All posts by Pete Dunham

How to Hit a Draw….

I’m back! Like nothing ever happened…..   More coming soon!

I believe the draw to be the ‘natural’ shot in golf.  That might seem surprising considering 85% of golfers hit a slice. Even today, in an era when many tour pro’s prefer a small fade when they play the game, I think it’s extremely important for golfers to learn how to hit the draw (I guarantee the pros can hit that draw, they just prefer the control they get with the fade).
Learning a draw is a great way to teach you a more ‘physics compliant swing’.  When done correctly, the draw almost certainly indicates that you are using your body in a more compliant manner.  Ultimately,  the draw comes from simply letting tension free arms be ‘slung’ around centrifugally by the forward pivotal axis.  The arms will naturally fall in the transition of the swing to create an inside path, and the forearms will ‘roll’ as they swing through the golf ball creating a closing clubface through impact….A draw is the result of a rotational swing.  The body rotates, the arms rotate, the forearms rotate, and the club and clubface rotate imparting spin on the ball that creates a draw….
If it were only that easy!  Here’s simple way to train the hook in your swing.
Begin with the goal of learning what I call (now that I’m happily entrenched in the south) a “Big Ole Hook”.  Understand that by ‘going a mile to get an inch’ you’ll learn to draw the ball more quickly.  Over training is the key to learning to master the draw.
Use a tee while you train, and grab a 6 or 7 iron.  The tee is important in the early stages of learning to help you get results! Results build confidence and that’s key in the learning process.
Now, before you hit any balls, begin the process of training the forearms to ROLL….  The hook is not a ‘flip of the wrists’… it’s a roll of the forearms… Grip the club and make several small motions where your really roll the forearms through the bottom of the swing arc….  watch the clubface really close down as you make these swings…. Over train! Imagine having the club face pointed between your legs as you get to the hitting area!!!  The key is to ‘WAKE UP’ the forearm roll in your swing… This takes time.  You have to over ride the impact perceptions you may currently have as well as build up a new tension relationship within your body….  Over train!
The first goal is to hit the biggest hooks you possibly can.  Hit 20-50 shots off a tee with lots of practice swings in between to roll those forearms.  Once you start getting that club face to close, you’ll be thrilled at the power you’ll feel at impact!  Keep training!  Keep over training!  While you are in the training mode, get better and better at hitting huge hooks, as big as you can!
Once the ‘big ole hook’ is mastered, and repeated hundreds of times…  you can begin the process of swinging to the right!  Best part is that this will happen somewhat naturally in response to the ball going left (for right handed golfers!).  It’s way easier to swing to the right when you know your clubface is closing through impact!  Promise.
Closing tip:  Want it to happen even faster?  Set up next to a tree or a cart tire.  take small swings (at less than full speed!!) rotating the clubface so that the toe of the club ‘sticks’ into the tree.  This will guarantee rolling forearms!  Give me 50-100 of these 3 days a week for 6 weeks and I know you’ll be on your way to learning the hook!  It’s a great feeling of power and control!

The Inspiration of a New Year!

*Above:  Calvin at Sullivan’s Island

Happy New Year!  What a wonderful opportunity!  Each New Year, we get the chance to reflect on the previous year and GET FIRED UP about the New Year!  I just love it. 

So let’s get fired up about golf in 2013! 

Why?  Because we can!!!!  We can set new goals.  We can dream our golf dreams.  We can write down our strategies and lay out our plans for success! 

How good do you want to get this year?  I’m not talking about winning net events, I’m talking about how many strokes off your handicap do you want to take?  What is your goal for low round?  I’m talking about what kind of scores do you want to shoot in competition (gross scores!)?

How are you going to get there?  More practice?  Better practice?  Golf Lessons?  Play more?

What other kinds of golf goals will get your juices flowing? 

·         A round free of double bogies and or ‘others’?

·         A bogie free round?

·         A certain number of pars or birdies in a round, or pars/birdies in a row? 

·         50% up and down from inside 30 yards?  (harder than you think!  But a great motivator!!!)

·         Etc., etc…..

Be creative.  Set a few goals and then begin to plan your year.  Practice better, study, do the gravity golf drills….  Put your mind and body into it, and I can guarantee you’ll be proud as you look back at 2013!

Whether you accomplish the goal or not is not as important as the attempt and intent put into it. 

Well, I’m pretty fired up about the New Year!  Want some help planning your strategies?  Want some help with your game?  Want to bounce off some ideas with me as to how to go about achieving your goals?   Please do not hesitate to email me at pete@athleticgolf.net, or stop by Snee Farm or RiverTowne and discuss!  

Best wishes in 2013!  Many eagles, pars and birdies! 

Now go PLAY GOLF! Stop THINKING golf swing!!!

Trust the Method. Trust the Indian….

Below is a blog written by a long time student, Joe Losek.  Reading it (even though I lived it) allowed me to see it with a new perspective.  

There is a major theme in my LEARNING philosophy…. Has been for over 15 years.  I’m proud to say that this blog validates what I so strongly believe-  I’ve got to admit that it’s rewarding to know that I practice what I preach!  Here’s 2 quick ways to understand this very powerful LEARNING philosophy: 

1.  “Put your best swing on the next shot”  -J. Busuttil……  (That’s the best answer to how to ‘fix’ the last shot….golfers too often change their next swing… Fix their next swing and end up in a constant cycle of swing, fix, swing, fix, swing…..)

2.  “It’s the BELIEF in the method that makes the greatest difference in learning” 

-Dr. David Cook

OK, on to the blog.  Thanks Joe!

Guest Blogger:  Joe Losek

Title: See it, feel it and TRUST IT. Pre-shot routine

 

I have the good fortune each week of doing the Driver Drill with our pro Pete Dunham [You hit 100 balls in 12 minutes].  During the most recent drill, Pete started with right arm and left arm only cross- footed and transfer drills for the first 30 balls.  Then advanced to off the deck, 2-arm front route, cross-footed and transfers for the next 40 balls.  


The shots were not up to his usual level of “beautiful”, but considering these were one arm only and off the deck shots it was hard to be too critical. However, he then hit the last 30 shots from the tee alternating every 5 shots between spread-footed front routes to regular swings. Normally these shots from the mats easily clear the trees, but most of Pete’s hits were falling into or short of the trees and many shots were weak ballooning to the right hits. We did not know what to say. But Pete continued with no words of doubt, frustration or anger. Gravity Golf drills have worked in the past and there was no reason to think that the forces of gravity and rotation had changed.  The laws of physics do not change. Just ask David Lee.

 

When done, Pete asked us if we saw any obvious flaws. We have been doing Drive Drill together for over 4 years and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses  and routinely critique our sessions, usually with words of congratulation. However we did not see any flaws, Pete was turning deep and level and finishing balanced, but the hits did not have the sharp pop and piercing slight draw trajectory as in the past. Did the forces of gravity and rotation suddenly abandon our talented pro?  Will those who of us have seen great improvement and a renewed enjoyment to our golf need to find a new method to advance our games?

 

Fortunately NO. The principles of Gravity Golf are as true as ever. Pete’s driver head was cracked. For once it was the arrow and not the Indian.

 

Take home message, despite poor shots, Pete continued to turn deep and finish balanced, completely trusting the principles of Gravity golf. For us who have not worked at Gravity golf for as many years as Pete, such an experience would have likely transformed us into raging, foul worded, doubting complainers. Learn from Pete, TRUST IT.

I Had the ‘Nots’!!!!

“There’s an enormous gap between KNOWING and DOING.” -Some wise dude

Here’s a confession that might just help your game…..
Honestly, sometimes, when I’m practicing and feeling good about my game, I honestly have a difficult time relating to some of my students….  The gravity golf drills and my understanding of the swing make the game seem quite easy at times…..    
And then there’s the other 360 days of the year…….
These days, as most of you know, I’m so busy at work (and loving it!) that I don’t have a lot of time to practice and train.  My mechanics are fine.  My grip, stance and alignment are not going anywhere…. But sometimes my game can get a little chaotic!  It’s more frustrating now than in years past because I truly understand the swing.  There is no mystery to my bad shots, and yet at times this past year I have felt very little control over my shots…. It’s quite embarrassing and aggravating.
Today was no exception.  I got up extra early with the hopes of completing my ‘to do’ list in time to tee off with some friends at 9:30.  I was really excited and felt quite confident as I stepped on the first tee.  After 4 holes, I still felt like I could turn my game around, and I kept myself in the round with some good putts and ‘up and downs’….   It was on the 7th hole that my swing ‘bit me’.  Ugh, it was so bad… and it cost me 2 strokes.  
It was two more holes before I caught on to something…..   I HAD THE ‘NOTS’!!!!!!
You see, outwardly, or at least on the surface, I still felt confident and was trying to make full and free swings.  Just before my ‘ah ha’ moment, I really felt that I was doing the things necessary to produce quality shots.  It was really frustrating that almost every swing up to that point was not up to my standards….  really frustrating (can anyone relate so far?)
Then I thought about one shot that I did hit particularly well.  One that I seem to hit well most times on that particular hole.  It’s the 12th hole at Snee Farm, and it calls for a low hard draw to put yourself in the ‘A’ position.  It sets up perfect for me, and I get a GREAT IMAGE and GREAT FEELING EVERY TIME I step on that tee……..
………………………………………………………………..THAT’S IT!
That was the difference.  I swung with TOTAL confidence.  I SAW the exact shot I wanted to produce and truly swung with freedom and with purpose.   The rest of the shots that day, with very few exceptions… I was trying to NOT hit it right, or left, or short, etc…..  IT hit me like a ton of bricks!  As I quickly went through the holes that I had played in my head, I knew that I was trying harder to NOT hit the ball one way or the other, than I was trying to hit the ball the way I know I can.  
That’s what golf can do to us all.  A few wayward shots, a few tight holes, a few bad thoughts and it’s SO EASY to start thinking of where you do NOT want the ball to go, RATHER than thinking about exactly where you want the ball to go and how you want it to get there….  
I TALK about this in almost every lesson I give…..  BAM!  I had a bad case today…. 
Fortunately (and this is a feel good story!), I figured it out with enough holes left to play to really turn my round… well…. around!  I started to swing freely and with precise images of what I wanted on the second nine and was rewarded with some great shots and some solid play.  I stumbled around to a 38 on the first 9, and easily shot a 31 on the second 9*…… 
So here’s the lesson:  

YOU CAN NEVER GET GOOD AT MOVING THE BALL WHERE YOU WANT TO IF YOU ARE TRYING TO 
NOT HIT THE BALL WHERE YOU DO NOT WANT TO.  
****A TARGET creates A SWING****
If you have the Not’s as your target, you can pretty much guarantee inconsistent to bad results….
Moe Norman put it this way:  “Bad Thinking, bad golf.  Good thinking, good golf.”
So pay attention to THE BAD TARGETS in golf.  Catch yourself if you try to hard to hit at, to lift up, to steer or guide the ball….  Catch yourself if you too often try to NOT hit the ball right or left…. It makes sense…….. but……..say it with me…… “IT’S WRONG”!!
Now go PLAY GOLF!  Stop THINKING golf swing!   
Learn from the pro (who really mucked it up today!).  Best, 
*Results will vary.  There are no guarantees in golf.  Good thinking will just ‘up your odds’ of playing the type of golf you are capable of…..

What’s On My Mind….Pertaining to golf, of course….

Well, before I get into golf, I’ve got to apologize for being away from the blog for so long…. So long that I needed to do that weird psychedelic code word security thingy to get into my own blog page!!!!

     (*J just told me it’s called ‘captcha’)
That’s too long.  That’s sad…..
So what’s on my mind, pertaining to golf?  
Mostly that it’s awesome and it’s TOUGH.  T. O. U. G. H.   I love it, pure and simple… but it’s crazy difficult.  What’s on my mind is that playing golf at YOUR  (read, ‘my’, selfishly writing this from my own point of view…) level is very difficult!!!!
If you have the desire to improve…. If you’ve every played golf at a significantly high level (that might be a 25 handicap for someone, a 15 for another…. It might be a 5 or a scratch for others…. It might be ‘TOUR QUALITY’ for a select few *my wife, for example….) and my guess is that if you are reading this blog you have the desire to improve!!!!!   
OK,  if you have the desire to improve….  GOLF IS DIFFICULT!  
And you know what?  THAT’S GREAT!  That’s one of the things I love about it.  It demands attention.  It demands focus.  It demands…………  PRACTICE!!!!!!
Yes, there’s always that mythical golfer that just steps out of the car and plays great golf…..  I say, ‘good for him!’.   Most likely, that’s not you!  I sure as heck know that it is not me!  
Don’t let the handicap system make you lazy!  You heard me.  The handicap system allows golfers to not practice/train and still compete to some degree…..  Play lousy enough long enough, and your handicap will reach a level where you can still win if you play decent golf for your standards…. That’s too bad for anyone who has the desire to improve.  
Embrace the fact that golf is difficult.  Create a plan for QUALITY TRAINING, and get to it.  Playing high level golf (set your own standard) is far more rewarding that letting the handicap system compete for you.  
Enough said.   Now GO PLAY GOLF!  Stop THINKING GOLF SWING!!

Random Thoughts on the PGA Championship

Rory…. Wow.  

Carl Pettersson…. Very impressed after an unfortunate ruling…. Also seems like a great guy to hang with.  
On being local:   It was really fantastic to have such an incredible event right down the street.  Knowing the course well really made me feel apart of the event.  I remember one afternoon sitting out on the picnic tables at Snee Farm with a couple of members and realizing that the wind whipping against my face hit the players just a short time ago (how cool is that?)….   I could also stand outside and know how the wind effected the players on any give hole…. That’s pretty cool. 
The Ruling:  Hated to see Carl get penalized for moving that tiny little leaf in the hazard.  Don’t blame the rules officials for following the rules… just think that maybe, an adjustment has to be made.  Clearly, there was no mal intent in the swing.  Also makes me think of all the violations I potentially had in the past that never crossed my mind.  
*perhaps that’s the bigger issue for me.  As someone who really cares about the rules, it’s frustrating to know that I could violate this one so easily! Without even realizing it….  
***Remember, YOU CAN touch grass at address and while you swing in a hazard.  You cannot ground the club, you cannot move, bend, or break gunk that might improve your lie.  The fact that you CAN touch the grass and freely swing back makes the whole thing about little pieces of broken leaves or grasses ridiculous….  in my humble opinion.  Hope they re-word this one.  
************LOVED the fact that Carl P birdied the next 3 of the next 4 holes after he got the word about his 2 stroke penalty!
Gravity Golfers:  It was wonderful to see VJ back in action.  Sure, he played poorly over the weekend, but his swing still just oozes GRAVITY and we can ALL improve by understanding why even at 49 he is one of the best in the game.  Aaron ‘Bad’s’ played great for a while and his swing is quite possibly the best of all the young players in terms of PURE GRAVITY (now that he’s off of his ‘stack and tilt’ kick…).  Bill K used the term ‘glides’ when he described Louis Oosthuizen swing…. I think that’s great!  Louis combines ‘simple’ with gravity.  Really, really good move.  
Controversial Comment:   Rory does not have the MOST EFFICIENT swing in golf.  Listen, there’s a ton of GRAVITY in Rory’s swing.  I just noticed in the last few weeks that there is less than before.  He’s recently developed, or incorporated a ‘tug’ (I’ll call it) in the transition of his swing.  It was less prevalent on Sunday afternoon, but still there.  
***I’m not saying Rory was not the most fantastic golfer of the week!  I’m not saying he clearly hit the ball better than anyone during the PGA Championship.  I’m simply saying that I’ve seen his swing more efficient (GRAVITY), in the past.  
Finally…. Loved the buzz around town.  Great venue (lousy traffic issues), great town.  Something cool to be apart of.  
Now…… GO PLAY GOLF!  Stop THINKING golf swing.  

If Golf was a Feather…..

Most of us simply LOVE the game.  The goal should be to enjoy every moment.  Every shot!

Some of us play the game far more seriously.  It can be great to be competitive and focused….
It truly seems that some golfers play simply to get mad!  They blame the course, the clubs, the wind, etc…They yell.  They curse.  They BARK! It’s a waste of time, and it sucks the fun out of the game…..
The reality of the game is that it is difficult.  Sometimes downright scary.  Playing with fear is almost always a swing killer.  
 It happens to us all, and we need to work hard to PLAY TO PLAY GREAT!  *And trust me, when that wind blows that little feather around… it can be plenty scary!
…..Something to think about.  
Now go PLAY GOLF! Stop THINKING golf swing.  
*Special thanks to Calvin, for putting on a great show with that feather!  Also, thanks to my wife, J, for taking such great photos!

Keep Believing That Today is the Day!

Here’s a great quote that we can all take to heart:  
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

The golfer that can keep waking up with the belief that ‘TODAY IS THE DAY’ is the golfer that is going to get the most out their time on the course….  regardless of their scores…..

Get excited about your next trip to the first tee!  I know I am.  

Be Who You Are….. AND Turn!

This blog should be 2 things….

1.  Short
2.  Inspirational!
At every club, in every area, on every tour…. we all know about golfers who have a ‘funky’ swing and yet still beat the ‘stuffin’s’ out of everyone day in and day out.  Most are great athletes.  All are great competitors….  No doubt about this.  
If we dig a little further, in almost every case…..   These golfers are GRAVITY GOLFERS. (Hurray!)
They play golf.  They let their arms fly wherever…. They let their legs move as they move…. They usually make excuses for their strange technique…. And yet, they play GREAT GOLF!
Simply put:  In almost every case, they have learned to use their CORE TURN to produce power and consistency.  The arms and legs flail around according to ‘who they are’, but their core dominance takes over and produces path integrity!
You see, if the core is dominant, and is simply turning back fully, then getting to the FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS, and TURNING AGAIN into a (say it with me…) FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH, the arms can just flail away and yet be controlled with CENTRIFUGAL FORCE and GRAVITY.  
So why is this inspirational?   Because very few of us can make a golf swing that looks like Ernie Els…..  No reason to be depressed!!!  
Almost all of us can turn fully (if you get the tension out of the core!!!!) and that means that we can all improve our ability to maintain PATH INTEGRITY!!!
Almost all of us can improve our ball striking ability if we let the core dominate!  No matter how ‘weird’ our bodies look while swinging….  Now that is great news!  Now that is INSPIRATIONAL!
****Since I already failed at the ‘short’ part of this blog, I’ll give you some illustrations and examples of the great greats in golf that had funky swings and why that may be the VERY REASON why they played great golf!  
WooWhooooo!!!!!   Love it.  
*Thanks to Joe Losek for giving me the idea for this blog

One and Only Time….I Think

So this should be the one and only time you read me writing about a political statement…..  Most likely.  Probably.  Hopefully. 

The comments our president made about small business owners … about success in general last week absolutely blew me away (OK; pissed me off, really, but didn’t want to just come out so blatantly this early in the post…)
Why bring this up in a golf blog?  Because it reaches the very foundation of success in golf!
He talked about how successful business people like to think that they are smarter, more talented, and/or work harder than the rest of us…..  And he discussed how funny he thought that was!???!%$###!#!@@!!???wt#?
He thought it was funny because he believes people that work harder, or smarter don’t become successful because of that…. they become successful because of OTHER PEOPLE.  He’s putting the priority of success on circumstance, luck, and help…..  Ugh.  That about sums up the greatest gap between successful golfers and the rest of the golfing world.
It bothers me soooooo much because it implies that golfers that get great coaches, or have great equipment become great.  (I want to explode right now…. but trying to remain coherent)
The big issue is that he is not only for the most part wrong.  HIS COMMENTS KILL THE VERY HEART OF SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!   (yes, I’m yelling in print).  His comments go completely against the essence of improvement, in golf, or in life. 
OK,  want to make this clear and to the point.  
THERE IS NO GUARANTEES in life.  There is no guarantee that someone who works harder, smarter, or is more talented than someone else will become more successful.  
I also agree that most often, people don’t succeed by themselves…..  Teachers, coaches, influential souls often play a large role in cultivating success…. 
MOST IMPORTANT.  Without hard work, talent, brains, etc….  the chances of anyone attaining success are incredibly small! 
In the end it’s a philosophy argument.  I’m arguing that if you agree that successful people are successful because of government, because of others, or because of luck…. you are most likely in for a world of hurt and disappointment. (That is EXACTLY how I took the presidents comments).  I philosophically disagree.   
I’m arguing that if you believe that people that work harder, work smarter, and have more talent are the ones that have the best chance to create success…..  You have an infinitely better chance of attaining success (in whatever endeavor you choose).  This is the philosophy I choose to embrace.  
Golf and life are difficult and multi, I mean multi faceted.  There are countless little things that go into becoming successful at anything.  
I’m hear to SHOUT AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS that attitude (positive), work ethic (hard and pure) and brains (always willing to learn) are on the top of my SUCCESS LADDER.  
New equipment and a great teacher WILL NOT make you a better golfer.   HARD WORK, quality practice and a great attitude MIGHT.  No guarantees, but I’m going with the better of the two choices.  Happily, and with full confidence.  
Enough.  
Go PLAY GOLF.  Stop THINKING golf swing.  
***Now having said that, having a great teacher is a big bonus! Call me or email me to sign up for your next lesson at 843 606 0826 or pete@athleticgolf.net…..    
-How’s that for a shameless plug at the most inappropriate time?  BAM!