Thursday, September 29, 2011

Swami 3000 Review

I sometimes get asked about GPS units and laser rangefinders. I am actually a proponent of the devices in the game of golf because regardless of what some people say, I do believe it speeds up the game. As I reach my 3rd anniversary of doing the blog, the slow speed of play is arguably the #1 reason I get from readers as to why they do not play more golf.

I use the Bushnell 1500 Pinseeker with slope.

Since I live in Florida, the slope edition almost never comes into play. Obviously, I cannot use it for tournaments, but I always wanted to be able to point out the distances to a hole with a lot of slope on it in the practice round if necessary.

In my opinion, all of the GPS and Rangefinders…even those with slope, should be legalized for this purpose. Let’s make the game faster and if we can, make it appear more friendly to golfers. Personally, if I’m playing a round of golf and don’t have something to tell me the yardage, I have no issue with pacing the yardage off, looking at the pin sheet and take more time to get the yardage.

My feeling on the subject is that golfers still have to hit the shot at hand. I could be told the exact and correct yardage every single time and Luke Donald could have to guess the yardages every single time, but Luke Donald is going to hit far better shots than I will. And the professionals are able to have their caddies design intricate yardage books that will pretty much get them the exact yardage and tell them how putts break, etc.

If anything, the banning of rangefinders and GPS units in some tournaments is really hypocritical and thus can come down to what player has the time and money to get a caddy to come up with an intricate yardage book and which one doesn’t. Again, I don’t think it’s that much of an advantage in the end, but PGA and USGA events are helping create more of an advantage than they are keeping players on a level playing field.

Anyway, recently I was given the Swami 3000 by Izzo Golf to try out.

While I’m not an expert at the history of GPS units, my knowledge of them is that they first started costing about $400+ and that did not include the annual membership and course downloading fees. Eventually, people started to see this as pretty expensive for getting accurate yardage and with the struggling economy, the interest in these high priced units annual and course download fees declined.

Now, we are starting to see GPS units modeled much like the Swami 3000. This is a unit that only tells the yardage to the front, center and back part of the green with 19,000 courses pre-loaded and no annual or downloading fees.


Fortunately, my father has a Bushnell Neo device, so I could use the Swami 3000 along with my Bushnell 1500 Pinseeker to help gauge the accuracy. I feel that accuracy is the most important part for me.

For the most part, the Swami 3000 and the Bushnell Neo were getting pretty much the same reading. Since I cannot take my rangefinder and measure the actual yardage to the front or the back of the green, I had to shoot at the flagstick and then guesstimate the exact yardage to the front or back of the green. Again, the Swami 3000 measured up quite well.

As far as accuracy goes, the only problem is really the limits in the design. You’re not going to get yardages to the water or a fairway bunker or a mound with this type of design. Also, it measures the yardage directly, in a straight line to the hole. If you are on a sharp dog leg where the course has measured the hole from the tee box to the middle of the fairway to the middle of the green, the Swami will come up with a very different reading. For instance, we played one hole that was a pretty sharp dogleg right where you could not hit the tee shot over the dogleg. The scorecard yardage was more of an accurate depiction of the hole at 400 yards, but the Swami, which uses a straight line to the hole said it was 340 yards. Obviously, the same applies for the Bushnell Neo.


I wound up putting it to the ultimate test in my mind by first using the Swami in The Villages, FL. For those who don’t know much about The Villages, it’s essentially a retirement *city* that is filled with golf courses. You cannot go more than 300 yards it seems without running into a golf hole. The small city holds at it’s peak, 82,000 old farts : ) and has 30 different par-3 courses and 10 different championship courses. Most of the par-3 courses are at least 18 holes and most of the championship courses are 27 holes.

It’s a good test of if the GPS unit can locate the correct course that you are on. My dad and I were playing Tierra Del Sol Golf Club which has 3 different par-3 courses right next to it.

At first, I struggled how to get the GPS onto Tierra Del Sol as I left my directions for it at home. But, I eventually figured it out. Overall, I would say the Bushnell Neo was a little easier to get the course, but part of it was due to me not having the instructions on hand. Furthermore, I doubt anybody outside of The Villages would have a situation like this where all of these golf courses are right next to each other. I’ve played in Pinehurst and lived in Myrtle Beach for years and those places are nothing like The Villages when it comes to golf holes everywhere you look.

The Swami does have a nice clip so you clip it to your side pocket or on your golf cart.

When you get the GPS, you have to charge it. I charged mine overnight, but I think it was ready to be used after a few hours. I remember when my dad had to charge his Bushnell Neo, it took a much longer time to charge..

My main complaints against the Swami are:

1) You have to manually change it to the hole you are on.

This is not difficult to do. You just click the arrow to the hole you are on and it will give you the distance. However, this does not have to be done with the Bushnell Neo as it automatically puts you on the hole you are on.

2) You have to manually change it to the part of the green you want the yardage to.

Again, not difficult to do. But, the Bushnell Neo tells you what the yardage to the front, center and back of the green every time. With the Swami 3000, you have to manually click the ‘FCB’ button to get the front, center and back green yardages. That being said, if you have poor eyesight, you are more apt to have a harder time reading the Bushnell Neo front and back yardages than the Swami 3000 yardages.

While those 2 things might be nitpicky, if you’re not careful you might wind up with the yardage to the wrong hole or to the wrong part of the green.


I think the Swami 3000 is a good GPS unit as long as you are aware that it only tells front, back and center green locations and that you will have to manually move the GPS to the hole you are on. I think those obstacles are very simple to overcome and would not be a problem 99% of the time. It has more pre-loaded courses than the Bushnell Neo or Bushnell Neo+ (19,000 vs. 16,000).

The cost for a new unit is about $85. That is the same price for the Bushnell Neo, although it appears that the Neo will not be made much longer as Bushnell starts rolling out the Neo plus, which is a similar device, but supposedly has yardages to key hazards as well.

I feel you probably won’t notice much of a difference between the Bushnell Neo or the Izzo Swami 3000. If you’re at a store and all you see is the Neo, I would ask what the warranty is since Bushnell is replacing it with the Neo plus. But, if you only see the Swami 3000, you should feel confident in your purchase. I know I will be using it at the FSGA Mid-Am because it's legal to use the device at that tournament.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tips For Those Looking For a Swing Makeover

A question was asked over at Brian Manzella’s forum ‘how would you go about rebuilding your golf swing?’

This is a good question that I think deserves some focus upon as golfer’s are always ‘rebuilding their golf swing.’ In fact, I ‘rebuilt’ my golf swing in the past 12 months as well, working with my swing instructor…George Hunt (

And over those past 12 months, I was able to increase my swing speed by about 5-8 mph with the driver and probably more like 6-9 mph with my irons, while increasing my accuracy and consistency and I qualified for the Florida State Mid-Amateur, shooting 74 in the qualifier while hitting 13 greens in regulation.

Obviously, I believe I still have plenty of work to do to reach my final goal (making match play of the US Amateur), but I think I’m at the point where I’m not all that far off from having a decent chance of reaching my goals either. After the Florida State Mid-Am, I plan on posting my goals for the upcoming year and some of the ways I plan on achieving them.


In my opinion, I try to get out of the idea of making a ‘swing change’ or a ‘swing overhaul.’ I actually think this is where the M.O.R.A.D. investigation gets a bad rap. A lot of people believe that teachers who use the information from the M.O.R.A.D. investigation are trying to get every student to swing according to 1 pattern. Instead, the teachers I’ve worked with, John Dochety (once) and my current instructor…George Hunt…are from ‘1 swing pattern teachers.’

I’ve seen some of the swings of George’s and Dochety’s students and I don’t think any of them have the same exact swing or two eerily similar swings. In fact, if you look at some of the golfers that Mac.O.Grady taught himself like Steve Elkington, Grant Waite, Seve Ballesteros, Chip Beck, Jodie Mudd, Vijay Singh, etc….even at their peak they all had noticeably different golf swings.

The point being is that I believe it’s best to not think so much about making wide sweeping changes or an overhaul…but, to fix the issues at hand. I don’t think George or Mac would take away Jim Furyk’s looping motion and make it look like their backswing. But, I do believe that they would fix the issues that they believe is causing a golfer like Furyk the most problems.


Months ago, I had a father and his son…a promising junior golfer…ask me about getting lessons. I then asked them ‘well, do you want a golf coach or a golf instructor?’

They didn’t understand what I meant. I then replied to them that a golf coach tells the golfer what to do with the swing and they do it. A golf instructor teaches the golfer the swing so they can actually understand what they are being taught and can apply it themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen both work well. But, I do believe that’s an important difference to understand.

Personally, I think if you are thinking about making a serious swing change…first you should understand that you are trying to fix the stuff that is not working for you instead of making a swing change or an ‘overhaul.’ Then, you need to find a swing instructor in order to figure out the best instructor for you.

Typically, the ‘swing coach’ works well for talented players, particularly junior golfers. But, if you are thinking about ‘overhauling’ your swing, it becomes clear to me that your lack of understanding the swing is playing a role in not playing to your expectations.

The problem people have is that it’s easier to just get a swing coach. But, it’s not always ‘better.’ And more often than not, people like to choose the easy way than to go the extra mile and do things the better way. Plus, there’s the fear of picking up an instructor and then realizing that they are not the right instructor for them which means admitting to making a mistake.

I would recommend checking out my Top 50 Instructor List and my Certified D-Plane Instructor list to help with finding the right instructor for you.


I understand the point, to a degree, made by the teachers who do not like a camera. I’m not a fan of drawing all of these lines on the camera either, although from time to time they can be helpful to illustrate a point.

But the reason we need a camera is to measure what we are actually doing versus what pieces of the swing we are trying to fix. For instance, if we are trying to shorten our swing, it can often feel like we are shortening the backswing, but the reality is that the backswing is still too long. If we do not have a camera, our feel can paint us the wrong picture.

The goal for me when I work on the swing is to improve the pieces that we went over with in our last lesson. If I can do that, then we can work on new pieces. If not, then we need to figure out why we couldn’t improve those pieces. But, if I don’t have a camera it risks not improving those pieces and we could show up for another lesson where we basically go over the same thing.

As golfers who truly want to fix the parts of the swing that are giving us problems, we need to stop being so afraid of having a camera and using it constantly. In part because children are great at mimicking things…but as adults we lose that ability and it’s easy to fall into old, bad habits or create new, bad habits.

It’s like Sonny from ‘A Bronx Tale’ once said

‘Trouble's like a cancer you got to get it early. You don't get it early it gets too big and then it kills you.’

I personally recommend the new line of Casio cameras, so you can get the swing captured in slow-motion.

However, I warn against only filming in slow motion because sometimes that can fool you with regards to the overall rhythm and tempo of the swing. The Casio cameras along for slow-motion and regular speed filming, so don’t be afraid to use both.


Yes, I do recommend getting on a Trackman if you can. With Trackman, we can measure 5 key components to our swing thru the impact zone.

- Face Angle
- Path
- Horizontal Swing Plane
- Vertical Swing Plane
- Attack Angle

If we can get a base reading of those aspects, we can then understand what needs to be improved. And when we understand what needs to be improved, we can more easily understand the merit of what the instructor is teaching us. If the instructor is teaching us something that does not affect those 5 aspects, then we might need to look for a different instructor.

For example, let’s say we have a terrible problem with being ‘underplane’ and that causes our path to go too far inside-to-out and causes our attack angle to be too shallow. We can use the vertical swing plane (aka, downswing plane) to measure if we are too underplane or not. We can also use what we have been taught to change our VSP, HSP and hopefully get the path more square to the target and make the attack angle with the irons more consistent (and slightly steeper). Trackman can be very helpful in understanding what is going on, what you are being instructed to do, and being able to fix the problems quicker.

Lastly, I find that TGM’s curriculum of the acquired, adjusted and total motion to be helpful as well. Simply put, if you cannot execute something consistently using adjusted motion, your chances of consistently executing with Total Motion are less.

I think where people get screwed up is that they *can* execute Total Motion from time to time better than Adjusted Motion.

But, in order to consistently execute Total Motion, you’re likely to need to consistently execute Adjusted Motion first. It takes a lot of patience and diligence, but it will pay off if you are determined to stick with it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How an Edel Putter Is Built

Here's a short video made by Edel Golf on how the Edel Putters are built. For me, they are the best putters on the market today, hands down.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Thoughts On The Golfing Machine, LLC.

One of the things I’ve been pondering inside my ole noggin is the state of The Golfing Machine. I had originally learned about TGM back in 1996, when I was in college. Back then, Homer Kelley’s wife, Sally Kelley, was more or less operating the business on a shoe string budget and by herself, in order to keep the book alive. I actually remember seeing the book at a Golf Dimensions store in Myrtle Beach at the time, but decided against purchasing it at the time (I read the 6th edition before hand and could only understand, literally 2 pages of it).

Eventually the book and the company was bought out by Joe Daniels and he operates the company out of Oregon. They are still authorizing instructors and the sort. You can check out their Web site at

I was out of golf when TGM was bought by Daniels (and at the time, Danny Elkins), but from what I have researched, it appears that it regained some popularity when they purchased the company along with the popularity of the internet increasing. Then when the 7th edition came out and golf instruction on the internet hit its peak along with Lynn Blake getting back into instruction…TGM was probably at its height of popularity.

But soon thereafter, the popularity of TGM seemed to wane away, particularly in 2010. More and more people started to defect from TGM and there seemed to me to be a growing number of critics. In fact, at TGM had a booth at the 2011 PGA Merchandise show, next to AimPoint/Edel Golf’s booth and the K-Vest booth and had a dearth of visitors while AimPoint and K-Vest seemed very popular.

I often get a lot of questions about my feelings towards The Golfing Machine since I now work with George Hunt ( on my golf swing and George’s swing instruction is based around the M.O.R.A.D. investigation…which Mac.O.Grady met with Homer Kelley personally to learn TGM.

I am still a big fan of TGM. In fact, I believe that I would not have reached this level of progression I’ve made with George if not in part for understanding TGM, first. TGM has many useful concepts and anecdotes along with the invaluable idea of how to look at the golf swing and how to practice and develop my golf swing.

However, I do hear the complaints (some that I agree with, some that I don’t) and I see the popularity of TGM waning over time. Here’s my thoughts on, if I was in charge and if I had the money, what I would do with TGM.


One thing that has appeared to happen over time is that many of the AI’s, particularly the GSED’s, are no longer on the Authorized Instructor list. I think Lynn Blake, one of the biggest proponents and fans of Homer Kelley who can succinctly memorize passages of TGM, should be welcomed back into the fold in any form or fashion. I feel the same way about a lot of TGM AI’s, particularly the old GSED’s.

Of course, we would have to gauge how much TGM that instructor still teaches. But, the philosophy here is simple, the more Authorized Instructors, the more the word gets out about TGM. And the more likely the accurate message gets out about TGM, so guys like Jim McLean cannot erroneously depict TGM in a negative light and be deemed credible.

Obviously, we’ll need to entice these TGM AI’s with a reason to come back because I doubt many would come back just because we asked them nicely.


I think the big dilemma that TGM LLC faces is that you have 2 factions of people that are or were involved with TGM.

a) Instructors who want to learn everything that Homer Kelley thought and said.

b) Those who believe that TGM needs to be updated from Homer Kelley’s work

I think it’s hard to please both parties here and I think the expectations that a company could please everybody in both parties is foolish. Thus, I think we need to try to find the best possible solution.

My feeling is that there should be 2 books. One being the 7th edition as written by Homer Kelley. The other being a new book, written by Joe Daniels. The idea of the 2nd book is to give it a different name like ‘The Golfing Machine – The extended edition’ or to that effect. This would consist of Daniels using all of the resources that Homer Kelley didn’t have at his exposal and put those findings in the book, even if they conflict with Homer Kelley’s work.

Then they could come up with different types of authorization. Perhaps an authorization based on the 7th edition of TGM by Homer Kelley and an authorization based on the ‘extended edition’ by Joe Daniels. Obviously, this would not be a cheap endeavor. However, if marketed correctly the people being authorized by the extended edition could bring in a lot of revenue to keep the business running.


Again, another expensive endeavor, but as Jon Taffer in ‘Bar Rescue’ likes to say ‘penny smart, dollar stupid.’

I find part of the issue that TGM faces is the constant misperceptions by the public that is often fed to them by the media.. There should be a way to combat whatever non-factual nonsense that Brandel Chamblee and Jim McLean spout off about TGM. And there should be a better message generated to the general public about the advantages of TGM.

As I mentioned earlier, there needs to be something to entice instructors to want to become a TGM AI or come back to TGM. I would think the goal would be to expand our network of TGM AI’s, but to still give network a sense of exclusiveness. You cannot just allow anybody to just become an AI, but if you are too exclusive, the message never really gets out. It’s a tough balancing act, but if the benefits of joining TGM are strong enough, the best instructors will follow.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Evershed on McDowell

Here's 3Jack Top 50 Instructor, Mark Evershed, on Graeme McDowell's swing.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

3Jack's FSGA Mid-Am Preparation

I want to thank everybody who congratulated me on my qualifying for the Florida State Golf Association Mid-Amateur match play championship and for all the well wishes I received. Some have asked about if my preparation for the tournament will change. I thought I would give an overview of everything, hopefully to provide an idea of what happens in these tournaments.


The tournament is from October 6th (Thursday) thru October 9th. Here’s the itinerary (I believe):

October 6th – 36 hole stroke play qualifier
October 7th – Afternoon 1st round match play
October 8th – 2nd and 3rd round Match play
October 9th – Semi-final and Final round match play

At least I think that is how it will work. 32 players qualify. I estimate that 150 in stroke play will be the cut.

First, I have to pay for the actual Mid-Am tournament ($125). Then, I have to get a practice round tee time at Old Marsh Club (another $30) and then I have to book a room. The FSGA appears to have done a great job helping us with getting rooms for $69/night at the Marriott in Palm Beach Gardens. I’ve never had other Golf Associations strike a deal for us like that.

Those have all been taken care of, so my itinerary is:

October 4th – go to work, hit balls during lunch, leave for Palm Beach and check into the hotel room around 7pm

October 5th – get some practice time and a practice round at Old Marsh Golf Club at noon.

October 6th – First day of the tournament.

I’ve booked the hotel room to checkout on Friday in case I don’t make the cut for match play. I figure that if I make the cut, I should be able to extend the stay. If I don’t make the cut, I may head back home on Thursday and go back to work (depends on how I feel).


I’m pretty much satisfied with the equipment I was using at the qualifier. I did purchase a slightly used Adams Speedline F11 3-wood for a good price at Golf Galaxy before the qualifier and used it there. I had an old Talamonti PD-70 TourX shaft hanging around and I used that and installed the Harrison ShotMaker insert. However, I will be getting a Talamonti PD-80 X-shaft in the mail soon to install in there.

I was also using an Adams 9064LS driver with a Talamonti PD-70 X shaft. I will install another Harrison ShotMaker insert in the club and see how it performs as well. I believe I am still suffering from hitting too much down on the ball with the driver and the ShotMaker brings the ball flight down, so it may not work for now. But other than those 2 items, I don’t foresee any other changes in equipment.


At the risk of sounding careless or aloof, I am looking to use the Mid-Am as more of a learning experience than with the thought of winning the tournament. My main goal as a golfer is to one day qualify for match play of the US Amateur (which I will get to in a post in the next month or so).

I believed the idea of not recording myself on camera or going on Trackman right before the tournament was a good idea and I think it worked. Since I would like to try and qualify for the US Amateur in 2012, I need to get back into the swing of things as far as improving my game.

I’ll be back to recording my swing on video and I will probably do that up until Monday October 3rd. I will also be getting a lesson from my instructor, George Hunt ( this Sunday, September 25th.

However, I still want to win the tournament. I don’t come to a tournament to not win. But, I need to also think ahead a bit. Thus, the main idea for the lesson for me is to ‘throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.’ I think George and I have developed a good feel for how he teaches and how I learn, so I don’t think it will be that big of an issue.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same stuff…practice on the range after work, play on the weekends, etc.


I feel the qualifier benefited me tremendously because I had a gameplan and a mental plan in place, I stuck to those plans, and it worked. Furthermore, the stuff that did not work or was a bit shaky, I understood why that was the case.

I think statistically I didn’t putt that well versus the field. I’ve broken that down to a few reasons:

1. Tournament nerves
2. Not used to the speed of the greens
3. Hitting Greens, but leaving myself with long and difficult 1st putts
4. Only average power off the tee.

I think #1 and #2 will improve, just from the experience. #4 can be solved down the road, but not right now (clubhead speed is there, attack angle needs work).

Given my score and reason #3, it does show to me the power behind hitting greens. I bogeyed my first two holes and I did not putt well after that. But, I just kept on hitting greens and that made it difficult to take more than a bogey on a hole. Eventually, I got to the point where I started to get a feel for the greens and calmed my nerves a bit and I putted quite well on the last 6 holes (9 putts on the last 6 holes).


I’ve never played Old Marsh before, but it’s a Pete Dye design which typically means he is very tough on tee shots and has about 4-6 holes that are subject to high scores. He’ll probably have about 9 gorgeous holes and then about 4-5 holes that are really not that great in design. I think of Dye as the Dave Kingman of designers, he’ll either hit a home run on a hole, do something utterly ridiculous, or strike out completely.

I might even try to get on Walkabout Golf Club (another Dye design) to get some prep for Old Marsh.

I think the key is really in the practice round. Knowing Dye’s designs, he will likely have a bunch of semi-blind tee shots where you cannot see where the hazards are (and he’ll have hazards on both sides) from the tee box. A lot of the practice round will be about figuring out where to aim off the tee box.

Dye also tends to leave one side of the hole wide open, tricking the golfer that it is okay to go over there, but in reality he’ll leave the golfer with a very tough lie or a shot around some trees to contend with.

From there I will be doing more of the same things like testing out where the best places to get up and down from are…finding the high and low anchor points on the green, seeking out the difficult pin positions, testing out the sand and trying to figure out what holes are the ‘problem holes’ and focus on mastering them.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3Jack Updated PGA Tour Stat Rankings 9.21.11

Justin Rose won the BMW Championship last week.

Here's a look at the top 5 finishers at the BMW Championship and their year-to-date rankings:

Justin Rose...........58............84............86.........29
John Senden........15............67............110.......13
Geoff Ogilvy.........115...........23............40.........90
Luke Donald........117............2.............146.........6
Webb Simpson......18...........37.............22.........44

The BMW Championship looked like how I would rank those stats in order of importance....#1 Danger Zone, #2 Putting, #3 Driving and #4 Short Game.

Here are my picks for the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, GA.

David Toms
Adam Scott
Webb Simpson
Dustin Johnson
Luke Donald

Value Pick: YE Yang

Here are the rankings year-to-date


1…John Merrick
2…Joe Durant
3…Chez Reavie
4…Boo Weekley
5…Heath Slocum
6…Dustin Johnson
7…John Rollins
8…Brandt Jobe
9…Bubba Watson
10…Rod Pampling
11…Bo Van Pelt
12…Gary Woodland
13…Briny Baird
14…David Toms
15…John Senden
16…Jim Herman
17…Justin Hicks
18…Webb Simpson
19…Bill Haas
20…Adam Scott

176…Martin Piller
177…Padraig Harrington
178…Shaun Micheel
179…Paul Stankowski
180…Arjun Atwal
181…Bio Kim
182…Derek Lamely
183…Kevin Na
184…Anthony Kim
185…Chad Collins


1…Steve Stricker
2…Luke Donald
3…Charlie Wi
4…Fredrik Jacobson
5…Brandt Snedeker
6…Greg Chalmers
7…Ryan Moore
8…Zach Johnson
9…Matt McQuillan
10…Bryce Molder
11…Nick Watney
12…Jason Day
13…David Toms
14…Hunter Mahan
15…Ben Martin
16…Dean Wilson
17…Scott McCarron
18…Kevin Na
19…Brian Gay
20…Rickie Fowler

177…Kevin Chappell
178…Paul Goydos
179…Joe Durant
180…Alex Cejka
181…Ernie Els
182…Heath Slocum
183…Scott Gutschewski
184…Justin Hicks
185…D.J. Trahan
186…Boo Weekley


1…Jonathan Byrd
2…Brian Gay
3…Steve Stricker
4…Steve Flesch
5…Nick Watney
6…Scott Gutschewski
7…Chris Riley
8…Aaron Baddeley
9…Michael Bradley
10…Tim Petrovic
11…Bill Haas
12…Ricky Barnes
13…Rory Sabbatini
14…Jason Day
15…Fredrik Jacobson
16…Alex Cejka
17…Charley Hoffman
18…Kevin Na
19…Chad Collins
20…Justin Leonard

176…Harrison Frazar
177…Chez Reavie
178…Alex Prugh
179…Ben Martin
180…Robert Garrigus
181…Alexandre Rocha
182…Martin Piller
183…Garrett Willis
184…Marc Turnesa
185…Billy Horschel


1…David Toms
2…Dustin Johnson
3…Alex Cejka
4…Boo Weekley
5…Phil Mickelson
6…Luke Donald
7…Rickie Fowler
8…Sergio Garcia
9…Kevin Stadler
10…Robert Allenby
11…Ian Poulter
12…Y.E. Yang
13…John Senden
14…Robert Garrigus
15…Heath Slocum
16…Kyle Stanley
17…Charley Hoffman
18…Chad Campbell
19…Nick Watney
20…Scott Stallings

176…James Driscoll
177…Hunter Haas
178…Jhonattan Vegas
179…Scott McCarron
180…Greg Chalmers
181…Anthony Kim
182…Colt Knost
183…Kevin Kisner
184…Bio Kim
185…Charlie Wi


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3Jack FSGA Mid-Am Qualifier Round 9.19.11

Course: Shingle Creek Golf Course (Orlando, FL)

Clubs: Adams 9064LS driver, Adams F11 3-wood, Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK hybrid (20*), Wishon 555C 3&4-iron, Wishon 555M 5, 6, 8-PW. Miura K-Grind SW, Ping Tour-S Rustique LW, Edel Columbia Putter.

Ball: Srixon Z-Star

Preview: I didn't go into part IV, course strategy, because I believe that course strategy in golf is fluid in nature. Trying to make it rigid and something you have to stick by does the golfer no good. They'll either screw themselves up or they will not even attempt a gameplan. And as the old saying goes, those who fail to plan are planning to fail.

The key for me was to keep in mind the 3 Zones (Danger Zone, Birdie Zone and Safe Zone) and just try to hit a lot of greens. Hitting a lot of greens is usually a pretty sound strategy.

The course was wet from the previous night's rain and it was humid, so the ball didn't travel far. The greens were slick from the get-go, about a 10 on the stimp to begin with and once the dew got off the ground they were inching towards an 11.

We played in a twosome as the other member of our group withdrew.

#10 - 390 yards par-4

I hit the ball okay on the range and then started hitting my driver pretty ugly. Still, I got it so it was serviceable. I hit a low-pullish type driver that found the fairway. The pin was in back-right. I decided to hit a 9-iron to the middle of the green. Once I hit it, I just crushed it. But, it was one of those 'OMG, I am just about to kill lay off on it at the very last millisecond' shot. I found the green about 35 feet away.

First putt was well, well about 7-feet and I missed the par putt and made bogey (+1)

#11 - 410 yards par-4

On my practice round Friday I found that you don't want to go into the fairway bunkers on the right because the 2nd shot will be extremely hard. I smoked a driver here, but the ball didn't get much roll. I decided to aim at the flag because I only had a 9-iron into the green and if I missed right, that should leave a makeable up-n-down. If I miss left, I should be on the green. I hit the 9-iron solid, but pushed it pretty badly.

I then tried to chip a LW, but I caught it a little thick...but still had a 5-foot par save. I missed that putt, but the good news was that I knew what was going on with my putting. But, I made bogey (+2)

#12 - 565 par-5

Another good driver right down the middle. I hit a 3-wood good, but it cut a lot. I was going to use my 3-wood judiciously beforehand, but starting +2 and having a good lie and an open shot changed my mind here. I wound up on the cart path and took a free drop. It's not an easy shot, so I just tried to get it on the green, which I did with a SW to 35 feet. Here, the speed was entirely better and I made par (+2)

#13 - 390 yard par-4

Typically, this hole is simple. But, they made it difficult...the rain made it even more difficult...and ole 3Jack made it even more difficult.

First, this is a gigantic green. They stuck the pin all the way back left, which makes the hole a lot longer. The dew and the rain from last night didn't make the hole any shorter. And I push a driver pretty well out to the right, but wind up okay. make it harder I looked...and looked....and looked...and looked....and I left my 7-iron on the range.

Hey, who needs a 7-iron?

So, I choked up on a 6-iron and flush one right at the flag to about 25 feet. This was a very good putt that was a smidge too hard otherwise it would have broke into the cup and I made par (+2)

#14 - 430 yards par-4

Going into the round, my strategy was that #3, #6, #8, #14 and #15 were holes I had to focus on to determine my round. These holes are all difficult in their own right and require about 8 full swings to get thru.

I got distracted and that made me uncomfortable on the tee and I hooked one and it went nowhere with the tall rough that was extensively topdressed with dew.

I thought I could get there with a hybrid and was feeling confident with my hybrid. I hit that club and hit it well, but short of the bunkers. I then hit a pretty good pitch with a SW to 5-feet, but I left myself above the cup. Fortunately, I could make this putt and I saved par (+2)

#15 - 180 yards par-3

This is a difficult hole because there's room for error, but not a lot of room because of the trouble left and rght. They moved the tees up on this one and I fired a 6-iron right at the flag to about 10 feet. I actually played the cup right at the hole, something AimPoint Golf has helped me tremendously with...realizing that the are plenty of putts where one just needs to aim at the cup. And I sunk the birdie putt. (+1)

#16 - 490 par-5

This hole kinda shows how much the dew and the rain had affected the distance. On my practice round I reached the green with my second shot with a 3-iron (and could've reached with a 4-iron). I hit a good driver and had 250 yards to the green. I decided to give my 3-wood a shot...again...playing for my 'average swing.' And I hit it pretty good, but into the greenside bunker.

I kinda figured the sand bunkers out and hit a nice long sand bunker shot to 8-feet. I then hit my first putt with a jittery stroke about 2-feet bye and almost missed the comebacker, but came away with a par (+1)

#17 - 195 yards - par-3

I usually don't fire at flags on Danger Zone shots, but I looked short and figured that was a decent place to leave it. I looked left and I thought that was a decent place to leave it as long as I didn't go long or too far left. I looked right and that was a makeable up and down, but a more difficult one at that. So I flushed one that was going a hair left of the flag to about 15 feet. Probably the best feeling putt all day, that lipped out and I made par (+1)

#18 - 415 Yards Par-4

Hit this one okay, but pushed it a bit. My playing partner said it hit the cart path twice and I only had about 90 yards into the green, but with a semi-difficult lie in the rough. I wanted to make sure I got it over the greenside bunker and had a bit too much juice. Played the high anchor point beautifully and had the line, but 2.5 feet short. I then made the par save (+1)

#1 - 413 yards par-4

Part of the theme was that they kept the pin positions on the back part of the green and because they have big greens, that made the course play longer. Combine that with the wet and soft ground, the course played quite longer than it said. This hole, for instance, was playing like a 440 yard hole.

Still, I kept with the goal of hitting greens and playing the zones correctly and playing for my average swing.

I hit a good driver down the middle. I then hit a 6-iron that I pulled, but found the green. This left me with a 50 footer. I had the line on the first putt, but was short. I then made the 3.5 footer left over for par (+1)

#2 - 530 yards par-5

I hit a good driver down the middle. I then decided to give the 3-wood another shot and hit a very good shot straight as an arrow. I then had about 80 yards into the green, but in the rough. I tried to get cute, but left it short of the green. I then tried to play a bump-n-run with a SW to the flag, but hit it well short. I then thought the putt was a straight aim at the cup putt, but it broke left and I made bogey...on a par-5 (+2)

#3 - 394 yards par-4

I told myself that I refused to let this hole get to me. I hit a hybrid here on Friday and it didn't make the fairway (although I didn't hit it well) and I still wound up okay. I smoked the hybrid here, but it still didn't make the fairway. Even worse, I had a difficult uphill lie.

I was about 180 yard away and I told myself, 'you are hitting PW and just getting it out of there unless you are convinced otherwise.'

When I got there, I started to realize I had a shot with a 5-iron. I thought my average swing should wind up okay, but not great. And I can still make a bogey. But a good swing may do me well. Well, I took a great swing from an extremely difficult lie and knocked it to 30 feet on the green.

Unfortunately, I botched that up. I left the first putt about 5-feet short and mis-read both putts (still not sure how those putts broke left) and made a bogey. (+3)

#4 - 510 yards par-5

I hit a driver down the middle. In the past, when the ball was traveling further, I've reached this green with a 3-iron on the 2nd shot. But today I was 255 yards away. I decided to play safely with a hybrid that I smoked.

The next shot is not my specialty. A 40-50 yard pitch that has to get up over a tier. But I did that and left myself to 15 feet.

I have a thing with my putting stroke and I tend to make the putt a high percentage of the time when i do this. From a stroke length perspective, it feels like I'm jabbing at the ball. The follow thru is very short. But, from a rhythm perspective...the rhythm is perfect...same tempo back and thru.

I did that here...the jab stroke with perfect rhythm and drained it for birdie (+2)

#5 - 190 yards par-3

I have yet to miss this green in regulation and I'm not sure why. Here I had to figure out what club to hit because they had us well up from the back tees. I decided on a 5-iron and flushed it to 20 feet. I then took that jab stroke with rhythm and just missed the birdie and made par (+2)

#6 - 430 yards par-4

This was another hole that I knew I needed to make some good swings on. Unfortunately, the drive was pretty poor...a weak push into the right rough. It didn't go anywhere with that long, wet rough.

I then could have hit a 3-iron, but chose a hybrid since I was hitting it well and rifled it at the middle of the green. I had a 15 footer for birdie, but it was sitting up against a hill.

I took another 'jab stroke with rhythm' and just missed this birdie putt as well and made par (+2)

#7 - 161 yards - par-3

They put the pin up front here, which made the hole shorter. It was a smart thing because play could have taken forever if the pin was located in back.

I looked left and right and decided a miss left was better than a miss right. I pulled the 8-iron a tad, but found the green. Another good 'jab stroke with rhythm', but I mis-read it a tad and missed right. But, I made par (+2)

#8 - 440 yards par-4

I figured out an important part to this hole on Friday. When you get onto the tee, the course's GPS system doesn't read the hole. The hole reads 390 from the back tee. On #9 it reads 445 from the back tee (the GPS doesn't read there either because you are not on course grounds...technically).

What I believe is that Shingle Creek screwed up the yardages. The 8th hole is about 445 yards and the 9th hole is actually about 390 yards from the back tee.

Either that or I hit 220 yard drivers on #8 and 340 yard drivers on #9.

This gives the golfer a completely different perspective of the hole.

I hit one very high here, but safe. I then had a 5-iron into the green, but I hooked it and it went left of the bunker.

Strategy says:

1) Get it close if you can
2) If not, give yourself an uphill putt.
3) If not, just get it onto the green.

I couldn't do #1 or #2 with confidence because it was a tough shot, so I hit it to 15 feet.

AimPoint says to aim 16 inches right of the cup...I did that...and nailed the par save (+2)

#9 - 380 yards par-4

I got screwed here. I crushed my hybrid, right down the middle. But, if you see that tree in between those 2 fairway bunkers...that was in my I was in the middle of the fairway. And I was in between clubs. I played the ball up in my stance a little to help hit it higher, and I wound up closing the face and hooking the ball into the left bunker. The pin was cut back left, so I did the dreaded short sided of myself.

But, I knew this shot. I just took out a LW and didn't choke up on it and hit the bunker blast to 5-feet. I figured out the putt, said 2 inches outside the cup and drained the par save (+2)

THOUGHTS: I made the mid-am as 70 was the low and 75 made it. The results can be seen here.

Overall, I'm very happy as it hasn't been a smooth ride and I was +2 thru 2 and hung on to win. I think the metrics based strategy paid off as I only felt like I pissed away about 4 strokes (#10, #11, #2 and #3) instead of 10 strokes. And given that I have not played a tournament since 2009 and then 9 years before then, I'll take it.

I *almost* decided to do this in the Shingle Creek parking lot.

I think starting +2 thru 2 helped because I started to think 'whatever happens...happens.' I also think that concentrating on hitting green after green in regulation helped as well. I hit 13 greens and the ones I missed were in a position to be hit in regulation.

Now I'll be off to the Old Marsh Club in Palm Beach Gardens...a Pete Dye design. I feel like I'm at a severe disadvantage given that I have to take time off from work to play a Dye course that I've never played before. But, if I've gotten this far (without a 7-iron ) I might as well give it the ole college try.

37-37=74 (+2)
9/14 FWY
13/18 GIR
34 putts
3/5 scramble
2 shots Impeded


Saturday, September 17, 2011

3Jack Prepares For Golf - Part III

Even though this is the 3rd part of the series, I find the mental game to be as important as any of the parts. I don’t think a great mental game will overcome poor golf. But I believe that a bad mental game typically can find a way to ruin good golf. Furthermore, I believe a good mental game can take ‘so-so’ golf and result into a better score than the actual execution.

First, I have some mantras that I want to put into my head going into the tournament.

1) I am not defined as a golfer or as a person by a score in a round of golf

This is where I find that golf can fluster even the greatest of golfers, but particularly on any sub-PGA Tour level. We often see this on ‘The Big Break’ show on The Golf Channel. I find that good golfers want to either be taken seriously as a golfer or take things too seriously. Then they hit a few bad shots and instead of focusing on how to get the ball into the cup with the fewest shots possible, they start to think about how bad they look and that causes them to panic or try to hit the heroic shot to look good again.

2) I play for the results on an average swing, not for results on my bad swing. No ‘hedging my bets.’

I find that most golfers suffer from this as well, including myself. Instead of trying to figure out what shot to hit based upon what the likely results will be on an average swing….they ‘play for the missed shot’ instead. And when you do that, I believe a couple of things happen.

A) You start moving your shots further away from the hole, which over time, causes your score to increase.

B) Since you are thinking about your mis-hits, you start to mis-hit the ball

None of that here. Golfers do not practice to hone their games to play for the mis-hits. They practice to hone their games so their average swings produce better and more consistent results. If I get into trouble, it’s because I took a poor swing and I ‘deserved’ to be in trouble.

3) Stick to your plan and keep a positive body language.

I will get into the gameplan in part IV. But the positive body language is about not allowing yourself to check out mentally on any shot.

4) Have fun out there.

Well, that’s why we play this silly game.


From a mental perspective, I believe in thinking about the process over the score. I believe that if we can master the process, the score will likely come. This stems from statistics. If I go out and hit 14 greens and have no 3-putts and no penalty strokes, the odds of me shooting under par are pretty good. I *could* do those things and still shoot 80, but the odds are more likely that I will shoot under par in that situation.

I think goal setting is a good thing. I believe goals should be something that require the person to perform well to achieve. Goals set too high suck the fun out of trying to achieve the goal. Setting them too low and they become unimportant. Thus, here are my ‘process’ goals:

- Hit 13 greens
- No 3-putts
- Nothing over a bogey on a hole
- No consecutive bogeys

I believe that those are all achievable goals that are not easy or extremely difficult for me to accomplish. The big part of this is to not ‘freak out’ when you miss one of those goals. For instance, if I take a double bogey on the first hole, I need to keep my composure and continue to focus on those goals instead of trying to ‘make up’ for a bad hole. I believe I could reach all of the goals and still make 1 double bogey and still shoot under par.


I think where golfers tend to have difficulty with tournament play is that they are typically told to ‘have fun out there’ and to ‘treat it like a casual round of golf.’ While I think it’s a decent idea, I think there are certain aspects of tournament play vs. casual golf that make that next to nearly impossible.

In casual golf, often times if a golfer hits a 60 foot putt to 3-feet, his playing partners will hit it back to him as a ‘reward’ for hitting a pretty good putt from 60 feet. The issue here is that in tournament golf the golfer still has to putt that 3-footer and when they play in tournaments, that is like a shock to the system to have to finish up that 3-footer…almost like a punch to the face.

This is why when I prepare for a tournament, I try to treat the casual golf more like the tournament golf. And thus when I’m playing in a tournament, the tournament golf feels more like a casual round of golf.

Obviously, when you are playing a casual round of golf your friends don’t want to deal with you lining up putts like they are the putt to win the Masters. But, I believe that therein lies the point…there needs to be a ‘merge’ between how a golfer plays casual golf and how they play tournament golf. They will likely never be exactly the same, but as long as they are close I believe tournament scores will dip.

One of the big things I believe it affects is not only being ‘nervous’, but when a golfer has the adrenaline flowing as well. I remember the last tournament I played in I started on fire on the last round, hitting some big, perfect drives off the tee. I clearly has the adrenaline flowing and then I try to hit a soft PW from 130 yards and I flew the green by about 10 yards. I find adrenaline to be very helpful, but it’s counterproductive if I cannot harness it.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

3Jack Prepares for Golf - Part II

In part II, I will discuss my way of practicing up for the Mid-Am qualifier.

First, I only practice after work. I will be taking Friday off, which is when I will play the practice round. I’ve played this course 3 times before, shooting 68, 74 and 77.

Here’s a video of a swing I took last week.

I’m going to try something a bit different in that I’m not going to use video during practice the week before the tournament. I was also planning to get on Trackman this weekend, but I decided I can wait on that as well. The reason being is that I want to limit my swing thoughts for the qualifier and keep my confidence and trust levels up instead of second guessing things.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s times to use the camera. And if I were on a weekly tournament schedule, I would be using the camera more often to keep things in check. But, since I’m hitting it pretty decent and I cannot make substantial improvements in a short time, I’ll work on just trying to groove the swing that I have at the moment.


I do not plan on doing any putting practice up until the weekend. In my opinion, it does me little good to putt on different greens and I should reserve the practice for the weekend when I go to the Shingle Creek practice green to putt around.

I am now a firm believer that delivery speed of the putt which determines the capture width of the cup is what matters most in putting. Hopefully, I can continually maximize the capture width of the cup (or come close) as often as possible.

Thus, the overwhelming majority of my time will be spent focusing on the range along with playing a couple of holes each night until Friday, where I will play a practice round at Shingle Creek. I’ve got a few things I’m going to try.


Not only do I believe in understanding how to play the Danger Zone, but I also believe in practicing the clubs you use in the Danger Zone. My longest iron in the bag is my 3-iron. After initial warmup, most of the range time will be spent hitting this club or the 4-iron.

Not only do I feel it helps to practice with these clubs when I use them out on the course, but I firmly believe if a golfer can hit a 3-iron well, they can hit the other clubs shorter than that very well.


I like to practice this on the range quite a bit. Here I will simulate the course on the range. For instance, I will tee off on the 10th hole for the qualifier. The 10th hole is about a driver-sand wedge for me. Thus, I try to visualize what the tee shot looks like and hit the tee shot. Then if it’s a good tee shot, I’ll hit a SW. This all on the range.

Then I will move onto #11. If I hit a poor tee shot, I may take out my 7-iron and envision hitting a low punch under some trees. Then move onto the 12th hole where I envision the tee shot and then hitting the 2nd shot with my 3-wood. And so on and so forth.

By the time I’m done with this, it feels like I’ve been a member at the course I’ve simulated.


In the practice round, I would like to hit 2 balls off the tee on each hole, mainly with the driver and the 3-wood. The goals are simple.

1) Find the spot to aim at and the spot on the tee to tee the ball up until you get something that ‘fits your eye.’

2) Hit the 3-wood for practice and to understand how to play the hole if you hit a poor or weak tee shot.

With tournaments it’s easy to get your cage rattled a bit. Thus, if you can figure out how to rattle your cage in the practice round, it won’t be such a shock to the system when you are playing the actual tournament.


The other practice will be mostly practice round stuff. Hitting potentially difficult shots. Get a good feel for the sand. Figuring out where the hardest up and downs are from and practicing them. Finding difficult pin locations and how those putts break. Finding the low and high anchor putts on the green.

The itinerary will be to practice after work until Friday where I will get a practice round, practice putting afterward, get some play in at my home course on Saturday and then get some more practice at Shingle Creek and then follow up on Sunday to get some practice at Shingle Creek.

Since I will be teeing off at 8am, I will have to come up with a pre-round practice that will make me feel comfortable, but will give me plenty of time before I tee off.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3Jack Prepares for Golf - Part I

As some of you may already know, I will be playing in a Florida State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Qualifier on Monday the 19th at Shingle Creek Golf Club. I wanted to go thru my overall gameplan to give an idea as to how I approach these tournaments. Here, in part I, I will go over the equipment.

Driver: Adams 9064LS 10.5* loft, 45” V2 Talamonti PD-70 X Shaft (X-Stiff)

3-wood: Adams Fast10 15* loft, 42.5” V1 Talamonti PD-70 TourX shaft w/Harrison ShotMaker F insert

Hybrid: Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK 20* loft, 39.75” True Temper DG Hybrid Shaft (stiff)

3 & 4-iron: Wishon 555C

5-PW: Wishon 555M

Iron Specs: +1/2” KBS Tour shafts (stiff), 1* flat, standard lofts

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

LW: Ping Tour-S Rustique, 60* loft, KBS Wedge shaft (stiff)

Putter: Edel Columbia, Custom Made, 72* lie angle, 3* loft, 34 inches long

Ball: Srixon Z-Star

We will be taking carts (mandatory) and I believe the GPS system will be working along with being able to bring our own GPS or Rangefinder (that doesn’t have slope) for the tournament. I don’t plan on using anything for the tournament other than their own GPS. My rangefinder has the slope edition. I might wind up using my dad’s Bushnell Neo GPS unit that he has.

I believe that my statistical findings are very accurate with regards to this qualifier. The golfer’s who perform the best in these categories (in order), will likely yield the best scores:

- Danger Zone Play (175-225 yards)
- Putting
- Driving
- Short Game (1-20 yards off the green)

From what I have researched, typically the best Danger Zone players have a setup of:


I feel the most confident with the setup I have right now.

Here’s a rough guestimate on the amount of full swings I will take with each club.

Club…………………# Swings


Like I stated, it’s a rough estimate. Obviously, I have to hit the ball pretty good and things like the weather can greatly impact what I need to hit.

Where Shingle Creek is a bit different is that the 4 different 3-wood shots are not all on par-5’s. Instead, they will likely be the 2nd shot on #2 and #12 (par-5’s) and then off the tee on #3 and #9 (par-4’s).

The 3-wood is the club I’m the most skeptical with at this point because the Titleist 910F-d 3-wood I have is not performing to my expectations. I do have an Adams Fast10 3-wood that I hit a little too high for my tastes, but I recently removed my Harrison ShotMaker insert from one shaft and installed it into the 3-wood. I think this could work quite well. If anything, the tee shots concern me more with the 3-wood than the shots off the deck (which is typical). I plan on playing a practice round Saturday and seeing how the Adams 3-wood works off the tee. If it doesn’t, the worst case scenario is to play the Titleist 910F-d 3-wood off the tee and hit hybrid only off the deck.

The Danger Zone shots are always hard to predict, but we can generally judge how they will play on the par-3’s. Here’s the distances off the back tees on each of the par-3’s.

#5 – 225 yards

#7 – 185 yards

#15 – 197 yards

#17 – 217 yards

The clubs and the number of full swings was based on the back tees. From what I’ve seen out of other FSGA events, they are likely to move the back tees up on the very long par-3’s. I will have to test the next tees forward out in the practice round, but here are their distances.

#5 – 225 yards (was a hybrid) up to 204 yards (4 or 5-iron)

#15 – 197 yards (was a 5-iron) up to 178 yards (6 or 7-iron)

#17 – 217 yards (was a 3-iron) up to 199 yards (4 or 5-iron)

I estimate that I am guaranteed 4 shots in the Danger Zone due to the par-3’s. After that, probably 2 more shots on #6 and #14. Obviously, I would like to eliminate those 2 extra Danger Zone shots if I can and a good day of driving the ball could accomplish that.

The other piece of equipment I’m a bit skeptical about is the golf ball.

I believe that I tend to putt and hit shots around the green better with the softer Titleist ball. But, I also believe I’m better off the tee and with the Danger Zone shots with the Srixon Z-Star. Thus, I wound up going with the Srixon ball for this tournament. If it doesn’t work out, then I may switch to a Pro V1x for the next tournament. Although I do believe I can putt quite well with the Srixon as that is the ball I used when I first played Shingle Creek and shot 68 (made some monster putts that day).

The biggest gap I have in clubs is between the PW (48* loft) and the Sand Wedge (56* loft). But, I estimate that there may only be 3 times where I may get in between these clubs (#10, #12 and #13). From a statistical standpoint, this usually does not make a huge difference as the even on the PGA Tour the leader in shots from this range is hitting these shots about 17 feet to the cup.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Most Important Putting Video

One of my readers asked me recently what I thought was more important...understanding speed/touch or green reading.

I do find that green reading is undoubtedly important. For instance, I went my entire golfing life never understanding the Geometry of a Putt, like shown in this video.

However, I still believe that understanding that speed/touch is the most important step to better putting. And if you are willing to go 'all in' with believing as to why it's important, then you can start to really make some putts.

This video here, by 3Jack Top 20 Putting Instructor, Geoff Mangum, is important to know by heart.

While I enjoy Mangum's work, part of the issue I have with understanding it is that he often tries to speak in layman's terms and winds up confusing myself even I'll try to translate for you.

First, I'll work a little backwards. When we are talking about speed, we are NOT talking about the 'distance past the cup.' Dave Pelz believes that the optimal speed is a putt that goes 17 inches past the cup. 17 inches past the cup is not a *speed*, it's a distance.

It's very important to understand the flaw between the two. Mangum states that it is ill advised to think of putts in terms of distance past the cup because our brain, more or less, doesn't operate that way.

However, it shows how ill advised the concept of one certain distance past the cup would be an optimal speed for a putt. The reality is that if we wanted to measure speed by the amount of distance past the would vary depending upon the type of grass on the green, green stimp and slope of the putt.


Imagine if I were going to roll 1 ball up a hill and roll another ball down a hill.

I could really chuck the ball up the hill and that ball will be traveling at a very fast rate of revoultions per second. But what happens is that it will come to a skreetching halt. Kinda like going 60 mph and slamming on the brakes of a car.

Conversely, the ball down the hill can be thrown at a slower rate and will come to a stop...eventually. This is sorta like a car that is pumping the brakes instead of slamming them.

That difference between 'slamming' the brakes (uphill) and 'pumping' the brakes (downhill) cause different distances past the cup.

Thus, *if* we were going to measure optimal speed by the distance past the is NOT going to be 17 inches every time. Nor will it be 12 inches every time, or 6 inches every time. And yes, the same concept works for slow greens (slam the brakes) vs. slick green (pump the brakes).

And in reality, if we were to measure optimal speed by distance past the cup, it's actually more like 6 to 12 inches past the cup (closer to 6 on uphill/slow putts and closer to 12 on downhill/fast putts).

One question I have been asked goes something like 'if I hit a putt that goes 17 inches past the cup, what's the big deal...nobody is perfect and that isn't too far from the optimal distance past the cup, right?'

If you start to obsess about your speed, you will start to see on a slow, uphill putt that if you hit it 17 inches past the hit it too hard. You can still make the putt if you have the line, but it's clearly not the optimal speed for the putt. Think about it...if the optimal distance past the cup on the putt is 6 inches and you hit it 17 inches past, you hit it about 3 times too hard.


Mangum says about 2 to 3 revolutions per second. Obviously, humans can't quite measure that.

So, it will look like a putt that will drop into the middle of the cup to the back edge of the plastic. Mangum states that this is what golfers should envision when they are putting instead of thinking about hitting it a certain distance past the cup.

However, if you are insistent about feeling the distance past the cup, it's more like 6 to 12 inches. If you have always looked at things from a distance past the cup perspective, I would suggest that you still work on that, while slowly integrating the visualization of the ball rolling in at 2-3 revolutions per second (dropping into the middle to the back plastic) of the cup.

What I have done is on longer putts I think more about the revolutions per second and on shorter putts, like 10 feet and in, I still think distance past the cup because I'm trying to work that into my visualization.


One thing Geoff explains is what we like to call 'capture width.' This is the effective size the hole becomes dependent upon how hard we hit the ball.

If we don't get the ball to the cup, our capture width is 0.

If we hit the ball harder than 9 revs/second, our capture width is 0.

If we hit it at 9 revs/second, the hole effectively becomes the size of 1 dimple (0.14 inches).

I believe the max capture width is at 3.5 inches.

Very important to grasp this because we obviously want to putt to the largest cup we possibly can.


If you want to play the odds, the odds of making putts will increase in a golfer's favor the better their speed/touch is. And they will decrease the worse their speed/touch is. And this is regardless of aim and green reading.

Sure, there is that occasional time where you catch fire despite poor speed/touch, but on average that will not be the case.

Imagine if you had a regulation basketball rim (18 inches in diameter) and a special made basketball rim that was 54 inches in diameter). You would automatically start making more free throws in the special made 54 inch rim, even if your mechanics and aim had not changed one lick.

It's tough to green read, aim and hit it where you aim...right on the money each time. Thus, if you can putt to a larger cup you are greatly increasing your odds of making a putt.


At the Deutsche Bank Championship Mickelson decided to go to a belly putter. He did shoot a 63 in the 3rd round, but later mentioned that he felt like he 'didn't make a thing.'

The reality was that he actually putted poorly with the belly putter. He actually dropped about 30 spots in the 'Putts Gained' rankings.

Mickelson's issue is that he hits his putts entirely too hard. I believe it's because he wants to take the break out of the putt, particularly on short putts.

But, by doing that he's actually decreasing his odds of making a putt. He's actually making the cup 'smaller' and now needs to be *more* precise in order for the putter to drop.

I find this common with amateurs. They also try to take the break out of the putt, either on purpose or subconsciously. It's also a common theme to hear 'make sure you get it there' in scrambles or best ball tournaments where one guy is in for par and the other is putting for birdie and wants to make sure they 'get it there.'

Then they'll knock it 8 feet bye and say 'well, at least I got it there.'

What's funny is those that bemoan the golfer that left it short by 1 inch or so. The putt they knocked 8 feet past the cup had the same chance as going in as the putt left left 1 inch short. But, the putt left 1 inch short may have been due to mis-hitting the putt slightly or a spike mark or an indentation in the green, etc. That putt left 1 inch short...probably has a chance to get to the hole eventually and start dropping. The putt hit 8 feet bye does the golfer no good, whatsoever.


This does not mean that I find green reading unimportant. I do believe that one can be a great at green reading and the putt will not drop if their speed is terrible. AimPoint Golf’s green reading is for putts with a distance of about 12 inches past the cup. Thus, if I leave a putt short of the cup, it will not go in. And if I hit a putt that goes more than 9 revs/second, it cannot physically drop into the cup. And if I hit one at 7 revs/second…it’s not likely to go in the cup either.

However, I feel that green reading is a vital supplement to developing a good touch on the greens.

What most golfers tend to do is that they will aim at the apex of the break of a putt. Typically, that means they will miss the putt on the low side.

And what usually happens is that golfers will hit the ball too hard to straighten out the putt. As I discussed earlier with Mickelson, that actually makes the cup effectively smaller and decreases the golfer’s chance of making putts. I also believe that golfers tend to have their brain go haywire after hitting a few putts too hard and then start leaving putts short.

I think the better putters who don’t quite understand the geometry of a putt probably used the idea of ‘play 2-3 times more break than you think’ and did place an importance on speed/touch on the greens. The ‘play 2-3 times more break than you think’ is not exactly correct either. A golfer may have the actual line of the putt down pat, but their *aim* is off. And by playing 2-3 times more break than they think, they are actually adjusting the line of the putt. It’s probably better than aiming at the apex, but not the very best way to approach it.

That’s where I find AimPoint to be invaluable. It really teaches the golfer about maximizing the capture width of the cup because all of the green reading is designed to have the ball go into the center of the cup. And from my own experience and discussing it with others, what often happens at first is that we do not trust the AimPoint reads and start missing putts because we hit the putt entirely too hard.

Plus, the roll of the ball in putting is essentially two things:

1. Speed of the ball to maximize the capture width of the cup.
2. Direction of the ball towards the hole

We want to combine these 2 factors as best as we possibly can. Thus, we do need green reading and aim to help. Thus, I feel that if a golfer can just improve

- Speed/Touch
- Green Reading
- Aim

They will dramatically improve their putting. Even if the improvement is somewhat marginal, improving all 3 of those factors will see a dramatic improvement in results.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Waite on S&T Basic Principles.

Here's Grant Waite on a couple of Stack and Tilt principles.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Harrison ShotMaker Insert Review

I will be doing a series of review on the blog over the next few days as there has been a lot of equipment and stuff that I’ve recently purchased and I wanted to go over it. First up, the Harrison ShotMaker Insert

The Harrison ShotMaker Insert is a 12 inch graphite insert that goes into the shaft of a club, down towards the tip end of the golf shaft. The claim is that it stabilizes the tip section and will increase accuracy up to 40%. The claim is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.

Those claims along with the guarantee piqued my interest. Of course, people disputed those claims and then referenced the movie ‘Tommy Boy’ when it came to guarantees. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure taking purchasing advice from a fake character that Chris Farley portrayed in a movie is a smart way to live life. Still, it’s not completely wrong.

While I work as a statistician, I’ve worked in the marketing field for 13 years and have worked extensively in product marketing. With that, companies do give money back guarantees all of the time while knowing that if they make the rules difficult enough, they won’t have to worry about getting a lot of returns. But for a company like Harrison, a smaller company that recently had to make cutbacks due to the weakened economy, to offer a 30-day money back guarantee on a product that they have been doing R&D on for the last 7 years…it tells me that they are very confident that this product is a superior product and that they are trying to combat skepticism along with market their product with this guarantee. Either that or they are making an extremely risky decision because something like this could force a company out of business if it backfires as I’ve seen it happen before.

The other part that drew me to the Harrison ShotMaker insert was that I can install it into a club and remove it and install it into another club. I often experiment with different shafts, drivers and 3-woods, so I liked the idea that I could use it on a variety of different clubs and essentially use it for the rest of my life if I wanted.

Here’s a video showing the installation process.

The installation is as easy as it looks. I use an air compressor to put my grips on, so I can put grips on with ease and take them off with ease. Since I do that, I decided to not install the Shotmaker thru the butt end of the grip. Instead, I just let it slide down the shaft and then did exactly as the video showed. It took me all of 10 seconds to perform.

However, if you do not use an air compressor to install your grips, you do have the option of installing it thru the grip. This also provides the capability to test the club on launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope. A golfer can hit some shots with the ShotMaker Insert and get the data and then remove the Shotmaker insert and get the data and then re-install it.


The ShotMaker itself only weighs about 4 grams. Harrison claims it does not influence the swingweight, but I found that it changed my swingweight by about a ½ point.

But, what is important to note is that for right now, the ShotMaker mainly works with only .335 tip diameter shafts. Typically, driver and fairway wood shafts are either .335 or .350 in tip diameter. Harrison has reported that the ShotMaker does fit into some .350 shafts, but for others it will be loose inside the shaft and rattle. Harrison is reportedly working on a model for the .350 shafts.

I would recommend looking up your shaft tip diameter on the web.


I talked to a few readers about the Harrison ShotMaker and they gave me rave reviews about it. A couple of them tried it out on Trackman and one of the older FlightScope models and the results were pretty similar in that the ShotMaker lowered the launch angle and the spin rate. Trackman doesn’t calculate ‘side spin’ while FlightScope does. FlightScope showed reduced side spin as well.

These findings again piqued my interest.

I had an Adams 9064LS driver with a 10.5* loft. The stock shaft was an Aldila RIP Gamma shaft, regular flex.

I took the stock shaft out and trimmed it about 1-1/8” from the tip to stiffen up the golf shaft. However, the Gamma shaft is a high launch, high spin shaft to begin with. When you trim from the tip end, not only do you make the golf shaft stiffer, but you also increase the launch and the spin because the bend point of the shaft is now effectively lower which results in higher launch and spin.

The first day I tried this driver out, the ShotMaker was not installed in the shaft. I generally found that I could hit about 50% of the drives well and pretty long. But the other 50% were too high and had too much spin. Even the good drives were quite high in their trajectory.

The next day I got the ShotMaker in the mail and installed it into this shaft. I then went onto the range and have noticed a much lower launch angle immediately. I would say that on average the ball spins noticeably less, but the difference in launch angle is far more distinguishable.

Did I hit it more accurately?


Then why is it legal?

My feeling is that the ShotMaker doesn’t give good results on all swings, particularly on poor swings. Thus it is still making the golfer utilize skill in order to get satisfactory results.


From a D-Plane and equipment perspective, I believe that the Harrison ShotMaker does stabilize the tip section of the shaft and does allow for golfers to be more accurate.

I believe that allows for the clubface to stay squarer to the target as it makes impact with the ball and then compresses the golf ball and into the separation stage of the impact zone.

As I’ve stated for awhile now, when a golfer is having trouble with the curvature of their ball flight, it’s typically a clubface issue. If I have a 0* path on each swing, but on one swing my face is closed 5* and on another swing it is open 5*, it is going to result in different ball flight curvature.

Thus, if an insert claims to be up to 40% more accurate and reduce the side spin, I believe that it is making the clubface more stable thru the impact interval.

Therefore, I believe that if the clubface is coming in at 2* closed into impact, it will stay close to 2* closed thru impact. With the insert, I believe it is less likely (not always) to get 5* closed thru impact. 2* closed is something that we can work with most of the time, but 5* closed could present problems.

However, if the golfer takes a poor swing and has a 5* closed face coming into impact, all that stabilization of the clubface will not help them as the club goes thru impact.

I would really like to experiment with this ShotMaker some more. I wonder if it works better with high launch shafts versus low launch shafts. How well it works with the Talamonti shafts (I’ll be trying it this weekend). I also wonder if I were to put it in a high lofted driver head (12*) with a low launch shaft, how well that would work. Or perhaps a lower lofted driver with a very high launch shaft.

Also, most of these graphite shafts play soft to flex. Ironically, the Harrison Saga shaft that I installed in my Adams 9015D says it is an X-Stiff shaft, but when we measured it on the frequency machine it was a stiff flex. And the Fujikura Fit-On shaft on my Cleveland 3-wood says stiff, but it’s actually a Ladies Flex.

Currently I feel that this is where it will make the most difference, for golfers who have graphite shafts that are quite soft to flex. But, I will see.

For me, it was well worth the price of $140 (which came with the install tool). I plan on getting into some clubmaking in 2012 and would like to use this tool in some of the clubs I repair. And while I don’t believe that the Adams 9064LS driver I have been using is ‘optimal’ for me, I feel confident that it’s a driver that I can use to get the job done.