Here’s to a Great 2012!

2011 was a great year of golf, both on the tour and here at home.  I’m excited about 2012, cause I think it’s going to be an even better year! (and I’ll be back up and playing this spring!)

Happy New Year!

*Plan on practicing more and BETTER* this year!  You’ll be rewarded.

*Better practice mean more GRAVITY DRILLS and more SHORT GAME training. 

Free Week!

The week between Christmas and New Year is a great week to just go brain dead.  For many of us, it’s either a short work week, a week off, or simply not a very busy week at all…..  That’s great!

Use it to reboot the system. 

Take the week off from practicing golf.  Or take the week to play with no expectations at all! 

The key is to give the brain a rest, so you can get FIRED UP about golf in 2012!!!  I find that if I relax a bit for a couple of days after Christmas….by the end of the week, I get all fired up about planning great stuff for the new year. 

And as you can tell, I practice what I preach, cause I’ve got nothing else to write about!  My brain is in ‘sleep mode’ (I can hear my brother making a crack about me ALWAYS being in sleep mode….)

Anyway,

Enjoy the week. 

Merry Christmas with a Dash of Great Advice!

Merry Christmas to you all.  I really appreciate your comments and questions, and certainly your participation in my blog. 

Here’s to a fantastic golf year in 2012!

When it comes to training, there is no one I respect more than my wife, J.  She worked harder on her game than anyone I’ve had the privilege to be around in the game.  She also has a great golfing mind.  She’s played competitive golf at the highest level, so when she offers advice on golf, I’m thrilled to share it with you. 

She sent this comment to me after she read my blog on Putting advice:

“Great blog indeed. I always felt it helped me not only to try making those short putts but also to try to make them dead center. (While training and playing)Step up the bar by making your putts dead center… and put a premium on getting the speed perfect.”

Simple advice on focus and confidence. 

Putting Advice For a Beer….

I’ve been thinking a lot about putting lately, for several reasons, so it was a cool surprise to get this question from Rob recently:

“Recently I have been trying the “Phil” method of putting 5′-10′ putts in a circle around the hole. On some of the big breaking putts we have here, I don’t even scare the hole. Before I totally lose my confidence, I return to straight putts which I can make 10 out of 10. Can you talk about different putting drills for us to do on the putting green? Thanks for all of the help, good luck with the rehab and the next Sam Adams is on me!”

I want all my putting drills to answer yes to 1 or more of the below questions: 

1.  Are they improving your skills of starting your ball on your intended line?
2.  Is it improving your ability to roll the ball at an optimal speed?
3.  Is it providing clear feedback?
4.  Is the drill competitive in nature?

So many drills are a waste of precious time on the putting green.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who enthusiastically spends enough time on the putting green.  

I’m not criticizing, rather I’m pointing out that what little time we do spend on the putting green better be spend with SUPER HIGH QUALITY DRILLS if we expect to get anything out of our training.  

Rob, 
Right now, I think the two drills you mentioned above are excellent.  Here’s how I would ‘kick them up a notch’ in terms of QUALITY. 

Begin your training by putting 4 foot straight putts (Golfers with handicaps over 8 should be doing this drill from 3 feet in most cases).  How many in a row can you make?  Spend 10-15 minutes creating new records of 4 footers in a row.  You can stop at 100 in a row if you would like….  The repetition of putting a straight putt is fantastic for motor learning.  You’re body will learn how to make A STROKE.  You’ll learn how to start your ball on your INTENDED LINE… 

Here’s how I would have you do the ‘Phil Drill’.  One day, work on putts from 4-10ft to a quarter or a ball marker.  You’re focus is on rolling the ball over the marker, but more so on DISTANCE CONTROL.  Yup, even on short putts, it’s critically important to roll the ball at a consistent speed.  Especially at your club, where the greens are severely sloped, it’s vitally important for this reason:  SPEED DETERMINED LINE!

So spend 20 minutes going around in a circle, putting putts from 4-10 feet with the intent of rolling the ball past the marker 4-15 inches past the hole with great consistency…..  As your speed control improves (and it will with this drill, because you will see all putts roll out rather than fall into the cup….), your skill of green reading will improve

The next day, putt ‘around the world’ from 4-5feet.  Take just 5 balls and ‘randomly’ toss them around the cup approximately 4-5 feet away*.  Now putt these 5 balls and repeat 10 times.  In my head, I like to keep track of how many out of 10 putts (or two reps) I make.  After 50 putts, figure out how many out of 50 you made.  Now you have a record (and a percentage of putts made) and you simply try to beat that record next time around.  If you can get up above 70% of makes, you’ll be putting great on the course!!!

Yikes, that was a bigger blog than I intended for this morning…. The good news is that just with these two drills, you’ll see big improvements on the green!  We’ll discuss how to finish up your putting training in the weeks to come. 

As for now, I’m done for the day….  And this blog was better than expected, so it will cost you at least 2 Sam Adams! 

*putt one ball from the STRAIGHT line.  Find a straight putt and place a tee near by so each run around the hole, you can putt one perfectly straight putt to make sure you stroke stays true!

You Have Not ‘Lost It’….

From mid November thru sometime in February I hear golfers tell me that their game is gone….. 

  • “Worst game ever.”
  • “I have no idea how to play anymore….”
  • “I’ve completely lost it!”

 

On another day, I’ll write an article about the mental pitfalls of the above comments, but for now, let me just assure you that you have not lost ‘it’. 

You are simply not swinging with the laws of physics at the moment!  Your instincts are to lift, strike and steer…..  The colder weather restricts your turn….  and most likely, you have not been practicing as much and IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS as you were over the summer…. 

Basically, as Dr. Rick Jensen says so eloquently, “You’ve just gotten bad.”

The great news is that you are reading this blog!  The great news is that you understand THE GRAVITY GOLF SWING and how it works. 

If you are not hitting the ball well,  you KNOW that you are using your arms too much!  You KNOW that you are probably steering or striking (or both) and that will always cause the club path to be bumped off line….. 

You also KNOW how to get your swing back!   Get on the range and in the DRILLS!  HEAVE the tension out of the arms….  Let GRAVITY AND ROTATION create path integrity.  Allow the ball to get in the way of the swing!!!   Really work on Balance, core turn, and impact with the short shots! 

You no longer have the golfers age old excuse of ‘confusion’.  You are the few who KNOW. 

If you won’t get to the range (and I understand.  The weather is bad, the holidays, etc…..), then take a GRAVITY DRILL practice swing on the course….. 

And if you just aren’t motivated to train in the ‘off season’ because you need time to re-energize for next years training….. Then just try to finish in balance on every swing, enjoy the scenery and the company…. and be AT EASE. 

It’s all good. 

Up On The Toes!

Got a great question about the golf swing a couple days ago:

“An observation while watching Tiger win this weekend, at impact Tiger (as well as many accomplished players)  is on his toes (the toes of both the right and left feet), especially when swinging a driver. How can you counterfall when you are on your toes?”

 The counterfall is a critical element of the MOST EFFICIENT golf swing, what I refer to as the GRAVITY SWING.  If a golfer is on his toes, or lifting his/her heels during the impact segment of their swings, then they are clearly NOT COUNTERFALLING….. 

Is this a problem with the theory of GRAVITY GOLF?  After all,  some of the best players in the world, including Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Camilo Villegas, Natalie Gulbis, and even the great Bobby Jones lifted their heels thru impact….

There is no problem with GRAVITY GOLF.  Remember, David Lee suggests that GRAVITY GOLF is the most efficient way to move a golf ball, not the only way.  The heels lifting off the ground is simply an indication of a reaction to a downward force of the arms and shoulders in the swing.  A few great athletes can make this compensation with great consistency and play at the highest level…. 

Having said that, I would also like to add a couple of points.  In many cases, these arm/shoulder players tend to be erratic drivers of the golf ball, …..  Secondly, to play at such high levels with these compensative motions is extremely difficult. 

If you were to go on YouTube and watch Lee Trevino, Freddy Couples, Tom Watson and even Rory McIlroy swing their drivers you would notice that there is NO lifting of the left heel in the impact area….  Coincidentally,  these players are some of the greatest drivers of the golf ball in the history of golf…. 

So the heel lift is a compensating move.  Many great players make it and play just fine.  I don’t recommend it, and I do think it is a VIVID illustration of FORCE and COUNTERFORCE at work!

I’ll end with this:  Tiger rarely if ever lifts his heels while hitting a 7 iron.  He is also one of the best iron players EVER.  

It’s not something to focus on!  If you let the arms fall, and move the arms, club and ball with counterfall and rotation….   you’ll be just fine.

Hope that answers that.  Thanks,

3 Priorities for Better Winter Golf, part III

We’ve officially had a couple of ‘Winter days’ up here in New Bern, NC.  Now, our definition of winter is far less severe than that of my friends up in New England, so let’s be clear…..  Playing golf in temperatures under 55 degrees can really have an adverse effect on your golf swing.  As the temperature drops lower, all your swing errors are exaggerated…..  


So, focus on 3 priorities in your golf game this winter!

1.  FINISH WITH A FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH (As discussed in a previous blog)


2.  CORE TURN.  Cold weather tightens up the muscles in the body.  Blood naturally goes away from the extremities in order to protect the vital organs.  We wear extra clothing which further restricts our movements….  The less we turn, the more we use our arms.  This is a recipe for bad golf.  It’s one of the major reasons (that and lack of consistent practice) why almost all golfers play poorly every winter.  


3.  IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS OF IMPACT!  Yes, impact becomes critical in the winter months.  Specifically, impact skills around the green.  As the grasses go dormant, the ball lays closer to the ground.  During the winter months, the ground itself tends to go through extremes of wet and dry, depending on the weather.  This adds up to TOUGHER SHORT SHOTS!  

Make it a priority to work on your skills of impact around the greens.  Spend time every week working on getting your chip and pitch swings to BUMP THE GROUND more consistently in the same place!  

The key here is to let GRAVITY work.  Let the club fall and it will hit the ground every time.  This is a critical element in the short shots.  If the club isn’t hitting the ground every time, then you will really struggle with winter golf.  With very little grass as a buffer, swings that don’t let the club fall to the ground end up being skulled shots, and the results of those are highly unpredictable…..  

Equally important, is allowing the club to hit the ground in the right place! If you hit the ground too soon, the club will stick or bounce depending on the texture of the surface….

It’s a skill, no doubt, but one worth working on all year long.  You should be spending time every week focusing on  your impact with chips and pitches!  I find the best way to do this is with LOTS AND LOTS of PRACTICE SWINGS!   3-10 before every shot!  Yup, 3-10 focusing on letting the club bump the ground in the right location!  Really pay attention to allowing the club to bump the ground at and past where the ball would be on your chip shots.   

Make it a priority to be better at this skill every week, and I have no doubt that you will be a better golfer this winter and beyond!  

3 simple priorities….. BALANCE.  CORE TURN.  YOUR SKILLS OF IMPACT.  Get to it!  


3 Priorities for Better Winter Golf, Part II

You can play to your handicap in the winter.  You do not have to play lousy golf along side all the other golfers who suffer through the winter….  Have 3 priorities while you train:

1.  FINISH WITH A FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH (As discussed in the previous blog)

2.  CORE TURN.  Cold weather tightens up the muscles in the body.  Blood naturally goes away from the extremities in order to protect the vital organs.  We wear extra clothing which further restricts our movements….  The less we turn, the more we use our arms.  This is a recipe for bad golf.  It’s one of the major reasons (that and lack of consistent practice) why almost all golfers play poorly every winter. 

*Using the arms to move the arms and club in the golf swing will ALWAYS throw the swing arc off it’s path.  You are doomed to rely on your ability to compensate on EVERY swing you make.
    
    Good news!  You can train in a manner that will not only help your winter golf, it will show huge dividends come next spring and beyond!!!!  The key is to TRAIN THE CORE WITH GRAVITY DRILLS all winter long. 

**The UPROUTE and/or THE FRONTROUTE drills are by far the best and most important drills to be doing ALL YEAR (I MEAN WINTER) LONG!!!! 

If you train in these drills at least 90% of the time with your full swings, you will play better winter golf, and be training to play great warm weather golf!!! Think of winter training as just that…. Off season training like professional athletes do that make them better when the season begins!  Forget about your regular swing on the range this winter!  TRAIN IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS and BAM! You’re a better golfer. 

To be continued…..

3 Priorities for Better Winter Golf, Part I

I feel the urge to send out a reminder on how to play better golf in the cold weather around this time of year…. 

Make these 3 things a PRIORITY in your training throughout the winter months and I know you will take money from your non-gravity golf buddies all throughout the winter!

1.  FINISH WITH A FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH.   I may have mentioned this on before….  It is a pre-requisite for consistent golf all year round, and must be a priority when the cold weather tightens up your golf swing!  ‘Nuf said. 

To be continued……

….Full Disclosure:  I blogged in such a frantic manner for the first few months when I started this site, I’ve written out the bulk of my best stuff already…..  (If you are faily new to my blog, take some time and check out my archives…. There is some great stuff in there!)

That being said, I now rely more and more on your comments and questions!  Since there has been a lull in questions, I’m breaking this blog into 3 parts!  Cheesy, I know

Send me questions, comments, or suggestions!

….And be on the look out for the next 2 priorities! They will have a tremendous impact on your golf game!