Friday, July 29, 2011

Dahlquist on Rickie's Swing

Here’s 3Jack Top 50 Instructor, Dana Dahlquist, and his take on Rickie Fowler’s swing. You can find Dana at

One thing I’ve noticed about Fowler from watching this swing and other swings, is that he has a tendency to have a very fast rate of closure with the driver compared to the irons which is much slower. Last year he had a great season with the driver and the Danger Zone play. He was also a very good putter. This year his driving took a slip (he’s currently ranked 86th in my Advanced Total Driving Statistic). But, he is still ranked very high in Danger Zone play (7th).

Earlier in the year, Rickie had a lot of struggles with his driving accuracy. Not only was he missing fairways, but he was missing them by a mile. He was ranked in the 150’s about 3-4 months ago. Since he’s got that down to being ranked 86th, that’s a sizeable jump…meaning that he’s been striking the driver very well.

In this sense, Rickie reminds me a lot of a young David Duval. A guy so close to winning a tournament and you get the feeling that once he wins one tournament, they’ll start coming in waves. He’s got to be a bit conscious of the driver though because it appears that when he’s on, the driver becomes a strength. But when he’s not on his game, the driver can become a weakness.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

3Jack's FuZion Experience

Today I took the trek up to FuZion Golf ( at their TPC Sawgrass location. It's about a 2-hour drive for me from Orlando. I have a buddy who was born and raised in Florida and I always found it funny how many road trips he took and how big he was into taking them. But Florida is a great state for road trips with all of these cities within close proximity of each other and it's all flat and easy to travel on.

Ponte Vedra Beach is very nice. Reminds me of like an upscale beach town in Jersey. However, the entire city revolves around TPC Sawgrass.

Sawgrass is pretty much as great as I expected it to be. Tremendous clubhouse and outrageous facilities. It definitely has a resort type feel to it, but just looking at the course itself it doesn't look that resort-ish.

FuZion Golf has 2 indoor bays where you hit outside. The fitting is done by Avery Reed, who spent five years doing fittings on the PGA Tour for Taylor Made. Currently, they are running a special where if you purchase the equipment you don't pay for the fitting.


We first started off with hitting irons. I told Avery that I am pretty much a 'blades' man, but didn't have any preference. Just looking for what performed the best.

The big issue we had is that my swing wasn't exactly crisp. For the most part, my face angle and path numbers were pretty good and consistent. But the attack angle was more on the steep side, causing the ball flight to be lower than optimal.

Since that was the case, we did try some cavity back irons. But, in all I got to try the following:

Mizuno MP-68
Mizuno MP-63
Mizuno MP-53
Taylor Made CB
Miura CB-202
Miura CB-501
Miura Tourament Blade

We then tried these various shafts:

Project X
KBS Tour
True Temper Dynamic Gold
True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue
Accra Shaft
Tour Concept

We tried the cavity back because we were looking for a little more height on the ball with the longer irons. In the end, there were a lot of good clubs, but I was stunned at how well the Taylor Made CB irons feel. I actually hit the MB irons back on demo day of the 2011 PGA Merchandise show and remember being extremely impressed with them.

In the end, I'm probably going to go with the MB irons down the road because the problems with the trajectory were really swing related.

Shafts wise I hit the Project X better than expected. Hit the True Temper Dynamic Golds pretty well. Hit the Accra shafts okay. Probably hit the TT DG Tour Issues the second best. And then I hit the KBS Tours the best.

When we measured my own clubs (Srixon Pro 100s) the True Temper DG S300's measured between Stiff and X-Stiff, probably about an S400. The shaft length were 'standard.'

We worked on this for awhile and Avery was considering going with a +1" steel shaft and then putting it on a Mizuno head because the Mizuno's have 3 different head weights to choose from. Thus, you can order the lightest weight, add an inch to the shaft and not have a d-9 swingweight.

RECOMMENDED 5-IRON: Taylor Made MB, KBS Tour (Stiff), +1/2", 60.0* Lie Angle, 28.0* Loft, D-3 swingweight


Here's where the big issues with my swing showed up. I was actually hitting the drives pretty well, but the #'s were problematic and since I'm working on my swing, there was no real need to get into a fitting too much.

The main problem here was the attack angle, which was at -4* or so. George and I have worked on this on our last lesson. But it does show the power behind Trackman because sometimes it's just hard to determine that as my trajectory wasn't bad, but the launch angle was low (9-10*) and the spin rate was too much (2,900 - 3,100 rpms). My clubhead speed was about 108 mph.

I figured that with the attack angle being so steep and having to work more on my swing, it really doesn't make sense to go much further with the driver fitting. I was actually pleased to see the clubhead speed up there and considering my current swing issues I think I could add another 2-5 mph to the swing and that along with the loading of the shaft changing could affect the flex of shaft as well.

Furthermore, my current driver (Adams 9015D, Harrison 60X shaft) measured out well. It actually measures at stiff flex, which is fine and fits me pretty well to begin with. I felt good at the job I did at installing that shaft myself. I sorta lucked out in the X-Stiff shaft measuring out as stiff and stiff fitting me for now.

I did get to hit the new Titleist drivers and came away impressed. I also found it interesting that Avery told me he has yet to fit somebody for a driver longer than 45 inches long. Something to think about.


Like I've mentioned in other posts, I find the 3-wood to be an underrated club because of the correlation between par-5 scoring average and 'go for its' along with being able to use it off the tee.

I had mentioned that to Avery and how I was looking for something good off the tee as well. The Titleist 910F-d just out-performed the rest and it wasn't even close. We tried a bunch of different shafts, but I liked the Aldila RIP Beta Green Eyes fairway wood shaft.

My 3-wood, a Cleveland Hi-Bore XLS with a Fujikura Stiff flex shaft actually measured in at a ladies flex.

RECOMMENDED CLUB: Titleist 910F-d, 15* loft, Alpha RIP Beta Green Eyes shaft (X-Stiff), 43" long.


Here we tested the Titleist 910H and the Taylor Made R11 hybrids. The Titleist 910H went further, but the Taylor Made R11 with the Oban Devotion was pretty straight.

RECOMMENDED CLUB: Titleist 910H, 18* loft, Oban Devotion Shaft 8-04 (stiff), 40.5" long.

The charge for everything would've been $2,500, which was more in my price range than what a reader told me they were quoted at for their clubs ($3,500). But, given the things I'm working on the swing and the attack angle being so steep, I'll probably come up with some cheap alternatives for the Florida Mid-Am qualifier. I'm going to either install some 1/2" shaft extensions or re-shaft my Srixon's with +1/2" longer shafts. I think that is causing some of my swing issues...or at least not helping matters any.

It was a tremendous experience and once my swing improves and the attack angle flattens out, I'll head up there again for the woods fitting.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3Jack PGA Tour Updated Stat Rankings 7.25.11

Here were the top 5 Canadian Open finishers (players that have PGA Tour stats)

Sean O'Hair……….98……..128……..166……...80
Kris Blanks ………143……..178……..128……..60
Andres Romero….108……..27……..109……...37
Geoff Ogilvy ………113……..42……..80……....93
Woody Austin ……157……..63……..68……....86

The general theme here was that Danger Zone play was the biggest factor at last week's Championship. I think part of that was due to the players not being familiar with the course. While these guys do not have overly impressive Danger Zone rankings, the field was limited coming off the British Open. Also, O'Hair moved up 12 spots in Danger Zone rankings after this tournament, so he must've been flagging it from that distance (175-225 yards) all tournament long. Kinda surprised to see that Andres Romero has not contended more given his putting and Danger Zone play.

O'Hair quit working with his swing instructor, Sean Foley, a few months ago. Up until the Canadian Open he had actually gotten a little worse with his ballstriking. But he moved up quite a bit after this tournament in both Advanced Total Driving and Danger Zone play, so I'm assuming he's starting to click.

Here are my picks for the Greenbrier Classic:

Phil Mickelson
Tommy Gainey
Brandt Snedeker
Andres Romero
Brenden De Jonge

Value Pick: JJ Henry


1…Bubba Watson
2…Heath Slocum
3…David Toms
4…Boo Weekley
5…John Merrick
6…Chez Reavie
7…John Rollins
8…Brandt Jobe
9…Joe Durant
10…Dustin Johnson
11…Nick Watney
12…Bo Van Pelt
13…J.J. Henry
14…Webb Simpson
15…Graeme McDowell
16…Gary Woodland
17…Chris Couch
18…Tom Gillis
19…Keegan Bradley
20…J.B. Holmes

182…Martin Piller
183…Shaun Micheel
184…Michael Sim
185…Paul Stankowski
186…Derek Lamely
187…Bio Kim
188…Kevin Na
189…Chad Collins
190…Anthony Kim
191…Mike Weir


1…Steve Stricker
2…Brandt Snedeker
3…Greg Chalmers
4…Luke Donald
5…Nick Watney
6…Ben Martin
7…Kevin Na
8…Charlie Wi
9…Zach Johnson
10…Fredrik Jacobson
11…Bryce Molder
12…Ryan Moore
13…Lucas Glover
14…Scott Piercy
15…Matt McQuillan
16…Aaron Baddeley
17…Henrik Stenson
18…Brian Gay
19…Kevin Streelman
20…Angel Cabrera

183…Derek Lamely
184…Kyle Stanley
185…Alex Cejka
186…Jeff Maggert
187…Scott Gutschewski
188…D.J. Trahan
189…Will MacKenzie
190…Heath Slocum
191…Ernie Els
192…Boo Weekley


1…Jonathan Byrd
2…James Driscoll
3…Brian Gay
4…Steve Flesch
5…Steve Stricker
6…Chris Riley
7…Bill Haas
8…Rory Sabbatini
9…Billy Mayfair
10…Stewart Cink
11…Zach Johnson
12…Michael Bradley
13…Jason Day
14…Charl Schwartzel
15…Fredrik Jacobson
16…Aaron Baddeley
17…Nick Watney
18…Ricky Barnes
19…Kevin Na
20…Tim Petrovic

182…Jeff Overton
183…Ben Martin
184…Alex Prugh
185…Kevin Stadler
186…Marc Turnesa
187…Robert Garrigus
188…Henrik Stenson
189…Garrett Willis
190…Billy Horschel
191…Will MacKenzie


1…David Toms
2…Phil Mickelson
3…Padraig Harrington
4…Dustin Johnson
5…Robert Garrigus
6…Alex Cejka
7…Rickie Fowler
8…Robert Allenby
9…Nick Watney
10…Sergio Garcia
11…John Senden
12…Boo Weekley
13…Brendan Steele
14…Davis Love III
15…Heath Slocum
16…Ian Poulter
17…Kyle Stanley
18…Graeme McDowell
19…Kevin Stadler
20…Chad Campbell

182…Camilo Villegas
183…Steve Flesch
184…Martin Piller
185…Greg Chalmers
186…Scott McCarron
187…Kevin Kisner
188…Michael Sim
189…Bio Kim
190…Charlie Wi
191…Henrik Stenson


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

3Jack's Guide To Simple Golf Shaft Installation

If you’ve read the forum ( you may have read that I’ve gotten into installing my own shafts. It’s actually fairly easy and can save you a lot of money and take less time to do than going thru your local clubmaker. I decided to go thru some, hopefully brief, instructions. First, we’ll need the following tools:

1) Hand Torch (w/ oven mitt)
2) Exacto Knife
3) Masking Tape
4) Tube Cutter (steel) or Hacksaw (Graphite)
5) Epoxy
6) Granulated Sugar
7) 48” rule or tape measure
8) 80 Grit Sandpaper
9) Ferrules

You should be able find these items for less than $50, if not less than $40. Since the average price for a installing a new shaft is the cost of the shaft plus about $20 labor, after 2 installs you’ll be making up your money. And most of these items you will likely have on hand anyway.


First, we should determine what type of shaft size we will need depending upon the size of the hosel diameter in the clubhead. This is VERY important because you might wind up ordering the wrong shaft that will not fit. Now, there are ways to make shafts that don’t fit actually fit, but that’s not something we’ll discuss right now.

Typically, there are 4 different sizes of hosels and shaft tip diameters:

.335 inches (woods and hybrids)
.350 inches (woods and hybrids)
.355 (irons)
.370 (irons and hybrids)

You can usually find the tip size of the shaft on the company’s Web Site. The same with the hosel size, but sometimes you need to perform a Google search to get the hosel size correct. More often than not, an OEM uses the same hosel size for their clubs. So if one driver is at a .350 hosel diameter, it’s likely that all of their drivers and fairway woods will be the same. And if one model of irons has a .370 hosel diameter, than likely all of the other irons will have the same hosel diameter.

Where it may get confusing is something like the Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK hybrid, which used a .350 hosel if the club was originally shafted with steel and a .370 hosel if it was originally shafted with graphite. If you screw up on the shaft, you want to lean more towards having the shaft too big. That way you could take it to a clubmaker who can possibly drill the hosel to fit that bigger shaft.


Here’s a video discussing the shaft removal.

As he explains, one can use a shaft extractor, but they are not mandatory. Shaft extractors are only useful on graphite shafts and if you want to keep the shaft you have taken out. Even still, one can keep an old graphite shaft without using the shaft extractor.

I actually cut the old ferrule off with my Exacto knife beforehand because I typically melt the hosel. If you have never used a torch before, they are quite easy to use. You can get propane tank with the torch head and spark lighter for about $10 at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Simply screw on the torch head to the top of the tank, turn the gas on and light it. Pretty simple stuff. I was told that heat guns don’t do nearly the job that torches do and heat guns usually run about $50.

HEAD SHAFT BORE (if necessary)

If you’re re-shafting woods, you will want to figure out what type of shaft bore the head has. There are 3 different ones

- Bore Thru head
- Standard Bore head
- Blind Bore head

Bore thru, obviously looks like this.

Blind Bore means that the shaft will go down the hosel, all the way to the sole plate of the club. And standard bore will go down about 1.5” deep. I measure this by getting a 3” golf tee and marking the tee with a marker at 1.5”. I then stick the tee down the hosel and see how far it goes down.

The reason for all of this is that with woods, the shaft trimming instructions may be different depending on the shaft bore of the clubhead. IIRC, the further down the hosel (blind bore or bore thru), the stiffer you may want to make the shaft. Still, most shaft companies will help you with questions with regards to different shaft bore heads.

TIP PREPPING (if necessary)

Necessary for mostly graphite shafts. When you get a graphite shaft, often times it will not fit into the hosel because of the paint on the shaft makes the shaft too big for that hosel. Thus, you need to take your Exacto knife and scrape the paint off the tip end of the shaft. You will scrape in a motion akin to scratching off a lottery ticket. Do NOT make a peeling motion like you are peeling an apple. As long as you scrape instead of peel, the shaft will be fine. And you just do it on the tip end until the shaft easily fits inside the hosel.


First, we need the trimming instruction which can be found online. Some shafts require the user to trim the butt end of the shaft only. Other shafts require tip end and butt end trimming of the shafts.

This video helped me with the steps to prep and install a new shaft.

In the video, he uses a drill and a drill bit to clean out the hosel. I have a $15 piece of steel wool that works. However, you can just grab your sandpaper and roll it up into a sleeve and clean out the hosel with that.

The problem with steel shafts that you can run into is that the shaft might bend as you cut it. With graphite, the shaft may splinter. If you’re a little nervous cutting a shaft, I would recommend finding a junk shaft that you can get for $5-$10 and practicing with it.

With graphite, I use a hacksaw. Some use a more expensive Dremel tool. First though, I wrap some masking tape on and around the spot I’m going to cut. This will help prevent the graphite shaft from splintering. I’ve found the hacksaw to be difficult sometimes because the cut can come out uneven. That’s why I recommend going a bit slower with the cut. It doesn’t have to be perfectly even, just close enough and you’ll be fine. If you get some splinters after the cut, you can use your sandpaper and carefully smooth them out.

With steel, it may take some test runs with a junk steel shaft to get used to the pipe cutter. I get the pipe cutter on the shaft and spin it around a few times. That allows me to get the cut going and soften up the shaft a bit. Then I re-adjust the pipe cutter to give it a little slack and then slightly turn the knob each time I spin it around. That will allow me to cut the shaft without bending it. You do not need to wrap the shaft with masking tape when it’s a steel shaft.

I also make sure the shaft is clean, which is usually only an issue with graphite shafts because the tip end may be a bit dirty after scraping the paint off in the tip trim.


With the ferrules, they are usually only an issue with graphite because of the paint on the shaft. If it’s a problem, I found that placing them in a bowl filled with water and then microwaving them for about 90 seconds (the water will be hot, so you’ll need to scoop the ferrule out of the water). This works quite well.

With epoxy, they call the drying process ‘curing.’ There are all sorts of different epoxies that have different curing times. Something like a 24 hour epoxy is about the longest curing time. This works well if you are a newbie and in particular, doing more than 3 shafts at once. The reason being is that you don’t have to worry about it curing too quickly and then having to use more epoxy.

Then there is Tour Van Epoxy.

This stuff starts curing in about 5 minutes and you can start using the club within a few hours of installation. Again, best for 3 or less clubs and more experienced clubmakers. I have used this though on my KZG hybrid without an issue.

Most epoxy comes in two different tubes that are connected together. This is so you can get a 50/50 mix from each tube. A loyal blog follower recommended using granulated sugar with the epoxy. Many clubmakers use what’s called ‘shaft beads’ that serve as an abrasive to help the epoxy that is on the shaft and hosel stick together. However, if you use granulated sugar, it will serve the same purpose. Don’t use granulated salt or regular sugar. Granulated sugar.

Just mix the granulated sugar in with the epoxy, stir it up a bit, and now your epoxy is good to go. You can used something like popsicle sticks to stir up the epoxy with the granulated sugar, then coat the inside of the hosel and the tip of the shaft. Put the ferrule on and then stick the shaft inside the hosel…wipe off the excess epoxy mix off the ferrule/hosel. And you are good to go.

With 24 hour epoxy, wait 24 hours to use the club. With Tour Van epoxy you should be good to go in 3 hours (and probably much less than that).

I find it incredibly helpful for my golf game to understand stuff that is outside of the game. With something like golf course architecture, I can better understand how architects think in order to understand how to attack a course and what pitfalls they try to present to the golfer. With clubmaking, one can better understand what type of equipment best works for them and better understand how to use the club so they can better develop their swing.

Like I mentioned earlier, let’s say that the equipment I used cost me $50 total (and that’s being rather pricey), there’s a lot of money to be saved. Currently, Golfsmith charges $19.99 per club to re-shaft the club (it’s $5 more for bore-thru clubs). And then an extra $3.49 per club to re-grip the club. For 13 clubs, that’s $305 for the set.

($19.99 + $3.49) * 13 = $305.24


Friday, July 22, 2011

3Jack Reviews August 2011 Golf Magazine

I’m going to try and do this for both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest in the coming months. Giving a rundown of what each has to offer while not giving away exactly what they are saying. I’ve found from my years as a golfer that the golf magazines tend to confuse golfers as much as they help them and vice versa. Here I’ll try to give my thoughts and be pretty blunt about it.


Some good stuff about Ken Venturi. I have heard some negative and some positive things about Venturi. I get the feeling that he’s probably like the rest of us, it depends on what mood you are in that day. I really appreciate the work he did with giving TV tips. I remember a lot of it being on trouble shots. He had such a good way about being succinct and making sense that it added to my interest in the game because I would want to try it out on the course afterwards.

They also referred to previous month’s article on ‘The Pain Events’ (players player in pain in sporting events and where the stand). As a born and bred Yankees fan, the 2004 ALCS Game 7 with Schilling was really more poor hitting by the Yankees than good pitching by Schilling. He was consistently missing his spots and had less velocity on his pitches than normal. One reader rightfully points out the over-hype of Willis Reed. Kirk Gibson’s home run was insane, but as the reader points out, it was just one at bat. I agree with the reader, there should be something said for Venturi and Tiger at Torrey Pines…going thru an entire round instead of one at bat or a couple of jump shots. But, my vote goes to Emmitt Smith, dominating the Giants in the Meadowlands with a separated shoulder on the old Astroturf. If you have ever separated a shoulder, playing football seems almost impossible. And if you have ever walked on the old Astroturf, playing football on it seems insane. Doing both at the same time is something legends are made of.


Some words from the editor….who cares?

An advertisement for Myrtle Beach discussing the fall season there. As an alumni of Coastal Carolina University which is right nearby Myrtle in Conway, SC, fall was by far my favorite time in the area. The weather is generally perfect and for the first half of September, the courses are getting back into great shape and the prices are still excellent. Generally the fall prices are the second most expensive of the year, next to the spring prices. But between the better weather, football season and the University opening back up, it’s a great time for me. My issue with Myrtle Beach is that in a time where the economy is stagnant and golf’s popularity continues to dip, they still insist on setting very high prices.

Myrtle Beach was born on solid golf courses and hotels with a lot of things to do in your spare time at a fair and reasonable price. Over the years it’s become more and more expensive to the point where it’s quite pricey and they lost that niche they had that made the area so appealing.

Anyway, after that they show some pictures from the ‘Teeing Off Section.’ One thing that catches my eye is the picture of Mark Steinberg. Between Steinberg and Chubby Chandler, I’ve already grown tired of hearing about agents in the game. Funny how I never heard of Nicklaus’ or Arnie’s agent when they played.


The front 9 part did an interview with Adam Scott and most of the conversation revolved around the long putter he now uses. Here’s what gets my goat….later on in the magazine they give instruction from Lucas Glover on putting because as they note, he is (was) #1 on the Tour in the new statistic, ‘Putts Gained.’ What is Adam Scott ranked in this category? 169th. Yet, they discuss his switch to the long putter like he’s putting ala Crenshaw in ’84. These are the things that confuse the average golfer.

The ask the rules guy stuff wasn’t very interesting.


I usually like this section when the questions are serious. Unfortuntely they weren’t.. Some decent stuff from Goydos on preparing to play golf. I don’t quite like the setup stuff he talks about because it comes off as a universal thing and we get into that ‘fundamentals’ of golf argument. But, remember what works for him is more important and it does have some good insight on how to get ready to play when you’re on the range before the round.


Debate whether or not the Atlanta Athletic Club is worth a PGA Championship. The main argument against it is that there are no memorable holes. I think if that was the case, then a lot of places wouldn’t be having US Opens, Britich Opens and PGA Championships. I think AAC has the logistics to hold the event (I used to live down the road from AAC and was there when David Toms won it). And it’s a good test of golf. I think that’s more important than memorable golf holes. Rochester’s Oak Hill Country Club is not exactly filled with memorable golf holes, but it’s still an awesome course to play, with a rich history as well.

They mention that it costs $300K for a 100-seat chalet at the PGA Championship. Typical Atlanta, never figuring that it’s probably not the time to do it and then wondering why their sales would be down. They may catch on by the end of this decade.

The PGA and USGA are teaming up together to get golfers to play the ‘correct tees’ for their handicap and power off the tee. The goal is to make the pace of play faster. I think we have a bigger issue with lost balls more than anything and I think it’s because course design in the US has revolved more around what I call ‘carry golf.’ For those who started playing the game before 1985, you may remember that there was probably one island green in the entire nation…#17 at TPC Sawgrass. Now they are everywhere and water has become a huge part of golf course design. And strategically placed creeks have gone to the wayside in place of large ponds. I prefer the old school design of a Rio Pinar where there are few creeks and a lot of woods that allow golfers to more easily find the golf ball and punch it out of the woods instead of having to take a drop.


Feherty waxes poetically about Seve. Kostis complains that there are no more risk takers on Tour. I’m not sure about the behind the scenes stuff, but I think most of the current day players are risk takers on the course. I just don’t see a guy like Bubba Watson as being conservative on the course. Of course, they could be bigger risk takers with their swing mechanics, putting and green reading and think outside of the box more…but then they would be ripped for doing that. Go figure.

Typically that’s my issue with the entire risk taker argument, in just about any spectrum of life. It’s not about taking risks for the hell of it. It’s about doing the right thing. Sometimes it’s a conservative approach, sometimes it’s a ‘think outside of the box’ approach, sometimes it’s an aggressive approach.

They then show a DTL view of Ben Crane’s swing sequence. He looks laid off to me here, although they may not have caught him at p4. I know Crane made some swing changes to gain some extra distance and one of them was ‘get my head behind the ball at impact.’ Not good. And he’s paid the price for it as his driving and Danger Zone play have dipped since then.


I’ll try not to be too specific here, but I’ll grade them on a 5 star grade basis.

TJ Tomasi’s ‘Use Your Eyes to Build a Better Backswing’ - *

Brady Riggs’ ‘Get Your Takeway Right’ - * * * *

Tom Stickey’s ‘ How to Pitch Clean from a Downslope’ - * *

Kip Puterbaught’s ‘Pure Every Iron - * ½

Mark Hackett ‘Punch It From the Pines - * * ½

Mike Bender ‘The Best Drill for an Anti-Slice Release - *


I remember reading a couple of months before the PGA Championship that the leader in driving distance at the time (and by a wide margin) was some guy named John Daly who is known for this super long backswing.

Some people forget that Daly was the 9th alternate. They also forget that Crooked Stick got a lot of rain leading up to the tournament and with Daly hitting his driver accurately and the soft fairways on a course that has pretty wide fairways by PGA Championship standards, he was hitting fairway after fairway and because he carried it so long, he had an enormous advantage that week off the tee. I remember Daly playing the final round with Kenny Knox and hitting it 70+ yards by him and down the middle. That’s tough to beat.

IMO, Daly should probably be credited with the modern day bombers as much as anybody. Where I think he loses the credit for that is he just struggled to maintain that level of play. That’s where Tiger comes along and forces the rest of the Tour to change their game. But had Daly maintained his play, I think the ‘bomber revolution’ would’ve taken place earlier.


Pretty good interview. They asked him if he ever looks at driving stats and he said he usually doesn’t other than he knows he’s been the longest on Tour for the past few years. But, he said he doesn’t care because he would rather be the shortest hitter on Tour that wins than the longest hitter on Tour that doesn’t win.

Well, he should pay attention to my Advanced Total Driving statistic because he’s been #1 in that category for most of the season. There’s a reason why he’s been successful and that is it.


Good look at the 18th at Atlanta Athletic Club. While most remember it for David Toms laying up and then sticking a wedge and making the putt to win it…most forget Jerry Pate sticking a 190 yard 5-iron to a few feet to win the 1976 US Open.

Also a good look at AAC member Larry Nelson with some snapshots of his career. They then have a piece from the novel ‘The Swinger’, fictional story of ‘Tree Treemont’ who had won 13 majors while carrying a dark secret of his life. Not bad, but seemed like a blatant shot at Tiger.


The Glover piece, which made front cover, was pretty basic stuff. Although I liked how he mentioned he uses a laser to check alignment of the putter face. Practically no amateurs do that and I think it’s beneficial, although you can eliminate alignment issues by getting fit for an Edel putter. I’d give it * *

Marius Filmalter co-created the SAM Puttlab and created the TOMI putting system. As far as your typical golf magazine instruction, this stuff is very good and probably the highlight of the magazine. Lots of this stuff you can learn from Geoff Mangum’s ‘The Reality of Putting’ DVD, but he also debunks some commonly held myths as well. * * * * ½


Goes over some putters from Bettinardi, Bobby Grace, Coutour Bolt, Plop, STX and SIK MO. The new Plop putter (RSVP 2 CSH 1) looks interesting. The rest don’t really pique my interest. Then they do an overview of the new Ping G20 driver which looks pretty darn good.

Then they do a WITB with Bubba Watson who has been done quite a few times, so nothing really new here. Personally, I’m more interested in WITB for top Danger Zone and Short Game players.

The Private lessons stuff starts out pretty well with some tips for hardpan play versus bunker play and how to use the bounce angle of the club. But then it gets ugly pretty quickly. Too much ‘learn feel from mechanics’ and no real attempt to explain the mechanics of flattening your angle of attack with the driver. * ½

And that ends it.

Overall a slightly above average issue due to the Filmalter and Riggs pieces. The rest was typical with some pretty poor instructional pieces that were cancelled out by some good looks at the Atlanta Athletic Club, interviews, and a look at golfers like Larry Nelson and John Daly.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Swing Models

I've gotten some inquiries on swing models and apparently some golfers are very confused about them, so I'll try to explain them here.

I believe a swing model is typically a person (I assume it could be a robot or an animation, too) that has parts/positions/pieces/components/etc. that are what the instructor believes are ideal.

Technically, if one believes that all that matters is that the golfer utilizes an interlocking grip, then any golfer who utilizes an interlocking grip is the 'model.' Conversely, an instructor could have 50,000 parts of the swing that they find optimal and that golfer who utilizes all of those 50,000 parts is 'the model.'

Obviously, too few 'parts' in a model is not useful. Generally we want the model to be a great ballstriker because there would be no motive to develop those parts close to the model. Thus, if you only had the interlocking grip as the model, there's going to be plenty of golfers with an interlocking grip that cannot hit it out of their shadow.

And the issue with too many parts to the model is that it's probably impossible to actually find that model.

Is using a model 'bad?' Doesn't The Golfing Machine state that there is no 'one way?'

Models are not 'bad.' And just because an instructor has a 'model', does NOT necessarily mean that they are trying to get every student to swing exactly the same or have all of the same parts in their swing.

Obviously, that depends on the instructor. There are instructors who have a model and try to get all of their students to fit that model regardless of who they are. And there are also different reasons why some may want to replicate the model completely as well.

Swing models are often used by instructors as a comparison for their students. Like I stated, there are some instructors who teach all of their students to follow every part of the model's swing.

However, many instructors will take a student's swing, analyze what is causing them problems and compare the what they feel is causing those problems with what the model is doing. And then the 'goal' becomes to get the student to replicate *that specific part* that the model has.

Let's say a golfer is struggling with a hook. And let's say an instructor's model is Ben Hogan. If the instructor believes that the issue is the golfer is getting 'across the line' at the top of the swing, then he may prescribe some things to eliminate that across the line move and make the golfer look more like Hogan in that part of the swing.

That does not mean that the entire swing will look like Hogan, just the part that the instructor feels like is causing the golfer problems.

Now, many instructors will try to have their own swing replicate the entire model. That's because they would like to have the model for themselves and be able to demonstrate to their students in person.

The key is to understand why the instructor uses the model and how they use it instead of believing that a model is automatically bad or makes the instructor a 'method' teacher.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

3Jack Updated PGA Tour Stat Rankings 7.19.11

Last week the Americans came back to dominate the leaderboard of the British Open, but still could not find a way to come up with a victory. Since Clarke and Bjorn are not full time on the PGA Tour, here's a look at the top 5 finishers from the PGA Tour and their stats, year-to-date.

Phil Mickelson……...151……..50……...133……..2
Dustin Johnson……..10……..158……..146……..4
Chad Campbell …….46……..174……..105……..22
Anthony Kim……......189……..89…….....92……..164
Rickie Fowler …….....92……..28……....164……..6

It was pretty obvious that Clarke hit the ball great and is generally known as more of a ballstriker than a putter. It was also obvious that the Open was decided by Danger Zone play and who could putt the best. While Anthony Kim's Danger Zone play isn't good, he was doing pretty well in the Danger Zone for most of the year and recently dropped off the face of the earth. He reportedly felt like he got his swing back at the Open and that may spark some things to come.

Here are my top picks for the RBC Canadian Open:

Chez Reavie
John Rollins
Tommy Gainey
Bo Van Pelt
Ryan Moore

Value Pick: Tom Gillis


1…Bubba Watson
2…Heath Slocum
3…John Merrick
4…David Toms
5…Boo Weekley
6…Chez Reavie
7…John Rollins
8…Brandt Jobe
9…Bo Van Pelt
10…Dustin Johnson
11…Nick Watney
12…Joe Durant
13…J.J. Henry
14…Webb Simpson
15…Tom Gillis
16…Graeme McDowell
17…Gary Woodland
18…Chris Couch
19…Keegan Bradley
20…Hunter Mahan

181…Paul Stankowski
182…Shaun Micheel
183…Michael Sim
184…Martin Piller
185…Derek Lamely
186…Bio Kim
187…Kevin Na
188…Chad Collins
189…Anthony Kim
190…Mike Weir


1…Steve Stricker
2…Brandt Snedeker
3…Greg Chalmers
4…Luke Donald
5…Nick Watney
6…Bryce Molder
7…Lucas Glover
8…Kevin Na
9…Charlie Wi
10…Zach Johnson
11…Fredrik Jacobson
12…Brian Gay
13…Ben Martin
14…Aaron Baddeley
15…Henrik Stenson
16…Jim Renner
17…Kevin Streelman
18…Michael Putnam
19…Angel Cabrera
20…Ryan Moore

181…Kyle Stanley
182…Alex Cejka
183…Derek Lamely
184…Paul Goydos
185…Scott Gutschewski
186…Jeff Maggert
187…D.J. Trahan
188…Heath Slocum
189…Boo Weekley
190…Ernie Els


1…Jonathan Byrd
2…James Driscoll
3…Brian Gay
4…Steve Flesch
5…Kevin Sutherland
6…Steve Stricker
7…Chris Riley
8…Bill Haas
9…Rory Sabbatini
10…Billy Mayfair
11…Stewart Cink
12…Zach Johnson
13…Michael Bradley
14…Jason Day
15…Kevin Na
16…Fredrik Jacobson
17…Nick O'Hern
18…Aaron Baddeley
19…Nick Watney
20…Ricky Barnes

181…Martin Piller
182…Sean O'Hair
183…Jeff Overton
184…Kevin Stadler
185…Ben Martin
186…Robert Garrigus
187…Marc Turnesa
188…Henrik Stenson
189…Garrett Willis
190…Billy Horschel


1…David Toms
2…Phil Mickelson
3…Padraig Harrington
4…Dustin Johnson
5…Robert Garrigus
6…Rickie Fowler
7…Alex Cejka
8…Robert Allenby
9…Nick Watney
10…Scott Stallings
11…Sergio Garcia
12…John Senden
13…Boo Weekley
14…Davis Love III
15…Heath Slocum
16…Kevin Stadler
17…Brendan Steele
18…Michael Thompson
19…Ian Poulter
20…Kyle Stanley

181…Steve Flesch
182…Camilo Villegas
183…Colt Knost
184…Scott McCarron
185…Greg Chalmers
186…Kevin Kisner
187…Michael Sim
188…Bio Kim
189…Charlie Wi
190…Henrik Stenson


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time For the FuZion Experience

With my FSGA Mid-Am Qualifier coming up, I decided to finally set up an appointment to get together with FuZion Golf ( and get fitted for clubs. I had just come off about a week and a half of hitting the ball with every club besides my driver about the best I’ve ever hit it. And it seemed easy. And while I still have some things to work on with my swing, I figured that it was probably a good time to schedule an appointment. I made one for Tuesday July 26th at their location at TPC Sawgrass.

Of course, after I scheduled the appointment, I wound up hitting the ball about the worst I’ve hit it in the past 3 months. Crazy game, this thing we call ‘golf.’ I think I’ve resolved the issues, if not I’ll cancel the appointment a few days in advance and look to re-schedule.

My feeling is this…my swing is clearly progressing, but still has a lot of work needed to be done to it. I just don’t feel like my swing will improve so much from now until September that it will greatly affect the type of clubs that fit me. And let’s say my swing does get to ‘where I want it’ in 2012, I can always change out the shafts. I would just like to go into the qualifier not fighting the handicap of poorly fitted equipment.

Anyway, here’s a sample video of FuZion Golf doing a fitting for Blair O’Neal

My current thoughts (which are subject to change) are the following.


My current bag looks like this:

Driver: Adams 9015D, 9.5* loft, 45” Harrison Saga X60 shaft (X-Stiff)

3-wood: Cleveland Hi-Bore XLS, 15* loft, 43” Fujikura Fit-On Gold Shaft (Stiff)

3-hybrid: Mizuno Fli-Hi CKL, 20* loft, 39.5” True Temper Steel Hybrid Shaft (Stiff)

3-9 iron: Srixon Pro 100 blades, 1* strong loft, standard lie and lengths, True Temper DG S300 steel shafts

PW: Titleist 690MB, 1* strong loft, standard lie, length same as 9-iron, TT DG S300 shaft

SW: Miura K-Grind, 56* loft, +1/2” length, standard lie, KBS Wedge Shaft (stiff)

LW: Ping Tour-S Rustique, 60* loft, standard lie and length, KBS Wedge Shaft (stiff)

Putter: Edel Columbia (custom made)

Currently, the clubs I am most happy with are the putter and the Miura K-Grind wedge. However, I really want to keep the bag setup the same with a driver, 3-wood, hybrid and then 3-LW. I’ve found that most PGA Tour pros do NOT carry 4 wedges and the best Danger Zone players typically have the same or similar setup as I have. In other words, the yardage gaps between the 3-wood, hybrid and 3-iron are extremely important.


For me, performance rules the roost when it comes to the driver. I’ll hit a driver that looks like a mangled deer’s head and sounds like a Justin Bieber’s greatest hits album if it performs well. It’s amazing how pretty a club can look when you hit it well and I can always play with ear plugs.

I am not married to any manufacturer, I just want performance.

Miles of Golf in Michigan ( measured driver swings with Trackman of players in the 2010 Michigan Amateur. Here’s a look at their differences between the average PGA Tour player

……………..Club Speed…..Launch Angle…..Spin……Carry
Michi Am……….109…………..9.9………….2920…….257
PGA Tour……….112………….11.2…………2685…….269

The carry numbers are important, but I think those are hard to judge because of the weather conditions. However, the launch angle and spin numbers are pretty big and to me it shows the difference in driver fitting for the average PGA Tour player and elite golfers.

I’d like to keep the driver at 45” if possible. I experimented with this by recently installing that Harrison Saga shaft in my Adams 9015D head and I think it’s much easier for me to balance myself. I would also prefer a little lower launch, lower spin head. I’m not afraid to get a club that is not simple to hit, but when I take a good swing it goes well. I’d like to keep the spin under 2,800 rpm’s as well.


The 3-wood is what really possessed me to go set up an appointment with FuZion Golf. I’ve come to believe that the 3-wood is underrated as to helping a golfer shoot a lower score. The bread and butter of golf scores is still Danger Zone play, Putting, Driving and Short Game around the greens. But, I think a golfer who goes from a mediocre 3-wood player to a great 3-wood player would start to see their scores lower, regardless of what their handicap is.

Part of the reason is that there’s an obvious correlation on the PGA Tour between going for a par-5 in two and scoring average on par-5’s. In the end, it’s stating that if you can reasonably go for a par-5 in two, do it because it will likely help your score. Also, the Web site states that it considers a ‘go for it’ when the ball is within 30 yards from the edge of the green.

Let’s say a golfer had 300 yards to the pin and they know they cannot reach the green. However, they hit a 3-wood 250 yards which is within 30 yards from the front edge of the green. That is considered a ‘go for it’ and because it has such a strong correlation to par-5 play, I think a good 3-wood player can capitalize on that.

Then there are the par-4’s where it is not feasible to hit a driver. But for many weak 3-wood players they won’t use 3-wood either. So if they use a hybrid, they may lose 30 yards and like I’ve explained with using a driver versus a 3-wood, 30 yards is a big difference. One just has to figure out what their odds of finding trouble with the driver are versus a 3-wood. Thus, a very good 3-wood player can increase their chances of hitting that ‘go for it’ range on par-5’s and be effective on par-4’s where driver off the tee is not feasible.

I think it’s important to be good at both and I have liked the feel of the new Titleist 910F-d which has a slightly bigger clubhead mass to allow for an easier time off the tee.


From my research on the top Danger Zone players, most of them carry either a hybrid that is about 18* in loft or a 5-wood with the same amount of loft. What I’ve found interesting is that players with clubhead speeds of 113 mph or more (remember, Tour average with a driver is 112 mph) start to carry 5-woods. There are still many that generate a lot of clubhead speed that use a hybrid, but golfers who carry a 5-wood are almost exclusively faster speed players.

Currently I have the Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK 3-hybrid with a 20* loft. I think it is a good club, but I’m looking for something I can hit a little further and a little higher. I notice that maybe a handful of Tour players use steel shafts in their hybrids, although I’ve hit the KBS hybrid shaft and liked it.


I am not exactly interested in irons at the moment because the irons I currently play will suffice for now. However, I plan on trying to qualify for the US Amateur in 2012 and playing in that USGA event will require that I have irons with conforming grooves, which my Srixon Pro 100 blades do not have.

My feelings are that I can afford a new set of irons and woods, but I feel the only change I need is to figure out what shafts are best for me. I don’t have plans to change the lie angles or lofts and I can currently hit my Srixon Pro 100’s quite well. But, since the grooves rule forces me to change clubs for next year, I might as well give it a look-see. I figure if we find a set of shafts that are just far superior to my True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts, then I’ll probably fork over the money for some new irons. I am very interested in KBS Shaft’s new ‘C-Taper’ shaft

I like the feel of the KBS Tour shafts, but they do launch a little high for my tastes and they supposedly get a lot of spin. The new C-Taper shafts are supposed to cut down the launch height and spin a bit and I’ve heard some rave reviews about them.

As far as the irons themselves, I insist on playing muscleback. I just do not have the ability to get feedback from a cavity back iron like I do with a muscleback and when I’m flushing a muscleback, I like the performance better than when I’m flushing a cavity back.

I prefer a blade with minimal offset, but a moderate sized topline by blades standards. My Srixon Pro-100’s have that type of topline, but have a bit too much offset for my tastes. My 1967 Hogan Percussions fit the best of both worlds, but have no bounce angle and that’s too difficult to consistently hit on Florida bermuda grass.


Like I mentioned, I’m very happy with my Miura K-Grind wedge. I was a little worried that the 9* loft gap between my PW and my SW would be problematic, but I’ve found that to not be true. On vary rare occasions I will have to compromise my PW swing when I’m in between clubs. I strongly believe that short game shots are more about trajectory than anything else and I find it more difficult to get the right trajectory when I have to add loft to a club than when I de-loft the club. Thus, I prefer the 56* over the 54* when I’m around the green.

I purchased the Lob Wedge because I was looking for something with a KBS Shaft that had 10* of bounce. I hit this okay, but I hit the Miura wedge much better. I wouldn’t mind trying out some of the Miura lob wedges.

Overall, the idea is to have fun, get fitted for some good clubs and perhaps learn some things. I’ll try to get some photos of the place if I can and post them here.


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Conundrum of Confidence

From time to time I get some blog readers asking me what I think of Dr. Bob Rotella’s work. Personally, I’m not that big of a fan. Especially when a person says a golfer should have a ‘conservative strategy’ (Rotella says ‘conservative strategy with a cocky swing’).

Part of me understands some of the things that Rotella preaches. I think having the attitude of ‘I’m going low today!’ is often a poor one. But, there are too many other factors left out of the equation for golfers to perhaps reach their potential and to improve their mental game to shoot lower scores.

Put it this way, you don’t shoot 63 at Oakmont like Johnny Miller did in 1973 with a conservative strategy. In fact, Miller hit EVERY green in regulation that day and his average distance birdie putt was 8 feet long. There is simply no way, at the US Open, that can be a conservative strategy.

However, what I don’t hear much from the PGA and Nationwide Tour players that I’ve talked to over the years is the phrase (and similar phrases) ‘Gotta go low tomorrow!’

The other day I was talking to a buddy of mine about me attempting to qualify for the Florida State Mid-Amateur in September. I told him that if a golfer were to do the following

- 12 Greens in Regulation
- Nothing Over a Bogey
- No 3-Putts
- No Penalty Shots
- Good drives on each of the Par-5's

That alone would almost guarantee them to be the medalist of the qualifier. Technically, one could shoot 78 with those statistics, but they are more likely to shoot below par and in the 60’s. But, going low is a different situation (we’ll say going low is 66 or better).

This year I’ve decided to look at the low rounds on the PGA Tour when they happen and then take a look at the statistics the golfer had during that round. Generally, when a player goes low it is because they have a really good day with their ballstriking. They’ll hit at least 14 greens in regulation and their proximity to the cup is very short. Usually the ballstriking is really good and then they putt pretty well. But sometimes they strike the ball pretty well and just putt out of their mind. Still, it’s typically great ballstriking that allows them to go low.

So obviously, skill is a big part of going low. Not only skill, but getting hot and typically it’s with the full swing more than the putting stroke.

However, I think most of the time there is a lot of ‘getting the stars to align’ as well. Take a look at Nicklaus’ legendary back 9 at The Masters in 1986. He got a favorable pin position on #11 that allowed him to have a chance to birdie the hole. That gave him his 3rd birdie in a row and bolstered some confidence for him. He also got a favorable bounce on #17 green. Had those two things not happened, he could have shot 32 or 33 and never won the tournament.

That’s not taking a single thing away from Nicklaus. But, it’s to show how luck can play a factor in going low and how it can help snowball into building some confidence and then hitting shots like the 2nd shot into #15 and then almost jarring the tee shot on #16.

I think a lot of the elite players understand that there is a critical element about ‘going low’ that is out of their control. They understand that they can hit it and putt it better one day and shoot a higher score than the following day where they don’t hit it or putt it nearly as well. Things like the wind, getting in between clubs, pin positions that fit your eye, getting uphill putts, etc. are all things that are hard or impossible to control and if they just keep to their strategy and routine, then a round where the ‘stars align’ may pop up for them.

In other words, stick to the gameplan because you cannot win the tournament with 1 shot or 1 hole or even 1 round. Just keep yourself in contention when you’re not on fire and the stars are not aligned and then when things start rolling your way, you can suddenly ‘go low.’

I think it’s good to have expectations. I have expectations for myself when I play in the Mid-Am qualifier. I expect myself to be focused on each shot. I expect myself to stick to my strategy. I expect myself to be prepared. And I expect myself to keep myself mentally in the game and not allow myself to ‘lose it’ on 1 shot or 1 round. But, I don’t expect myself to go low or ‘tear up the course.’

Moe Norman probably said it best in ‘I want to shoot course records, I don’t have to shoot course records. If I have a bad day, that’s fine because I’m going to get to play again tomorrow.’ So feel like you want to shoot low scores, but you have no obligation to do so and expect that you will do what you possibly can and have control over.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Swing Objectives and Compensations - Part II

One thing that really made sense with me is that compensations are not actually ‘bad.’ Again, they are just reactions we make in the golf swing. However, compensations are more often than not troublesome for golfers.

Loren Roberts is a great example. His putting stroked has compensations to it. However, he is the ‘Boss of the Moss’, so those compensations work for him. In other words, he has PROVEN he can make those compensations over and over again. The same can be said for a golfer like Jim Furyk and his golf swing. He’s gone most of his life hitting the ball at an elite level with a swing filled with some large compensations. But, he’s PROVEN he can do it.

A lot of times we will hear golfers say to the effect ‘all that matters is if it’s repeatable.’ That is true. However, most of these golfers have the misconception of thinking that anybody can repeat any compensation if they work hard enough at it. That simply is not the case.

The difficulty with compensations is that they require some extra timing and hand-eye coordination in order to get ‘back on track.’ Using our putting example of a 5* closed putter face at address, I think we tend to find the following scenarios:

- No compensation made (5* closed face at address stays 5* closed at impact)
- Not enough compensation (5* closed face at address, 3* closed at impact)
- Too much compensation (5* closed face at address, 2* open at impact)
- Inconsistent amount of compensation

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is a ‘compensation free’ golf swing out there. Instead, I think we try to minimize the number of compensations we make and minimize the size of those compensations.

In our putting example, if the golfer has the putter face aimed square at the target at address, I think that makes it easier for them to repeat a stroke where it will be square at impact. If they swing the putter back and the putter face is open, I think the smaller amount the putter face is open, the easier it will be to get the putter face square at impact.

Golfers like Furyk can get well ‘off track’ and find a way to get ‘back on track’ at impact time after time. Most golfers are better off staying as close to the track as they can throughout the swing


While I have been discussing ‘staying on track’, it does not mean that there is ‘one way’ to swing a golf club. There are almost countless ways for a golfer to stay on track throughout the swing. Some golfers swing the club flatter and manage to stay on track with their low point, face angle and plane. Others swing more upright and stay on track.

A big problem with method teachers is that their teaching assumes that every compensation is a bad one because it does not adhere to the method they teach. It also takes out things like the individuality of the golf swing like a flatter swing plane golfer who does a good job of ‘staying on track’, particularly at impact, and forcing them into the plane that their method requires. Now that flatter swing plane golfer may get more upright in the swing plane and struggle to stay on track, even though that was never a problem with their flatter plane.

Lastly, it takes out the understanding that the swing is a reactionary motion.

It is so important to understand that golf is a reactionary sport because:

A) One can understand that a compensation in itself isn’t bad and can now better identify the ‘bad’ compensations versus the ‘good’ compensations

B) It makes it easier to identify what is causing the compensation

C) It makes it easier to fix the compensation

Many method instructors I’ve come across, even those in the top 10 golf instructor lists in magazines tend to do the following with their students:

1) They will see a move that does not fit their method and immediately get the golfer to change it so it is in line with their method.

2) They never identify if the compensation is hurting their ballstriking or if they can make the proper compensation to get ‘back on track.’

3) The odds of them identifying what type of shots the compensation can cause if they do not get ‘back on track’ are 50/50 at best.

4) The instruction to fix that compensation is more along the lines of ‘don’t do that’ instead of identifying what is causing the golfer to make that reaction (compensation).

5) They prescribe a ‘swing feel’ which is theirs and do not get into the mechanics and allow the golfer to figure out the feel for themselves that allows them to repeat the mechanics consistently

6) They quickly blame it on the golfer’s flexibility, age, height, etc. when those things usually have nothing to do with it.

A good example is the laid off motion at the top of the swing

Generally the laid off motion occurs at its base level because the golfer has rotated the left forearm (if they are right handed) clockwise too much. Often times this is caused by the hands getting too far away from the body in the takeaway. When a golfer gets ‘off track’ like that in the takeaway, if they do not rotate that left forearm in the backswing, the backswing plane will be very upright. Thus, they make the ‘reaction’ (compensation) of now rotating the left forearm clockwise in order to not have such an upright backswing plane. But in the process of doing so, the shaft now gets ‘laid off.’

Where many method instructors fail, even the high profile ones, is that in this example they will never identify the left forearm rotation as the base cause. In reality, it’s probably due to the fact that they never understood that the left forearm rotation is causing the club to get laid off.

For them, they will typically tell the golfer things like ‘feel like you are sticking your thumbs in your right ear at the top of the swing.’

First, that feel may work for the instructor but may not work for the student. Second, it has never addressed the main reason why the club is getting laid off. And because it’s not identified the main reason (left forearm rotation) it does not identify the other part of the ‘chain link’ (hands getting too far away from the body) that is causing the left forearm to over-rotate clockwise.

Now, that does not mean that every ‘laid off’ move is due to the hands getting too far away from the body in the takeaway. The difficulty of the golf swing is that there usually not a singular cause and effect relationship. There’s usually a plethora of cause and effect relationships in the swing

The problem with most training aids is that they usually identify a compensation in the ‘middle of the link.’

The SwingGyde is supposed to allow golfers to not ‘cast’ the club in the downswing

It is a product that incorporates a feel for the golfer and is designed so the golfer can install ‘muscle memory’ into their swing.

Certainly, casting the club is a reaction that will get a golfer ‘off track’ and make it very difficult to get back ‘on track’ at impact.

But the issue with the SwingGyde and other training aids like it is that it neglects the stuff earlier on in the swing that is causing the golfer to cast the club. It is looking at the obvious 'reaction' instead of trying to fix what is causing that reaction of casting the club.

Generally when it comes to training aids, I prefer something a little more audio or visual like Sonic Golf or the Taly. I also think that Martin Chuck's Tour Striker is about as good as it gets.

I'm more of a believer in understanding the mechanics and then incorporating the right feel for the mechanics. And obviously, the main point of this 2 part post is to understand that 'good compensations' are ones we can repeat and the ones we cannot repeat, we need to figure out what is causing the compensation. However, those training tools help people understand the mechanical concepts more quickly.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Swing Objectives and Compensations - Part I

For awhile now I wanted to discuss compensations in the golf swing. A few months ago I was speaking to my instructor, George Hunt ( about the swing over the phone and some things he mentioned really clicked for me and sped up the learning process for me. If you are in Central Florida, I highly recommend you get a lesson from him as he gives lessons 7 days a week and has helped my ballstriking and scoring tremendously.

I’ve discussed compensations before, but as I understand them better, it now makes more sense as to what the objective in swing improvement should be and how to better go about improving the swing.

The swing is a bit like traveling on a car on a track. We want to be ‘on track’ at impact. Technically, it does not matter if we are off track before impact. As long as we can get back on track at impact, time after time…THAT is what matters. For golfers, getting ‘on track’ has to do with the low point, the clubface angle and the path.

We have to remember that the physics part of the game does not play favorites. If we had a Trackman available and it read that a ball was struck in the sweetspot with the same 7-iron and golf ball and the numbers read:

0* path
0* face
-3* attack angle

The ball would fly the same if Richie3Jack was swinging the 7-iron or if Rory McIlroy was swinging the 7-iron. The difference between myself and Rory hitting a golf ball is that he creates ‘better numbers’ and creates those better numbers more often. If Rory happened to create similar numbers with a clubface at 7* closed, he would hit a poor snap hook and hit a much worse shot than I would. That driver he hit dead right at Augusta in the 4th round of this years Masters? Wide open clubface at impact. The ball does not understand pressure, talent, greatness, ineptitude or any other verb or adjective you can come up with. It just reacts to what the clubhead is doing when the two collide into each other.

With that, I find that the best type of instruction tries to figure out a way to consistently get the golfer to be ‘on track’ at impact. Things like ‘staying on plane’ help with the path. Keeping the clubface square obviously helps with the clubface. And the attack angle of the club, influenced by things like right wrist bend at impact, axis tilt, etc, help with the low point.

We must understand that golf IS a reactionary sport.

Where people goof that up is that they think of sports like basketball and football as ‘reactionary sports.’ In these sports we are reacting to the opponent and the ball. In golf, we are reacting to ourself.

The best way I can explain it is with putting (where compensations occur as well). If I address the ball and have the putter face pointing 5* left of the target, I need to find a way to get the putter face square to the target at impact. I am ‘off track’ at address and trying to get back ‘on track’ by impact. Often times when we get off track, like in this example, we ‘react’ to it.

Take Loren Roberts for example. According to SAM Puttlab data, he aims his putter 2* left of the target at address. He then uses a slight cut-across stroke and manipulates the putter face to square it up at impact. Roberts was ‘off track’ at address and then reacted (made compensations) by taking the putter to the outside in the backstroke, then cutting across the ball slightly while opening up the putter face by about 2* to get the putter face square at impact.

The same applies to the golf swing. If are clubface is not square during the swing, we tend to make a reaction in order to square up the clubface at impact. If we are ‘off plane’, then we tend to react to get ourselves on plane at impact. And if we are moving the low point too much, then we tend to react to try and get our low point where we want it at impact.

Obviously, one can have a closed or open clubface at impact and hit it well. And one can have an inside-to-out or outside-to-in path and hit it well. The same with the low point moving around. But, if you have a desired ball flight and you, on some level, understand what impact conditions are needed to achieve that ball flight…when you vary from those impact conditions in the swing, reactions are made to get ‘back on track’ at impact.

PART II Tomorrow

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3Jack Updated 2011 PGA Tour Stat Rankings 7.12.11

Last week’s John Deere Classic saw Steve Stricker pull away with the victory.

For the 2nd week in a row one of my picks has won the tournament. In fact, I had the top 3 finishers picked in Stricker, Kyle Stanley (yes, Kyle Stanley) and Zach Johnson. Here’s a look at the stat rankings for each golfer that finished in the top 5 last week.

Steve Stricker…….……26……....1………...6……....51
Kyle Stanley………...…33……..179……....69……..20
Zach Johnson………..…42……...10…….....11……..96
Matt McQuillan……..….N/A…….N/A……..N/A……..N/A
Charles Howell III ……..151…….22……..72……..150

Good driving ruled for the most part. Zach is very average from the Danger Zone this year, but Stricker is pretty good and Stanley is excellent. This is the 2nd top-5 finish in a row for Howell III. He’s not driving the ball any better or getting better from the Danger Zone (he ranked 148th in both categories last week). But, his putting and short game play was on fire as he went from 29th in putts gained and 82nd in Short Game play and made a pretty big jump to 22nd and 72nd this week. He’ll need to get his ballstriking in tact if he ever hopes to keep this pace up or tries to get back to his old form.

The Open is difficult to pick because there are so many entrants and the course changes each year. In fact, I think it’s even more difficult to predict because the weather can almost decide the winner if the winner gets a couple of fortunate tee times when the wind is down. I pick 10 players for the Majors, here’s mine.

Rory McIlroy
Nick Watney
Luke Donald
Charley Hoffman
Matt Kuchar
Lee Westwood
Jonathan Byrd
Ian Poulter
Matteo Manassero
Martin Laird

Value Pick: Robert Rock


1…Bubba Watson
2…John Merrick
3…David Toms
4…Boo Weekley
5…Heath Slocum
6…Chez Reavie
7…Nick Watney
8…John Rollins
9…Bo Van Pelt
10…Brandt Jobe
11…J.J. Henry
12…Gary Woodland
13…Hunter Mahan
14…Webb Simpson
15…Dustin Johnson
16…Tom Gillis
17…Justin Hicks
18…Chris Couch
19…Graeme McDowell
20…Keegan Bradley

178…Shaun Micheel
179…Michael Sim
180…Paul Stankowski
181…Martin Piller
182…Derek Lamely
183…Kevin Na
184…Bio Kim
185…Chad Collins
186…Anthony Kim
187…Mike Weir


1…Steve Stricker
2…Brandt Snedeker
3…Greg Chalmers
4…Luke Donald
5…Nick Watney
6…Bryce Molder
7…Lucas Glover
8…Kevin Na
9…Charlie Wi
10…Zach Johnson
11…Fredrik Jacobson
12…Brian Gay
13…Ben Martin
14…Aaron Baddeley
15…Michael Putnam
16…Kevin Streelman
17…Angel Cabrera
18…Ryan Moore
19…Y.E. Yang
20…Padraig Harrington

179…Kyle Stanley
180…Alex Cejka
181…Paul Goydos
182…Derek Lamely
183…Jeff Maggert
184…D.J. Trahan
185…Scott Gutschewski
186…Heath Slocum
187…Boo Weekley
188…Ernie Els


1…Jonathan Byrd
2…James Driscoll
3…Brian Gay
4…Steve Flesch
5…Kevin Sutherland
6…Steve Stricker
7…Bill Haas
8…Rory Sabbatini
9…Chris Riley
10…Stewart Cink
11…Zach Johnson
12…Michael Bradley
13…Jason Day
14…Kevin Na
15…Fredrik Jacobson
16…Bio Kim
17…Billy Mayfair
18…Tim Petrovic
19…Scott Gutschewski
20…Nick O'Hern

178…Harrison Frazar
179…Alex Prugh
180…Sean O'Hair
181…Jeff Overton
182…Kevin Stadler
183…Ben Martin
184…Sunghoon Kang
185…Robert Garrigus
186…Garrett Willis
187…Billy Horschel


1…David Toms
2…Phil Mickelson
3…Padraig Harrington
4…Dustin Johnson
5…Robert Garrigus
6…Rickie Fowler
7…Alex Cejka
8…John Senden
9…Robert Allenby
10…Nick Watney
11…Scott Stallings
12…Sergio Garcia
13…Boo Weekley
14…Peter Tomasulo
15…Heath Slocum
16…Davis Love III
17…Kevin Stadler
18…Brendan Steele
19…Ian Poulter
20…Kyle Stanley

178…Camilo Villegas
179…Rich Beem
180…Colt Knost
181…James Driscoll
182…Greg Chalmers
183…Kevin Kisner
184…Scott McCarron
185…Michael Sim
186…Charlie Wi
187…Bio Kim


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

High Bunker Shots with Zach Allen

Here's Zach Allen ( on how to hit high bunker shots.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Why I Think Brandel's Fundamentals Are Harmful

In an open rebuttal post to Brandel Chamblee, I stated that what he believes to be ‘the fundamentals’ of the golf swing (grip, stance, grip pressure, posture, etc) were his opinion and that I had a different opinion on the fundamentals of the golf swing. In fact, in my opinion citing those elements of the swing that Chamblee did I find to be more harmful than helpful for golfers. Some readers asked about that, so here is my opinion on the matter.

What are we trying to achieve when we step up to a golf ball and are about to take a swing?

At its most basic level we are trying to get that ball into the cup in as few of shots as possible.

I think everybody would agree with that.

That’s a big crux of the issue though. The clubhead and all of the dimensions of it colliding with the golf ball to send it towards the golf hole. A major part of where I find Chamblee’s ‘fundamentals’ to be flawed is that golf is not a game where judges stand next to the golfer and hand out scores based on their grip, stance, address, posture, etc. And even if they could, like I mentioned in the open rebuttal post, what defines a ‘good’ grip or ‘good stance’ versus a ‘poor’ grip and a ‘poor stance?’ And why can I take a small list of 10 of the all-time great ballstrikers and somebody like Trevino had vastly different ‘fundamentals’ to the swing than Hogan did who had vastly different ‘fundamentals’ than Nicklaus did?

Another problem with Chamblee’s ‘fundamentals’ is that golfers can have practically the same fundamentals and hit it two different ways. One could easily hit a hook and one could hit a slice. Not to forget that one could hit it great and one could hit it lousy. But, if two golfers have practically the same impact conditions, the result will be practically the same because one cannot deny physics.

For instance, if I do a perfect job of emulating Rory McIlroy’s posture, grip, stance, grip pressure, etc, I might not be able to break 90. However, if Rory and I were to have these numbers at impact.

112 mph clubhead speed
167 mph ball speed
0* clubface angle
+2.5* path (inside-to-out)
+1* upward attack angle

The ball does NOT care if I’m swinging it or if Rory McIlroy is swinging it. The result will practically be the same, as long as we are using the same type of equipment.

That’s why understand the correct laws of ball flight is so important and speaking from experience, not knowing the correct laws of ball flight and trying to improve is almost an exercise in futility.

In my opinion, the fundamentals should be uniform in nature. I also think that the fundamentals should be more or less, the most important part of anything. Take American football as an example. The basic fundamentals of football are blocking and tackling. Now, there are different techniques to help become a better and more ‘sure’ tackler. But at its base, all that matters is can a defender tackle a ballcarrier and not allow him any extra yardage. In football, if your team cannot block and cannot tackle very well, you’re going to be a poor team.

But, it doesn’t really matter how a team does it as long as they are proficient at it. It doesn’t matter if a team uses a man-to-man blocking scheme or a zone blocking scheme or what type of mechanics they use with their hands and feet to properly block opposing players or if the defense uses a ‘textbook’ tackling technique or they dive at knees, etc. Just get the job done consistently. Sound familiar?

And that’s probably the biggest flaw I see with Chamblee’s fundamentals. It is ignoring the ‘blocking’ and ‘tackling’ of the golf swing. What makes the ball fly like it does and then figuring out how to get the ball to fly to your command.

It’s not that the grip, stance, posture, grip pressure, etc are unimportant. All of them are important in their own way. It’s just that they are much less important than being able to control the clubface, clubhead path and the low point while pivoting efficiently and effectively. And thus, the golfer’s focus is better directed towards what directly affects the result we are looking for.