Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We spend a lot of time talking about what it takes to be a
better golfer. We talk about creating a routine, finding a technique that works
for you, rhythm and timing? all of these are important in your goal for lower
scores. But no matter what your skill level, there are some rules about playing
this game that apply to everyone. I call them the Three Rules for Success and
whether you are a beginner or the best player in the world, they are things we
have to remember and work on every time we are on the golf course.
Rule #1. You Can't Play Mad. Anger destroys golf scores. I
define golf course anger as the inability to accept the results of your
efforts. How many times have you seen a player hit a poor shot into a lake, get
mad and turn right around and hit the next shot worse than the previous one? Or
it can be more subtle than that, you pull a drive slightly to the left and then
hit the next shot right of your target, trying to fix the mistake of the
previous shot. Or hit a putt too far only to leave the next putt short. All of
these are examples of not accepting the results of your effort. Regardless of how disappointed you are in a
golf shot, you have to remember that the next one counts and your efforts
should be focused on playing that shot. Curtis Strange, two times US Open
Champion, was famous for his temper on the golf course. His advice was, "You
can get as mad as you like on the walk from the green to the next tee. By the
time you get to the tee you had better be over it."
Rule #2. You Can't Play Afraid. You have to play the game
assuming the shot will come off as planned. Swinging harder to make sure the
ball gets over the water, hitting a putt short because you are afraid to hit
the putt past the hole are both are good examples of playing afraid. You have
to play the shot with confidence and not be afraid of the outcome. You
certainly can't get mad at a shot you were afraid of missing in the first
place. If you get to that point you start to infringe on Rule #3.
Rule #3. You Can't Quit. When it gets so bad you want to
throw your clubs in the lake, keep playing. You never know what might happen.
You might learn something about your swing. You might make your lowest score
ever on a certain hole. You might get the satisfaction of turning a terrible
round into a respectable one. I have always felt you can learn a lot if you can
hit some really bad shots and really good shots in the same round. A comparison
of the results will teach you something.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A common request of the instructors at the United States Golf Academy is for some consistency in our customer's golf games. Most of our students, as well as those of you we haven't met, can hit good golf shots. I know this to be true,because if you haven't, you would have quit playing by now. But why are those good shots are so infrequent?
First, you have to understand that consistency is a matter of choice and not talent. You
have to choose to do the same things every time you strike a golf shot. Approach each shot the same way. Pre-shot decisions, set up, how you swing the club back, how far you swing the club back and the speed with which you swing the club are all things that you can decide to control. No one ever missed a golf shot because they did things the same way for every shot. They miss the shot because they DID NOT do the same things in the same way.
Choosing a routine, starting the swing in the same manner, using the same length of swing
each time, and swinging the club with the same rhythm and timing, is not easy to do. It will not guarantee perfect results. Sorry, it isn't that easy. What it will do for your game is give you a frame of reference to make the correct changes. One of my favorite sayings is that you cannot judge random. Golf requires us to predict the results of our efforts. If I have 100 yards to the hole and you make a swing, with a certain club, will the ball go the required distance? If you make a random swing at the ball, each time a little different from the time before, can you predict the outcome of the swing? Not likely and even if you do perform well what was different from those times you missed.
So how can we become more consistent? Create a check list. Start with choosing a target and a club. Then position yourself for the shot. How do you start the swing? How far can I swing the club into my backswing before I lose my balance? How
fast can I go before I lose control of the club? Answer these questions and
then regardless of the results of the previous shot, do it again. Keep doing it until the round is over. Then and only then judge the results of the day. What you will find is with consistency comes a sense of knowledge. You will have a much better grasp of what to try and fix. Certain types of misses come from different aspects of the swing. Club control influences direction, alignment, spin, balance, solid contact. What you will also find is with consistent swings, come consistent misses. The consistent miss is always easier to fix than the random ones.
Posted via OnFast - http://www.OnFast.com
Thursday, July 14, 2011
To start, don’t confuse timing with sequence. How your body moves and the sequence of the motion are very important but there is more to it than that. The sequence must be performed in a specific amount of time. For example, we know from our putting study, that a putting stroke takes an average of one second, from start to impact and a small fraction over one second to finish. This is the timing or your stroke. The rhythm of the swing is determined by how the player uses the time. We qualify strokes as two beat and three beat strokes. Two beat strokes have a similar amount of time on the back swing and the follow through. Back-Through, is a good description. Three beat strokes have a little pause at the end of the back swing. Back and…Through is a better description of a three beat rhythm. Regardless of rhythm, the time is the same for longer putts as well as shorter putts. The length of the stroke changes and with that change the speed the putter moves changes, but always within the same time frame and rhythm.
The same is true for full swings. Short or long successful swings are performed in the same amount of time. For example a good player will swing a 9 iron in the same amount of time as he does a driver. The difference of the two is the speed at which he moves and the distance traveled. A total full swing takes about 2 seconds to finish with impact less at around 1.5 seconds. You see the same rhythms in full swings as you see in putting. Some swings like Ben Hogan’s were always in motion. Club goes back and the club comes through. This was created by the sequence of his swing motion. The other rhythm using a pause at the top can be found in a swing from one of Hogan’s contemporaries, Byron Nelson. Byron had a pause at the top of his swing as the swing changed direction.
The moral of the story is that for any player, thinking of your golf swing in terms of time and rhythm can help you consistently control the golf club and make you a better player. Some players and teachers use an aid like a metronome. I like to just count. Count one thousand one from start to impact for a putt, as I am less concerned about my follow through when putting. Try a count of one thousand one, one thousand two, to the end of my follow through on a full swing and see if it makes a difference.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I analyze a lot of golf swings on video. They range from the all time greats to good, average and strugglers. There are obvious differences in the swings, but one there is one common difference between the good and the bad. The great swings have a more active knee action during the swing than the poor ones.
The knees are the shock absorbers of the golf swing. Great swings maintain, and in many cases, increase the amount of knee flex during the golf swing. The strugglers lose the flex in the knees or it changes constantly during the swing. Because the knees are the shock absorbers, when the flex is lost it creates a situation where your body is off balance. Now you are in conflict. So as you continue to swing the golf club, your body is trying to keep you from falling down at the same time. These are rarely compatible motions.
When the knees are flexed your weight easily moves with the golf club. So many of us straighten the back leg as the club starts back, forcing your weight to the front foot. Now with all your weight forward, as the club comes back to the ball, you have nowhere to go but in the reverse direction. Hence the term reverse weight shift. All caused by an improper change in your knee flex.
Fat and thin shots are certainly a result of poor knee action. Miss-hit shots are almost always caused by a balance issue in the swing. A good rule of thumb is to remember that direction problems are caused by hands and club face rotation, and the inability to hit the ball in the middle of the face is a balance issue. For example, when the club drives into the ground behind the ball, or in golf terms you hit it fat, it often happens because of a lack of body rotation to help keep the golf club moving forward as the arms swing down. The body will quit turning when the legs straighten.
I have always been an advocate for more knee flex rather than less. I guess it is because the golf swings I admired most maintained their knee flex later through the swing, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino being perfect examples. There is a school thought that tries to straighten the front leg at impact for more club speed, but the jury is still out on that move. Accuracy definitely becomes an issue.
As a test, exaggerate your knee flex, and make some swings. More knee flex does not mean to lean back, maintain your spine angle forward toward the ball and bend your knees. Now swing the club and maintain the flex through the swing. Try this for awhile and see if you balance and ball striking improve. It might be just the thing you have been looking for to help improve your game.