Accelerating Chains Hurt!

Even at the age of forty one I can manage to do some really dumb things….  Even while seemingly in the middle of some “smart” thinking….

We have this gate that has to be locked up each evening at the golf course.  I often walk the beagle over to hole number 8, close the gates and simply lock it up with a chain and a padlock. 

Well, as you know, I often think of physics, specifically the physics of gravity and rotation as it relates to a GRAVITY golf swing.  I grabbed the 2 feet of chain and began twirling it a little and my mind drifted into the wonderful world of circular motion. 

I thought about how efficiently I could wrap the chain around the gate by letting centrifugal force do the work.  Not only that, I imagined that it would really look cool wrapping itself around the pole with it’s own momentum. 

Well all that thinking happened in about 3 seconds or so and way before I realized what would really happen, I started to swing the chain towards the gate….  WOW!

The links about 6 inches from my right hand hit the gate and then the reactions began.  The outside links began accelerating on an arc around the gate.  In an instant (and I can’t recall if I had figured out my error in judgment just before impact, or more likely, after the pain of impact) the chain smashed into the knuckles of my right hand and I can tell you for certain – metal chains hurt when slung on a centrifugal arc!

I was at the same time thrilled with motion of the chain and utterly blown away by my own stupidity!
No bruising or swelling as of this morning….  two fingers are just a little tender. 

Swing in a CIRCLE AROUND THE FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS.  The end. 

The Ball Takes off on a Tangent to the Arc

This concept is important in putting, chipping as well as the full swing.  As my mentor, David Lee, often says, “Pete, physics don’t change”.  He’s referring to the fact that many of the same physics concepts will apply to a 3 foot putt as to a 270 yard drive. 

The most efficient swing in golf is a swing with an arc, whether it’s a putt, a chip or a full swing.  Any steering, guiding, or chasing the club down the flight line will collapse the arc and demand compensations to maintain path integrity. 

Watch this swing several times and see if you can begin to see the basic uninterrupted circlurlar motion.  There is a lot of acceleration into the followthrough, and the body gets in the way of the club for a moment, but if you watch several times, I think you’ll begin to see just how circular this great swing is!

Bottom line:  

    In putting, forget about steering the ball into the hole with the putter.  Let it swing on it’s natural arc… The ball will take off on a tangent.  

    In chipping, stop trying to make the ball go straight!  Let your forward pivotal axis rotate (left leg for right handed golfers) and allow that rotation to move the arms and club in a circle around your body.  The ball will take off on a tangent to the arc.  

    In the full swing, as in all swings, an inside out path is natural to the design of the body and the club.  Swing freely in a circle and allow the ball to get in the way of the power of physics (gravity and rotation). 

*If you have an uncontrollable outside in swing…. We need to talk, then get you into the drills! 

PGA Tour at Torre Pines

I’m really looking forward to the golf tournament this weekend.  Phil and Tiger both tee it up for the first time this year, and maybe more importantly, it’s the beginning of a fantastic stretch of golf! 

As the drama on the tour builds over the next 2 1/2 months, the weather will also improve and golf will be in full bloom by the Masters, both for the tour, and for the rest of us golf junkies! 

I think 2011 is shaping up to be a fantastic season for the PGA Tour.   I’m hoping it’s a great season for the rest of us as well. 

Carolina Colours Golf Club: Picture #7

Great to look at this very green photo, as the ground here at Carolina Colours is once again covered in snow!

Hole #7- 420yd par 4

The 7th hole has a fairway like a runway.  It’s in theory a simple, straight away hole.  2 things make this hole very interesting to play on a daily basis.  First is the slope of the fairway.  It’s a slightly elevated tee shot for the first 260 yards.  It also slopes gently to the left.  Catch just the right drive and you can get way, way down the fairway, yet often times, the drive just seems to stop, and you’re left with a massive second shot.

The second thing that makes this hole interesting every time I play it is the depth of the green.  Like many others here at Carolina Colours, the green depth can really change the dynamics of the hole!  Weak drive an a back pin, and you’re looking at a second shot of over 200 yards….  Bomb a drive and have a forward pin and it’s conceivable to hit a sand wedge.  You just never know, and it keeps the hole a curiosity to me, and I love that!

Truth in Humor

“There is no movement in the golf swing that it cannot be made even more difficult by careful study and diligent practice.” ~ Thomas Mulligan

I truly believe that most positional learning/thinking in the golf swing is more destructive than helpful.  Destructive because it often leads a golfer down a never ending path of mechanical thinking.  Destructive because it’s not how the body learns any motor skill, whether it’s walking, riding a bike, tieing your shoes,  throwing a baseball, or even how to perform surgery (a surgeon won’t micro manage his fingers.  He meticulously learns the procedures, and then lets his hands follow intuitively the signals from his mind….). 

Destructive because it tends to lock the golfer up! It very often creates the very tension that is causing most of the swing plane movements in the swing to begin with!

It’s extremely important to understand how the golf swing works, and what destroys a consistent swing.  It’s very important to understand how to train.  Then it’s equally important to let the target and the drills create the swing! 

Instincts

Interesting thing about instincts….  They don’t go away easily.  I’ve mentioned (bragged, whatever) several times in my blog about being fully trained as a Gravity Golfer.  That means that my core dominates my swing, my tempo is created by gravity (the most consistent form of rhythm that exists) and power and accuracy  occur due to counter force, centrifugal force, and other bits of physics I don’t really need to be concerned with (they happen to me!). 

It most importantly means that I own my golf swing.  I can take days off, weeks off, whatever, and I still know exactly how to swing a golf club.  It’s not something I have to re-find or fix, rather I just have to allow it to happen after a good Heave
but…

Let’s say the weather is atrocious for several weeks at a time.  Instead of living a normal life of a golf pro where I’ve got a club in my hand most every day to teach, practice, whatever, I am basically slumped over my computer or doing very non-golfing things day in and day out (perhaps like some of you?). 

Bottom line:  I’m tight. 

Before I went out to play yesterday, I decided to run to the range because I didn’t want my tightness to mess with my first few swings of the day. 

I immediately began with the FRONT ROUTE drill and hit about 50 balls (all but 5 in the FRONT ROUTE).  It was fascinating!  The first ball I topped so bad it indented the ground and went about 15 feet.  The next 15 were sculled….  They went head high and sent shocks through my fingers. 

Did I forget how to swing?  NO!!!  Because I was tight, I was unable to turn freely and fully in order to get and KEEP all the tension out of my arms….  Because of my lack of turn, my arms INVOLUNTARILY hunted the golf ball in order to help me make contact and create power.  This hunt almost always backfires, causing plane changes due to Newton’s 3rd law of physics (for every action, a pulling of the arms at the ball, there is a reaction…  a plane change)…

The best news is that I just kept doing the FRONT ROUTE.  I know exactly what a bad shot is telling me (and it’s easy to learn in the GRAVITY GOLF SYSTEM .  Physics rarely lies), so I simply keep trying to turn the tension out of my arms with a powerful heave, and then let the rest of the swing happen due to gravity and rotation.  About 25-30 balls into my session, I began to hit beautiful shots and went on to play a solid round of golf (even in 39 degree, very wet weather). 

NO FIXES.  No over thinking…  I just let my heave over ride my instinct to strike by staying in the drills. 

Instincts die hard.  That’s why we must think of the Gravity Drills as LIFETIME DRILLS. 

These Guys are Good, But…

Bad shots are part of the game.  They can mean nothing other than you made a bad swing.  They don’t have to mean you need a swing fix!

A goal on the golf course should be to keep trusting your target and your swing throughout the day. Keep trusting YOUR BEST SWING.  Be obsessed with the feeling, understanding, image of your best swing and keep intending to do that. 

Even the best players in the world hit bad shots…. It’s not something that needs to be fixed.  They just need to keep playing. 

Here’s a quote from yesterday’s Hawaiian Open Champion.  Mark is one of the best players in the world: 

“I don’t have too many bogey-free rounds in my career,” Wilson said, “so it’s pretty cool to have two in the same day.”

It’s still cool for tour pro’s to have bogie free rounds, and even those come without hitting every shot well.  Mark had several “saves” after missed greens that kept him from having bogies. 

Great players hit bad shots.  You can expect a few as well, without thinking you need to change your swing, again. 

Message for the day:  Don’t sweat a bad swing.  Keep focusing on your best swing! 

Easier Said Than Done

I’m so excited.   My favorite sports consultant, Dr. Rick Jensen, has published a book and I just began to read it.  It’s a great time to read a book by Rick, because I’ve been cooped up inside for the most part of 6 weeks and I’m really itchin to get out and practice and play golf! (and his focus is massively on training)

Dr. Jensen is one of a kind.  I should start off by saying that I have met Rick several times, and have worked with him on occasion so I know and respect him very much.  I’d also say he is incredibly helpful, sincere, nice, etc…. 

Now having said that, most sport psychologists are all positive and warm and fuzzy, yet Rick’s philosophy is basically that you’re not mental, you’re just no good

Instead of taking the easy way out (thinking you’re mental, or need a quick fix), Rick lays out an argument that your skills are more likely low, and by practicing a lot more and with better quality drills, you can become more mentally tough. 

Rick treats his clients with great respect and caring, but he doesn’t sugar coat anything.  Just look at the title of his book:  “Easier Said Than Done ”   I bet his publisher wanted a more positive spin title than that! 

I’m sure I’ll be sharing more on Mental Toughness and Training in the next few weeks. 

“If you want to play great golf, you must first stop–stop trying to buy a game, stop searching for quick fixes, and stop calling yourself a ‘choker’.  The fact is most golfers aren’t good enough to choke.  Once you know what tour players know–the 12 truths–then you’ll be able to lower your scores once and for all”  -Rick Jensen