Category Archives: Observations

Impact- It’s ESSENTIAL

Hitting the ball pure and accurate is more rewarding than hitting it far. Don’t forget that, ever.” -Moe Norman

If golfers are to obsess (and many of them do), it should be about impact to the target, not about mechanics. 

Allowing the club to move through a golf ball, sending it off on a tangent to the club’s arc (no steering or guiding!!) should be a major part of one’s training. 

There is a reason that so many great players hit a ton of small shots on the range.  They are learning power and accuracy through IMPACT.  They are building skills that transfer to bigger swings….. 

Build your skills of impact.  Moe knows golf. 

The Pull of a Bad Perception

I see it almost daily on the practice green.  Golfers train towards the exact wrong power supply…. The perception of chipping/pitching is often to keep the body still and simply move the arms through the ball and chase the flight line. 

Even golfers that have studied the correct technique tend to fall back into the pattern of less turn, and more arms over time….  That’s the pull of a bad perception. 

Making the GRAVITY DRILLS part of a life long routine can often COMPLETELY CHANGE one’s perceptions, so you never go back to those bad ones…. 

More importantly for now, just know that if you begin to chip/pitch poorly, most likely you need to SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT INTO YOUR FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS, DO LESS WITH YOUR ARMS (AFTER YOU HEAVE THEM INTO A SWING) AND MORE WITH YOUR TURN*!  Yes, even on small chip shots, TURN TURN TURN!!!  This rotation is a major key to a more efficient swing. 

I’ve NEVER told a golfer that they turn too much.  Never seen it, yet. 

*I’m specifically speaking of the forward turn that will sling the arms and club on a predictable path through the ball.  No steering, guiding, chasing needed. 

Aware?

Take 4 practice swings.  On a scale of 1-5, how well did you swing into balance?  Are you fully turned?  Relaxed?  Can you hold that finish position steady for a while?  Rate your practice swing on smoothness and balance. 

As your numbers approach 4 and 5, begin to swing more powerfully….  See if you can still get a sense of smoothness with great balance at the end. 

Now hit 4 shots.  On a scale of 1-5, how well did you swing into balance? 

Not only will you learn how to transfer the feelings of your practice swing into your real swing, you’ll probably also become very aware of 2 things:

1.  The instinct to strike at the ball (bad)
2.  Results of impact and ball flight will overwhelm most golfers, keeping them from improving balance, the critical element in improving impact and ball flight….  

If you can recognize and overcome this desire to scrap balance once a ball is present, you can really begin to work on your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH!!!!  Improvment is then pretty much guaranteed…

Now repeat.  4 swings, no ball into balance.  4 swings with a ball.  Simply judge on smoothness and balance. 

BAM!  You’re better. 

Question Answered.

In the comment section on my blog, Joe asked “Throwing the club” is the key concept promoted in “Extraordinary Golf”. It may be difficult to implement, but have you or David Lee ever considered developing a drill whereby the student actually throws the club at the true target?”

Here’s my answer:

Joe, Extraordinary Golf is a fantastic book written by Fred Shoemaker.  One that I recommend everyone read.  One of the coolest experiences in my teaching career has been watching people literally throw clubs out to their targets….  I did this for years when I was in Gainesville, Florida. 

Everyone had ‘lag’.  No one EVER came ‘over the top’.  Posture, grip pressure and balance ALWAYS improved…

When a student could transfer the feelings of THROWING to the golf swing, I saw INSTANT changes in their swings, for the better.  Truly a remarkable drill. 

*the challenge is finding a space to throw.  I learned real fast after students hit buildings, cars, lost clubs in trees, etc….  that I need a vast open space in which to THROW.   Because golfers have a kill instinct directed at the ball, they flip the hands early on the first few throws and sling the club dead left or even backwards….  It’s hilarious and really dangerous!  Love the drill… But if you try it…  start with really small swings, and be in a very large open and empty space. 

**The range at Snee Farm is too small to throw clubs….  I’ve done it a couple times at the back of the range, and one time thinking I was brilliant, I brought a student out to hole number 18.  At about 180yards from the green, I had him set up in the middle of the fairway and THROW a club down the fairway….  The club ended up getting stuck in the big live oak to the left….. Think about that!  Took us a couple of hours to get down. 

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! 

WATCH THIS

Fascinating….

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. 

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………………………

Instincts

Interesting thing about instincts….  They don’t go away easily.  I’ve mentioned (bragged, whatever) several times in my blog about being fully trained as a Gravity Golfer.  That means that my core dominates my swing, my tempo is created by gravity (the most consistent form of rhythm that exists) and power and accuracy  occur due to counter force, centrifugal force, and other bits of physics I don’t really need to be concerned with (they happen to me!). 

It most importantly means that I own my golf swing.  I can take days off, weeks off, whatever, and I still know exactly how to swing a golf club.  It’s not something I have to re-find or fix, rather I just have to allow it to happen after a good Heave
but…

Let’s say the weather is atrocious for several weeks at a time.  Instead of living a normal life of a golf pro where I’ve got a club in my hand most every day to teach, practice, whatever, I am basically slumped over my computer or doing very non-golfing things day in and day out (perhaps like some of you?). 

Bottom line:  I’m tight. 

Before I went out to play yesterday, I decided to run to the range because I didn’t want my tightness to mess with my first few swings of the day. 

I immediately began with the FRONT ROUTE drill and hit about 50 balls (all but 5 in the FRONT ROUTE).  It was fascinating!  The first ball I topped so bad it indented the ground and went about 15 feet.  The next 15 were sculled….  They went head high and sent shocks through my fingers. 

Did I forget how to swing?  NO!!!  Because I was tight, I was unable to turn freely and fully in order to get and KEEP all the tension out of my arms….  Because of my lack of turn, my arms INVOLUNTARILY hunted the golf ball in order to help me make contact and create power.  This hunt almost always backfires, causing plane changes due to Newton’s 3rd law of physics (for every action, a pulling of the arms at the ball, there is a reaction…  a plane change)…

The best news is that I just kept doing the FRONT ROUTE.  I know exactly what a bad shot is telling me (and it’s easy to learn in the GRAVITY GOLF SYSTEM .  Physics rarely lies), so I simply keep trying to turn the tension out of my arms with a powerful heave, and then let the rest of the swing happen due to gravity and rotation.  About 25-30 balls into my session, I began to hit beautiful shots and went on to play a solid round of golf (even in 39 degree, very wet weather). 

NO FIXES.  No over thinking…  I just let my heave over ride my instinct to strike by staying in the drills. 

Instincts die hard.  That’s why we must think of the Gravity Drills as LIFETIME DRILLS. 

Getting The Most Out of Your Training

So I’ve practiced the last few days, and boy did I enjoy it! 

About 15 years ago I spent a ton of time researching what I believed to be the most beneficial golf drills.  I wanted the quality of the drill to be as high as possible, so I could make the most out of my time.  (and my tour pros, collegiate players and my other students could see results faster!)

The result is that when I train, I ALWAYS know exactly how I’m going to practice, and I KNOW it will sharpen my skills quickly. 

Most golfers are in a constant search for new drills, or new mechanics, and I believe that to be a massive waste of time and energy. 

Train systematically and consistently in high quality drills, and you will build the skills necessary to play better golf. 

Best putting drill:   A straight 3 foot putt.  Putt 30-100 3 times a week. 

Best full swing drill:  Front route drill .   Builds core dominance in your swing, forces the brain to stop hunting the ball and allows the simple physics of GRAVITY and ROTATION to dominate the swing.  This drill is too important to attempt a full explanation in a blog.  For those who know it,  KEEP DOING IT!

And by the way, I consider most of my drills to be LIFETIME DRILLS…..  Not something you do for a while and then move on.