Focus on Positive

In golf, and in life, you get more of what you focus on….

Moan and complain about wind, rain, tight fairways, firm bunkers, soft bunkers, slow greens, fast greens…. and all you do is convince yourself that you are right. 

Either stay home, or focus on the positives.  Focus on the challenge of the day.  Decide to enjoy the adverse conditions, or at least toughen up and put in your best effort on every shot!

Most of us would rather be on the golf course…. right?  Well, if that’s true, focus on playing to play great!  You’ll have more fun and you’ll probably play better (and you’ll have more fun even if you don’t)!

The hardest part may be that you have nothing to talk about with the 3 other guys/gals in your group who are complaining about something! 

And he STILL Turns!

The best way to move the ball is with your turn.  Professionals know this, consciously or intuitively.  On difficult shots, much of their preparation is to see how they can set up and then make a somewhat normal turn through the ball. 

Last week at the HERITAGE, Matt Kuchar had a crazy difficult shot off the rocks on hole number 18.  He ended up standing with his right foot well behind him, yet was still able to turn beautifully through the shot, moving the arms and the club through the ball perfectly! 


The Divot Question

Tom Watson is ridiculously talented when it comes to hitting a golf ball.  Joe is absolutely right about him not taking a divot while practicing in the you tube video I sent out a few days ago (click here to watch again)

The question is:  Is that optimal? 

My answer would be emphatically NO, but…… 

Let me explain a little.  Centrifugal force, centripetal force, gravity, as well as action/reaction of impact all heavily suggest that the club and arms should be slightly longer at and past impact that at address.  The result of those forces is a divot. 

Now, the more perfectly balanced a swing is in terms of force and counterforce, the more level and consistent that divot tends to be. 
*Swing plane and angular momentum also have an effect on ones divot….

Bottom line:  Everyone should be at least bumping the earth below the grass when they swing!

Great swings typically take thin strips of grass and ground.  A few, like Greg Norman, JM, and Tom Watson usually just slice the grass right down to the ground. You can’t replace these divots because they just disintegrate. 

As the GRAVITY DRILL build efficiency in the swing, those that take deep, uneven, or off line divots will see them level out…. those that did not take divots or at least bump the ground with great consistency, should see that happen more and more reliably. 

*I’ll finish this by giving a couple of explanations as to why Tom Watson is hitting ridiculously perfect shots without taking a divot in the video posted: 

1.  He’s practicing on the course in this video, and perhaps he is purposely trying to not make a mess
2.  The grass is so perfect, the ball is sitting up as if on a tee, and Tom feels like he can hit is flush without getting deeper into the ground (I’ve been on grass like that…. it’s awesome!)

I’ve studied a few other videos of Tom hitting irons….  He rarely takes much divot, but does tend to BUMP the ground!  That is what I expect from everyone!!! 

Answers to life (well, golf) Questions….

Some great comments lately.   Here are some responses:

Pete Yearout commented on THE HEAVE.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve amended my verbiage when it comes to the HEAVE.  The takeaway should be initiated from the BACK, not from the arms.  I used to say back when referring to the heave…. but it’s too ambiguous, and often leads people to use SHOULDERS, rather than core muscles to get the club moving. 

Now, when I discuss the takeaway (the HEAVE), I talk about THE CORE.  When I mention the back, I discuss the muscles that run from your butt up into your lower back.  I emphasize THE CORE, rather than the upper back as the mover of the club.  Pete, you are right, with the core, you will be ‘connected’ with the HEAVE, If you use the upper body too much, you’ll feel disconnected.  Hope that helps. 

Joe Losek asked why David does not have the ONE LEG swing in his video library.  His one leg drill is too difficult for most to perform, even though it is possibly the best drill to teach counterfall and rotation.  He’s replaced it with the CROSSFOOTED drill, which is also fantastic!!! 

My ONE LEG drill is not in his library simply because it is too easy to CHEAT with the back foot.  He’s concerned about people using the back leg as a crutch.   He’s right (as usual!)

I love the drill, and I impress upon my students the importance of NOT using the back foot as a crutch.  It’s such a great teacher of rotation, as you suggest, that I think it’s worth the risk!

Finally,  Tom Watson and the Divot (or no divot) question. … know what?  I’m going to answer that one in the next blog! 

Thanks everyone! Even Leon    *hope those that suscribe take the time to go to the blog site and check out the comments once and awhile!  

Routing of the Arms

Warning: Slightly more technical discussion- Any golfers suceptible to overthinking/analyzing/changing/fixing their swings, you have my permission to skip this blog! (I’m talking to you! ______________ (psst…Andy, put your name in the blank….  You too Pete! )

Here’s a comment I got from one of my favorite golf ‘thinkers':

To follow up on my post about Rory McIlroy “swinging in the BACKSWING”…In the process of swinging his arms in the backswing, he takes the club back AWAY FROM HIS BODY. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it does make intuitive sense to me if you’re trying to create a swing. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why it makes sense. Perhaps it’s because swinging the club away from your body inherently extends the arms and removes any risk of the arms being cramepd by the body in their “swing” on the backswing. Trevino, one of the all-time great ball striker, did the same thing. He swung his arms “away from the body” on his backswing. Curious as to your thoughts on whether swinging the arms “away from the body” falls in-line with the heave concept.

Here’s my response:  No one should or can tell you exactly which plane to swing on, either in the backswing, or in the thruswing.  Everyone is different, and must discover their own most efficient swing plane.  However, what you are seeing with Rory’s swing is what we call “more efficient routing of the club”.  When the right arm can freely get away from the body and work with proper sequencing, one can create a more physics compliant swing.   Notice that Rory is NOT lifting the club back and away, he’s TURNING, or THROWING the arms into motion.  Now that the tension is out, they can freely fall into the draw plane on his down swing.

In terms of the HEAVE, proper routing of the club is one of David’s highest priorities.  Watch what he has to say about it. *you may have to turn the sound up to hear this clip.  Again, the drills will do the work for you! Don’t over think this!!!

By the way, think about the motion that Clint is referring to and a few players that possess it:  Trevino, Nicklaus, Couples, Kenny Perry, Colin Montgomerie, Scott Hoch, Hale Irwin, and Jim Furyk.  How’s that for a ball striking, play great till forever group of golfers! 

*The more efficient the swing, the longer you can sustain that swing into your golden years!!! 

Perfect Timing

Just got a request from Bill S. to put up some video of the swing to help him with some visuals.  The request could not have been timed better!

On my last blog I discussed turning with your core.  The swing example there was Tom Watson (hard to do much better than that!)….

‘Core turn’ for each golfer may look different, and will most likely feel different.  What’s important is that the powerful back moves the arms into a SWING, rather than the arms moving the arms into the backswing.

With great pleasure, I’m going to refer you to David’s new Gravity Golf website.  Watch Danny Lee (David’s son) do the drills, and I think you’ll get a fantastic visual of THE HEAVE.

This link goes to the section:  Why Drills?  and has a discussion of why the GRAVITY GOLF drills are so effective and important.  On the left hand side you can click and watch various drills.  Watch the “left hand normal swing” and you’ll definitely see the core move the arms!

Maybe one day soon, I’ll be video blogging myself!?

Takeaway is a Powerful Move from the Core

Watched Tom Watson discuss his takeaway last nite with Michael Breed on the Golf Channel.  One of the best ball strikers in the world…. Ever… and he’s tip toeing around the fact that he uses his hips to help him turn into his backswing!

The HEAVE is a powerful move from the core that throws the tension out of the arms, with enough force to sustain the rest of the swing.  NO additional force from the arms is necessary. 

Golf is a game for life.  Golf is a game we tend to play in our later years.  We all get older.  Tom is around 60 years old himself, and hits the ball ridiculously well…  Perhaps more of us should be HEAVING with our core, rather than trying to keep our lower bodies still, while we wind up our shoulders and upper back…. 

It’s sad that the golf world’s understanding of the golf swing is so narrow; based on the looks of angles, planes and body types rather than on the physiology of the body and the laws of physics. 

How can you get the tension out of the arms sufficient to sustain the swing?  How can you create powerful core energy? 

Chances are, you’d be better served using your core like Tom! 

Track and See

Tracking a few simple stats can be a great motivator to train.  Titleist has just launched a free and simple STAT’S TRACKER that I thought some of you might want to check out:

My hope is that you’ll quickly see that some quality chipping, pitching and putting practice can have a shockingly positive effect on your scores!   1 chip.  2 putt.  Your scores will be lower.   

Total Freedom of Motion

No steering, no guiding, no hoping, no trying….  Get a clear picture of what you want to happen, and then freely and fully let the swing go! 

If you’ve been training your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED AND BALANCED FINISH around the forward pivotal axis, swinging freely is the way to go. 

“Expect the best, accept whatever happens.”    PLAY. 

My Beagle is a ’10 handicap’ ball catcher (and a ‘scratch’ sniffer…..).  Calvin has improved tremendously, but he’s no Border collie or Lab when it comes to snatching the tennis ball…  He does, however, PLAY with total freedom.  He holds nothing back, and he has a blast!!! 

P.S. I’m not encouraging stupid golf.  I’m not giving 10 handicap golfers the recommendation to try dumb shots to make up for their last poor shot… Play smart.  Play high percentage shots. And play those with total freedom!  Have a blast playing smart golf.  You’ll hit more good shots.  You’ll shoot lower scores.  You’ll have more fun regardless….

Ah, The Masters!

Great to see some comments posted about the Masters!  Made my morning.  So I’ll address them, and then add my two cents (which now costs a quarter….)

Clint posted a comment about the excitement of the back nine, and that was right in line with what I was going to write about this morning!  Incredible golf yesterday.  Wow! 

Scotty wrote about watching Rory McIlroy up close and in person.  In terms of the GRAVITY GOLF swing, Rory is by far the best of the young guns.  His heave, his total release of tension resulting in total freedom of motion through the ball, and his massive power with spectacular and relaxed balance…  Awesome. He will be contending for a long, long time.

Now, on number 10, he OVER HEAVED.  His arms out raced his core in the backswing therefore he grabbed at the top and hit two big hooks.   It happens, especially to the young.  I was very impressed with how he recovered in terms of his full swing after that.  I feel terrible for Rory having to go through what he did, but I also know his swing, his maturity level, his desire, and his talent will vault him past this tough day at the Masters….  WATCH HIS SWING!!!

My thoughts:  The Masters is the greatest major of the year.  It proves that a course does not need to be freakishly penal to be exciting, or to allow the cream to rise to the top.  I’m so happy the power’s that be, and believe me, it’s their decision probably more than mother nature’s, have allowed the back nine to be like it used to be.  The risk reward factor is phenomenal back there.  The crowds, the course, and of course the incredible talent that is allowed to shine with birdies and eagles is the very reason it’s the feel good major of the year. 

*The others are great and important, but tend to be more of a ‘last man standing’ limp to the finish line… 

Ah, The Masters.  Once again, it did not disappoint.  Simply a blast to watch!