Snow on the Brain

Since Christmas Eve, I’ve been thinking a lot about snow.  I was up in New England watching the forecast very carefully to see if there would be a safe time to head back down south.  By Christmas afternoon, it became evident that unless we left Christmas morning, we would most likely run into some bad weather somewhere on the trip… 

Our next decision was to go to my brother’s house in Tolland, CT and ride out the storm….  Sunday and Monday we watched a crazy storm blow full out for about 24 hours!  Tuesday we drove 12 hours back to New Bern watching the snow levels as they went from over 2 feet up in New Jersey to just about nothing in Washington D.C. and then back to 6+ inches in Northern North Carolina! 

Wednesday I woke up and came to Carolina Colours to catch up with life at the course and to assess the snow situation.  Since then, I’ve been watching snow, willing it to melt!

The downside for you all is that you have to listen to me talk about snow, cause I haven’t given any thought to golf in about a week! 

Carolina Colours: Picture #4

Hole #4- 370yd par 4

I like this photo because it gives you a glimpse of the tee boxes at Carolina Colours Golf Club.  Bill love designed lots of large “L’s” for tee boxes, and it not only looks cool, it offers great variety in the tee placements.

OK,  Hole number 4 is not long, but it can be intimidating.  The ravine you see in in this picture looks menacing, but for most golfers playing the right tee box, it’s really no problem to carry with a solidly struck shot.  You can be aggressive on this hole and hit driver over the right side fairway bunker, leaving you with a flip wedge to the green.  I recommend a 3-wood or hybrid, because shots hit left run out of real estate more quickly than it looks. 

Here’s a better look at the landing area and green:

Roll the Forearms, don’t Flip the Wrists!

I like to discuss rolling forearms to help a golfer square and close the club face through impact.  I do not like to hear people talk about flipping the wrists, I enjoy watching people “flip” their wrists incorrectly even less!

There are certainly some complex movements happening in the wrist area during the golf swing, but I believe a nice and simple image/feel is to let the forearms roll.  Place your right hand palm up on a table with your forearm parallel to the floor.  now simple roll your forearm and hand towards the left until your palm is touching the table. 

That’s the motion that is compliant with the physiology of the body (for a right handed golfer).  That’s the motion that freely squares the club face in the downswing. 

I’d love slicers to give me 50-100 rolls from each arm every day while they are on the computer, or watching TV, or out playing golf!  Over train, and you’ll learn faster. 

Carolina Colours: Picture #3

Hole #3- 540yd par 5.  Love this hole!  Love all the par 5’s on this course!!  The 3rd hole is a double dogleg.  The tee shot should fit in between the two bunkers you see in the picture.  If you really blast one, you may be able to carry the bunker on the left and have a great angle to attack the hole in two.  The hole really becomes interesting when you hit a mediocre tee shot.  There is a large ravine that runs across the fairway that makes you really think hard before hitting your second shot.  Laying up short leaves you with over 160 yards into the green, but taking it over the ravine pretty much means that you must strike your shot solidly.  Thin, heeled, toed, even sliced shots will most likely end up in disaster.  Fun hole because most often the medium length ball striker should have a realistic chance for birdie.  Hit a poor drive, and I highly recommend taking your medicine and laying up.  Big numbers can happen fast on this hole if you get greedy.   

Out with the Bad, by Working on the Good

Your brain is constantly attempting to help you hit the ball and move it in the direction you wish.  Due to all the perception flaws which translate into swing flaws, the brain is in constant overload trying to compensate for catastrophic errors in your technique. 

Sounds like such holiday joy!

Good news is that the more you begin to comply to the laws of physics (using gravity and rotation), the less compensations you need to make!  As you begin to train the body to have limp arms, and a rotating core around a single axis (forward pivotal axis), you’re brain can begin to quiet down and focus on more important things than trying to prevent disaster (with chaotic results). 

Work on gravity and rotation, and over time, tons of small compensations will begin to disappear.  The swing will smooth itself out over time as you comply with physics….  Really cool stuff. 

The Christmas Heave

I’m wishing that we all get a better HEAVE for Christmas!  Learning, training and mastering the takeaway is one of the master keys to a lifetime of consistent golf swings. 

“The HEAVE (say it with me friends!) is a powerful move from the back that throws the tension out of the arms with sufficient force to sustain the swing.” 

The HEAVE is powerful enough to move the heavy arms and club (did you know that the arms of an adult male weight approximately 20+lbs?) into a swing.  By the first 1-2 feet, the HEAVE creates enough momentum to sustain the swing.  David  calls this the point of first release (all tension can leave the back, shoulders and arms). 

See if you can sense the first release in Jack’s swing (The deeper you are into the Gravity Golf System, the easier this will be to sense).  Notice the tension in his arms just before takeaway… He HEAVES and then you can hopefully sense that the arms and back release their tension and the back, arms, and club simply float to the end of the back swing… Check it out

Almost every golfer on the planet uses their arms to move their arms.  Most if not all are doomed from the start. 

There are a host of reasons why the HEAVE is a difficult thing to comprehend and accomplish.  It’s also one of the major reasons why so very few golfers ever reach the elite stage of “effortless” golf. 

see Ernie Els

So my Christmas wish for you is that you learn to get the tension out of your back and shoulders…. That you release the tension from your arms….  That you create enough force so that your body can not only float to the completion of the backswing, but also fall back into the forward pivotal axis, counterfall, then pivot freely, fully and level into a fully rotated relaxed balanced finish. 

*I hear that Santa will be happy to give out books, DVD’s, and Gift Certificates for lessons! If he’s tied up, you can contact me! 

Carolina Colours: Picture #1

Hole #1- 430yd par 4.    This is a big opening hole.  It’s also a golf hole that you must respect.  It’s a dogleg left, with plenty of room on the right to hit your tee shot.  This is comforting, but it also lengthens the hole.  After I played it a few times, I was able to adjust my aim line and cut some yardage off the dogleg.  A golfer should not get greedy, however, as an overly aggressive shot will find a difficult fairway bunker (as pictured on the left) or kick left into native grass or behind the tree line.  Solid opening hole. 

Check Up

Just checking up on everyone with a question:  Is your fully rotated relaxed and balanced finish better now than it was 3 weeks ago? 

Are you more completely on to your forward pivotal axis? 

Are you more fully turned?

Are your shoulders and arms more relaxed at the end of your swing  than they were 3 weeks ago?

Is your balance more consistent at the end of every swing?

For all my students south of New Bern, NC- I expect the answer to be yes!  Those to the north can just keep this ESSENTIAL in their minds for the winter and I expect you to improve upon your balance in 2011.

*Extra credit assignment:  Work on your balance in the house!