Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Left Hip Action Video

I'll probably be away from the blog until Saturday evening as I will be visiting some friends and family in Florida. Anyway, here's a video I liked from Michael Jacobs, another TGM guy...explaining left hip action in the swing along with straight line delivery vs. circular path delivery (he calls it 'curved delivery'). I will play golf again come Saturday morning and if I hit the ball like I have been on the range, I'll give an update on the progress and what I feel has caused that progress to happen. In the meantime, remember what Moe Norman said about the golf swing, the most important part of the golf swing is the pivot.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Richie3Jack's First Annual '3Jack Awards

I kind of do this with some caution. I am averse to taking myself too seriously. Years of playing golf will create that in a person because just as soon as you think you're hot stuff, the game will rear its ugly head right back at you. However, I thought it would be *fun* to go over the stuff I've reviewed this year and came up with my own "3Jack Awards." This is basically awards for things I watched, read or used during this year. Thus, it's not important as to when the product, video, book etc came out...it's whether or not I reviewed it this year. Anyway, you'll get the point soon enough.

3Jack Award - Best Training Aid/Device

Honorable Mention
: FedEx triangle box (swing plane and path device), Z Factor Perfect Putting Machine (http://www.perfectputtingmachine.com/), Pure Ball Striker (http://www.pbstriker.com/)

Second Runner Up: SKLZ "Smash Bag" (http://www.sklz.com/products/golf/Accuracy/76/Smash_Bag)

Notes: A great old school training aid (hitting a tire will do as well), but for only $20. The Wiren Impact Bag goes for $40 for some unknown reason.

First Runner Up: Exelys Breakmaster (http://www.exelys.com/)

WINNER: Laser Putting Alignment System aka LPAS

Finally a laser alignment system that works correctly and is affordable ($40). Can be found at www.thesmartgolfer.com

Best YouTube Video Of The Year

Honorable Mention:
Geoff Jones' (aka SliceFixer) 9-3 drill (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYxsxEamMJE), Ben Hogan filmed by George Coleman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34GOeyjr0Uw)

Second Runner Up: Shawn Clement's 'Hogan Power Drill' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNwSfz0_KDM)

First Runner Up: Mike Maves' aka Sevam1 'The Move' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAXNglCDcz4)

Winner: Geoff Mangum's 'One Best Delivery Speed for Touch From Physics

Best Instruction Video (paid for)

Honorable Mention:
Brian Manzella's Never Slice Again 2.0, Brian Manzella's Never Hook Again 2.0 (http://www.brianmanzella.com/)

Second Runner Up: Roger Fredericks' 'Secrets to Golf Swing Flexibility' (http://www.fredericksgolf.com/)

First Runner Up: Brian Manzella's 'Confessions of a Former Flipper' (http://www.brianmanzella.com/)

WINNER: David Orr's 'Green Reading Basics' (http://www.orrgolf.com/premvids.htm). Here's a preview:

Best Equipment

Honorable Mention:
Bridgestone Golf Cavity Back Blade Irons (http://www.bridgestonegolf.com/), Mizuno MP-67, Mizuno MP-62 (http://www.mizunousa.com/golf), Scratch Golf Wedges and Irons (http://www.scratchgolf.com/)

Second Runner Up: Traditional Irons by Mark Inoue (http://www.traditionalgolf.com/)

First Runner Up: Callaway X-Prototype Irons

WINNER: Edel Vari-Loft putters (http://www.edelgolf.com/)

Best Golf Web site

Honorable Mention:
http://www.brianmanzella.com/, http://www.orrgolf.com/, http://perfectgolfswingreview.net

Second Runner Up: http://www.puttingzone.com/

First Runner Up: http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/

WINNER: http://www.golfwrx.com/

Best Looking Swing (currently) On YouTube

Honorable Mention:
Oliver Fisher, Rory McIlroy, Mike Bennett, Michael Finney

Second Runner Up: Mike Maves

First Runner Up: Mike McNary


Best Instructional Book

Honorable Mention:
'The Efficient Golfer' by Robert Anthony Prichard (http://www.somaxsports.com/), Encyclopedia Texarkana by Geoff Jones (aka SliceFixer)

2nd Runner Up: 'Optimal Putting' by Geoff Mangum

1st Runner Up: 'The Impact Zone' by Bobby Clampett

WINNER: 'The Secret Is In the Dirt' by Mike Maves (aka Sevam1)

Very, very hard decision to make. I feel Clampett's 'Impact Zone' works for a wider audience, is brilliant and extremely helpful for the beginner. Maves 'The Secret Is In the Dirt' is meant more for more advanced and experienced golfers and is a bit more of an interesting read with great anecdotes. I think what put 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' on top is the revolutionary format of the book, not only being able to put videos in the book, but also any updates to the book will be free add ons to the customer. This *should* be the future when it comes to instructional books, but unfortunately I don't think anybody else will follow Maves' route.


Green Reading w/Swash

A pretty good video by Harold Swash on green reading. Swash is England's longtime putting guru, particularly noted for teaching Padraig Harrington.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Legs and Feet In the Golf Swing

If you're like me and grew up playing golf in the 80's, you probably heard that the legs are not important in the golf swing. In fact, you've probably seen a video or watched an instructor back then hit a golf ball on their knees to "show" that the legs are not important in the golf swing. We now know that couldn't be further from the truth.

As Trevino stated he felt he "had a great pair of legs" that would allow his hips to rotate, get that thru pivot down and become one of the greatest ballstrikers ever. In fact, from reading Dave Pelz's 'Putting Bible' he talks about how he got interested in studying the game and charting shots of all of the players on tour by going to actual tour events, determining where the player was aiming and where they actually hit the ball and in Pelz's mind, Trevino was the greatest ballstriker he every charted. In fact, Pelz firmly believes that if Trevino was just a decent putter, he would've been better than Nicklaus.

One thing I've noticed about Trevino is that he loves to talk. Having watched him in person in tournaments and playing with golfers who don't even speak English, Trevino can still be caught talking to them and pretty much will talk to anybody who wants to listen. Lee likes to "hear himself talk" which isn't a bad thing at all (in fact, most of us like to hear ourselves talk). But I think I kind of figured out why.

For years everybody had been telling Trevino that he's doing it all wrong. His grip was wrong. He took it too far outside. He had his stance too far open, etc. All the meanwhile he was absolutely striping the ball, hitting green after green, fairway after fairway and was absolutely deadly with a wedge in his hand. But of course, modern instruction at the time...even as it varied over the years while Trevino's swing stayed the same...said that Trevino's technique was horrible and basically he hit the ball well because of his timing and hand and eye coordination. I don't believe Trevino ever really believed that was the case. I'm sure he felt his hand and eye coordination along with hard work had something to do with it, but I think he felt he was right or damn near close to being right.

So going through that FOR YEARS where you're absolutely striping the ball and people are telling you that YOU are doing it wrong (even though you could smoke them every day of the week and twice on Sunday) can make a person want to speak up and tell it like it really is.

Trevino loves to talk about the legs in the golf swing. Today's instruction is much better when it comes to talking about the legs and pivot in the golf swing, but I still get that feeling it's lacking and a guy like Trevino has had it down all along. It's the feet and legs that allow the pelvis to pivot and most instruction articles and books (except for 'The Secret Is In The Dirt' and 'Impact Zone' by Bobby Clampett and a few others) have forgotten this.

I came across the video by Shawn Clement. He has a bunch of excellent YouTube videos on instruction. Not to say I agree with everything, but I have seen his instruction work well with golfers and even myself. Here he does a nice job of explaining how the feet and legs work in the golf swing and WHY.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Secret Is In The Dirt book review

After having finally gotten thru Geoff Mangum's excellent 'Optimal Putting' e-book, I went and purchased Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) 'The Secret Is In the Dirt' e-book. I had purchased this late at night and read the book without putting it down until 3am last night and finished it. The last time I read a book from beginning to finish without putting it down was Howard Stern's 'Private Parts' autobiography. Some will scoff at that, but I actually read books all of the time from Faulkner's 'The Wind and the Fury' to Dr. Mike Marshalls 'Coaching Baseball Pitchers' book.

But the only books that have captured my attention so well were fascinating to read. Stern's book was just hilarious and something that the reader could easily relate to. While 'The Secret in the Dirt' doesn't have those factors, it has interesting anecdotes, all with a purpose of teaching the reader, after interesting anecdote.

But what really fascinated me was how "revolutionary" the book was. Not so much for the actual information and instruction, but for the format. THIS could be...or at least SHOULD be...the future of golf instruction books.

To get an idea on the book, it's in a .pdf format, but it also has several videos included in the book with Maves planning to update the book to buyers with new videos and chapters, free of charge. So not only do you get a book that you don't have to waste paper on, don't have to drive to the bookstore or have it shipped to you, but it's also a book that contains videos that allow the author to better convey their point and these videos along with written text can be updated by the author.

Whatever one may say about Maves' theories, he cannot be denied for his innovation. Although if you read the book, watch the videos and understand his journey into finding what he calls "the secret", it's not surprising that Maves came up with such an innovative way to instruct golfers because it's obvious that he's one sharp cat.

'The Secret Is In The Dirt' is Maves' answer to critics of Ben Hogan's 'Five Lessons' book as well as further explaining the book and in Maves' mind (and in the mind of many others) decoding many of Hogan's cryptic messages.

Maves, a history major in college, decided to study Hogan as much as he could and found most of his information from Hogan's 'Five Lessons' book along with Hogan interviews with Nick Seitz in 1985 and later with George Peper in 1987. In the meantime, Maves was fortunate enough to get to play with the late and great Moe Norman in a tournament. After picking Moe's brain, he later discovered that Norman and Hogan (arguably the top 2 greatest ballstrikers ever) had a lot of things in common when it came to the golf swing and that Moe let him know that he and Hogan had the same pivot.

From there, Maves wanted to learn more about the pivot, Hogan, Moe, and their similarities and he continued to read Hogan's 'Five Lessons' book while scouring the earth for anything he could find about Hogan and how he approached the swing.

In short, Maves is a Hogan fanatic and wanted to understand the information that the greatest ballstriker ever (in Maves' opinion) was giving to the public.

While I think most people are intrigued by Hogan's great swing. What intrigues me the most was that Hogan was far from being a golfing prodigy unlike players such as Snead, Nelson, Nicklaus and Woods. In fact, Hogan was pretty much an average tour player early on in his career, struggling so much that he wound up eating nothing but oranges for a month because that was all he and his wife could afford to eat as they were on the verge of quitting the dream if he didn't make money soon.

The big problem Hogan had was the snap hook. Eventually as time went by, he learned to curb the hook, but it would still occasionally come back to haunt him, particularly on pressure shots. Eventually Hogan committed himself to eliminate the hook forever and by 1946 he did and wound up winning his first major ever (PGA Championship by 6 strokes) along with 12 other tournaments that year.

But even as Hogan eliminated his hook and won tournaments with ease, he continued to seek instructors such as Henry Cotton, Sam Byrd, Tommy Armour, Mike Austin and others to improve his already phenomenal ballstriking. More remarkably, despite being removed from a horrific accident (all of the doctors said that just surviving the accident was a miracle, walking was even more of a miracle and being able to just play golf again was out of the question), Hogan's ballstriking...according to every golfer who played with him during this time....noticeably improved from the time he had learned to eliminate the hook before the accident.

THAT is what amazes me about Hogan. There's no doubt that he had ability and he was very strong, flexibile and supple. But he wasn't Sam Snead who came onto the tour and through his natural ability was an immediate success. Through hard work and constantly seeking to learn more about the golf swing, Hogan wound up going from being an ordinary tour pro to a legendary golfer who is arguably the greatest ballstriker of all time. All in the meantime he was getting older (he was 34 years old in 1946), going through a horrific accident, and not having anywhere near the technology or information available that today's golfers have.

I think that is what intrigues Maves the most as well and is why he admires Hogan so much. It was truly a journey and an intellectual endeavor for Hogan to become a great player. Not to say that players like Snead, Nelson, Nicklaus and Woods didn't have a journey or didn't work hard to become great players, but for all intents and purposes their natural abilities were too awesome for them to be denied greatness. Hogan had to figure out the golf swing in order to become great.

And like Hogan did with finding his own golf swing, Maves presents in this book his own journey to figure out how Hogan hit the ball so well which eventually led to Maves' fabulous golf swing

Another thing about the book is Maves does an excellent job with his anecdotes. Like I said, I read a lot of books and one of my pet peeves is more often....be it a golf instruction book or a sci-fi thriller....the author likes to use anecdotes that are neither interesting, entertaining and more importantly pertinent to the book. While I found Maves' anecdotes interesting and entertaining, even if another reader does not at the very least his anecdotes are pertinent to the instruction at hand.

I'm not sure if Maves' instruction will work for me, but that's not how I judge a golf instruction book anyway. The main way I judge an instruction book is if it could be correct and using my knowledge of the golf swing, how important the instruction of the book is to a golfer's game.

"The Secret Is In the Dirt" not only could be very well correct (or at the very least, provide a swing feel that could work for countless golfers), but also attacks the lifeblood of the swing...the pivot. So yes, I give this an outstanding recommendation for all golfers. It works for the novice because it's pretty easy to read and understand as well as AT THE VERY LEAST gives the feeling of what the back pivot is like at the top of the swing. And for the more advanced golfer, it gives an idea of a possible way to make hitting a golf ball easier and more efficient.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Optimal Putting Book Review

I finally got to finishing Geoff Mangums 'Optimal Putting' book. The book can be found over at his Web site for $16 at http://www.puttingzone.com/.

This is a VERY ADVANCED book on putting. In particular, the first 40 pages alone go into neurosciences and putting. Meaning, giving an overview of how the neurological processes of the body influence putting. Also meaning, it's not all that easy to understand.

From there, Mangum goes into putting speed and touch, but basically describing the speed of all putts that are able to go in a cup...from a putt barely catching the front lip and dropping in to a putt that is rammed so hard it will likely bounce back upwards and then fall back into the cup. But again, he does this an extremely detailed fashion. If you thought Dave Pelz's works like "The Putting Bible" and "How To Putt Like the Pros" was extensive and detailed, it's like comparing a Ferrari to a Pinto with an explosive gas tank.

A lot of this book is something that I've already known. Growing up as a teenager I had heard the adage of "letting gravity do the work" in the golf swing. But then I went to watch the old BC Open, my first PGA Tour event I ever attended, and my thoughts and philosophies on the putting stroked blossomed. Watching guys like a young Jim Furyk, I would see these flowing, beautiful, and effortless putting strokes...one after another. The key word of those I just mentioned was 'effortless.' The thru strokes in particular looked like they had no effort what so ever. Optimal Putting just further confirms that my thoughts on putting were right:

The backstroke is KNOWN to be correctly sized only when that conscious impulse to “do something” in the downstroke other than to let the putter head do the work has completely dissipated. - Geoff Mangum

Would I recommend this book?

Well, yes and no.

I think it's a great book for teachers, in fact pretty much a must have book for anybody who is serious about being an instructor. It disspells too many myths and fallacies while exploring subjects that nobody (except those who work with Mangum) has really even come close to scratching the surface upon. While I like the works of Pelz (to a degree) and Stan Utley (to a degree), 'Optimal Putting' provides so much more about the world of putting that they do and if I was a serious instructor, I would not only want to read the book to get an idea of Mangum's philosophies and theories, but to get new information to help my students with their game.

And as always, if you are really into golf instruction or at least very patient with heavy duty golf instruction, then this is the book for you.

However, if you're the golfer that wants *light* instruction (and there's nothing wrong with that), then you probably won't have the patience to sit through and read the book. It's best to stick to Mangum's YouTube videos which have a lot of great information, but only require about 10% of the effort of the reader/viewer would have to take in reading 'Optimal Putting.'

You won't get the same amount of information by just watching the YouTube videos, but that may be all of the information you desire to have anyway. 'Optimal Putting' is to putting as Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' book is to the full golf swing. Very complex and can be difficult to understand, but it encompasses so much.


The Agenda For 2009

Got a couple of e-mails about what instructional stuff I plan on going through. So here goes:

Currently, I'm reading Geoff Mangum's 'Optimal Putting' book. You can get the e-book version for $15 at his Web site at http://www.puttingzone.com/. I've been a good putter for quite some time, but my putting improved through reading and watching a lot of David Orr's videos. However, so far some of Mangum's work (I'm still in the beginning stages of the book) has also helped quite a bit. In fact, yesterday I had 31 putts...which doesn't sound great...but I had zero 3 putts and didn't badly misread a green all day (aka misread a break completely...thinking a putt breaks one way when it breaks the other). But the 31 putts was really due to my struggles with ballstriking since it was my first round of golf in 2 years. I only hit 10 greens and I think I only hit one approach shot somewhat close, and made the putt. Plus, the greens were a little beat up, it was cold and windy and the pins were in very tough positions (particularly if you were not striking the ball up to snuff). One of the biggest helps in my putting is getting out of the mode of the 'perfect' speed being 17 inches past the cup. I still have a tendency to hit the ball too hard, but it's already gotten better and a big reason why I didn't have any 3 putts yesterday (although I did ram a 50 footer for birdie in, old habits are hard to break).

Here again is the video of Mangum talking about putting speed:

- After that I'll move onto Mike Maves' "The Secret Is In The Dirt" e-book. I'm a big believer in pivot being the heart and soul of the golf swing and I think my struggles with pivot are large in part due to mediocre footwork. Again, it can be found on his blog at http://sevam1.blogspot.com/ for $15.

- Then I plan on moving to VJ Trolio's "The Final Missing Piece of Ben Hogan's Secret Puzzle." Again, another book that focuses on pivot that I'm really interested in. The book can be purchased at http://www.thefinalmissingpiece.com/ for $30. Here again is the promotional video for Trolio's book:

- After that, it will be Lynn Blake's 'Alignment Golf' DVD which coincidentally has Trolio in the video as well. I think quite highly of Blake's work, so much so that I'm willing to pay $80 for the DVD series which can be found at his site at http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/.

- Finally, I will purchase the 7th edition of The Golfing Machine. I actually borrowed this from a friend ten years ago when I played mini-tours. Unfortunately, I really didn't understand how to read it and wound up only understanding about 4 pages of the book (it's a cross referencing nightmare). But there's a specific system of how to read the book on the internet and make TGM'ers on the web are willing to help me understand the book. It's really a book meant for instructors, but I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to learning about golf instruction.

After I have finished each book/DVD, I will review them here and move onto the next piece of instructional medium.


Sample Edel Putter Fitting

After having not played for the past two years, I finally got to play my first round of golf today. The damage? +7 over for a 78 on a 71.8 index course. However, this consisted of going -1 under on the last ten holes. I actually struggled with my ballstriking which is my biggest weakness. Still problems with the flip, but that's expected after years and years of flipping through the ball. I also birdied two par 3's and if there's one thing I love doing in golf is marking down a 2 on the scorecard. It's one thing to make birdies, but making birdies on par 3's, even for tour pros, is a bit rare. And I had two of the. Also birdied the last hole, hitting 4 solid golf shots. Still working on the flip and pivoting properly on the thru swing. But overall, I'll take it. Considering it was my first round back, I'm working on something foreign to me, it was freaking cold outside and I just didn't play that well it can only get better.

Anyway, here's a video of a sample putter fitting from David Edel. You may recall my post about how Edel putters are truly the 'Rolls Royce of Putters (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/david-edel-brings-coolness-with-his.html) This video doesn't show the entire fitting, but gives an idea of what Edel is trying to accomplish with his putters. Plus, his vari-loft technology provides something that no other putter can provide, the ability to change the loft of your putter depending on the type of greens you're putting on. Hugo from Big Break Michigan is using an Edel Putter and there's a rumor that Jim Furyk was using an Edel putter earlier this year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Ballad of Jimmy Ballard Article

Happy Holidays to All!

I'll probably be cutting down my blog posts to more of 1 times a day instead of 2 times a day. Mainly because the Doc's orders prevented me from playing golf until now. Tomorrow is supposed to be my first round of golf in nearly 2 years (provided it doesn't rain tomorrow). Also, there's not *a lot* of things to talk about in the game since I've covered a lot of them and some of it will be a bit redundant. Anyway, here's more on a forgotten legend in golf instruction, Jimmy Ballard and his life and the beautiful "left side connection" theory that he learned from the legendary Sam Byrd.

There was one interesting note. I was reading a post on the Web where the poster stated that he either read or saw some interview with Ballard where they asked about Leadbetter's swing theories. Leadbetter essentially aped Ballard's connection theory and marketed it for himself and Ballard had loathed him ever since. Leadbetter has been a big believer in "setting the wrists early" in the takeaway (which I completely disagree with). Nick Faldo was a big proponent of the "setting the wrists early" move and according to Ballard that even though Leadbetter preached "left side connection", by setting the wrists early the golfer, like Faldo loses their connection. Could be one big reason that Faldo, despite having powerful hips and standing about 6'3" tall was pretty short off the tee.

In other words, Leadbetter sucks. There's a reason why he has the nickname of "Lead Poison" from many tour pros and he's probably killed more golf careers than made them or improved play. So here's an excerpt from the article on Ballard (http://www.departures.com/articles/ballad-of-jimmy-ballard):

Ballard's résumé speaks the volumes that he doesn't. During the '70s he worked on the swing of Tour players Mac McClendon, J.C. Snead, Dewitt Weaver, Jim Colbert, and Leonard Thompson. All enjoyed their first professional wins and saw their playing careers subsequently explode. Gary Player and Johnny Miller became ardent believers in the Ballard gospel of connection, as did Jerry Pate, Frank Beard, and Hubert Green. In the early eighties, when Ballard set up shop at Doral Golf and Country Club in Miami, a promising Louisiana golfer named Hal Sutton came to him; Sutton soon after captured the PGA Championship. He enjoyed his greatest year on tour in 1999 and has vowed never to work with anyone else again. "If I do, I hope somebody shoots me," he said. Sutton was followed by Sandy Lyle, who promptly went and captured the '87 Players Championship and the '88 Masters. Most notably, in 1980 Curtis Strange began working with Ballard, who told him it would probably take five years to produce the results Strange was after. As predicted, in 1985 Strange won his first money title; he went on to win two consecutive U.S. Opens in '88 and '89, all under Ballard's tutelage. Peter Jacobsen, who also transformed his career under Ballard, sums it up: "The best teacher in golf. Period."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photos of Legends At Impact

Going from top to bottom, these are the swings of Trevino, Tiger, Hogan, Nicklaus and Snead.

What do they have in common?


They also have their left arm 'connected' to their left armpit, but whether or not they are consciously trying to do that is a different story. However, each of them use their PIVOT to get the clubhead to hit the ball which would provide a powerful, accurate and boring shot to the target. Or as Moe Norman liked to say "getting that dumb to that dumb guy so I can get it to that dumb guy."

See how their zippers are in front of where their hands and club are?

Their belt buckles are practically facing the target at impact. Snead has the least rotation, but that was captured in 1975, when Snead was 63 years old.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lynn Blake Drops Some Knowledge: Rhythm

Lynn Blake explains rhythm and hinge motion.

What's great about this video is:

1. You can see where "left side connection" can be used in the swing and how having that connection can provide proper rhythm.

2. Lynn shows why he's not only extremely knowledgeable about the golf swing, but is a fabulous explainer of the golf swing. His Web site goes very much into numerical references of The Golfing Machine book, but that's because it's meant for TGM'ers. But here shows that Lynn can drop some knowledge that even Joe Hacker can understand.


Reverse Pivot

A fun video of Ted Fort showing a literal version of the reverse pivot

I guess that would be "vertical tug, horizontal drop." =]

Putting and Connection

Geoff Mangum shows how to putt using left side connection:

There was a post over at the GolfWRX.com forum asking about how to cure the yips. Like I've posted before, I consider myself a pretty good putter and that along with the rest of the short game got me a D-I scholarship and playing well enough to become a professional because my golf swing consisted (still does, but much less now) of "timing the flip." I will say this, I've never had a real case of the yips. Not to say that I may go a round or a day with some yips, but for the most part the next day and throughout the week, month or summer I'll go without the yips again.

I believe the yips start with faulty technique and that usually creeps up into getting worse and worse and then the brain takes over and starts to compensate for a faulty technique and then it can't compensate enough or compensates too much and that becomes an overload your nerves start to go haywire.

That being said, as Mangum puts it in his book "Optimal Putting" having a straight back straight thru stroke or an arced stroke is pretty much window dressing. As long as the putter face is square to the target at impact and through the stroke about 2-3 inches past impact, that is what matters.

So I think part of the problem with somebody who gets yips is that they focus too much about trying to achieve the perfect stroke path and in order to do that I believe they more or less steer the putterhead with their hands to get that stroke path.

But the first thing I would check for with yips is alignment. According to David Orr's studies, 80% of golfers cannot aim straight from 6 feet out.

Out of that 80%, about 55% of the golfers have a left aim bias (aim left of the target) and the other 25% have a right aim bias (aim right of the target. Orr's studies show that left aim bias putters tend to subconsciously manipulate the clubface in order to get the ball to the target. On the other hand, his studies show that putters with a right aim bias tend to manipulate the stroke path in order to get the ball to the target.

Meaning, if you have a left aim bias you're more likely to keep your stroke path the same, but you will turn the clubface open right before impact so the clubface is pointing more towards the target. However, if you have a right aim bias you're likely not going to turn the clubface at all, but instead change the path of the stroke by cutting across the ball in order to get the ball to the target.

The former (left aim bias, manipulation of the clubface) sounds like the yips or a recipe for the yips to me. If you don't have the yips doing this, you are likely to eventually get them because it requires the brain to tell the muscles when and how much to rotate direction of the putter face to the right in order to get the ball to the target. And about 99% of the yips I see have the golfer opening the face at the last second. Seriously, when is the last time you saw a right handed golfer with yips consistently miss putts to the left?

So I would suggest getting the Laser Putting Alignment System (LPAS) training aid to help understand your aim bias and possibly understand your tendencies of being a clubface manipulator or stroke path manipulator (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/lpas-training-aid.html)

Secondly, I believe that most yips stem from the golfer using the hands too much in the thru stroke instead of gravity and the centrifigul force of the putter head. What Mangum is teaching and I am preaching isn't anything new. I started to notice this when I was 16 years old and watching tour pros putt on the practice green at the old BC Open in Endicott, New York. Most of these pros had putting strokes that had beautiful tempo and flowing so nicely. To me, it just looked like they were letting gravity do the work on the downswing and ever since that moment, I've always tried to feel like I'm allowing gravity to do the work on my putting thru stroke.

When I let gravity do the work I:

- find the putterhead pointing square at the target at impact.
- very likely strike the ball perfectly on the sweetspot
- have the correct speed and touch for the putt
- have tempo

When I get into some problems, it's usually because I'm letting the hands (particularly the right hand) "steer" the club too much and not let gravity do the work. When I'm steering I:

- Get the putterhead closed or open at impact
- I struggle to hit the sweetspot (usually off the toe)
- My speed is all over the place
- my tempo is a bit "jabby"

As I've been talking about "left side connection" and how it improved my golf swing and thus improved my ball striking, I've never mentioned exactly HOW I got back into that conclusion. As I posted before, I met David Orr back when I was 15 years old and he gave me one of his first lessons ever. Back then, Orr admittedly didn't know nearly as much about the golf swing as he did today. However, he did teach me the "left side connection" drill which was the rave in its day. I went on to use that drill for most of the year and really improved my game and ballstriking.

So part of me going back to the left side connection drill, holding the release of the #4 accumulator or "blasting" the left arm off my chest was the drill actually worked for me before.

But the OTHER part of it is you hear from many instructors that the putting stroke is essentially a miniature version of the golf swing. And I'm a good putter, so why not try to use the same type of principles, theories, thoughts, feels and techniques that I use with the putter and apply them to the full swing?

Why not have that left side connection throughout the swing?

Why not allow gravity and the centrifigul force of the club to take over in the downswing?

I later found out that Brian Manzella specifically teaches it (letting gravity do the work):

Like Manzella says, in the swing you have to pivot to more or less allow gravity to do the work, but still get the clubhead to the ball. But the main difference between the putting stroke and the swing or the chip or the flop shot is you pivot on the "swings" and you don't pivot on the putting stroke.


Hogan and Connection

Some more on "left side connection", "blasting the left arm off the chest" and properly "releasing the #4 power accumulator."


Jimmy Ballard and Connection

Speaking of "left side connection" here's Jimmy Ballard with a tip on it as well. I worked a couple of times with Jimmy about 13 years ago and he's a good, effective instructor, but I preferred more of a rotary swing and TGM methods. However, I had one friend that worked with him as well and his ballstriking was at its best when he used Ballard's methods over the rotary swing method. Different strokes for Different Folks.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thoughts on Proper Impact Position and a Long Forgotten Drill

I was over at www.brianmanzell.com/forum and a poster asked the message board who was happy with their impact position and what they did to achieve that.

While I'm not completely satisfied with my impact position, I do believe it has improved by leaps and bounds and bounds.

First, let me give my background again. I used to have a college golf scholarship at Coastal Carolina University. After graduation, I turned professional and played some mini-tour events. No, I wasn't the next great thing that somehow never made it. I was/still am a "baby flipper" who timed the flip pretty well (back then) and got by with my good (and at times exceptional) short game. I then quit the game for about 8 years and recently got back into the game after an 8 year layoff. Now my goal is to pretty much eliminate the flip so I can hit the ball better and more consistently and that will allow me to have more fun out there on the course (I'm not looking to be the next Ben Hogan, but it sucks when you're inconsistent out there).

I've read plenty of golf instruction books, magazine articles and videos. The one thing I am CONVINCED of is that the MOST IMPORTANT part of the golf swing is NOT the GRIP, ADDRESS POSITION or SWING PLANE...it's pivot.

I'll say it again. PIVOT.


It's not saying that those other things are not important, but if you can't pivot right then you're casting and/or flipping. Or as Lynn Blake calls it...public enemy #1 for a golfer.

That's probably my one gripe with a lot of the TGM instructors. While they are correct about getting a flat left wrist at impact, I believe that having "the mind in the hands" is focused too much upon by the TGM guys. If you can pivot properly you have greatly increased your chances of getting that flat left wrist and proper impact position. If you haven't properly pivoted, you have almost no chance of keeping a flat left wrist and getting a proper impact position.

We've all seen successful golfers with unique swings, like Miller Barber's flying right elbow, Freddy Couples' outside to in swing while keeping his head still, Moe keeping the clubhead way behind the ball at address and keeping the right foot perfectly on the ground until way after impact. But all of those guys, from Jack to Jim Furyk all had at least pretty good pivots.

One of the keys I look for in the swing is where the belt buckle is at impact. If you watch most of the tour pros, their belt buckle is facing near the target at impact. And the longer they are off the tee, usually the more the belt buckle has turned towards the target at impact. Bubba Watson is a perfect example

So I tried and tried and TRIED to figure out how to get the hips facing the target at impact. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Then I came across this video by Brian Manzella and this explained it a little better for me (Brian is a TGM guy as well, but one of the few that doesn't get bogged down with forcing the hands into the right position and instead focuses on the pivot)

Brian's "zipper" swing thought and keeping the zipper in front of the hands started to work for me, but I still wasn't quite there. I then noticed that I was still coming in a bit too steep and the hands were still a bit too fast. And then I started to catch that in reality my ARMS were moving too fast as well.

Well, what happens when your arms (particularly the left arm, if you're a righty) moves too fast? You're essentially releasing the #4 power accumulator (the left arm and left shoulder) too soon. And when you release any of TGM's power accumulators too soon, you lose power.


For starters, releasing a power accumulator too soon usually means you're flipping. Also, if you're releasing the #4 power accumulator too soon...IMO...this gets you too steep and the club starts covering the left arm half way down on the downswing instead of covering the right arm and taking that shallow path to the ball at the halfway down point of the swing.

The best drill I know for holding the #4 power accumulator release point is the "connection drill." Essentially, take quarter or a golf glove and stick it under your armpit. Then swing the club and do not allow the quarter to fall out of your armpit until AFTER you are halfway through your FOLLOW THROUGH. The drill was invented by Sam Byrd and used extensively by Jimmy Ballard and Ben Hogan. Today, most people forget about the drill and if they use it it is for the takeaway. But it's a great drill for:

- the takeaway
- the backswing plane
- the downswing path
- extension after impact.

TGM talks about almost "blasting the left arm off the chest" on the downswing. But you cannot do that without a proper pivot. So then I started to think that with the golf swing and the only way I could "blast the left arm off the chest" was get to the top of the swing and immediately turn the zipper towards the target BEFORE I move the hands, wrists and ARMS down even a millimeter.

When I videotaped my swing I noticed a better impact position. A better extension through impact (although it still needs work). My hips were facing more towards the target at impact. My right shoulder on the shoulder plane at impact (before it was under the shoulder plane at impact). Better lag. And now my clubshaft was covering the RIGHT arm at the halfway down point of the swing.

I was now hitting shots that felt PURER, went STRAIGHTER, LONGER, and had a far, far F-A-R better trajectory. No more balloon shots. Although I still hit the ball too high, it's not unreasonably high anymore (and I'm 6'4" tall and have an old set of clubs that help me hit the ball too high).

Even still, I would occasionally have some problems. Mainly, after years and years of flipping, I still had a tendency to want to flip the hands through impact. But now I could feel it...particularly with the right index finger. I then realized another drill that works (although it's been around for awhile, but mine is with a twist).

First, keep the connection drill going. Grab a glove or a quarter and put it under your left armpit. Now, take your grip...however, remove your RIGHT THUMB and RIGHT INDEX FINGER off of the grip.

Now try to hit some chip shots with your left side connected and your right thumb and index finger off the grip. You can also try to take some chip shot strokes at an impact bag (the bag should be aligned outside of your left shoulder). The ONLY way you can chip that ball or hit that impact bag is:

1. You subconsciously grab the grip with your right thumb and index finger and flip through


2. You pivot PROPERLY.

From there, you can move to pitch shot swings and then punch and then the full swing. As long as you stay connected and keep the right index finger and thumb off the grip, you have to pivot those hips to properly hit the ball.

That's pretty much all the "connection drill" is....it gets the golfer to understand how to properly pivot by most importantly rotating those hips around enough. Like I staed in my previous post, Sam Byrd was a pro baseball player who got the connection drill from his days as a baseball player. And one part where the baseball swing and golf swing are alike is that the golf downswing and baseball swing both need to be started with a rotation of the lower body.

Now, golfers and baseball players go about it differently with their swings, but notice how the baseball player is staying connected with his left arm and his hips have properly cleared. Is that much different from Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan or Moe Norman? I don't think so.

It's sort of amazing to me how the left side connection drill has gone by the wayside and is often misused (for improving the takeaway instead of improving the pivot). I also think that while a lot of Jimmy Ballard's methods are no longer used by today's pros (Ballard teaches a big move off the ball on the backswing then a big move foward on the downswing...more of a shift back and shift through instead of a rotary style swing), he still has an uncanny knack of improving the play of golfers, including tour pros by just preaching the left side connection drill.

A good thing never dies and its long overdue that the left side connection drill be brought back into the foray of instruction drills (but now with a twist of keeping the right index finger and thumb off the grip).


Forgetting about Stroke Path

When I think of golf's all time underrated golfers I think of Bobby Locke, Peter Thomson and Billy Casper. Above is an animated .gif of Casper's putting stroke from Geoff Mangum's www.puttingzone.com Web site. This shows that Geoff really knows his putting because Casper was one of the best ever at rolling the rock, but many people forget this.

Casper was an amazing golfer despite being short off the tee and hitting a sizeable hook. But since he had such a great short game and was so consistent with the type of shot he would hit, he was smart enough to take advantage of those assets and become a golfing legend. He was also a European killer when it came to the Ryder Cup.

Casper didn't have the most technically appeasing putting stroke. But I'm guessing he followed the Mangum "formula" of having the clubface pretty square to the target at impact and remaining on the target line about 2 inches after impact. That, and he probably was incredibly consistent and a great green reader with great feel. I'll get a review of Mangum's "Optimal Putting" book someday, but one of the great things he does preach in the book is not becoming overly focused on stroke path and instead becoming more concerned with feel, consistency and being able to read greens (of course, his Optimal Putting book has a plethora of more information than just that).

It's really no different than the full golf swing. It's not to say that all of the other stuff isn't important, but it goes to show that the golfer should really focus on how to improve their impact first and THEN work on the other stuff. Casper's stroke is living proof of that.


Sam Byrd, Hogan, Ballard and Myself

Interesting video below on YouTube with Sam Byrd's swing. A lot of you may not know who Byrd was, but you should. It's been said that Byrd helped get Hogan's swing on track. Byrd was actually a professional baseball player before he was a pro golfer and used to play with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

While playing ball with Ruth and Gehrig, one of the drills that they used to do was to take a towel and place in under the armpit of their leading arm (left arm for righties, right arm for lefties). Byrd applied this same exact concept to golf and thus "left side connection" (for righties) was applied. Byrd made particular note that as far as Ruth could hit a baseball, he was ironically a short hitter of the golf ball. Why? Because he wasn't "connected" with his lead arm.

This later morphed into the "left side connection" that one of his protege's Jimmy Ballard teaches. Ballard was probably the biggest name teacher in the 80's before Leadbetter came along and is still a guy that teaches a lot of pros like Rocco Mediate and has other pros bounce ideas off of.

I'm actually in part working on "left side connection" as well. Although I look at it as more or less staying connected and at the top of the swing of the I want to feel the connection while I'm rotating the zipper right at the target. This has not only helped me sustain the lag, but also helped me drop the club in the slot on the downswing better as well. I kind of think of it as basically delaying the release of the #4 power accumulator (left arm & left shoulder).

Anyway, according to legend Hogan started using the towel drill and it immediately got rid of his problems with the hook. Here's a look at Byrd's swing in slow motion:


Friday, December 19, 2008

Trevino And Breaking the Knees

Nice little video from Lee describing his swing. I do disagree with one thing...we can learn a lot from Lee's swing and game than just his work ethic. His phenomenal pivot which created phenomenal impact positions is a good start.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dandy Putters for the SBST Stroke

I like to putt with an arced stroke, although I usually recommend that golfers try to keep the stroke *almost* straight back and straight thru as those who try to arc the stroke seem to overdo it.

I've gotten questions in the past as to what putters are best for the Straight Back Straight Thru stroke and usually I answer with the long putter. Just came across the Dandy Putter which *claims* they can fit it for somebody who wants to use the SBST stroke.

Here's a video on the Dandy Putter (http://www.dandygolf.com/DandyStory.wmv). Of course, you can learn more by going to their Web site at www.dandygolf.com


The Secret Is In the Dirt E-Book

Just as I posted it, Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) book "The Secret Is In the Dirt" is available for purchase for $20. It's a unique e-book that requires the latest version of Adobe Acrobat reader because the e-book also contains a ton of videos helping further explain Maves' instruction in the book. He will also be adding to the book as time goes along. Meaning that if you purchase the book now, it will cost $20 and the add ons are free. However, if you wait to purchase the book the cost of the book could very well go higher.

I'll probably purchase this in January as I'm still trying to finish Geoff Mangum's 'Optimal Putting' book which is nearly 300 pages long...plus, I'm working on my own swing (which has improved big time in the past couple of weeks). But I thought many of the readers whould like to know about the book which can be found on his blog http://sevam1.blogspot.com/2008/12/secret-in-dirt-e-book-is-finally.html


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Post of the Year by Brian Manzella

First, here's a video showing a sample of how the Trackman is used:

Anyway, here's Brian Manzella's G-R-E-A-T post over at his Web site (http://www.brianmanzella.com/forum/golfing-discussions/11299-new-trackman-research-findings-brian-manzella.html)


For those who do not know me well, I am a absolute devourer of new information. If I had the time to read them, I'd subscribe to 100 magazines. I am the only person on earth that has gone to every PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit, every TGM Summit, every MIT Better Golf Through Technology Summit, the first AMF Instructor Division Summit, and this upcoming January will be the 25th consecutive PGA Merchandise Show that I have attended.


Only one problem—I started getting bored at seminars a long time ago. For every Aaron Zick—who is a real physicist, you get a hundred Joe DaPros using the word physics in their completely scientifically bogus presentation. For every take home worthwhile nugget of information, you get a couple of hundred boring speakers, horrible rules, and a legit pain in the derrière.

But, thankfully, the last couple of years, a few times a year, I spend some time with TrackMan and a very high-end 3D system. Yesterday was one of those days. Trackman only day.Whoa!I hit so many balls my thumb got a blister for the first time in years. But I'd take 10 blisters, and even a real pain in my derrière for what I learned.

One thing I have learned from speaking, and listening to speakers, is giving the audience your thesis and the take home nuggets first. You can fill in the details later.Here are your nuggets, free of charge, from the web's best golf instruction site:

1. If you want to hit the ball straight, DO NOT aim straight on every shot, with every club in the bag. You have NO CHANCE.

You have to aim a decent amount left with short irons, and slightly less and less until you get to slightly closed with a Driver.

If you try to do it out of a square stance your head will explode.

2. Plane Line is NOT relevant to the golf ball. True Path and True Clubface rule, trust your eyeballs (ball flight) more than any line on any screen.

When TrackMan's audible measurements were telling me my true face or true path, I could make feel and ball flight sense of it after the shot, and adjust during the shot.

When it gave me plane line numbers, I was swimming in the variety of how down I hit on it related to the true path and face.

3. You are going to hit down on wedges more than 8-irons, and 8-irons more than 6-irons. No matter what you do. Aim more left the shorter the club.

You can NOT hit a straight ball with a square stance and a straight plane line with a mid-iron. You are going to have to GUESS at how far left left to swing and say a little prayer.

So, aim left enough, and control the face based on spin—or hit draws.4. You are going to have to hit down about 3.5° with a 6-iron. I would have thought not. You have no chance. The shots I hit trying to have as little as possible were comically high. I had a tough time hitting down less than 8° with a 60 degree wedge.

My guess is that because of the distance between the sweetspot and the hosel, but we have someone that is going to a Major Company this week and we will have the answer.

5. Moving the ball position around too much, for the design or the club or another reason, will make you a PITIFUL wreck or a guesstimator.

The best players always said they didn't vary ball position, just aim. I agree. No matter how far I moved the ball up or back in my stance, It DID NOT VARY my downward strike necessary for good contact.

It WILL destroy you path though. You can move the ball around a tiny bit, but I wouldn't until you get to longer clubs and the driver.

6. Hit slightly up on a Driver. On my normal Driver shot, I aim left swing left and hit down. I had NO CHANCE being consistent that way. The Soft Draw pattern produced GREAT numbers for me, and here they are (an average of a few dozens very accurate baby draws):

99.7 MPH
1.4° upward contact
1.3° inside-out TRUE PATH
2.7° inside-out Plane Line
12.8 Delivered Loft
2,373 Spin
236 Carry (with Range balls below sea level)
255 with roll (would "normalize" to about 10+ yards)
1.47 smash Factor

I did produce a couple of DEAD STRAIGHT driver shots. Almost all zeros. Very Tough to do.

7. There is device on the market that says to swing 11° inside-out. There is a group of teachers that say this can produce a straight-ish shot. An "Alternate Target Line" so-to-speak. Even a path that can be produced with a somewhat straight plane line.


Not close.

Totally wrong.


The shot I hit with a 6-iron with an 11° inside-out TRUE PATH—which I need to have a 7.9° inside-out plane line to accomplish—was a 60 yard-of-curve rope hook.

It will be usable on the golf course if you hit your tee shot on #1 at Pebble Beach nearly OB left and short, and have to hook it around that big-arse tree on the left.

But, otherwise, JUNK.

I could go
on....But...The best thing to do is stay dialed in to this site.

I may
have to do a video and several Live Shows to get everyone up to speed.

It was a great day in the history of Golf Instruction.


Just great, awesome stuff.


Mike Maves Talks More Hogan and Moe

Here's a fireside chat Mike Maves (sevam1) had about Moe Norman and Ben Hogan that I thought was excellent.

I highly suggest getting Maves' book when it comes out in 2009. You can always check up on it coming out at his blog http://sevam1.blogspot.com

While I really enjoy The Golfing Machine instructors, I feel that *some* of them get too involved with thinking about the hands and keeping the flat left wrist (which is important) and don't focus enough on the pivot. Brian Manzella is a perfect exception as he goes into detail in his videos of the correct way to pivot. But while it's important to keep that left wrist flat, you can't do it if you're not pivoting correctly, IMO. If you're not pivoting, you're going to be casting and/or flipping.

The only part I disagree with Maves on here is Hogan's flexibility. I understand that the footage Maves is talking about (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/rare-ben-hogan-footage.html) has Hogan still striping the hell out of the ball. But I feel that even in his late 60's Hogan had phenomenal flexibility...probably more flexible than a lot of good golfers in their 30's and even 20's. But other than that, I really feel Mike is right on track with his thoughts on the golf swing and his videos and book are definitely worth taking in.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Impact/Release Video And My Thoughts

Some good discussion on impact and release here:

The golfer in video does seem to get a little more involved with trying to keep the left wrist flat for my tastes. Not to say that isn't what you should do (the left wrist has to stay flat in order to consistently hit quality golf shots), but to me it's more important to focus on the pivot. I paused the golfer's swing at impact and he's got a perfectly flat left wrist and is greatly compressing the ball. However, it's important to note that he's doing a tremendous job of pivoting with his hips at least 45 degrees open at impact.

I recently videotaped my swing and I found that I improved by leaps and bounds in just a two week span by finding a way to improve my pivot. I try to feel like at the top of the swing I'm trying to turn that zipper directly at the target while holding my arms and hands back. The problem *I* have with trying to manipulate a flat left wrist at impact is that *I* wind up getting the arms and hands moving too fast on the downswing. When I get the downswing correct, I can noticeably feel my club AND arms lagging way behind at impact. Basically, I want the thought of hitting the ball with my pivot instead of hitting it with my arms and hands. So the thought is "zipper at target, keep the arms behind."

But golf is a game filled with swing thoughts and feels that are purely subjective. So this video may work for you or my swing thought may work. Either way, you MUST pivot properly to hit quality golf shots consistently and in general you want to get the hips open at the target so the zipper is facing the target at impact.


Mental Management For Great Golf by Dr. Bee Esptein

Back when I was playing some mini-tours about 10 years ago, I picked up the book 'Mental Management For Great Golf' by Dr. Bee Esptein-Shepherd. I was looking for a book that went into actual mental techniques when it came to the game of golf. IMO and I'll be frank about it, the Rotella books on mental management always seemed like a big joke to me and a waste of my time and money. Essentially they follow the same route of the following principles:

- Have confidence when you're playing golf.
- You can't be perfect in golf, so don't get upset.
- Remain confident in your abilities.

And I read this and say to myself "well, DUH." Perhaps I need to curb my visceral hatred for Rotella's books, but I can't but think he's just another huckster, carny that wastes people's time and money. His books may work for some people, but I think if anything they force the golfer to develop a fake confidence and I can't imagine that being very helpful.

That's what I like about Epstein's book, particularly compared to just about every other mental game book out there. She provides techniques, particularly self-hypnosis techniques, to help you stay calm, relax and even confident. She does ramble on a bit. I've used these techniques in different facets of life as well, even helping lower my blood pressure.

Unfortunately, I lost the book in a move, but I passed by it the other day at a bookstore. I'll probably buy it again so I can read it again and keep better note of her techniques. I highly recommend this book though and I believe you will be blown away by how different and better the book is.

You can purchase the book at http://drbee.com/products.html for $25.


ESPN on Moe Norman

I've seen this video on Moe Norman about 100 times, but there may be people (particularly fans of Moe) that haven't.


Monday, December 15, 2008

9-3 Swing On Tour

Here's some of the 9-3 drill swing on Tour. Of course, Tiger didn't start it but Johnny Miller pretty much makes stuff up as he goes anyway.


Some Dave Pelz Tools

Pelz gets a lot of flak for his teachings and it appears that less and less Tour players are following his advice these days. But, that doesn't mean he doesn't have some good training aids. I currently use his putter clips (pic below)
These are designed as a feedback device so the golfer knows when his putts were not almost perfectly struck in the sweetspot. If you look at SAM puttlab results for most pros, they are extremely consistent with where they strike their putts and usually it's on the sweetspot (unless you're Meg Mallon who consistently strikes putt more towards the toe). Amateurs on the other hand tend to have a bigger dispersion of where they strike the ball on the putterface.

I used these putter clips frequently just as a reminder for me to not use the right hand on the thrustroke. I believe on letting gravity do as much of the work as it possibly can on the thrustroke. When I do that, it does a lot of good things for me...in particular it allows me to consistently strike the sweetspot. When I start using too much right hand, that's when there starts to be some dispersion. The putter clips come in a set of three and the adhesive is superb. In fact, I wish the LPAS training aid had Pelz's adhesive tape. I've had the same adhesive for more than 3 years and have yet to change it over or have a problem with it. You can buy the putter clips for $29.95.

The other training aid Pelz has that I really like is his 'Truthboard' (pic above). I actually don't have this, but a friend of mine does and I've used it a bunch of times. Obviously, it looks like a rail that is on an incline that is for 3 foot putts. But you can adjust the hole size and make the hole smaller and adjust the level of the incline so you can give yourself left to right or right to left putts. This is a GREAT tool for getting your launch (the initial 2-3 feet of the ball leaving the putterface) down and help with those knee knockers.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hank Haney & Charles Barkley...

The transformation will stun you.


Golf Clubs and Mike McNary

I'm looking to get some new blades come February (Xmas Shopping and trying to get my swing better and better before I get some new clubs). Clubs I was really impressed with were the Mizuno MP-62 I tried the MP67 irons out and liked them as well, but I was striping the hell out of these despite them still being a tad flat for me (I'm 6'4" tall, use +1/2" and 1 degree upright). Luke Donald has started to use these irons now that he's back from wrist surgery. While these are definitely worth checking out, I would also suggest trying their CLK Hybrids.
I hit the 20 degree a few times and hit it so well I felt like I was doing something illegal. I'm still unfamiliar with hybrids, but I cannot stand the look of those hybrids that are half white and half black on the top of the clubhead. This doesn't have that look, but more importantly, it's just a great club.

Also should be noted that the PGA Tour Superstore that I went to had the Callaway X Prototype irons (pic below), brand new, for only $999. However, they have the Project X 5.5 shafts and they are uncut (shafts haven't been cut, no grips)

Anyway, onto golf swings. As some of you may know, I'm not a big fan of the Stack and Tilt swing pattern, but here's one of the best ones I've seen from Mike McNary.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Traditional Golf Clubs

Came across a really nice club maker's (Mark Inoue) Web site the other day. It's called Traditional Sports Forged Golf Clubs. The Web site can be found at http://www.traditionalgolf.com/. Here's the clubs that caught my eye:

I even like the looks of their wedges and driver, which has the old school traditional soleplate design.

Here's Mark Inoue's statement on his Web site:

Dear Friends,

Almost thirty years of working in the golf industry with leading pro-line manufacturers and as a distributor for a world-renowned golf equipment manufacturer, I realized there was a need for clubs designed for the serious golfer. Touring pros and low handicappers require and appreciate the soft feel of forged high-grade carbon steel that offers the sensitivity and control to “work the ball”...

The introduction of our line of forged irons resulted in creating many satisfied customers; these serious golfers requested that we include a driver with the same quality and performance as our irons. After designing and testing several versions of drivers with mixed results, we became aware of a new Titanium alloy “SP-700” whose properties were superior to all metals currently used for golf clubs. We created a new concept for a driver that has all the components of the head forged from this patented material.

We construct our golf clubs to the requirements of the customer; each iron or driver is individually ground and balanced according to the type and length of shaft and the loft, lie and face angles are customized and registered. This is a time-consuming and laborious process, but our customers can feel the difference and see the improved results in our clubs.

I hope you will consider our clubs, as I am confident that you will appreciate and enjoy the difference our products make.


Mark Inoue

Inoue does not list prices on his Web site, but I've read in other places that his irons go for about $1,200 for a set. So they're not cheap, but these are custom, hand made clubs so of course they are going to be more expensive than some mass produced set out of the factory.

Obviously, it's more important to find clubs that fit you first and find the clubs that produce the best and most consistent shots. But this is one of the many Web sites that shows you can find some great looking clubs without having to get them from big time club manufacturers.


'Impact Is Incidental'

Yoda (aka Lynn Blake) has a great video up on how to use an Impact Bag. Even I wasn't using my Impact Bag quite correctly. Here's the video (http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/gallery/files/517/3-ImpactBag.wmv).

The great thread started by Yoda can be found at http://www.lynnblakegolf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=206


Clockface Breaks Pattern with Geoff Mangum

I'm currently reading Geoff Mangum's 'Optimal Putting' book, but that is roughly 300 pages long so it will take me awhile before I can put in a review. Anyway, here's a good video of Geoff explaining the 'clock method' of how to read putts. Of course, first you have to understand the fall line and find the proper fall line.

At the risk of sounding like I am tooting my own horn, I've pretty much always been a good putter. But understanding this concept that Geoff teaches in the video below has noticeably improved my putting as now I've practically eliminated bad misreads from my game.(I call a bad misread a misread where I think it goes one way and it winds up going the exact opposite way) So generally now when it comes to misreads, they are more of the type that I have the right idea, they just don't break as much or break more than I think they should. To me, this is sort of the key to good putting. I look at when I putt that all I'm trying to do is make a *decent* read, a *decent stroke* with *decent alignment* and a *decent launch*, then if it still doesn't go in I've got to take it. There's simply too many other factors, many of which are out of the golfer's control, that can make you miss a putt.

I spoke to one tour player about putting and those were also his exact same sentiments about what he tries to accomplish with his putting.

For more of Geoff's YouTube videos, go to http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=geoffmangum&view=videos


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pure Ball Striker Training Aid

Another inexpensive, but quality training aid is the Pure Ball Striker (that little orange thing on the grip in the pic above) created by Jeff Evans. The PBS can attach to any club and grip and teaches the golfer how to correctly use and feel Homer Kelley's Pressure Point #3, the right index finger (for righties).

Here, Mr. Hogan explains it better than I do.

The lack of understanding of PP#3 is common for many golfers since there's a tendency to cast or flip the club and after impact when the club should be more in line with the left arm, golfers tend to not properly use PP#3 and get the club more in line with the right arm after impact.

I've found that this device does help just about everybody to some degree. It helped me a little bit and I still use it when I'm getting too handsy and over-accelerating the clubhead and not using my pivot to hit the ball.

Another great aspect of the PBS?

It's only $13.

You can find one at their Web site at http://www.pureballstriker.com/.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brian Manzella's Never Hook Again 2.0

I just got done watching Brian Manzella's 'Never Hook Again 2.0' video. The purpose of the video is to develop a swing (Manzella calls it "a pattern") that will prevent the golfer from ever hooking the ball.

Like Manzella's 'Never Slice Again 2.0' video, NHA 2.0 perfectly describes what goes on with a hooked shot and then works on developing a certain type of swing that will make hooking the ball almost impossible.

I would say that NHA 2.0 is better for the lower handicap player than the NSA 2.0 video. And to me, the pattern used in NHA 2.0 is not nearly as 'extreme' as the pattern used in NSA 2.0. As far as tour pros go, they are much more likely to use the NHA 2.0 pattern than the NSA 2.0 pattern, although Bubba Watson does use some of the NSA 2.0 pattern.

Overall I liked the NHA 2.0 video and thought it was more useful than the NSA 2.0 video. Once again, Manzella does a beautiful job of explaining things in a simple and easy manner while still being precise. Furthermore, the web version is only $9.99, which is another steal in Manzella's video library.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Mapping the Greens on Tour with David Orr

I just got done watching David Orr's new video "Mapping the Greens on Tour" which can be found on his forum at (http://www.orrgolf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=177) The cost is $12.95.

The video is as it says...showing how tour caddies map out the greens for their players. The caddies have it a little easier since they can get pin placements from past tournaments from the tour office. You and I really don't have that luxury and instead would have to map out the entire green. However, as I pointed out in a previous post (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/12/exelys-breakmaster-update.html), tour caddy who goes by the handle 'Overkill' on the lynnblakegolf.com forum has a simple method for mapping the entire green. Although there's one big difference...the caddies on this video use the Exelys Breakmaster exclusively whereas 'Overkill' prefers the bubble level green reader (although he does have the Breakmaster as well).

Orr's video works with Charlie Wi's looper (Mark Urbanek) and Billy Mayfair's caddy (Todd Montoya). Both room together, but have very different methods of mapping the greens. However, each method can be useful to a player wanting to map out the greens at their local course for themself.

The video itself is meant for low handicappers...particularly those very dedicated to their games and anybody who wants to become a caddy. There's a couple of instances where the audio struggles a bit, but overall the video and audio quality is very good.

This is a solid video and more or less interesting than anything else. Since I'm a bit of a fanatic who plans to get back into playing serious golf, this video works for me since I plan on mapping out greens for future tournaments. It also may be helpful for the low to mid handicapper who plays the same course all of the time and would like to map out the greens so he can take so more nassau's from his playing partners.

That being said, I think it's much more important to get Orr's "How to Read the Greens" video since if the golfer can read the greens, he really doesn't need the green map. And while preperation is key to success, execution is still more important.