Category Archives: Golf Swing

How Phil’s Win Can Help You Play Better!

Congrats to Phil, what a spectacular win yesterday at Pebble Beach. 

Here are 2 things you can learn from his victory:

1.  He has been practicing great over the last 6 weeks and yet until this week, his results have been less than desirable……  

Phil knew that his training was top level.  He had tremendous confidence in what he was working on and just kept plugging away….. 

We can all trust that results will follow!  Sometimes it seems that the drills will never kick in on the golf course.  Sometimes we have a bad stretch of golf, or the proverbial ‘worst round of our lives….’, even while practicing consistently….  Phil showed us again that the past does not equal the future.   If your training is solid, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS! 

Stick with the drills.  And BELIEVE!

2.  Phil stopped thinking about mechanics with his putter.  It’s hard to believe that a golfer as gifted as Phil continually falls into the bad habit of THINKING MECHANICS while on the course, and even worse in competition….  He made the decision a few weeks back to simply look at the putts and trust.  Commit to that mind set and the strokes will become more fluid and reliable!!!!   Practice, but more importantly,  LOOK AND REACT! Don’t think about your putting stroke!

*Especially in the winter, when every mistake is magnified, it’s easy to think you need to change or fix your swing too much….  What you need is CONSISTENT AND SYSTEMATIC TRAINING!!!!  And then you need to TRUST YOUR SWING. 

Balance Check!

Time for a Balance check.  Is finishing in a FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED position a priority in your game? 

-Are you finishing with ALL your weight on your forward pivotal axis? (forward leg)
-Are you finishing fully turned so your belt buckle is facing left of the target? (for right handed golfers….)
-Are you relaxed and balanced?  Able to hang out in this position for as long as it takes to go over this check list? 

If you are NOT in balance, are you fighting after a swing to put yourself into the correct position?  You should be!

If you are NOT in balance are you taking practice swings in between shots in order to improve your balance?  You should be!

Burn the image of Freddy Couples finish in your mind.  He’s basically just chillin’ on his forward pivotal axis as he watches his ball fly towards the target.  He’s clearly FULLY TURNED and relaxed. 

I’m not saying this is easy at first, only that it ESSENTIAL to strive for!!!!

A balanced and relaxed, fully rotated finish is not a cure all, but it is a pre-requisite for a more consistent swing*!

*Swing being a critical word in the above statement.

A Swing is a Swing….

If the arms are swinging…. Then gravity and centrifugal force can keep the club on path.

A swing is a swing.

A muscular movement of the club with the arms is not a swing….

A lifting into the backswing is not a swing…..

Getting quick from the top is not a swing…..

Striking at the ball is not a swing….

Being in anything less than a fully rotated, relaxed balanced finish is an indication that you did not swing.

I recommend an obsession with a swing!

Here’s the recipe:

HEAVE the tension out of the arms
ALLOW your body to fall naturally into the forward pivotal axis.
ALLOW gravity and full rotation around the pivotal axis to sling the club on a predictable path.
NOTICE on every swing how you finished.  Fully turned?  Relaxed arms and shoulders? Solidly balanced on the forward leg? 

Repeat in omne tempus

Brain Basic and Golf

Let’s begin the new year by going over some basics…. 

First, we must understand that the brain, in it’s attempt to help out, tends to destroy a the golf swing in 2 ways:

1.  Through proprioception, we tend to HUNT the golf ball.  This hunting or striking instinct is great for killing a snake.  It’s probably the number one reason why almost all golfers struggle at the game. 

A high priority for every golfer should be to learn how to swing through a ball…. Never at a ball…. 

2.  In the brain’s attempt to get the most power out of a shot, we tend to flex the arms and shoulders on every downswing…..  This flexing of the arms and shoulders always throws the club off path (due to Newton’s 3rd law of physics) which demands another compensation or luck in order for the ball to end up close to it’s intended target.  It’s inefficient at best, massively destructive in most cases…. 

THERE ABSOLUTELY IS a way to tame that inner beast in the downswing!  It’s called THE HEAVE!!!  If the powerful core (your back) throws the heavy arms (yes, the arms of an average sized adult male weight about 30 pounds….) into a swing that has enough force to sustain the entire golf swing, the brain senses that there is enough energy to move the ball powerfully with path integrity!  That means that the arms are left to simply fall, and be carried around consistently by gravity and rotation….. 

Don’t believe me?  It’s easy to see in many of the world’s best athletes….  In golf, we marvel at the ease in which Freddy Couples, Ernie Els, and Rory McIlroy swing.  They are swinging with great power, but also with extreme efficiency!

KNOW that it is not a mystery!  KNOW that you can train the body to avoid the brain’s instincts.  The answer lies in the GRAVITY DRILLS.  A tiny percentage of golfers (I mean .001% tiny) can either stumble into an effortless swing, or hit enough balls everyday to overcome inefficiencies….  Everyone can improve their games with consistent and systematic training in the drills. 

Why are the drills so important?  Because of the 2 brain basics I discussed above.  You will always fight those instincts unless you can basically BEAT THEM out of you with the GRAVITY DRILLS. 

Get to work!  Train in the drills!  Ask me questions!  We can make 2012 the best golfing year yet! 

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! 

My Right Leg

So the knee is improving….  ever so slowly.  I’m able to put a decent amount of weight on it for short periods of time….

It made me think this morning about how I need that knee and leg for my golf swing!

My right leg does not do a whole bunch in the golf swing.  I don’t need it to fire into the golf ball on the down swing.   It doesn’t have to ‘muscle up’ in order to sustain knee flex, or leg angle in my back swing…

It does need stability!  It does need to have the strength to handle all my mass being displaced into it for a short amount of time in the back swing.  It also needs the strength to handle the rotating forces of the upper body after the heave being worked against by the leg and foot being anchored into the ground (my ACL hurts just thinking about a full turn into the backswing…..)

Most importantly, with a strong right leg, I don’t have to think at all about it after set up.  Once it is set,  physiology and physics will automatically do the rest!  With a proper HEAVE into the backswing, the stable right leg will allow the body’s mass to fall seamlessly back into the LEFT PIVOTAL AXIS (left leg). 

You don’t have to ‘DO’ anything with the back leg….  You just need it set up correctly and strong enough to handle the forces of the heave so that the swing can work with GRAVITY AND ROTATION!

Patience……  my right leg will soon be strong again. 

So What’s the Big Gap?

I watched a lot of golf last week.  At one point it this question came up, “What can they do that my students can’t do?” (‘THEY’ being President’s Cup professionals)

I began to look at the golf swings in a slightly different way.  
First, let’s take Bubba Watson and Jason Day out of the equation.  I’m honestly not sure yet what Bubba has going on in his swing and Jason, like Camilo Villegas, uses his arm muscles with greater success than most could ever expect….  
But the rest?  
Well, they are certainly extremely talented.  They have tremendous motor patterns which allow them to repeat at a high level of consistency.  They train several hours a day, almost every day with great technique which also sends them to another level of sensitivity and consistency….  
Putting those things aside, there is no reason golfers can’t play with much greater consistency.  Without their dedication and talent, you may not become a +8 hdcp and shoot mid 60’s on a regular basis, but you can certainly play golf in the 70’s, or low 80’s!!!
They are not doing anything that is not possible for most of us!
     *(like say dunking a basketball, or sacking a quarterback or hitting a 88mph slider…..)
They practice their putting more often and with greater precision.  They build a repeatable stroke. That just takes commitment to putting straight 3 foot putts over time.  That takes swinging the arms rather than steering/striking with the putter…. We can all do this.  
They chip with weight firmly on their forward leg.  They swing their arms and use a small turn from the core to move the club.  WE CAN ALL DO THIS!  You can keep your weight on your forward leg!  All pro’s have weight firmly into the forward leg.  Almost all amateurs let weight fall back to the back leg…..  You can fix this and chip better!
Most of the President’s Cup golfers use HEAVE and BALANCE to swing their arms on a predictable path.  You can all do less with your arms and more with your core.  You can all improve your ability to FINISH IN BALANCE!  
So while you play and practice, pay attention to some simple things: 
1.  Do you practice your putting enough?  Do you putt 3 ft straight putts 3-5 times a week?
2.  Do you chip,pitch and bunker with your weight into your forward leg?  At the end of your swing, is the weight even further into the forward side, or has it moved back?  
3. Are you getting the tension out and leaving the tension out of your arms and shoulders throughout the swing? 
4.  Are you finishing in a FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH with great regularity on your FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS?
We both know you can.  It’s up to you to make it a priority.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!