Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Golf Swing Finish Position Comparison

We are a product of our teaching is all I can say about this photo.  I found some pictures from my high school yearbook (circa 1973) and compared them to some current pictures of my swing.  In the early 1970's the golf swing concept was to "keep your head behind the ball" long into the follow through.  This is commonly called a "reverse C" finish.  Well I certainly listened and perfected this concept.  It did however require a limber and young back to accomplish.  It also required excellent timing to release the club with the hands.  Release too early and you hooked the ball...too late and you hit it to right field.

In the 2017 version, note how much taller I finish, my shoulders are very level and the club is more around the body and level to the ground.  This swing is much easier on the back and requires less timing of the smaller muscles.  This is definitely more of a body release swing and not a hands release.  It is much easier to get your weight to the front leg which leads to more consistency.

I went back in the archives and found some classic reverse C finish golf swings.

The most common trait of this reverse C finish is the belt buckle is closer to the target than the head.  The left knee also tended to have a little bend in it at the finish.  If my memory serves me, this swing was definitely taught through most of the 1970's.

What I have observed however is players from the 1950's and 1960's had more of a traditional or classic finish even into the 1970's.  They didn't buy in to the new finish position.  Here is a photo of some classic finishes.

In all of these swings, the left knee is taller or more "posted" than the reverse C finishers.  The spine is much taller with the head located more on top of the torso.  Sam Snead had this classic finish throughout his career along with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson just to name a couple.

Ben Hogan
Image result for Byron Nelson Golfer
Byron Nelson
So how did we decide the reverse C was the new way to finish?  That is a great question and I would say it was developed as a way to hit the ball higher with more carry.  I will say I played some decent golf with that finish as did the players which utilized the concept.  But the older players maintained their classic finishes and did quite well too.  Somewhere in the early 1980's the reverse C finish went away with the exception of a handful of players.  Mike "Radar" Reed maintained that finish throughout the 80's and Jeff Maggert a player from the 1990's (current Champions TOUR member) still has a bit of the reverse C in his finish.

I prefer the classic finish as it will lead you to more longevity in the game.  The modern equipment is designed to hit the ball higher so there is really no reason to stay behind the ball so long anymore.

Just a side note...I am not saying I want you sliding your head past the ball on the down swing.  The lower body still has to start the down swing with a slight shift of weight to the front leg and then hip rotation to the target. 

Follow the links below to some drills which will help you finish like a pro.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another Playoff Win for Zach Slayton!

Zach Slayton wins in a playoff to secure his second victory this summer at the STPGA Prestige Tour event held at The Hills of Lakeway in Austin, TX. 

Zach also won a three man playoff at the Starburst event in Waco, TX, earlier this summer and he won a playoff to secure a place in the AJGA event at the TPC San Antonio a couple of weeks ago. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Greg P Bombing it 325!

Greg and I started working together about 8 weeks ago and all he needed was a little tweaking.  He came with great fundamentals and lots of speed!  He hit this one 325 yards on the 17th hole at Morris Williams GC.

Thanks for the kind words Greg!

Netanel Eldridge is 10 years old and has such a "natural" motion to his golf swing.  With Netanel it is all about the details and focus of grip, posture and stance.  After that, just watch him let it go!

We are now focusing on getting him ready to play in tournaments.  To do this he has to sharpen his short game skills and learn distance control with the putter.

Follow this link for drills to help with your distance control.

Aiden Moore Working on Improving his Swing Plane

Aiden (8 years old) had been a joy to work with.  He loves to communicate and is very mature for his age.  He learns something new each lesson and his golf swing is getting better and better.  Now we have to work on his putting.

In this video he is working on improving his swing plane and he is hitting the ball great!

Follow this link to learn more about swing plane.

Chandler Roberts Improving his Golf Swing

Chandler Roberts started working with me while a sophomore in high school.  He previously had been a football player and decided his future was with golf.  When we started, Chandler had no previous golf instruction nor any tournament experience of any kind.  We began building his game from the ground up and when he graduated from high school he was offered a golf scholarship to Hesston College in Wichita, KS.  He is home for the summer preparing for the fall semester.

In this video he is working on improving his takeaway.  The biggest issue is he was getting the club too far behind him on his backswing so I prescribed the 1-2-3-4 drill to help keep the club in front of him on the way back.

Follow this link to see the drill in full.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Zach Slayton Invited to Compete at Pebble Beach

Congratulations to Zach Slayton for his invitation to compete in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, CA.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Another Win for Zach Slayton!

Congratulations to Zach Slayton for winning his age division in the prestigious "Starburst Junior Golf Classic" in Waco, TX.   The event was held June 15-17, 2017.

Zach won the event by winning a 3-man playoff with a birdie on the third extra hole!  This was his second win of the year after a victory in the Texas Junior Golf Tour event held at Onion Creek CC in Austin, TX, in January.

He had another nice finish (tie 12th) in the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament held in Wichita Falls, TX, June 19-21.  The "TO" has junior golfers from all over the country competing.

Zach with his "hardware" from Waco

Zach and his dad

Keep up the hard work Zach!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Truth About Lies

One of the biggest mistakes we make as golfers is to over estimate how far a ball will travel from a marginal lie.  We just think if we swing harder, surely the ball will travel farther!!  The fact is, for the lie pictured below, you should swing harder, but you better be using a lofted iron as well.  How many times have you had a similar lie and tried to use a hybrid to no avail?

In this post I will explain how to read your lie for correct club selection and discuss some course management so you can turn those double bogies and worse into lower scores.

Lie A

Obviously this is a terrible lie.  The ball is sitting down in the rough and the chances of catching a lot of grass between the golf ball and your club is significant.  When you get this much grass between your club and ball, the ball will tend to fly lower with very little spin.  In this instance you need a club which will cut through the grass.  In terms of just getting the ball to get in the air with some distance, I would recommend a lofted iron.  I would say something with more loft than a 7 iron would be the club of choice.  With this lie there is just too much ball below the grass to be effective with a hybrid and for sure do not hit a fairway wood.

This is an 8 iron pictured above.  But before you settle on the correct lofted iron, you need to answer these questions:

1.  How far is it to the green?
2.  If you cannot get to the green, how far do you need to hit it?
3.  If you are trying to carry a water hazard or bunker, how far is it?
4.  Where is the best place to play your next shot from?

Keep in mind, this ball will come out very low so it will not have the same carry yardage as a normal lie.  As an example, for this lie, I would guess you could lose as much as 20-30 yards of carry distance.  And, when it lands on the green, it will have very little spin so it will roll quite a distance.

Now that you have the idea of the distance you are trying to hit it, you have to execute with the correct technique.  In this circumstance, I suggest playing the ball either in the middle of your stance or if the lie is deeper than this, then move it back about an inch or so in your stance.  You should feel like you swing the club a little steeper on the backswing to help you dig the ball out.  With a steeper swing, you will catch a little less grass between the club and the ball.  It is OK to grip a little firmer on the club and swing a bit harder so that you can get the club through the ball without losing control.

Lie B

This lie is not quite as deep as Lie A.  In this case you definitely have a choice of either hitting an iron or a hybrid.  This is due to the fact that at least half the ball is above the grass.  So if you need a little extra distance, a hybrid will work just fine.  You might even consider using a lofted fairway wood such as a 5 wood.  The only issue with this lie is you may still catch a little grass between your club and ball which can cause a "flyer".  A flyer is a shot hit very solid but with very little spin so it really takes off.  Flyers may travel 20-30 yards farther than a normal shot.

I would again ask yourself the same questions as in Lie A before finalizing club selection.  Always leave yourself the best place to play your next shot from.  As far as technique, this lie does not require you to change much.  The general rule is as the lie gets deeper, move the golf ball position to center or slightly behind center of stance.

Lie C

This is the best of the three lies pictured.  With this particular lie you can hit an iron, hybrid or fairway wood.  If there is more than half the ball above the top of the club face, and you need the distance, go ahead and hit a fairway wood.  If the lie is really good, then a 3 wood should be ok, if the ball is sitting down just a little, then a 5 wood might be more appropriate.

Before hitting any of these shots, even the good lie, always decide how far you need to hit it and where is the best place to play your next shot from (broken record). 

Say it Ain't so Lie

Well now you have done it!  A great tee shot comes to rest right in the middle of a divot...don't panic.
As with the other grassy lies, you have to take a look at the lie and figure what exactly you can do with this ball.  If the ball is sitting down in the divot then you will need to take a lofted iron and dig it out.  It's the same technique as with the ball being buried in the rough.  Move the ball position to at least the center or may an inch or so behind the center of your stance.  I suggest gripping down a little on the grip and swinging a little steeper on the backswing.  The goal is to try and strike the ball before the ground.  This ball will come out lower than expected and carry shorter than normal.  If the lie is in a divot which is filled with sand then you really have to hit the ball first just as you would in a fairway bunker. 

Golf is not Fair Lie

Sometimes golf is just not fair.  Here we have two golf balls only inches apart yet two different lies.
One ball is sitting down on a firm, bare lie and the other is sitting almost perfect.

The bottom line with lies is don't panic and play the shot which you know you can play with success at least 7 out of 10 times.

Remember loft is your friend.  The successful shot is not necessarily the shot that goes the farthest.
Play to the place which leaves you with the easiest next shot.