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Setup, Grip, and Making the Swing "Automatic"


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I'm not going to bore you with all of the details, but several years ago, I discovered a certain Carl Lohren living on a farm in eastern TN. As it turns out, this man has a pretty darned illustrious past in the world of golf, as a player but more importantly as a teacher.

He has worked with my 14 year old son on a number of occasions, and I am going to share with you some nuggets from Carl that are in quite a bit of contrast with the modern teaching.  But I can tell you this, his results speak for themselves.

Feel free to post questions on this thread, as I know I'm going to leave a lot out:

1.  The grip - Carl is incessant on this.  We have spent many hours getting the grip right.  He says if it is wrong, the right side of the body will take over the swing, and almost all poor shots are a result of the right side of the body.  The right hand grip must be FINGERS ONLY, no palm.  I will address the left hand when I have more time.

2.  "Open shoulders" - you hear "square your shoulders" all the time, and Carl says this is utter b.s.  It is an unnatural move, as the shoulders are ALWAYS NATURALLY OPEN at address due to the simple fact that the right hand is further down the club.  He says all of the good players have their shoulders open to the target several degrees at address due to this, and artificially adjusting it over the ball leads to a lot of problems.  Cites Hogan and many others.

3.  Forget about swing plane.  If your posture and set-up are correct, and you begin the swing with the left shoulder (quiet hands, arms, and hips), the plane is correct automatically.  There is no thought to it.

More to come soon!  But this should be a fun thread.

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It's a lot more logical to me to consider that the pros, by and large, do not have many compensations.  Their expertise and consistency is what makes them pros.  If there was one right way to do somet

no offense to you or your son...hopefully he'll be as accomplished as one can get in this silly game we play.

But clicking on google and youtube, this Lohren seems to take the Hogan method of teaching to his students.Not saying it's wrong but I for one will stick w/ Erik,Preston and David's teaching....I'm reading their book for the second time now,underlining and high lighting sections to go over in more detail the 3rd go around this winter...

My advice is to stick with ONE teacher, One swing philosophy and get THAT right, (like your son)....I went from so many swing thoughts to maybe one or two when I play now and I'm seeing a difference....

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SO far no issues. I try to keep the grip more in my fingers with the right hand, but it's so easy to forget when there are 50 other thoughts in there too.
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no offense to you or your son...hopefully he'll be as accomplished as one can get in this silly game we play.

But clicking on google and youtube, this Lohren seems to take the Hogan method of teaching to his students.Not saying it's wrong but I for one will stick w/ Erik,Preston and David's teaching....I'm reading their book for the second time now,underlining and high lighting sections to go over in more detail the 3rd go around this winter...

My advice is to stick with ONE teacher, One swing philosophy and get THAT right, (like your son)....I went from so many swing thoughts to maybe one or two when I play now and I'm seeing a difference....

No question about it, Carl refers back to Hogan over and over again.  He knew Ben Hogan. :bugout:

He is old school.

He is all about the left side controlling the swing, and this is initiated by correct set-up, grip, and posture.   His position is that the other things in the swing - incorrect swing plane, hitting from the top, etc., are simply symptoms of problems in the set up and swing start.

He doesn't like you to refer to the backswing as a "takeaway" at all, as this infers that the club is being "taken" - by the right side - which causes many woes.  He refers to it as the "start" of the swing.  And again, the square shoulders thing he says is a myth that just gets repeated over and over again.  The shoulders shouldn't be squared, because they are naturally open as a result of the right hand being lower on the golf club, and you're going to come back to this position on the follow-through anyway because it is perfectly natural to do so.

In Carl's mind, ANY adjustment at address - turning the hips to and fro, squaring the shoulders, pointing the feet certain directions, these are all UNNATURAL movements that prevent your body from making what should be a very natural swing. They are artificial items, that, tossed in, make a very artificial swing that is difficult to repeat.

Thus...my son always has shoulders slightly open at address, and he hits a nice draw most of the time.  His problems arise when the left shoulder doesn't control the swing - that is, when he starts snatching the club around with his right hand and arm.  That puts the golfer in a position of "recovery" for the rest of the swing in an attempt to find the slot, and the results often are not very pretty.

As I mentioned earlier, Carl is obsessive about the grip.  He claims that if you do not have a fundamentally sound grip  with "fundamentally sound" being a very tight window - you have no chance to score well.  He once told my son "that's a fine grip....as long as you never want to break 80.  That's not a 70s grip you currently have...it's an 80s grip."

Another big deal for Carl is the pre-shot routine.   He has spent hours with my son on how to step into his stance properly over the ball at address, and the waggle.  The purpose of the waggle is extremely important - it is a "mini-swing" that allows the player to reduce tension and prime the left shoulder.

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As I mentioned earlier, Carl is obsessive about the grip.  He claims that if you do not have a fundamentally sound grip  with "fundamentally sound" being a very tight window - you have no chance to score well.  He once told my son "that's a fine grip....as long as you never want to break 80.  That's not a 70s grip you currently have...it's an 80s grip."

I would challenge him to what he claims a fundamental grip is. I am sure Moe Norman, who had the grip in the palm of his hands, would have an entirely different opinion on what is considered a good grip.

Grips come in many forms, some more in the palm, some more in the fingers. Some more weak, some stronger. There are some tendencies with the grip and how it can have an affect on the swing, but they are not that big of a deal.

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There are some tendencies with the grip and how it can have an affect on the swing, but they are not that big of a deal.

Wow.  I think the horse done left the barn there... :surrender:

I bet I've spent a $ thousand on Carl just helping my son get his grip right. :bugout:

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Wow.  I think the horse done left the barn there...

Let me ask this, what about Jim Furyk. He has a double overlap, pretty neutral in strength. Lets go with Zach Johnson who has a very strong grip. What about Moe Norman who had a very palmy grip. Tiger woods won a lot of tournaments under Hank Haney with the grip more in the palm of his left hand. Yet, he had a grip more in the fingers earlier in his career.

A lot of very good golfers have won a lot of tournaments with different grips. Basically their grips were in such a way they were not a detriment to their swing. Can a grip cause issues, yes. It just isn't a fundamental because there is no one right grip.

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Wow.  I think the horse done left the barn there...

I bet I've spent a $ thousand on Carl just helping my son get his grip right.

Wow! You spent a grand just working on the grip?!!!

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Wow! You spent a grand just working on the grip?!!!

Yeah that seems high unless someone just couldn't get the grip. My pro has helped my game A LOT and the first lesson I had with him he changed my grip and we worked on it for an hour. Right before I left he said "Now don't go changing your grip back or else we will have to spend another lesson fixing it again." It makes sense as only one part of your body touches the club.

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i think it all depends on your perspective: we pay Carl $150 per lesson. This is a guy who worked with Chi Chi, Trevino, Hallberg, Player, and even Nicklaus a bit, so he commands a premium. As for time spent on the grip and set-up, plus the left shoulder motion, Carl believes these to be the "Intel pentium chip" that governs the entire athletic move that we call the swing. Once these things are in place, Carl says everything else "is in the hands of the good Lord." So if you place that amount of importance on something like the grip, 3 hours or so working on each hand as it holds the club is nothing. As for my son, when his hitting goes astray, we find there has been one of the following: 1. A denigration of the grip in some way - undetectable to even many trained eyes. 2. A denigration in the set-up - including alignment, posture, and ball position. So these two are where we spend all our time and money, because we place the highest importance on them.
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I would say so, yes. And quite a bit of $$$ on set-up, posture, and waggle.

No offense, but that's mind-boggling. I think I spent a total of 45 seconds going over all that stuff with @iacas .

As for time spent on the grip and set-up, plus the left shoulder motion, Carl believes these to be the "Intel pentium chip" that governs the entire athletic move that we call the swing.

Once these things are in place, Carl says everything else "is in the hands of the good Lord."

I just don't buy it. If there is one perfect set-up, grip, and shoulder motion, every PGA Tour golfer in history would have the exact same swing, because they'd all be trying to achieve that model. You can't just stand like Hogan and expect to swing like Hogan.

As for my son, when his hitting goes astray, we find there has been one of the following:

1. A denigration of the grip in some way - undetectable to even many trained eyes.

2. A denigration in the set-up - including alignment, posture, and ball position.

So these two are where we spend all our time and money, because we place the highest importance on them.

I'm glad that you and your son have found success with the guy, but I think you're drinking some pretty heavy Kool-Aid. If your son has hitting problems some days and hits well on others, it's more likely that there's some kind of compensatory movement during his swing that he manages to get the timing better one some days vs others.

If an undetectable micro-misalignment of the grip or set-up was completely detrimental to the golf swing, we'd all be doomed. How does this instructor account for the success of every golfer not named "Ben Hogan" throughout history?

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I can't speak for any other golfer, nor any other teacher. Carl Lohren is our guy. While my son has had his ups and downs, he has won or medaled in over 40 junior events in the last 6 seasons. Certainly there are different swings, but the most successful of them tend to share some key fundamentals. Like I said, Carl has worked with many professionals. We place a lot of weight in what he says; so far, so good.
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Damn, I guess I shouldn't have put this thread out for free, could have had all you guys pay me a grand for the info.

Certainly there are different swings, but the most successful of them tend to share some key fundamentals.

Yep, 5 of them ;-)

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Damn, I guess I shouldn't have put this thread out for free, could have had all you guys pay me a grand for the info .  [CONTENTEMBED=/t/75436/how-to-grip-a-golf-club-commonalities-of-a-functional-golf-grip layout=inline]​[/CONTENTEMBED]

Nah, some of us simply accept the fact that our grip is non -functional! :-D

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Before I add anything to this thread (which will be renamed at some point - there's no "one move" described here), let me just say I'm glad that you're happy, and that your son seems happy, and good for that. My responses will be short, but please take that simply as not wanting to waste any more time on things than necessary. I just want to say a little bit and move on. [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063803"]   1.  The grip - Carl is incessant on this.  We have spent many hours getting the grip right.  He says if it is wrong, the right side of the body will take over the swing, and almost all poor shots are a result of the right side of the body.  The right hand grip must be FINGERS ONLY, no palm.  I will address the left hand when I have more time. [/QUOTE] I don't agree that there is "one" grip. I teach players with all sorts of grips. Yes, in the fingers is a commonality, but as others have said, Jim Furyk has a double overlapping grip, and plays pretty well… I can grip the club all manner of ways and beat a lot of people.   [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063803"]   2.  "Open shoulders" - you hear "square your shoulders" all the time, and Carl says this is utter b.s.  It is an unnatural move, as the shoulders are ALWAYS NATURALLY OPEN at address due to the simple fact that the right hand is further down the club.  He says all of the good players have their shoulders open to the target several degrees at address due to this, and artificially adjusting it over the ball leads to a lot of problems.  Cites Hogan and many others. [/QUOTE] I don't agree that your right hand being lower requires open shoulders. Your shoulders could simply tilt, with your right shoulder simply moving downward. There's no anatomical reason that I can see why your shoulders have to be open just because your right hand is a little lower on the grip.   [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063803"]   3.  Forget about swing plane.  If your posture and set-up are correct, and you begin the swing with the left shoulder (quiet hands, arms, and hips), the plane is correct automatically.  There is no thought to it.   [/QUOTE] There may be no thought to it for your son (if so, congrats to him), but… I feel a lot of emphasis in your posts on grip and setup. I could take a guy off the street who has never played golf and teach him a perfect setup and grip. The guy may still whiff 1/3 of his swings and his swing plane will be anything but "automatic." There's also no one "setup" position on the PGA Tour, for example. [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063911"]   He is all about the left side controlling the swing, and this is initiated by correct set-up, grip, and posture.   His position is that the other things in the swing - incorrect swing plane, hitting from the top, etc., are simply symptoms of problems in the set up and swing start. [/QUOTE] Hogan said that he wished he had three right hands. Kind of flies in the face of this, no? Also, see the above about teaching a stranger the grip and setup. He'd still have a LOT of work to do on his golf swing… [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063911"] because it is perfectly natural to do so. [/QUOTE] I find that there's very little "natural" in the golf swing. I think Hogan once said if you do the OPPOSITE of what feels natural, you'll have a good golf swing.   [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063911"] As I mentioned earlier, Carl is obsessive about the grip.  He claims that if you do not have a fundamentally sound grip  with "fundamentally sound" being a very tight window - you have no chance to score well.  He once told my son "that's a fine grip....as long as you never want to break 80.  That's not a 70s grip you currently have...it's an 80s grip."    [/QUOTE] Carl and I disagree. :) [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063911"]   Another big deal for Carl is the pre-shot routine. He has spent hours with my son on how to step into his stance properly over the ball at address, and the waggle. The purpose of the waggle is extremely important - it is a "mini-swing" that allows the player to reduce tension and prime the left shoulder. [/QUOTE] Uhm, okay. Pretty sure Rory McIlroy could walk up to the ball doing any pre-shot routine and hit it better than your son (or me, or 99.9% of anyone who plays golf of course). Do you disagree? [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063916"]   I bet I've spent a $ thousand on Carl just helping my son get his grip right.  :bugout: … I would say so, yes. And quite a bit of $$$ on set-up, posture, and waggle. [/QUOTE] If you're happy, again, great. But… I don't really agree on the importance there. [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063943"] As for time spent on the grip and set-up, plus the left shoulder motion, Carl believes these to be the "Intel pentium chip" that governs the entire athletic move that we call the swing. Once these things are in place, Carl says everything else "is in the hands of the good Lord."[/QUOTE] Do you disagree that I could teach someone off the street the perfect setup and grip, and yet I could probably beat that guy at golf playing left-handed (I'm a righty)?   [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063943"] So if you place that amount of importance on something like the grip, 3 hours or so working on each hand as it holds the club is nothing.[/QUOTE] Seems like a waste of about $448 to me. :-) Again, really glad you're happy, but… I can't imagine.   [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063943"] As for my son, when his hitting goes astray, we find there has been one of the following: 1. A denigration of the grip in some way - undetectable to even many trained eyes. 2. A denigration in the set-up - including alignment, posture, and ball position. So these two are where we spend all our time and money, because we place the highest importance on them.[/QUOTE] Please post a video of your kid's swing. I think we'd all love to see it. [QUOTE name="TXHusker" url="/t/77551/one-move-to-better-golf#post_1063960"] Certainly there are different swings, but the most successful of them tend to share some key fundamentals. Like I said, Carl has worked with many professionals. We place a lot of weight in what he says; so far, so good.[/QUOTE] The best swings have roughly five of them in common, I would say… [URL=http://5sk.com/index.php/site/about]http://5sk.com/index.php/site/about[/URL]
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I can't speak for any other golfer, nor any other teacher. Carl Lohren is our guy. While my son has had his ups and downs, he has won or medaled in over 40 junior events in the last 6 seasons. Certainly there are different swings, but the most successful of them tend to share some key fundamentals. Like I said, Carl has worked with many professionals. We place a lot of weight in what he says; so far, so good.

I am glad you are sharing this. I am still not over the Ryder cup. I am not convinced the US style of play is working at the international level, though certain individual players seem to know their game quite well.

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I bet I've spent a $ thousand on Carl just helping my son get his grip right.

I would say so, yes. And quite a bit of $$$ on set-up, posture, and waggle.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…...

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