Thursday, December 31, 2009

Answers to the Swing Changes I Made...

On my latest updated golf swing post I made a couple of changes and asked the readers if they could spot them. Blog Follower gmbtempe spotted one difference in the flex of the right knee, but nobody else could really spot the other change. Here's the latest video, of me hitting shots in hail and sleet (He's Hardcore! He's Hardcore!) and I'll show the other change that was made.

If you notice in the video, I am demonstrating that the other change I made was that I am standing further away from the ball.

I actually pieced this idea together from a few people. One place was from continuing to study Mike Maves' (aka Sevam1) swing. Take a look at Mike at P1

As you can see, Maves has his arms noticeably away from the ball, however it doesn't look like he's reaching either. And I recall Monte Scheinblum say to the effect that taller golfers should stand further away because they need to create 'space' for their longer arms. And I believe Nick Faldo, a golfer whose swing I was always interested in for the fact that he and I are about the same height, once said that shorter golfers should stand up more at address to 'get taller' and tall golfers should bend over more to 'get smaller.' And there's the constant advice of John Erickson that golfers should swing flatter and clubs today are too upright.

There was also the advice of David Orr that downward neck tilt was from the head being tilted upward with the eyes looking down at address. You're basically best off having your eyeballs looking in the same direction your face is pointing with *all* clubs in the bag. You don't want to have your eye looking downward or your eyes looking upward. I actually posted an article on neck tilt awhile ago and you can find it HERE.

For awhile I had felt that wasn't causing the downward neck tilt because I didn't feel like I was looking downward and didn't raise my head up. However, by taking all of these things into consideration, I started to realize the distance I was standing away from the golf ball was effecting my golf swing.

If you stand too close to the ball, you almost inevitably will have to look down with your eyes to see the ball.

I also got the feeling I was standing too close to the ball when I looked at myself at address compared to Rory McIlroy at address from this unique camera angle.

Different amount of knee flex, waist bend, left shoulder in relation to the head, etc.

So what I believe happens, in this case, is you stand too close to the ball and the neck is almost forced to tilt. The swing also becomes more upright and you don't have the right amound of knee flex and waist bend. I think these things help cause a too upright of a downswing and get the clubface closed on the downswing. Here's a look at a couple of pics of the downswing.

Much squarer clubface and IMO, noticeably less downward neck tilt.

The other change in the swing I made came from Dana Dahlquist's forum and it's what helped me keep some knee flex and it's called 'cocking the ankles.'

According to a poster at the forum who goes by the handle 'Darom55' he says that both ankles should be cocked basically thru impact.

What does that mean? Well, take a look at these pics from Jeff Mann's Web Site showing what a 'level', 'cocked' and 'uncocked' wrist looks like.




As Mann describes on his site, the 'cocked' wrist basically has the left thumb moving closer to the forearm. The uncocked wrist has the thumb moving away from the forearm.

So my interpretation of 'ankle cocking' is to make the ankle such a way where the top of the foot moves closer to the shin. And then from there I try to maintain that as long as I can. This thought helped me keep some flex in my knee a little better than thinking about keeping the right knee flexed.

As far how far to stand away from the ball I would suggest to look at your head. If the back and the head move up quite a bit on the backswing, then you may be standing too close to the ball. And of course, if your neck tilts downward, then you also may be standing too close to the ball.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part V

In the previous posts for the key concepts series I discussed concepts such as hitting the ball FIRST, then taking a divot and how that is mandatory for good ballstriking with the irons. I then went into the concept of the 'low point' and how it's important to control it and how the flat left wrist is critical in helping control the golfer's low point. I then went into the correct laws of ball flight and how clubface control is usually what dictates the golfer's ballstriking ability. And hopefully, once and for all, I showed the utter fallacy that hitting bad shots that don't get airborne are due to 'looking up' and how good ballstrikers usually have swings where they rely less on timing, hand-eye coordination and 'talent.'

I think these golfer's display these concepts quite well.

The above videos show arguably the top 5 greatest golfers (Snead, Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Tiger) and some of the greatest ballstrikers ever (Snead, Hogan, Trevino, Moe, Knudson). And here's what to notice.

They all have vastly different golf swings.

As Homer Kelley said in his book 'The Golfing Machine'...there is no one way, but there is a best way for each particular golfer.

Nicklaus and Tiger used interlocking grips. Moe sometimes used a 10 finger grip. Trevino and Palmer had pretty strong grips. Hogan had a weak grip. Snead used to aim to the right with all shots. Trevino aimed left. Hogan would aim right with longer clubs and aim left with shorter clubs. Hogan stood up more at address and had high hands. Moe stood far away from the ball with the club about 1-2 feet behind the ball. Nicklaus tilted his head way to the right at address and had his hands very far up in his stance.

Hogan, Knudson and Moe swung the club back pretty flat. Nicklaus and Trevino swung the club back pretty upright. Some guys drag loaded the club, some drive loaded the club. Hogan float loaded the club. All of these golfers had different length backswings, some wayyy past parallel (Snead, Hogan pre-accident) and some kept their swings shorter. Hogan, Trevino and Palmer had snap releases. Nicklaus and Moe had more 'random sweep releases.'

And I could go on and on.

In essence, there are laws of physics an geometry and how well you comply with those laws that determine the quality of the shot.

However, there are practically countless ways to comply with these laws. Furthermore, as we see these great golfers have vastly different swings, it should be realized that there are really very, very few things a golfer *must* do in the swing.

So the thought that golfers should grip a club a certain way, swing on a certain plane, address the ball a certain way, etc is horribly wrong. And if a teacher believes that all golfers must or should do something in the swing, chances are that's not quite the case.

Even further, the thought that if a golf can emulate a certain position or a certain swing (like Ben Hogan's) that it will equate to ballstriking success is really a foolhardy task.

If Ben Hogan tried to swing like Jack Nicklaus, we would have never heard of Ben Hogan. And vice versa.

IMO, the key concept here is that the golf swing is a bit like a puzzle and the golfer needs to find a swing that can produce consistent control of the low point, the club path and the clubface. Some swings do that and are a little more dynamic than others, but the control of the face, path and low point are of the utmost importance.


Wednesday Golf Swing Update - 12.30.09

Want to welcome new blog follower Briggs to the Richie3Jack golf blogging fold.

Anyway, here's the latest video of my golf swing. I'm using my 'new' MacGregor Tourney Custom 5-iron here. It's not a bad feeling club, although the shafts are junk and I need new grips on them. I forgot just how difficult it is to hit the old blade style irons.

The current blade designs have the weight more in the middle and at the bottom of the club. This keeps the center of gravity lower so the ball is easier to get airborne and makes the club more forgiving. The old blade designs (pretty much any blade iron before the mid-90's had the sweetspot more towards the heel and higher up. If you hit a shot off the toe, 'fuhgetaboutit' as they like to say.

Many skilled ballstrikers miss this old design because it truly tested the golfer's skill to swing the club and if you hit it well, it was easier to get a strong, boring trajectory.

And that's the truth. I forgot how difficult it is to hit the old blades. I have no problem hitting decent shots, but if you miss it just off center, the club twists quite heavily and you'll see a very noticeable decrease in distance. I did play with the MacGregor's yesterday and hit 12 GIR's with them and shot 73.

The only thing I was disappointed in is when I do hit them flush, they still do not have the feel of hitting my Mizuno MP-62's flush. So I will probably plan on using the MacGregor's as a practice club and my Mizuno's for money rounds or tournaments and probably try to get some old Hogan blades down the road as I remember some of the Hogan's feeling really good when you caught them flush.

Anyway, below is the video.

I made TWO changes to my swing and I want to see how good some of the readers are and see if they can notice the difference. The top video is my latest swing with the 2 changes. The bottom video is my older swing without the changes.




Monday, December 28, 2009

Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part IV

Part IV of this series is about a subject that I've discussed almost relentlessly on this blog and that is the 'new ball flight laws.'

The laws are actually not new, just 'correct.'

Here's the basics:

Initial Ball Flight Direction = 85% Clubface Angle at impact + 15% clubhead path.

Ball Flight Curvature = Clubhead path in relation to the clubface angle at impact.

Before I explain further, let's just show a diagram of the basic clubhead paths.

As you can see, the clubhead moves on an arc on the downswing. Clubhead PATH is the direction the arc is moving.

It should also be noted that you should make contact with the inside aft part of the ball. What does that mean?

Address the golf ball and look at the back side of the golf ball. Now split that back side of the ball into 1/3rds. You want to hit the golf ball on the 'inside' 1/3rd closest to you. Even if you 'swing left' which is something I would ignore for now until you develop your swing and want to take your game to the next level. The classic 'Over The Top' move is really more of the golfer not hitting the inside aft part of the ball than having an 'outside-to-in' club path. In other words, you can be a fantastic ballstriker with an outside-to-in club path *if* you can consistently hit the inside aft part of the ball.

Now, back to the 'new ball flight laws.'

For the most part, initial ball flight direction is due to where the clubface is pointing at impact. So if you hit it dead right, your clubface was likely pointing dead right. If the clubface was pointing left of the target at impact, the ball will start out to the left.

Curvature, be it a hook or a slice spin is due to the club path in relation to the clubface at impact. It's important to note the words that are in italics because it's not necessarily the club path in relation to the target.

What does that mean?

If your clubface is at 2* open (or right of the target) and your club path is also out to the right by 2* of the target, the club path is actually SQUARE to the clubface. This will result in a straight push shot because the face is pointing to the right and the path is actually square to the face.

Now, if you the face was 2* open to the target and the path is 0* (square) to the target, this actually will produce a slice spin. Why? Because that square path to the target is actually outside-to-in to the clubface at impact. So the result will be a push fade of some sort.

This diagram by Brian Manzella helps explain this.

As you can see, the pic above has the clubface pointing slightly right of the flagstick. The path is actually in the direction even more to the right of the flagstick. So the ball starts out about where the face is pointing and then hooks left of the flagstick.

This key concept cf understanding ball flight can greatly help golfer's play better golf. If your shots are starting out dead right and slicing, then you likely have an extremely open clubface at impact. Why? Because obviously the ball starts out where the clubface is pointing and if your clubface is open too much, you can have a square path to the target and still hit a big slice. So at its basic level, in this situation the golfer needs to figure out how to stop getting the clubface so wide open at impact.

The other main point I want to make in this post of the key concepts series is that after much research, better ballstrikers almost exclusively control their clubface better and more consistently.

If you read enough Trackman reports you will find that what tends to seperate good ballstrikers from great ones are consistency in attack angle (usually equates to better low point control) and consistency in clubface control. A good ballstriker may have a 1-2* variation in clubface angle whereas a great ballstriker may have less than a 0.5* variation. Usually the better players are pretty consistent with club path. If they swing with an inside-to-out path on one shot, they are likely to do that on almost every shot. But with the clubface good golfers can go from a closed face to an open face quite often. But the great ballstrikers have a much lesser variance than that.

Some key checkpoints for clubface control are at P4 and P6.

As you can see here, Moe Norman's clubface is on the same angle as his left forearm. That is a square clubface. If the clubface was pointing more towards the sky than the forearm, that would be a closed clubface. If the toe of the club was pointing more straight down, that would be an open clubface.

Here at P6, the toe of the club is pointing up in the air which denotes a square clubface. If the face was pointing more to towards the ground, the clubface would be closed. If the face was pointing more towards the sky, the clubface would be open.

While there are many parts to the golf swing and each of them have their importance, it's my opinion that a quality golf instructor always pays attention to what the golfer is doing with the clubface in their swing and if that's out of whack, they correct that first.


Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part III

In part I and part II of this key concepts series I discussed:

1. Hitting the ball first, then taking a divot.
2. How golfers usually need to hit much more down on the ball than they do.
3. The importance of 'low point control.'

This post will again tie into the previous posts in this series. And again, most blog readers know this by now, but this is a key concept that many non-readers and average golfers have zero idea about. This is also known as the #1 imperative in Homer Kelley's book 'The Golfing Machine.'

Quite simply it's that the left wrist (or the 'lead' wrist) must be flat at impact. Conversely, the right wrist (or the 'rear' wrist) must be bent at impact. Take a look at what I believe is arguably the 5 greatest golfers of all time.

As you can see, and if you try this yourself, when you grip the club when one wrist is flat, the other must be bent. You cannot have 2 bent wrists or 2 flat wrists.

Another concept that must be radically changed is the difference between address and impact. Just recently famous instructor Jim Flick stated in a golf instruction magazine that the golfer should try to emulate their address position at impact and then used Sam Snead as an example (click HERE for the article). Does Snead's impact and address look alike here?

At address Snead's left wrist is bent and the hands are in line with the clubhead. As Snead approaches impact, his left wrist is flat, the hands are in front of the clubhead (in other words, he's properly lagging the club) and he has some forward clubshaft lean.

This begs the obvious question...why does the flat left wrist at impact cause better ballstriking?

1. It 'keeps the geometry of the swing in tact.' Meaning that the low point will be more consistently in the same spot.

This is EXTREMELY important. There's a general consensus that as long as a golfer keeps their head down at impact, then they will automatically hit the ball well. Or at the very least, get the ball airborne.


Here's a video of a golfer who hits a ground ball with a driver, but 'kept his head down' at impact.

Here's a pic of the golfer at impact. Head is 'down' and he's looking at the ball.

This golfer has a host of other probems causing his poor golf shot and having a bent left wrist at impact is one of them.

Where it 'screws up the geometry' is that golfers with a bent left wrist often causes the golfer move their low point further back and by the time the clubhead reaches the golf ball, the clubhead is now going upward. Or, the golfer just never gets the clubhead going low enough to begin with. Here's a great video showing a skulled golf shot.

So, if you truly want to improve your swing, STOP THINKING ABOUT KEEPING YOUR HEAD DOWN. It rarely has anything to do with hitting a bad shot.

2. A bent left wrist at impact means that it's harder to consistently control the clubface angle at impact.

I will get a bit into clubface control later on in the series, but if you bend the left wrist at impact you're likely to see the clubface angle at impact to be all over the place. From open to severely closed to square to wide open, etc.

All that being said, the main point I'm trying to stress in this part of the series is that the golf swing is not nearly as 'hand and eye coordination' or 'talent' oriented as most golfer's assume. Surely, those are important factors and seperate pretenders like myself versus the real deal golfers on Tour. But ballstriking is much more geometrically, physics, pressure and biomechanically oriented than anything else.

If you ask most PGA Tour pros, they basically admit that the goal with their swing is reduce their reliance on hand-eye coordination as they possibly can.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part II

The second part of this series ties in a bit with part I of the series.

This is the understanding that in order to hit the ball first and then take a divot, the golfer needs to hit down on the golf ball when using an iron. Furthermore, I would suggest golfers that are struggling with taking a divot properly with an iron should probably hit down with the driver as well until they can properly hit down with the irons.

What happens when a ball is properly compressed and a divot is properly taken is the clubhead comes to the ball at a downward angle. It then hits the ball and after it hits the ball the clubhead continues downward. This video is a shining example of it.

According to Trackman, the average attack angle for a Tour Pro with a 7-iron is about -4*. I've read about 30 different Trackman reports, and the mid handicapper's attack angle is closer to zero degrees or a 'flat' hit. It technically is possible to hit a good shot with a very slight upward attack angle with an iron. However, you won't be able to compress the ball properly.

The reason for this downward attack angle is due to what's called the 'low point' of the golf swing.

While this diagram is nowhere near being scientifically exact, it gives a ballpark idea of what the 'low point' is.

If you're looking at the golfer's swing from the Face On view, it appears the clubhead moves in a circle or an ellipse somewhat like the diagram above.

At the very bottom of the circle in the diagram, that is the lowest point the clubhead travels in the swing. That's what the 'low point' refers to.

The low point is also about somewhere around the left shoulder. Some efficient golf swings may have them a little bit in front or behind the left shoulder, but for the most part it's at about the left shoulder. So again, the lowest part of where the club travels is opposite of the left shoulder.

So what happens is most golfers have the ball position with the irons about about the middle of their stance. If they execute a pretty decent swing, they will hit the ball first because the clubhead still has a way to go before it reaches its lowest point. Then after the ball is struck, the clubhead still has a way to go before it reaches the 'low point' and thus the clubhead has continue moving downward.

The problem most golfers have, including professional golfers, is that they tend to have flaws in the swing that cause the low point to move around. Sometimes they'll get the low point near where it should be and they'll hit it flush. Sometimes they'll wind up moving the low point too far forward and hitting it thin. Sometimes they'll move the low point too far back and hit it fat.

If you look at professional golfers' Trackman reports and even good amateur players, their attack angles are not only steeper, but more consistent. A PGA Tour player who has an average attack angle of -4* with a 7-iron will likely not see much variance in that attack angle even if they recorded 100 shots. OTOH, the higher handicapper will likely have a shallower attack angle and the attack angle numbers will vary by more than 1*.

One tip I suggest for understanding how to hit far enough down on the ball is to go on the range and step on your golf ball in order to plug the ball into the ground. Then try take your normal golf swing, but attempt to get the ball flying in the air the best you can. You should inevitably understand that in order to get the ball flying in the air, your only hope is to hit down on the ball. Hit a few shots trying to do that, even if you don't hit a good shot. Afterwards, give yourself a 'normal' lie and just try to hit down on the ball like you did when it plugged. You'll eventually start to get the sensation of what it's like to hit down on the ball enough.

Also, if you can get out 9-holes of golf, play what I call 'reversed winter rules.' Instead of improving your lies in the fairways or the rough, seek out a divot and place the ball in the divot. You will find that in order to hit that ball out of the divot you need hit down on the ball.

You can also get some time on Trackman and tinker around a bit until you get the proper downward attack angle.

Lastly, there's also Martin Chuck's (Richie3Jack Golf Blog follower) fabulous 'Tour Striker' training aid which is specifically designed to make the golfer hit down steep enough.


Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part I

The other day over at Dana Dahlquist's forum a poster asked about what he should be prepared for as he just purchased the Stack and Tilt book.

I mentioned that he needed to change and understand some different concepts and not get too fixated and 'overdo' some of the concepts.

Then the other day I was playing golf with a neighbor for the first time and as he struggled I was once again confirmed that conceptually, the average amateur is wayyy off when it comes to the golf swing and why good golfers hit good shots and bad golfers hit bad shots.

Anyway, I thought this would make for a good blog series as I would just go over some very key, and I believe simple concepts, to the golf swing. These concepts are not in any order of importance and I believe many blog readers either already know or things I've already posted before. But I believe this is a good time to help new readers, many of which are just trying to improve their games, to understand some concepts and to 'clear the fog' so they can see the path to improve their swings.

Please note, I don't consider all of these concepts to be 'fundamentals' although many of them are.

The first concept I want to get into is related to divots and striking the ball.

Simply put, when you are hitting an iron, you want to hit the ball FIRST, then take a divot. This allows the golfer to properly compress the golf ball which thus allows the golfer to possibly hit the ball with their optimal distance, optimal accuracy and optimal trajectory height.

Any good instructor, be it somebody of pure TGM influence, S&T influence, MORAD influence, Manzella influence, etc. way or another teach golfers to hit the ball FIRST, then take a divot.

This video of KJ Choi shows a swing where the golfer hits the ball FIRST, then takes a divot.

Bobby Clampett, who wrote a great instructional book called 'Impact Zone', talks about it incessently. According to Clampett's studies, the deepest part of the divot for the average tour player is about 4" in front of where the ball was. Note, the deepest part of the divot is near the end of the divot.

Take a look at this video at the 1:05 mark where Clampett illustrates perfectly of hitting the ball FIRST, then taking a divot and how the deepest part of the divot is about 4" in front of where the ball once was.

Now, there's many pieces that go into, some of which I'll mention later on in the series, but the main idea is that you have to hit the ball first before you take the divot and that divot is out in front of where the ball was, not under or behind where the ball once was.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

TGM's 'Downswing Waggle'

I had a reader ask me what Homer Kelley meant by the 'downswing waggle.' Here's a video by UK TGM instructor Simon Williams showing the 'downswing waggle.'

That's really all it is. As Homer described it (and quoted from Simon on his YouTube) it's 'a verification of alignments, a careful nursing of clubhead lag and a checkpoint for the flying wedges.'

So may ask what's the difference between this and the 'pump drill?' (Note: Just ignore her comments on what causes initial ball flight direction and what causes ball curvarture as the are incorrect).

The pump drill is more of a careful study of the alignments of the clubhead, clubshaft and the hands. However, it doesn't carefully focus on 'nursing' clubhead lag pressure nor does it usually check out the alignment of the clubface either. IMO, this game is about who can control their clubface the most consistently throughout a round with every club in their bag, especially the putter. So that's why I think the pump drill is a good drill, I prefer Homer's 'downswing waggle.'

One of the many things TGM helped me with is treating my time on the range like a scientist may treat his time in the laboratory. So there's a lot of experimentation, observation and feedback. Remember what Homer loved to say about verifying alignments...'look, LOOK, LOOK.'


Friday, December 25, 2009

3Jack Goes Old School

As I've been mentioning, I was looking to buy some old school irons and possibly have them 're-built' with modern day shafts as well as possibly getting them worked on by The Iron Factory. So I recently got a good deal on Ebay for some old MacGregor Tour Custom 985 irons. Here's what I got:

I'm not sure what I'll do with these clubs, yet. First I want to try them out and see if I like them and the feel. If so, then down the road I may take them to the Iron Factory and have them work their magic. I still plan on getting some vintage Hogan Irons, but I can't find any that I like for a cheap price I'm willing to pay for. The Hogan irons I'm interested in are:

1988 Hogan Apex Redline
1984 Hogan Apex PC
1979 Hogan Bounce Sole 1+
1966 Hogan Percussion (PC5)
1964 Hogan Percussion (PT3)

I'm pretty much looking to spend less than $100 because I have no idea whether or not I will like them and getting them rebuilt by The Iron Factory is not cheap.

In the meantime, feel free to make suggestions as to what I should do with these irons if I like them. I'm thinking:

- Tour Chrome Satin Finish
- Paintfill the Tourney Custom Black instead of Red
- Paintfill 'The 985' Red instead of Black
- Keep the Stamp on the Sole the Same color (Macgregor Black, Iron # Red)
- Lie, Loft and Clubhead to my needed specs
- Re-groove (if necessary)
- Add KBS Shafts
- New Grips


Happy Holidays From Sevam1

Fun video from friend of the Richie3Jack blog Mike Maves and his student/friend Steve Elkington.

It's really neat to see the chemistry the two have with each other. Mike not only explains things so clearly, he does it in a way that all golfers can relate to. I find that to be crucial in golf instruction and it's why I like going to Ted Fort for my golf instruction. I always tell people that Ted is a master at the knowledge of the golf swing, but he's even more impressive with how he relates to all sorts of different people. Some call it a certain 'charm.' I think it's a key to financial success of a teacher, but if you can combine that with the knowledge of the swing and how people learn, you can truly be a great teacher. Both Ted and Mike have those qualities.

It's also amazing to see Elkington in front of the camera making it look so easy. In some of the videos I've done where I've talked about parts of the swing and TGM, you don't realize how difficult it is to speak in front of the camera without making a lot of 'ums' and 'oh's' and not fiddling around with the club or whatever is in your hands. And he seems to be a very friendly guy that really loves the game of golf and not only appreciates the history of the game, but gets tremendous joy from it.

We need more guys like Elkington coming up on the PGA Tour.

Recently on another message board a PGA pro asked who was Mike and what right did he really have to publish a book. Obviously the person in question never bothered to read Mike's book nor watch his videos, listen to what he had to say and take a look at his swing.

In other words, we need more teachers like Mike Maves, too.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zeroing Out The D-Plane Video

Presented by Brian Manzella and Kevin Shields.

Here Kevin has an attack angle of -3.8* on this shot.

In order to zero out his 'true path' he would need to swing left by *about* 1/2 of that attack angle. So to get a true path of 0*, Kevin would need to swing left (aka, rotate the plane line left) by about 1.9*. In this case he moved the plane line to the left by 2.7*. This has created a true path of -0.3* (outside-to-in).

His face angle at impact was at +0.5*, which means it was open by 0.5*.

So, why does he hit the ball dead straight here despite having a clubface that is open and a clubpath that is 'outside-to-in?'

For starters, the new ball flight laws state that initial direction is mostly due (about 85% due) to the face angle. So, 0.5* open is not very much at all so that helps the ball start off a hair to the right of the target. However, path is 15% due for the initial direction. So while we have a 0.5* open clubface, the -0.3* path cancels that out.

The other reason the ball goes straight is that 0.5* and 0.3* are very miniscule numbers. So add everything together and you've got a swing that 'lit up trackman like a pinball machine' and you get a straight golf shot.


Peter Senior Swing Video

Here's a video of Peter Senior's swing from the DTL view.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Swing Update 12.22.09

Here's a new swing video update.

One of the changes I made was getting my dominant eye behind the ball at address. A couple of months ago I experimented with this. I'm right handed, but left eye dominant and I remembered reading Dr. Craig Farnsworth's book 'See It And Sink It' and he talked about how golfers should put their dominant eye behind the ball. Even though this was in reference to putting, I knew of 2 famous golfers with the same predicament as myself, Nicklaus and Hogan. And if you look, both of them have their head rotated away from the target so their dominant eye is behind the ball at address.

I tried this a few months ago with some success, but eventually abandoned it. But I decided to try it again and once again, there was some success there so I think I will add this to my swing. Not only did I notice some improvement in my ballstriking, but it showed up on video as my path and swing plane looked noticeably better as well once I got the left eye behind the ball at address.

Here's a look at my address with me moving my left eye behind the ball. I'd say I'm somewhere in the middle between what Hogan and Nicklaus did with their rotating their heads away from the target.

I was also debating on whether or not to work on the right knee at P4 (it's pretty much locked instead of being straightened, but flexed) or the clubface from P4-P6.

I decided to work on the clubface since that should take precedent over everything else on most occasions. One of the things that Ted Fort and I have discussed a few times before is my tendency to release the #3 Power Accumulator and out of sequence. Basically for those non-TGM readers, my clubface tends to get closed too early in the downswing. Here's a look at my swing from last week. Notice the clubface is closed enough that we can easily see the sweetspot on the clubface.

Now let's take a look at Spanish phenom and arguably the longest Tour player going, Alvaro Quiros.

Of course, there will probably be somebody saying 'Hey, try to use your own swing!' I could make a lot of rebuttals to point out the foolishness in that statement, but here's a pic of me from this past May when I was hitting the ball superb at at about the same point in the swing.

Much more square clubface with the sole of the club almost directly vertical to the sky.

Anyway, let's take a look at my current swing.

I see some slight improvement, but still a lot of work to do.

My main thought is thinking of this Peter Senior sequence.

Notice the pic on the upper right hand corner. Take a look at the clubface which is pretty much directly facing the camera. That's more of what I'm trying to achieve because if you get there you will create a lot of force with the clubhead.

In fact, I've been borrowing my buddy's SwingSpeed Radar (it works really well) and I've now noticed frequent increases in clubhead speed. Before I was consistently in the 85-87 mph range with a 6-iron and now I see a lot more readings at 90-91.

The Medicus works in the same fashion as if you close the club too early, the club breaks down. I think what more or less happens is that the club starts to feel heavier and becomes less aerodynamic and that's why my clubhead speed has started to increase as I'm probably getting a square clubface on the downswing much more often.

I'll work on that until I can get it down pat and then I'll likely move onto the lower body move and attack the head/neck tilt.


Monday, December 21, 2009

3Jack's All-Time Favorite Weapons

In my last post about 10 Great Golf Gifts for Xmas I mentioned how I liked the work of The Iron Factory and how I would love to buy some classic blades and get them restored by the Iron Factory. I guess some people like restore vintage cars, I like to restore vintage clubs. Anyway, a reader e-mailed me asking what are some of my favorite iron designs, so I thought I would pass along what I thought:

Mr. Hogan was such an ingenious person when it came to the game of golf. He figured out so much about the golf swing and made some of the best irons ever. I would highly suggest anybody looking for a blade style iron, especially the older designs where the COG is higher up on the face to consider Hogan irons. However, I would suggest any models pre-1994 as that's when the Hogan Company had their forging house and shafts made in Ft. Worth. After that, their forging and shaft making wasn't quite the same. If I get some vintage Hogan irons, I'll probably have KBS Shafts put in them because I'm likely too tall for standard length Hogan shafts, but that would be the big bummer for me. Of course, I may be able to just 'soft step' the shafts and ditch the 3-iron.

Here's a pic of various Hogan irons throughout the years, the pics above are my 3 favorite Hogan irons.


When PowerBilt came out with their Air Force One driver I was hoping that it would lead to a resurgance in Powerbilt Golf as the company used to make fantastic persimmon woods and a great set of blades. These were my personal faves as a good buddy of mine used to play them and they sounded like no other blade when he compressed the ball properly.


Out of all of the older, excellent blade making OEM's...Wilson is probably doing the strongest of the bunch (I don't include Mizuno), which really isn't saying much. Wilson clubs were sworn by


The VIP line of irons were the cream of the crop for years and years and would still be a great set of irons to own. Also, the MacGregor Tommy Armour line is some of my faves, but I couldn't find good pics. I included the MacGregor Muirfield, even though that particular model is not my favorite. A friend of mine that I grew up playing golf with had a set of Muirfields that looked much like this Muirfield iron, but in didn't say Muirfield anywhere on the club. More noticeably, the clubface was bigger, but really at a perfect size and there were no diamonds on each side of the grooves. He got rid of them about 15 years ago as he had hit them to death, but they were probably the best looking blade iron I've ever seen and I have yet to found another set like them, even though about once a month I search for them on eBay. My guess is that he somehow got a custom grind.

Mizuno TN-87

For 15 years straight Mizuno was the #1 iron on the PGA Tour until the major OEM's started to force their players to use their irons and also making replica's of Mizuno irons, just with their company stamps on the back and labeling them as a 'prototype.'

I had a friend somehow get his hands on the TN-87 and they were about as pure of an iron as I've ever hit. This later helped lead to the MP-29 and MP-14 series which were wildly popular and now has made Mizuno a leader in blade design irons.

So, those are just a few of my favorites. I will probably stick with my current MP-62's for awhile and then maybe look into Scratch Golf's SB-1 line. Whatever I choose, it's easy to appreciate the artistic genius behind these designs.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

3Jack's Ten Great Golf Gifts For Xmas

Not sure how many will actually give these gifts, but chances are these are things you will wind up having to ask to receive.

'Alignment Golf' DVD - Lynn Blake & VJ Trolio

An excellent DVD series featuring TGM based instruction on the Full Swing, Short Game and Putting. I get constant feedback on how the 'drills' section and the putting section is almost invaluable. A very fine piece of work. $79.95.

David Orr's Green Reading 101 and 201 videos

The videos on how to read greens featuring AimPoint Golf's Mark Sweeney which provides a fascinating look at how to read greens to make more putts. Some revolutionary stuff going on here. Total cost $49.99.

'Confessions of a Former Flipper' DVD by Brian Manzella

IMO, the greatest value video in Golf Instruction. Learn the ins and outs of why golfers flip and how to stop it. Tons of great drills, swing thoughts and feels and concepts. Web version is only $9.99.

Re-Chromed Clubs from The Iron Factory

If you want your current clubs or clubs from the past to look like new, check them into the Iron Factory. The Iron Factory can not only re-shaft, change lofts and lies and re-chrome clubs. But the Iron Factory can also provide a Satin Finish, customized paintfills, re-grooving and initialize the clubs for you. Take a look at a couple of these beauties that the Iron Factory has re-chromed.

If I ever got the money available, I'd love to get some old Hogan Blades (I love both the Redline and the 1+ Blades) and get them the rebuilt. A total rebuild includes new steel shaft, grip, balance, polish, blast, rechrome, repaint all lettering and new ferrules and costs about $50 a club. If you include changing lie/loft and re-grooving, it's about $65 a club.

The Taly

The Taly was awarded 3Jack's Training Aid of the year. Fantastic training aid for eliminating the flip once and for all and can help with swing plane and club path. Costs $70.

The Tour Striker

The Tour Striker is a great training aid for getting golfers to have a steep enough attack angle which greatly helps the golfer eliminate the flip and compress the golf ball.

Trackman Session

Find out the definitive aspects of your club and ball dynamics. The standard fee for using Trackman for 1 hour without any pro instruction seems to be about $100 per hour. Click HERE for Trackman Locations in the US.

PGA Tour Superstore Premium Plus Membership

A 1-year, unlimited membership to the PGA Tour Superstore's 'practice bays' which features an 'AboutGolf' Launch Monitor as well as a dual camera video display and force plates. This also includes free labor on 1 time re-gripping of all of your clubs and 1 free lesson. Cost $99.

SAM Puttlab Lesson

Learn the entire dimensions of your putting stroke and your putterface and greatly improve your putting with a simple lesson with the SAM Puttlab. Most SAM Puttlab lessons cost about $50 or about the same price as a regular lesson. For SAM Puttlab lcoations in the US, click HERE

The Pure Ballstriker

A great, inexpensive gift that will start to get the golfer into one of the more basic concepts of The Golfing Machine, the #3 Pressure Point and how to sense it to sustain the lag


Trackman Report Analysis 1.0

Got some Trackman numbers from over at Brian Manzella's site.So, let's take a look and analyze them. This is with a 6-iron.
Club Speed 82.0
Attack Angle -3.9
Club Path -2.2
Vert Swing Plane 57.4
Horiz Swing Plane -4.7
Dyn Loft 22.4
Face Angle 3.4

Ball Speed 111.8
Smash Factor 1.36
Vert Angle 17.0
Horiz Angle 2.2
Spin: 6217 (!)
Spin Axis 3.6

Max Ht. 24.1 yds
Carry 149.5yds
Side 4.2yds
Flight time 5.18sec
Landing Angle 44.5deg

Length 159.0yds
Side 3.7yds
First, let's break down the the club dimensions. I have put the Tour average in parenthesis:
Club Speed 82.0 (92 mph)
Attack Angle -3.9 (-3.5*)
Club Path -2.2
Vert Swing Plane 57.4
Horiz Swing Plane -4.7
Dyn Loft 22.4
Face Angle 3.4
This isn't the most powerful swing as shown by the 82 mph clubhead speed. That's still okay, but I actually think this golfer could greatly increase their clubhead speed with some tweaks to improve the geometry of their swing.

I like taking a look at the clubface first because I believe the game of golf is very much about who can control their clubface throughout their bag throughout the round.

This golfer's face angle is open by 3.4*. To me this is too open of a clubface which may be due to a faulty grip. Jeff Evans 'Strong Single Action' grip video may help this golfer get the face more square at impact.

Still, a golfer can have a club open by 3.4* and still hit very good shots, but they will have to swing quite a bit out to the right in order to have a path that is more inside-to-out than 3.4* so they can hit that draw that comes back to the target.

This golfer has a solid attack angle with a 6-iron at -3.9*. It's very tough to 'flip' with that steep of an attack angle, so w/o seeing the golfer's swing I think it's safe to say that flipping is not an issue.

In order to 'zero out' his path, he would need to 'swing left' by about -2*. But, since this golfer has such an open clubface, he actually doesn't want to 'zero out' his club path and actually wants to get that true path going out to the right by more than 3.4*.

In fact, with that clubface and that attack angle, he needs to swing about +2* so he can hit a draw back to the target.

Instead, the golfer's Horizontal Swing Plane is at -4.7*. This results in a 'true club path' of -2.2*.

So neither the open face (+3.4*) or the outside-to-in path (-2.2*) are bad by themselves. However, they don't work well in conjunction with each other.

When you have an open face and an inside-to-out path, that's going to result in a slice.

While the grip may be an issue, I think the golfer is losing lag pressure early on in the downswing which results in an over the top move with results in steering the clubface open.

I think if the golfer can get rid of this over the top move they will greatly improve their ballstriking but will really notice added power and get much more than 82 mph of clubhead speed.
Ball Speed 111.8
Smash Factor 1.36
Vert Angle 17.0
Horiz Angle 2.2
Spin: 6217 (!)
Spin Axis 3.6
The smash factor is decent, so the golfer probably hit the ball solid. I think with a more square face and less of an OTT move the golfer will increase the smash factor more towards 1.40.

The spin rate is fine. The average spin rate with a 5-iron on the Tour is 6,000 rpms. This golfer is hitting a 6-iron, so being at 6,217 is pretty much on par with the Tour average.

But, to show that the golfer has slice spin on the ball, take a look at the Horizontal Angle and the Spin Axis. A 2.2* horizontal angle means that the ball left the clubface going 2.2* to the right of the target. The 3.6* spin axis means that the ball was spinning to the right (slice spin) by 3.6*.

Remember, for every 1* of spin axis, that sends the ball off-line by about 0.7%.

So the formula to determine how far off line is:
Off Line Shot = Carry * (Spin Axis * 0.7%)
In this case the carry was 149.5 yards. So the formula for this particular golfer is:

149.5 carry * (3.6 * 0.7%) = 3.76 yards.

These Trackman stats were the average of a bunch of shots by the golfer. His 'side yards' was 4.2 yards to the right, so we were not that far off (wind also plays a factor).

If any readers have Trackman reports, please send them to me at and I will analyze them on this blog.


Friday, December 18, 2009

System vs. Method

Got a question from a blog follower (click HERE to follow my blog) about what is a 'method teacher' vs. TGM's 'system' of instruction.

I think this is very, very important to understand the difference because not only can it help you find the best teacher for you, but even if you understand most of the yellow book, you really need to use its system to develop your swing. Understanding the TGM system was a H-U-G-E help in my golf swing and I plan on continuing to use the system to help with other components to my golf swing.

First, let's look at Webster's definition of 'system':

2 : an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole (the Newtonian system of mechanics)
3 a : an organized or established procedure (the touch system of typing) b : a manner of classifying, symbolizing, or schematizing (a taxonomic system) (the decimal system)
4 : harmonious arrangement or pattern

Notice some of the key words here like 'organized set', 'arrangement', 'established procedure', 'manner of classifying', 'pattern', etc.

We use systems quite often in life, especially in teaching.

For example, if one wanted to learn advanced statistical analysis, they wouldn't jump right into learning statistical terminology such as Analysis of Variation, Cross Tabulation and Linear Regression.

Instead, they would go thru the process...or system...of first learning how to count. Then learning addition and subtraction. Then learning multiplication and division. Then long division and build up until they were ready to move to the next level of mathematics.

In other words, a system can often be thought of as a process or a curriculum.

Homer Kelley put together a curriculum for golfers to improve their golf swing. Here's a Lynn Blake video that IMO is essential to better golf, even for the PGA Tour player (although it depends on what the golfer's swing problem is).

By using this system, the golfer can eventually discover a swing that works best for them. As we all know, there is no one way for all golfers, but there is a particular best swing for each particular golfer. The key is finding that swing and the TGM curriculum prescribed by Yoda in the video above is an excellent way of immediately finding that swing.

The key is to get the proper alignments at impact with each motion in the curriculum, regardless of what the parts of your swing look like, and then understanding what it FEELS like when you get those proper alignments. That feel will allow the golfer to get those alignments at impact consistently.

In other words, learning feel from mechanics.

The issues that golfers tend to run into is that they don't really know how to feel and/or they don't have the patience to use the Basic Motion curriculum properly.

Instead of going from Basic Motion to Acquired Motion to Punch Motion to Total Motion, they'll go right to Total Motion. In other words, they are trying to learn 400 meter hurdles before they learn how to walk.

'Method' teachers basically state that there's really one way to hit the golf ball well and here's how it's done. It's more or less a 'this worked for me, so it should work for you' type of instruction.

Some teachers have a 'corridor' that says there's a certain range of where a golfer can be, but unfortunately their 'corridor' is usually much smaller than what can actually happen. Somebody like Lee Trevino probably wouldn't fit in most of their 'corridors.' Plus, these teachers tend to have too many imperatives as if you look at enough golf swings of great ballstrikers you'll start to realize that the imperatives for the golf swing are far and few between.

In other words, while they have leniency in what they teach, they are still not lenient enough.

But even a bigger issue with these type of instructors is that they never provide an effective system for the golfer to improve their golf swing. Often times their 'system' is more or less telling the golfer they should feel this or that and those feels should give them proper mechanics and alignments. In other words, learning mechanics from feel.

The problem is that feels are usually subjective and a feel that may work for Ernie Els may not work for Fred Couples. The same with you and I.

It's not to say that method teaching does not work. And it's not to say that there are no TGM Authorized Instructors that are method teachers either. I've met a few AI's that prefer to teach one type of procedure because it's what worked for them and what they feel comfortable teaching. And they don't provide that Basic Motion curriculum that Yoda showed in the video.

A good analogy of a method teacher and a true system teacher is that if this where say football, the method teacher would run their preferred style of offense and defense regardless of the players they have on the team. The true system teacher would be like the football coach who adapts his schemes according to the talent he hss on his roster.

Those 'method coaches' can still have great success. Get a player who happens to pick up their method naturally or a player with great hand-eye coordination who eventually adapts their method quite quickly and they can greatly improve their game.

But you've greatly increased your odds of getting things to work by going with a method over going with a system.


Quadrant Drill w/Martin Chuck

Great little drill presented by Tour Striker inventor Martin Chuck.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Impact to Finish Drill

Here's an Impact to Finish drill video by David Wedzik.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Golf Swing Update 12.16.09

I had to once again upload the video on YouTube by creating a 'movie' on Windows MovieMaker instead of just uploading the video from my camcorder and then taking the file and loading it onto YouTube. The issue with Windows MovieMaker is that the quality is not as good. I can still take the original file and load that into V1 software so I can analyze it, but for the purposes of the blog and posting some still pics, Windows MovieMaker doesn't exactly cut it.

I'm a huge believer in the power of the video camera and using it constantly to help improve your swing, especially if you're making major changes or doing some tweaking. This past week has proven to me the usefulness of the camera as I've had some spells where I start laying the club off and closing the clubface. I'd just take a look at the camera, see that what I *thought* I was doing wasn't what I was *actually* doing and then make the correction.

You really can't get that without the camera and I always find it funny how golfers, even great ones and even great teachers shy away from the camera like it's a disease. I couldn't imagine a football coach that would refuse to look at the camera after a practice or a game to see what was actually going on and I think the same way about golf, especially if you're working on your swing.

The one camera angle I like is the one on the ground out in front of me. I 'stole' the idea for this camera angle from watching this Rory McIlroy video.

Anyway, while I've gotten the clubface much more square at the top of the swing and I'm closing the clubface on the startdown by releasing the #3 Power Accumulator too early and out of sequence in the swing. Hopefully these pics will demonstrate that. You can click on the pics to enlarge them.


Here the clubface is pretty square, maybe slightly closed.

Here the clubface has closed quite a bit. The toe of the club should be pointing more in the direction of the target, but instead it's pointing more in the direction of where my golf bag is.

Take a look at the position of Rory McIlroy's clubface in the startdown and you can see a noticeable difference.

With my pic of my swing you can see most of the back of the clubhead at this point where you cannot see the back of Rory's clubhead. I think this clubface closing in the startdown is one big reason why I tend to move my head backwards in the downswing as it provides a way for me to get the clubface squared up at impact.

So for now I plan to keep working on the adjustments I've made to my backswing probably thru the weekend and then come Monday I'll start to work on the clubface on the startdown and probably getting some flex in the right knee at P4.

With these swings I've been able to strike the ball pretty well, hitting 12 GIR on Saturday, then 14 GIR on Monday and then 12 on Tuesday. I also only missed one fairway on Tuesday and didn't hit anything less than a decent drive all day long and hit some pretty long drives on the back side. So if I can continue to work on ways to get even better clubface control, these type of ballstriking rounds will only become more common.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Motion Golf and Sergio Garcia

I've seen the Motion Golf video system and it's pretty cool. I've actually posted this video on this blog before, but now I understand more, so I can discuss more about it.

Some things I noticed.

1. Sergio's spine tilts leftward, about 4.7*. This is a big component of the S&T swing. Although the S&T guys want a spine more at 90* vertical, I don't think they would complain about it tilting leftward a little. If anything I think this helps keep the head steady as well as getting about 90% of the weight on the left leg and a flexed left knee at impact.

2. Sergio is not laid off in this swing which is a common critique of his swing. Seriously, does this look laid off to you?

3. Here's the club dimensions I got as some of them are a little hard to read. I probably have more confidence in their body dimensions than their club dimensions because Trackman is focused more on the club dimenions thru impact while Motion Golf is focused more on the body motion.

117.4 mph clubhead speed
12.3* Dynamic Loft
0.3* Face Angle
1.2* Horizontal Swing Plane
1.0* Attack Angle

This is really good. Given that his Attack Angle and HSP are almost the same and this is with the driver, the 'true path' should be close to 0.0*. Furthermore, the face angle is only 0.3* open. So I'm guessing this shot went dead straight or maybe a smidge of a draw.

4. Spearman makes a good recommendation if you want to float load like Sergio does. Remember though that Homer Kelley said that float loading also usually means that the right arm delays its folding motion for quite some time and this allows the golfer to get the wristcock in the downswing. Personally I think if you want to learn how to float load you need to take it out very wide like Spearman said and then pivot very sharply and everything else will get into place.


George Knudson Video and Article

Here's some more video of one of the greatest ballstrikers ever, George Knudson.

Here's also an article of instruction with Knudson as well. You can click the picture to enlarge it.