Saturday, July 31, 2010

3Jack Swing Update 7.30.10

Here's a couple of recent swings:

I've been struggling with my game recently. More inconsistency than anything and both my rounds of golf and range practice usually starts off well, then fizzles badly down the stretch. I'm sure part of it is due to being out of shape and the humid and hot Florida weather which makes your grips all sweaty.

But, it has been a good learning experience.

I figure the following:

If I have 1 major flaw/alignment issue = can still strike the ball very well for the most part and occasionally hit a bad shot due to that 1 flaw/alignment isue.

2 flaws = decent golf with the occasional great round.

3 flaws = Bad struggles and even worse, correcting them takes longer

From an ABS perspective, I've learned that if you want to execute module 3 correctly, which is mostly about the torso pivoting thru the impact interval and the extension of the arms in the follow thru, you MUST have the execution in Module 1 and Module 2 down pat. So this means getting into pitch elbow and on the "4:30 line" (aka elbow plane) on the downswing and having the proper footwork. Also, you need to have the grip in place that allows you to execute Module 1 the best. If you don't have these down really really good, you'll almost definitely hit slices because the path will move left and the clubface will get open. So if you're struggling with Module 3, you may want to go back to Modules 1 and 2 and get the execution of those corrected.

I also believe that I now understand why I usually swung the club better with a flatter backswing plane than a more standard or even upright backswing plane. I could get laid off at the top of the swing with a flat backswing and still execute a nice looking downswing. But with a standard or upright backswing, getting laid off at the top throws the shaft and the sweetspot completely out of whack for me. I still like this more 'standard' backswing plane in the video above, but I have to be very conscious about not getting laid off at the top.


Brad Faxon on Putting

Great video of Brad Faxon on putting and a reason why I think speed is so important on the green.

As you can see, Brad shows 3 different ways he could make that putt and there's more, depending on the various speeds he uses. That's a big deal because you don't have to be so dead on with your aim. Anyway, really good stuff by Faxon here.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some More S&T Footwork Video

Here's a video showing the S&T footwork.

I think this is such a crucial part of the swing and should be addressed early on. In fact, I call the feet the 'command center of my swing.'

The big part of this is when done properly, it helps 'slow down' the hips from rotating too fast and thus forcing you over the top.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Swing Finish

Nice video by Mike Jacobs ( on the finish.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No One Way To Swing The Club...

Gateway Tour player Matt Edwards certainly shows that with his swing:


Monday, July 26, 2010

Top DDE's and Their Drivers

I decided to look at the 2009 leaders at driving distance efficiency (driving distance / clubhead speed) and what drivers they are using. So I first looked at the top 50 in DDE last season and here's the stats I got.

Club OEM------Count--------% of top 50

Taylor Made--------17-------------34%

There was one golfer I wasn't sure what driver he used in 2009. That was David Mathis who used to endorse Nickent, but that company went out of business.

Here's how the top 20 fared:

Taylor Made----4-------------20%

And here's how the top 10 fared:


There was a 3 way tie at 10th in the DDE rankings, so that's why there are 12 players listed in the top 10.

The 3 big paying companies for endorsements are Callaway, Taylor Made, and Nike.

Titleist won't sign the one player to the huge contract, but will pay as many players as it can a fair amount of money to play their equipment, particularly their golf ball.

So while Taylor Made owned the top 50, it's because...well.....they actually OWNED the top 50 players for the most part. But they didn't have a player in the top 10 and Titleist ruled the top 10.

And I'm not 'anti-Taylor Made' either. In fact, it seemed like when I lived in Atlanta, everybody owned a Taylor Made Burner or R9 driver and they really liked them. In fact, I thought the Burner was a good driver, period. But a very good driver for the higher handicap player. I wasn't too nutty about the R9.

Probably the biggest question here is the lack of Callaway in the top 50. That was by Ernie Els who finished tied for 35th in DDE in 2009.

Either way, much like blade style irons, the PGA Tour golfer usually goes where the money is. Believe me, if Darron Stiles could get a fat contract with Powerbilt and would lose some of his great DDE, he'd almost definitely be dumping his Titleist driver.

For me, I will probably go with the Wishon Golf 919THI driver when I finally decide to go and change my equipment. But, us amateurs have the luxury of playing the very best equipment for us without having to worry about losing endorsement dollars. I wish more golfers realized that.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Some Vokey Bling

They make some great wedges, but this look is NOT for me.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Top Club Speed Optimizers and What They Do

I decided to keep playing around with the's 'driving radar' stats. In the latest analysis, I took 2009's top 20 golfers in 'Driving Distance Efficiency.' DDE = Distance / Clubhead Speed. I believe the distances were on shots measured by the radar. Anyway, here's the top 20 golfers in DDE in 2009.

Rnk-----Player------------Distance---------Club Speed-----------DDE
1------------Darron Stiles------------285.8-------------105.8------------2.701
2------------Chez Reavie------------282.7-------------105.8------------2.673
3------------Vijay Singh--------------301.2-------------113.0------------2.667
4------------Jeff Maggert------------287.8-------------108.2------------2.66
5------------Nick O'Hern------------277.9-------------104.5------------2.659
6------------David Toms------------285.1-------------107.6------------2.651
t7------------K.J. Choi---------------287.3-------------108.5------------2.649
t7------------Greg Kraft--------------276.5-------------104.4------------2.649
t7------------Webb Simpson---------290.4-------------109.6------------2.649
t10------------Parker McLachlin-----288.9-------------109.2------------2.646
t10------------Geoff Ogilvy----------300.2-------------113.4------------2.646
t10------------Carl Pettersson------291.5-------------110.2------------2.646
13------------Anthony Kim-----------306.0-------------115.7------------2.645
14------------Camilo Villegas-------300.1-------------113.5------------2.644
15------------Hunter Mahan---------297.7-------------112.6------------2.643
16------------Kenny Perry----------294.3-------------111.4------------2.642
17------------Ryan Palmer----------298.4-------------113.0------------2.64
18------------Heath Slocum---------285.7-------------108.4------------2.635
t19------------John Mallinger-------279.9-------------106.3------------2.634
t19------------Joe Ogilvie------------289.4-------------109.9------------2.634

Now, let's break down their other pertinent radar stats and try to see why they are able to maximize their clubhead speed so well.

Player--Ball Speed--Smash Factor---Spin---Max. Height--Launch Angle
Darron Stiles-------157.33---------1.487--------2516--------107.2---------15.01
Chez Reavie---------156.48---------1.480--------2532--------87.9----------12.54
Vijay Singh---------167.57---------1.483--------2598--------110.5---------12.69
Jeff Maggert--------160.72---------1.486--------2379--------94.2----------13.02
Nick O'Hern---------155.17---------1.485--------2266--------82.8----------12.78
David Toms----------159.76---------1.485--------2558--------96.7----------13.33
K.J. Choi-----------160.87---------1.483--------2432--------86.3----------11.8
Greg Kraft----------154.5----------1.480--------2458--------83.2----------12.72
Webb Simpson--------162.59---------1.483--------2447--------106.9---------13.74
Parker McLachlin----161.91---------1.483--------2858--------86.8----------11.18
Geoff Ogilvy--------168.26---------1.483--------2854--------106.5---------11.87
Carl Pettersson-----163.37---------1.483--------2278--------84.2----------12.14
Anthony Kim---------170.98---------1.478--------2461--------104.9---------11.94
Camilo Villegas-----168.16---------1.482--------2588--------90.7----------11.00
Hunter Mahan--------166.8----------1.481--------2455--------93.1----------11.59
Kenny Perry---------165.22---------1.483--------2381--------99.9----------12.95
Ryan Palmer---------167.96---------1.486--------2553--------105.9---------12.99
Heath Slocum--------160.96---------1.485--------2414--------91.9----------12.42
John Mallinger------157.81---------1.485--------2564--------95.8----------12.72
Joe Ogilvie---------162.93---------1.483--------2564-------101.8---------12.92

Now, let's dive a little more into detail

Average Distance - 290.6 yards

This would rank them 66th on the list, right around with Jason Gore. I've played golf with Jason Gore before and he hits it deep.

Average Clubhead Speed - 109.5 mph

Despite hitting the ball quite aways, the average clubhead speed of these guys is below the Tour average (111.7 mph). This average clubhead speed would rank then 126th, right around where Jim Furyk's clubhead speed. Furyk's distance measured by radar was 278 yards last year (12 yards less than the average of these players listed)

Average Ball Speed - 162.5 mph

This would rank about 121st on the Tour last year, right about where Ryuji Imada's ball speed was. However, Imada 'only' hit it 282 yards on the radar measured shots last year, still 8 yards below the average of these players.

Average Smash Factor - 1.483

Smash Factor = Ball Speed / Clubhead Speed. This usually shows you how well struck the shot is as the PGA Tour average is around 1.48 with the driver. As Trackman studies have shown, smash factor with the driver decreases the more you hit down on the driver.

This smash factor would rank about 15th last season, about where Angel Cabrera was. I think it's safe to say that these golfers where making great contact consistently with the driver and probably didn't hit very far down on the ball.

Average Spin Rate - 2,508 rpm's

This ranks about 29th last season, right about where Stewart Cink's spin rate was. Since this average spin rate is on the low side for the PGA Tour, it tells me that keeping the spin rate down, well under 3,000 rpm's is pretty important to maximizing DDE.

In fact, only Parker McLachlin and Geoff Ogilvy are above 2,600 rpms. They could be considered 'outliers' and if you were to take those two out of the equation, the average spin rate is at 2,469 rpms, which would rank about the 18th lowest on Tour (about the same spin rate Ernie Els has).

Average Maximum Height - 95'9"

This would rank slightly above average at 78th. This is about the same height as Sergio Garcia's driver shots. From looking at the stats, if you want to maximize DDE, you're better off leaning towards a little more higher ball flight than a lower ball flight. But too high will hurt your DDE as well.

Average Launch Angle - 12.57*

Ping recommends a launch angle with the driver in the 10-14* range. However, none of these players are below 11*. Darren Stiles, who led the tour in 2009 in DDE, also had the highest average launch angle (15.01*) and had it by a large margin. The next highest launch angle last year (for the entire Tour) was at 14.1*.

It may be interesting to check out Stiles' swing data on a Trackman and figure out if the launch angle should be more towards the 11*-15* range instead of the prescribed 10*-14* range.

I think you can consider Stiles' launch angle an outlier as well.

Anyway, the 12.57* launch angle would rank 31st highest on Tour in 2009, about the same as Padraig Harrington's launch angle.

If we were to take out Stiles' abnormally high launch angle, the average launch angle would be 12.44*.

From looking at this data, there's not really anything new here. Maximizing your clubhead speed means that you need to have a good launch angle, that's likely to be higher than the Tour average, and a pretty low spin rate. Hopefully this analysis shows exactly what your vertical launch angle and spin rate should be.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Swing Update 7.22.10

Here's my latest swing update.

Sorry for the Face On swing. The sun was going right into the camera from that view and I really couldn't get a good view of it.

Here's what my swing looked like on Monday.

But, this game is amazing as one day you can be swinging the club great and the next day can be a completely different story. Believe me, my swing that I had recorded looked nothing like that early on. I was laid off badly in the backswing and for the first time in a long time, I was coming over the top.

HOWEVER, thank god I have accepted the fact that I fall into bad habits quickly and by getting a camera, the TRUE '15th club in the bag', I can address swing issues immediately.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Acceleration Show Part I & II

Here are parts I and II of a Mike Jacobs 'acceleration show' using FlightScope.

A few things:

1) I just asked Jacobs as to why exactly they disregard the acceleration profile after impact. If it's something that they feel FlightScope cannot accurately measure, that's understandable. If it's something they don't feel is important, I may question that.

2) Here's a reason why I'm not too keen on FlightScope as blog follower and teaching professional John Graham has pointed out on his Web site ( that FlightScope has problems with accurately measuring the attack angle. And because the attack angle effects the path, you have to question how accurate the path is as well.

For instance, if I got it correctly, Jacobs' numbers looked like this:

-3* attack angle
-0.1* HSP
-1.6* path
65* VSP

As Jacobs mentioned, his Vertical Swing Plane (basically the downswing plane) was a bit too upright. What we know of the VSP the more upright, the less you need to swing left to 'zero out' the path.

But even still, it's showing an HSP of only -0.1*, yet the path is going left -1.6*. Those numbers don't quite add up to me as his path should be a little out to the right with that HSP (-0.1*) and that attack angle (-3*).


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gotta Keep That Head Down...

Yeah, right.

And here's the golfer *past* impact.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Total Driver Swing and Equipment Efficiency Rankings

A few weeks ago I saw that the PGA Tour started keeping more ‘radar stats’ when it comes to golfers. I’m guessing they got this from Trackman, but they measure things like clubhead speed, carry, etc.

With that, I came up with a stat called ‘Total Driver Swing Efficiency.’ What I did was take the Total Driving Distance Efficiency (driving distance / clubhead speed) and add driving accuracy to that.

Here are the rankings:

1…..David Toms
2…..Darron Stiles
3…..Chez Reavie
4…..Heath Slocum
5…..Brian Gay
6…..Jeff Maggert
7…..Kirk Triplett
8…..Nick O'Hern
9…..John Mallinger
10…..K.J. Choi
t10…..Glen Day
12…..Alex Cejka
t12…..Zach Johnson
t12…..Tim Clark
15…..Mark Wilson
t15…..Jay Williamson
17…..Justin Leonard
18…..Brandt Snedeker
t18…..Colt Knost
20…..Kenny Perry
t20…..Scott Verplank
22…..D.A. Points
23…..Jason Bohn
24…..Boo Weekley
t24…..Mark Brooks
26…..Steve Elkington
27…..Brian Davis
28…..Jason Gore
29…..Paul Goydos
30…..Hunter Mahan
31…..Tommy Armour III
32…..Billy Mayfair
33…..Cliff Kresge
34…..Greg Kraft
35…..Ian Poulter
36…..Vaughn Taylor
t36…..Patrick Sheehan
38…..Jeff Quinney
39…..Matt Kuchar
40…..Ben Crane
41…..Ernie Els
42…..Mathew Goggin
43…..Tom Pernice, Jr.
44…..Justin Rose
t44…..Bob Heintz
t44…..Peter Lonard
47…..Aron Price
48…..Kent Jones
49…..Steve Lowery
t49…..Lucas Glover
51…..Vijay Singh
t51…..Steve Marino
t51…..Chris Riley
54…..Bo Van Pelt
55…..Peter Tomasulo
t55…..Richard S. Johnson
57…..Marc Turnesa
58…..Camilo Villegas
t58…..John Rollins
t58…..Corey Pavin
61…..D.J. Trahan
62…..Matt Weibring
63…..Tim Petrovic
64…..Ryan Palmer
65…..Webb Simpson
66…..Chris Stroud
67…..David Mathis
68…..Steve Stricker
69…..Will MacKenzie
70…..Bill Lunde
71…..Kevin Sutherland
72…..Bryce Molder
t72…..Jeff Klauk
74…..Rocco Mediate
75…..Geoff Ogilvy
t75…..Ben Curtis
77…..Rick Price
78…..Jerry Kelly
t78…..Ryan Moore
t78…..Robert Allenby
81…..Todd Hamilton
t81…..Tom Lehman
83…..Jim Furyk
84…..Joe Ogilvie
t84…..Ted Purdy
t84…..Bart Bryant
87…..Carl Pettersson
88…..Nicholas Thompson
t88…..Johnson Wagner
t88…..Scott McCarron
91…..Joe Durant
92…..Charles Warren
93…..Matt Bettencourt
t93…..John Merrick
95…..Casey Wittenberg
96…..Jason Dufner
97…..Parker McLachlin
t97…..Anthony Kim
t97…..Cameron Beckman
t97…..Rod Pampling
101…..Chris DiMarco
102…..Briny Baird
103…..Stewart Cink
104…..Rich Beem
105…..Daniel Chopra
106…..Michael Allen
107…..Pat Perez
108…..Martin Laird
109…..Greg Owen
110…..Jonathan Byrd
111…..Charlie Wi
112…..Kevin Stadler
113…..Robert Garrigus
114…..Davis Love III
115…..Scott Sterling
t115…..Bob Estes
117…..Brendon de Jonge
t117…..Mike Weir
119…..Steve Flesch
120…..Spencer Levin
121…..Rory Sabbatini
t121…..Sean O'Hair
123…..Brendon Todd
t123…..Woody Austin
125…..Fredrik Jacobson
126…..Michael Letzig
127…..Chad Campbell
128…..Kris Blanks
129…..Fred Couples
t129…..Jason Day
131…..Brian Bateman
132…..John Senden
133…..Dean Wilson
t133…..Stephen Ames
135…..Ryuji Imada
136…..James Nitties
t136…..Tiger Woods
138…..Andres Romero
139…..Greg Chalmers
140…..Dustin Johnson
t140…..Lee Janzen
142…..Mark Calcavecchia
143…..Brad Faxon
t143…..Kevin Streelman
t143…..Luke Donald
t143…..Kevin Na
147…..Ken Duke
148…..Tim Herron
149…..Troy Matteson
150…..Adam Scott
t150…..Nathan Green
152…..Y.E. Yang
153…..Harrison Frazar
t153…..Scott Piercy
t153…..Marc Leishman
156…..Bill Haas
157…..J.B. Holmes
158…..Brett Quigley
159…..Padraig Harrington
160…..Brad Adamonis
161…..Tag Ridings
t161…..Charley Hoffman
t161…..Jarrod Lyle
164…..Stuart Appleby
t164…..Charles Howell III
t164…..George McNeill
167…..Matt Jones
168…..J.J. Henry
169…..Phil Mickelson
170…..Angel Cabrera
171…..Leif Olson
172…..Sergio Garcia
173…..Eric Axley
174…..Nick Watney
175…..Retief Goosen
176…..Jeff Overton
177…..Ricky Barnes
178…..Gary Woodland
179…..Derek Fathauer
180…..Aaron Baddeley
181…..David Duval
t181…..Bubba Watson
183…..Jimmy Walker

With the LPGA Tour, we know that the attack angles are much more shallow than the PGA Tour. In fact, the average AoA with the driver on the PGA Tour is -1.3* whereas the average AoA on the LPGA is +3*. This sort of tells me that golfers who are shorter off the tee at this level almost instinctively hit more up on the ball in order to get some added distance, but can still find ways to be accurate off the tee.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Open Winner's Swing

Some stuff on Louis Oosthuizen.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swing Update 7.15.10

Here's my latest swing update.

As you can see, there are some changes that I made.

I improved my posture a tad. This allows me to not turn the shoulders too flat on the backswing and makes it so my rear knee doesn't lock up so much on the backswing.

I also stop over rolling the wrists. In TGM terms, I stopped over loading the #3 Power Accumulator and that prevented me from getting so laid off.

I flushed the DTL shot. The Face On shot was actually a poor swing.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hit the Ball Really Straight

Here's a old video with Martin Chuck talking about how to hit the ball really straight


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Good Slo-Mo Hogan Stuff

Here's a video that I saw over at Gotham Golf Blog that I thought was excellent because it slowed down some key points of Hogan's swing, which usually go unnoticed while people try to emulate his straight left arm at the top of the swing, the knees pointed inwards at address and other stuff like that.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Current Day ABS-esque Swings

I got asked this and I've been asked this before 'what current day golfers have a swing like the one prescribed by John Erickson's Advanced Ballstriking.'

Well, here's a few to name.

Hunter Mahan

Lee Westwood

David Duval

Matteo Manassero

Of course, golfers like Hogan, Snead and Knudson were even more ABS-esque. Makes me wonder if modern equipment has caused that change. I know that when I hit my Cleveland RC85 persimmon driver, it works better when I CP Release it correctly. With the modern titanium driver, I can hit it well and CF Release it all day long.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1995 Open Highlights

With the Open coming up, here's some great highlights from one of the most memorable Open's, 1995...Daly vs. Rocca.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Swing Update 7.9.10

Here's some new swings with my new Casio EX-FH20 camera.

I've been struggling a tad this past week and today I started to go back to my way too flat and lazy backswing. That was frustrating. But over a month ago I decided that I need to tape myself almost every day because I tend to fall into old, bad habits and this way I can stay on top of them and correct them right away. So while it was frustrating, this was the plan in place to eliminate that issue with my game and I eventually did.

Still, the backswing needs a lot of work. The lower body action in the backswing is getting quite bad and I'm still laid off (although I've avoided working on that). It's a lot easier to see now with the Casio EX-FH20.

As far as the camera goes, I can see why it gets such great reviews.


I'm not a camera expert by any means and have never even owned a digital camera. My fear is that the camera would be confusing to set up, but it's actually extremely easy to set up with their simple Quick Start Guide. Another thing about the camera is you can set it quite close to the ball and it will be in focus. With my Samsung camcorder, I'd have to fiddle around with the perfect distance from the ball and then zoom in just right. That isn't an issue with the Casio.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Current Thoughts on Levels of Ballstriking

was thinking about this today and how I would label a golfer's ballstriking ability I wanted to go in a tiered process and here's what I came up with.

LEVEL 1 - Ballstriker who consistently hits a noticeably pull fade or a push draw.

Kenny Perry, Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie come to mind here. They have noticeable curvature to their ball flight, but I would consider each of them great ballstrikers Monty and Rocco are a bit up there in age, but in their primes they hit a lot of greens and a lot of great approach shots. However, Monty wasn't hitting draws into tucked left pin positions and Perry doesn't hit fades into dogleg right fairways.

LEVEL 2 - Ballstriker who consistently hits a less noticeable fade or draw or pretty much hits it straight

Here I start thinking about somebody like Nicklaus, who was known for a fade but also hit it straighter than most given him credit for. While Kenny Perry can be a much better ballstriker than somebody who hits it straighter, I'm talking about good ballstrikers and their level of ballstriking here.

I think there's a lot of benefits to reducing your curvature of ball flight. Nicklaus is very underappreciated as far as his ballstriking goes. He was one of the greatest drivers of the ball ever and widely considered the greatest long iron player ever. Here's a great video of Jack in his prime.

LEVEL 3 - Golfer can hit it straight, draw or fade on command

Here's where I start to think of Trevino. He gets a rap as being a fade/slice golfer, but he could hit it straight and draw it on command. I watched Trevino hit balls on four different occasions starting in 1986. He is a wizard of working the ball in all sorts of direction.

LEVEL 4 - The golfer can hit it straight, draw or fadeit on command as well as hitting it low, high and medium trajectory on command.

When I think of this level I think of guys like Hogan, Moe and even Tiger back in 2000. Now Tiger pretty much hits low screaming draws. These days were fun.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Buried Bunker Shot with Phil Mickelson

Here's a shot most amateurs don't know how to hit. Getting it on the green is pretty easy though. I tend to square the face up at address instead of fanning it open, but it looks like Phil has a lip to work with. I do suggest that you try to hit the ball with your club. Hit right down on it.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spine Angle vs. Inclination to the Ground

Here's a video by Dave Wedzik explaining the difference between spine angle and inclination to the ground.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Using Leverage in Your Swing with Martin Chuck

Great video on a crucial part of the golf swing...leverage.

Martin Chuck can be found at


Monday, July 5, 2010

Why We Got The Old Ball Flight Laws Wrong

A blog follower e-mailed me, essentially asking the question 'why do you think they got the old ball flight laws wrong?' You can see a demonstration of the old ball flight laws in the diagram above.

I think that is an excellent question. For starters though, I would suggest checking out Jeff Mann's excellent review paper on the ball flight laws that can be found HERE.

If we remember, the old ball flight laws state that the initial direction is due to where the clubhead path is going and the curvature of the ball flight is due to where the face is in relation to the path. However, many pros were even more incorrect by stating that the curvature was dependent upon where the face was pointing in relation to the target at impact.

In fact, there are many pros that still live by these old, incorrect ball flight laws.

Eventually Homer Kelley came along and said that the face was responsible for the initial direction, but didn't get much into the path and its effect. Then physics professor Dr. Theodore Jorgenson wrote 'The Physics of Golf' and came up with what he called the 'D-Plane' which explains that the face is responsible for about 85% of the initial direction (the other 15% being the path) and that the ball curves depending on where the path is going in relation to the face.

NOW, it appears that considering certain factors like clubhead speed the face is about 70-87% responsible for the intial direction and path in relation to the face is responsible for the curvature (presuming the ball is in good condition, no wind and the ball is struck on the sweetspot).

One question that was asked was did the old equipment have any influence on getting the ball flight laws wrong?

I say NO.

Why? Because it appears that the faster the clubhead speed and ball speed and the higher the smash factor, the more responsible the face is for the initial direction. Since today we are using titanium instead of metal or persimmon and the old ball was a very soft, low ball speed ball...I think that the initial direction was more dependent on the face back then than it is now. Still though, I would say that most golfers TODAY wind up having their initial ball flight being about 85% towards the face.

I think a big reason for the incorrect ball flight laws is that the instruction industry has changed vastly over the years. Back even in the 80's, there were not a lot of swing gurus who made a living just doing golf instruction. I think of Ted Fort who teaches out of Marietta Golf Center driving range just outside of Atlanta. He makes his living with the occupation of 'Golf Instructor.' Back in the day, those guys practically did not exist. You had some guys that worked at resorts like Jim Flick or Bob Toski, but most of the rest of them were working in the pro shop and using instruction as a way to supplement their income.

Eventually Jimmy Ballard came along and started to show that Tour players could have some success and improvement going to one instructor and I think David Leadbetter saw that and saw the opportunity to expand that living. While I'm not a fan of Leadbetter's instruction, he did show the ability to market himself and opened up a whole industry of jobs for people. And he did it way before Butch Harmon and Hank Haney. In fact, if not for Leadbetter, we probably wouldn't see a Harmon or a Haney today or a Manzella or a Fort or a David Orr, etc.

The problem is that most of the instructors before the Leadbetter era were just golf pros. It was not until the boom of instruction that we saw more experts from different walks of life come in and figure these things out. It's like anything in life, once the world sees that there is money to be made, they flock to it like bees flock to honey.

This eventually led to the Jorgenson's, Dr. Aaron Zick's (physics professor at Stanford) and Dr. Robert Grober (physics prof. at Yale) to get into the game. Going from a Bob Toski to a Dr. Jorgenson explaining the physics of golf is a gigantic leap in expertise...probably like going from a Dr. Jorgenson to a Bob Toski having to hit a golf ball (for those who don't know, Toski was a phenomenal golfer in his playing days).

So, the money that was being made in instruction caused more experts in physics to come over into the game and they were a better authority on figuring out how the ball flies rather than a pro golfer who uses the pedestrian research of hitting a ball and observing it.

The other big part has to do with the diagram above. If you look at the 'PULL' and the 'PUSH' parts of the diagram, they got those right....but for all of the wrong reasons.

The D-Plane (correct ball flight laws) state that a straight push is caused when the face is open and the path matches the face. The face causes the ball to go initially to the right and the path, since it matches the face, will cause the ball to go straight.

Thus, I think a big reason why they got the ball flight laws wrong was that they were technically correct on the straight shot at the target, the straight push and the straight pull. You get those technically correct, but for all of the wrong leads to inaccurate conclusions.

The other reason why I think they got them wrong is that initial direction can often be tough to tell.

For instance, when I was on Trackman last Saturday I had a few shots where my path would be about -1* (left), but my face would get closed by about -4.5* (I was sweating profusely in the Florida heat and the grips started to slip until I changed gloves).

Because the face was closed, the ball would go low. Because it went low, seeing the initial direction was hard to really distinguish. Furthermore, it started to curve very quickly in it's ball flight. So again, the initial direction was hard to distinguish.

To me, it looked like the ball started at the target and hooked low and left. But on Trackman it showed how the ball actually started out low and LEFT and then just hooked even more. And like I said, it showed on Trackman that the path was pretty much square to the target.

I thought the ball went straight at the target initially and then hooked left. According to the ball flight laws, that would say that the path was square and the face was closed. Which is what actually happened with the CLUB at impact. But what actually happened to the BALL (which started left and hooked even more) is a different story.

The problem I see now is that many instructors and golfers have the ball flight laws memorized, but do not actually understand them so they can use them for their advantage.

We've seen it with the Haney Project where instructors seem to worry about the path with every golfer first and foremost. The problem with this is that if you take a golfer who has a wide open face at impact (we'll say +5*) and a path that is well over the top (we'll say -7*) and then you square up the path so it's reading 0.0*....the golfer still has a +5* open face. And from what we know about the ball flight laws, he's still going to hit a push slice. In fact the old swing may have been better becasue that 15% responsibility for initial direction caused by the path can at least start the ball somewhat to the left.

Thus my final point being, don't just memorize the ball flight laws...truly UNDERSTAND them so you can use them to your advantage.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Swing Update 7.1.10

The first swing doesn't show the address. The swing is still laid off and I could fix it, but I want to work on other things. It was drenched out there, so I slipped a bit on the first swing.

Some things are looking really good some are not.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Some Tips For Playing in the Heat

With Summer here and a lot of the nation going through a heatwave, I figured I would discuss some of the tips I know of when it comes to playing in the heat. I do have pretty good experience in this because for the last 14 years I've lived in Myrtle Beach, SC...Atlanta, GA and now in Orlando, FL. I will say it's a whole new ball game in Orlando.

First, we know that we have to stay hydrated. This is certainly not something to laugh at as a friend of mine unfortuantely passed away at the age of 18 due to heat stroke. I suffered heat stroke myself once and it was an awful experience. Afterward I had been in an Air Conditioned room for hours and still felt like I could barely breathe.

Water is of the utmost importance to hydrate yourself, but you may want to bring a sports drink with you because Gatorade and Powerade have electrolytes which help hydrate the body. However, they do contain sodium. Gatorade contains less sodium than Powerade. I wouldn't suggest drinking a lot of Powerade/Gatorade in favor of water though. I would suggest constant water drinking and then maybe one Gatorade a round.

One thing to also note that it is possible to over-hydrate and get 'waterlogged.' This usually happens with long distance runners who go nuts over hydrating and completely over-do it. The danger of over-hydrating is that the the symptoms are almost exactly the same as being dehydrated, so people start to drink even more despite being already over-hydrated.

After that, playing in heat is much like playing in the rain as you should:

1. Have plenty of golf gloves
2. Have plenty of towels
3. Dress for the Occasion
4. Know when not to play

The problem we have in the heat is that the sweat gets on our hands. I would first suggest finding some No Sweat Sports Lotion at a local Wal-Mart.

I would mostly use it on the non-glove hand. For the glove hand, I carry 3 gloves and alternate gloves on each hole. So, I will use a glove on the first hole, then put it away until the fourth hole while I use one glove for the second hole and one glove for the third hole. Then rinse and repeat.

With towels, I personally like to bring 3 towels with me. One towel will be just for cleaning my clubs. The other towel will be for getting the sweat off my face and hands. And the last towel will be ran thru ice cold water and used to cool me down thru the round.

One thing you may want to try is occasionally putting the cold towel under the back of your knees. I know it sounds goofy, but it works.

Obviously, we want to dress for the occasion. The new 'climacool' golf shirts are really good.

And while we may like to walk, be smart to take a cart if you have to. Or at least use a trolley.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Greats Are Not Always Right

Everytime I hear 'obviously the PGA Tour pros and the top instructors understand the laws of ball flight', I get reminded by things like this, which was written from Butch Harmon's book (thanks to TallVolFan for posting this on another forum)

BUT, let's not get too anxious to rip into Harmon.

There have been plenty of teachers who I would consider good teachers who didn't quite understand the laws of ball flight. And to Harmon's credit, I think Mickelson is probably swinging the club the best he ever has (although I think he could swing it even better with better instruction) and Tiger was striking it his best under Harmon as well.

So why should we care about teachers who understand the laws of ball flight versus those who don't?

Well...there's only one Tiger Woods and one Phil Mickelson. And if you don't quite fit into Butch's method of teaching, much like Ernie Els and Jose Maria Olazabal didn't, then not understanding the laws of ball flight can be even more hazardous.

Golfers should remember that there are almost countless ways to swing the club to hit the ball consistently well. The key is finding a swing that allows you to:

- control the clubface
- control the clubhead path
- control the low point
- effectively and efficiently pivot the body

So if you understand how the ball flies, you can start 'digging it out of the dirt' and figuring out what type of swing will have you ace those factors I listed above.