Category Archives: Philosophy

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!

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.

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!  

Back at It- The Comeback….

It’s been a while since you’ve played golf.  Life gets in the way….  So what’s the best way to get your game in shape? 

Well, if you are still in the middle of ‘life’, and just get the infrequent chance to get out to play- the answer is a little different. 

In that case, it’s best to keep the expectations low, enjoy being out on the course, enjoy swinging the club, and simply have the intention of making good swing.  Do your best to play smart golf, and try not to judge yourself too harshly…. 

Hopefully, you are ready to dig in and get your game back.  In that case, it’s important to have realistic expectations and a game plan for your comeback.

First- understand that if you’ve spent more than a few weeks away from your golf swing, chances are good that your body won’t fully cooperate at first.  Understand that your ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ might be a little off….  One of your primary goals is to limber up the body in the full swing, and practice ‘awareness’ in your short shots.

On the range, while hitting full shots, the best thing to do is to work IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS! The drills will more quickly get you swinging in compliance with the laws of physics, and keep you from falling into any bad habits as you get back going.   In the drills (or not, if you either don’t know them, or simply want to prolong the process of your comeback….), really, really, really, work on building and expanding your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED FOLLOWTHRU!  This will most quickly get the body into golf swing shape!

While practicing your chipping and putting…. Be aware.  Notice how each shot feels, and think about the distance the ball travels….  Feel your swing as it relates to the distance of your shots or putts…. By staying aware, you’ll more quickly regain your touch!  Stay aware while you train, and there’s a great chance you soon be chipping and putting better than ever!!

Give yourself time to get back into the swing of things.  Play up a tee box.  Hit more safe shots on the course.  If you train consistently and systematically.  If you remain patient and enjoy the process of improvement during your comeback… The experience will be enjoyable. 

How Phil’s Win Can Help You Play Better!

Congrats to Phil, what a spectacular win yesterday at Pebble Beach. 

Here are 2 things you can learn from his victory:

1.  He has been practicing great over the last 6 weeks and yet until this week, his results have been less than desirable……  

Phil knew that his training was top level.  He had tremendous confidence in what he was working on and just kept plugging away….. 

We can all trust that results will follow!  Sometimes it seems that the drills will never kick in on the golf course.  Sometimes we have a bad stretch of golf, or the proverbial ‘worst round of our lives….’, even while practicing consistently….  Phil showed us again that the past does not equal the future.   If your training is solid, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS! 

Stick with the drills.  And BELIEVE!

2.  Phil stopped thinking about mechanics with his putter.  It’s hard to believe that a golfer as gifted as Phil continually falls into the bad habit of THINKING MECHANICS while on the course, and even worse in competition….  He made the decision a few weeks back to simply look at the putts and trust.  Commit to that mind set and the strokes will become more fluid and reliable!!!!   Practice, but more importantly,  LOOK AND REACT! Don’t think about your putting stroke!

*Especially in the winter, when every mistake is magnified, it’s easy to think you need to change or fix your swing too much….  What you need is CONSISTENT AND SYSTEMATIC TRAINING!!!!  And then you need to TRUST YOUR SWING. 

Winter Golf is Weakness Exposing

The great news is that the weather has been great this year for winter golf!  Compared to last year, most of us have way more golf in late 2011 and early 2012….  Isn’t that fantastic?

Except for the fact that I’ve heard several people grumbling about giving up the game this past week…. 

Tis the season. 

Let me explain: 

We are now deep into the winter months.  The weather’s been great, but even still most of us aren’t playing and practicing quite like we do in the spring summer months….  That has a small effect on your game….

The winter’s been great, but the temps here in New Bern, NC haven’t been in the mid 70’s. I’m not complaining!  55-65 degree days have been the norm and that’s awesome for the winter!!!!  HURRAY! 

Except for the fact that those temperatures are cool enough (especially if you start in the a.m. when the temps are mid ci….) for the ball to fly shorter distances, and the clothes you are wearing to tighten up your turn.   Even at 60 degrees, golfers are not sweating and really loosey goosey.  This has a larger effect on the game.  One that can’t be dismissed. 

But the above reasons aren’t the primary cause of the winter golf blues…..  

The course conditions really magnify any technical flaws in a swing. Winter course conditions expose any weakness in IMPACT SKILLS.  Very few courses overseed even the fairways these days…..  Almost no courses overseed wall to wall in the winter any more.  That means we are playing on thin, dormant grass.  Hard to get the ball to sit up at all in the fairway, and the rough around the greens…..  Forget about it!!!  In most cases, the ball is simply sitting on dirt.  In our case at Carolina Colours Golf club, the ball is often sitting on wet ground, dear I say m_^? (no, can’t say it!).

If your skills of impact aren’t high, your game may seem like it’s completely gone.  A quarter inch of cushion under your ball can really make that much difference! 

So what can you do? 

1.  Make gosh darn darn sure you are PREFERRING YOUR LIE in the fairway!  Spend time to find the nicest lie you can!  We are playing winter rules…. USE THEM! 

2.  Putt a lot more around the greens.  Impact with a lofted club is just too dicey for most golfers.  You’ll do better putting it through rough, etc…. in many cases. 

3.  If not a putt, use a 5 iron, 7 iron, or 8 iron to bump and run the ball onto the green. 

4.  Use strategy.  Do your best to position yourself so that you do not have to hit delicate shots over bunkers from the rough…..  

5.  Because #4 is way easier said than done,  if you are behind the bunker on a tight lie…. forget about the pin, try to move the ball to the fat of the green, or even just back in play….  Maybe even say a little prayer, cause these shots are just super tough! 

6.  Change your expectations.  It’s winter golf for Bobby Jones sake…..  If you are not going to train enough, if your skills just aren’t high enough….  just enjoy the wonderful winter weather!!!!  Have fun, work on your balance, take plenty of extra club, etc……

Winter golf is weakness exposing.  As you continue to train in the gravity drills…., as you continue to improve your skills of impact…, winter golf will effect you less and less!  Keep the faith!  Keep training! 

Belief in A Method

Find a method.  Believe in that method.  Spend your life training within that method. 

Committing to a teacher, or a golf swing system is powerful and liberating.  Most spend their golfing years searching, fixing, changing, fixing and searching……  in constant search of the magic swing.  These golfers never find ‘it’ specifically because of their training habits…. 

Commit and train within a system and your game will slowly but surely improve over time.  You will be a better, and most cases happier, golfer year after year. 

That’s a sure thing. 

Brain Basic and Golf

Let’s begin the new year by going over some basics…. 

First, we must understand that the brain, in it’s attempt to help out, tends to destroy a the golf swing in 2 ways:

1.  Through proprioception, we tend to HUNT the golf ball.  This hunting or striking instinct is great for killing a snake.  It’s probably the number one reason why almost all golfers struggle at the game. 

A high priority for every golfer should be to learn how to swing through a ball…. Never at a ball…. 

2.  In the brain’s attempt to get the most power out of a shot, we tend to flex the arms and shoulders on every downswing…..  This flexing of the arms and shoulders always throws the club off path (due to Newton’s 3rd law of physics) which demands another compensation or luck in order for the ball to end up close to it’s intended target.  It’s inefficient at best, massively destructive in most cases…. 

THERE ABSOLUTELY IS a way to tame that inner beast in the downswing!  It’s called THE HEAVE!!!  If the powerful core (your back) throws the heavy arms (yes, the arms of an average sized adult male weight about 30 pounds….) into a swing that has enough force to sustain the entire golf swing, the brain senses that there is enough energy to move the ball powerfully with path integrity!  That means that the arms are left to simply fall, and be carried around consistently by gravity and rotation….. 

Don’t believe me?  It’s easy to see in many of the world’s best athletes….  In golf, we marvel at the ease in which Freddy Couples, Ernie Els, and Rory McIlroy swing.  They are swinging with great power, but also with extreme efficiency!

KNOW that it is not a mystery!  KNOW that you can train the body to avoid the brain’s instincts.  The answer lies in the GRAVITY DRILLS.  A tiny percentage of golfers (I mean .001% tiny) can either stumble into an effortless swing, or hit enough balls everyday to overcome inefficiencies….  Everyone can improve their games with consistent and systematic training in the drills. 

Why are the drills so important?  Because of the 2 brain basics I discussed above.  You will always fight those instincts unless you can basically BEAT THEM out of you with the GRAVITY DRILLS. 

Get to work!  Train in the drills!  Ask me questions!  We can make 2012 the best golfing year yet! 

Nail it!

“A nail is driven out by another nail;  habit is overcome by habit.”
-Latin proverb

The habit of using your hands, arms and shoulders to strike at a ball are strong.  The habit of using GRAVITY and ROTATION can be stronger over time.  The most incredible benefit of staying in the GRAVITY DRILLS is that the body will not only learn to stop doing the bad, it will demand that you learn the most efficient technique of moving a golf ball.  
As you train, remember that you are pushing out old technique and habit.  That’s why it’s so imperative that you train with HIGH QUALITY DRILLS.  Let your guard down, and no doubt you will drift back to your old swing….  
Drive out your old swing with consistent and systematic training with the GRAVITY DRILLS. 
LESS WITH THE ARMS, MORE WITH THE CORE.