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About this blog

I often say that I have an ocean of knowledge, but all a student needs in a lesson is a cup.

This blog is for droplets. Little things I see and notice while giving lessons that may or may not benefit you specifically, but which strike me enough to post here about it.

Entries in this blog

Unique Tour Player Swings

Yes, Matt Wolff has a weird swing. Jim Furyk too. Keegan Bradley sets up pretty funny. Dustin Johnson has a bowed left wrist at the top (as does Jon Rahm, and Graeme McDowell). Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood chicken wing it. Lee Trevino had an odd swing. Thing is… You're not any of those people. They're supremely talented. They spend HOURS a DAY working on what they do. There's nothing that says they wouldn't have been better (or worse) if

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Vineyard Vines Flow Trace

For a student, I traced out a little "flow" trace or "COM" trace. It's exaggerated in scale, but I think it's fairly representative of what a good player's "feel" is mixed with a bit of the common reality. When I was done, it looked to me like the Vineyard Vines whale, so I drew a little tail on it. Here it is: 1, 2, 3, and 4 are A1 through A4 (or Ps if you still prefer those). At A1, the pressure is pretty centered. At A2, the pressure has just about reached the far

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Do Less (Forgetting Sarah Marshall Style)

I find myself saying in lessons quite often^ lately "Do Less." For example, on the backswing, people will often move their hands around, bend elbows in every direction, move the clubhead everywhere, the knees are doing a bunch of stuff, etc. Their backswings are too long, and really, if they just make a little turn and "fling" (I use that word a lot too) their arms up and back, they end up in a good spot. I think that in students of the game can get caught up in trying to do "too much"

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Embrace the Uncomfortable

All too often, a student will make a comment that something feels “weird” or even “uncomfortable.” GOOD!!! Changing something you’ve done ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million times… should be uncomfortable. Embrace the uncomfortable! Comfort likely means you’re doing the same thing. It’s familiar. It’s easy. Learning happens on the edge of uncomfortable. Exaggerate something. Swing slower. Hit massive curving shots that go the other direction from your typical sha

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Posture is Almost the Same for All Clubs

Lots of people seem to think that you stand "taller" for longer clubs, like the driver. The only thing that really changes much is the angle at which your arms hang - a bit farther out for driver. Note: it's not true for all, but it's true for most. Rory tends to be a bit more upright with his driver.

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A Tweet Regarding the Length of the Backswing

The point of the backswing is to turn your body and to slightly bend your trail elbow, to elevate your trail elbow (to varying degrees), and to hinge your wrists (to varying degrees). The first bit — what's commonly called "turning your shoulders" — is the most important. Getting the club to parallel is not even on the list.

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Things That Take Almost No Talent to Do Correctly

There are several things which take almost no talent to do correctly, and if you can do them, you can become a better golfer and stay a better golfer. These things should be touchstones of a sort, things you check on constantly, but again which take no (or at least not much) actual skill to achieve. These are things even beginners can do. These lists are off the top of my head. Tier 1: No Real Talent Grip the club properly - in the base of the fingers, with the right number of kn

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Tempo vs. Rhythm

People often confuse tempo and rhythm, or they'll use them interchangeably. I've almost surely done it many times to this point, but here is how I intend to try to use them starting now. Rhythm is the ratio and tempo is the speed. Rhythm Good putting strokes often have a ratio of 2:1. Again, it's the ratio of the putting stroke. You can have a 300ms backswing or a 600ms backswing, each with a 150 or a 300ms downswing, and that's 2:1. Both strokes have the same rhythm. Tempo Th

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Killer (Putting Game) or "Six Lives"

I like this game. Essentially: You start with six balls. You start from three feet. You putt from three feet until you make a putt. If you make the putt, you take that ball and all remaining balls back three feet. If you miss, that ball or "life" is lost. Your "score" is the farthest distance at which you make a putt. So for example: Make from 3'. Six balls remain. Make from 6'. Six balls remain. Miss, miss, ma

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Putt to the Picture (via Tiger Woods)

Distance control is an "athletic" thing for most golfers. Unless you're Bryson DeChambeau, who knows that a 12" backstroke makes the ball go 15.739 feet (or whatever), players tend to putt best when they tap into their athleticism. That's why studies will point out how golfers putting from 25+ feet with their eyes looking at the hole often have better distance control (even though they slightly mishit some putts) than golfers looking down at the ball. Combine both: do what Tiger Woods learn

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Notes for Juniors on Mental Game

I'm having a mental game expert address some of my juniors next Saturday, and I had some additional notes for him. Stuff I wanted him to include that may be particular to my program, the way I teach, my LSW information, etc. And I thought some of you might benefit. So here's that part of the email: 1. Practice is not playing. I'd like them to know that when they're working on their swing, they care what the mechanics are, they care what things "look" like somewhat, they care about

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I Gave a Bad Lesson Today

I am constantly critiquing myself. I give a lot of good lessons. Lessons about which I feel I did really well. Lessons I'd give myself an "A" for giving; not an A+, mind you, which almost never happens. But As and A-s. And I'm a pretty harsh grader. But today I gave a C+ lesson that I may have recovered and turned into a B+ lesson, if only by recognizing it early enough. The details are unimportant, but basically, I found myself talking about something that was probably priority #3 or

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Science

Dr. Sasho Mackenzie had a quote in the March issue of Golf magazine that I liked. Listen, there'll always be science-deniers and the belief that none of what I or other researchers do is necessary. They're going to be eroded away. There'll be fewer and fewer of these people once the community realizes that science and technology are simply about learning and understanding better ways to swing a golf club. I no longer feel bad for the instructors who fight it, because the information's out t

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Finger Down the Shaft Putting

I was tempted to post "I doubt it," but I have this blog to use, so I'll use it for a quick discussion of this. I've taught a few thousand people to putt. I've never seen someone with their finger down the shaft who I would consider a "good" putter. More often - far, far more often - those with their finger down the shaft have distance control issues. The pressure they apply with that finger leads to added loft and wrist flipping, while many good putting strokes have de-lofted putters (4° t

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Give or Take 2-3 Degrees

There's a reason @david_wedzik and I trademarked the phrase "Golf is Hard"®. https://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error Here's a par three that is often a 7- or 8-iron (but can be a 6-iron). A driver on a par five. And another par three that plays from 190-220 yards. In all three cases, you have about +/- 2 or 3° in which to hit your shot, or else we deem the shot "a failure." Set your expectations properly, and give yourselves the credit you deserve whe

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When Dinosaurs Die Off

This is the AFTER golf swing of a guy in my PGA classes. The player was hitting the ball a bit low (I wasn't able to record an initial video, but I didn't see a lot of axis tilt and someone told me he had reverse axis tilt at A4…). The instruction he got? Go to the top by not rotating his hips, but by "loading" into his trail side, from the top "stay behind the ball" and throw the clubhead at the ball. With the ball on a tee, this raised the ball flight. Absolutely. On the shots where

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Born with Clubface Control

The next time you're on the range, try this: Get out your 8-iron. Select a target about 80-90% of your normal 8I distance away. Grip the club with an excessive, extreme strong grip. Take one swing with the sole goal of hitting the ball to the target, without much curve. Grip the club with an excessive, extreme weak grip. Take one swing with the sole goal of hitting the ball to the target, without much curve. That's it. Two swings. No practice… How'd you do?

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Switcheroo

Game 1: PGA Tour Player Switcheroo Imagine a game in which you pair two average PGA Tour players with two average 80s golfers. Team A: the pro hits every shot that requires a Full Swing Motion (roughly every shot from 65+ yards), and the 80s golfer will play every short game shot and hit every putt. Team B: the 80s golfer hits every Full Swing Motion shot, and the pro plays every short game shot and hits every putt. On a typical 7000-yard golf course, what might you expect th

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Low Rounds

When a PGA Tour player shoots a really low round - 61, 63, 59… whatever… ask yourself: did the guy have to get up and down a lot or hole a lot of chips for birdie? Or did he hit a bunch of greens, leave himself short putts, and have a decent day with the putter? When a PGA Tour player needs to rely on his short game, he probably didn't have a great round. He may have salvaged a decent round, but he didn't have a great round. Great rounds - and good scoring over the long haul - are a re

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Golfers are More Confused than Ever

Golfers are more confused than ever for two reasons. Never before has there been so much information available to the average golfer. The "bad instructors" have as much of a platform as the "good instructors." The two kind of go hand in hand. A golfer will hear "stay behind the ball and roll your hands over to hit a draw" from one guy while he hears about how he's got to get his weight forward and follow through more like Zach Johnson from some other guy.

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Weekly Lessons?

Just a question right now, because I'm actually going to post this in Swing Thoughts as it's a bit more involved than what I want for my "Droplets" blog: which do you think is better (and why): lessons that cost you $45/45min. every week or lessons that cost $120/hour every month or two? There's no one "right" answer.

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Go Back to Your First Lessons

I gave a lesson to a guy the other day who said he wanted to learn "how to play golf." He was being sarcastic, as he's played golf for 40 years or so, has made many nice changes and improvements to his golf swing, and is playing quite well for his age. Despite this, his texts from the day before were of the panicking type. I gave him a lesson. I wanted him to do two things. First, I wanted him to take his left shoulder down a bit more so his head didn't drift back and up during the bac

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    • It never happened unfortunately. Something came up last minute and we weren’t able to play.
    • Well? How did it turn out? Who has the thinner wallet?
    • Hey Carl... a guy needs all the excuses he can get.  Did your insurance cover your PRP?  It didn't for mine. Good to hear you got back out... I'm biased... I love the game, as infuriating as it can be at times.
    • How are you doing DMM. Still caffeinated I see. 🙃 I did play with a friend from HS on Sunday afternoon. Knee did pretty well. Still hurts when I try to extend it with any resistance, but apparently the PRP injection helped a bit. Climbing into those sand filled craters that I kept finding my stupid ball in was hell. Sad thing is, I par'd 1 & 2 and then went on to shoot 105. At least I have 2 excuses, wind and knee, right?
    • Loser buys the dozen balls, winner buys lunch.  Loser gets one sleeve out of the dozen.  Still a challenge, but keeps everything equal, more or less.  And everyone's a winner... lunch, balls... what could be better?  Winner still gets bragging rights, until the next match.
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