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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/01/2011 in Blog Entries

  1. 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 knuckles showing for your swing. Set up properly - weight over the right part of your feet, arm
    18 points
  2. 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 lift, turn isn't great. On the right you can see him doing the wall drill. You set up near a wall.
    18 points
  3. 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 making the best MECHANICS or something, to change or improve. But when they're playing, it'
    11 points
  4. While it's always a great idea to spend some time with a qualified fitter, there are a couple things you can do on your own to see if your irons are properly fit for you. Recent feedback I've gotten from several fitting experts is that the technique of drawing a sharpie line on the back of a ball is better for dynamic lie fitting than using a lie board. The sharpie test is simple and allows you to hit balls off grass. The lie board with tape on the sole is obviously a popular method but the board is raised off the ground and the surface is different than grass. These differences can influence
    11 points
  5. This showed up in my Facebook feed this afternoon, and like most things, it made me think of golf. In particular, it made me think of improving and swing changes. I see it all too frequently. A new golfer hits a few good shots and thinks they have what it takes to play at a high level. I would be lying if said the same thoughts didn't go through my head almost 20 years ago when I started playing on a regular basis. I assumed that after a year or so of playing every weekend and hitting balls on the range once or twice a month, I would be ready to compete on tour. It didn't take long
    10 points
  6. There's a reason @david_wedzik and I trademarked the phrase "Golf is Hard"®. https://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error Here's a par three that is often a 7- or 8-iron (but can be a 6-iron). A driver on a par five. And another par three that plays from 190-220 yards. In all three cases, you have about +/- 2 or 3° in which to hit your shot, or else we deem the shot "a failure." Set your expectations properly, and give yourselves the credit you deserve when you DO hit a fairway or a green. It's phenomenally difficult!
    9 points
  7. When I was teaching drum lessons, students would complain that they weren’t getting better. I would ask how much they practiced since the last lesson and then listen to the excuses. I would tell them that if they really want to get better, they need to spend 3-4 days a week practicing for at least 15 minutes. Just taking lessons from me was not going to make them improve. The purpose of the lesson is for me to teach them what they need to practice, but practice is where things happen. I would explain that they can’t do 60 minutes on 1 day and call it a week. They need to practice almost every
    9 points
  8. Title. Seriously. Every day I talk to people who underplay COVID-19 by comparing it to the flu. Just today I spoke with someone who told me, "Tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year, we don't shut anything down for that!" Well you know what? It's not the flu. The flu is something we understand and have historical data for. This is new. A severe flu season has a death rate of 0.17% (something like 80,000 flu-related deaths in 48 million cases). As of today, 6,501 people died out of 169,374 confirmed cases, for a death rate of 3.8%. Even if somehow only one in ten people with COVI
    8 points
  9. I want to take a moment to talk about my uncle Don. He is the guy who gave me my first swing lesson at a very young age. We were having a family cookout, and I had grabbed one of my days irons and was swinging it in the yard. He came over and showed me some things. I don't think my mother was too happy with him when I started making divots in her well manicured turf. This led to taking a few of my dad's "smiled" golf balls to the park up the street and hitting them back and forth every day. I would occasionally get invited to tag along with my dad, grandpa, and uncle at the nearby goat track.
    8 points
  10. 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 there. If they've got a theory that's different from mine, fine. I'm open-minded. I'll listen. Maybe
    8 points
  11. It is pretty incredible for me to realize that this Sunday, April 9th, will mark two years to the day since I was injured while playing golf down in Florida. I have not been able to play a round of golf since. It may seem to some that this is a pretty terrible thing for someone who loves the game of golf. As I have mentioned in the earlier blogs, it was pretty tough at first. I got through that season. The past two years have changed me in so many good ways and I am very thankful for what has happened and what I have been forced to learn through it. I am very pleased as I would ima
    8 points
  12. There is a course here locally in Northwest Arkansas called The Blessings. I dearly want to be "blessed". Super exclusive club that only has 100 or so members, but is where the University of Arkansas golf teams practice. I saw on the ASGA website that the 2016 US Mid Am qualifying is being held at The Blessings. I instantly thought, "I'm in! I can finally play that awesome but super, super hard golf course" 7500 from the tips 77.7/148 rating/slope. Unfortunately I am an 8 index, and in order to even be eligible to qualify for the US Mid Am you have to have a max handicap of 3.7.
    8 points
  13. Every golfer has the thought at some point.. "If only I could consistently shoot in the 70s, then I would enjoy golf more." We get lost in our heads, dreaming of a fantasy where golf was one day an easy game. What if we didn't have to worry about water hazards, sand, or OB? What if 3-footers didn't bring us anxiety? What if we could enjoy that pure strike that we long for on every single shot? I'd argue that the better a golfer gets, the more enjoyable the game is. But.. not in the way that most golfers imagine. In this post, I will be examining our love
    7 points
  14. 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, make from 9'. Four balls remain. Two lives lost. Miss, make from 12'. Three balls remain, one life
    7 points
  15. Hello again, I haven't written one of these blogs in a long while. I haven't really been on the site for a long while. I had been practicing and posting every day for 405 days, That streak came to an end on May 10, 2018, when I went into the hospital. The last 11 months I have been going through things outside of golf, that are more important for my growth as a human being. Golf is my getaway, my therapy, my distraction, and my hobby. I love the game, it sometimes doesn't love me back when I'm playing it. Whether I'm hitting a 9-iron at the second that checks up too soon or I lip out that
    7 points
  16. 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 golfers get off track with the backswing, and then must undergo a series of compensati
    7 points
  17. Well, today, I walked up to my boss and told him that I am retiring at the end of the year. I turned in my resignation but it was more than that. I kissed goodbye to work, period. For many reasons, that was one of the hardest thing I had to do in recent memory. It took a lot of convincing on my part. I worked since I was 14 for 29+ straight years. I studied hard, got into a good school, majored in Computer Science, and worked my butt off for many years to climb up the corporate ladder. The longest vacation I ever took was 10 days, rarely calling in sick. I spent more time at
    7 points
  18. Today is a momentous occasion my friends. 25 years ago, my wife and I got married. She mostly puts up with my insistence to play this silly game called golf. I guess that makes her a keeper. She only accompanied me once to the golf course and rode along watching me play. This was about 21 years ago when she was pregnant with my son and overdue. I convinced her that riding in the golf art might help to induce the delivery of the baby. I really wanted an excuse to play golf, and that was the best idea that I could come up with. I was wrong and quickly came to regret it. Several holes in she told
    6 points
  19. I received a call from a business acquaintance last December. Over the years we had played golf together numerous times even with his living in Iowa and me in Michigan. Despite our age difference (I the elder by close to 30 years) and golf ability gap (his index around 1.0 and mine hovering near 10.0), our shared passion for golf made our friendship natural. He wanted to know if I was interested in joining him and his father on a golf trip to Reunion Resort near Orlando, FL. They had a group of seven Iowans and I would make it eight. We would stay at his father’s home on the Nicklaus co
    6 points
  20. 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° turned down to 1°) and lead wrists that are slightly more in flexion than they were at setup. I
    6 points
  21. It is always fascinating to me how all sports seemed to have developed a structure that tests the participants for a sufficient length of time to separate the wheat from the chaff. In football one has to play both halves. Remember the Super Bowl? The seventh inning stretch doesn’t end the game, the 8th and 9th innings must be played. Long ago when the game of golf was being formed, somehow the founders knew that 9 holes would not require the consistency a truly sound golfer must have to succeed. No, the test would have to 18. A recent tournament in which I played reminded me of
    6 points
  22. I am subtitling this: “the Tao of Cipher” Last week I was able to play my first full round of golf in over two years. It was not pretty, but it was so much fun. I completely chunked about nine shots and I took at least 4 penalties. I had the absolute best time doing so. A co-worker and I took a couple business partners out and it was very rewarding to be able to do that again. All the hard work, patience and time weighing the tough decisions have been to the benefit of playing again without a concern at this point and without any sort of swing alteration to do so. I am incredibly pl
    6 points
  23. I enjoy Rules discussions. One learns a few things and also experiences another’s perspective. I started playing competitive golf late in life (35 or so) but I made it a point to learn the Rules well before I ever entered a tournament. Frankly, I see no point in playing any game without a clear understanding of the Rules. Collecting double the rent on an unimproved Monopoly or “castling” in chess are details and one can play either game without knowing the rule. One is likely, however, to see more success if one is aware of all the “details”. Still, for all our efforts we all stub our to
    6 points
  24. The first TST-Michigan outing is in the books. We exceeded our target with a total of seven TST’ers meeting up in Okemos, MI. A few observations: It was interesting meeting the people behind the user names and avatars. My plan was to get to the course a bit early to put out a small “TST” sign to attract the members as we wandered in. Before setting out the sign, I passed a gentleman a couple times and I strongly suspected he was part of our outing. Why? No idea other than he seemed as interested as I in everyone wandering around. Yep! @JonMA1. We got lucky with the weather.
    6 points
  25. 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 shot 95. And yet, full grown men playing from 6200 yards who hit their driver farther proportion
    6 points
  26. 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 #4 for the guy. It had to do with hand speed, when really his focus is on his turn and hip drive/sli
    5 points
  27. 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 The tempo is the speed of the putter head. Short putts and long putts should have close to the same ti
    5 points
  28. Very good home-run hitting swing on the left. Better golf swing on the right.
    5 points
  29. I can almost sense the collective cringes of those reading that title. We’ve seen newbies make this claim one week, only to post the next week how much they hate the game. I've certainly been guilty of it, though I’ve since learned my lesson. While most of the time we are talking about the one swing thought or swing adjustment that will carry us to single-digit greatness, other times it’s a can’t miss epiphany on the strategy that will have us navigating around the course like a pro. During yesterday’s round, I arrived at a par 5 that has a wide landing area for the
    5 points
  30. I made it back from our Florida trip on Tuesday night. It was great to get away from my crazy work schedule for a bit, and experience a little sun after the winter here in Wisconsin. We were able to go the beach and do a little fishing as well. My son and I both connected with Snook(bass like but longer fish) which is a lot of fun. Any time you can catch a Snook from the beach with an artificial lure, it is a very rewarding experience. On my lunch break this Wednesday I decided to head over to the range. It was time to give this golf thingamajig another go. I was confident that al
    5 points
  31. Not sure which aircraft carrier this was, but imagine hitting balls in the wee hours of the morning and then this passes in front of you? Those white spots are seamen standing at attention, all surrounding the ship. Such a big object makes not a peep of sound.
    5 points
  32. I have always enjoyed golf, but in 2010 at the age of 30 I discovered a passion for it. I moved to the Milwaukee area that year from Minneapolis and golf became much more affordable to me at the same time. I started playing a little more and at the end of the year I set out to see how much I could improve my play during my 30s. I started the journey in 2011 at around a 15 handicap. It may have been a bit late in life to try something like this, but it was a way to challenge myself and also enjoy the outdoors. I started playing early morning 9 hole rounds before work 3-4 times a week and I
    5 points
  33. I figured out why I was driving the ball so wall last week. I know most of you will think I'm crazy, but it had to be the pants. Every time I wear that pair of pants on the golf course, I drive the ball great. Now I need to figure out which shirt helps my iron shots. Socks might be the key to short game and underwear the key to putting. I think I am on to something here...
    4 points
  34. This somewhat continues a blog posting from 2016. If anyone is interested (Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller), here is a link: https://thesandtrap.com/blogs/entry/91-the-end-to-sand-bagging/ Fast forward 4+ years and I now occupy the highly sought-after position of Handicap Chairman. We modified the Knuth Tournament Point System for our club. Members accumulate points over the course of the season but, rather than roll the points over to the next year, we start fresh. One of the biggest drawbacks with a “rolling 2-year” computation was the recordkeeping involved. We also moved to a “
    4 points
  35. I suspect I am like many other golfers after a round. We look at the scorecard and begin to analyze our round with a pair of rose-tinted glasses. “If I would have just …” If I could have …” I should have …” It is fun imagining how making better club selections, being more conservative/aggressive and taking a bit more time over that putt would-could-should have resulted in a score several shots better. Perhaps this exercise is why we often over value the “mental game” versus the physical aspects of golf. We assign many bad results to faulty thinking. The truth of the matter is, at l
    4 points
  36. 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 result of the full swing. Hitting greens, and hitting it closer to the hole where you have stress-free
    4 points
  37. We often hear, “that is a 1st World problem,” when we complain about many of the trivial irritants we encounter during the day. The following list clearly falls into that category. In my defense, there is not a lot of golf being played here in the Frozen Mitten right now and that likely explains my irritable mood. Also, I know at some point I have been guilty of a number of items on the list and likely a lot more! Still, sometimes it feels good to just vent. · Very long posts. Yes, I don’t have to read them if I think they are too long. At times, however, I start reading one
    4 points
  38. Well, I've hit 1,000 posts here. Woohoo! Took me long enough (almost 6yrs). So I thought I'd do the whole journey of golf thing like other posters have done, although I'll abbreviate it as much as I can so this doesn't get too long. Just fyi, I'm a terrible story teller. Ufta, it is a little long, but enjoy! Child, born in 1990, to 15yrs old I started before I knew what I was doing. My parents got me the blue plastic, double-sided iron and putter with wiffle balls that I could smack around the back yard. I apparently loved doing it. My dad and grandpa wouldn't teach me too much ex
    4 points
  39. For the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to implement some changes a local teaching pro had been kind enough to share with me. The results weren’t bad at first, but as I started to work in more of his advice, my iron swing became harder to control. Still, I remained patient with the poor results — that’s how it works after all. I anticipated the bad rounds and, for a while, was able to control the frustration. The last two rounds pushed me over the edge. I tracked many of my 2016 rounds with GameGolf - both the good and bad. While 35% of GIRs is nothing to brag about, it doe
    4 points
  40. A lot of people are questioning the rules of golf these days. Just like many are calling for a simpler tax code here in the US (myself included), people think the rules are too complex to understand. I’m guessing that it isn’t so much that they are too difficult to understand than it is hard follow when you have to penalize yourself. The world we live in seems to be migrating further towards a philosophy of “Do whatever you want”. People don’t think that laws apply to them. We are self-centered and spoiled and becoming more so as time goes on. For years, I fought the notion in a golf lea
    4 points
  41. 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 backswing. Then, I wanted him to slide his hips forward an inch, two at most, further forward on the do
    4 points
  42. It has been a while since I've looked at my Game Golf stats. Here is a run down. Strokes Gained versus Scratch (Future Goal) and versus 5-handicap (current) The major area of concern is my Short Game and Putting. I will say the downfall of Game Golf's strokes gained is that it doesn't take into account if you are behind a tree or in a difficult approach shot situation. I would suspect the "Off The Tee" stat is a tad higher, and the Approach is a tad lower. I had a situation the other evening where I hit a drive that put me on an uphill lie, about 25 yards behind a beat up pine tree, ab
    4 points
  43. As someone who is used to walking an uncrowded course alone, the last couple of days were certainly a change of pace... Nicklaus, Palmer and Travino I had just walked through my 9 hole course this past Sunday morning and was making the turn back to the first green when a threesome in two carts went by. As I came up on the tee box, they suggested I should go ahead of them. I offered for them to join me and they accepted. As we introduced ourselves, there was something about the three of them that seem familiar. One of them was very outgoing and quick with a friendly insult. He had a r
    4 points
  44. It can be Hell getting old, but becoming a senior golfer has its benefits. Senior rates save one a bundle in greens fees. People expect us to tee off from the forward tees. In fact, it can be fairly easy to impress others who assume anyone over the age of 60 should be in a rest home. I became a minor celebrity one day down in Florida. As I was making the turn the starter asked if I was checking in. I told him I was making the turn. He nodded and said, “Oh, you are the guy who walks and carries.” If I were Native American, that might be a decent name; like “Dances With Wolves”, I could
    4 points
  45. We learned this week that the Fox Network has severed ties with Greg Norman, who served as the network's lead analyst for their broadcast of the 2015 US Open. This news prompted me to think about golf broadcasting and sports broadcasting in general. I think it is time for a change. But before we get to that, I think it's a good idea to look at how much better sports and golf broadcasting is today, compared to how it was just a few short decades ago. I grew up watching sports in the 1970s. Things were clearly different then. Some of the biggest differences between now and then are attribut
    4 points
  46. Michael picked at his food, moving it around with his fork and spoon. Jenna poked him with her chopstick, trying to get him to laugh. “It’s fine,” Michael said, finally. “You love Japanese,” Jenna said. “I did, yeah. It’s been too long, maybe. Doesn’t taste the same.” “You’ll get your taste for it again.” “I hope so, “ Michael said. Jenna picked up a piece of chicken, and ate it. She eats quickly, as quickly as she can, and the majority of her food is already long gone.
    4 points
  47. Dr. Don told me to warm up while he finished up some research. I watched him hit some shots then write some notes down into his notebook, mumbling to himself the entire time. When he walked over to begin the lesson he was visibly excited to share a break through he'd just come up with that would revolutionize the golf swing, "The Power Triangle". He said he was going to teach it to me because of my athleticism I'd be able to take advantage of it immediately. He went through a long winded explanation of golf physiology and new terms he'd coined to set the stage for this new swing he
    4 points
  48. A big part of what separates TST from other sites is the instructional content that is provided. Golfers want to get better and there are a lot of threads on here that can guide golfers in the right direction. From all these topics and member swing threads we run into these popular questions, "What should I feel?" and "I feel so-and-so when I do this, is that right?". Honestly, the answer is......we have no idea. We're not seeing the swing and not in your body to confirm whether something is right or wrong. Unfortunately there isn't one feel that will work for every player. A golfer that move
    4 points
  49. We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder heig
    3 points
  50. 24+ years in the same company and I apparently made some friends. At least 4 different farewell lunches were done or coming up. A few more to be scheduled before 12/24/15, my last day at work. Who said there are no free lunch in life ? At least two people have shed tears. I simply don't know how to act when I see tears in people's eyes. I become speechless ... and deeply touched. There have been a stream of people coming to my office for "chat," and people stopping me on hallways for the same. Some, I have not seen for some time. Almost all of them are surprised
    3 points
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