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Playing Tips

Want to Improve? Check out the X Mount

Jan. 15, 2014     By     Comments (4)

Protosports Holster
I'm sometimes asked why I got into golf instruction, and the answer is very simple. I am passionate about the game, and by helping others, and improving their ability to play the game, I am acting as an ambassador for the game of golf, and bringing a little bit more joy to the lives of others.

One of my favorite sub-forums on the forum section of our site is the Member Swings sub-forum. In here, forum members post videos of their golf swings, drills, putting, and more, and the knowledgeable members of the forum along with my co-owner Mike McLoughlin and myself help them out.

There's a common saying in the world of photography that the best camera is the one you've got with you, and more and more, smart phones these days are equipped with some pretty decent cameras capable of capturing good video at high frame rates. My iPhone 5S, for example, records 720P video at 120 FPS, and I've always got my phone with me.

Filming Your Golf Swing

Jul. 5, 2010     By     Comments (21)

Casio FH25Vijay Singh was once famously quoted for saying that he doesn't look at his swing on video because he'd be tempted to make it look pretty rather than focusing on building a swing that works. This quote is often used by people trying to justify why they won't record their swing or buy a camera.

Unfortunately, Vijay's quote was taken out of context, misunderstood, or was simply untrue. Singh has used high-speed cameras to record his swing for years and maintains a large library of his videos. While practicing, he often has his caddie or others record his swing, and will stop to look at things and make adjustments.

I think that what Vijay Singh was trying to say is that he values function over form. That's fine - and something virtually every good golfer has in common. And while it's true that form follows function in the golf swing, the opposite is also true: function follows form. A high-speed video camera is a useful, valid tool in improving both the form and function of your swing.

Ball Flight Laws

Jan. 27, 2010     By     Comments (67)

For decades, golf instructors have been teaching the ball flight laws incorrectly. Many blame the PGA Teaching Manual, and have said that it has contained some incorrect or incomplete information pertaining to a golf ball's flight. Many pros - from Butch Harmon to Nick Faldo - sum up the ball flight laws as follows: "The golf ball starts on the direction of the swing path and curves back to where the clubface was aimed at impact."

Put another way, many instructors and famous golfers have stated that the swing path is the primary, over-riding determinant in the golf ball's initial starting direction. This information is wrong. This information is slowly coming to be understood as wrong in recent years, yet many golfers - famous or otherwise - and instructors - famous or otherwise - still believe it.

The Instructor Quiz: Nine Questions You’ve Gotta Ask

Dec. 9, 2009     By     Comments (40)

There are a lot of golf instructors out there. Many of them are qualified, intelligent instructors with the best of intentions. They want to help you, they want to see you improve, and they enjoy doing it.

Unfortunately, intentions don't always translate into ability, and there are a good number of instructors out there who may not be helping their students as much as they'd like.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with feedback I have received from students who have taken lessons from seemingly "qualified" instructors. In this era of the Internet and YouTube, I have also had the chance to view a large number of videos and read many instructional articles online and, again, it seems that much of the information is misleading at best. Because of this I took the time to devise a short nine-question "test" for golf instructors.

I would like to point out upfront that I, and all the instructors at my academy, teach based on the 5 Simple Keys®… but all of the questions and answers are the same for any efficient method of swinging the golf club.

Stack and Tilt vs. Power Pivot: A Conversation

Oct. 16, 2009     By     Comments (17)

Aaron BaddeleyA few years ago, two instructors made a large splash in the relatively small pond of golf instruction when they shared their thoughts on what was perceived by many to be a radical new way to swing the golf club.

Though Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett studied the moves of some of the greatest golfers in history, including Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and others, the The Stack and Tilt golf swing was rejected by virtually every known teacher as a fad. It was tarnished with "that's a reverse pivot" and "you'll hurt your back with that reverse C finish." Mudslinging, golfers discovered, wasn't just for politics anymore.

In the years since, the Stack and Tilt golf swing has gained a steady following on the PGA Tour. Some high-profile names "gave up" on the swing, but many more higher-profile players have joined the ranks as well. What's more, the violent reaction a lot of "traditional" instructors have had to the Stack and Tilt move has subsided and allowed for some real study, and many instructors who take the time to understand the swing have come to see that it's not as different as they once thought.

On October 15, 2009 we held a chat between Stack and Tilt instructor David Wedzik and The Sand Trap's own T.M. O'Connell, Swing Check columnist and author of "Golf's Not Hard." Dave Wedzik just opened the first Stack and Tilt certified academy. T.M. O'Connell is a proponent of what he calls the classic move with a "Power Pivot."

The chat was a revealing one, and given the popularity of The Sand Trap's lone article on S&T from 2007, I suspect a lot of you out there may benefit from reading it.

Scorecard Golf Statistics Software Now at 2.0

May. 20, 2009     By     Comments (5)

ScorecardThis is one of our off weeks from doing the Golf Talk podcast, so I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the recent release of some golf statistics software - Scorecard - which was just bumped to version 2.0 with some well-requested features.

In the interest of disclosure, I'm a partial owner of the software company that makes Scorecard as well as one of the developers/designers for the software. It's not free ($29.95, or $14.95 for upgrades from 1.x), and thus, I make a bit of money from the sales of Scorecard.

As I said, Scorecard 2.0 was just released with several user-requested features, including full nine-hole support for both statistics and handicap calculation, per-hole user notes (so you can document what clubs you hit or anything else you'd like), and graphing of over 35 statistics (with markers).

A Few Months Later: Stack and Tilt

Aug. 1, 2007     By     Comments (325)

Aaron BaddeleyThree simple words - Stack and Tilt - have done about as much to turn the world of golf instruction upside down as anything in recent memory.

It's the move that led the U.S. Open through three rounds this year. It's the move that's led to the resurgence of the careers of a number of pros, including former Masters champ Mike Weir. It's a move pros have been adopting in quantity, and a move amateurs have been adopting with sometimes remarkable success.

It's also been a few months since the Golf Digest article first hit newsstands. I postulated that a lot of the early success amateurs were experiencing was simply a result of a temporary short-circuiting of their brain and that, eventually, the old swing flaws would return. Perhaps that was a bit short-sighted…

Almost Everything I Know About Making Putts

Jul. 31, 2007     By     Comments (17)

PuttingA member of our forum, after noticing that my putting stats are pretty good, asked me what tips I could offer to help others become a better putter. After thinking about it, I realized that being a "good putter" is more about the sum of the parts than any individual part. So, I wrote back to the forum member and said "I'll write something up in the future and post it for all to see."

This is the answer to that question. I can't promise that this will help everyone become a great putter - though I believe great putters are made, not born - because this process is mine. Still, a piece or two can likely be adapted to fit anyone, and I encourage comments from others about the different things they do to make themselves good putters.

My Tips To Better Putting

Apr. 12, 2006     By     Comments (5)

puttingFor amateurs, putting makes up between half and one-third of all strokes on a golf course. If you can lower the amount of putts you take by only 10%, that's a three- to four-shot improvement.

Yet visit any golf course, and you'll likely not see many people practicing their putting despite the obvious importance.

I used to neglect putting, but I've since served penance to the golf gods and am starting to get the ball to the hole a lot better than I used to. To me, putting boils down to a few basic ideas: stroke, aim, and confidence. You can make huge steps towards dropping strokes off your scorecard by practicing these three things. Read on to see how I'm doing it.

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