The Grip

I often hear people comment on the fact that I talk very little about the grip.  I apologize to those who need confirmation that their grip is fine. 

 My feeling is this.  The grip needs to be functional, not perfect to play great golf.  If I don’t say anything about your grip it’s because I don’t feel it’s a priority.  I may also think that changing your grip early in the learning process will create more tension and take away from more important aspects of developing a better game. 

 In general, here are a couple of things that I look for in a grip.  First, are the hands on the club in a manner which will facilitate a closing club face.  I want the grip to enhance a draw of even a hook for all but the best players in the world.

 After that, I look to see if the hands are strangling the club, or holding the club in preparation to THROW!!!  If the hands are strangling or preparing to lift the club, a change will have to be made.  If the hands, wrists and forearms are tense/tight, it will be difficult to swing freely.  Your fingers should be holding the club similar to the way your fingers hold a baseball when preparing to throw….

 I’ll finish by saying that good training and a correct target perception are far more important than a perfect grip!  Getting on the “tracks to success” will often lead to natural adjustments in your grip, without having to make a conscious change. 

 Don’t grab the club… Prepare to throw the club (without letting go!!!)!!!


Playing “Within Yourself”

To get better, I actually think you have to play outside yourself! By that I simply mean you mustpush yourself outside of your comfort zone to get to the next level. You may have to work on swing feelings that aren’t comfortable, or try shots that carry inherent risk.

I think that developing new skills demands that you “play outside yourself”. I also believe thatgolfers with confidence looking to play better golf often need to play beyond their comfort level.

Having said that, most of the time, we should all be working at playing golf within our limits.Why? Most of you are part time golfers. You practice a little, if any,and play just a couple times a week (or a month). I also believe that most golfers would be happy just playing closer to their expectations.  Yes they would love to shoot a career round,but consistency, a sense of control, and minimizing damage would be very satisfying to most.

Play within yourself by playing with a smooth and balanced swing. Stay within yourself by playing smart golf, playing the right shots, rather than the “best” shots.

Often times, by playing within yourself (smooth swing, smart strategy) you will begin to gain confidence throughout your round and your smart game will become a better game!

When the time comes that you can put more time into yourgame and can play with more regularity-GO FOR IT!  Play outside yourself!

In the meantime: Know your game. Know yourself. Enjoy YOUR game.

The Target Creates The Swing, Part VI

Bad Targets = Bad Swings

 Most golf swings are based on bad targets.  It’s the core reason why so many swings are
chaotic at best.  All the analytical,
mechanical, positional thinking can’t change the bad perception that created
the bad swing in the first place!!!

 Understanding bad targets is step 1 to improving your
swing.  Intention in the right direction
is the way to progress naturally in this game. 

 So the 4th bad target in golf is SWINGING
STRAIGHT TO HIT THE BALL STRAIGHT.   This
may be the most destructive of all bad targets because it is taught and
practiced consciously
everyday!!! 

 Here’s the way I learned one of the most powerful insights
in my golfing career…..

 In 2004 David Lee and I were conducting a golf school
together and during a rain delay we were chatting.   At one point David mentioned to me that he
had a small problem with ATHLETIC GOLF and its principles…..  He said, “Pete, the target destroys the
swing.”

 This was a massive slap in the face for me.  In my defense, I pointed out that it was the
catcher’s mitt that creates the pitch, the basketball hoop that creates the
shot and the wide receivers route that creates the throw!

 He countered with this statement:  “Pete, the golf swing is an extremely
sensitive circle around the body (the forward pivotal axis to be more
specific)”

Those words rung true to me.
You see for years I had been using a tee ball to illustrate the natural
motion people use to move a ball far and forward.  I would have them use the back of the left
hand and intend to move the ball at about waist high as far as they possible
could forward.   I asked them how they
would move their arms back in an effort to do this…..   Every student swung in a circle around their body!

 *That means that we all know intuitively how to swing a
club!

 When David said “sensitive”
circle, he was referring to the fact that it only takes 3/16th of an
inch to mis-hit a golf shot.

 Wow.

 Here’s how he delivered what I then believed to be the
knockout punch to ATHLETIC GOLF’s most important concept:  “Any linear motion in a circle
destroys a circle and guarantees that a compensation must to be made in order
to get the club back on path.  That’s a
perfect recipe for inconsistency…”

Any attempt to swing straight
will destroy the path of the club….

He went on pointing out the obvious fact that almost every
golfer tends to get worse as they get closer to the green.  Golfers consciously and unconsciously do less
with their turns and more with their arms as they get closer to the hole!  Most of us purposely quiet our lower bodies
and direct the club more with our arms with chips, pitches, and most definitely
putts…. 

 Then he went on with this statement:   “Ever wonder why 20% of tour pros have the
yips?  Why over 50% of senior tour
professionals and over 80% of senior golfers have the yips?  Ever wonder why 99.9% of all yips happen with
chips and putts?” 

 I thought it was because golfers get nervous over easy chips
and putts and this turns into a mental problem.
I thought that even at the highest level, the spotlight got so intense
that golfers “choked” on the 3 footers…..

 His reply blew me away!
“Pete, you’re telling me that a baseball pitcher and a field goal kicker
don’t feel as much pressure as a golfer?” 

*I can only think of 1 case of the yips in all other sports
over the last 2 decades!!!!

 Of course he’s right!
Pitchers in baseball and Kickers in football have way more pressure on
them (or at a minimum the same amount) and they DO NOT GET THE YIPS!

 Other athletes don’t get the
yips because they throw, kick, swing, etc…. ROTATIONALLY!

After a few days of running this through my brain, I
realized that the TARGET CAN STILL CREATE THE SWING, it just has to naturally
be with a rotational motion.  The catcher’s
mitt still creates the throw; it’s just that a pitcher rarely goes linear in
their motion…. They throw on an arc, and they release the ball on a
tangent. 

 Final thought:  There are some great golfers that chip and
putt with linear motion.  The rotational
swing from the inside out is the MOST EFFICIENT, PHYSICS COMPLIANT swing, not
the ONLY swing.  Great wedge players and
putters that swing straight, with very still bodies are susceptible to the yips
at some point, but I do not wish that upon them!  For those of us who have had the yips, and for
those of you who struggle mightily with the wedge shots, I would highly
recommend learning to move the arms with GRAVITY AND ROTATION, rather than
trying to swing straight to make the ball go straight, or trying to strike at
the ball in an attempt to make solid contact.  For most of us, these two bad targets create
bad swings demanding compensations that are just too difficult to control!  

The Power of Intention

I want you to think about the following quote in the context
of my blog entitled: “Put your best swing on the next one.”

 

 

“The camel created its hump because it intended to cross the desert”
–Indian mystic

 

Discuss! 

 

*add some comments below,
email me, or talk to me about how this quote can make you play better
golf!  In a few days, I’ll put down some
of my own thoughts

It’s a Risk…

Seeking fulfillment in golf is a risk.  You’ve got to understand that change is difficult by design.  The brain works very hard a patterning movement and thought to simplify (to be efficient).  The attempt to get longer, or to be more consistent by definition will change the habitual patterns you have developed in your golf game.

I talk a lot about getting on ‘the tracks’ to success.  I’m referring to learning how and what to practice that guarantees progress in your game.  The tracks is a reference to railroad tracks and beginning the journey down those tracks.  If your training is systematic can consistent, I can promise progress.  It may take 5-10 years to arrive (and by the time you get there, you’ll want to go further!), but the good news is that you’ll improve along the way.
Be ready for “change” if you choose to improve.  It’s a frustrating process if you let it be, but a wonderful test of discipline and determination if you take it on with the right mind set.  
Final thought:  It’s never too late to make changes in your swing.  Especially with ATHLETIC GOLF and GRAVITY GOLF systems as your guide!  The brain will quickly see the benefits of a more physics compliant swing and work hard to coordinate the body to its objective!  

So True!

Bonnie Dunn stopped by the shop the other day to give me this quote.  

What fantastic words of wisdom…  

To seek fulfillment is to invite frustration.” -Jiddu Krishnamurti


A golfers understanding of that statement can be critical to their future!  I would guess that many of the best athletes and future greats would take that quote as a challenge!  

If you can choose to embrace those words, you’ll have a great chance of progressing in your game.  

Put Your Best Swing On The Next One!

One of the most important things I ever learned in golf came from the women I married (and I didn’t marry her because of what she taught me on the golf course!)

I had played golf for over 20 years the same way most all of us play golf…. That is to swing, fix swing, fix swing, fix swing, etc… As soon as I hit a poor shot, I would try to correct poor shot. I didn’t do it with mechanics like so many do, but rather with ball flight. I played athletically, meaning I adjusted my swing to change the ball flight in an attempt to fix my last shot….. Mostly, I played “military golf” once I got into the “fix it” mode. Jeanne-Marie Busuttil (my wife who goes by JM now) began taking lessons from me in 1996. She was the best player at UF and the #1 women collegiate golfer on the east coast at the time. I was super impressed with her impact and didn’t want to make any suggestions until I knew more about her game.   Her swing wasn’t picture perfect, but her impact and ball control was outrageous!!!!

I asked her a question:
“What changes do you make if you hit a shot left?” Her answer helped me change my concept of learning golf!!!! While I was expecting an answer that had a mechanical adjustment, here is what she said:

“I simply put my best swing on the next one…..”

Wow! That’s powerful. Stop fixing your swing! Keep intending to do what you want to do!!!!! It changed my life as a golfer……

Love at first swing?

Observational Learning

You never see a comparison of how two different great
shortstops throw a guy out at first base.
You rarely see a slow motion analysis of a quarterback’s mechanics!

 You see, in human motion in general, we allow for individual
differences….  We TRUST in a person’s
vestibular system to seek efficiency of motion.
Runners run differently.  Kickers
kick with their own “style”…. 

Why are we so obsessed with the mechanics of the golf
swing?  I know why (because it’s so damn
difficult) but I still think that it is bass ackwards in terms of learning….

 You’ll so often see OK golfers teaching less than OK golfers
simply because they use observation analysis to teach. 

“Teachers” see a swing and compare it to “great” swings and
try to make that swing look like the “great” swing in their mind.  One big problem is that most of us have
different “great” swings in our mind!!!
We combine them when working “observationally”…..

 Jim Flick (a top 100 teacher for decades) used to jokingly
take the first student that hits the ball in the air as his assistant in
clinics because just about anyone can see
the difference between Ernie Bafutnik and Ernie Els….

I think it’s a terrible way to learn golf!  While it’s helpful to imitate the greats,
it’s more important to understand TARGETS and to build a swing based on physics
rather than POSITIONS!   Anyone can see
the difference between a good swing and a bad swing…. Can anyone teach golf?  (unfortunately, often the answer is yes!)

 Final thought:  I promise
you that Jack never tried to look like Arnie, and Tiger never cared to compare
his swing to Greg, Nick, or even Jack!
They are working on creating their own swing!  They want to make themselves as good as
possible!!! 

 Go PLAY GOLF!  Stop
THINKING golf swing!

Golf Brings Out The Good

Honesty, self respect and responsibility are part of the
game of golf.  Golf rules are upheld the
way they should be in life, and I like that!

 After Bobby Jones called a penalty on himself and was
lavishly praised in the media, he replied; “You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks”

We’ve seen a couple of vivid examples of what’s not quite
right about other sports lately.  In
baseball, a perfect game was ruined simply because the umpire blew a call in
the 9th inning.  I have no
beef with the ump (he fully owned up to his blown call), nor with Baseball for
upholding the call (for the integrity of the game, ironically)…  I would say that if the base runner were a
golfer, he would have called himself out and ended the game giving a deserved
perfect game to Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers. 

Last week, the U.S.A soccer team was denied a goal due to a
terrible call by the referees.  Again, if
the opposing team were golfers, they would have told the refs that the goal
should count!

Finally, I watched a couple of games of the NBA Finals
(still hoping to see Larry Bird come back on the court!) and was appalled by
the random fouls called and the look of astonishment on players after every
call, good or bad!

One of the many great things about golf is that calling
penalties on oneself is a normal and expected part of the game.   

Yeah,  I like and
respect that….

Rice Planter’s Amateur

Here at Snee Farm CC we begin the Rice Planter’s Amateur Tournament.  Close to 100 of the best amateurs play a 4 day event and there is no doubt that these guys can play! 

Even though the course is closed for the tournament, it’s still at great week to improve your game by coming out to watch!  Here’s how:  Pay very close attention to how they TURN THROUGH each and every shot they hit.  Every golfer, regardless of age or gender can see improvement if they improve their turn through the golf ball.  On full swings, I call this a FULLY ROTATIONAL BALANCED FINISH.

“Good players don’t turn because they are young,  or because they are flexible, or because they are strong…..   they turn in order to hit good shots!!!!  YOU CAN TOO”

So get past the excuse that you’re too old to turn, too weak to turn, or too tight to turn….  Sure you won’t turn as fully as the young bucks teeing it up this week,  but YOU CAN TURN ENOUGH TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR GAME!

Pay attention to three critical elements in a good golfers followthru: 

1.  They have all their weight on the forward leg.  There is no hanging back on the back leg or foot. 

2.  They are fully turned.  Their belt buckles are turned left of the target at the end of the golf swing….  If you have little tension in your legs, you’ll find you can do this quite easily as well.  

3.  They are relaxed or composed.  Watch how composed the golfers are on most of their golf swings….  They are relaxed enough to remain balanced on one leg after pounding a 300 yard drive….  They are composed enough to hold this position for several seconds….  with ease. 

This is why they generate CONSISTENCY AND POWER in the golf swing.  By turning consistently into a full finish,  they create maximum power (which is connected foot pounds at impact, not just club head speed) and also create a predictable circular path with the golf club. 

Most important….  YOU CAN TOO if you make improving your balance the number 1 priority!!! 

Now go play golf!  Best,