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ClayB

Hi, I'm Clay Ballard, Instructor

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Hi everyone. Clay Ballard here. I am a golf instructor and new member to the forum. I thought I would write a little about myself for anyone who might be interested in what I teach.

I have always been impressed with the huge number of dedicated golfers on this forum. I figured I would sign up and start to chime in when I have some free time. You guys are awesome!!

A little about me, for those who might want to know.

First of all, I am probably the luckiest person you know. I get to do what I love for a living and help people enjoy this game. It doesn't get much better than that!

I started playing golf at 12, played in college, and a little on the mini tours.

I started teaching after I finished playing. I always had a lot of unanswered questions about my own swing when I was playing. Like many golfers, that is what drove my obsession with learning the game.

Fortunately I have been lucky to figure out through thousands of hours studying the game, giving a whole lot of lessons, and always wanting to learn more, how to hit the little white ball pretty far, straight, and solid. (Most days, haha!)

Even though I only play about once every few weeks, I usually hit the ball more solid and straighter than when I was practicing 8 hours a day. I like to think a big part of that is from what I have learned about the swing and applied to my own game.

I definitely do not have all the answers, but I like to think I have uncovered a few.

My teaching philosophy is pretty simple.

1. Give detailed instruction anyone can understand.

2. Simple is better than complicated.

3. Learn from every student you teach.

4. Fix the 1 thing that fixes 10 things.

5. Give everything you can to your students.

At the center of what I teach is what's called the "Scratch Golf System." For years I noticed that almost all good players do a few motions the same. I also watched as thousands of golfers got frustrated trying to perfect their swing and chase one of thousands of tips on the golf swing. That is why I developed a step by step system for how to learn these key moves.

I know a "system" isn't for everyone, and I am fine with that. But I don't teach the kind of system you are most likely thinking of. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Ben Hogan all have very different swings, but all fit into the system I teach. It isn't about creating an identical swing. Everyone has their own. It's all about doing the "Key" pieces correctly. Those few moves are where you will find your best results.

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Welcome to the site.. I'm interested in hearing more about your system. I look forward to your contribution and learning more about your experience!

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Thanks, excited to join. I have a Youtube channel named "Top Speed Golf" if you want to check out some of my free videos. If you ever have any question, just let me know. I am always happy to help any way I can.

Thanks,

Clay

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Thanks for joining up. Fresh air is always a good thing. I would be especially interested to learn more about your statement;

"Even though I only play about once every few weeks, I usually hit the ball more solid and straighter than when I was practicing 8 hours a day. I like to think a big part of that is from what I have learned about the swing and applied to my own game."

Knowing one's own game is one of the more important aspects of playing good golf, that gets overlooked quite often.

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Thanks, excited to join. I have a Youtube channel named "Top Speed Golf" if you want to check out some of my free videos. If you ever have any question, just let me know. I am always happy to help any way I can.

I think the owners of the site here would like it if you did not use this site just to promote yourself-But if you actually got involved as an instructor and engaged with people and helped them. If you are here to just promote yourself then it will be sniffed out fast. Telling people to go to your YouTube page is promotion. Find swings and people and hep them directly. Talk about golf. That sort of thing. Maybe Mike/Erik asked you to be here-And maybe they do not care about promoting you. But that is my gut feeling. Lots of good instructional threads here too-Curious about your take on things.

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Hey Patch, thanks for posting. I agree 100%. If you know your own game, you can learn to play to your strengths and avoid weaknesses. If you realize that when you get nervous you hook. Take notice of when the nerves kick up and play a shot that limits your chances to hook, like a small fade for example.

When we practice we can then address what is the cause of the hooks in the first place.

The biggest improvement for me was to understand how to release the club properly and something I call the compression line. I used to slide my hips too far forward in the downswing. Six or seven years ago when I was playing, I was taught that was a good thing by a top pro. We were trying to get me more "stacked." Once I worked out that issue and fixed my release I started hitting the ball really well.

I spent years practicing while I was growing up, working on the backswing trying to make it look perfect. Surprisingly most of the coaches I had talked very little about the downswing other than the basics.

Once I worked some things out with the downswing, I really started to hit the ball well. I noticed the same motions with top players on tour. That is why 3 of the four motions in the Scratch Golf System are related to the downswing. How we deliver the club through impact is everything.

Hope your playing well! How have you been doing lately?

Clay

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No problem Phil. I am always glad to help anyone I can. If anyone has questions for me, I will do my best to help them. Glad to be a part of the forum! I plan on being involved as much as time will allow.

I see you are a great player Phil! Hope your doing well in your tournaments!

Clay

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Maybe Mike/Erik asked you to be here-And maybe they do not care about promoting you. But that is my gut feeling.

We didn't but we'll give him a chance.

No problem Phil. I am always glad to help anyone I can. If anyone has questions for me, I will do my best to help them. Glad to be a part of the forum! I plan on being involved as much as time will allow.

I see you are a great player Phil! Hope your doing well in your tournaments!

Clay

Hi Clay, post here if you want to get involved and not just promote.

http://thesandtrap.com/f/4180/member-swings

Also good forum to check out.

http://thesandtrap.com/f/4088/swing-thoughts

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Hi Mvmac, great backswing! I like your shoulder turn and spine angle. Looks great!

I actually just got done posting in the member swing section. It's a little crazy in there, haha. Lot going on!

Play well. I'll see you guys around.

Clay

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Hey Patch, thanks for posting. I agree 100%. If you know your own game, you can learn to play to your strengths and avoid weaknesses. If you realize that when you get nervous you hook. Take notice of when the nerves kick up and play a shot that limits your chances to hook, like a small fade for example.

When we practice we can then address what is the cause of the hooks in the first place.

The biggest improvement for me was to understand how to release the club properly and something I call the compression line. I used to slide my hips too far forward in the downswing. Six or seven years ago when I was playing, I was taught that was a good thing by a top pro. We were trying to get me more "stacked." Once I worked out that issue and fixed my release I started hitting the ball really well.

I spent years practicing while I was growing up, working on the backswing trying to make it look perfect. Surprisingly most of the coaches I had talked very little about the downswing other than the basics.

Once I worked some things out with the downswing, I really started to hit the ball well. I noticed the same motions with top players on tour. That is why 3 of the four motions in the Scratch Golf System are related to the downswing. How we deliver the club through impact is everything.

Hope your playing well! How have you been doing lately?

Clay

I never get nervous playing golf, or at anything else for that matter anymore. I am fortunate to still just  be able to play the game. Good shots, and the fewer  poor shots I have are all the same to me. If anything, I have a good, quiet chuckle when I hit a poor shot. One good thing about knowing my own game, is that when I do hit a poor shot, I usually know why, and where to look for the reason of such a poor shot.

As far as my current play level, I am happy where I am. I am making a swing change from right to left handed to extend my golf years. I have my left handed putting down pretty well, while using the right hand low technique. Chipping is pretty decent, as are some of my shorter pitch shots while playing left handed. Still have work to do on my longer approach shots, and off the tee, with my driver, and 3 wood. I have played 5 rounds totally left handed, and with each round, my score has been lower than the previous one. It's fun work in progress.

I will be working on my left handed long game later today.  Weather (heat/humidity) permitting.

As you may have already guessed, I like the idea of learning the game from green to tee, instead of the more accepted way of tee to green. I figured knowing how to use the easier, recovery shots first, would help my scores, while learning the longer, tougher stuff. :beer:

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I never get nervous playing golf, or at anything else for that matter anymore. I am fortunate to still just  be able to play the game. Good shots, and the fewer  poor shots I have are all the same to me. If anything, I have a good, quiet chuckle when I hit a poor shot. One good thing about knowing my own game, is that when I do hit a poor shot, I usually know why, and where to look for the reason of such a poor shot.

As far as my current play level, I am happy where I am. I am making a swing change from right to left handed to extend my golf years. I have my left handed putting down pretty well, while using the right hand low technique. Chipping is pretty decent, as are some of my shorter pitch shots while playing left handed. Still have work to do on my longer approach shots, and off the tee, with my driver, and 3 wood. I have played 5 rounds totally left handed, and with each round, my score has been lower than the previous one. It's fun work in progress.

I will be working on my left handed long game later today.  Weather (heat/humidity) permitting.

As you may have already guessed, I like the idea of learning the game from green to tee, instead of the more accepted way of tee to green. I figured knowing how to use the easier, recovery shots first, would help my scores, while learning the longer, tougher stuff.

Sounds like you are in a pretty good place with your game Patch.

I definitely still get nervous playing. Nervous may be a bad word to describe it, but we all know the feeling. The adrenaline is pumping and the palms get a little sweaty. I probably just used the wrong wording. I am sure you feel the same way. Nervous can mean a lot of different things in certain context, I guess.

For me, that is the best part of the game. If I am not playing for something that will test me mentally and physically, it is tough for me to get excited about it. Even when I practice, I always like to envision situations where the pressure is high and try to recreate some of the same nerves. If I am practicing putting for instance, I will try to may 4-5 putts of different breaks and lengths to recreate coming down the stretch and out doing an opponent. For most people, this may be their best friend on a $5 bet or just for pride.

That's also very interesting about  playing left handed. I practiced left handed for a month a couple years ago. Driver was brutal! Really struggled off the tee. Inside 100, I was doing ok. I was able to break 100, but I am not sure I could how long it would take to get into the 70's?  I had a lot of fun though. Like you said, it is great watching the scores go down every round.

Good luck learning the new swing!

Clay

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I am making the switch from right to left handed for medical reasons involving my left wrist.

As for the lack of being nervous, I have always thought that if a person was nervous, they would also have a lack of focus. This applies to a lot of different things we come across in our lives.  Not just golf.  Of course there are folks smarter than me, claim to be anyways,  who would claim just the opposite. That being nervous increases one's focus. They may be right. Then again, those folks may have never face a life or death situation where nervousness might have made them dead. I think all golfers face the mental aspects of golf based on their prior experience in other, non golf, pressure situations. As we grow we learn.

As you posted above, I too like to practice the tougher, pressure  shots. I practice putting by playing against myself. I will practice a difficult side hill lie more than the easy chip shot. If available, I will practice knocking the ball over, under, or around a tree to a target. This is to prevent any surprises when playing for real. Because of my practice regimen, I am rarely surprised. Of course I still make bone headed judgements related to my ego, which again is no surprise. This usually involves trying to pull off a very low percentage, almost impossible shot.

You mentioned sweaty palms. Short story. I  had a small part in building a golf course that was going to have Jack Nicklaus's name on it. (Coyote Springs) In a meeting where Nicklaus was present, we all introduced ourselves, while shaking hands. Probably a dozen of us there. Nicklaus's hand was the only one I shook that was not sweaty. The businessman in me will never let forget that particular meeting.

To me, golf is  just a game that I love to devote time to. As hard as I try, the course always wins, and this is appealing to me.

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I am making the switch from right to left handed for medical reasons involving my left wrist.

As for the lack of being nervous, I have always thought that if a person was nervous, they would also have a lack of focus. This applies to a lot of different things we come across in our lives.  Not just golf.  Of course there are folks smarter than me, claim to be anyways,  who would claim just the opposite. That being nervous increases one's focus. They may be right. Then again, those folks may have never face a life or death situation where nervousness might have made them dead. I think all golfers face the mental aspects of golf based on their prior experience in other, non golf, pressure situations. As we grow we learn.

As you posted above, I too like to practice the tougher, pressure  shots. I practice putting by playing against myself. I will practice a difficult side hill lie more than the easy chip shot. If available, I will practice knocking the ball over, under, or around a tree to a target. This is to prevent any surprises when playing for real. Because of my practice regimen, I am rarely surprised. Of course I still make bone headed judgements related to my ego, which again is no surprise. This usually involves trying to pull off a very low percentage, almost impossible shot.

You mentioned sweaty palms. Short story. I  had a small part in building a golf course that was going to have Jack Nicklaus's name on it. (Coyote Springs) In a meeting where Nicklaus was present, we all introduced ourselves, while shaking hands. Probably a dozen of us there. Nicklaus's hand was the only one I shook that was not sweaty. The businessman in me will never let forget that particular meeting.

To me, golf is  just a game that I love to devote time to. As hard as I try, the course always wins, and this is appealing to me.

I hate to hear that about the wrist. I hope the change will work out for you. I am sure it will!

You are definitely right about the nerves. It is a fine line to walk. If they get too high, they will affect performance negatively. If they are harnessed they can help.

I like your practice regiment. Most players tend to hit the same shots over and over from the same place. Practicing like you mentioned above really helps to develop feel and new skill for all shots. I wish more players would take your approach. Good luck! Let me know how your lef handed swing goes after some more practice. I would like to hear about it.

Clay

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Enjoy the videos and the philosophy -- I'm new to the forums here, too. Welcome! Hope to see you around.

Awesome, thanks for postion amoline! How is your golf going?

Clay

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Clay Ballard? "Lag Doctor" from Revolution Golf correct? I've seen some of your videos. What brings you here? Just curious.

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Clay Ballard? "Lag Doctor" from Revolution Golf correct? I've seen some of your videos. What brings you here? Just curious.

Hey Vinsk! Yeah, that's me, different company though. I just thought I would post and answer a few questions here and there if anyone wanted help. How's your game?

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Awesome, thanks for postion amoline! How is your golf going?

Clay

Thanks for the introduction! -- Just sent you a PM so as to introduce myself further and so I don't spam up your welcome thread. :)

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