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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Drill to Discover Golf Ball Contact on the Clubface and Path

This drill will help you discover where on the clubface you are making contact with the golf ball as well as identify your club path with the driver.  If you are new to the game or have a higher handicap, you may want to start this drill with a short iron and hit small shots and you will soon get a better feel for path and clubface.  The goal in either case is to be able to hit shots and not strike the box or noodle.



Monday, December 12, 2016

Explanation of the Full Swing and Pitch Shot...or not!

I love watching these videos.  They have been around for awhile but they never get old.  
Enjoy!




           

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Turn your Slice into a Draw with the Chair Drill

Although this drill is a little extreme, sitting in a chair while swinging a driver will help you feel the components needed to "draw" the ball. 

These are four key components needed to hit a draw:
  • The elbows must fold correctly during the swing which enables you to release the club
  • You must stay in your posture during the swing
  • You must eliminate the sway on the backswing
  • You must eliminate a slide forward in the downswing
There are probably several more items we could discuss in learning to hit a draw, but I think this drill covers the most important areas.

As far as an iron swing, the best drill is to hit shots with a mid-iron from a side hill lie with the ball above your feet.  You can engrain the same feel from this drill as sitting in a chair with the driver.








Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Difference Between an Iron Swing and a Driver Swing

I get asked all the time, "is the swing for the driver the same as an iron"?  The simple answer is no, they are different and the main difference is the angle of attack.  With an iron, there should be a divot on the target side of the ball.  This is accomplished by striking the ball with a downward or descending arc.  There better not be a divot with the driver!  The driver swing is shallower and the goal is to strike the ball with a slightly upward or ascending arc.

This is a simple drill which will help you distinguish between the two swings.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Swing Thoughts...How Many do you Have?

I have published similar posts on this subject, but I think it is important to remember it is a golf "SWING" we are trying to make and not a golf "PAINT BY NUMBER"!

Which golfer are you?

This one, whom is "locked" up due to over thinking?


Or this one, a free swinger with no thought to the outcome?

*You may fast forward to 1:25 to start the swing sequence AND pay attention to the ball striking at 2:20 as this is very similar to a drill I use quite often.


I have found many golfers play like the first golfer.  Too many swing thoughts and not enough time!  Now, this may not be entirely your fault.  For example, if you are in a profession which requires attention to details, numbers or high focus, then you may tend to play with a great number of swing thoughts.  This is due to the fact you want order to the chaos.  There is nothing wrong with this, BUT you need to cut the thoughts down to maybe two at most.  I think this type of golfer is too focused on the outcome.  It's OK to go through your process as far as hitting the shot at hand, but when it's time to pull the trigger you have to let go of all those thoughts and SWING THE CLUB!  There is a good book "Swing Thoughts" by Don Wade (1993).  In this book, top players share swing thoughts they used to win tournaments.  Most of the thoughts shared were very simple, concise and easy to picture. 

If you look at Fred Astaire in this video, I am not so sure he has any swing thoughts.  He is in rhythm and balance and doing what he does best...dance!  Obviously he has perfected his craft of dance, but look how it translates to the golf swing.  I love the freedom of movement and ease with how he moves from golf ball to golf ball.  I guess one could overdo this freedom and lack of details, but for this type of golfer I think there are 10 that play too tight.

For the golfer which has too many swing thoughts, this is a drill I use to free up the golf swing.

The first part of the drill is starting your swing with the club about two feet to the left of the ball.  I call this the "SWING-SWING" drill.  By starting the club in this position, you will feel more of a "swing" to the top and a "swing" to the finish.  Try hitting ten balls with a 7 iron (on a tee) from this position.  I think you will find your back swing will be smoother and you won't start down before you get to the top.  The second part of the drill is to start with the club hovering just above the ball.  Again, tee up a 7 iron for this drill.  I call this drill the "FORWARD-BACK-FORWARD" drill.  To start your swing just swing the club forward about two feet, then swing to the top and then through to the finish. You want the swing to feel very rhythmic and at an even cadence.  You will feel your knees working with the club and this is good.

For the golfer that plays too loose, I will work more on the process and details of set up and visualization.  This will slow that golfer down just enough to get focused on target.

Once you figure out which category of golfer you reside, you can begin to work on the things which will help you play your best.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PGA Junior League Pilot Program

I have really enjoyed teaching this great game to these junior golfers!


PGA, Sigma Pi Phi Partner to Launch PGA Junior League Golf Pilot Program




PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America and national African-American Fraternity Sigma Pi Phi have partnered to launch a PGA Junior League Golf pilot program at seven top junior golf facilities across Florida, Georgia and Texas this fall. Funded by PGA REACH, the program provides six weeks of free PGA Professional golf instruction to children of all socio-economic backgrounds with the aim of increasing diversity in junior golf.
Participants are provided with numbered jerseys and utilize PGA Junior League Golf’s team format during the on-course portion of the program. The key youth program of PGA REACH, PGA Junior League Golf provides a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls ages 13 and under to learn and enjoy the game of golf under the direction of PGA and LPGA Professionals.
"We are tremendously proud to be partnered with Sigma Pi Phi,” said Sandy Cross, PGA of America Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “We believe this is a powerful relationship that will bring more youth of color into the game of golf in a very intentional and meaningful way. Both organizations firmly believe that golf will pay dividends for these children, personally and professionally, throughout their lives.  We also hope to spark great interest in careers in the business of golf and PGA membership through this partnership."
Sigma Pi Phi Boulés (chapters) in each market recruit local youth to participate in the program. Boulés volunteer their time to assist host PGA Professionals in leading the kids through the program.
"We are delighted to partner with the PGA of America to expand the reach of PGA Junior League Golf at a time when many youth in our communities stand to benefit from learning a sport proven to develop invaluable critical and strategic thinking skills expected of tomorrow's leaders," said Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Grand Sire Archon Wesley A. Coleman. "Our combined resources create a powerful formula to impact their lives for a better America. We are indeed honored to continue our social action work through this new partnership."
Participating facilities and hosting PGA Professionals include:
  • Sandhill Crane Golf Club (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) – Sherri Pla, PGA
  • Country Club of Miami (Miami, Fla.) – Larry Levow, PGA
  • Quantum Performance Institute (Orlando, Fla.) – Anthony Stepney, PGA
  • Cedar Crest Golf Course (Dallas, Texas) – Ira McGraw, PGA
  • The Clubs of Kingwood (Houston, Texas) – Aurora Kirchner-McClain, PGA
  • Roy Kizer Golf Complex (Austin, Texas) – Garry Rippy, PGA
  • Bull Creek Golf Course (Midland, Ga.) – John Milam, PGA and Steven Paine, PGA Apprentice

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Favorite Golf Books

Now that we are all approaching fireplace weather (yes, even in Texas) I thought I would introduce a few of my favorite golf books for off season reading. 

As you can see, there is not much here as far as hard core instruction.  The Five Fundamentals is instruction based and as a former assistant golf professional at Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, I probably read this book 20 times. I base a great deal of my instruction on these fundamentals. The Inner Game of Golf is the first book I read regarding the mental side of the game and I still utilize some of the concepts discussed.

Most are "feel good" books that provide a little history and instruction but not in a clinical format.  They are stories first and you might learn a little about the game as you go.





















Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Make more Short Putts with a Positive Thought Process

Making those short putts from 3-5 feet in length can really help your score. They can save a bad round or make a good round even better! You have to learn to eliminate the fear when facing these putts. I have learned you have to quieten the mind and quit thinking about the outcome and what it might mean if you make or miss the putt. The best way to do that is to imagine the hole as a "target" and simply roll the ball over the target.

If you think about a tee shot on a tree lined hole, most golfers try to steer the ball between the trees. This thought process usually doesn't work well. When you steer the ball, there is tension in the hands and arms which keeps you from free wheeling the driver. I have found it is beneficial if you focus on a target in the distance and swing away to the target!

Try this drill and I think you will feel a significant amount of freedom in your putting stroke.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Drill to help you Maintain your Posture in the Golf Swing

In this drill, I am using my golf bag to help me stay in the correct posture through the swing.  You could also use an alignment rod or I have used the back of a chair as well.  You can practice this drill at home before taking to the range.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Improve your Golf Swing with a Frisbee

I am always trying to come up with creative ideas to help my students improve.  Sometimes relating the golf swing to another sport or hobby can really help.  In this instance, I am showing how to use a Frisbee to improve the motion in the golf swing.


                                

Friday, October 7, 2016

"Groom" your Golf Swing with a Comb!

One of the best training aids for golf is right in your bath room cabinet...the comb!
I am going to show you how to use your comb to help discover the correct wrist position for chipping and the full swing.  

One of the most important elements of the golf swing is a flat lead wrist (left wrist for right handed golfer) at the top of the back swing and at impact.




If you achieve these positions, you will have a greater chance of hitting the ball straight and far!

Two wrist positions which could lead to either hooks or slices would be either a "bowed" or "cupped" lead wrist.

On the left is a "bowed" lead wrist which closes the club face leading to hooks.  On the right is a "cupped" lead wrist which opens the face leading to slices.  The closed club face is looking to the sky and the open club face has the toe of the club pointing down.
To start off with, you will either need a wrist watch or a sweat band on your lead wrist.  This will secure the comb in place.  Try to find a comb that is not too stiff, but has a little "give".  We don't want the wrist to feel to stiff, but we do need to have some support from the comb.


Start off by hitting some chip shots to help you get the feel of the comb on your wrist.  If you have been struggling with your chipping, it could be your lead wrist was breaking down at impact.  When that happens, the club head passes the hands before impact.

Using the comb has helped me keep the lead wrist flat throughout the stroke.
After hitting a few chip shots you are now ready to increase the length of the swing.  I suggest making some practice swings first with your full back swing.  Start slowly so you can ingrain the proper feel.  If you were having issues with your wrist position, it will take some time for this to feel comfortable.

Make a full back swing slowly to the top and take a look at your position.
After many practice swings, use your 9 iron and hit some balls, BUT only make a 1/2 back swing.  In fact, I do not want you to hit balls with a full back swing utilizing the comb.  You will have much more success with the smaller swing.  After some successful short shots, go ahead and remove the comb and swing away.

You are now on the way to becoming a well groomed golfer!







Monday, September 26, 2016

Improve the Path of your Golf Swing with this Simple Training Aid

Sometimes the most simple training aids are the best!  In this article I am going to demonstrate how a tennis ball can help you improve the path of your golf swing.

The first item on the agenda is to cut a tennis ball in half.  Be very careful and use a sharp knife.  I find a serrated knife is best for this project.  Once the ball is cut in half you are ready.  I know some golfers may be self conscious about using training aids on the practice range, so the drills I am going to show you could be done on the range, in your backyard (with plastic golf balls or no golf balls) or even in the house.  The main thing is if you want to improve, you have to put in a little work daily!

The first drill is very simple and I call it the "gate" drill.

GATE DRILL

Use an alignment rod or golf club on your stance aimed at a specific target.  Tee up your golf ball with an 8 iron, and sole your club behind the golf ball.  Now place each half of the tennis ball about 1" on either side of your club head.  You now have a gate for your club to pass through.


Remove the golf ball from the tee and I suggest you make some practice swings and see if you can swing the club head through the gate and clip your tee.  If you successfully pass through the gate, then your path should be OK.  For some reason our practice swings are always better than our real swings.  Let's tee up a ball, use the 8 iron and see how you do.


I just love the focus this drill gives you.  You can also check your divots with this drill.  We want the divot to be in front of the tennis balls and not behind.

Now let's get a little more detailed with our path.

OVER THE TOP on the DOWNSWING 

If your divots tend to point to the left of the target and they are deep, then you come over the top of the ball on your downswing.  This means you are swinging too much from outside to inside on the downswing.  We need to reconfigure the tennis balls.  Place one half of the tennis ball in front of your golf ball about 6" and about 1" to the left.  Place the other half of the tennis ball behind the ball about 6" and about 1" to the right. You will have a diagonal as pictured.




If your are coming over the top, you will more than likely strike all three balls (below)!  Note below how my shoulders are aiming to the left prior to impact.  The club head is going to follow your shoulder path leading to pulls, pull hooks and pull slices. 


This could be caused by taking the club too far to the outside on the backswing.  Make sure not to strike the outside ball on the backswing.  This might be all the fix you need.


I recommend to follow the same procedure as the first drill.  After you have your diagonal placed on the ground, start by making practice swings and see if can pass through the gate without striking either of the tennis ball halves.  Once you have the feel, go ahead and tee up an 8 iron and begin hitting balls.  If you tee the ball, you can leave the tennis balls in place, otherwise, every time you take a divot you will have to move the tennis balls.


TOO MUCH INSIDE TO OUT on the DOWNSWING

If your divots tend to point to the right of the target or the divot begins behind the ball and you feel like you are scraping the ground through impact, you come too much from inside to out on your downswing.  You will need to reconfigure the tennis balls.  Place one half of the tennis ball about 6" in front of the golf ball and about 1" to the right.  Place the other half of the tennis ball about 6" behind the golf ball and about 1" to the left.  Your diagonal will look like this below.



If you are coming too much from the inside you would more than likely strike all three balls (below)!  Note how my shoulders are pointed way to the right of my target prior to impact.  My club head is again going to follow my shoulder path to right field causing the ball to start right of my target and I will hit pushes, push slices or push hooks. 

 

This could be caused by taking the club too far to the inside on the backswing.  Make sure to miss the inside ball on the backswing.

 

Follow the same procedure as the Over the Top Drill by starting with practice swings before hitting balls.


Both of these drills will help you identify if you have a faulty path and help you correct it!  Remember you may have to make lot's of practice swings with the tennis balls in place before actually hitting golf balls.

     Below is a comparison of downswings.  The middle picture is the correct position prior to impact.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lightning!!

It is that time of year in Texas when late afternoon "pop up" thunderstorms happen and lightning is a likely part of this scenario.  These storms can turn severe very quickly and it is important you know what to do if you get caught on the course.   

Fortunately during this indoor instruction session at the Barton Creek Golf Academy we were safe from the elements, but this bolt came out of nowhere as they commonly do.


When you are on the golf course or practice area, you are vulnerable.  Even when storms are miles away, lightning can be a threat.  In fact, I was in Tarpon Springs, Florida, playing last summer and there was a storm at least 15 miles away near the coast.   Out of nowhere a lightning bolt hit the golf course near the hole we were playing and it sounded like an explosion!  Needless to say we hightailed it to the clubhouse.  This event really made an impact to me how unpredictable lightning can be.

If you are playing or practicing and the course has sounded the horn, immediately stop play and head to a safe place.  If the course does not take this step, it is up to you to take charge and seek shelter if a storm is nearby.

Taking shelter under a tree is NOT the correct course of action.

If you are playing in a tournament and lightning is near, you have the right to discontinue play until it is safe.

Follow this link to the NOAA for information on lightning and safety procedures.

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

Let's all be safe!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Paint your way to a Better Impact Position in your Golf Swing

Comparing your impact position to something as simple as painting will help you get a clearer picture of how your body should function in this very important part of the golf swing.

After watching the video, get in front of a mirror with a club and rehearse the move I discuss.  When you go to the range, start with small chip like swings and slowly build to a full swing.

If you are moving correctly through impact, you will begin to strike the ball and then take a small divot after impact.



Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Putting Drills to Improve your Mental Approach to Putting

This video includes two great drills which will help you putt with a "quiet" frame of mind.  It's all about developing a process which you will use for every putt regardless of the circumstances.

Enjoy!