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Maybe This Will Help Some Golfers.........books, instruction, and such

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My guess is most of you on this site are like me. I love golf, playing, watching, and reading about it. I am constantly perusing this site, other sites, youtube, and reading books to improve at this crazy game. I don’t have an instructor in my town, and probably wouldn’t have the funds or time to see one on a regular basis anyway. I know in a perfect world, one without kids, jobs, etc., that consistent lessons are the best way to probably get better. I have been playing for 20 years or so, and my wife for 3. Going to post some stuff that will hopefully help someone out along the way.

 

First of all, by all means, when you first start playing, try to get some lessons from a Professional to get your fundamentals right if you can. I didn’t do that when I started and it took a lot of time, painful playing, and hard work to get them right.  My wife, on the other hand, had some instruction and developed much quicker than me because of it.  Just getting the grip, stance, etc. right from the beginning can be hard. That’s not even factoring in all the other crap you have to learn like putting, chipping, pitching, rules, etiquette, etc. What took me 5+ years to get a good grasp on, my wife learned and got a good understanding of in her first year.

 

Secondly, I want to say up front that I am not advocating any swing technique, book, or training aid for anyone. I am just telling you what worked for me. It may not work for you at all. Golfers all learn differently. One person can explain something one way and you get it. Another person can explain the same thing a different way, and you can be lost. The feeling one person gets when learning a skill may not be the same feeling that works on another person.

 

I am going to go ahead and list some of the books, training aids, and Instructors I have read, listened to, used, or watched in person or on youtube. All of them helped my game in some way and continue too. The evolution of the Internet played a big part in my game getting better. It’s a huge resource for people just starting out in the game today.  By the way, I am at my lowest hdcp ever (4) at age 48! I will explain along the way what each did for me.

 

Books- Not including 20+ years of Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.

 

Golf My Way   by Jack Nicklaus

Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf   by Ben Hogan

 

First two golf books I ever read. Both of them are Classics. At the time I read them, about 17 + years ago, I was just trying to get the fundamentals down so I was probably too new to the game to get the full benefits of the books. However I would greatly recommend them to help get your fundamentals down. I probably should reread them both myself!

 

Basically that’s is all I used when I started out in the game and up until about age 40. My older brother was a very good player and he taught me a few things along the way. I also figured out that playing with better players helped me improve, but also got in my wallet! During those 12 years I got my grip down pretty good, went from a weak slice to a draw or hook by changing my swing path, and became a pretty good putter. Putting was the one thing I did well early on.  I had to adopt a reverse loop type swing to get the swing path right, but it worked for the most part. Still struggled with pitching, and fat shots. I started out like a lot of us shooting around in the mid 90’s to 100’s for the first ten years or so. At age 35, when I changed my swing path from over the top to inside out, I was a mid 80’s shooter, but could throw a round in the high 70’s if I had a good day around the greens.

 

In my early forties or about five or six years ago, as my children got older, I started playing a little more often. I also started getting more interested in instructional books. Two short game books in particular.

 

The Short Game Bible by Dave Pelz

The Art of the Short Game by Stan Utley

 

Both of these books were instrumental in changing my thinking about the short game. Pelz got me to pay particular attention to my wedge yardages and caused me to add a gap wedge and lob wedge to my set. His book is probably more for the analytical type player. Utley helped me more with my short game swing, and his book is probably more for the feel type player. I was still hitting some bad shots around the green, but not as many. Two great reads!

 

Greg Norman’s Secret was also the first training aid I used. It worked great to help me keep from flipping my wrist at impact on chips and pitches.

 

At that point I was shooting anywhere from mid 80’ s to mid 70’s with a rare 72 or 73. I was wildly inconsistent from week to week.   I didn’t make a lot of birdies, but could make a lot of pars by getting up and down, with the occasional birdie on short par fives.  I was still using the reverse loop Furyk type full swing that was generally the cause of my inconsistency. If my timing was a little off, I could shoot some high scores. The ironic thing was I actually won my Club Championship by shooting 75-70 in 2008. That 70 was the lowest round of the year for me, with a 32 on the back nine, picked a great time to do it!

 

You would think that would have been a watershed moment for my golf game and me. However, I couldn’t shoot better than a 76 the rest of the season and I started to get very frustrated. I would shoot a 34 and follow it up with a 44.  That kind of stuff. I shot just as many 42’s as I did 37’s.  The fact that I had won the Club Championship had just made things worse really. My expectations for myself had gotten too high, and other people’s expectations of my game went through the roof.  This just added extra pressure ever time I teed it up. Soon the joke was on me, and it was just known as a big “fluke” that I won. I was almost at the point of quitting all together.

 

The following year, 2009, I decided I needed to fix my full swing somehow. I researched the Internet and stumbled across a variety of swing methods. I started to get into the mental game also.  I also watched a ton of the Golf Channel and it’s instructional shows.

 

Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott

The One and Two Plane Swing by Jim Hardy

The Picture Perfect Golf Swing by Michael Breed

Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella

 

Jim Hardy’s book taught me a lot about the golf swing in general. It showed me that I was a two plane swinger who wanted to be a one plane swinger. This is also about the time I started looking at video of my swing, wow what an eye opener. This is when the first big light bulb came on for me. “ What you feel like your doing, is not always actually what you are doing in your swing. “ Breed’s teaching and Hardy’s book also started my fixation with the proper swing plane. The other two are great reads on the mental side of the game. Helped me keep in the moment a lot better and play one shot at a time and not worry about score as much. Just add them up at the end of the round.

 

My game didn’t really improve much at all that year. I went from trying to stay on plane with a one plane swing to reverting back to the reverse loop swing when I wasn’t hitting it good. By mid summer I was just not playing much. My wife even tried to get me out there by showing an interest in the game herself. I introduced her to the game in late summer, and in hindsight it was the best thing I ever did. The first time I took her out, she struggled even making contact with the ball. She was shifting her weight way back on the back swing and not getting it forward at all on the downswing. Just like she swung a softball bat when she was a kid. Her head was moving all over the place, down and back on the backswing and up on the downswing. So to keep her from moving all over I had her place most her weight on her left leg and take a few swings keeping the weight there. I had recalled reading about some drill or something like that on the Internet. Wow, what a difference that made. That solved the back and forth head movement right there and she could actually make contact with the ball. I then held a shaft above her head when she would swing to keep her from moving up and down.  Before long she was making decent contact most of the time. We didn’t get much further with the few times we went out the rest of the year, but I kept on researching the internet for tips. One day I stumbled upon a swing method that was being called the “Stack and Tilt”.  I thought it sounded familiar, and read about it. It was very similar to the drill I was using to teach my wife how to swing. I read up on it a little, and went out one warm winter day in the yard to try it. Bam, I had my next breakthrough moment. So that is what compressing a golf ball feels like. I think I was using a six iron at the time. I loved that feeling and the ball was just rocketing off the clubface. Something as simple as moving the ball back in my stance and keeping most my weight on the left side had made a HUGE difference.

 

Needless to say I spent the rest of the winter searching for as much information I could get on the “Stack and Tilt” swing. I was like a Coon in a garbage can. I ordered the book first:

 

The Stack and Tilt Swing by Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer

 

A must have book! Taught me how to compress the golf ball, something I never knew how to do up to this point. The correct way to hit irons! The main reason I could not hit the ball well off of tight fairway lies.

 

I also searched the Internet for help and found two great Instructors that had some great videos.

 

Nick Clearwater

Dave Wedzik

 

Both the guys had some fantastic drills showing the techniques. They were invaluable in my learning process. Dave, and The Golf Evolution had a big impact on golf in my life, as you will read.

 

 

When spring hit I went to the course as often as possible and liked what I saw and felt. I was still hitting some fat shots, but hitting a lot of really nice compressed iron shots that were little draws. I was using the book and instruction videos to help my wife also. Finally in July 2010 we decided to make the trip to Pennsylvania to see Dave Wedzick at his Golf Evolution shop. My wife and I spent two wonderful days getting personalized instruction from Dave and James Hirshfield. I can’t say enough good things about how they treated us. It was an 18 hour trip one way, but well worth it. My biggest problem was my swing plane as usual. Dave tried to give me feelings to work on to help me fix it. They were really impressed with my wife’s swing for someone who been playing less that a year. She soaked up the instruction like a sponge. By seeing an Instructor in her first year, she was able to make changes very quickly. By waiting 18 years, I had trouble getting out of my bad habits. Dave has since moved away from the “Stack and Tilt “ slogan with the Golf Evolution and is teaching the “Purestrike Five Simple Keys”. Pretty much still teaching the same stuff, but focusing on the five keys that all swings must have to be good.

 

Since that trip my wife has stuck with what she learned. She has gotten better and better very quickly and shot her low round of 82 just last week. Her ball striking, especially driving is very good. She just needs to keep working on the short game to break into the magic 70’s.  Unbelievable for someone that has only been playing for three years. She is proof that having a centered pivot is can make you a consistent ball striker. The early instruction she got also made her swing develop on plane from the beginning.

 

It’s been a different story for me. I still struggled with swing plane and “feelings” when I got back home. I could hit my irons well, but struggled with my woods. I got the shanks a few times. My divots started to get deeper and deeper also. I stuck with it until last summer. But every time I would think I was getting it, I really discovered my swing was just reverting back to some of its old habits.  Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot, and am a better player for trying it. I was shooting in mid to high 70’s most to the time. The biggest thing is not moving my head around and having a centered turn on my back swing. That has stuck with me and made me a more consistent ball striker. I also have not been doing the reverse loop swing like a used too. My swing crosses the line at the top, but most to the time I get it back on plane coming back down. I am sure if I had regular instruction from Dave I would have fixed my problems and be playing even better. But that was not going to be possible, even with the evolver online program he had set up. I ordered a few new books last summer that I thought were great reads.

 

The Four Magic Moves by Joe Dante

On Learning Golf by Percy Boomer

Build the Swing of a Lifetime by Mike Bender

 

The first two are older books that had some great information in them. Because they explain similar fundamentals, but in different ways it gives the reader a better chance to get that right “feeling” when learning them. It amazes me that this information was available so long ago. Dante talking about how your wrist should move on the backswing was a light bulb moment for me, and helped me not get off plane near as much. Bender’s book has some great drills in it.

 

Up until about four months ago I had stayed pretty study, but was not improving. Strange, because with my wife’s improvement, we were playing more than we ever have. I even started struggling with my pitch and chip shots again by not making good contact. Kind of like having the chip yips. I adopted the Dave Stockton method on chip shots around the green and liked it. You just move a little closer to the ball and make a putting stroke. I needed it to make good contact chipping. My pitching was still not getting any better.  I was starting to get down on my game when the Internet saved me again.

 

Three Instructors, one book, and a Slogan have had a huge impact on my game in the last four months. In those four months my hdcp has dropped from a 7 to a 4. I have shot some of the most consistent golf in my life, and my ball striking in the last month has been the best it’s ever been. My last four rounds have been 73, 74, 71, 72!

 

Erik J. Barzeski – A 5SK Instructor that runs the Sand Trap web site.

The Impact Zone by Bobby Clampett

Geoff Jones – Instructor also known as Slicefixer, author of “Encyclopedia Texarkana”

Paul Wilson – Instructor, author of the book Swing Machine Golf. Also has Ignition Golf web site.

Slogan- “SWING YOUR OWN SWING!”

 

As I said, I had been struggling with my pitch shots. I was chunking them for the most part. I found a video on the Sand Trap of Eric showing a simple pitching method and at first I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I found a second video of Eric and Dave Wedzik explaining the lag in the pitching swing and showing it, that the light bulb came on. LAG, LAG, LAG! That is going the over riding theme to my improvement in the last four months. You have to have lag to make good contact, period. The reason I was chunking my pitch shots was because I was losing my lag, or flipping wrist through impact. I broke out my old “Greg Norman’s Secret” training aid, and used Eric’s method, presto! No more flipping wrist or chunking. But when I took off the training aid, I would start to flip again. I needed some sort of feeling to stop doing it. Loose wrist was the feeling I needed. Feels like club head is still moving backwards when I start moving arms forward. The key is to make sure your “turn” back through is the momentum that’s causing the arms to come forward, not the arms pulling. If you don’t turn your hips, you will lose your lag trying to “hit” with your arms. Enough on the swing jargon, I can answer questions on it later.

 

Anyway, I started hitting my pitch shots solid again. This got me thinking about my full swing. I checked out some video of myself and I was also losing my lag in the full swing, commonly called “casting”. I stumbled onto a “9 to 3 “ swing thread on the website Golfwrx that an Instructor named Slicefixer, Geoff Jones, had started. It explained a lot about lag in the swing and how to hold it though impact. He has some videos out and wrote an eBook called “Encyclopedia Texarkana” that has some great insights. Once again, lag is the key!

 

One of the most common themes I hear about the full swing is “being on plane”. However, when I watch a lot of professional golfers I see many who are not on plane and they hit the ball great. Inbee Park comes to mind right of the top of my head. After reading Bobby Clampett’s book I decided to stop searching for that perfect swing plane. The moment of impact is the key to good golf. Being on plane at the top is not absolutely necessary. It makes coming into impact on plane easier for sure. But you can still come into impact on plane without being on plane at the top. Many good players do just that by a small rerouting of the golf club on the way down.  I think my fixation with a perfect swing plane was a detriment in the long run. As Arnold Palmer says, “Swing your swing!”

 

When I started pitching better I immediately thought the same concept should work in the full swing.  That’s when I stumbled on some video from Instructor Paul Wilson. I’m sure I saw it before, but it just didn’t register with me. He advocates loose wrist on the full swing and initiating the downswing with the hips turning first. I went and tried to hit some shots that way and was amazed how I was able to keep the lag in my wrist so much better. The by-product of this was what really amazed me, no fat shots. In the last month I have been working on Paul’s swing technique. Just ordered his book yesterday, and joined his website. I can honestly say I have never hit the ball so solidly in my life. My scores reflect that. I have went from hitting 8 or 9 greens in regulation to 11 + greens in regulation per round. I rarely hit a fat shot, I will hit more thin than fat. The feeling of swinging the club through the ball and not hitting the club into the back of the ball is key. I still have a lot of what I learned from Golf Evolution in my swing, but just added some of Paul’s stuff.  A lot of the stuff I do is in the Purestrike Five Simple Keys range.

 

Right now that is where I am at with my golf game. I am excited again to play. My wife is sticking with her stack and tilt swing and playing well also. Hope this story helps some of you and I would be happy to answer any specific questions about the books, swing techniques, etc. from my perspective if someone has some. Sorry for such a long read!

post #2 of 14
me being a new again golfer after getting back in the game after quite a few years a lot of this information is very helpful. I for one appriciate the time it took you to put it all down. will be checking out some of the books for sure.

thanks
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Champ, It took a while to write, but you were exactly the type person I was hoping to help and maybe save some frustration!

post #4 of 14

Well done. I think that is the longest post I've ever seen on a golf forum, and I've been around since 2002. You have patience.

 

I also read Golf my Way and Hogan's Fundamentals - I would not read them today for the reason that we have easy access to video and instruction now. I have learned not to read Golf Magazines for instruction - what players feel they do and what they do are two different things. There is so much incorrect information and poor instruction that I would tell a newbie to do the following:

 

For the full swing, DVD's and youtube are where newbies should go. This site (TST) is the best instructional site on the net. The 5 Simple Keys videos are golden. I used the Stack and Tilt 2.0 videos but they are lacking in some aspects. I'd find an instructor that is compatible with the 5 Simple Keys. I would also look at Waite Mayo golf and look at Joe Mayo's youtube videos (Trackman Maestro) and on TST for the ball flight laws, although newbies should skip some of Joe's videos (some might be too much). Admittedly, I do refer to one book every once in a while - Stack and Tilt Swing. But I am using it less and less and relying more on 5 Simple Keys.

 

For the short game, I like the instruction given on TST. It seems compatible with Stan Utley as to using a pivot. I would pick up Art of the Short Game and Art of the Swing by Utley.

 

As to putting, it's individual, but I like Pat O'Brien for setting up neutral, Stan Utley for emphasizing softness of the arms and grip, and Dave Stockton for not taking a practice stroke and focusing on your line. Unconscious Putting by Stockton, Art of Putting by Utley.

 

If you need confidence, as you said, Rotella's books are fine. But they are all about confidence, relaxation, forgetting the last shot, and going forward with a clear and confident mind. Of course, that is a process, and the shrink's books help with the process.

 

Training Aids - the ones I've constantly used are a ball between your elbows, Crush It, and Vision Track Pro. You've got to use a video camera - it's the greatest aid - either a phone on a stick taking video, or a liteweight tripod with camera - 120-240 frames per second capability.

 

There is more ... but good luck.


Edited by Mr. Desmond - 7/19/13 at 10:23am
post #5 of 14

To make the video search part easier, I'd just give a newbie my Big YouTube Instruction Channel list, it's a compilation of the channels mentioned above and more:

 

https://pinboard.in/u:menevets/t:video/t:golf/t:instruct

post #6 of 14

I hope you were compensated for this post!  Informative, good reference for a lot of folks looking for help.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

The only compensation I need is that I hope it saves someone a little time and frustration in their golf journey. I have to admit it was kind interesting writing and then reading how mine has played out so far. I wish I would have had the Internet 20 years ago when I started!

post #8 of 14
Thank you. This information is great.

You should compile it into your own book.
post #9 of 14

Great post here, 

 

I have read some of the mentioned ones and some more.

 

Mechanical wise, the golfing machine, and as a consequence the impact zone, since bobby came from the golfing machinery.

 

The 4 magic moves, etc pp.

 

If you play for a while and have some sound mechanics, I'd point to the book of Pia and Linn Play your best golf now, loads of feel related exercises in there. But I would also like to note the work of Fred Shoemaker here, since reading his books, and applying only some of his suggestions, I can connect a real feel to what i am doing and be sensationally relaxed on any course.

 

Sure I still have misses, occasional shanks etc, but it doesn't get me beyond the firelane anymore and I can easily came back to the task at hand.

 

cheers

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey Nighthawk, thanks for suggesting Fred Shoemaker's book. I read some reviews and it seems much like what I am trying to do right now. STOP FOCUSING ON TRYING TO HIT THE BALL!

 

I ordered it from Amazon for 11 dollars or so. I waste that much on cokes each week, so couldn''t resist it for the price. Sounds a lot like what Paul teaches. 

 

By the way, have had Paul's book for a month or so, nice read, but actually like his website better. Ignition Golf. It just helps to see on video what he is talking about. 

 

Still playing well, but still have to focus on swinging and not hitting. When I hit a bad shot it's usually because I am hitting at the ball! 

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just giving this a bump for the new golf season. I am getting cabin fever myself, so maybe someone can get some use out of this post!

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

What goes around comes around.........or something along those lines. Just a quick update on what has happened with the new season starting.

 

I tried to get right back into my "Swing the Club" not "Hit the ball" mode from the get go, and things didn't go well. I noticed at the end of last season my lower back was having lots of problems dealing with the torque being developed by initiating my downswing with all lower body. I mean it was hurting all the time after I played and I was spending lots of money at the Chiropractors office. Once again, when I started back up this year, same problem. It got so bad I couldn't play for a while. I was also having a heck of a time keeping lag in my swing or not flipping. 

the loose arms feel was actually working against me I think. I have finally resigned myself to a few truths about my game also. 

 

I am a "Hitter" and not a "Swinger", as hard as I have tried, I can't get rid of the hit instinct in me. 

 

With my back issues, I also decided I have to change some things, for health reasons, just to be able to play. So I went back to the thing that got me going in the right direction in the first place, Evolution Golf! I went back to what Dave Wedzick had taught me in the summer of 2010. It was like putting on a favorite pair of broke in shoes, oh what a great feeling. I started with some of the same drills as I used back then. I looked more into the 5SK stuff they are teaching now. Really pretty much the same as they taught back then under S & T. I was amazed how easy it came back, and It also showed me that I had lost some of the fundamentals that I had been using last year anyway. Two things stood out to me this time around. I used to play Callaway X16 irons when I first started this in 2010. I know play the Taylormade Speedblade irons. One to the things I didn't like with the x16's and Dave's method was how low the ball flew. My new clubs hit it much higher than the old ones did. Without losing any distance. My wife, who has never left the S &  T method she learned from the beginning had the same problem with her ball flight. She helped herself a little by not putting as much weight on her left side at address with her short irons. Which helped her hit them higher and thus stay on greens better. The second thing I noticed...............NO MORE BACK PAIN! 

 

Looks like I am back in the fold for now with the 5SK stuff. We'll see how things progress. 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading on the golf forums about golf swing techniques etc. It amazes me how many people will not try something just because of a "Gimmick Name" it was given for marketing purposes. Whether it be Gravity Golf, 5 Simple Keys, Stack and Tilt, etc. Some of the most enjoyable times I have with golf are trying new things. If they work great, if they don't great. What works for me and by body type, age, athletic ability, might not work as well for someone else. What works for them, may not work for me. To me the amateur golfer should try whatever he can to get better, it's not like his lively hood depends on it. Pro golfers would be reluctant to make a change for that reason alone I'm sure. But us amateurs have nothing to lose by trying something new. 

Forget about the "Names", just try some different things and see what happens. It might only be a part of what they are trying to teach. For example keeping a steady head, or holding the lag, or transferring weight to inside back leg, etc. One little thing like that can make a big difference to some players. Most of the time it's just the "feeling" that your doing that thing that makes a difference in your swing.

post #14 of 14

Thanks for the thread. Of course there are many others here. If you want golf swing stuff, the My Swing threads, the Swing Thoughts forum, and of course the general Instruction section of the site are good.

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