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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

 

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 ca

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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

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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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Finding the Ball

When we work with students, we often tell them that we don't expect them to hit the first 20 or 30 balls "better" or even as good as they were before, we just expect them to hit them "differently." Sometimes that "difference" is better, but often it's worse. The difference is often (not always… it depends very much on what the change is…) an insight into how good a golfer can ever expect to be. You see, some golfers are just better at what @david_wedzik and I call "finding the golf ball."

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Grrrrrrr… Practice Properly You Maggots!

If you do not practice properly, you probably won't get any better. You'll probably say "that instruction doesn't work" (even though you're not doing it). The worst culprits are often the better players. They make two swings slow motion and think they have it. I'm easy at first, gently reminding them. Then I get a little firmer. Then firmer yet. But ultimately I can't go full drill sergeant on them, and whether they practice properly after having the benefits, reasons, process, etc. ex

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Small Change, Big Change

Fixing one thing like this fixed a lot of other things that come after. Proper prioritization is important. For this golfer, fixing this part of the backswing made a lot of later compensations unnecessary.

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Breaking 100

I watch my daughter, @NatalieB, play golf. Sometimes better than others, but this year, almost always in the 90s (and once, so far, in the 80s). She's playing from 5,000 to 5,300 yards, and she'll take 36-42 putts, and miss the green with chip shots, and hit the occasional shot that goes 20 feet when she's 140 yards out… And yet, she breaks 100 virtually every time. The other day she had two four-putts and a few three-putts, started with two triples and a quad in the first four holes… and s

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We Didn't Work on his Downswing

We worked on his backswing. His pivot. Reducing the sway. And a little bit of setup work (the grip is quite a bit stronger - this player may need to reduce the strength eventually, but not now). This speaks to prioritization. That doesn't always mean fixing the first part of the swing that goes wrong, but often, that's kind of how it feels, because everything after that becomes a compensation.

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"What Works" is not Always Better

I often see said here on the forum that people will "try things" and "if it works, they adopt it." While occasionally that's fine, more often than not it leads to a destructive path that hinders long-term growth. Things that work "right away" are often band-aids, or compensations. Take this golfer for example: On the left, "his swing." No lessons, just an athlete that "figured some stuff out" that let him at least hit the balls somewhat solidly. He started forward, stayed fo

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A Little Goat Humping Not Always Bad

A little early extension - "goat humping" - isn't necessarily a bad thing. Justin Rose with a mid-iron: Zach Johnson with a Hybrid: Charley Hoffman with a hybrid: Tiger with a Driver: Rory hitting an iron: Goat humping goes awry when: It becomes excessive. It prevents the hips and torso from opening up at the proper rates. But no, your hips and head do not need to stay absolutely flush against their "walls."

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A Rising Tide Raises All Ships

But, unfortunately, a sinking tide lowers all ships. And that's what we have in the golf industry. We have a lot of golf instructors that just flat out suck at their jobs. They're giving bad advice to their students. They're dishing out tips they seem to have found in Golf Digest that month. They're actively making their players worse. They're using clichés and myths because they've never spent any time thinking about or investigating for

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Exaggeration Necessary

This golfer is working on not delivering the clubhead AND his hands from so deep: Predictably, he often hit BIG pushes, BIG draws/hooks, and more than his fair share of shanks. Do I eventually want him to swing like the golfer on the right? Absolutely not. But he - like you - has made hundreds of thousands of swings like the one on the left. If he exaggerates in p

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Work Required

Golf is hard™. Change is hard. If you want to get better at golf, it takes time, it takes effort, it takes motivation, and it takes a commitment. It's not something that's going to come easily. Now, I do encourage golfers to work smarter, not harder. There are a LOT of drills you can do hitting a cotton ball, or making swings against a wall, or in a mirror, in five or ten minutes a day at h

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When Practicing the Backswing

I once heard a story of a kid in Florida who practiced his backswing (at the range, with a ball at his feet) for nearly three hours. Let me say that again with a little added emphasis: he practiced his backswing for nearly three hours. He didn't hit a single ball. Didn't even make a downswing. He recorded, used a mirror, checked his video, and made backswings for nearly 180 consecutive minutes. That's madness.

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    • Number 4 is interesting to me. I've been entering State Mid-Am qualifiers the past two years. The first year, I played well but missed qualifying. Last year, I sucked ass. I thought after last year that I would take a break and try to get a little better before trying to qualify again. But maybe I should keep entering and try to get more used to playing in these. Food for thought, for sure.
    • I've been having a few meetings with a sports psychologist who wants to have lessons for golfers.  One of the, not revolutionary, but different ways of thinking about performance for every time you play is to try and beat your average, instead of thinking about beating your best or your handicap (at least it is different to me, and I guess makes me relax a bit more instead of trying overly hard to perform). This way, the goal is more achievable and yet serves the same purpose of trying to get be
    • That’s why I posted it. It’s not just for juniors.
    • At the risk of being redundant, this can apply to everyone.
    • Just found this thread-fascinating. No idea what is driving this ...seems to have history...I love the topic of Belief. "Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case regardless of empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.  Truth is a term used to indicate various forms of accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal.  Fact: something that is known to have happened or to exist

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