Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lucas Wald Student Transformation

Here is an amazing transformation of a Lucas Wald student.

I saw Andy at Lucas' Orlando school and he was working diligently on using slow motion practice and building up into a full speed swing.  Judging by how the shaft is bending in Andy's swing on the right, I would guess that he is probably at 80% full speed.

Andy has been extremely diligent in his slow motion practice and has not used full speed.  I have more of a bastardized version on slow motion practice, but of course that will mean it will take longer for me to fully ingrain.

For example, the past 2 weeks I started working on a couple of new pieces to my swing. 

1.  Getting the right hip more back and behind me in the backswing.

2.  Getting more right shoulder external rotation and retaining that in the downswing.

I started to get this going pretty well and on Saturday for the start of Memorial Day weekend, I hit the ball very well.  Then on Sunday I started to see a noticeable dip in my swing.  Then on Monday I started reverting back to some old habits...even things that I haven't done in a while.  Essentially, the old movement patterns are still in my brain and perhaps playing 3 days in a row with no deliberate practice started to bring them out of the woodwork.

Either way, fantastic job by Lucas and Andy.  If you wish to take lessons from Lucas, you can e-mail him at


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pre-Round Warmup Routines of the Pros

Here's a look at the different pre-round practice routines of Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Stewart Cink:

During the practice rounds of the event (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) the Tour players will spend hours on the range and on the putting green.  But here we see a much more deliberate and quicker paced routine.

I prefer to practice on the range with my long irons and driver, but only when I'm not playing a round.  Before a round, I like to get a similar warmup of the various clubs and shots before I go out.  Ben Hogan discussed how he would try to pick out some key shots on the course and then visualize himself hitting those shots on the range before a round and by the time he got to that key shot, he had already rehearsed it plenty of times.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hammer Man Interview

Here's a great interview with 'Hammer Man' Michael Lavery on hand-eye coordination and brain development:


Thursday, May 21, 2015

New GolfWRX Column: The Stats on Shooting Better Scores in Windy Conditions

As we start to move into the tropical storm season in my home state of Florida, I want to go through the research I’ve done on the data on the PGA Tour with regards to performance in windy conditions. I feel that all golfers can use this information to perform better when the wind starts to blow harder.

First, I had to determine how I wanted to measure the data. What I discovered early on is that, speaking generally, the better player will tend to perform better in different conditions. So Rory McIlroy will tend to shoot better scores than say, renowned wind player Stuart Appleby. McIlroy is simply a better player than Appleby. However, that does not mean that we should follow McIlroy’s example of how to play in the wind.

Instead, I wanted to see what players on Tour improve and what golfers improve in performance when the wind starts to pick up. I used the Adjusted Scoring Average method (defined below) in order to measure this level of improvement.

Adjusted Scoring Average: A formula that subtracts the average score for the round from par. Then that difference is added to the golfer’s score. For example, if a golfer shoots 66 on a par-72 course and the average score was a 74.5 for the day, the golfer’s score would be adjusted to 63.5.

For this study, I needed to look at the wind speeds for the morning versus afternoon rounds and adjust the scores accordingly. As we know, most of the time there is much less wind in the morning than in the afternoon. So I had to figure out the scoring average of the morning group versus the afternoon groups.

From there, I wanted to see what players had the largest change in their Adjusted Scoring Average rankings in “windy” versus “non-windy” conditions.

Read More:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rory McIlroy Pre-Round Practice Routine

Here's a nice video showing Rory McIlroy's pre-round practice routine.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tom Wishon on How the Adjustable Driver Hosel Works

Here's a video from Tom Wishon explaining how the Adjusted Driver Hosel works:


Monday, May 18, 2015

Learning to Ride a Bike and Learning Swing Mechanics

This is a great video that was shared to me by golf instructor, Lucas Wald:

I think what is so great about this video is that it provides an example that explains the hurdles and difficulties of learning anything, particularly the golf swing.

For starters, the one that that jumps out is that it took the host (Destin Sandlin) 8 months to figure out how to ride the trick bike while taking his son only 2 weeks. As Sandlin explains, his son has more 'neuro-plasticity' due to be far younger. Sandlin has the issue of years and years of riding a bike the same way and those old habits die hard and make his brain go a bit haywire. Meanwhile, his son who had learned to ride a regular bike, didn't have those things that he has learned ingrained nearly as much and he could get the hang of the trick bike much more quickly.

There was further evidence of how learning new things plays with the brain when Sandlin goes back to try and learn how to ride a regular bike and can't at first. But, eventually learns after about 30 minutes.

I think this counters the idea of the 1 hour lesson model that most pros use today. Perhaps the 1-hour lesson model can work, but it has to be in conjunction with a series of lessons and the student has to focus solely on 1 or 2 things before the next lesson. That beats the idea of teaching a golfer one time, for 1-hour and expecting them to pick up everything in a week or two of hitting balls because simply ain't happening. If instructors, magazines, The Golf Channel, etc. can change the mindset of the 1-hour lesson it may benefit everybody involved. The students will still be paying for lessons and their income that instructors earn is more 'stable' because the student is coming back for another lesson. And the students will better learn how to improve more quickly and more substantially. They just have to understand that the substantial improvement is not going to take place over 1-hour or even 1-week or maybe even 1-month.

Of course, this change in the mindset will require so many factors. The golf instructors need to start thinking this way. Watching Sandlin trying to ride the trick bike, it appeared that he just picked the bike up and tried to ride it. Much like a golfer hitting ball-after-ball in rapid fire succession on the range. To me, riding that trick bike fights against your instincts and second nature feels of what it takes to get the bike up and moving that perhaps picking up the bike and going thru the correct way to ride it in slow motion would have helped Sandlin learn how to ride the bike sooner.

This is in line with what other experts have said about slow motion learning. As we mentioned, the issue for adults learning something new is that the old, bad habits are ingrained. We may get a few swings where we are pretty much doing our new mechanics, but then a swing will creep in there where we go back to some of our old mechanics. That's why experts who have studied music and how musicians best learn music promote going in slow motion and then picking up the pace. The idea is to practice in slow motion because you are able to practice that way CORRECTLY. Then you just pick up the pace as long as you keep performing the mechanics CORRECTLY. Every time you perform the mechanics *incorrectly*, you're just helping further ingrain those incorrect mechanics.

What did I also like about this video?

If you change any single part (of the algorithm) it affects the entire control system. - Destin Sandlin

Why is that important?

Because it shows how important it is to not only just practice your swing on the range, but to go out and actually play golf. It shows why many Tour players I have worked with have very different Trackman numbers when they go on the course versus when they are on the range despite hitting countless golf balls on the range with their Trackman.

You have all of these different factors on a golf course that you don't have on the range. So, it's much like learning to ride a bike and now a pothole gets thrown in your way. At first, you are likely going to end up in the pothole and fall down. But, if you keep riding the bike in street conditions, you eventually pick up the skills needed to easily avoid those potholes and other obstacles.

But, you also have other factors such as hitting shots off of bad lies. I know that is always the biggest struggle for me when changing my mechanics...hitting the ball off a lie that is not ideal. Then you have wind or those shots that are just flat-out difficult. And on top of that, things change even more when you start playing in tournaments.

To me, that is the biggest change from golfers today from golfers in the 80's and earlier. Today we see players hit incredible shots on the range, but they struggle to translate that over to the course. It's not that their mechanics are unsound or that they are not talented or they don't have a 'killer mentality', it's just that they spend way too much time on the range and when new obstacles are thrown in front of them, they don't know how to handle it because they have not practiced it enough by playing more. This is something I see that I was guilty of....practicing diligently on the range and then going out to play and playing poorly on the first 3 holes and walking in to go work it out on the range. That's really the worst thing one can do. You just have to accept that when you're working on mechanics, that even if you get them working on the range, that there is still a learning curve to translating them to the course.

In the end, I don't think removing golfers from the traditional 1-hour lesson model will require adults 8 months to learn something. Remember, Sandlin only practiced for about 5 minutes a day. Furthermore, his practicing technique probably wasn't as good as it could be so he could learn more quickly. But the last part is that he was learning a completely opposite technique. He also did not have an instructor to help teach him a new technique and the pitfalls of that technique. With the golf swing the changes in techniques are often less wide ranging that doing the exact opposite of what you have always done. Plus, a quality instructor can guide the student thru understanding the technique that they are trying to achieve and how to achieve it.

So maybe in the end, we learn that there is more to riding a bike than it seems and therefore a lot more to changing your swing mechanics than being told what to do and hitting a bucket of balls.