Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3Jack & Trackman Fever

Saturday I got to use the Trackman launch monitor for purposes of finding out what my impact conditions were saying. Before that, I had just made a breakthrough in Module 3 and just started to 'CP Release/Swing Left' with angled hinge on a lot of my golf swings. I didn't bother getting the results e-mailed because I switched clubs and didn't keep track with them. But, I saw the results after each shot and here's what they looked like:


The attack angles were generally a bit shallower than the PGA Tour average, but nothing too shallow. I would say with a 7-iron, it was probably about -2.8*. I probably would go as steep as the PGA Tour average, but not very often did I go steeper than that.

But, my other average numbers would look something like this:

0.0* path
-4.0* HSP
-2.0* Path

So, I was indeed 'swinging left' and probably over-doing it a tad.

This was big for me because it looked like the ball flight was pretty straight, but there was a small fade in there that I didn't notice until I really observed it.

One of the thngs I found was that I aimed my body a bit too far left at address. Once I made some changes with that, the path would start 'zeroing out' with the face. Although making that adjustment was a little weird for me. I played 18 after the session and flagged a bunch of iron shots that day.

This is very similar to what Graeme McDowell is doing here:

As you can see, McDowell says to the effect that when he aims square, his path goes about 2* to the right. My stance is more along the lines of the Hogan stance diagram.

So with the irons, I was aiming a tad bit too far left with them and once I aimed slightly more to the right with the body, my path got close to square.


It was easy to see why I've become a very good driver of the golf ball. I pretty much was zeroing out everything. What exactly was that?

- Attack Angle
- Face Angle
- Path

So the way I was aimed with the driver was just fine and in fact, I just need to trust myself with the driver even more. Occasionally I would get a steeper attack angle, usually right at -2.0*, but for the most part, I was at zeroes with everything.

Now, there's a swing I can do where I tee it up very high and move the ball position way up to hit the ball with a positive attack angle. When I do this, I gain about 40 yards off the tee. I also found that I pretty much would get this at +4.5* attack angle every time.

However, when you are trying to 'CP Release' and hit up like this, I need to aim wayyyyy to the right. So what I do is when I want to hit this shot is aim the face a bit more to the right of the target and then aim the body almost extremely right of the target. If I don't, I usually hit a pull. I only do this shot on wide open holes with plenty of room left.

All in all, it was a very productive hour. Of course, I got a lot of questions when I posted this up on the forum.

How much does it cost?

It cost me $75 per hour. Usually these places that own Trackman charge something like $100 or so for an hour for *fitting*. This place actually charges $125 per hour for fitting. You should get a cheaper price for this type of ordeal since all they have to do is set it up.

What's the process to do this?

Just e-mail the owner and say you would like to rent a Trackman for an hour and you're just looking for the data to help with your swing. Many owners don't use Trackman for lessons, so this may come off as an odd request, but assure them you are just there to use it for your own data.

How long does this take?

After 20 minutes in the heat, I was sweating up a storm. It really only takes an hour. They can set up a Trackman in about 5 minutes. The data will probably be on a laptop like it was mine. Anybody who can have very basic computer skills can figure it out. I would basically hit a shot, then go back to the laptop about 10 feet away and look at the data.

Any possible problems?

1. You have to be aware of where the target is and make sure it's aligned to where you are aiming. For instance I was hitting very slight fades at the target we selected. But when I looked at the data, it was basically saying I should be hitting a sizeable pull.

Eventually I started aiming a bit right of the target and hitting shots at this new target and figuring out where he had the Trackman aligned.

2. If you take big enough divots, sometimes it won't register the numbers. I had used Trackman twice before and with the irons, you may have to tee some shots up. You can tee them up just like you would on a par-3 though and still take a divot and have the numbers show up properly.

What are the optimal numbers?

Depends what you are looking to do. But I would say that Attack angle is mostly about consistency. Path and face are about consistency as well. But if you want to hit shots dead straight at the target, you need to 'swing left' enough for that to happen.

What is the best thing about working with Trackman?

I only did about 1/4 of all you can do on Trackman, but you're likely to get at least one surprise with your shots. For me, it was that with the irons I swung the club a little more left than I needed to and was hitting a tiny fade and that if I aimed my body slightly right of where I normally do with the irons, I could zero things out.

I also understood that my missed shots were mostly errors with the clubface. I didn't have many missed shots, but if I hooked one, the face got a little too closed and was left of the path, causing a pull hook. With the occasional push, the face was just out to the right too much.

But the big thing is that I certainly felt I made the most out of my practice time, which is important to me because I have limited practice time. Plus you start to correctly analyze what you need to work on and avoid working on stuff that's not important.

Personally, I highly recommend working on Trackman if you're serious about lowering your scores.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Grant Waite & Mike McNary

A couple of the best swings you'll find in stereo.

Waite was one of the first names known to work with Mac O'Grady and his MORAD teaching philosophy. McNary has worked in MORAD as well.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Technology, Teaching and Golf

There was a thread that I was directed to over at the forum we shall not speak of that asked the question of if all of the new technology in instruction and the new instructional terminology is overrated.

This certainly creeps up from time to time as golfers seem to want the following in golf:

1. To buy a golf swing
2. To get the quick and easy fix or tip
3. To have the swing come naturally to them
4. If they hit enough balls, they'll automatically improve

You can't do #1 or #2. As Moe Norman once said 'a man cannot buy a golf swing. He must work for it.' #3 is really rare, but the world seems to think that they can be the next Fred Couples or John Daly, too. And #4 can happen, but the world seems to think that they can be the next Ben Hogan (who sought out several instructors) and Sam Snead.

Most people are not anywhere near like Couples, Daly, Hogan or Snead and need to be given sound instruction, then work really hard at it, then kind of figure some things on their own and then have some good hand-eye coordination and a good mentality JUST TO GET TO SCRATCH. Getting to the level of the PGA Tour is really a different story.

Anyway, these days the technology is really amazing. First, we have far better cameras like the Casio EX-FH25.

This is a far cry from the old days of grabbing the big, clunky camcorder that didn't work well in sunlight, provided grainy footage, had to be on a cassette tape and depending on the camera it could miss a bunch of important frames in the golf swing.

We've talked about Trackman and SAM Puttlab. But I think that they actually demonstrate some very important facets of ballstriking and putting.

With Trackman, we understand not only the laws of ball flight, but we understand that impact is objective. And we understand that there is no one way to swing a club.

With the SAM Puttlab, we can see that stroke is not nearly as important as aim and consistency of the stroke. We also start to see that touch and green reading are big factors into putting and guys like Loren Roberts do not have 'the best putting stroke ever.'

A lot of the 'new terminology' isn't so new. A lot of it comes from Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine', which was written in 1941 and published in 1969. And a lot of it describes things most of us have noticed in the golf swing, but it has never been given a term to describe it.

The problem of course is if the instruction is not good, than all of the latest, greatest pieces of equipment will not help the student much. Most people who are anti-video ignore the studies that have shown how people have increased their leaning time just by viewing themselves on camera. And with the Trackman stuff, at the very least you have hard data that one can take elsewhere to a better instructor to figure things out.

Lastly, the greatest piece of technology we have is the internet. We are no longer confined to your typical golf instruction books and magazines or whomever is teaching in the local area. Now we can grab the thoughts of many brilliant people in golf instruction and use it to our benefit, even getting actual lessons thru the internet. We can read about different swing philosophies, other golfer's experiences, and collaborate with other golfers and instructors to put the best possible information forth to the golfing public.

If it wasn't for the net, I wouldn't be playing as well as I am today and I would't be writing this blog. There's always pitfalls, but for me all of the new technology means better golf if you know how to apply it.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Swing Update 6.24.10

Here's a couple of swings from today

The 'swing left' is starting to kick in, the extension into PV5 is getting there and the head is not hanging as back as much (still hanging back).

Still plenty of work to do.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Moe Norman Award Ceremony Videos

Here's a great set of videos of a ceremony for the late Moe Norman.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adidas 4.0 Tour Shoe

Here's a video on the Adidas 4.0 Golf Shoes

One thing they like to discuss is 'getting golfers lower to the ground.'

Excellent concept.

In fact, it's one of the things that Moe Norman used to preach, 'getting shorter' in the downswing and 'never get taller in the downswing.'

However, I think it's something where the golfer needs to 'get smaller' rather than having shoes that would get you lower.

Here's a great collage of golfers, look at how much more knee flex they have in the downswing compared to what they had at address.

These golfers are 'getting smaller' by actually using their feet and knees. While I like the Adidas 4.0 Tour shoes, just having a pair of golf shoes that set lower to the ground is something I don't think quite translates into better golf shots.

The problem I see is the modern golf shoes do not have great traction that the old metal spikes had. If you experiment enough with trying to balance yourself, say on a balance ball or just get up on your toes, you will notice that you will start to 'get taller' in order to maintain your balance.

I think the similar thing happens wit the modern golf shoes. The traction is less, you can't get quite be an aggressive with your footaction and you have to balance yourself and you start to get taller.

That is unless you work on having good footaction in the swing.

I saw that Pebble Beach allowed for Phil Mickelson to play with metal spikes. I know that Phil plays with metal spikes quite often. While almost every course requires soft spikes, I think Mickelson has a nice little advantage by playing metal spikes which allow for better traction and better lower body action as he swings.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Champ and Trackman

Here's a familiar face using Trackman.

If you watched the US Open and saw McDowell at all, he was noticeably working on 'swinging left' with his swing in his pre-shot routine.

Obviously, he was mostly hitting a draw though. My guess is that he would like to eventually square his path, but for now he's working on trying to not allow his clubhead path to get further right of 2*.


Monday, June 21, 2010

3Jack Explains 'Swinging Left' With Video

I have been saying on the forum that one day I would do a video on 'swinging left' and do it with a plane board in hopes to get more people to understand what 'swinging left' is. Well, I came close. Check out this video.

Of course, there's some 'explainin' to do.'

First, let's take a look at 'club exit.' Here's a pic showing the club 'exiting' after impact.

In this golfer, the club is exiting just below the left shoulder.

Of course, we should see the golfer's swing as well.

This golfer was swinging the club 'properly' to the left. Meaning that he swung the club well enough to the left to have a path that was square to the target.

Here's a pic of me, swinging out to the right.

See how the club is 'exiting' higher up?

If you 'connect the dots', you can then see how this basically shifts the inclined plane and the path out to the right.

Of course, we wouldn't know just how far out to the right I am swinging and just how far to the left the golfer above me is swinging unless we were measured thru Trackman.

One of the points that must be made though is that having a path that is 'inside-to-out' or 'outside-to-in' certainly is not a bad thing. But, how much is too much?

I would say that the threshold is -6* (leftward) to +6* (rightward). I say this because according to Trackman's research, the Tour golfer with the path furthest out to the right that they have ever measured is Kenny Perry at +6*. And the Tour golfer that has a path furthest left is Colin Montgomerie at -6*.

I'm not so sure that any historically great golfer has gone outside of those parameters either. Thus, I would say those are the parameters that we need to stick to.

Now, many golfers may play better with a path going left vs. a path being square or going right. Or a golfer may be better with a path going -2* left instead of -5* left.

In the video, I showed how a flatter downswing plane requires more swinging to the left than a more upright downswing plane. Let's take a look at this pic.

So, in order to square up the path, Byron...who swings on a flatter *downswing* plane than Jack, needs to swing more to the left. Conversely, Jack needs to swing a lesser amount to the left. Jack still needs to swing left, just not as much as Byron would TO SQUARE UP THE PATH.

That's one advantage of a more upright downswing plane than a flatter one, you don't need to swing as far to the left which can be easier for many golfers to accomplish.

But there is another big factor that affects the path as well and that is the attack angle. The steeper you hit down on the ball, the more you have to swing left.

For instance, let's say you have a square path typically with your swing and your attack angle with the 7-iron is normally abou -3* (downward). But, let's say you take your normal swing with that 7-iron except this time you swing down at the ball about -8*, in order to square up the path, you now have to swing more to the left.

Conversely, if you shallow out your attack angle...say taking that 7-iron with a normal -3* attack angle and changing that to a -1* attack angle, you have to swing LESS TO THE LEFT in order to square up the path.

That's a big reason why ball position can be crucial. For me, if I want to hit a small draw and not really change my swing to do so, I will move the ball position slightly back and move the handle of the club slightly forward and just take my normal swing. Why? Because that increases my attack angle slightly which moves my path sligtly out to the right and since I'm not trying to swing more left, the path will be out to the right of the clubface and I will hit the slight push-draw.

So, if the 'okay' path paremeters are -6* (leftward) to +6* (rightward), why do instructors try so hard to get golfers to swing left so they can square up (0.0*) the path?

For starters, the better golfers I mentioned who 'swing out to the right' and have the club exiting very high, tend to get out of those -6 to +6* path parameters. That causes a lot of problems with consistency and controlling the low point.

But, if you can get the path pretty close to 0.0* at impact it becomes much more difficult to hit a bad shot. Why?

1. You're likely to make good sweetspot contact as shots that miss the sweetspot and poor paths correlate very well together.

2. You're more likely to control the low point.

3. The face can point in different directions and often times result in quality golf shots.

The last point may bring up my criticism of Hank Haney's work with Ray Romano in 'The Haney Project.' In that show, I criticized Haney for working solely on the path of Romano's swing while ignoring the clubface and the pivot (plus, the way he was going about working on the path was a bad idea, IMO. And I think the grip Haney teaches is extremely flawed).

The problem with Romano was his clubface was extremely wide open at impact. So, even if he were able to get the clubhead path at 0.0* every single time, they would still have the issue of a wide open clubface which would still result in a SLICE. If the face was slightly open or slightly closed, but the path was very square to the target, that can still result in good shots. But in Romano's case, the face was so wide open that it would not result in good shots.

The last point I was going to go into was the 'CP vs. CF Release' theory and how it ties into 'swinging left' and 'swinging out to the right.'

Here's the pics showing the ABS version of 'swinging left' (aka CP Release) and 'swinging out to the right' (aka CF release). Notice the gap between the right arm and the right side.

So, does that mean I need to have my upper arms connected to my body in order to 'swing left?'

No, not at all.

In fact, many Tour golfers 'swing left' without having their upper arms attached to their body post impact. Take a look at Phil Mickelson.

Obviously, Phil plays left handed so technically he has to 'swing right.' :)

But, his upper arms are not connected to his body post-impact.

The reasoning behind the ABS and MORAD upper arms staying connected to the body post-impact is to have a swing that is 'pivot dominated' instead of a hybrid 'pivot & arms' swing. And the theory (which I agree with) is that using your arms less will lead to more consistent control of the face, path and low point. Hogan, Knudson, Snead, etc were pure pivot driven golf swings.

Trackman measures 'swinging left' with the measurement called 'horizontal swing plane.' It will measure the HSP and also the path. The golfer who understands these measurements and wants to learn how to swing properly left can look at the Trackman results and if the path is not where they want to be, they can tinker with their HSP until they get the path where they want it.


Mizuno Shaft Optimizer

This thing is really, really good.

However, as I've discussed the golfers whose swing is more pivot oriented, they can pretty much play with any type of shaft whereas the golfers who tend to throw their arms at the ball (even with some pivot), they tend to need a more specific type of shaft.

Also, 'snap releases' tend to need heavier and stiffer shafts (their hand speed usually needs to be slower, per Homer Kelley's Endless Belt Concept 2-K), and more full sweep releases need more flex and lighter shafts becasue their hands have to move faster to generate clubhead speed.

I'll be interested in what mine says as I get close to finishing ABS. I do prefer heavier shafts because I think it makes it easier to get in the proper downswing sequence.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jeff Hull Demonstrates the Practice Station

Jeff Hull demonstrates the 'practice station.'

I think this is a pretty good setup and saw some PGA Tour pros doing this at East Lake or something similar last year.

The big thing for me is that Hull correctly shows where the clubhead should go after impact. I think this also teaches path correctly and more or less gets the golfer thinking about target golf and getting the ball on line quickly.

The only issue I don't like about it is that in order to hit it straight, the divot will go a tad left and if that is not presented to the golfer, it can cause some confusion.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Swing Update 6.17.10

Here's another swing video update. Could only get the Face On view.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Al Barkow On Putting

Thought some would enjoy...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Best Swing On The LPGA

Some may go with Vicky Hurst...and I can't blame you.

But I think at the very least Angela Park should get some votes.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Putting Down A Tier

Here's Geoff Mangum on how to putt down a steep tier and 'adding putts.'


Monday, June 14, 2010

Overhead View of Swing Plane Board

One day I would like to do a video with a plane board of some sort explaining what 'swinging left' is about and why it's preached by some golf instructors.

In the meantime, here's a video showing an above view of a swing on a plane board and hopefully some can see what the 'swinging left' concept is about.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ed Furgol Golf Swing

From 1944 to 1983, Ed Furgol compiled five PGA Tour victories and six second-place finishes. He was the 1954 PGA golfer of the year and a member of the 1957 United States Ryder Cup team.

Furgol's success was remarkable considering that when he was 12, he shattered his left elbow in a playground fall.

The injury never healed properly, leaving Furgol with a crooked, cocked arm 10 inches shorter than his right arm.

Furgol did special exercises to build strength in his hands and worked tirelessly to develop a swing that would overcome his lack of power.

In 1954, Furgol was working as a club pro in St. Louis when he qualified for the United States Open, held that year at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. The 37-year-old played flawless golf and notched a one-stroke victory, which earned him $6,000.

You can click the pictures to enlarge.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swing Update 6.11.10

Here's a couple of swings with my Hogan IPT 5-iron that I recently had a new shaft put in for practice purposes.

I actually had a great range session today and from the Face On view when I put in on my golf swing analysis software program, my impact alignments were very good, so it's no coincidence that my range session was so good today.

The backswing looks laid off more than it really is because I'm not really cocking the left wrist that much at the top. Still some things I don't particularly like, but overall I'll take it.

The downswing looks very good, but the path is still out to the right. Before today I had one nice session where I was either holding the flex of the shaft or coming very cloe to it for about 30 shots in a row. After that session, I was lucky to get 1 shot where I felt I held the flex of the shaft. But today I hit another streak of good swings.

Anyway, getting onto the Hogan IPT 5-iron.

One of the things I believe is that in order to stop the hook, Hogan's first solution was to make the clubs hook proof. They were very flat, they had a rib reminder in the grip that made it so he had to have a weak grip and of course, they had ultra stiff shafts. According to Hogan's personal clubmaker, they were X-stiff and tipped 2 inches, which would make them feel like you were swinging a telephone pole.

I believe that what happened is that he didn't stop hooking the ball until he discovered his 'secret', but in the meantime he developed a tremendous pivot because that's what is needed to hit shafts so stiff.

I wanted to try the same thing, but do it one club at a time. So I did it with the IPT 5-iron. I was supposed to get a 5-iron shaft from Golfsmith's that was supposed to be X100 and then I was gong to have it tipped 1/2" to make it about an X300.

Instead, Golfsmith's service took forever and I just grabbed the shaft and had a local clubmaker install it for me.

When I got to the clubmaker, he said it wasn't even a 5-iron shaft. It measured about 40 inches long and was supposed to be taper tipped as well.

Anyway, the clubmaker said he could drill the hole in the clubhead bigger so it could fit a parallel tip shaft and just tip it about 3".

I get the feeling that it wasn't an X100 shaft that they gave me, but tipping something 3 inches is going to make an super duper Hogan-esque stiff shaft and it does feel stiff, but I hit it really well today.

As we go along I will update my progress and thoughts with the ulta, super duper stiff 5-iron.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Practicing Short Game with Trackman

Here's a video of Trackman and how one can use it for practice.

Trackman does the 'combine' like this. I think it has some potential, but I think factors like the wind and other external conditions come into question.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kinematic Sequence

Here's a fantastic video by Mike Jacobs and Rick Nielsen on the kinematic sequence.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shaft Flex and Holding The Flex

One of the things I discovered with ABS and later confirming it with Lag Erickson and others at the ABS forums has to do with shaft flex in the golf swing.

I noticed awhile ago that Erickson can play quite well with all sorts of different shaft flexes as he carries quite a few different sets of vintage forged muscleback blades and some have much weaker shaft flexes compared to ones that are ultra stiff. His 'gamers' are X100's that are tipped 1/2" so they play about an X300. Still, he hit an R300 well if he was using that.

This always intrigued me when you hear some golfers who play with super stiff shafts compared to others. I played with a mini-tour golfer when I got out of college that hit it 330-360 yards off the tee and crushed his irons and used R300 shafts. Hogan, who had the ulta/super-duper/insane stiff shafts generated quite a bit of clubhead speed. In fact, some people using modern technology have claimed that Hogan's driver swing speed would be around 122 mph. But still, there certainly have been golfers who swung faster than him and used much more flexible shafts. Sergio is another golfer who uses ultra stiff shafts, yet his driver swing speed is probably around 117 mph, which is fast, but certainly not the fastest. The other guy I can think of who used ultra stiff shafts was Greg Norman in his prime, whose clubhead speed was about 125 mph back then. But so was/is Tiger's and JB Holmes, but they don't use shafts as stiff as Norman's.

Anyway, Erickson believes that the 'holy grail of the golf swing' is when a golfer can 'hold the shaft flex' past impact. What does that mean? Well, let's start with a pic of Ben Hogan before impact.

See how the clubshaft is flexing backward. That's what the club is doing if you're generating any decent amount of clubhead speed. So 'holding the flex' means maintaining as much of that flex as you can past impact.

Here's a video of Erickson demonstrating this with a very whippy shaft.

Now, what Erickson is getting at is that the shaft that has flexed back like in the Hogan pic will start to kick forward going thru impact, but holding the flex is more or less preventing the shaft from fully kicking until well past impact.

I've started to feel this 'holding the flex' a little bit with working on Module 3 of ABS. In fact, I felt it perfectly on Monday one time hitting a persimmon driver. I cannot really articulate the feeling that well but usually after impact I don't really 'feel' the clubhead. But on this shot with the persimmon, I felt the clubhead well after impact. And it was crushed and went dead straight and had a beautiful trajectory. It also made that great sound that is hard to make with persimmon. The only thing I can relate it to is if you have ever heard St. Louis Cardinals First Baseman Albert Pujols hit a baseball, it made the same type of CRACK sound. And I've hit good shots with this persimmon, including a 292 yard drive, but it never sounded quite like that shot.

A couple of days before I shot a 68 and went to the range after the round to try some thoughts I had on the swing and I had a streak where I was really 'holding the flex' or coming close to it. I noticed this becasue I was striking my Hogan Apex PC 2-iron.

I love practicing with this club because it's hard to hit as it is, but it has an ultra stiff shaft and I really have to swing well and pivot well to hit a good straight shot at the target. If I'm the teaniest bit off, I'm lucky to hit a straight push.

Anyway, this time I hit about 30 shots in a row that were all well struck, some downright flushed, and all right at the target and a few had a small draw on them.

I asked about this and why Lag and some other ABS students were able to hit all sorts of shaft flexes and why I was suddenly able to hit this 2-iron. Lag pointed to the pivot driven swing and 'holding the shaft flex.'

Here's part of what Lag teaches which is called 'swinging left', but in MORAD terms is called the 'CP Release' (on the left) vs the 'CF Release' (on the right).

You see, the big difference between the two is that the upper arms are still up against the chest area on the CP release (swinging left) and the CF Release has the arms 'thrown off' the chest.

From studying all of this, I think it boils down to the question 'how do you get the clubhead to the ball' Obviously, we all use some hands and I'll take them out of the equation and put golfers into 3 categories:

1) Arms Dominant swing
2) Pivot Dominant swing
3) Hybrid (Arms/Pivot) swing

The Arms dominant swing has little pivot and is basically all arms. No, Ricky Fowler isn't an arms dominant swing. I would label the arms dominant swing as a hacker swing.

The pivot dominant swing is prevalent with the CP release. Hogan, Knudson, Sergio, etc...pivot dominant swings.

The hybrid is the most of us, particularly better golfers. Fowler is a hybrid, although he is all pivot in transition and then really throws the arms at the ball as he goes thru impact.

In fact, I am still a 'hybrid' swing golfer. So was Moe Norman.

But I believe that the pivot dominant golfer can basically use any shaft flex they want, almost regardless of their swing speed. Guys like Sergio and Hogan, just liked the feel of those super stiff shafts.

On the other hand, if you're an arms dominant or a hybrid, I think you are best off finding out what your clubhead speed is and picking a shaft flex based off of your clubhead speed.

Erickson attributes this to the 'holding the flex' which I don't know if that can physically or scientifically happen, but I do believe that shaft flexes are a different game for pivot dominant and hybrid swing golfers.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

David Orr's Fundamentals of Putting

Found an interesting post by one of David Orr's ( students title 'The Fundamentals of Putting.' Here's David's thoughts:
Priority #1 - Speed

Putting Experts say:
David Pelz - 17" past the hole
HA Templeton - 12" past on a level putt
Geoff Mangum - Last 2-3 revolutions (12”)
Mark Sweeney (AimPoint TV, AimChart) – Based on 12” past the hole
David Orr – 12-16” thru the hole depending on slope percentage and green speed

What do they all have in common? Consistent speed!
Consistent speed eliminates a lot of indecision
Indecision = reason why people miss putts

Have one speed, and pick the line that matches your speed.

What are your 3 Speeds in putting:
Green Speed
Delivery Speed
Cup Speed

Priority #2 - Read

Developing a normal speed (12” thru the hole) is the first step in green reading!

The first step of reading greens is knowing the intended speed that you will deliver the ball into the cup. Next take a good look at what the last 2- 3 feet will do. Learn to read putts backward from the cup to the ball. Then map out the route backwards to the ball and decide where you need to launch the ball.

- Reading greens starts with a consistent "delivery speed"
- Identifying the fall line through the cup
- Identifying the breaking pattern within the last 2-3 feet
- Matching delivery speed and line
- Working backward from cup to ball
- Targeting for distance and elapsed time for arrival.
- Launch it!

Priority #3 - Aim

Aim your ball or your putter to the AimPoint, not the apex of the putt.

Priority #4 - Stroke

“A good putting stroke is a "well-timed consistent moving pattern" that launches the ball reasonably on-line with a quality roll that traverses along or near the intended curvilinear/ linear line with a good touch (consistent delivery speed) that maintains the linear and angular velocities of the ball over the surface irregularities as it enters the cup with a speed that will not reduce the capture width of the cup or "Wobbles" off line!” – David Orr
I really agree with David on all of this. Particularly the speed part.

Back when I was just out of college, I traveled to some mini-tour events that I played with another friend of mine in town. He was easily the best putter I have ever golfed with.

One of the things that I remember thinking about when watching him putt was how he could read greens so well. At the time I chalked it up to a talent that you cannot learn, but AimPoint Golf shows us differently.

But the other thing I noticed was his speed was really consistent. He was very firm with his putts, hitting them probably on average about 2 feet past the cup. But I would guess that his missed putts were going 2 to 3.5 feet bye on an amazingly consistent basis.

I think that fantastic consistent speed of his allowed him to figure out the line much easier. Since he played quite a bit of golf and practiced often, a 12 foot putt with a moderate right to left break on a green with a 10 stimp was probably something he had seen a million times before an knew exactly where to aim it an how much it would break for him.

And he had the most god awful looking putting stroke and stance you would ever see.

As they said in Top Gun 'I feel the need for speed.' In putting, the golfer has need to feel the right speed.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Swinging Within A Barrel

Great video debunking another popular golf instruction piece of advice of 'swinging within a barrel.'

And it looks like Hogan is using a shorter iron here as well.

Save the barrels for Donkey Kong.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Footwork Fiesta

Here's some great, but different footwork put on display by Gay Brewer and Billy Casper.

One thing I'm a firm believer in is that footwork is extremely important to the golf swing. The feet often cause the knees to make their action which causes the hips to make their action. That's your lower body pivot right there.

It's funny how many instructors emphasize the lower body starting the downswing, then completely ignore the footwork. If your footwork is bad, then you're starting off on the wrong foot (pun clearly intended).

Does this mean great golfers all had good footwork? Of course not. But I think those with poor footwork (usually the LPGA) start to rely more on their arms instead of their pivot to deliver the clubhead to the ball (also common on the LPGA). And when you do that, I believe you start relying more on hand and eye coordination to control the face, clubhead path and low point.

Let's take a look at Hogan's footwork.

Another great ballstriker, Moe Norman. Take a look at his footwork.

Now Moe is an interesting case because he 'flung' the arms off his chest at and thru impact, but I think it shows that good footwork can never be a bad thing.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Swing Update 6.5.10

Here's a latest swing update taken with a Hogan Apex PC 2-iron

I'm currently done 550 reps of Module 3 in John Erickson's Advanced Ballstriking Class. Right now I'm working on that and getting into what John calls the PV5 position. Take a look at Hogan in the pic below.

My cranium still hangs back, but it seems to have improved a tad from last week. Also, I think my backswing looks very nice right now as well as my footwork.


How To Focus Part 2

Another great video with Shawn Clement on how to focus on your golf shot.

I get asked this a bit because one of things I'm probably best at in my game is hitting clutch golf shots.

My friends and family chalk it up to playing baseball as a teenager at a high level and lots of experience. I chalk it up to much of what Shawn Clement talks about in the video. And a lot of it is just breaking it down to 'if I do this, I'll hit a good shot. If I don't, I'll hit a bad shot. If I do what I want in my swing and I somehow hit a poor shot, there is nothing I can do about it.'

But, I'm supremely confident that if my mechanics are sound, my impact will be sound and the results will be good.

And I hate to harp on it, but D-Plane does come into the picture as well. For instance, sometimes I may be having a good round but remember earlier on in the round I hit some face hooks. I then get up on a hole with a tough tee shot and O.B. left, I now open the clubface up a tad at address and think of what I want to do and what to avoid (closing the face in this instance). Then I just give it a rip.

I talked to a former D-1 college placekicker who played some Arena football and he stated it very similarly. His thoughts were breaking things down to 1 mechanical thing that he's been working on and saying to himself 'if I do this right, that's all I can really do.'

And I've talked to a current PGA Tour star who is a good putter and says he uses the same mental approach to putting. It's not so much about the result, but the process. Did he read the putt as well as he could? Did he feel the pace of putt? Did he take a decent stroke? If he did and still missed...even if it was a 3-footer, in his mind there's nothing else he could do and if he keeps executing that process, the putts will fall.

I've talked about focusing on the 'process' instead of the result for better scores, but I get the feeling from talking to this Pro that the PGA Tour pros tend to have a process within the process that they focus on.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Look at Different Swing Instruction - Part VIII

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII

In this part of the series I will discuss the SliceFixer golf swing philosophy and theory.

SliceFixer's real name is Geoff Jones who grew up in Texas and idolized Ben Hogan. He eventually earned a scholarship at the powerhouse University of Houston where one of his teammates wound up being Fred Couples.

SliceFixer wound up trying to change his golf swing in order to keep up with the likes of Couples and things eventually got worse. After seeking out almost every big name instructor, SliceFixer wound up working to discover the swing that he feels works best for the most amount of people and studying Hogan's swing as much as he could in hopes of discovering Hogan's 'secret.'

Eventually SliceFixer wound up discovering many different aspects of the swing and turned his ballstriking completely around. He also wound up becoming an internet sensation of sorts by his many posts and thoughts on the GolfWRX swing and fitness forum.

That led to a poster compiling all of SliceFixer's posts into a .pdf file and calling it 'Encyclopedia Texarkana' and the famous 9-3 drill was formed.

The internet has really helped bring SliceFixer to the forefront. Despite living in small town Texarkana, Arkansas...he's had students fly in all the way from Korea to get a lesson with him. He's also started doing more schools in the country.

The basis of SliceFixer's swing is a certain type of grip that I haven't quite figured out from reading Encyclopedia Texarkana, keeping the #4 Pressure Point in tact, a Reverse K setup position and the 'CP Release' which he refers to the hands as going 'low and left.'

PROS OF SLICEFIXER SWING: He teaches a pivot based swing and consistently develops student's golf swings for the better and gets them to do what he wants which leads to good control of the clubface, path and low point. Also, it's been reported that his students hit the ball quite long. I've seen Slice teach live and he's excellent at conveying his thoughts and instruction and giving the student something to work on for the immediate future.

CONS OF SLICEFIXER SWING: Most people cannot see SliceFixer, so they try to do the 9-3 drill and his swing on their own and almost inevitably fail quite badly.

There's a couple of reasons why. Mainly is that their downswing plane is too upright, so when they have the hands going low and left, the club gets off plane and that moves the path too far left and the golfer hits slices, pulls and wipes. The golfer really needs to get on the elbow plane first if they want to have the hands go 'low and left.' That's what Hogan did.

The other part is that many golfers have poor footwork and that usually doesn't allow them to pivot powerfully and efficiently enough to do the swing.

Lastly, I consider SliceFixer to have a 'method' style of instruction. In fact, when asked about Jimmy Ballard he praised Ballard for sticking to his methodology instead of using different ways to work with different golfers. Slice teaches the same grip, same setup and same type of release to golfers, which is very much a method to me. And I think method instruction has more flaws to it than customized instruction.

PROS USING SLICEFIXER SWING: To my knowledge, no PGA Tour pros are using the SliceFixer style swing. However, Slice's star pupil Matt Loving used his swing and won the Texas State Open. Loving was a fantastic ballstriker. Sadly, he passed away after a car accident this past December.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Perfect Wedge Drill

Paul Gorman with a S&T drill.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Posture, How Important Is It?

In my latest swing update video I was asked by a forum member about my posture.

I think this video by Sevam1, done last year, was some of his best work and it addresses the posture.

I agree with everything Sevam1 says here. But the thing that I had forgotten about when it comes to talking to and playing with higher handicap golfers is all of the talk about posture.

Personally, I think it's wayyyyy overdone. It's not that I don't think posture is unimportant. But it's usually something that the amateur golfer who wants to take their game to the next level works on religiously. Instead of working on controlling their clubface, clubhead path and low point better at impact...they do tons of work on their posture and usually do it in the 'straight spine' fashion that Sevam1 talks about.

I should know. I used to do the same thing.

I used to spend countless hours working on my address position, aligning myself perfectly square to the target and having the perfect posture, just like Butch Harmon prescribes.

But now I'm hitting the ball far better and I almost never work on my address or posture. Not to say that it can't cause a problem. I'm sure there have been times where I took a pretty good swing at the ball, but was aligned a bit off and that threw my clubface and clubpath in inaccurate directions. And I can easily admit that posture does effect the pivot and I don't have the world's greatest pivot.

The main point being is that one can hit the ball far, far better without worrying about those things so much. And that most people who work on them follow pop golf instructors who teach a posture that is biomechanically flawed and an address position that is D-Plane flawed.

In other words, I would rather break it down on how am I'm going to better control the face, path and low point and how am I'm going to improve my pivot. Then ask if this piece of instruction or this instructor's philosopies will do any of those things.