Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Look At Components of the Golf Swing: Top Of Backswing - Face On View

Here's a look at the top of the swings of several great players. Notice different club positions, different left arm angles and different backswing pivots.









A Look At Augusta National: #10 - Camelia

This is one of the holes that has drawn some criticism for Augusta National making the hole longer. That being said, I found this to still be a very fair test of golf. In fact, two years ago I saw quite a few pros tee off on this hole with a 3-wood and have no problem reaching the green in two. It may take out guys like Gary Player and Gay Brewer, but if Fred Funk can reach it in two without much of an issue, then it's still a reasonable length in my book.

Par 4
495 Yards

Original Intent:"A tee shot played to the right which does not avail itself of the slope will add at least two club numbers to the length of the second shot, in addition to which the approach to the green must be made across the slopes, rather than directly into them. A good drive down the left side usually makes it possible to play the second with a medium iron, sometimes even less if the wind be behind."- Bobby Jones, in Sports Illustrated, April 6, 1959

Significant Changes:
- Green relocated from fairway bottom to current location, 1937
- Tee moved back 5-10 yards and moved five yards to the golfer's left, 2002

Did It Work?

Historically the most difficult hole on the course, the long par-4 requires two solid shots. Moving the green turned a relatively tame hole into a monster.

History Score: 4.32
Average History Rank: 1st



A Look At Golf Swing Components: 9 o'clock Position



Jim Furyk

Charlie Wi


I had to post this right away as it was just brought to my attention. Most of the readers here understand that the following article is a bunch of BS to the highest level, but for many golfers who are not in the know or just starting out, the air must be cleared.

From the March 2009 edition of Golf Magazine

The front page of Golf Magazine features: Build a SWING you can TRUST by Masters Champion Trevor Immelman.


Point the toe down and cup your left wrist.


TRUST THIS: My toe-down position at the top means

I have to really go after it at the bottom. This may sound like a compensation move, but it's actually the easiest way to square the face and swing with speed. I like to feel the clubhead passing may hands through impact, not may hands trying to hold the face square.

And here's a pic of what Immelman says to do at impact:

I'm guessing that Trevor is trying to instruct the 'swivel release' motion. Which looks like this (as executed by Ben Doyle):

Not only is Doyle's swivel release different from what Immelman is showing, but here's Doyle at impact and thru impact:

Immelman has a bent left wrist at impact, at no point is Doyle's left wrist bent inward at impact.

Okay, so let's look at others at impact:

So let's see....Hogan, Nicklaus, Woods, Moe Norman and Trevino show without a SHADOW OF A DOUBT that the lead wrist has to be flat at impact, yet Immelman is trying to say differently. So we've got probably the three greatest ballstrikers ever (Hogan, Moe, Trevino) and the two greatest golfers of all time (Nicklaus and Woods) doing the exact opposite of Immelman's instruction.

Immelman actually does not do what he's advocating. However, from what I've heard is that he's been struggling heavily this year and if he's trying to flip at the ball at impact and he's starting to actually flip at the ball, that could be why he's struggling so badly.

There was a reason why I labeled this as an EMERGENCY post. I've been there. You take something you learn from some Golf Magazine and start to apply it and it doesn't really work and only leads to more frustration. Most of the time, the instruction in golf magazines are not really 'wrong', but more 'wrong' for a great percentage of golfers. But, this is DEAD wrong and is violating one of the very, very few absolute imperatives of the golf swing.

But, don't blame Immelman. Golf Magazine and David Leadbetter (Immelman's instructor) should know better. Unfortunately they don't and golfers pay the price for it.


Friday, February 27, 2009

A Look At The Components of the Golf Swing: Address Position







A Look at Components of the Golf Swing: The Grip

I have been thinking about this for awhile and I finally decided to go ahead and do it. As I've posted many times on this blog, there is no one way to swing the club and hit the ball effectively. The history of the game has seen great golfers with different swing planes, address positions, grips, etc. The big key is that the great golfers each had a flat lead wrist at impact along with a great pivot action in order to create lag and allow the lead wrist to be flat at impact.

I'm sure I'll come across golfers who will tell me differently. I usually do. Some will tell me that the key is the address position, which I say BULL HONKEY. Some will say the grip, which I'll reply RUBBISH. Some will say swing plane which will make me CHUCKLE.

So to counter that, I'll go over a bunch of the components of the golf swing and show pics of how some of the great golfers approached each component. First up, the grip:









A Look At Augusta National: #9 - 'Carolina Cherry'

While most of the rave reviews for the holes at Augusta are usually #10-#13 and #15-#16, this is probably my favorite par 4 on the entire course. It should be state law that the pin on Sunday will be up front. And again, another green that's not surrounded by trees. While having trees surrounding greens is pretty, it's a pain in the ass to keep the greens in good shape because the trees block off the air flow to the green (and provide too much shade). I really wish more course designers would take note of this and make the lives of superintendents much easier.

Par 4
460 Yards

Original Intent:"Under normal playing conditions a long drive straight down the middle of the fairway will give the best result, since the ball will reach a reasonably flat area and provide an open shot for at least half the green. The hole opens up more and more as the drive is played to the right, but the distance becomes increasingly longer."- Bobby Jones, in Sports Illustrated, April 6, 1959

Significant Changes:

- Green altered; right slope softened to make pin placement less severe, 2007
- Tee moved back 25-30 yards, 2002

Did It Work?

This hole still plays true to what Jones envisioned. The approach, if not properly judged, will spin off the false front and leave the golfer with an awkward chip.

History Average Score: 4.15
History Average Rank: 11th



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sequences From Gary Woodland's Swing

Some sequences of PGA Tour rookie Gary Woodland's golf swing:

Pretty Impressive.


A Look at Augusta National: #8 - 'Yellow Jasmine'

Par 5
570 Yards

Original Intent:"(The green) is completely visible for the third shot and a player who is sufficiently long to get up in two will be able to define the position of the green owing to the size of the surrounding hillock."- Alister Mackenzie, from the first Masters program


- Tee moved back 15-20 yards and shifted 10 yards to golfer's right, 2002
- Fairway bunker reshaped and nearly doubled in size, 2002

Did It Work?

Like No. 2, this hole is still easily reached in two shots. The enlarged fairway bunker punishes wayward drives, but birdie is still expected here by the players.

History Scoring Average: 4.85
History Average Rank: 15th


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AJ Bonar and 3Jack

Got an e-mail (and you can e-mail me too at about AJ Bonar's teachings and basically asking 'isn't that the same damn thing you are learning right now?' And 'is he (Bonar) right?' And 'why do so many of these teachers seem to hate him (Bonar)?'

You can get the jist of what Bonar instructs from an old Golf Magazine article (,28136,1565175,00.html). In it, Bonar claims that ALL of the teachers have taught the wrong thing and that his turning over of the wrists at impact (or as he says, imagine the clubshaft is a screw driver and you are screwing the shaft into the ground counterclockwise --- for a righty-- right before impact).

Here's a sequence of what it looks like according to Bonar:

Personally, I don't feel like I'm learning quite exactly the thing Bonar is teaching. Bonar teaches a right handed turnover (if you're a righty). I don't care for that move because then you start getting into a too dominant of your right hand and it's flip-city. I more or less think of rotating the left hand.

Secondly, I don't try to actively bow out the left wrist at impact. Lastly, Bonar wants golfers to cup their wrist at the top of the swing to open up the clubface. I have a flat left wrist at the top of the swing.

So no, I'm not exactly doing what Bonar teaches.

But this type of swing has been around for quite some time. It's the good ole 'swivel release' that a teacher like Ben Doyle (and many others) like to incorporate into their instruction and was written by Homer Kelley in 'The Golfing Machine' all the way back in 1968.

Here's Ben Doyle incorporating the swivel release in his very own swing:

Lately, I've grown really tired of many golf forums because the threads about golf swings and golf theories usually turn into long, worn out flame wars.

Unfortunately, I think Bonar exemplifies part of the problem.

I think a lot of the problems with discussing the golf swing is that most golfers usually come from poor instruction early on in their lives. Then the golf magazines just compound the problem. Eventually the golfer gets some better instruction, but the teacher is teaching one particular pattern. Usually, it doesn't work for that golfer. Eventually the golfer gets some different instruction and finds a way to swing the club that works for them.

After that, the golfer thinks that because a certain method worked for will automatically work for everybody. And to make matters worse, they believe that there are a lot of absolute imperatives to the golf swing that all golfers MUST do in order to hit the ball effectively.

Thus, you get a lot of golfers with a lot of different methods about how to hit the ball effectively and the flame wars begin.

And yes, I've been guilty of this crap as well.

The truth is that there are very, very few absolute imperatives to the golf swing. Flat lead wrist at impact and effective pivot are probably the biggest two 'must have' parts of the golf swing. But other than that, there's tons and tons of ways to grip and swing the club and still be a darn good ballstriker.

Bonar falls into the trap. He believes that this is THE secret to golf and that everybody else has neglected to tell golfers that. And what's really bad is that he doesn't really instruct the method very well nor does he seem to know much about it.

Thus, the hatred and criticism begins and there's little in the way of good, meaningful discussion of the golf swing.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Look At Augusta National: #7 - 'Pampas'

Can't say too much about this hole. When I've arrived at Augusta I usually walk through the first few holes and then you see the beautiful sixth hole and then cross the walk thru to start looking for the clubhouse and the 10th hole. Not that tough of a hole for the pros, but if it gets windy it's a real pain because the bunkers start to come into play and they are not easy to get out of.

450 yards
Par 4

Original Intent:"Length is certainly not at a premium here, but the narrow fairway seems to have an added impact because it suddenly confronts the player just when he has become accustomed to the broad expanses of the preceding holes. ... The second shot is normally a steep pitch, often with a wedge, and precise judgment of range is required."- Bobby Jones, in Sports Illustrated, April 6, 1959

Significant Changes:
- Six feet added to left side of green to allow more pin placements, 2007.
- Left-rear bunker moved back several feet, 2007
- Tee moved back 35-40 yards, 2006- Trees added to both sides of fairway, 2006
- Green rebuilt for possible right, rear pin position, 2006

History Average Score: 4.14
History Average Rank: 12th



Some Cool Swing Video Software

Not sure what the software is, but it shows where the weight is during the swing. Pretty cool stuff.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Updated Swing

Here's a look at my latest video taped swing. Here's one of the beauties of having a camcorder. I'm working on something new and I can take the recorder and see if I'm doing what I was instructed. Clubface much more square in the backswing and I do finish swivel pretty decent here. That's just one reason why I call the camcorder the '15th club in your bag.'


A Look At Augusta National: #6 - 'Juniper'

This is a beautiful hole that does not get much attention. It drops off more than it looks.

180 yards

Par 3

Original Intent: "With the ball stopping either short of this raised area (back plateau) or off to the left of it, it is an extremely difficult job to get the first putt close to the hole."- Bobby Jones, in Sports Illustrated, April 6, 1959

Significant Change:
- Pond filled in at front of green, 1959

Did It Work?

The cosmetic change has had no real effect for tournament play. Putting the tee shot on the proper side of the green is crucial.

History Average Score: 3.14
History Average Rank:



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jodie Mudd Golf Swing

I was farting around on the Web today and came across Manzella's video of Jodie Mudd.

For those who don't know, Mudd was an up and comer on the PGA Tour and then fell out of the scene and eventually started learning from Mac O'Grady. He came back with an exceptional looking golf swing, something raved about by fellow tour pros and adding to the legend of Mac O'Grady. Anyway, here's the link to the video, enjoy.

A Look At Augusta National: #5 - 'Magnolia'

One of the few holes I didn't check out at both of my trips to Augusta. A gradual turning dogleg.

455 yards
Par 4

Original Intent:"The proper line here is, as closely as possible, past the bunker on the left side of the fairway. It is not necessary to carry this bunker in order to direct the drive into a groove in the fairway on top of the hill. But it is a very comforting safety factor to have sufficient length for the carry should the shot be pulled slightly."- Bobby Jones, in Sports Illustrated, April 6, 1959

Significant Changes:
- Fairway bunkers extended about 80 yards toward the green, 2003
- Tee moved back, 2003

Did It Work?

Yes. Players rarely try to carry the bunkers anymore, so they are forced to play to the right, which means a longer shot to a difficult green.

Average History Score: 4.27
Average History Rank: 5th