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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

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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iacas in Droplets

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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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

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iacas in Droplets

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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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

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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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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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 themselves. Worst yet, some of those terri

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

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iacas in Droplets

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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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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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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Attacking the Root Cause

Quick one today. Below, you'll see a player whose right arm stays pretty straight a long time. This leads to the right elbow getting a bit too far around/behind, and then it gets stuck there on the downswing. The player compensates by tipping the head back (as the right arm stays flexed a long time), and the left arm actually bends slightly too so she doesn't crash down into the ground. In the improved image, you'll note the right elbow flexes sooner. This limits the "late flexin

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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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I Fix a Lot of Setups

I know we've been talking lately about how setup is "automatic" (or it's not ), but I must say… I fix a lot of setup positions. I don't save out the images from all of my lessons. In fact, only a small percentage of the time do I feel I've done something I want to CC to myself for various reasons. But of those lessons, well, take a look: I'll often tell students: They'll answer "none" or "hardly any" or something like that, and I'll say "Great, you're right! You just have

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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

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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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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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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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AMCC Championships All Came Down to GamePlanning

My men's golf team won the AMCC Championship this past weekend with a two-day score of 637 (keeping the best four out of five scores). That works out to 79.625 on a fairly difficult layout at Avalon Lakes Golf & Country Club. ALGCC is a Pete Dye course that, like many Pete Dye courses, is very target-golf oriented. Dye seems to love to use visual trickery to goad players into going for more than they can handle. Sure, it rewards the long drive into the very narrow alley way between wate

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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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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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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




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