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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

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 home or in your office. But you've gotta put in at least that much time. Golfers wh

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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. The backswing is an important part of the golf swing. A lot of gol

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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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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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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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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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Updated Wall Drill for Pivot Flow

For higher handicappers, I prefer a fairly centered, stable pivot, as I've noted here: A link at the bottom of that blog post links you to this page, with a self-explanatory title: For better players, I prefer a little bit of "flow." Here's a drill you can do to get a bit of a feel for this: Yes, you also use a wall for this drill, too. 😄

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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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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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The Wall Drill for a Proper Pivot

Here's a student many will tell you "lacks flexibility." He thinks it (sometimes, when I haven't seen him in awhile ), other instructors have told him he lacks flexibility, etc. His hips sway right, his torso turns about 75°, and he lifts his arms up to "finish his backswing." It's a bit better in the left photo here because he's been working on this for quite some time now, but even still you can see those trademark things: hips sway back, no secondary tilt, head rises, arms lif

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The Right Elbow… Again

Here's the swing sequence (from Analyzr) of a pretty good golfer. He took second place individually at the conference championships a few weeks ago. Here's a larger look at A3 and A4 from DL: Now, if the title of the post didn't totally give it away, a lot of golfers here would be able to spot the flaw here in a heartbeat: the right elbow migrates well around the body and gets a bit trapped on the downswing, resulting in a baby flip, not the best clubface or path control, a

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The Last Moment of Truth

That comes from the behind-the-scenes peek from the famous Time interview with Tiger Woods: http://scoregolf.com/blog/lorne-rubenstein/the-goods-on-woods/ . Tiger, it turns out, is wrong. The golf swing is too fast. Even if you could instantly form a thought and direct your muscles to do something, it quite literally takes too long for the nerve impulse to travel from your brain to your muscles for it to do anything past about A5. That's right: if your brain hasn't told your muscl

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The Big Number

I attended the Division III ECAC championship this past weekend. And I saw a lot of quadruple bogeys. On a relatively wide open golf course. It made no sense to me. None. This golf course was not that difficult, and the vast majority of the big scores were from two simple errors: Being far too aggressive at the wrong times. Making utterly horrible swings. For the first, I mean stuff like this: you hit the ball in a fairway bunker, and have a 4-iron left to the green.

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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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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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Stop Aiming Right!

Stop lining way to the right. This seems to affect about 90% of the golfers out there, maybe more. Alignment is not a commonality - not every good player aligns exactly the same - but none of them align WAY THE HECK RIGHT like many amateurs do.

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Some Compensations Don't Need Attention

This golfer's wrists collapsed like crazy at the top of the backswing. They don't anymore. He also had trouble hitting out at the golf ball at all. The fix? A bit of a two-in-one solution: TURN MORE. The golfer was bending the wrists so much to try to feel that the clubhead was getting near parallel somewhere. Now, he doesn't have to, and yet his arms have gained not only more depth, but more distance and can thus generate more speed as well. I'll often say to pe

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Small Things, Big Differences

Earlier today I fit a college player and a reasonably good putter with an Edel putter. His putter was a typical blade - the old PING/Cameron/Everyone-Has-a-Version classic blade putter with some heel/toe weighting. He could aim his putter, from about ten feet (bear in mind that the laser reflects back over the same ten feet, doubling the error), to about four inches outside the right edge of the cup. Not great, but not as bad as we've seen from many. His putter had a single, solitary thin l

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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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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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Quality of Practice

Far too many people judge the quality of their practice by the quality of the shots they hit when they practice. I choose to judge the quality of my practice by how much I succeeded at learning and improving. I've had great range sessions where I didn't hit a single ball terribly solidly. I've had great range sessions where I didn't hit a ball, with a 6-iron, over 50 yards. I've had great range sessions where I know I'm going to hit a bunch of shanks, and when I do, take that as proof that

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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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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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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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iacas in Droplets




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    • Count me in on the group lesson.  One day I really would like to learn AimPoint. 
    • Get to work on that! And see if this helps. WTF is wrong with people? Happy to host y'all again, assuming we can find a good time for it. 🙂
    • I wish I would have, I need to focus a little on the Work/Life Balance equation. I really feel I should spend time practicing what he told me last time before I ask for more advice.  Maybe sometime this spring, just not March/April.  That should give me enough time to get comfortable with the change he already advised.
    • Sorry to hear about your mishap at the driving range. I had a driver push me into a Jersey barrier on my way back from Florida a couple months ago. No injury, but no fun at all. You two are definitely dedicated coming from Michigan to Erie, but Erik is good! I want to get back to Erie before the season gets into full swing, pun intended.  
    • You should have drove up this way to play on the simulator.    Just today I was thinking about that trip and my priority pieces.   It's a work in process but today I felt that some of that was coming together.   I'm not opposed to another road trip.   Erik was very accommodating, and the lesson was definitely worth the trip.    Maybe next time I'll get fit for an Edel putter too! 
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