also no major compensations in his swing. I don't really care for his low hands at address as that straightens the arms at address, but that's neither a 'flaw' or a 'compensation', just a personal preference of mine.

His dynamics were phenomenal. One of the 'complaints' I often heard about TGM and MORAD when I first heard about in the mid-90's is that it created 'short hitters.' O'Grady who learned personally from Homer Kelley, was extremely long off the tee, like a top 5 in distance on the PGA Tour. His driving accuracy wasn't great, but that's often a misleading statistic because PGA Tour fairways tend to bottleneck and when you're that long you can still hit a pretty accurate shot that finds the rough. But if you have the choice between finding the fairway with a 7-iron or finding the first cut of rough with a PW, you usually take the latter.

That being said, his 'results' are somewhat arguable amongst his critics and supporters. Reportedly (from good sources), he can certainly do some things with the golf and do it with power than most of us could ever mention, and let's not forget he can do it right or left handed. But his GIR stats were never overly impressive. That doesn't quite mean he isn't a great ballstriker in my eyes, but in other people's eyes it does.

Anyway, here's a swing sequence of O'Grady's, you can click the picture to enlarge it.


And here's a video of Mac O'Grady back in 1988 (he's the guy on the right)



WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM O'GRADY'S SWING?

It's easy to see that Mac's lower body action is about as good as it gets, particularly looking at the right foot at impact. Footwork is so often ignored in golf that while you don't need a flat right foot at impact, that's usually a good point to start with when it comes to improving your footwork.


I also think the average golfer can learn from this position, called P6 in MORAD and S&T terms (or P3 in John Erickson's terminology) and the alignments O'Grady has.


The alignments here are beautiful as the club comes down parallel to the ground, the shaft is parallel to the target and the toe is pointing straight up at the sky, dictating a square clubface and a good club path.





3JACK

Elkington and 2-J-3

Here's a video of Steve Elkington working with Ben Doyle on Doyle's 'Facts and Illusions' mat.



Here's what the Facts and Illusions mat looks like (credit John Furze for pic).

(CLICK PIC TO ENLARGE)

This mat represents much of what Homer Kelley talks about in 2-J-3 of 'The Golfing Machine', referred to as 'Visual Equivalents.'

For instance, looking at the mat you will see where Ben says the golfer should place their hands at impact. From the *golfer's perspective* it looks like they have the hands wayyy forward, out over the left toe. But in reality when the camera is showing the golfer from the Face On view, the hands are not nearly as far forward as it seems.

You've heard 'the feel isn't always real', but that often applies to what the golfer sees. So what the *golfer* sees isn't always real either. That's why Homer labeled it as 'Visual Equivalents.'

I think this is extremely important to note for golfers. In particular because often times golfers may look at their swing on video from the Face On perspective and think they need to change something based on that vantage point and instead need to grasp what it looks like from their vantage point when they are actually swinging the club.

The Fact and Illusions Mat can be found HERE. The mat that Elkington is using in the video is $300.








3JACK

Thursday, January 7, 2010

3Jack's Top 10 Golf Training Aids - 1.0

One question I get a lot (Richie3Jack@yahoo.com) is what training aids that I would recommend. So with this post I will have my top 10 training aides, in no particular order.

MEDICUS DUAL HINGE IRON


Pretty much everybody knows what the Medicus is. The Medicus is a very good training aid because it teaches proper plane and clubface control. However, the one thing I don't like about it is it can make things difficult for a golfer with a quicker swing tempo. I think a golfer with a quicker swing tempo can work the Medicus, but they'll have to be extremely precise with their clubface and shaft alignments. Golfers with a very slow tempo can be a little sloppier with clubface and shaft alignments and I really believe that clubface and shaft alignments are much more important than tempo in the end. Great for the novice or beginner who has little understanding of swing plane. ($119.99)


SONIC GOLF


Training aid with a sound device that tells the golfer when they are swinging the clubhead fast or slow.

This is a great training aid because the golfer can actually use their own golf club while using Sonic Golf. But it also uses sound to help the golfer understand how to max out their clubhead speed at impact. It also provides a way for a golfer to produce a consistent swing tempo. The downside of the training aid is that it doesn't help with plane, attack angle, clubface control, etc. But it is a great aid for golfers of all levels. ($299)

THE TALY



My favorite aid for eliminating clubhead throwaway as it provides a strong visual from the golfer's perspective as to where the clubhead should be throughout the swing. I have had people ask about the 'True Ympact' which seems like a decent tool, but that seems more like an aid that helps the golfer kinesthetically instead of visually. I'm not a fan of training aids that force the golfer physically into certain positions or alignments. The Taly can also help with swing path as well and you can use your own club and hit balls with it.

The big issue is that it has poor directions. I get that complaint quite a bit. I would suggest taking a look at my 'Taly Swing Curriculum' in order to get maximum use out of the Taly. ($69)

THE SMART STICK


Helps introduce the golfer to the 'plane line' and how to get on plane and to a lesser extent how to sustain the lag of the clubhead.

The cons of the Smart Stick is that it's not an actual golf club and it's a bit pricey. ($229).

TOUR STRIKER



The Tour Striker is a club that is about the length, lie and loft of a 6-iron, but with a clubface shaped in order to make the golfer take a better golf swing. This is a great training aid because it teaches the golfer how to take a swing with an iron, hit the ball first, then take a divot and do it with a steep enough attack angle so they can better control their 'low point.'

It's also got a very helpful blog to answer any questions you may have. However, it does not attack issues like swing plane, grip, etc if those are your problems. ($99)

SWING HEELER


Unfortunately, I have yet to try out this training aid, but from what I've seen this training aid is the first I've seen that readily attacks footwork which I find to be a gigantic issue that is continually overlooked by golfers and instructors. While it doesn't directly attack things like low point control, clubface control and clubpath control, developing good footwork can make controlling those facets of the swing much easier.

The big issue with this training aid is the availability. The price is a bit steep ($200), but if there was more availibility and it was proven to work then I think more people would fork over the extra cash for it.

PELZ LAZRAIMER


A Laser Aimer that shoots the laser at the putter face and then tells the golfer the direction they are aiming by where the laser is pointing. I also have the LPAS (Laser Putting Alignment System), but that requires double sided adhesive tape to be used which doesn't always work or is a real pain to figure out. ($144)

PURE BALLSTRIKER



A great aid because if anything, it introduces the importance of the trigger finger in the golf swing and more particularly, the #3 Pressure Point. You can even use the device to help with swing path. Best of all, it's only $13.

GYROSWING


This is a bit like the Medicus in that it teaches the golfer how to swing the club. But where the Medicus breaks down when the golfer's swing mechanics are flawed, the Gyroswing basically swings the club *for* the golfer. In other words, the golfer cannot 'screw it up.' The cons are that it's not a real club and thus you cannot hit golf balls with it. A fantastic club for people who fail to grasp how to properly hinge the golf club. ($120).

PELZ PUTTER CLIPS


I believe that forcing the golfer to be precise with their stroke, be it the full swing or the putting stroke, is generally the best way to improve their technique. I also believe the more consistent you are at hitting the ball dead solid on your putts, the more putts you're likely to make. Of course, being able to read putts, aim and feel the speed are probably bigger factors, but if you can consistently hit the sweetspot you're likely to hit the ball more on line an have a more consistent speed. The Pelz Putter clips help that. ($30).









3JACK