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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

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 themselves. Worst yet, some of those terri

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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.

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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?

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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.

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

"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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iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

Key #1 - It's Not About the Head

I worked with one of the college players today. His spine was around 31°, and he'd turn his shoulders at about that angle early on in his backswing, but by the time he got to the top it would be 18 or 19°. Predictably, his head drifted back a little, but up a fair amount. So, we worked on Key #1. I could have called it Key #4 (path) but it was a bit more of a secondary effect. Heck, even Key #5 was improved. But Key #1 is not about the head. I know, it's in the name, but we say this: t

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iacas in Droplets

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.

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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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iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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

iacas

iacas in Droplets

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 practice, and swings INward more than he eventually should, I'm good with it. I encourage it, in fact.

iacas

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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