Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Andy Patnou and Gabe Writer on Tour Tempo

Here's a great video from Andy Patnou and Gabe Writer on 'Tour Tempo' for your swing.

I've only briefly read some of the stuff on Tour Tempo.  IIRC, the concept was that the creators noticed that when you utilize a video camera and measure the swing in terms of frames on the camera you would see the best Tour players, especially when they were on top of their game, would get a 3:1 backswing to downswing ratio.  For example, in Gabe's first attempts to go at a 27:9 ratio, that means that the swing is moving at 27 frames in the backwing and 9 frames in the downswing.  Therefore, 24:8 was 24 frames backswing...8 frames downswing.  And 21:7 was 21 frames backswing, 7 frames downswing. 

Also, IIRC, they found that generally the best of the best like Tiger in 2000, Moe Norman, etc. were at 21:7 when they were on their A game (which Moe always was). 

I would have to talk to some of the movement pattern learning experts on this practice methodology.  Part of me senses that it may be somewhat internally focused (which we don't want), but it may be more externally focused than I think since instead of thinking of hitting a shot towards the target, you're thinking of what you need to do to match the rhythm of the beat. 

It also appeared to me, that initially Gabe lost some of the mechanics when he first started at 21:7, but then started to automatically regain them and actually looked the best they had looked as the video finished up.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Shawn Clement on Internal versus External Focus

Here's a good video from instructor, Shawn Clement, on his views on Tiger and his swing changes.

The main reason why I posted this video is because of Shawn's discussion on internal focus versus external focus in learning the golf swing.  I think this is important not only to improve performance on the course, but to actually improve those mechanics in the long run, regardless of the golfer.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rory McIrloy's Trackman Numbers

Here's a video from golf instructor, Gary Nicol, showing Rory McIlroy's recent Trackman numbers:

One of the big things that I discovered a while ago and that has changed my viewpoint on practice and my practice methodology is how Trackman numbers on the range are often vastly different than on the golf course.  Not only does the Tour have some Trackman numbers on the actual golf course, I have had Tour clients bring their own Trackman out on the course and we saw some surprising results.  In fact, a classic example is Bubba Watson who was measured by Ping at 120 mph club speed and hitting +5 degrees upward while his PGA Tour measurements were far different and indicated an attack angle closer to 0 degrees.

Here we see some differences with Rory in practice than on the golf course in competition. 

Here are some of Rory's numbers in practice on Trackman:

Club Speed: 118.6 mph. 

This year Rory is at 119.7 mph in tournament play.  He was at 121.6 last year and 121.3 in 2013.  From my conversations with some of my Tour clients that have brought the Trackman out on the course their club head speed tends to lower out on the course.  However, there are people that see an increase in club speed out on the course, especially in competition.  I would say that 65% of the players I've talked to about this see their club speed lower, 25% see it stay the same and 10% see their club speed get faster out on the course.

Ball Speed: 179.2 mph

Currently, his ball speed is at 176.9.  It was 179.7 in 2014 and 179.9 in 2013.  We should remember that hitting up more, all things being equal, will increase the smash factor.  And there's a tendency to see club speed drop when you're hitting up on the ball more as the release point of the wrists tend to change.  In the end, I'm skeptical of Rory hitting even +1.9 degrees up in competition.  He probably hits more closely to 0 degrees.

Spin Rate: 2,297 rpm's

He's at 2,563 this year, in 2014 he was 2,383 and he was at 2,697 in 2013.

Again, this indicates that in real course situations, he probably is not hitting up as much as +1.9 degrees.  What we have seen from statistics is that the best drivers in the world, like Rory, tend to generate roughly 2,450 to 2,750 rpm's of spin.  Part of is a hang time issue and other parts of it is that if you get too low on your spin rate, it's going to be difficult to keep some drives in the firm fairways that are throughout the PGA Tour.

We did see his spin rate go down more closely to the practice in 2014.  Rory's typical problem is that he hits some over-draws and of course if you're hitting less upward on the ball that will shift the path more outward (all things being equal).  His curvature in 2014 looked to be a lot less when I watched him than it was in 2013 when his spin rate was higher.  However, that spin rate may have all been due to an equipment change.

Either way, McIroy is an elite driver of the ball.  But it goes to show you that even the elite have things change on them when they are facing live ammo.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tips for Dealing with the Summer Heat

With the summer months ahead and the hot weather rolling in, I wanted to go over my tips to dealing with the heat based on my years playing in the hot Florida sun.

Obviously…Stay Hydrated

Everybody mentions this because it’s true. But, when you become dehydrated your alertness levels drop and you start to lose some hand-eye coordination in the process. From my experience, I would recommend not over-doing the sports drinks (i.e. Gatorade). But, you can’t ignore them either because they have the valuable electrolytes. Smart Water has electrolytes as well, but water doesn’t dissolve in the body as well as Gatorade. The issue with too much Gatorade is that it has quite a bit of sodium in it.

So, my suggestion is if you know it’s going to be hot out, drink plenty of water THE DAY BEFORE you play. Then the day of your round, I would drink 1 bottle of a sports drink before I would play and that would be my only sports drink (unless you’re having hydration issues). Then I would drink water for the rest of the day.

One thing you don’t want to do is over-hydrate (aka waterlog) yourself. The problem with over-hydration is that the symptoms are very similar to being dehydrated (cramping, low blood pressure, fatigue). I would try to drink some water once every 3 holes or so.

Shade Yourself

Getting into the shade usually makes things roughly 20 degrees cooler. For those walking, it’s best to get a push cart umbrella like this one from Izzo Golf.

Again, it’s obvious but some people don’t do it enough. Anytime you can stand in the shade, even if for only 30 seconds, it will help you keep your energy levels up.


Most people think of towels in golf when it comes to rainy days, but actually they are your best friend in the heat. I like to carry at least these 3 towels in the extreme heat:

A. Towel to clean my clubs off
B. Towel to clean my face
C. Towel soaked in ice water

I prefer to use Microfiber towels for the clubs and my face. Club Glove makes a great microfiber towel for cleaning your clubs.

This towel has an opening where you can stick your irons and so you won’t lose the towel from the fastener breaking. This towel is super absorbent, but also a bit abrasive. So that’s why I don’t use it on my face, but I will use it to clean my clubs, to absorb the sweat off my grips and my hands.

For the towel to clean my face, I prefer a softer Microfiber towel like this one.

For the towel soaked in ice water, this is used simply to help cool off. You can use any old towel. If you’re riding in a cart, see if they have a cooler available. And if you really want to get crazy, put some salt in the ice water of the cooler to help reduce the temperature even more. The towel soaked in cold ice water is extremely helpful in keeping your body temperature down in the extreme heat. I tend to find the best places to put the ice cold towel is on the neck, ears and the back of the knees.

Grip Help

Some people ask me what do I prefer, Gorilla Grip or the gripping lotion?

Personally, I prefer Gorilla Grip and it’s not even close. The gripping lotion takes longer to work and doesn’t stick as well. Gorilla Grip works instantaneously and the tackiness will stay for about a minute or so. Once the tackiness is gone, the hands will be dry.


Like towels, golf gloves are your friends in the heat. The problem is that you can end up purchasing a lot of them during the course of heat wave. A lot of people like Rain Grips. I do, too. From my experience they do last longer than typical cabretta leather gloves. However, they will still get old rather quickly when it’s hot out. The issue is the sweat and oils for the hands can’t be cleaned out and that makes them slick over time.

I prefer to grab 3 gloves and mark them 1, 2 and 3. I will play with glove #1 on holes 1, 4, 7, 10, 13 and 16. I play with glove #2 on holes 2, 5, 8, 11, 14 and 17. Then I use glove #3 on holes 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18.

From there, I try to get them on a Glove extender (picture below):

I also try to get them in room temperature.

Heat and sweat = slickness.

I personally believe you could get more life if you hand them near some type of humidifier, but I don’t own one, so I don't know for sure.

Golf Grips

I find that if you use these tips, you can pretty much use any type of golf grip and still be able to hold onto it pretty well. The leather perforated grips like GripMaster USA and Best Grips have I find to be the best with the sweat. Iomics are very good (although your likely to wear the grip down where you place the left thumb on the grip). The chord grips are pretty good as well.

But, if you want to get more time from your grips and keep them tacky, I recommend cleaning them afterwards to get the oils and sweat from your hands out. Again, sweat + heat = slickness. So keep them in a room temperature climate as soon as you can.

I simply clean my grips right as I’m cleaning my clubs. I take a bucket and fill it with dish soap water and grab my scrub brush, clean the heads and then clean the grips. It’s important to wipe the grips clean as well. If you do that, you can even play with Golf Pride Tour Wraps for a long time and have them keep their tackiness.


This is nothing new here...wear light colors and light clothing. The bigger issue is that your clothes are likely to have sweat stains. For hats, I do NOT recommend cleaning them by putting them in the dishwasher of clothes washer. The heat is just too much for hats and it will destroy the hat (visor). Instead, I just fill a sink with warm water and dish soap. I use a scrub brush (like the ones used for golf club cleaning) and use the soft bristle side. Get some Oxi-Clean and scrub out the serious dirt stains, gently. Then I use some sweat stain remover and scrub that where the sweat stains are located. I then let the hat(s) soak in the sink filled with soap water for about 4 hours. I then remove the hat(s) and place them flat on a towel.

Hope these ideas help you with playing in the summer heat.


Short Game Tip with Dan Carraher

Here's a video with a short game tip from instructor Dan Carraher. You can purchase Dan's entire short game video lesson series, which is excellent, at this link: http://www.athletenation.com/instructors/dan-carraher/shortgame-series


Monday, June 22, 2015

My Meaningless Thoughts on the US Open...

I think it was Lee Trevino who once said that “if you want to get golfers to quit the game, make a course that turns Tour players into hackers.” The point being is that if you make a course so hard for Tour players, then your average Joe won’t think they have a chance.

The agenda set forth by Mike Davis was clear, we need to deal with the shortage of water for golf courses and show that ‘brown is the new green’ and that you can have an enjoyable golf course that is not perfectly green all over. The only issue was that Davis neglected the ‘enjoyable golf course’ part of the equation. Seriously, are the conditions in the picture on the right so difficult to obtain?

The thing is, I generally liked the design of the course. But the condition were not appealing to the eye and it wasn’t fun to watch. Normally, I would disagree with a pro that gets this angry over conditions, but in Billy Horschel’s case, I can perfectly understand his frustration.

And there were various other videos and vines of ridiculous putts that went in or did not go in. Certainly, this ended up creating an intense US Open. But, I get the feeling that Mike Davis falsely thinks they scored a victory because of the close finish with a superstar winning the event. In reality, the overwhelming majority of fans I encountered thought of it as a sham. It reminded me a bit of the steroid era in baseball when people would say “hey, Home Runs and breaking records = more fans.” But, what they didn’t realize is that in the long term it ended up cheapening the game and the fans started to question the legitimacy of the game. Nobody questions Spieth’s legitimacy, but thinking that a tight finish will always bring in viewers regardless of how it’s accomplished is very short sighted.

In the end, Chambers Bay looked like Bushwood…after Carl Spackler blew it up.

As far as the telecast, FOX’s debut was disappointing to say the least. I did like the Pro Tracer being used quite a bit. It’s just cool to see the ball flight of Tour players and it’s not used nearly enough on ESPN, CBS and NBC telecasts. The green shading did nothing for me except for fool me into thinking that the greens were even worse than they were (which is abominable).

The other issue is that they had too many announcers and they would switch announcers. From my count, they had:

Joe Buck (who was awful)
Mark Rolfing
Gil Hanse
Greg Norman
Corey Pavin
Scott McCarron
Holly Sonders
A couple of British dudes
Eddie Vedder
Richard Sherman
Loch Ness Monster
The Ghost of Kurt Cobain’s past

After a while you couldn’t figure out who was talking or why. I prefer the NBC method of Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller and Roger Maltby. Easy to follow who is talking and why they are talking

I don’t have a problem with Sonders’ position in the golf world and I liked the idea of interviewing players after the round with the TV showing the shots they hit. The issue is that FOX didn’t realize that many Tour players are not good at this because they’ve never done it before. And the best way to work around that is to have an excellent interviewer that can lead the golfer through it. Sonders, at this point, is not a good interviewer by any means and those interviews ended up being boring and awkward.

Lastly, if I didn’t know any better I would swear that the producers of FOX were 5 year old boys as they were obsessed with the train rolling thru on 16 and 17. It’s a train that runs next to a golf course…WE GET IT, ALREADY.


I had picked Dustin Johnson to win. I was afraid the event would be something like Doral was this year where the conditions and the course were such that the 3 longest hitters would be the only ones in contention. And I figured that shots from 175-250 yards would play the most critical role and Dustin is one of the best. It was hard to deny Spieth (who was in my top-10 picks) because he is flat out incredible outside of the fact that he ‘only’ generates about 113 mph club speed.

Here are Spieth’s rankings in the key metrics going into the US Open (out of 202 golfers):

Driving Effectiveness: 10th

Green Zone (75-125 yards): 7th
Yellow Zone (125-175 yards): 24th
Red Zone (175-225 yards): 8th

Short Game Play: 3rd
Putts Gained: 20th

While his Yellow Zone play may look a bit odd given how well he strikes the ball with his irons, I think that stems from those occasional missed tee shots (which don’t happen very often).

I really love watching Spieth’s swing. One of the big factors is that he has a bent left arm into and after impact. This is because his left shoulder is internally rotated so the left elbow is facing the target thru impact.

What this does is it stabilizes the club head thru impact. And I don’t think anybody has a more stabilized club head than Jordan Spieth.

Before the US Open, I was thinking that if Spieth could make it thru Chambers Bay which would benefit bombers, he has a good shot at winning the Grand Slam. In many ways, he reminds me of Tiger in that he has no real weaknesses and his biggest strengths are iron play and his ability to make 15-25 footers.

Unlike Tiger, he’s not super long. But, sometimes that super length works against golfers, even great drivers of the ball like Bubba Watson. Because roughly 25% of the par-4’s on Tour require players to lay-up off the tee. As I’ve shown many times thru research, laying-up off the tee is much more difficult than people think, even for Tour players. They simply are not that great having to hit 3-wood off the tee.

For bombers (118+ mph), they’ll have to lay-up even more. And it usually leaves a large gap of where they can hit a driver 330 yards, but their 3-wood about 270 yards. Meanwhile a player like Spieth can hit driver 300 yards and now gain distance on those bombers. This is why guys like Bubba avoid courses like Harbour Town and Colonial. It doesn’t fit their game. And this can give somebody like Bubba issues on some British Open courses and courses like Olympic Club where you have to lay-up a lot. Meanwhile, Spieth plays those courses like Harbour Town and Colonial because they fit his game just as much as Congressional or PGA National.

The other part, and it is ever so critical to Spieth’s success, is that he seems to have a fantastic mental game. The important part of that for golfers that they can learn from is how he talks to his caddie before each shot and after each shot. As Dr. Bhrett McCabe has said, you have to verbalize things out there. If you don’t have a caddie (which most of us never have), verbalize that stuff to yourself.

But another part of that is if Spieth hits a terrible shot or misses a cut, it’s not something plastered all over the Golf Channel or ESPN like it would be with Tiger Woods. Forget about Tiger’s recent woes, if Tiger was in his prime and missed a cut or hit a bad shot, it went viral. Of course, a big reason for that is the ungodly amount of hype and hysteria that went into Tiger Woods *before* he started playing on Tour. Spieth didn’t have that and I think it will be to his benefit.

So, I think the Tour is in pretty good shape at this point in time. Spieth isn’t exactly Muhammad Ali of the 20-teens, but people of all generations really seem to like him. Getting those chants on the 72nd hole are things you just don’t see in golf. And he appears to be a ‘good dude.’ The same goes for McIlroy and Rickie Fowler should rebound quickly. There’s plenty of good, promising youthful stars out there, we just need for the Mike Davis’ of the world to get out of their way.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 US Open Rundown

With the US Open here, I wanted to go thru a brief rundown of the main metrics on Tour, year-to-date.

I've seen some pretty horrific pictures of the conditions, but it seems to be more spotty than anything.  I actually think this could be a favorite US Open venue for years to come, but I'm afraid that if you leave the USGA to their own devices, they'll create an embarrassing gaffe as they have had many times before.  I'm certain the golf course is hard enough, it doesn't need to be any more difficult with them calling for downhill, uphill and sidehill tee shots.

Based on the numbers, here are my top-10 picks to win:

Rory McIlroy
Jordan Spieth
Rickie Fowler
Hideki Matsuyama
Bubba Watson
Jason Day
Keegan Bradley
Phil Mickelson
Dustin Johnson
JB Holmes

Without further ado, here are the partial rankings on Tour, year-to-date:


1. Watson, Bubba
2. Matsuyama, Hideki
3. Lowry, Shane
4. McIlroy, Rory
5. Molinari, Francesco
6. Herman, Jim
7. Streelman, Kevin
8. Bradley, Keegan
9. Reavie, Chez
10. Spieth, Jordan
11. Levin, Spencer
12. Glover, Lucas
13. Scott, Adam
14. Henley, Russell
15. Rodgers, Patrick
16. Ernst, Derek
17. Simpson, Webb
18. De Jonge, Brendon
19. Day, Jason
20. Harman, Brian

183. Romero, Andres
184. Harrington, Padraig
185. Lee, Danny
186. Every, Matt
187. Ishikawa, Ryo
188. Sterne, Richard
189. Renner, Jim
190. Jacobson, Freddie
191. Noh, Seung-Yul
192. Kim, Whee
193. Blixt, Jonas
194. Baddeley, Aaron
195. Curtis, Ben
196. Point, D.A.
197. Putnam, Andrew
198. Barnes, Ricky
199. Donald, Luke
200. Van Aswegan, Tyrone
201. Els, Ernie
202. Weir, Mike


1. Smith, Cameron
2. Scott, Adam
3. Castro, Roberto
4. Dufner, Jason
5. Furyk, Jim
6. Cink, Stewart
7. Spieth, Jordan
8. Palmer, Ryan
9. Rose, Justin
10. Lahiri, Anirban
11. Johnson, Zach
12. Molinari, Francesco
13. Moore, Ryan
14. Fowler, Rickie
15. Casey, Paul
16. Hoffman, Charley
17. Knost, Colt
18. Curran, Jon
19. Axley, Eric
20. Reifers, Kyle

183. Bradley, Keegan
184. Rodgers, Patrick
185. Stallings, Scott
186. Streb, Robert
187. Goosen, Retief
188. Beljan, Charlie
189. Ogilvy, Geoff
190. Rollins, John
191. Cabrera, Angel
192. Garrigus, Robert
193. Vegas, Jhonattan
194. Fdez-Castano Gonzalo
195. Wilcox, Will
196. Romero, Andres
197. Lowry, Shane
198. Love III, Davis
199. Adams, Blake
200. Watson, Bubba
201. Randolph, Jonathan
202. Sucher, Zack


1. Stenson, Henrik
2. Poulter, Ian
3. Donald, Luke
4. English, Harris
5. Molinari, Francesco
6. Peterson, John
7. Casey, Paul
8. Gore, Jason
9. Furyk, Jim
10. Matsuyama, Hideki
11. Simpson, Webb
12. Martin, Ben
13. McIlroy, Rory
14. Perez, Pat
15. Ishikawa, Ryo
16. Reavie, Chez
17. Oosthuizen, Louis
18. Thompson, Nicholas
19. Dufner, Jason
20. Hurley III, Billy

183. Flores, Martin
184. Hadley, Chesson
185. Gonzales, Andres
186. Blair, Zac
187. Jones, Matt
188. Fraustro, Oscar
189. Rodgers, Patrick
190. Baddeley, Aaron
191. Henry, J.J.
192. Curtis, Ben
193. Ernst, Derek
194. Lunde, Bill
195. Vegas, Jhonattan
196. Taylor, Nick
197. Slocum, Heath
198. Jacobson, Freddie
199. Chalmers, Greg
200. Immelman, Trevor
201. Wilcox, Will
202. Adams, Blake


1. Lowry, Shane
2. Berger, Daniel
3. McIlroy, Rory
4. Matsuyama, Hideki
5. Westwood, Lee
6. Wilcox, Will
7. Gore, Jason
8. Spieth, Jordan
9. Furyk, Jim
10. Fowler, Rickie
11. Herman, Jim
12. Casey, Paul
13. Johnson, Dustin
14. Rose, Justin
15. Stefani, Shawn
16. Stuard, Brian
17. Simpson, Webb
18. Swafford, Hudson
19. Wagner, Johnson
20. Hicks, Justin

183. Villegas, Camilo
184. Palmer, Ryan
185. O'Hair, Sean
186. Adams, Blake
187. Curtis, Ben
188. Donald, Luke
189. Mahan, Hunter
190. Fathauer, Derek
191. Axley, Eric
192. Leonard, Justin
193. Sterne, Richard
194. Henley, Russell
195. Immelman, Trevor
196. Garcia, Sergio
197. Byrd, Jonathan
198. Chalmers, Greg
199. Castro, Roberto
200. Donaldson, Jamie
201. Blixt, Jonas
202. Weir, Mike


1. Smith, Cameron
2. McIlroy, Rory
3. Spieth, Jordan
4. Alker, Steven
5. Simpson, Webb
6. Day, Jason
7. Kelly, Jerry
8. Donald, Luke
9. Castro, Roberto
10. Jacobson, Freddie
11. Garcia, Sergio
12. Na, Kevin
13. Kirk, Chris
14. Singh, Vijay
15. Thomas, Justin
16. Love III, Davis
17. Byrd, Jonathan
18. Collins, Chad
19. Tringale, Cameron
20. Langley, Scott

183. Stefani, Shawn
184. Sainz Jr., Carlos
185. Cabrera, Angel
186. Herman, Jim
187. Horschel, Billy
188. Hoffman, Charley
189. Thompson, Nicholas
190. Svoboda, Andrew
191. Prugh, Alex
192. Koepka, Brooks
193. Howell III, Charles
194. Sterne, Richard
195. Casey, Paul
196. Hicks, Justin
197. Luiten, Joost
198. McDowell, Graeme
199. Gomez, Fabian
200. Lahiri, Anirban
201. Fraustro, Oscar
202. Adams, Blake


1. Walker, Jimmy
2. Smith, Cameron
3. Jacobson, Freddie
4. Blair, Zac
5. Chalmers, Greg
6. Snedeker, Brandt
7. Kuchar, Matt
8. Koepka, Brooks
9. Compton, Erik
10. Every, Matt
11. Henley, Russell
12. Merritt, Troy
13. Putnam, Andrew
14. Baddeley, Aaron
15. Stenson, Henrik
16. Summerhays, Daniel
17. Poulter, Ian
18. Huh, John
19. Molder, Bryce
20. Spieth, Jordan

183. Owen, Greg
184. Sloan, Roger
185. Singh, Vijay
186. Dufner, Jason
187. Smith, Byron
188. Ogilvy, Geoff
189. Sterne, Richard
190. Fdez-Castano Gonzalo
191. Ernst, Derek
192. Scott, Adam
193. Putnam, Michael
194. Allenby, Robert
195. Merick, John
196. Sainz Jr., Carlos
197. Garrigus, Robert
198. Beljan, Charlie
199. Castro, Roberto
200. Hicks, Justin
201. Renner, Jim
202. Glover, Lucas


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Should I Strike Up or Down with the Driver w/Peter Finch

Here's a video from golf instructor, Peter Finch, and his thoughts on whether or not the golfer should hit up or down on the driver:


Friday, June 12, 2015

Book Review: Slaying The Tiger

A while ago I was watching The Golf Channel’s Arnie and Me; the documentary of countless people who became fans of Arnold Palmer due to their experiences with Mr. Palmer and they reflected upon those experiences. You heard stories of Mr. Palmer consoling a lady who was yelled at by Ken Venturi after she accidentally snapped her camera during Venturi’s putt. There was the time that Mr. Palmer wrote back to a teenager with words of advice before he went to college, making sure that this letter was delivered before the teenager’s 18th birthday. And the countless tales of how Palmer treated people over the years in such a kind fashion. And let’s not forget the Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando which takes in 15,000 babies a year. As Red wrote about Andy Dufrense in Shawshank Redemption “most men build match stick houses, Andy built a library.” Most wealthy men would buy luxurious items, Arnold Palmer built a hospital.

Watching this documentary I started to think how lucky golfers are. In a world where our ‘heroes’ tend to have differently lives, often seedy and salacious, some of the top-5 greatest names in the world of golf belong to Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson. And can you think of better representatives of any sport than those three men?

We know the stories of Palmer by now, but Mr. Nicklaus deserves his credit as well for being a fine human being. And Mr. Nelson sometimes gets overlooked, but he doggedly worked to get donations for his charity to the point where people would often give him money seeing Mr. Nelson walk by and has generated over $117 million.

That leads us to Shane Ryan’s book Slaying the Tiger which is Ryan’s account of spending a year on Tour and getting to know more of the younger players on a personal level. In interviews, Ryan tries to portray the book as being something that has never really been done on Tour due to the Tour being very conservative, stuffy and protective of its players and its brand. That’s wishful thinking as A Good Walk Spoiled and Bud, Sweat and Tees provided similar insights. It’s just that Ryan’s account was more salacious and ‘gossipy.’

And that’s my problem with reading this book. It’s one thing to write a book that deals with rumors, innuendo and the author’s impression on things and freely admit what it is, but it is another to write that book and try to pose it as ‘honest.’

I have the unique position in that I work with many Tour players with the statistics of the game, but I also hold press privileges due to the blog and my work with GolfWRX. So, I tend to get a perspective of both sides.

One of the comments that struck a contemptable chord with me was Ryan’s claim that “the human landscape of the PGA Tour is strewn with egomaniacs, narcissists and zealots.” My experience leads to a different conclusion that is almost the direct opposite of that as I’ve had exceedingly good dealings with Tour players, some of whom have used my services and then decided to part ways. But, I have not dealt with a rude Tour player or somebody that I thought came across as egomaniacal. If there’s an issue with Tour players it is usually that they have beliefs stuck in their head and no matter what the facts are, if you can’t sell them away from those beliefs you stand no chance of convincing them. It would be like saying to a Tour player that 2+2 = 4, but if they believe that 2+2 = 22, they are going to stick to that belief unless you are good at figuring out how to convince them differently. And more often than not what happens is another Tour player will come along and say ‘hey, did you know that 2+2 =4?” and that’s when they start believing you. And then they’ll come to you and say “Wish you would’ve told me that 2+2=4 a while ago.”

It’s frustrating for sure, but egomaniacal?

On the other hand, I’ve dealt with the press and have seen many of the press in action. Particularly sports writers and in particular writers whose main duties do not involve writing about golf. And the egomaniacs from my experience far more often reside with the media than they do with PGA Tour players.

There is a steadfast belief from almost every single media member that every athlete OWES them interviews because they are an outlet to the fans.

Read that again.

That’s EXACTLY how 99% of the sports media thinks.

So, which industry has a human landscape strewn with egomaniacs, again?

The fact is that nobody is holding a gun to any fan’s head and making them purchase tickets, buy equipment, etc. It doesn’t give a Tour player the right to treat fans poorly, but it doesn’t mean that they owe the fans much more than basic courtesy and 100% effort. If the fans don’t like it, they can always stop going to tournaments. That creates a different standard of what the fans expect and will pay money for and that means the Tour players have to change accordingly. But under this environment, they don’t owe any writer a thing.

This is where we get into Ryan’s claim that the book is ‘honest’ and why I think that is misleading. Throughout the book it’s easy to see what players Ryan likes and what players he doesn’t like. The ones that gave him time for interviews and the ones that didn’t. He wrote nothing but a scathing diatribe against Bubba Watson to the point where he claimed Watson’s uses religion to his advantage. When Ryan was asked how he got all of these stories on Watson, Ryan claimed that he never got to sit down with Bubba and that all he was asking for was to sit down for ‘an hour or two.’ When Watson didn’t comply, Ryan stated that he had to dig and find these stories for himself and get these stories from other writers on Tour. As Ryan put it (more or less) the book is giving the stories that get bandied about from the press and everybody knows about them.

What Ryan neglects to mention is that the Tour player’s schedule is quite hectic. If you made the cut at Bay Hill and were playing the Valero Open the next week, that means Monday you are flying from Orlando to San Antonio. Then you have to get everything all set in your hotel room and usually meet up with your caddy and coach to go onto the range later that afternoon, go back to the hotel, work out, eat, get some sleep for Tuesday. Tuesday is a practice round day where players will spend a couple of hours on the range and putting green before the practice round. They’ll get situation if they want to change any equipment and work that out. Then play the practice round and then go BACK to the range for a couple of hours before heading back, getting dinner and going to sleep for Wednesday. Wednesday is the 2nd Pro-Am day (they have one on Monday that is volunteered). The Wednesday pro-am is mandatory and players are usually hitting balls for a couple of hours before the pro-am and then after the Pro-Am. Then you have the start of the event.

Usually Tour players take a week off for a course that doesn’t fit their game. But, they are playing, on average, 25 events a year (for full-time players). And with the new split-season schedule, there is not that long stretch of an offseason as there used to be. So for the most part, when the Tour players come home they want to spend it with their family and work on their game. And talking to a press member for ‘an hour or two’ is not on the top of their priority list.

But, when Ryan does get interview time with a player, he views them in a positive light. One of those players was Matt Every, who would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t have the greatest reputation on Tour (nor does he care). But, Ryan takes a shine to him because interview time was given.


Ryan’s claim for ‘honesty’ actually means that he is giving his honest opinion and insight of players on Tour. That’s a far cry from being ‘truthful’ or ‘accurate’ or ‘factual.’ And I think the person that buys this book will get those terms screwed up and think that Ryan’s vantage point represents ‘truth.’

For example, Ryan claimed that the story was that Patrick Reed cheated at UGA and stole $400 from a teammate and that combined with a DUI was why Reed was kicked off the team. Ryan later claimed that Reed was caught cheating at Augusta State as well. But, when Reed’s coaches wrote an affidavit backing up REED’s claims that they had no knowledge of the cheating (and the stealing at UGA) which Ryan claimed they *absolutely* knew about; Ryan’s defense switched to the affidavits were not ‘technically affidavits’ because they were not sworn testimonies.

I’m not sure Reed wanted to waste his time and money going to court over this. Ironically, Ryan uses a trick that many attorneys use when they can’t prove something; switch the argument to something else that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Poke holes in that insignificant argument in order to gain credibility that you have lost from not being able to prove the original argument.

The point is that Ryan claimed that the UGA head coach and Augusta State head coach knew about the cheating and stealing and they both made statements that they were NOT aware of it.

Now, it appears that Reed’s former teammates were aware of him cheating and the UGA teammates were aware of the allegations of him stealing $400 from a fellow teammate (although never coming close to being proven). Still, there’s a discrepancy between Ryan’s statements in the book (the coaches knew and UGA booted him in part due to it) and some teammates accusing him of cheating. This is what happens when you report what you have heard (honesty) and not properly investigating what actually occurred (truth).

I feel most people are going to find the book enticing in the end. Gossip usually is. Especially when you have a group of famous people that are more quite, subdued and secretive. It reminds me of the boom of Pro Wrestling books that became best-sellers. The pro wrestling industry was extremely secretive behind the scenes and you had famous people on TV each week that the public knew little about. When people got a look behind the curtain, even if it was from one person’s particular vantage point, they ate it up hook, line and sinker. But, if you’re thinking that these stories are fact and were well researched, you’re going to be in for a disappointment. My story of how lucky we are to have such great leaders of the game of golf like Mr. Palmer, Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Nelson just doesn’t sell books like telling that the human landscape of the PGA Tour is strewn with egomaniacs.

Looking at Padraig Harrington's Happy Gilmore Swing

I was watching some old YouTube videos and watched the Sports Science video of Padraig Harrington's Happy Gilmore swing analysis:

We can see some interesting differences in the actual swing itself (sans the actual run-up to the ball).

Most notably at impact where he has far more pelvic rotation as he gets into impact:

We can see in the Gilmore swing the left leg is straighter and the left hip is 'working back.'  We see a different right foot position as well.

I also thought it was interesting that the Gilmore swing in the startdown goes into dual external rotation of the hips whereas his old swing does not.

So while the run up of 4 mph may have helped create some more force to improve Harrington's club speed by 7 mph, I think the hips and pelvis in the actual swing play a larger role in Harrington's increase club speed.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hypnosis and NLP for Golf

Here's a video from hypnotherapist, Debbie Williams, explaining how we can use hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming for golf.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Old Video of Tiger from the Back View

Thought this video was interesting:



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Long Flat Spot for Great Pitch Shots with Andrew Rice

Golf coach Andrew Rice (www.andrewricegolf.com) on creating a long 'flat spot' for better pitch shots.

The longer 'flat spot' is something that Chris Como teaches based off the insight from Dr. Sasho MacKenzie.

What's interesting is that Moe Norman often times said that he felt he had the longest flat spot of a golf swing and had the longest, but shallowest divot.  As Moe liked to say about his divots "bacon strips, not pork chops."


Monday, June 8, 2015

Brett Rumford on Chipping from the Thick Rough

Here's another short game lesson from one of the very best, Brett Rumford, on the short game shots from the rough.


Friday, June 5, 2015

New GolfWRX Column: How Launch Monitors are Affecting Tour Players' Driving

I keep track of the radar metrics on the PGA Tour each week, and so far this season I’ve started to see some noticeable differences in the radar data being produced by the field than I have in years past. So I decided to look at the Tour averages for each season since the Tour started to record the radar data back in 2007.

Here’s a chart showing those averages each season.

Read More: http://www.golfwrx.com/303456/launch-monitors-have-changed-the-way-tour-players-hit-their-drives/

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Managing the Putter Face Angle

Here's a video from instructor, Jeff Smith, on managing the club face angle with your putter:


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thoughts on Release Styles and Miss Biases

Here's a Q&A with Gabe Writer and Kelvin Miyahira:

One of the key questions they discuss is with the drive-hold release which makes it very difficult to miss towards the pull-side of the golfer. 

I think that this is an interesting concept as I have been exploring the '1-way miss' for a the past 5 years.  The statistics on Tour show that there is a bit of a fallacy with regards to the '1-way miss' as Tour players tend to miss fairways right or left more closer to 50% than most people imagine.  In fact, Jordan Spieth (pictured above) currently has a 54.3% rightward miss bias.  What I have found is that the leading players on Tour with regards to my Driving Effectiveness metric tend to have a miss bias that is within 55/45 ratio and it does not matter whether they are missing left or right.

Players with a miss bias outside that 55/45 ratio tend to not drive the ball as effectively.  My feeling is that if you're missing at say, 65% shots to the left, you have a problem shot that you cannot control on demand.  And given the amount of doglegs and the general design of golf holes, you have to be able to miss in the correct spots when you do miss a fairway.


After reading that information I started to believe that good golf was more about a 1-way curve of the ball.  This would produce greater control and predictability.  But, after years of watching Tour players hit balls and my own experience getting more into a drive-hold release, I have started to revise my thinking as far as curvature and 'miss bias.'  Part of which I plan to explore more in 2016 and put in the 2016 Pro Golf Synopsis.

My revised thinking agrees more with Kelvin, the drive hold release players on Tour tend to hit it very straight or they miss right.  They may hit a draw (i.e. Keegan Bradley and Rory McIlroy), but they don't miss left very often.  And if they do, it's usually off a toe-hook.  I think the 18th hole at Sawgrass really showed the power of the drive-hold release as drive-hold release players didn't have to worry about missing left in the water and could hit it long enough to where the fairway gets a bit wider:

Rickie Fowler, who drove it spectacularly on 18, has implemented more of a drive-hold release style since working with Butch Harmon and I don't believe it's a coincidence that he played that hole so well off the tee en route to his victory.

Unfortunately, we are still in the infancy stages of understanding things like rate of closure. But, I think it's pretty obvious that having a stable club head and club face thru impact, as seen in the drive-hold release, is something that we've seen so many great ballstrikers utilize.  I think the stable club head release allows golfers to not miss left while still being able to draw the ball if needed.  While the other styles of release, like the flip-roll, under-flip, knife edge, etc. employ too much club face rotation and in turn, the greater likelihood of missing too far left or too far right.  The more the club head will rotate in a release, there's just more variance in where the clubface is pointing at impact.

One of the straightest drivers of the ball I've seen is my friend, Victor Rodriguez, who qualified for the Final Stage of the Re-Max Long Drive competition last year:

So, it's certainly not about 'straight = short.'  It's about controlling the face thru stabilizing the face and the speed may or may not come along with it.


Where this revelation came about for me is over time my swing has developed into more of a drive-hold release. 

I had noticed over the past couple of years that the tee shots that give me the most issues are on dogleg lefts and when the wind is blowing to the right.  My natural ball flight is more of a fade, although I can hit a draw.

Lately, since my release has improved and the face is more stable, I have noticed that I can simply aim left on a dogleg left and not have to worry about missing too far to the left.  If I hit it straight, it will end up just in the left corner or still find the fairway.  If I don't hit it straight, I will just hit a fade right down the middle.  But the chances of me over-drawing it are slim and none, even if I'm set up to hit a draw.

And this helps in preventing me from missing right because if I can't afford to miss right, I can just aim left enough to avoid the right side altogether. 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bryson Dechambeau What's In The Bag

Here is recent NCAA champion, Bryson DeChambeau, on his unique set of clubs that he uses:

What's In the Bag - Bryson Dechambeau from College Golf Fellowship on Vimeo.

As Bryson discussed, he uses the same length irons throughout his set (37.5 inches). This concept has been done before, most popularly from the Tommy Armour Golf EQL model back in the late 80's.

From what I recall, Tommy Armour Golf claimed that the 8-iron was the 'perfectly designed club' and that they wanted to build each club to that length.

In order to do so (regardless of the length you want), the head weights have to be the same.  Typically, the head weights for irons go in 7-gram increments.  Here's an example of a spec sheet from Wishon Golf showing this 7-gram increment approach (click to enlarge):

The reason for the heads changing in weight is that the typical set of irons has shafts that change in length.  If you're going by the swingweight matching method with each club the same length while using incremental head weights, you're going to get extremely light long irons and extremely heavy short irons.

The same will apply if you use the MOI matching principle as well.  Certainly, there will be those that will ask  "Isn't MOI matching just incremental swingweights?"

Yes, it is.  But, you're going in swingweight increments of roughly 0.5 swingweight points per club.  When you have a 7-gram increment head weight that is going to drastically increase the swingweight, by far more than 0.5 swingweight points.

In the end, Dechambeau's MOI will be matched.  The issue with the Tommy Armour EQL irons is that while they were MOI matched, that didn't mean that the MOI fitted that particular golfer's swing.  If the MOI was at 2,650 for each club and the golfer actually fits more to 2,700 MOI, there is some discrepancy.  But, I still believe that MOI matching, even if it is not quite fitted is better than no MOI matching.

One of the questions I frequently get is "if MOI matching is so good, then why don't the Tour players do it?"

Well, there are a variety of answers why such as them not knowing about it, fear of trying something new, not having an educated and skilled MOI matching fitter available, etc.

But, what we have seen with Tour players is that they often grab 20 or so clubs of each iron in a set (i.e. 20 4-irons, 20 5-irons, etc) and then try them out and find the one they like best and bag it.  For instance, I had the opportunity to measure the MOI of Nick Faldo's old Mizuno T-Zoid irons.  Knowing that Sir Nick used this process I was curious to see what the MOI of the clubs were.  When I measured them, I found that Sir Nick was extremely precise as each club measured to 2,750 MOI except for his Pitching Wedge which measured in at 2,775.

So, I surmise that many PGA Tour players are MOI matching their irons without knowing it.  They are just taking a longer way to do it.

Anyway, congratulations on Mr. Dechambeau and congratulations to Edel Golf for building him a great set of clubs.


Monday, June 1, 2015

My Meaningless Thoughts on Parsons Xtreme Golf

Friends of the blog at MyGolfSpy.com did a write-up on the new clubs from Parsons Xtreme Golf :


I think it is refreshing to see a company whose priority is set on trying to develop the best product possible while still having the demand that once they do, that they will be able return a nice profit. It sure beats the companies that are solely in it to make money and make it from the get-go by cutting corners and using brilliant and aggressive marketing campaigns.

I knew the screws were actually weights a while ago. I find it interesting that they are so particular about head weight as have been preaching the importance of head weight along with MOI matching in clubs for ultimate performance. I think Parsons is coming about as close as one company can find to create a set that can more easily match the MOI of the set.

Of course, there is a lot of discussion about the forgiveness factor. As many readers know, I play blades. Last year I tried to play some PING S55 irons, but ended up hitting them about 15 yards shorter as they launched too high and spun too much.

It seems these days that when it comes to iron *performance*, it usually revolves around:

1. Distance
2. Forgiveness

This was discussed here with PXG. And PXG states that they don't like how OEM's "try to be everything to everybody."

I think the issue is that it *may* be impossible to truly create a superior club because the individuality of the golf swing and what a golfer needs is going to be different for everybody. And that using Distance and Forgiveness as the parameters to equate as 'performance' is a bit misleading and flawed.

One of the common questions I get asked by readers is about irons that go further. Most people know that today's lofts are much lower than lofts in irons of yesteryear. But, that's one of the key points. If we are looking at the curvature of a ball's flight, the spin loft (Dynamic Loft - Attack Angle = Spin Loft) plays a huge factor because the ball will tend to curve more offline when the axis is tilted more than by producing more spin. Trackman's Fredrik Tuxen showed this at the Open Forum 2 in January of 2014 (although he showed it with a driver).

So, the idea that hitting a 7-iron as long as your old 6-iron isn't necessarily a good thing. If the new 7-iron is the same loft as your old 6-iron, it's more 6 in 1, half dozen in the other. But the other issue is that companies know golfers fall in love with hitting their irons further, so they make the clubs lighter and even a bit longer shafted. And when you start lengthening a club with a lower loft, it can provide accuracy and consistency issues.

The golfer that had a 32* 6-iron iron with a 37.5" shaft and it weighed 435 grams and the golfer hit it 175 yards may be better off with that club than a new 6-iron with 29* loft, a 38" shaft and weighs 422 grams because they are more wild with the longer, lighter and lower lofted 6-iron.

As far as forgiveness goes, people should remember that the sweet-spot of a club is only the size of a needlepoint. Regardless if it is a classic blade iron or a giant oversized Game Improvement iron. The difference is in the clubhead MOI. The classic blade is going to have less MOI around the sweet-spot point than a game improvement iron.

But, where the issue arises is that the larger difference in MOI between a blade and a Game Improvement iron really takes place further away from the sweet-spot. So, if you miss by 1-2 dimples with a blade versus a Game Improvement iron, you probably will not see much of a difference. But if you start to miss 5, 6 or 7 dimples off the sweet-spot, the Game Improvement iron will have more MOI. The problem? You're still likely to hit a poor shot when you are THAT far off the mark. And the main benefit is distance with the Game Improvement iron and if you're that far off the mark and are going to hit a ball that much offline, adding distance to the equation won't help much.


I think where blades get a bad name is that many of the very old school blades had no forgiveness towards the toe. This was due to the epoxy not being as strong back then, so they made the hosels longer and used a pin to help keep the shaft in place.

By making the hosel longer, the CoG of the head shifted more towards the heel and that means if you were just a little off towards the toe, there was no forgiveness whatsoever.  In fact, Ben Hogan made it a priority to make irons that were not so unforgiving off the toe and it was in part what made his irons so popular.  There's a common misconception that Hogan blades were small, but in fact they were probably larger than most any other blade on the market at the time.

Now, the epoxy is far better and the hosels are much smaller and many OEM's have taken Hogan's lead and found ways to make the toe quite forgiving. For me, the main benefits of blades are:

A. Lower Launch Angles (if needed)
B. Feedback can help distinguish quality of strike
C. Smaller sole and tighter grind may result in preferred turf interaction.

For me, I tend to hit a spinny ball that can go too high, so that's why hitting cavity backs tend to b e problematic.  I also prefer the turf interaction with the smaller sole and tight grind.  As far as feedback goes, I think it's helpful if you really want to work at it.  Most of my range practice consists of me hitting my Yonex EZone blade 3-iron and I think it has helped quicken the learning process. 

But, you have some of the greatest ballstrikers in the world, like Jordan Spieth, who prefer cavity backs.


It's just that these days there is less and less of a difference between blades and CB's and playing blades doesn't automatically make you a 'player.'  It provides some different benefits from CB's and those benefits may apply to a golfer's game or they may not.


So, I don't think forgiveness is for everybody. And we see the potential issues with hitting irons further. However, this excerpt did grab my attention.

While the elaborate system of screws will certainly be what golfers notice, the most impressive bits of PXG’s technology are hidden beneath the surface of the 0311 irons.

While one could reasonably describe the 0311 as a wide-bodied blade, hidden in the traditional looking design (screws notwithstanding) is what PXG will tell you is the most advanced iron design ever created.

0311 construction starts with a forged open face body. An ultra-thin face is plasma welded to the body, creating a hollow cavity which is then filled with a thermoplastic elastomer. The elastomer, a flexible goo of sorts, supports the face while enhancing feel. A bonding adhesive keeps gaps from forming between the elastomer and the face.

While that may not sound like much of a radical departure from the types of technology stories told by every other golf company, PXG’s technology is groundbreaking, in part, because it allows for a face that’s half as thick as anything else on the market today. Half as thick. Nobody is even close.

Those are substantial claims.  Although I would be interested on how close Yonex comes with their Ti-Hybrid MB and Cavity Back irons.  The MB irons carry a titanium insert and the cavity back have a graphite insert. 

Remember, just because they are claiming to have a face that is half as thick and nobody comes close, doesn't mean that it is necessarily true.  I don't know if that's the case, but I would like to see how Yonex compares. 

In the end though, it would mean more *true* distance.  Instead of using gimmicks like lower lofts, lighter and longer shafts, the PXG claims would mean that the Smash Factor is better and allows us to hit the ball further.

But in the end, it really comes down to what fits the golfer.  I like a lot of what I've read on PXG with the weight screws and the face thickness.  The club looks a bit like a Ping I25 to me and it's no surprised that they grabbed some people from PING.  I think it's something I'll be leery on because I promised myself that I would never by another set of CB's, again.  However, they have piqued my interest and I'll keep an eye on them in the future.