Pardon the Interuption….

Just noticed it’s been 9 days since my last blog!  Yikes.  My apologies.  Most of you know by now that things have changed pretty drastically for me in the last 7 days…. 

My apologies for the break in the blog.  Think of it as a great time to go to and REVIEW!!!!

Every year, Nicklaus would spend time with Jack Grout, and then later in his career with Jim Flick reviewing his grip, stance, posture and alignment…. 

Some of my best posts were written in the first few months of this blog.  Hope you take a few minutes to get a refresher!  I’ll be back. 

Have any questions?  Comments?  Please send them along, it will definitely help me to get back to writing.  Thanks,

*One week ago I accepted the position of Director of Golf at 2 clubs in Mt. Pleasant, SC- Snee Farm and Rivertowne.  Though I’m extremely excited for my upcoming opportunity, I’m also very sad to be leaving Carolina Colours Golf Club.  Great community, terrific staff and employers, and an awesome golf course.  We were a great fit and I truly loved my time here as Head professional.  I’ve got a few more weeks here in New Bern, NC to wrap things up.  My mind will be deep into organizing things up here as well as planning my new adventures down in Charleston!

The Club is Left Behind

I try very hard when I teach to not offer too much advice on specific things to ‘feel’.  The human body and mind are so diverse, trying to tell someone what to feel in a golf swing is wishful thinking at best, destructive in many cases……

Having said that, I’m now going to attempt to discuss a Bobby Jones quote that relates to the golf swing.  In an all out effort, similar to asking someone to NOT think about a PINK ELEPHANT, I’m going to ask you all to not make too big a deal over what Bobby Jones felt in his swing. 

Understand it- Yes.  No big deal if you never feel what Bobby Jones felt, YOU ARE NOT HIM!  The key is to understand and train in a manner that makes his statement a reality in your golf swing, regardless of individual feel! 

“The all important feel which I experience as the swing changes direction is that I have the distinct feeling that I have l left the club behind as I start forward.”  
                                -Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones sensed that the arms and club were continuing back due to MOMENTUM created in THE HEAVE.  There was little to no tension in his arms and shoulders and the body was naturally falling, or beginning the forward motion of the swing before his arms and club ran out of momentum in the downswing. 

In throwing sports (golf is better perceived as a throw than a strike at….) there is always forward motion of the body while the arm or leg is still moving back.  We do this without any thought in other sports!  I think it is pretty clear from the above pictures that these athletes are ‘LEAVING THEIR ARMS/RACQUET/CLUB behind as they fall and rotate forward

Unfortunately in golf, almost everyone BEGINS THE DOWNSWING WITH THE SHOULDERS, ARMS AND BODY….  

The Gravity Golf Concept makes very clear that the tension is tossed out of the arms early in the swing (THE HEAVE).  It also recognizes that the takeaway (HEAVE) or core turn into the backswing begins the downswing!  The downswing actually begins fairly early in the motion of sport.  Think about a baseball pitcher or a field goal kicker for a moment.  How about a Tennis server?   It’s pretty easy to visualize that athletes move forward with their bodies early in ‘the backswing’.  They throw their arms or leg back AS THEY BEGIN TO FALL FORWARD. 


Golf is no different.  (Just harder to see.  perhaps you can sense that Hogan is falling back towards the target in the picture on the left…….)

Understand this.  Keep working on getting ALL  the tension out of the arms and shoulders early in the backswing.  Move the ball far and forward with YOUR FOLLOWTHRU, NOT YOUR ARM MUSCLES! 

*OK, go ahead and hit a few balls trying to feel the club being ‘left behind’.  If it feels wonderful for you in a few swings, great…. The rest of you, please FORGET about trying to FEEL that and just keep doing your drills!  It will happen to you.  You will create your own feel that will be perfectly suited to……  wait for it……… YOU!  

Driver Drill is Alive! Life is Good.

Last nite I went through the Driver Drill with J.  It was the first time in over 6 months and it felt fantastic!!!

As someone coming off a pretty serious injury (acl reconstruction), being able to go full out in the driver drill (especially in the crossfooted drills) signals great progress in my recovery. 

As a player, doing the Driver Drill is extremely therapeutic. 

I was certainly not at my best during the drill, but that’s OK.  Much more importantly is that my body began to feel THE PERFECT GOLF SWING again.  The drills magnify the tension errors in my swing and as I tire in the drill, demands perfect swing technique to hit powerful shots with a small draw.  Hitting several ‘perfect’ shots felt terrific.  Feeling the magnification of my tension errors was as always informative and instructive.

I love this drill for so many reasons, and I look forward to kicking off the first DRIVER DRILL program next week at Carolina Colours Golf Club!

Target Observation

While driving around the golf course yesterday, I noticed in 2 groups something interesting in some pre shot routines….. 

The D player in an event would set up to the ball, then spend 10-20 seconds gauging where the ball was.  You could see in their waggle, they were attempting to find the ball in the downswing….  Their practice swing was their backswing down to the ball… NO FOLLOW THROUGH!  Watching 2 groups in a row hit a fairway shot to the green, the D player in both groups never looked at the green once they placed their feet into their stance.  The major part of the check list was preparing to strike the ball…..

The A players in both groups did something very different.  Their pre shot ritual was much more focused on the flagstick and green.  The practice swing of one A player had almost no backswing, and you could tell he was just focusing on ‘throwing’ the club out towards the target…. Their practice swing was basically the follow through…. The other A player just kept looking up and adjusting to what was out in front of them….

It’s an important lesson.  THE BALL IS UNIMPORTANT in the golf swing.  Prepare to throw the club and let the ball get in the way. 


Gravity Meets Rotation- A Love Story

In sport, when the INTENT is to move something forward, the body leans or falls forward without thought.  Imagine yourself throwing a ball, kicking a ball, bowling, hitting a forehand, etc…

In every instance, you move into your FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS (forward leg) WITHOUT THOUGHT…. 

So if the INTENT in golf is correct (to move your golf ball forward), then for today’s blog I will assume (with all the ambiguities and fall out that accompany any assumption….) that everyone reading this blog seamlessly falls into their FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS before delivery of the club into the followthrough. 

Now on to the love story:   

The arms can simply FALL.  The body can simply ROTATE around the FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS……  GRAVITY MEETS ROTATION

So romantic!  GRAVITY FALLS IN LOVE at 32 feet per second, per second.  It accelerates creating speed and power.  ROTATION blushes at the thought of SLINGING a gravitational force in a perfect and harmonious circular path!

Path Integrity is born from this joyous union. 

You’re golf shots can live happily ever after if you develop THE GRAVITY GOLF SWING!


*If the HEAVE is correct, the arms and body will be thrown into the backswing with sufficient force to sustain the swing. NO ADDITIONAL MUSCULAR EFFORT will be needed to move the ball powerfully and accurately.  The HEAVE creates a SWING.  A swing moves on it’s own volition due to the laws of nature.  It’s all about the birds and the bees, people!

***I very rarely use the word ‘ASSUME’ when I write.  Sometime in my teenage years, I had a professor make very clear the many problems inherent in an assumption.  The saying he so often used-
“When you ASSUME,  Mr. Dunham, you make an ASSoutofUandME.” will be with me forever……

Pre-shot Waggle and THE HEAVE

Dr. Losek asked a great question:

“In regards to muscular movement of the club with the arms, I am curious to know your thoughts on the pre-shot waggle of Brandt Snedeker. Just before his backswing he will turn his hips without moving his arms. Is he setting the stage to move his arms with his core? He also appears to be one of the few pros who plays fast.”

First of all, we should definitely give 2 thumbs up for Brandt’s good pace of play.  It’s refreshing to see.  It’s also important to note that he is NO DOUBT a champion, so speed of play and ability to win are not mutually exclusive!!

As far as the waggle goes….  Yes, in general, the waggles of the pros are helping them to prepare THE HEAVE.  From Gary Player’s forward push of the right knee before takeaway, to Jack’s tightening of the arms and tilting of the head, to VJ’s tiny hand and and arm bump before HEAVE, to Brandt’s fidgety movements….  They are all in preparation to move powerfully. 

Specifically, Brandt’s move is very personal to him, but clearly helps him to toss the tension out of his arms in his swing. 

Object at rest tend to stay at rest.  Objects in motion tend to stay at motion.   That means that the waggles make it easier to HEAVE the club back smoothly. 

*being static before takeaway, especially if the weight of the club is given up to the ground results in a jerking of the club in the takeaway…. As Babu from Seinfeld would say: “That’s very bad, very very bad…..”

Waggles are very personal, and they should be a response to the powerful move you are about to make out to the real target, rather than an effort to do something ‘right’. 

Got a waggle?  Great.  No waggle?  Well, that might be an indication of some other issues stemming from a BAD TARGET PERCEPTION. 

Prepare to THROW!  Most likely, a waggle will emerge…..

Path or Face?

I came back from a teaching summit this past week where a question was asked to a panel of ‘teaching experts': 

“If the student is frustrated with a consistent shot pattern that is weak and to the right (for a right handed golfer), what should the teacher work on first- changing the club face, or changing the path of the club? “

4 out of the 6 panelists chose to change the clubface first.  about 90% of the 400 pros in the room agreed….. 

Here’s my take.   OF COURSE YOU CHANGE THE CLUB FACE FIRST!  The golfer is hitting the ball weak right….  They hate to hit it weak right!!!!  In almost every instance, the golfer is swinging the path to the left (leaving the face open) to avoid going right….. 

The very last thing that they want to do is change their path to inside out (swinging toward where the ball is going…).  It’s correct long term, but short term it’s terrifying!

Help the student get the clubface closing and closed through impact.  Work tirelessly with them to teach them the experience of turning the ball to the left.  Anyone who hates to go right should be working tirelessly to over train their swing so the ball HOOKS!!!!

Why?  #1 reason is that it FEELS BETTER!  It’s more powerful.  It’s more physics compliant (design of the club).  It’s more compliant with the physiology of the body (design of the forearms, etc…).  IT’S NOT WEAK RIGHT!!!!!

I feel very strongly about this.  Someone frustrated with hitting the ball short and right should hit THOUSANDS of shots with a HOOK!  You’ll love the feeling, and you’ll learn a better swing. 

Once their predominant shot is hooking (turning to the left), they will very often begin swinging to the right automatically….  And that’s a good thing!

Take a Little Off Assertively!

Want to take a little off of a 7 iron?  Feel like a full shot will just carry a bit too far, or roll on a bit too long?  

A major key to success with less than full swings (and this applies to 30-50-70 yard wedge shots as well!) is to stay assertive with your downswing/followthru

Better players can often take a full swing and simply hit a cut shot instead of a draw.  That will usually take a couple yards off the shot, and keep it from running as much. 

Often times, I just feel more comfortable taking an extra club, say a 6 iron, rather than feeling like I have to pure my 7 iron to pull the shot off….

Two big keys to pull this off. 

1.  Minimize or eliminate your weight shift.  Not only is there no need to shift your weight back in the backswing, it can be very harmful on less than full shots (including wedge shots!). 

2.  Stay assertive on your followthru.  You’re taking a bit off the shot by making a slightly smaller “HEAVE” or backswing.  Gravity and rotation will still move the club on a predictable path with acceleration in the ‘thru swing’. 

One of the great mistakes on less than full swings is deceleration! 

**Now, by staying assertive, I DO NOT MEAN SWINGING HARD, especially with the arms and shoulders… I simply mean allowing the accelerating forces of gravity and centrifugal force to work… this will be carried out by a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH around the forward pivotal axis. 

Train it!  You’ll begin to feel when you pull the arms or decelerate, rather than simply slinging the arms and club through the shot. 

BAM!  You’re better.  Have a great day.

More about Athletic Golf straight from the Pro