Disturbing Trend….

Reading a book called:  The Return of the 4 Hour Round.  My friends down at Snee Farm are very fortunate that golf is still played in about 4 hours, because that is not true in many places anymore, and almost non existent in tournament play(even at ‘The Farm’….&nbsp

The author cited reports that over the last 4 decades, tournament golf has gone from just under 3 hours, to well over 5 hours, and sometimes 6 hours!!!!

*Would not have believed the 6 hour round if I had not witnessed it here at Carolina Colours Golf Club during an ETour event

Makes me shiver….   Golf can always be played in 4 hours or less, and it’s the responsibility of the golfers who are playing slow to make it happen (not the marshals!)

…. Maybe the disturbing trend is just how selfish slow golfers are.  They so often feel entitled to play at whatever damn pace they choose. 

Final note:  Polite golfers often take too much time in a new group.  Need help looking for your ball?  Who’s away? Who has honors? Should I mark that putt? etc…. It’s understandable, because golf is such a game of integrity and good sportsmanship.  Someone must speak out, however,  and make READY GOLF the priority!  Talk about etiquette and you’ll find almost everyone would rather play fast than with perfect etiquette. 

The slogan I’m trying to instill in my club members:   PLAY FAST, HAVE FUN. 

To Dig or to Dent?

A little more on FIRM SAND. 

Professionals love wet sand and firm sand.  Now at some point that changes from excitement to dismay as it reaches a certain firmness. 

No one loves the shots where you are led to believe that the sand is soft enough only to find the club bouncing back up into the golf ball because 1/2 inch under the sand is like BRICK!!!

As the sand gets firmer, or the depth of ‘soft sand’ decreases, the shot begins to get a bit tricky.  To some extent, you should be able to make an educated guess as to the depth of the ‘soft sand’ by walking into the bunker and gain a little more info as you ‘take your stance’ by wiggling your feet into the sand. 

Golf professionals want to open up the club face a little and SPLASH the sand (and ball) out of the sand.  It’s the shot they practice most, it’s the most predictable in terms of distance control and spin, mostly because it matches the DESIGN OF THE CLUB with proper technique. 

So the first consideration is:  CAN I INTRODUCE THE BOUNCE (SOLE) OF THE CLUB INTO THE SAND ON THIS SHOT?   If I lead with the BOUNCE,  will it be able to DENT the sand deep enough to get under and stay under the ball???

If the answer is yes, even if a little more DOWNWARD FORCE IS NEEDED,  it’s the shot we’ll choose!  (*remember, if you need a little more downward force, you’ll also need to manually add a little more rotational force because the downward force will destroy rotational force!  It’s rotational motion that keeps the club moving level….)

If my guess is that the thick BOUNCE on my club will not be able to get underneath this ball and STAY underneath the ball….  I then have to use the LEADING EDGE of the club (what I call ‘THE DIGGER’)  I’ll deloft the club at address so that the leading edge will be the first thing to hit the sand…  ‘THE DIGGER’ will then cut into the sand behind the ball and as long as I’m rotating around the PIVOTAL AXIS (have I mentioned the importance of the pivot???)  I should be able to splash the sand and ball out of the bunker. 

*****TECHNIQUE/SKILL is extremely important with these shots.  You must BUILD YOUR SKILLS OF IMPACT and ROTATION. 

*****Any attempt to lift, scoop, strike, or steer will engage the hands and arms and in most cases destroy the shot.  You’ll hit the sand too soon, or not at all, and DISASTER will ensue…. 

*Note, firm sand offers less resistance than soft sand.  Therefore, the ball will go further out of firm sand with the same swing energy. 

FINAL THOUGHT:  If your technique is not getting better, PRACTICE!!!  If it still does not improve, see a professional….  In the mean time, I suggest PUTTING OUT of really firm sand, even if you have to go out sideways….  

Technique Matters

But first:

HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY TO MOM AND DAD!!! 

OK,

A little more discussion on bunker play.  Soft sand is easier on the brain for high handicap golfers.  Taking too much sand is no good, but it isn’t as demoralizing as bouncing off hard sand into the golf ball and watching said ball get drilled 80 yards over the green…. 

Let’s discuss FIRM SAND TECHNIQUE.  

Remember that improving SKILL is critical to improving your game.  Recognize that complying with the laws of physics is the best way to improve one’s efficiency. 

OK, the SKILL to improve on firm sand is the SKILL OF IMPACT.  It’s the SKILL of ALLOWING the club to fall into the sand a little bit behind the ball (1-3 inches approx.).   To make this more efficient, it’s important to ROTATE the club forward with PIVOT, rather than with hands and arms.  The hands and arms are not very good at moving the club LEVEL.  Without PIVOTAL ROTATION, the club will too easily BOUNCE back up into the golf ball…. 

THUMP AND TURN.  You just have to be more PRECISE out of firm sand…. 

TIP:  NO WEIGHT SHIFT NECESSARY!  KEEP YOUR WEIGHT INTO THE FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS THROUGHOUT THE SWING.  Simply SWING the arms back, then TURN the arms and club through the shot.  Any weight shift makes it very difficult to get into a consistent PIVOTAL AXIS. 

….We’ll go one step further in the next blog:  TO DIG, OR TO DENT? 

Soft Bunker Sand….

Ugh, tough stuff. 

Equipment is important when it comes to the really soft sand.  The club you choose should have plenty of ‘bounce’ on the bottom.  If it doesn’t, it just makes the shot that much harder.

12 or more degrees of bounce will help the club skid forward through the sand… less bounce than that and the club is more likely to simply get sucked down into the sand…. 

With great technique, you can still hit quality shots with little bounce, it’s just a bit tougher…

Here’s the real key (I’m sure you all be shocked by this):   THE SOFTER THE SAND, THE MORE YOU MUST ROTATE AROUND THE FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS TO KEEP THE CLUB MOVING FORWARD THROUGH THE SAND!

Full rotation is critical with soft sand.  The club must THUMP the sand (GRAVITY), and the turning of the body around the forward pivotal axis will sling the arms and club forward through the sand. 

*Bottom line:  FINISH YOUR SWING FULLY TURNED, WEIGHT COMPLETELY ON FORWARD LEG, ARMS RELAXED AND FINISHED HIGH…. (yet relaxed)

**In general, soft sand creates more resistance than firmer sand.  A golfer must swing a bit fuller to move the ball a given distance compared with firmer sand. 

Keep it simple.  Splash the sand, FINISH IN BALANCE.

By Far

YE Yang is playing some incredible golf.  His swing and putting stroke are great to watch for all of you looking for a great visual of a GRAVITY GOLF SWING….

Lee Westwood, Robert Garrigus, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar are a couple others playing impressively. 

Yes, the rain softened the course a little.  The heat wilted the rough a little, but do not for a moment think that Congressional is playing easy! 

…. And then there is Rory.  Possibly the best golf we’ve ever seen to this point.  The play this week has been great to watch.  I love watching great golf on a great golf course, rather than the usual US OPEN ‘train wreck’. 

Hope today they set the course up fairly and let these guys play.  THESE GUYS ARE RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. 

Build a Bank Account of Good Swings

Good shots build confidence and free up a swing….  bad shots can often destroy confidence and lead to steering, guiding, trying, indecision, etc…  

I know most golfers would shoot lower scores, have more fun and build better golf swings if they played within themselves….  

Hit clubs and shots you are most likely to have successful outcomes with early in the round.  It might mean laying up or playing away from the pin, but if the shots come off more successfully, I am confident that you will play better golf in the long run. 

Golfers that constantly go for broke, that try to make up shots with miracle shots, that say golf is only fun if you go for it….   well, they don’t play good golf (there are a tiny few exceptions, and they can have at it) and they most certainly are not consistent. 

Bottom line.  Hit more shots that you have a higher percentage of pulling off.  Throughout 18 holes, and most certainly throughout a season, you golf swing will improve, your scores will be better (and more consistent), and that I have no doubt will translate into more enjoyment on the course. 

*Lay up with a 5 iron on a par 5 instead of trying to hit a perfect 3 wood to the green
*hit a hybrid or iron off a short par 4 instead of driver….

Why?  Simple, cause you can!  It’s an opportunity to build confidence with a club or shot you are more likely to pull off! 

Something You Don’t Hear Good Golfers Say….

“No, I’m not going to the range today.  I don’t want to waste all my good shots….”

“No range for me.  It doesn’t help my game anyway….”

Listen, I have no problem with someone who is too cheap, too lazy, too busy, or doesn’t particularly care how they play…..   I’m guilty of many of those at times….  But don’t kid yourself by thinking practice won’t help. 

Sincerely,

Grumpy the Pro

****US OPEN THIS WEEK!   Can’t wait! 

A Pete Dunham Favorite: BALANCE!

If golfers would make BALANCE more important than short term impact results, I know many more players would see significant improvement in their games….  Here’s another attempt to get that point across:

Click here to read this article by my friend George Connor at connorgolf.com

What?  You didn’t click on the link above?  Why?  Go back up there and read the article.  It won’t take long, but may have a powerful impact on your golf! 

“Take a Little Off the Shot”

Less than full swings should be easier than full swings…. right?  They can be if you understand the ‘recipe’ for successful ‘less than full’ swings. 

HEAVE and PIVOT are the key to less than full swings.  Understand and train these concepts and your wedges and those ‘in between’ shots will really become alot easier!

The most efficient way to keep the club moving ‘on plane’, or with path integrity is with GRAVITY and ROTATION.  On all swings, the body rotates around the forward pivotal axis (left leg for right handed golfers).  that internal rotation will sling the arms and club through the ball.

So one key is to make sure you are allowing the body to rotate into the finish of the swing…..

Once we KNOW that  we will move the arms and club with our forward rotation for all swings,  less than full swings simply become a matter of HEAVE DURATION. 

“The HEAVE is a powerful move from the core that throws the tension out of the arms with sufficient force to sustain the swing.” 

Basically, the HEAVE is the body’s way of creating a SWING!  Once the force is created, the arms and club simply SWING!  GRAVITY and ROTATION take care of the rest. 

On less than full swings, it’s critical to still use your core to toss your arms into a swing.  In the most simple terms:  Toss your arms back with a little less force, or use a slightly smaller HEAVE.  The body and arms will run out of momentum sooner, creating a less powerful swing.

KEYS:  use your core, even on smaller swings (biggest mistake golfers make is using arms to hit smaller shots)
             SLING the arms with your followthru!  There should be acceleration through the ball on these swings…  no steering or guiding!

If you struggle, you KNOW that you are using your arms too much.  Keep working the GRAVITY DRILLS and allow GRAVITY to meet rotation.  It’s an awesome thing when you can confidently hit those ‘in between’ shots!