Category Archives: Philosophy

Targets on Short Shots

This is a response to Nick’s question about TARGETS and short shots.  My target is the hole on most all putts and chips, no question.  Most chips are low running shots with no concern of where the ball originally lands (I know it will be safely on the green).   I do my best to imagine the ball rolling into the cup!  By definition, to roll in consistently, I have to have good speed (which would be a ball rolling 2-20 inches past the cup if you put a cover over the hole).  So both line and speed are considered as I set up for my shot.  The ultimate goal is the bottom of the cup.

There are a few instances when I don’t aim for the cup as the final destination.  If I have a severely downhill putt or chip, I’ll often pick a spot short of the hole and do my best to stop the ball there, knowing that in all likelyhood, the ball will roll out further (and get closer to the real hole)
If I have a chip and run shot where I need to land the ball specifically on the fringe or a mound short of the green, I’ll put a lot of attention on that landing spot for my practice swings.  This is important because that spot is critical to the final outcome of the shot!  
When I lag putt, I’ll still picture the ball rolling into the cup, but the speed I choose is one where the ball would just drop into the cup on it’s last roll.  
U.S. Open starts today!  Can’t wait!!!

The Target Creates The Swing, Part V

Bad Targets tend to create bad swings….  If your target is the ball, you will tend to
strike at the ball rather than swing through it.  If your target is up over a bunker, or water,
or “up the hill”, rather than forward, you’ll tend to attempt a lift in the
swing and a dip of the trailing shoulder causing the club to move off plane….
If your target is one of the “nots” (not right, not left, not fat, not thin),
you’ll tend to swing away from where you don’t want to go.  These bad targets often cause exaggerated, or
over compensated moves in the swing that creating massive inconsistencies….


The toughest thing about the above targets is that THEY ALL
  I’m guilty of falling prey
to each of the above.  Understanding bad
targets won’t completely rid you of making target errors, but will certainly
help you stay focused on the real target more often and correctly assess poor
swings.  Grasping the importance of the
true target helps me focus on the golf course and range.  Understanding the destructive power of bad
targets is an important piece in learning a golf swing. 


Most golfers are slaves to mechanical thinking!  One reason a golfer is never able to rid
themselves of swing thoughts that clutter and bind a golf swing is that they
are plagued with bad targets and never deal with them.  We call swing fixed band aids because they
mask errors often caused by poor perceptions!!!!  Change the target, and the swing will develop

Play Golf

One of the major goals of ATHLETIC GOLF is to free people up from the bondage of mechanical thinking.  The premise being that we don’t learn to walk, ride a bike, or play baseball mechanically.  GRAVITY GOLF,  which is the understanding and building of a non-thinking swing, also offers the opportunity to PLAY GOLF, rather than THINK GOLF SWING.

Golf is tremendously challenging in the first place.  Add the challenge of dealing with ‘BAD’ targets, or doing your best to swing freely to the correct targets, and it layers on more complexity to every round….  Thinking  about mechanics is an overload to the system! 

I know that humans perform better when they let themselves PLAY FREELY.  I also know that a golfer stuck in mechanics is constantly searching, changing, and fixing.  These golfers work around in an endless loop, and very rarely make progress with their games…. Even when they do, it’s a constant battle of finding it-losing it, etc…  
The time to think about swing is away from the course.  The time to think about swing is SOMETIMES on the range….  That’s it!
I’d say you should spend most of your time on the range swinging freely and into balance.  I’d say that outside a rehearsal swing, you should spend all your time focusing on what your want your ball to do, and images of impact, ball flight, and feelings of success. 
Now having said that, I also realize that the GRAVITY GOLF concepts sometimes get a little in-depth.  They are complete and detailed in terms of physics, physiology, and neurology, not in positions.  As a matter of fact, the GRAVITY GOLF  has no positions (except perhaps the balanced finish around the forward pivotal axis).   I spend so much time teaching the true “mechanics” of a golf swing because they can help you SEE THE LIGHT!  The information will ultimately FREE you from the chains of traditional mechanics!
Learn the physics behind a swing.  Train in the drills with total freedom and curiosity. Go PLAY GOLF!  

Bad Shots = Good Teacher

Saying golf is difficult is an understatement.  Out of 50 shots hit on the range, how many of them do you hit just like you want?  I know the number for me is extremely low.

The good news is that I use my BAD SHOTS TO TEACH ME!
I also believe this is one of the most important reasons I have excelled in learning this game.  
You see, I know exactly how I want to hit a shot.  I am very clear on my target and my intended ball flight.  And most importantly,  I understand what bad shots tell me.  
It seems to me most golfers over react to bad shots, over analyze bad shots, and over correct.  This is a recipe for inconsistency!
You see a balanced circular swing should produce a solid draw to my target.  If it doesn’t, it tells me what I did that I didn’t need to do!!!
If I’m not in fully rotated, relaxed balance, I know I’ve got no chance for consistency so I work on that first.  If contact and direction are off, I simply continue to try to get the tension out of my arms, and move the ball with my turns.  The back swing turn moves the arms and club with enough force to sustain the swing.  The forward pivot, around ONLY the forward leg slings the arms, the club, and the ball!  The arms and club will be slung on a predictable path due to gravity and rotation, and the ball will take off on a tangent to the arc.  
I don’t love to hit bad shots, I have simply learned that rather than “fix” them by changing things causing more and more inconsistency…. I know let them nudge me towards the swing I want.  
When I asked my wife (at the time, she was #1 in greens in regulation in the world, for all major tours and collegiate golf)how she fixed a bad swing, here’s how she answered after giving me a curious (what are you talking about) look,  “I simply put my be swing on the next one….”   
That’s a great way to learn this game!  

The Target Creates The Swing, Part IV


The 3rd bad target I call  “THE NOTS”.   It’s when our target becomes:  “not fat”, “not thin”, “not right”, or “not left”.….  Slicers tend to aim left in an attempt to “not” go right, only to put more side spin on their shots making the ball go right….  Those that pull the ball usually aim right in an attempt to “not” go left. 

Listen, this is a tough one, and I’d say pretty much all golfers have to deal with this one.  Even tour players fall prey to this bad target on the course each and every week!  Think about Augusta National, hole #11.  Long par 4 with water on the left front of the green.  It’s a tough shot, no doubt.  These are the best golfers in the world, and yet you’ll see dozens of shots hit 10 or more yards RIGHT of the green!!!!  Believe me, everyone of them is good enough to hit that green with a mid iron in their hands.  Their swings were infected by the “not left” target!!!  I’m not blaming them or criticizing, just pointing out that these golfers didn’t all of a sudden become bad, but rather a bad target (don’t go left) created a bad swing (one that left the face too open)

So many swing issues can be solved by understanding bad targets, and putting all your INTENTION into the correct target!  It’s not easy, because bad targets are subtle, and persuasive….  Think about where you want to go!  Think about how you would like to strike the ball!  Now swing there!!! 

Go PLAY GOLF!  Stop THINKING golf swing.

The Target Creates The Swing, Part III

We’ve all seen people create a bad swing due to this BAD TARGET.   It’s when we have to hit over a bunker, or over water, or to an elevated green, or even when we have a downhill lie…..   The TARGET becomes UP.  We try to lift the ball up over the bunker, or over the water, or up to the elevated green, etc….   It makes total sense…. The problem:  IT’S ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

It guarantees a bad swing!  if your target is “the sky”, you will make a swing that attempts to get under the ball and then lift it up….  Well, the ball sits on the ground and in most cases, when attempting this swing we will hit the ground too soon and lift into the middle or top of the ball, sculling or topping the shot on the ground!!!

I think you know what I mean here… We’ve all done it.  We’ve all seen people do it.  I’m not criticizing, just pointing out that it’s not necessarily a lack of swing knowledge that caused this, but rather a BAD TARGET that caused the swing mechanics to break down!!!!

Can you see this golfer’s “lift” as he gets to the ball?  You should notice how he straightens up just at and past impact in his attempt to lift ball over the water:


The true “angle of attack” on most all shots is slightly descending relative to the lie of the ground.  The TARGET is forward and level (or slightly downward).  We use a lofted club to deflect the ball upward!

Have a shot over a bunker?  Well, swing level with a lofted club and the ball will deflect off the face upward and over the bunker!!!

Have a shot to an elevated green?  Well, swing level with a lofted club and the ball will deflect off the face upward and on to the green!!!

Have a downhill lie?  Well, set up to the level of the ground, and swing DOWN THE HILL!

Any attempt to manually “lift” will cause fat and thin shots because the club will bottom out too soon in your attempt to get under and lift the ball….



Gravity golf is a defining name, assigned by David Lee, one of golf’s foremost instructors and swing technologists, to the style of golf swing employed by a number of the world’s finest players.  According to Lee, there are at least four different ways to execute a golf swing from the standpoint of energy origins within the body.  The swing may be powered with a “centrifugal flip” (Bobby Jones), or a pure “shoulder rake” (Arnold Palmer).  It may be powered by a “gravity aided rotary “sling,” exemplified by such great modern day players as Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, and Freddie Couples .  Or, it may be powered by a “combination” technique, using a rotary sling and a racquetball type forearm “lash” (Ben Hogan).

Although all of the above techniques have produced superb players, the pure “GRAVITY” swing is the only one of the four which doesn’t turn at least some energy back into the body  during its execution (which causes swing-path movement and off-line shots), thus making it the most compliant technique with the laws of motion. The Gravity swing allows one to play to the most advanced age without losing distance or control!