Category Archives: Golf Swing

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!

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

Guest Blogger…..

I’m turning the spotlight on to a blog written by my good friend George Connor.  Visit his website at Connorgolf.com!

don’t be redundant

My Father always got mildly upset when someone used a redundant statement.  Things like “an unexpected surprise” or “at this point in time” he felt was wasting words.  You could say “at this point” or “at this time” but there was no reason to say both.

The other day I saw another teaching professional encourage a student to “let the club fall so it comes from inside the target line to the ball.” Redundant!  If the club falls, truly falls, it must be inside the target line.  The only way to get the club to go outside the target line would be to use the upper body to move the club there.  In this case the arms and club would not be falling.

Allowing the arms to fall translates into the arms and the club swinging when the body rotates.  Whatever falls and swings is no longer dependent on the hands to guide the club.  Falling and swinging are controlled by the laws of motion and physics.  Those two are more consistent than you are!

Beating a Dead Divot….

Huh?  How about that title?  Got to admit, I impressed myself with this series of titles… regardless of the content….

OK, so one more blog about the blasted divot.  
For the majority of golfers, the divot is a gosh darn, curse worthy pain in the you know what….. WAY too many golfers have thrown in the towel when it comes to consistently taking a divot….  
It’s all a big contradiction!!!!!
Most golfers TOP THE BALL because there is too much ‘down’ in their swings…
What???????………pause…….re-read that. 
………………………………………………………………………
 The act of STRIKING AT THE BALL creates a situation where there is way too much down, and that kills pivotal rotation….  
*****YOUR brain senses very quickly that something is very wrong…. The club is BOUND to crash into the ground way too soon, and as a response…. YOU LIFT EVERYTHING UP in order to avoid a crash landing…..  The result is a topped shot.  
The arms pull up.  The shoulders pull up….  Most obvious:  THE HEAD LIFTS UP!  All in an attempt to keep the club from hitting the ground too soon. 

The very worst consequence of this whole event?   Someone in your group says to you, “You’ve got to keep your head down.”   Now there is a great chance that on the next swing, you lock your head and body into position, again guaranteeing that there is little to know forward rotation in your swing…..  It’s a vicious cycle!

Basically, most golfers learn to pull up to some degree in order to hit the ball decently once in a while…..

It’s this pulling up of the arms that makes learning to take a divot so difficult!  You see, when you do begin to rotate into a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH, because you are now swinging through a ball, rather than at it….  Your arms/shoulders/head still pull up because it’s been a NECESSITY in your swing for so long. 

BOTTOM LINE:  You first must understand/believe that a divot is proper and can best be accomplished by allowing the arms to fall (extend) in the downswing and the arms and club to be slung centrifugally by PIVOTAL ROTATION.  It’s the rotation of the forward pivotal axis (forward leg) that best moves the club forward or through the ball. 

Once this is fully understood, you can begin the road to a better swing, and a consistent DIVOT!  The brain, overtime, will ALLOW the arms to fall.  The brain, overtime, will allow the shoulders to stay relaxed throughout the swing……  AS LONG YOU ARE ROTATING AROUND THE FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS!  This will keep the club from ‘crashing’ too soon into the ground….. 

You can do this!  You must improve your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH FIRST….Then your divots CAN improve over time.  

BAM!  You’re better……DONE with the divot.  

For now……..

The Divot Dilemma

The divot is a fascinating and yet frustrating piece of the golf swing puzzle.  The act of TRYING to hit down destroys your chances of swinging with centrifugal force, it destroys your ability to ‘throw’ the ball out towards the target (which is the correct intent…). 

Yet, swinging freely and fully ‘out to the target’, in a circle around your forward pivotal axis makes taking a divot more difficult…..
 
The Dilemma. 

2 ESSENTIAL skills that seem to work against each other!   In order to create a consistent swing with consistent impact, it’s ESSENTIAL to bump the ground with the bottom of the club head in a very precise location in relation to the ball…..   It is also ESSENTIAL to swing into a FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH in order to create a physics compliant swing, and to give yourself the best chance of creating consistency…..

We want to allow the club to fall as we SLING the arms and club in a circle around our forward pivotal axis.  Centrifugal force and gravity will move the club in a consistent circle through the ball, creating a divot (in most cases) and sending the ball powerfully and consistently off on a tangent to the swing arc….  THE BALL GETS IN THE WAY OF THE SWING!

Trying to swing into the followthru at first often results in a golfer hitting a lot of ‘topped’ shots….  Trying to take a divot, almost always results in a golf NOT finishing in a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH…. 

The challenge is to IMPROVE BOTH SKILLS! 

….. Bump and turn                                             to be continued…….

Love Me Some Divot!

Hard to watch Kevin Na play over the weekend.  I really feel for him….  Hope he’s able to get the muscular tension out of his arms and get back to Heaving and turning….. WITHOUT THINKING!!! 

Fun for me to hit balls a couple days in a row, play a round, and even watch a little bit of the Player’s Championship this weekend.  I’ve been pretty much full throttle these past 3 months……

So I took advantage of a nice light rain and went out and hit some balls….  I started with a quick DRIVER DRILL off the mats at Snee Farm (Man, I love those driver drill mats!!!), and then I began hitting some irons off the grass….

The swing was really feeling pretty good and my attention began to focus on THE DIVOT… That wonderful feeling of compressing the ball against the club and ground, effortlessly slicing a strip of turf at and beyond where the ball once lay.

It’s a sensation that is tough to describe!  Love me some divot!!!

As a young golfer, I struggled to hit the ground…. Like many, I tried to keep my head down and was unaware of how damaging that was to my swing…. In my attempt to try to stay down, my body HAD TO LIFT UP to prevent the club from crashing into the ground way too soon.  Proper divots were a world away at that point….

As an improved golfer, I began to try really hard to take a divot.  I used my arms to STRIKE the ball and the ground.  The results were better, but massively erratic compared to the best way to take a divot. 

It took many years to learn that it’s chaotic and erratic to FORCE A DIVOT!  A divot is really important in a sound golf swing, but trying to MAKE IT HAPPEN will cause path disruptions that will add inconsistencies to your game…..

Gravity Golf taught me to ALLOW A DIVOT.  The natural forces of gravity will bring the club down… The centrifugal forces created by rotation will pull the club slightly outward (downward, making the arms slightly longer at impact than address…).  The rotation of the arms and club around the forward pivotal axis (forward leg) will also move the club forward.  Let gravity meet rotation and you’ll create wonderful divots with all your irons!  You’ll more consistently bump the ground, compressing the ball at the same moment.  That feeling is worth working for.  

Lesson:  Allow the arms to fall.  Rotate into a full finish.  Know that a divot SHOULD happen.  Allow the club to bump the ground.  Improve the skill of allowing it to happen as you turn through the ball.

*In the next blog, I’ll talk about the great challenge of BUMPING THE GROUND and FINISHING IN BALANCE.   

 

Gravity Meets Rotation- A Love Story

In sport, when the INTENT is to move something forward, the body leans or falls forward without thought.  Imagine yourself throwing a ball, kicking a ball, bowling, hitting a forehand, etc…

In every instance, you move into your FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS (forward leg) WITHOUT THOUGHT…. 

So if the INTENT in golf is correct (to move your golf ball forward), then for today’s blog I will assume (with all the ambiguities and fall out that accompany any assumption….) that everyone reading this blog seamlessly falls into their FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS before delivery of the club into the followthrough. 

Now on to the love story:   

The arms can simply FALL.  The body can simply ROTATE around the FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS……  GRAVITY MEETS ROTATION

So romantic!  GRAVITY FALLS IN LOVE at 32 feet per second, per second.  It accelerates creating speed and power.  ROTATION blushes at the thought of SLINGING a gravitational force in a perfect and harmonious circular path!

Path Integrity is born from this joyous union. 

You’re golf shots can live happily ever after if you develop THE GRAVITY GOLF SWING!

Bliss. 

*If the HEAVE is correct, the arms and body will be thrown into the backswing with sufficient force to sustain the swing. NO ADDITIONAL MUSCULAR EFFORT will be needed to move the ball powerfully and accurately.  The HEAVE creates a SWING.  A swing moves on it’s own volition due to the laws of nature.  It’s all about the birds and the bees, people!

***I very rarely use the word ‘ASSUME’ when I write.  Sometime in my teenage years, I had a professor make very clear the many problems inherent in an assumption.  The saying he so often used-
“When you ASSUME,  Mr. Dunham, you make an ASSoutofUandME.” will be with me forever……

Pre-shot Waggle and THE HEAVE

Dr. Losek asked a great question:

“In regards to muscular movement of the club with the arms, I am curious to know your thoughts on the pre-shot waggle of Brandt Snedeker. Just before his backswing he will turn his hips without moving his arms. Is he setting the stage to move his arms with his core? He also appears to be one of the few pros who plays fast.”

First of all, we should definitely give 2 thumbs up for Brandt’s good pace of play.  It’s refreshing to see.  It’s also important to note that he is NO DOUBT a champion, so speed of play and ability to win are not mutually exclusive!!

As far as the waggle goes….  Yes, in general, the waggles of the pros are helping them to prepare THE HEAVE.  From Gary Player’s forward push of the right knee before takeaway, to Jack’s tightening of the arms and tilting of the head, to VJ’s tiny hand and and arm bump before HEAVE, to Brandt’s fidgety movements….  They are all in preparation to move powerfully. 

Specifically, Brandt’s move is very personal to him, but clearly helps him to toss the tension out of his arms in his swing. 

Object at rest tend to stay at rest.  Objects in motion tend to stay at motion.   That means that the waggles make it easier to HEAVE the club back smoothly. 

*being static before takeaway, especially if the weight of the club is given up to the ground results in a jerking of the club in the takeaway…. As Babu from Seinfeld would say: “That’s very bad, very very bad…..”

Waggles are very personal, and they should be a response to the powerful move you are about to make out to the real target, rather than an effort to do something ‘right’. 

Got a waggle?  Great.  No waggle?  Well, that might be an indication of some other issues stemming from a BAD TARGET PERCEPTION. 

Prepare to THROW!  Most likely, a waggle will emerge…..

Path or Face?

I came back from a teaching summit this past week where a question was asked to a panel of ‘teaching experts': 

“If the student is frustrated with a consistent shot pattern that is weak and to the right (for a right handed golfer), what should the teacher work on first- changing the club face, or changing the path of the club? “

4 out of the 6 panelists chose to change the clubface first.  about 90% of the 400 pros in the room agreed….. 

Here’s my take.   OF COURSE YOU CHANGE THE CLUB FACE FIRST!  The golfer is hitting the ball weak right….  They hate to hit it weak right!!!!  In almost every instance, the golfer is swinging the path to the left (leaving the face open) to avoid going right….. 

The very last thing that they want to do is change their path to inside out (swinging toward where the ball is going…).  It’s correct long term, but short term it’s terrifying!

Help the student get the clubface closing and closed through impact.  Work tirelessly with them to teach them the experience of turning the ball to the left.  Anyone who hates to go right should be working tirelessly to over train their swing so the ball HOOKS!!!!

Why?  #1 reason is that it FEELS BETTER!  It’s more powerful.  It’s more physics compliant (design of the club).  It’s more compliant with the physiology of the body (design of the forearms, etc…).  IT’S NOT WEAK RIGHT!!!!!

I feel very strongly about this.  Someone frustrated with hitting the ball short and right should hit THOUSANDS of shots with a HOOK!  You’ll love the feeling, and you’ll learn a better swing. 

Once their predominant shot is hooking (turning to the left), they will very often begin swinging to the right automatically….  And that’s a good thing!

Take a Little Off Assertively!

Want to take a little off of a 7 iron?  Feel like a full shot will just carry a bit too far, or roll on a bit too long?  

A major key to success with less than full swings (and this applies to 30-50-70 yard wedge shots as well!) is to stay assertive with your downswing/followthru

Better players can often take a full swing and simply hit a cut shot instead of a draw.  That will usually take a couple yards off the shot, and keep it from running as much. 

Often times, I just feel more comfortable taking an extra club, say a 6 iron, rather than feeling like I have to pure my 7 iron to pull the shot off….

Two big keys to pull this off. 

1.  Minimize or eliminate your weight shift.  Not only is there no need to shift your weight back in the backswing, it can be very harmful on less than full shots (including wedge shots!). 

2.  Stay assertive on your followthru.  You’re taking a bit off the shot by making a slightly smaller “HEAVE” or backswing.  Gravity and rotation will still move the club on a predictable path with acceleration in the ‘thru swing’. 

One of the great mistakes on less than full swings is deceleration! 

**Now, by staying assertive, I DO NOT MEAN SWINGING HARD, especially with the arms and shoulders… I simply mean allowing the accelerating forces of gravity and centrifugal force to work… this will be carried out by a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH around the forward pivotal axis. 

Train it!  You’ll begin to feel when you pull the arms or decelerate, rather than simply slinging the arms and club through the shot. 

BAM!  You’re better.  Have a great day.