Observe Better!

TV analysts do not help the golfing world when they drool over ‘pretty’ swings for the wrong reason.  They just love the swings of Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, but for the wrong reasons.  There is no doubt that we can all learn from those swings, but not because they are short and simple.  Not because they are right on “plane”.  We should observe that they HEAVE the tension out of their arms, and then sling the arms and club through the ball with their follow through!!!  We should observe that their swings stay level and the club swings in a beautiful circular motion through the ball.  We should observe the free flowing swings that have no HIT in them. 

TV analysts should also love Jim Furyk’s swing, and they owe the whole world an apology for not understanding or observing the greatness of Lee Trevino’s swing!!!!  Sure, they acknowledge that these two players are two of the best ball strikers and players ever, but they don’t OBSERVE the reasons why!

It’s those very reasons (gravity and rotation) that make swings great.  You don’t have to look like a robot to have a great swing.  And you shouldn’t have to be the coolest dude (or dudette) on the block to get recognition about your swing tempo the way Freddy does….

*Freddy’s one of the only golfers that gets all the swing accolades without having a picture perfect swing.  He deserves all the praise, and more!  His rhythm complies with physics perhaps more than anyone other than Lee Trevino, but his ‘mechanics’ as defined by golf’s ‘higher ups’ are less than desired…. 

Stop looking for pretty.  Look for a free flowing swing that finishes in uninterrupted, fully rotated, relaxed balance. Pretty is as pretty does. 

***I know a golfer gets it when they can watch Lee Trevino or Jim Furyk and they begin to ‘drool’ just a little because of the ‘perfection’ in their swings!!!

Bad Gravity!

“….I didn’t miss the putt, there just wasn’t enough gravity in the hole to pull it in!”-a new positive spin phrase….

I got the following comment from one of my favorite students.  Always making me laugh with her dry sense of humor!

“Just wondering how much effect gravity has on putting. Does gravity affect a “softer” ball(or whatever they call the ladies ball)? Does gravity come into much play on the green? Can I really use this as an excuse for missed putts?”

I’m not sure if I’m unwilling or unable to give an adequate answer to that comment. 


While studying the different effects of loft on a putter, Michael Breed (you know, the real hyper guy on the golf channel), came upon the fact that the same putt can have different amounts of break, not just due to speed, but also due to impact!  2 guys could hit the ball the same distance (let’s say 20 feet) on the exact same line, and they may break differently due to the loft of the putter at the moment of impact…  More loft, less break.  Hmmm…. 

Probably won’t help your game, but I thought that was a fascinating fact.  Enjoy your day. 

Hate to be Rude

There is no magic fix that will override the importance of proper impact skills when it comes to trouble shots.  Better players aren’t better at the bare lie, the low punch under the tree, or the recovery shot from pine straw because they practice it more (although, in the case of professionals, no doubt they do practice it more), they are better out of those lies because their skills of IMPACT are better.

Moral of the story-  Work on your skills of IMPACT towards the target, freely swinging in a circle around the body! 

Freddy Smooth

The commentators on TV can’t help but talk about Freddy’s smooth swing.  Part of it is because Freddy comes off so cool.  He’s got that certain something, no doubt.  Part of it is because his swing doesn’t fit into their vision of a perfect swing, yet he is one of the all time best ball strikers on tour.  Freddy doesn’t analyze every position in his swing.  He doesn’t work endlessly on positions, plane angles, etc….  Freddy doesn’t work on timing and tempo, yet it is about a good as there ever has been. 

It boggles analysts mind, because they are stuck in a paradigm that is wrong.  Freddy doesn’t think about rhythm because he lets his arms swing, and uses GRAVITY to time his swing. 

On TV, they agreed that he was born with great timing… GOOD NEWS!  We are all born with access to GRAVITY!  We can all tap into the consistent tempo of gravity falling as the body rotates around the forward pivotal axis. 

We can’t all have that certain something that Freddy has…  That’s all his!  GO FREDDY!

*P.S.  Another great GRAVITY GOLFER is right behind Freddy at Riviera- VJ Singh.  Hope you get the chance to watch the golf today!

P.P.S.  When spell check hit’s VJ’s name, it comes up with Fiji as an alternative…. Interesting, considering that is his home country………………………

Wonderful Wonderful Practice!

We’ve had several days in a row that have been above 50 degrees….  Feels fantastic.  Golf is in the air!  Had a great practice session yesterday.  Let me define great in this case:  I practiced.  I hit about 90 balls on the range in various drills, and then chipped for about 20 minutes. 

My consistency was marginal on the range, and my distance control with my chipping was poor at best.   Why was it great?  Because I was training.  It was fantastic because I know if I get out there again it will get better and better.  I don’t have to change anything, I just need to stay in the drills and trust my method.  It was great to be out there. 

Let the rust come off not by forcing it, changing things, trying too many things…  Let the rust come off simply by training consistently and systematically!  (Make sure your method is sound and your training efficient)

Time for a Little Moe

Moe Norman (I’ve linked you to the best video ever produced on Moe.  I just noticed it is now on Youtube.  I was in the audience when Craig first showed this video and I’ve watched it dozens of times since.  It’s fantastic, and well worth your time. It’s broken down into 6 parts.  I hope you get the chance to watch it, and soak in all you can about this amazing man!) 

His mind was extraordinary.  More than any other golfer, Moe was able to see and create what he wanted to with the golf club and the golf ball. 

Savant?  Autistic?  He was certainly unique!  Here’s a short reply he made to Freddy Couples in the 1990’s: 

“Have you ever actually mis-hit a ball?” Fred Couples once asked Norman, in jest. Norman stopped hitting for a moment and scratched his head.

Yes,” he said softly, as if confessing. “In 1962.”

What’s most fascinating about his reply is that although he hits the ball as consistently as anyone I’ve seen (I was fortunate to see Moe hit on 4-5 occasions), he does not hit every shot dead solid perfect.  He does, however, choose to see the great in every shot

While most of us are complaining about anything and everything we can about our games, the best ball striker in the world is seeing only the good….  Maybe we can learn something from him….

Find something good about the shot you hit, and you can build upon it!  Look for the bad, and you’ll keep finding it! 

*Note:  This post is listed under “mental”  and not under “golf swing”.  Remember that when you watch his video.  It’s about his mind!!!

‘Gravity’ Rises

As I was watching golf yesterday, it hit me again how many tour pros have GRAVITY swings.  I’ve heard several people dismiss David Lee as a teacher because he doesn’t work with any of the big name pros (although I’m not sure you can get much bigger than Nicklaus and Trevino….).  Truth is, while most instructors are dinkering around with the aesthetics of the swing, David’s method (the one I endorse completely) is developing swings that tour pros stumble into as kids.  Almost every tour pro has to a large degree, a GRAVITY GOLF SWING.  It might not be 100% gravity like Trevino, Irwin, Couples and Els;  but most are close- and that’s one of the reasons why they are so good!

On the PGA tour yesterday, I was watching D.A. Points, Hunter Mahan, Bryce Molder, Jimmy Walker and Phil Mickelson make great GRAVITY swings…  On the Senior tour leader board were two of the best ‘GRAVITY’ players:  Tom Lehman and Jeff Sluman (and don’t forget Hale Irwin who finished in 6th place at 65 yrs old!). 

Learning to swing in compliance with physics, rather than through mechanical positions, is the way to swing more efficiently.  Tour pros just do it, without understanding how. 

Unfortunately, most golfers learn a muscular based hit, and never come close to what these pros ‘figured out’ somehow….  I strongly suggest you learn the GRAVITY GOLF SWING.  And it just so happens that I know how to teach it! 

*For those of you down in Charleston reading this…..   KEEP DOING THE DRIVER DRILL!!! 

It Takes Effort

I finish my “Mental Toughness” seminar by saying that working on the mental may be more difficult than working on your golf swing. 

It really takes effort to change how we habitually think and visualize on the golf course.  It really takes effort to develop a SEE IT, FEEL IT, and TRUST IT mind set. 

By effort I mean time spent preparing your mental game off the course.  I mean time spent during the round “thinking about what you are thinking about….”  I mean time spent after a round evaluating and then preparing for the next round.  And I mean time spent before the round preparing mentally for the upcoming round…. 

It also take serious effort ON THE DRIVING RANGE!  Yup, even the mental should be worked on at the range.  To build a powerful and productive pre shot, mental routine, one must go through the routine (the one I suggest is SEE IT, FEEL IT, TRUST IT) hundreds of times on the range to get the thoughts and images ‘grooved’ or organized in a personal way.  The next step is practicing the routine ON THE COURSE!  Yeah,  you just don’t step up after learning a new swing move and expect to hit it great on the course (well, many do, but it’s a silly concept in terms of learning!).  It takes time and practice to develop new things.  For several rounds, you should be in a ‘practice mode’ with your mental.  You should have very precise goals to accomplish in terms of your routine, how you react to shots, how you organize your thoughts in between shots, etc…  But at this point, you’re still very cerebral about the whole thing….   You may or may not see consistent results….  Keep going and soon the mental will become much more unconscious…. habitual, organized and natural. 

Most golfers try the mental stuff.  Don’t be in that category!  Train your mental!  If you’ve been to one of my seminars, or read any of Dr. Rotella’s books,  you’ve got plenty of information… The challenge is to OWN IT! 

“Do not try.  Do.  -Yoda
How’s that for an ending!  BAM! Yoda….  yeah,  that was good  : )

“How Do I Get Bad Thoughts Out?”

Gave an hour long seminar last nite on Mental Toughness….  After the talk, someone came up to me and said, “but how do I get the really bad thoughts out?”

You see, I spent an hour talking about building talent to combat anxiety, fear and doubt; controlling your thoughts and images to build confidence, and finished the talk with a mental pre-shot routine….

In general, I answered the question very well: You get the bad thoughts out by remembering good shots, preparing for good shots, visualizing good shots, and trusting your swing….

Specifically, I need to go a little further in my answers.

This is a desperate question (I know, I’ve been there myself).  Most likely, if after an hour discussion on mental toughness this question still comes up, the person asking has had a prolonged period of really bad shots (bunkers shots, in this case)

All he sees is bad bunker shots.  He’s tried dozens of different things to get better, but bad shots still dominate.  Yippie skippie happy thoughts just won’t do it. 

Here’s someone who really needs an intervention.  To get the bad thoughts out by this point, most likely a major supervised overhaul is needed in a person’s technique.  In addition, someone this deep in the well of negative feelings also needs supervised practice.  They need constant feedback to guide their thinking and their technique.  It’s usually a 6-12 week deal (minimum). 

*occasionally, it’s a simple technique issue based on a bad perception.  One lesson and some systematic and consistent practice makes a world of difference…

In the past 5 years, I’ve seen several golfers make complete turn arounds in their putting, chipping and bunker shots.  It takes a significant effort, so it’s very, very rewarding for everyone involved!

In the end, it still comes down to building your talent, and controlling your thoughts…. The task is just a little more demanding.

Summary:  “How does someone get rid of the ‘really’ bad thoughts?”

-Supervised change in technique by a highly qualified professional golf coach
-Supervised practice to receive feedback on both their thinking and their technique
-Conscious build up of positive thoughts and images
-Belief in the new method
-Patience and Trust