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  1. I've seen quite a few threads tracking progress from a very high score (100+) to a respectable score and trying to get better, and I've seen a few people ask "how do i get better if I'm really bad?" or being very frustrated in the 100s. I have recently finished this transition - 130 to the 80s - and it was a ton of work. I had messed around with golf since about 09, but this past xmas I recieved a new set of irons for christmas, and played a round with my dad in Florida. For some reason, it was really, really fun in a way that it hadn't been before. I also got a lesson for xmas while in Florida. That pro changed my grip, stance, everything and made the game alot more fun to play. With the new irons, I decided to committ to golf. This is my post-mortem of what worked, and what did not work, to improve my game and shoot a lower score. I took approsimately 30 strokes off my game from xmas to July 1, 2011. I consistently shot in the 120s, and now I have a legit handicap around 16.5. My last three rounds were 90 (on a ridiculously tough course), 87, 89, 89, 88. I decided to write into a post what worked and what did not so people can try to do the same thing. Golf is really fun at around 90 strokes because its about where you can really say you've started playing golf as oppossed to just hacking. I'm excited to move forward and would like to break 80 in another 12 months (a big goal, I know). I read several golf books (didn't work for me) and watched countless golf videos. I took lessons, bought new clubs, tried drills. My set schedule was three 18 hole rounds a week: one Saturday afternoon (the money round with three friends skins-style, but with strokes recorded as well), one Wend. night at a muni course thats just alot of fun, and one friday night by myself walking that is a practice round to try new things. Every other day except Monday is a range day after work of about an hour and a half. Monday is rest. Thats six days a week for six months to take 30 strokes off the game. Hopefully, you can do it in less time by learning from what worked and didn't work for me. Again, these are just suggestions on what worked to get me into the 80s from the 120s. Sneak preview: about 70% of it is mental stuff like setting goals and having meaning in practice. I also tried really hard not to have the post be "hit the fairway more" or "don't three-putt". Thats obvious. Hopefully this stuff will show you *how* to get to where you hit more fairways, etc... I put them in order of what I thought were the most important to the least important. I hope this might give some people some ideas. 1. Took 5 lessons from a PGA pro and videotaped them This was far and away the #1 contribution to improvement. THe pro changed everything - grip, stance, swing line, follow through - all of it. I'm not going to write what he said, because its too long, but in five lessons we did grip and backswing (#1), swing plane and follow through (#2), driver (#3), putting (#4) and pitchign/chipping/bunker (#5). After the first, I brought a cheap digital camera I got for opening a bank account to the lesson. Really, the important stuff is the audio, but you can't imagine how much more valuable the money for the lesson was when I could review it whenever I want. For all those who complain they take lesson after lesson and it doesn't work, I'm willing to bet you didn't videotape it. I forgot almost everything after he told me and if I couldn't watch the video I would be lost. In charting my rounds (see number 5), I often watch the video right after playing poorly in certain areas - bad putting day, I'll come home and put on the lesson for an hour. If you don't know the fundamentals, don't figure them out for yourself. Go get lessons. Its worth every penny. 2. Stopped Cheating Seriously, this is important. If you mulligan off the tee four times a round, take foot wedges so you don't have to hit around trees, and take 3 foot gimmee putts, you are only cheating yourself. That sound silly, but you can't imagine how much my game got better when I stopped cheating (notice I didn't say score improved, I said game improved. Two different things). I added about 15 strokes to my score by playing by the rules (seriously) but I got a real look at my golf game not a veiled one (see number 5). You cannot improve unless you know where you are weak. You cannot know where you are truly weak if you cheat. Therefore, you cannot improve if you cheat. Logic! Chart your rounds. Whatever the score is, you will improve it. The key is not the score itself that matters, but the *direction* of the score over time. Stop cheating so you know exactly how good you are. 3. Watched "Golf Strategies", a DVD from 2006 w/Robert Karlsson, and it started me really thinking while on the golf course. The video is availible on netflix play on demand, and it plays 18 holes with Robert Karlsson. It doesn't talk about the swing much. It starts on the range where they go through Robert's practice routine - it is eye opening how focused it is - no banging balls at all - and it is really interesting how he imagines scenarios for himself while practicing (OK, I'm hitting this 6 iron into a strong headwind with water on my right. Now this 6 iron is with a strong wind behind me and a back flag, etc...) rather than just hitting them. IIRC, he even practiced a few 4 irons that were "OK, I'm in the trees". You wouldn't believe how many strokes I shaved off my game when i was at about 110 by learning to hit my 4 iron on a dead line drive about 170 yards as oppossed to trying to get it up. Having a wedge in your hand with three storkes left for a bogey is so much better than being stuck in the trees trying a hero shot to the green over and over (and over and over). My course has three par fives with lots of woods and this shot is amazingly effective and not that hard to hit (you basically take some loft of and make a putter swing as hard as you can). I can be in a position to get a green in regulation with a 7 iron after a drive in the woods with this shot. Anyway, after the practice routine, he goes out on a course and plays a round, talking about what he is thinking. He sees things you don't even think are there as a high-handicapper - for example, that there is a bunker in front, and a large well-mown hill behind with an uphill green and a back hole position - he goes a club up because he can afford to be long and does not want to be short. I never thought of that stuff when I shot 120 - just "How far is the flag?". It is incredible how he takes hazards out of play by aiming right and left and how much you can see on a golf course if you just look for it. Just his discussion of when to fire at the flag versus when to go middle of the green depending on the wind is worth the time. 4. Learned my real, honest, smooth-swing distances and started counting a miss long and short just as bad as left or right when at the range. This was almost number one. I see people at the range all the time swinging irons that are going in a 25 yard spread - but as long as they are high and straight, the swingers give themselves reinforcement that it is a good shot. It isn't. On the course, missing long or short with an iron is just as bad as left or right - might be a hazard, might be rough, etc... You need to train yourself to get into the 80s that hitting your irons *the correct distance* is just as important as hitting them straight. When I was over 100, I honestly thought my six iron was a 170 yard club (See another of my posts), and it was - unfortunately, I had to swing insanely hard and only really hit it one in ten or so. Its much easier, and more confidence inspiring, to know you can swing within yourself on a 130 yard 7 iron and hit it well than try to hit a 9 iron that far knowing you have to swing out of your shoes and make perfect contact. Most people (my playing partners included) try to hit their irons either way too far, or have no idea how far they actually hit them. To figure this out, I stole a drill from Michael Breed on the Golf Fix. Go to a course (not with range balls - you will get fooled but with your ball (see number 12) late in the afternoon. Use 20 shots with each iron (Takes about an hour and a half) and measure your smooth distances - a nice smooth swing with a reasonable takeaway and acceleration through the ball. After doing this, I found my distances were: LW - anything inside 30 SW - 30-70 AW - 70-100 PW - 100s 9 - 110s 8 - 120s 7 - 130s 6 - 140-145 (this is a wierd one, I'm not sure why, but my 6 iron doesn't have the 10 yard spread, I can't hit it farther than 145 with a smooth swing, whereas the 5 with a hard/soft swing has a 20 yard gap. As a result, this club doesn't get hit that often - I find it easier to hit a hard 7 iron or a shorter 5. Not sure why, and kinda flies in the face of what I'm saying here, but the 6 iron for me is a wierd club for some reason.) 5 - 145 - 165 4 - 170s 3 hybrid - 180 to 195 These consistent distances are significantly shorter than the 1 in 10 when swinging as hard as a I can distances. If a shot is beyond 195 after the tee shot, I think about where to leave it - when most players at over 100 are hitting and are out of range of the green, they take their longest club and just whack it as hard as they can without any real target. Don't do that! See #2, above. Try to think about which club you are consistent with and leave yourself that club with a really nice angle into the green, as oppossed to just banging it as far as you can. Let say you have 210 to the green. Do you really have a better chance to beon the green in 2 hitting a hybrid as hard as you can and dealing with the shot whereever it goes (rough, trees, shortside, long bunker, etc...), or hitting a smooth 7 iron to the middle of the fairway and then an easy wedge? For me, its the second. If you can honestly reach the green, hit it. If you can't reach the green, its pointless to get "as close as possible". Give yourself a nice shot from a clean lie with a 9-Sand whenever you can't reach the green. This will cut down on explosion holes and, if you can 2 putt, will produce alot of bogeys. BTW, my last round: 3 par, 14 bogey, 1 double for a 88. Why so many bogies? Layups if I can't reach the green, then a short iron in. You can add distance in practice, but I will promise you in the pressure of a round it is not the place to be trying to pick up an extra 15 yards you don't have. Know your distances and play within them - if you are 220 to the hole it does you no good to hit a wild 190 shot when you can hit a 130 shot and then a gap wedge. This all works together - if you have goals (another section), you will most likely layup and hit the correct shot. 5. Got fitted for a modern driver This is the only place where new clubs really made a huge difference. And I mean huge. With the wedges and the irons, the old clubs worked pretty much exactly the same as the new ones. I was playing an old Callaway Driver with a 360cc head and a graphtie shaft. It didn't do well with mishits. After getting fitted for a Taylor SuperFast Burner 1.0, Blue ProLaunch Shaft, cut down 1" with a slightly thinner grip (small hands), I've added 30 yards and alot of accuracy to the drives. The old drivers just can't cut it. If you have a driver from 3-4 years ago and you are in the 100s, think about paying the $150 to get fitted. My driver cost me about $169 at dicks with all the options and work. You can get some great drivers for
  2. Folks on this site have come here to learn about the golf swing, share ideas and improve. Most of us rely on better players and expert teachers on this site to help us get better. That is why I joined and why many others joined. Every few months someone like yourself joins The Sand Trap with a eureka moment. Rarely is it revolutionary. In fact, they never are. All your videos show a very flippy, pull golf swing and an improper grip. You don't like the fact that we don't think your swing method is viable for everyone else. It may work for you at this time, but it won't be a repeatable, successful swing in the long run as experience has taught us. Some of us, like me, have fought a flip and have sought out expert teaching to eliminate the flip. You are preaching a flip.Now should I drop everything and go back to the flip, which no good golfer does, or should I seek good advice? You know the answer. It is also the responsibility for forum members to protect the integrity of the site. If someone does a web search on building a golf swing, they may end up in this thread. Without our critique, it may appear that we are endorsing your method. So please take this as a peer review. You can either get upset, start insulting members and get warned, or you can look around at other threads, learn, and maybe take a look at your videos and methods again and adjust them. Please choose the later.
  3. From 110 yards out, how many strokes does it take the average scratch golfer to hole out? How about the average PGA Tour player? How close do they hit the first shot in each case? From 35 feet away, how many putts does the average scratch golfer take? The average PGA Tour player? What percentage of the time do they hole the putt? This speaks to Separation Value®, and it speaks to the proper expectations a golfer should have, and it speaks to your mindset and approach on the golf course. I've asked players - average players who aren't necessarily super tuned in to the world of stats - at what range a PGA Tour player is 50/50 to make a putt. I haven't kept track of the specific number, but it's over 30 people and may be over 50… and a surprising trend surfaced: not a single person guessed 8 feet (or less). I had guesses out to twenty feet - by an 11-handicapper - and most guesses fell between 10 and 12 feet. From 12 feet a PGA Tour player makes only about a third of their putts. Yeah, that'd get them into Cooperstown, but it's not an otherwise impressive statistic. I've told this story a few times. I was having my college kids play the forward tees one day (I recommend everyone do this from time to time). The eighth hole was a 460-yard par five from these tees (kind of a brute for women), and a player had hit a good drive and a very solid second shot to 20 feet. He missed the "eagle" putt and tapped in his "birdie." Stomping off the green I said "Hey, what's up?" He replied, "I should have made that putt. I really wanted the eagle there." This blew my mind. Here I had a kid - not in the starting five, mind you - who had played a hole nearly perfectly. Better than the average player on the PGA Tour would play (and score) on the hole. And he's leaving the hole disappointed with his score and upset with his play. The PGA Tour player takes between 2.83 and 3.05 strokes to hole out from 110 yards (depending on whether they're in the fairway or not). They only hit the green from this range about 3/4 of the time. The average scratch golfer takes about 3.1 strokes from that range. From 35 feet, the average PGA Tour player takes just over two strokes (about 2.03). Sure, they hole one about 5% of the time, but they three-putt about 8% of the time. The average scratch golfer's slash line (of sorts) from 35 feet: 2.04/5%/9%. In other words, if you're 110 yards out, and you hit your shot to 20 feet, that's not only an okay shot, it's a good shot, and one that should make you proud. If you miss that 20 footer and tap in for par, take comfort in the knowledge that a PGA Tour player only makes a putt of that length about 15% of the time, and averages 1.87 putts from that distance, and that's on better putting surfaces than you're likely putting on, and with a detailed green map. Golf is Hard®. The hole is really, really small, and even getting the ball into it from 20 feet is pretty difficult. Do yourself a favor: stop beating yourself up for great shots. If you lag a 30-footer up close, don't leave the green angry with your putt, muttering about how you "really wanted that one." Tell yourself you did great, PGA Tour level, and if you keep putting that well they'll drop occasionally. If you hit the green with a wedge from 120 out and have a 30 footer left for birdie, tell yourself it was a good shot. Because it is. Look, to be honest, you'll get creamed off the tee and with the long approach shots. PGA Tour players will wipe the floor with you in those categories. You have enough to feel bad about, if you choose, in those areas of the game. There's no need to beat yourself up for the shots that are actually GOOD shots. Know the stats, and feel better about yourself. If you hit your pitching wedge to 20 feet, pump yourself up a bit. It was a good shot. Maybe even a great shot, depending on your skill level. Take pride in that. Feel good about it. Golf will beat you down often enough… there's little sense in you doing it to yourself when the truth is the opposite.
  4. Just have the path further to the right of the face....The End I wanted to put this thread together to help players that have never hit a draw or players that want to reduce the amount they slice/fade it. To do that we need to start moving the path more OUTward and identify what is going on with your swing to create the slice. Below you'll find a list of things I typically see slicers do. You also find me demonstrating these pieces (left pics). If you want to start drawing the ball or hitting a slight fade, STOP DOING THE THINGS ON THE SLICE LIST. One thing that's a little pet peeve of mine is how golfers love to talk about the club face when it comes to hitting draws and they usually describe the face as being "closed". While the face has to be closed to the path to draw the ball, the description can be misleading. If I was to tell someone to close their face, good chance they'll just aim the face left of the target or try to "close" the face dynamically during the swing. For a better description of ball flights, go here http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/ball_flight_laws For a draw we want to have the ball start right of the target (for a right handed golfer) and curve back to the target. The ball curves back because the path is further OUTward of the club face. So for the ball to start right of the target, this means the face has to be aimed somewhere right of the target at impact. Quick way to remember it, the ball starts where the face is pointed and curves away from the path. Typically slicers have the face aimed left of the target at impact, yet common advice for a slicer is that need to "release it" and that they need to be more relaxed to allow the toe to pass over the heel. It's just flat out bad information. Rolling the toe over more won't really help because it does two things: it's orients the face left and can move the club head more INward or left. So if you slice it the culprit isn't the face, it's the club path! The path is too INward or too much across the ball. Slice List Here's a list of all the pieces I'm demonstrating in the left pics for the slice swing. Again, the reason you slice it is because the path is well Inward or left of the club face, these are the pieces that are contributing to that problem. This doesn't mean that you have ALL of these issues, if there was a "model" slicer swing, this is what they would do. You might only need to fix two or three of them to move the path more OUTward so you can draw it or play a slight fade. - Weak or palmy left hand grip - Shoulders aimed left - Knees rotated inward - Lack of axis tilt (spine is vertical) - Hips slide back on the backswing - Minimal turn on the backswing - Weight doesn't go forward on the downswing - Club head is outside the hands at A6 (club shaft parallel to the ground on the downswing) - Lack of Key #3, the shaft and lead arm line up well before impact - Club head overtakes the hands at a fast rate. Draw List Here's the list of all the draw pieces I'm implementing in the pics/video. Just like with the slice list above, you don't need to implement all these pieces in order to draw it/fade it. I would start with the set-up stuff, it doesn't take any skill to have a good grip and address the ball correctly - "Good" grip, left hand is in the fingers, heel pad on top - Aim your body parallel left or slight right of the target - Feet are flared, knees are rotated out slightly - Axis tilt due to the hips being a few inches forward with the head not moving forward - Hips turn, left hip stays forward - Shaft points slightly outside the ball at A5 (lead arm parallel to the ground on the downswing) - Weight is well forward at impact, allows me to achieve Key #3 Inline Impact - "Stretching" the arm into the followthrough 100% Guarantee Draw Pattern For the pics below, rather than describe what not to do I'll be mostly pointing out what I'm doing in the right pics, the "draw" examples. Again the swings on the right are me putting in ALL the draws pieces. If $1000 was on the line and I had to draw the golf ball (and start it right of the target), this is the procedure I would use. A1 Feet are turned out, knees are rotated out slightly. This will make it much easier for me to turn my hips, which will allow my torso to rotate. Left hand grip is in the fingers, heel pad on top. If the grip is weak, it's going to be difficult to create or sustain "lag". If the club shaft lines up with the lead forearm before impact, the club path can start to rotate left. Hips are "bumped" a few inches forward while not moving the head forward which creates some axis tilt. Handle is forward. Golfers that slice are tried of seeing the ball go right so they start to aim more and more left, this only rotates the swing direction more left, meaning you're only making the problem worse. On the right, body lines are square or slightly right. For the example I rotated them right, helps pre-set a little rightward path. I want to point out that I'm only aimed right with my body a few degrees, anymore than that and you might find yourself swinging INward because path can be instinctual. This means that you know you're aiming away from the target and will swing on a path trying to start the ball more online with the target. Basically don't aim 20-30 yards right of your final target. A3 Hips turn with the left hip staying forward. Note the difference in the amount of torso rotation. Try to get in the 80-90 degree range by A3. A4 Being able to turn a good amount has allowed my hands/arms to gain depth. This is going to help me swing OUT on the downswing. Same kind of thing as A3, hips have continued to turn, left hip is forward, head is steady. A5 Since I turned my hips and my hands on were able to travel inward on the backswing, I still have some "depth" at A5, I have space to move my hands down and OUT. Kind of had to cheat with the lines on this one Typically see slicers with the shaft pointing inside the ball at A5, players that draw the ball will have it pointed at or just outside the ball. If the shaft points inside the ball, the club is going to want and travel across the ball. A6 Similar theme to the A5 pics. Club outside the hands on the left, club path will be left. On the right club is inside the hands (the fact that I'm rotated more right at set-up makes it look more "in" than it actually is). My lead wrist is flat to slightly bowed (palmar flexed) on the right. In the left pic there will be some cup or dorsiflexion. The club head being inside the hands at A6 doesn't "guarantee" that you'll draw it, I've seen some players actually fade it because they start rolling their forearms and the face "wipes" across the ball. So make sure to stretch the arms into the followthrough. A7 On the left the shaft and lead forearm lines up well before impact. On the right, good example of Inline Impact. Importance of Key #2, Weight/Pressure/Force favoring the lead side at impact. Note how the weight is forward with axis tilt, helps me swing OUTward longer. A9 Full release on the left! On the right, I'm "stretching" my arms. Again doing everything I can to make sure the club is moving out. I don't want to pull my arms apart and have the club head "wipe" across the ball. Yes you can hit draws all day without having to "roll the toe over". You may have noticed that I talk a lot about Keys 1-3, they are every important, especially when it comes to hitting the ball solid and drawing it. If you're wondering what the heck I mean by Keys, please check this out
  5. Congrats to TST founder and owner Erik J. Barzeski (@iacas) on making the list for the Golf Digest Best Young Teachers in America under 40! Well deserved and about time! I'm raising a can of Cherry Coke Zero in celebration!
  6. While there may be many grip styles used by the best players in the world, there are certain commonalities of a functional golf grip and I wanted to put this thread together to help illustrate what those are. If you found this thread by searching for information on the golf grip, welcome to our site, we have plenty of other great information HERE and make sure to JOIN, it's free! For any regular users of the site, hope this helps your game or confirms what you are currently doing with your grip. Some pics to highlight some common mistakes Lead hand Big NO in the left pic, grip in the palm. Right pic, heel pad on top, grip in the fingers, it will automatically feel more secure. General idea of how it should look Anatomical snuffbox. If you shot a nail directly through the top of the wrist (in that little indentation underneath your thumb - the anatomical snuffbox) the nail should come out directly through the bottom of your wrist and into the center of the grip. Most poor grips would have the nail come out the bottom of the wrist and miss the grip on the left side. This would indicate the wrist joint not sitting on top of the grip. This is an important aspect of the grip because the incorrect position would assist in early club head throw away on the downswing, basically the wrist joint can't support the downward force of the club. Two sides of the spectrum here. Too weak in the left pic, note the left hand isn't turned enough and the "nail" would be coming out of the left side of the grip. In the right pic, grip is too strong, left hand is rotated too much, lots of cup (dorsi flexion) in the lead wrist. This next bit is more of a variation than a commonality, but I think it's beneficial and probably something new even for experienced golfers. Left pic, short lead thumb, right pic, long lead thumb. Make it easy on yourself and go with the long lead thumb. Greatly assists in the mobility of the wrist hinge on the backswing and downswing. Trail Hand The placement of the trigger finger pressure point (first pad of your index finger just above the knuckle) is important. Too far under can cause the club face to appear too "closed", face aiming towards the sky at the top of the backswing. Too far on top can cause the face to rotate too far underplane on the takeaway. Left pic, pressure point is "on top". Right pic is ideal, pressure point on the side or aft side of the grip. Left pic, pressure point is "under", ideal on the right. Another common mistake in the left pic, right thumb is running down the middle of the grip. A more functional position on the right, just the upper right "tip" of the thumb is in contact with the grip. Left pic position can contribute more to "casting" or losing leverage at too fast a rate. The curvature of the rear hand fits into the base of the lead thumb. Other than looking at your hand position, how do you know if your grip is in the palm of the lead hand? Take a look at some of these clues. Left pic, the "V" of the rear hand is pointing at my sternum, should be aimed more towards my rear shoulder. In the right pic I haven't "loaded" my wrists enough, shaft angle is also too shallow. The shaft would be pointing outside the ball. Since there is a lack of structure to the grip, the shaft "collapses" and gets close to my rear shoulder at the top of the backswing. From there I will have to uncock my wrist angles rapidly to get the club back down to the ball. Golfers will also have a pattern of the location of the wear spot on their glove, under the heel pad, into the palm like the example below. The thumb can also get "shredded" pretty quickly due to the lack of stability in the hand.
  7. Is this any better than my first or do I still need to go higher?? This is my work shirt and I decided to catch it in my shirt pocket
  8. 17 points
    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. You note how much space you have between your trail hip and the wall, and then you put your arms across your chest and make a backswing while you strive to increase that distance. Make the gap between your trail hip and the wall get bigger. Voilà! Secondary Axis Tilt, hips going forward during the backswing (yes, a bit too much, but this is a drill, exercise, or "feel"), head not going up, more torso turn. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. As always, these are actual swings, not posed shots. 2017-09-15: Edited the title. Originally it was "Lack of Flexibility and the Wall Drill". We teach this to people who DON'T think they lack flexibility, too. Even kids.
  9. Here are three graphs of putting strokes. The s axis is "speed" and the "t" axis is time. We'll take a look at each of these in a moment, but consider first how putting can behave like a pendulum. In virtually all good putting strokes, the ball is hit with a slight positive angle of attack (AoA) - about 2-3° or so. This positive AoA helps minimize backspin, produce no spin, or even to produce a tiny bit of forward spin if the dynamic loft is 1-2°. But the point is: the ball is struck while the putter head is ascending, or after low point . If you were to swing a pendulum back and through, maximum speed would be where? At the bottom. At low point. At every point after that, the speed would be lower. Even one tenth of one degree after low point, the pendulum is slowing down (negative acceleration, or deceleration). The best putters almost all tend to have a decelerating putter head at or even slightly before impact. Their putting stroke resembles a pendulum, reaching maximum speed at or slightly before impact. Consider also the length of a pendulum's swing. A theoretical pendulum (no loss of energy to friction) swings as far past center in one direction as it does in the other direction. Whether you measure it in degrees or a linear measurement, the pendulum swings 22.7° left and 22.7° right, or 13.1 inches left and 13.1 inches right. The best putters almost all tend to have similar length backswings and through-swings in their putting strokes. Their putting strokes continue to resemble a pendulum in this sense. Now let's take a look at each of these putting strokes. Here's a putting stroke typical of a golfer who has a terrible time controlling their distances. This golfer may have a great sense of touch from 5-10 feet, maybe even out to 15', but when you ask them to hit a 30' putt, you start to see issues. They'll hit one 27', the next 34', the one after that 25', and then maybe 33'. These golfers often make a backswing that's - let's just say - eight inches for a six-foot putt, nine inches for a 12-foot putt, and ten inches for a 30-foot putt. They're almost the same length. Then they have to accelerate their putters various amounts to reach various speeds at impact to send the ball various distances. If you wanted to make a pendulum swing faster at the bottom of the arc, given the same pendulum length and weight (we aren't changing putters or our setup appreciably), how would you accomplish this? Why… you'd simply pull the pendulum back farther before letting it go. So look at the speed and time plot of the poor putter above. I've marked the instantaneous speed at two points: just prior to impact and just after impact. Note that impact - even on a putting stroke - severely slows the putter head down. I've exaggerated it quite a bit in these graphs, but that's something I can do given that I haven't added any scale to these charts. :D It simply makes things clearer to see and thus easier to grasp. At any rate, note that the direction of each of the arrows - both the dashed (pre-impact) and dotted (post-impact) lines is pointing upwards. This means the putter head has positive acceleration. It's speeding up. Note the pronounced "hump" after impact. Though the ball slows the putter head down temporarily, it's still speeding up, so you see a second peak speed after impact. This golfer is roughly 99% likely to have poor distance control. Let's look at the good and great putting dynamics (and by good I mean pretty darn good, because as you'll note the differences between these two are subtle): Note how in Good the putting stroke reaches maximum speed at the ball. The proof of this is that the acceleration is neither positive nor negative - the arrow is pointing horizontally, indicating that the speed is neither going up nor down. Constant speed is no acceleration (positive or negative). Notice that this condition continues immediately after impact, and the putter head continues to slow down thereafter. In the Great image, the putter head is actually slowing down slightly at impact (the arrow points downward). Then you see the BIG deceleration caused by the putter impacting the ball, and then the deceleration continues from there. Contrast those with what we often see from the golfers with the absolute worst distance control: This golfer actually manages to reach peak/maximum speed after the ball has left the putter . Note that his acceleration curve going into impact actually steepens - he is accelerating more at impact than at any other point in the downstroke. Then he accelerates MORE until he rapidly decelerates, well after impact, to bring the putter to a halt. This is more common than you might think. Golfers have been told for decades to "accelerate through the ball" and to "putt authoritatively" and so on. This advice ranks near the top of my list for counter-productive, harmful advice. By and large, the poorest putters accelerate far too much for far too long (including up to and after impact), while the best putters have roughly matching backstrokes and through-strokes that deliver the putter head to the ball while it is either not accelerating at all or is negatively accelerating (i.e. decelerating, or slowing down). If you feel you may be "accelerating" your putter into impact, put three coins on the ground, equally spaced from each other, in a line. Put the ball near the middle one, and practice making backstrokes that go to one and finish at the other. Try to feel that you're not adding anything to the downstroke or follow-through: you're not accelerating the putter much (just let gravity do it - in reality your muscles will contribute, but it's uncommon to feel much muscle contribution) and you're not forcing yourself to "brake" the putter too much at the end, either. Just make a natural, smooth stroke that matches - coin to coin. To change how far you hit the ball, move the coins farther apart or closer together, keeping the distances the same. If you still struggle with this, swing to the second or third longest coin, but still try to hit the ball a short distance and finish at the first or second coin on the follow-through. It's that simple. P.S. Note that I've made no attempt to show the scale of t and s. Specifically, I've fudged things a bit by implying that the the t is the same for all of these strokes, and that impact occurs at the same moment. This is very unlikely to be true: if you make a short backstroke and accelerate all the way up to and even after impact, you're likely to have a shorter (time) downswing and to reach impact sooner. They line up because I wanted to keep things simple, and because timing isn't really the topic here. P.P.S. A really old example of a SAM PuttLab read-out can be seen here . P.P.P.S. (2014-08-13) A great series of pictures and a simple explanation of the "why" is found in post #179:
  10. "Why can I hit my irons ok but slice my driver off the planet?" OR "Why does my 3 wood go farther than my driver?" These are two common questions we see on The Sand Trap and I wanted to put this thread together to help those golfers that struggle with hitting a driver. It can be a tough club to hit, especially if you are a higher handicap player or a beginner. The club is long and it doesn't have much loft. As I say in the video, the swing is basically the same as any other full swing you make with a few set-up adjustments. If you struggle with hitting a driver there is a very good chance that the path of the club is down and INward (across or left for a righty). So if we know that we can start to answer those two questions above, the reason is that you can "get away" with swinging down and across with some of your irons (mostly short irons) and your 3 or 5 wood (off a tee, off the deck could be a different story). The reason you swing down and INward can be varied but I'm going to go over some common mistakes golfers make. So while these set-up adjustments may not fix that issue 100%, they can certainly help you hit the driver more effectively and allow you to have more fun playing golf. For most golfers I recommend utilizing a positive angle of attack with the driver, especially for those of you that swing less than 100mph. The short and sweet reason is that a positive angle of attack allows you to launch the ball higher with less spin. If you don't know your AoA, I would spend some time on a FlightScope or Trackman unit, the information can be extremely valuable. Quick note, even though I've mentioned high handicappers, this is how I set-up to hit my driver and so do many other good players. I can just make my "normal" swing and ensure that I swing up. @iacas has an excellent thread on this, it's a must read: Address: Ball off or just in front of the lead shoulder Hips bumped a few inches forward to kick in some axis tilt (green line). The axis tilt will help me shallow out the strike and help me swing OUTward longer. I don't want to start bending my elbows apart to encourage the club to swing down and across. Feet are turned out about 25-30 degrees, knees are also rotated out slightly. I recommend this for all full swing shots, not just the driver. Just makes turning the hips, keeping them centered and on a tilted angle, so much easier. I tee it high. As you can see from the pics, the equator of the ball is about even with the top-center or even the highest part of the face of the driver. From DTL I have the butt of the club pointing at my belt buckle or even slightly higher. I wouldn't recommend having the handle pointed below the top of your zipper. If you want to draw it with a positive angle of attack, aim your feet, hips and shoulder a few degrees right. Backswing: As my hips turn freely my lead hip doesn't slide back. This will help me to get my lower center forward on the downswing and swing OUTward. The left pic is a common position for people that struggle with the driver and/or slice it. Hips slide rather than turn and the shoulder turn is limited. Makes it very difficult to get into an effective impact position if you look like this golfer on the left. Impact: On the right my weight and lower center have transferred forward while my head has remained Steady. Kicks in the much needed axis tilt so I can have a shallow to positive angle of attack. On the left, due to poor sequencing on the backswing, my lower center hasn't transferred forward, very little axis tilt. As a result my elbows are pulling apart and the club will swing down and INward, across the ball. Not something you want to do with a club you want to launch up in the air. Important! I am NOT creating the axis tilt by tipping my head back, the axis tilt is created by the lower center being forward (reason the lead hips staying forward is important) and the head remaining Steady. I'm not hanging back in order to swing up, all that does it create problems with contact and path. Handle "rising" on the right. Another indication that the angle of attack is shallow and I'm not "swinging across it". Note how the handle of the club is further away from me, very "bunched up" on the left. As I said earlier, you'll not only see me setting up like this but you'll also see some of the world's best players doing it.
  11. Edit (2017-10-29): I've updated the site with a plugin that provides a simpler to use, more feature-filled member map. You can access it here: https://thesandtrap.com/membermap/. The original post is below, but please, use the new Member Map. I stole this idea from another site, I hope you all will enjoy it. In reading some of the threads about member get-togethers, I thought about how far some of us will travel to attend. Which in turn made me wonder about where some of my TST friends live. So I created a map in Google Maps, and added my home golf club, as well as my primary vacation spot. The link is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NwaKZanJPQ1wXT_ysLN7csLjEZg&usp=sharing I think it would be fun if the members here wanted to add themselves to the map. The directions from Google are: Open a new or existing map in My Maps. In the left panel, click the layer you want to use. The selected layer will be blue on the left edge. Search for the business, address, or point of interest that you want to add. ... To add that pin to your layers, click "add to map" Once you've added it, you can edit the name to indicate your user name I'm not looking for home addresses or anything so specific, maybe a home town or home course. We might find out that we have online friends who're much closer in real life than we ever thought. I hope I've set this up so that anyone who uses the link will be able to add themselves, without having to sign into a Google account. If you have problems, let me know and I'll try to work them out.
  12. The Talent Code is a good book, but the message it preaches is quite simple: to become great at something, some ways seem to be better than others. Whether you're a violinist, a soccer player, or a tennis player, you can practice things in a way that makes you improve faster than mindlessly playing songs, kicking balls, or turning on the automatic ball server. Take for example the story of a violinist that stood out to me. Upon learning a new piece, this violinist would play the notes without regard for pace, duration, tempo, or artistry. She'd take the sheet music and simply play the notes in the proper order. It rendered the song unrecognizable. When she encountered a tough part - a tough finger change or something - she'd slow down even more and practice that part again. She'd start at the beginning of the song, play through until she made a mistake, and restart. Each time she'd get farther into the song and the more she played a particular section the more like the song it would sound because she'd played it - correctly - tens or hundreds of times before. This process took weeks. She might spend an hour working on a particular three-note sequence. Towards the end of the time she was technically proficient enough that she could use her "educated hands" to add "artistry" or "feeling" to the notes. The violinist succeeds fastest and makes the greatest progress by making thousands of tiny mistakes but instantly correcting them. This converts those thousands of errors into thousands of successes or, if you prefer, thousands of learning experiences. The violinist was constantly practicing at the edge of her ability, and in doing so, keeps expanding her talent's horizon. Golfers, by and large, suck at practice. The better players will tend to do more than "hit some wedges to loosen up, then hit 50 drivers in a row and leave" but not much. A guy was hitting some balls in our downtown building the other day. He's a +1 or so, and he was hitting the ball poorly. He said "I just don't have it today. It doesn't feel right." So why was he hitting balls? I doubt he could have told you. "Because" isn't a good answer! Instead of mindlessly hitting balls hoping to "find" something, we told this guy to work on a drill. Make the longest swing he could make, the fastest he could make it, feeling that it was completely under control and that felt right. If that was a four-yard chip shot, so be it. Build up from there. Practice at the edge of your ability, not beyond it. That day, this player's talent horizon had shrunk a bit, so he was doing himself no good practicing beyond the edge of it. He was learning nothing from his failures except that if he kept it up, he'd continue to fail. There was no learning, and thus, no success. A near-scratch golfer responded that he hates working on the range because he feels like a 20 handicapper, and my response was perhaps a bit too firm in saying that he was practicing wrong. Oftentimes, I'll be perfectly happy to hit shanks, top the ball, hit it thin, or otherwise hit some terrible looking shots so long as I'm improving (or often exaggerating) certain moves. In that sense, the moves I'm making are equivalent to the violinist's fingerings, and the unrecognizable song is the shank or cold top. In that thread, I said "simple, slow, and short." I'm adding a fourth and a fifth "S" word to the list: "specific" and "success." Simple - It's absolutely critical to boil down the thing you're working on to its most basic state. Specific - "I want to improve my footwork" is not specific. "I want to bank my right foot inward more to prevent my right knee from kicking in towards the golf ball on my downswing" is better. Slow and Short - These two go together and speak to practicing at the edge of your ability. If you're changing the way your right elbow works in transition, you're not going to do this at speed. If you're working on how your wrist hinges from P1 to P2, why swing past P2.5? Just swing to P2 - slowly - and chip the ball. Success - If you can have a simple, specific idea, and practice it with slow and/or short swings at the edge of your ability, constantly making small mistakes with instant corrections, you'll have success with every swing you take. One thing I didn't exaggerate in the post I made: when I'm working on something (which is virtually any time I'm not "warming up" for a round): My pace drops substantially. I'll hit one ball every few minutes. The time between is spent looking in the mirror, at the video, rehearsing a practice move, or thinking. I don't care about distance, direction, contact quality, etc. I'll almost never hit a ball over 75-80% of its normal distance. Most often, because I'm reasonably skilled, my shots will still be "okay" because I can "find the golf ball," but one of the best swings I've made (and posted) resulted in a cold shank. I have faith in my ability to change the swing and then very quickly "find the golf ball" again. Develop that faith in yourself, just as the violinist has faith in her ability to speed things up and still hit the notes. When you're practicing properly, the song may be unrecognizable, but you're doing the right things and improving the fastest.
  13. Made a hole in one yesterday! 9 iron from about 160. I basically flew it in the cup. The ballmark destroyed the side of the hole. We saw it bounce from the tee and disappear, so I'm not 100% sure how it still went in, but I'm not complaining! First one ever! It was really cool!
  14. I also took a about 15 cuts after the report was made and he was packing up. I cranked up my SS a bit more 125 average on those last 15 cuts and hit 2 out of the 15 300+. I was just getting warmed up when the session was over. We where having allot of trouble with tees sticking in the mat and I could only get about one ball teed up per minute at best. The lengths of the tees varied also, as we where cutting my tees down and trying to make them work. Just couldn't get the tees to stick in the mat and stay up after the ball was set on it. I talked with Jeff a bit after and during the session and asked him what he thought about my swing and distance claims. He absolutely agreed I've hit the ball 330 no problem, as I have claimed a 326. He also said he has no doubts that I could hit about 2 300+ yard drives per round as I claimed. He also pointed out that even with all my bad club face stats and smash factor. If I could just reduce my ball spin and launch angle I would hit lots of 300+ drives. He also mentioned I might get an average of about 10 yards more distance of roll In real life conditions. Here are the best two shots if you don't want to download that pdf. Swing Speed: 116.7 Smash Factor: 1.42 Carry: 291.9 Total Distance: 314.8 Swing Speed: 117.7 Smash Factor: 1.42 Carry: 286.9 Total Distance: 301.6
  15. Someone asked me to make a post talking about how I shape the golf ball, and it dovetails nicely with some work I've been doing with some students lately on how they can control their ball flight, so here goes. First, some background information. Everything will be talked about in terms of a righty. When I talk about the clubface and use the terms "open" and "closed" it's relative to the path. When I talk about the clubface and use the terms "right" and "left" it's relative to the final target (the flag, the fairway, etc.). When I talk about the path I'll typically say "right" or "left" and say what they're relative to (it could be a different path, i.e. "this will shift the path farther to the right.") though occasionally I might slip up and say "out to in" (to the left) or "in to out" (to the right). Additionally, I'll use some Trackman numbers in here too. In Trackman, the target line is 0°. A positive degree number (i.e. "+3°" or "3°") means "to the right." A negative degree number (i.e. "-6°") means to the left. In Angle of Attack (AoA), negative is down and positive is up. Knowing the D-Plane helps, but really, all we'll use here is that hitting down more sends the path more to the right and hitting up more sends the path more to the left. It's all relative - if your path is WAY left, hitting down more may not make your path go far enough to the right to hit a push-draw. We're assuming center-of-face contact and thus no gear effect on all the shots we'll talk about. Sorry - it's generally not advisable to draw the ball by toeing it. Ball Flight Laws : As we all know by now, the ball's initial direction is primarily controlled by where the clubface is pointing at impact. The ball draws or hooks if the path is right of the face and cuts/fades or slices if the path is to the left of the face. There are a lot of shots you can hit. For the purposes of this discussion, this terminology in the graphic below assumes that the golfer is aligned parallel left. "Push" thus refers to shots which start out right of parallel to their stance line, and "pull" refers to shots that start out left of parallel to their stance line. Note that a "push-fade" is a perfectly playable shot if the flag is simply located at "I". Ditto a push if the flag is at "H" or a straight-draw if the flag is at "D". Let's operate on the assumption that my stock shot is a baby push-draw. My Trackman numbers with a 6-iron tend to be roughly: Face: 2° Path: 4° AoA: -3° That produces a gentle push-draw. Now, I'm somewhat fortunate because my natural swing path is not exaggerated very much. One of my goals for shaping the ball is to keep my swing just about as similar as possible - I prefer to shape the ball as much as I can with setup changes rather than trying to change my swing. So I'm fortunate because my path is fairly neutral, so setup changes can be effective. If I played golf with a path that was +10°, for example, I'd have a hard time fading the ball with the same swing - my face would have to be well open to my body (11° or more) and I'd turn a 4-iron into a 7-iron by opening it up so much! There are a lot of ways to change the shape of a shot. I'll start with the most basic and work up to the more complex ones. Super Easy: Alignment If my stock shot, when I'm lined up parallel left of the target "G" is to hit a push-draw, and I want to hit a bigger draw, I can switch to a straight draw (D) or, if necessary, a pull-draw (A). If my path is normally 4° with my feet at 0°, changing my stance to 4° will shift my path to 8°. I'll need to align my clubface roughly square to my body, though because if I keep it 2° right of my stance line it'll be at 6°, and a 6°/8° face/path relationship is not enough to get the ball to draw all the way back to the target. So I'll set it roughly square to my stance, and deliver 4°/8° face/path to the ball. The ball will start pretty straight to my stance line and draw, hence, a "straight-draw" with 4° of curve (remember: my stock draw only curves about 2°). Note that because I've squared the face and it's no longer 2° open relative to my stance, I've taken a little loft off the club, and a straight draw will tend go a little farther. Similarly, for an even bigger draw, I can shift my alignment even farther to the right. Let's say I go 4° more. Now my body is lined up 8° right of the target. My path, changing nothing about my swing, will be 12°. I want my clubface to be about 6° to have the ball go to the target, so I'll actually close the face to my stance 2° (remember: my stance is 8° right). Note that this club is de-lofted even more than the "straight draw" above. Because my path is slightly right on a stock shot, baby fades are easier than big fades or intentional slices with just alignment. For example, imagine I want to hit a shot with -2°/-4° face/path relationships. A baby fade. Since my natural path is already +4°, I'll have to shift my body alignment to -8° to get my path to -4°. My natural clubface angle is 2° open to my stance, but that only puts me at -6°, so I have to open the face another 4° to get it to -2°. In doing so I'm adding a little loft to the club, but I can hit a reliable push-fade from this setup without changing my swing. You can see, though, why bigger fades are more difficult - for a baby fade I've already moved my stance a full 8° left! Moderately Easy: Shape Keys I'm making up the word "shape keys" but basically they're subtle ways of manipulating the swing without consciously trying to change the swing itself. The swing will change, but they can almost all be done with simple setup changes (not body alignment) or subtle changes to the swings themselves. The first three are all inter-related: Handle Location - If we push the handle of the club forward (towards the target) and outward (away from our body) we can subtly shift the path of the club to the right. The low point of the clubhead will tend to be later (farther forward), thus allowing us to hit a little "farther back" on the circle. Conversely if we tilt the handle back a little from the normal setup position or bring it a little closer to us, it will tend to shift the path a little to the left. Ball Position - Ditto the above. If we move the ball position back, we're hitting down on the ball more and thus the path is a bit farther out to the right. Vice versa for a fade. Weight Location - It's easiest to send our path to the right with our weight the farthest forward, and to shift our path left with our weight the farthest back. Now, those three can be combined. If you wanted to hit the BIGGEST pushes that still draw a lot with a fairly square setup, you could put the ball back in your stance, lean the handle forward, and put more of your weight forward throughout the entire swing. You could send the path +15° or more and play BIG pushes and hooks. Yes, the face will be de-lofted because it's back in your stance and the handle is forward, but you've also got to point the face 7 or 8° to the right, adding loft, to hit a playable push-draw in all of these situations. Conversely, I can move the ball position a little farther forward, put the handle back a little, and keep my weight back. These things will all tend to shift the path a little to the left - enough that I can play a fade (typically a straight-fade to a baby pull-fade) without trying to change my swing a whole lot. Obviously the danger of shifting weight, handle, and ball position to hit a fade is that we're going to move our low point closer to the ball, and possibly behind the golf ball, so you don't want to do these things so much that you hit shots fat and thin. There are additional "shape keys" that I don't consider really truly affecting my swing. A few of them might be: Eyelines - Tilting your head to the right or left can change the way the shoulders work and their natural alignments on the downswing. Tilt your right eye down so your eyes line up more to the right and your path will tend to shift out to the right. Pressure Points - For me, I'll commonly feel that I attach my left upper arm more solidly to my chest at setup, ensuring that I'm more likely to keep my arms on my chest during the downswing, which shifts the path left a little. If my left arm "flees" my chest and detaches from my chest, that will send the path right, and I can set up for that by having it less attached at address. Finish Feel - It ties into pressure points as well, specifically your left armpit pressure point (PP4), but if you feel like you finish with "higher" hands your path will be shifted to the right, and if you "bury the handle" or "swing the handle around your knees) you'll shift the path left. Harder: Swing Changes Body Rotation vs. "Hands Down" Rate - If I need to hit a big cut, I might try to feel that my body rotates and my hands and arms are very late to "come down" across my chest and into impact. Delaying the arms coming down has my shoulders pointing more to the left at impact, they're more "open," thus shifting the path left. Conversely, if I try to get my arms and hands down quickly from the top of the backswing, my shoulders will be a bit more "closed" to the target and thus my path will be slightly more to the right. Downswing Path - I hinted at it above but you can do it in a more extreme fashion too. For example, on the downswing, if you shift your left arm well out away from your body (chest) and then "bury the handle" low and left (swing "low and left"), you'll shift the path well to the left. This is the move most slicers make (in conjunction with some others, like having their weight back too far). Conversely, if I want to change the path to be more rightward, I might keep my left arm tight to my chest and then explode it off my chest high and towards first base at impact. Wrist Conditions - If you can cup the left wrist during the downswing slightly, the path will tend to shift left of the face - the shaft will be back slightly, the clubhead will be outside the hands at A6, etc. Fades and pulls. Again, conversely, if you arch (palmar flex) your left wrist throughout the downswing, the path will shift out to the right and keep the face closed to it. Third Accumulator Release - If you want to keep your wrist conditions the same, you can mess with how far you roll the left forearm and wrist. There's no set way to feel this, though: some players who roll it a lot and tip the clubhead under the plane will maintain that condition and send the path to the right, while others will make a last-minute hard roll of the forearm and wrist to send the path left at the last instant. It's a tricky one. A Quick Word on Shaping the Ball 95% of the shots a pro plays (Tiger Woods may be one of a group of very small exceptions, and even he isn't as different as many think) are their stock shot. They don't curve much, but if a player is a drawer of the golf ball, 95% of their shots draw. It's the most reliable, dependable way to play - with a pattern. Kenny Perry (a pronounced drawer) was playing at Doral a few years ago and someone asked him what he does with a pin on the right side of the green. He said he aimed at the flag and if his ball didn't draw, he got lucky, but otherwise he was content to have a 25-footer for birdie. Then the person asked him what he did when the pin was on the left side of the green. "I make birdie" he said. :) You'll get better, faster if you develop a pattern. Shaping the ball is over-rated - not even the pros do it all that often. Shaping the ball can get you out of trouble. It can be a good shot when the ball needs to be worked around an obstacle (reaching a par five in two, the tee shot on a dogleg, etc.). But if you've got a look at the flag, take the Kenny Perry approach: aim for your shot cone and play your pattern. So that's that. If the language above is a turn-off, ask me specific questions and I'll help you to understand what I mean. Some of the things above are intended for advanced golfers, and I think that if I first try to put them in really simple terms, things can get confusing pretty quickly. But if anything was confusing above, and after a few minutes of thinking about it or re-reading it still doesn't make sense, quote the part that's confusing and I'll clarify and give you a different approach. Also note that there are other ways to accomplish some of these things, specifically by changing your swing. But that's best avoided, IMO, and honestly per my Kenny Perry example, shaping the ball in general is best avoided when possible. These are just a few things to get you started. And last but not least, again, remember the ball starts where the face is pointing and curves away from the path. So you can change the path all you want doing the above stuff, but if you don't control the clubface at impact, your planned big cut around the tree and onto the green can turn into a double-crossed duck-hook in no time flat!
  16. I've been working off a theory for awhile now, and I've talked with a lot of people about it. I've charted how much time the average PGA Tour player spends doing things, I've talked with coaches and instructors at all levels. I've talked with good and in some cases great players. Nothing yet has dissuaded me from thinking what I'm about to tell you. If anything, it's firmed up my belief. I'm still leaving the door open to the possibility that what I'm about to say still needs to be tweaked, but I think at worst it's pretty close. What am I talking about? Try this on for size: Unless you have a glaring weakness or a facet of your game which far outshines the others, you should spend 65% of your time practicing the full swing, 20% of your time practicing the short game, and 15% of your time practicing putting. By "full swing" I mean every shot that uses full swing mechanics. This includes all shots over about 100 yards as well as some of the 1/2 and 3/4 that employ full-swing mechanics. By "short game" I mean everything else inside of about 100 yards that isn't putting. And by putting I mean putting. Duh. Now, people who have argued against me on this will talk about how "60% of your shots are from within 100 yards of the green." That's great and all, but if you remove short putts from the equation the number drops significantly. Still, the number is around 40% for "short game + putting" and 40% for the full swing, so why have I said 65/20/15? Because working back from the putting green to the tee, putting is simple. It's a relatively easy motion that does not take a lot of time to master. The mechanics are simpler, the requirements simpler, and the ceiling is more severe. If you're making half of your six footers (on bumpier, slower greens than those seen on the PGA Tour), that's all you need to play golf on the PGA Tour, so time spent practicing 20 footers ( which are made about 14% on the PGA Tour , so you should expect to make about one in ten) is time better spent doing something else. Moving back farther from the green, a good bit more time can be spent trying not to leave yourself a 20-footer for par , and working on the short game. I say you should practice your short game 2.5 times as much as your putting. Learn a few basic shots - a pitch, a chip, a bunker shot (which is just a variation of the pitch for many), and maybe a specialty shot or three (a bladed wedge from the fringe, a high flop, and a low checking shot). Variations of those will cover virtually every other shot you can imagine, and if you practice a few shots here and there from some odd lies, you'll do just fine. Of course, you'll do even better if you're not having to use your short game for very much - better still to hit the green in regulation. There's a reason they say "two things don't last very long: dogs who chase cars and golfers who putt for pars." That takes us out to full swing range, and statistics show that the long game - driving the ball in play and hitting greens (particularly from longer distances) is absolutely crucial to playing good golf. There's a reason there's a formula out there that approximates your score by taking 95 - (2 x GIR). Hitting greens is the single biggest correlation to scoring well, and the only way to hit greens is to have a full swing that works - twice on average. The full swing is also orders of magnitude more complex and difficult to master than a putting stroke or a pitching motion. Now, before everyone gets bent out of shape, note that I'm talking about time spent practicing each of these things, so the numbers aren't quite as slanted as you might think just by looking at "65/20/15." For example, because putting is so simple and because the balls are typically within 20 feet of you, you can hit perhaps four putts per minute. On the short game, because you have to round up some golf balls from farther distances, and take a few more practice strokes to feel the ground, you have to clean your club, etc. you can hit perhaps two balls per minute. On the driving range, I'll often hit balls as slowly as one every four to five minutes, but let's say you're not quite as deliberate or don't use quite as many practice motions as I do, and call it 0.75 balls per minute. Multiplying the balls per minute by the time spent, we get numbers that look like this: Putting: 15 minutes * 3 balls/minute = 45 balls Short Game: 20 minutes * 2 balls/minute = 40 balls Full Swing: 65 minutes * 0.75 balls/minute = 48.75 balls So really, this works out to spending almost an equal amount of time on each of the three sections of the game, with slightly less spent on putting (and, really, this still makes sense because the putting stroke is relatively simple ). Note, too, that I'm talking about good practice. I'm not talking about whacking some balls on the green towards some holes and calling it "practice." I'm talking about working on the skills of putting (starting the ball on-line, controlling the distance the ball rolls, and reading greens properly). I'm talking about working on the skills of a good short game with drills - landing balls on targets, taking the same club and varying the height of some shots, one-handed pitching drills, etc. I'm talking about working on drills with the full swing, deliberate, good practice, and not just stepping up and smacking ball after ball during the full swing 65% of your practice time. Now, when I talk about this someone will invariably say something like "I practice my short game religiously and my full swing stinks and I still shoot 82 most days!" They'll remember the one round they made everything or chipped close or in a few times and how it "saved" a bad round. To the first guy, consider how good he'd be if he could marry that short game with a long game that didn't lean on it so much. To the second guy, you remember that round because it's an anomaly, and because you hit the ball badly enough that you needed miracle short game shots just to shoot around your typical score! The stats and studies don't lie. I get that a six-foot putt that you miss counts the same as a drive you put into the right rough. But the odds state very plainly that a six-foot putt is not nearly as damaging to your score as a miss green, and a missed green is not nearly as damaging to your score as a missed tee shot. Them's the facts. I haven't shared them with you here, but they're out there, and I encourage you to look them up. Boiled down, they back my theory of the best way to divvy up your practice time: Spend 15% of your practice time working on putting skills. Spend 20% of your practice time working on short game skills. Spend 65% of your practice time working on the full swing skills. What's nifty is that you can do a surprising amount of all of this work at home, in your back yard, on your living room carpet, or with a mirror or wiffle balls. And when you practice, make it dedicated, good practice . Don't just aimlessly whack balls, whether you're on the putting green, the short game area, or on the practice range with a driver in your hands. 2014-04-08: Renamed 65/20/15 (it was 65/25/10). Changes outlined in post #471 .
  17. Every now and then, someone comes onto the forum with a grand idea about how "natural" the golf swing should be, about how "modern instruction is too technical," and about how they, despite rarely having broken 90 and having taken a few lessons and having seen a few YouTube videos, have the solution for what ails all golfers across the land. In this topic, I'd like to quickly tackle a few of the arguments that are commonly lobbed out there by these types of people. These comments are often made as if they're self evident, and obvious, when in reality they're just based on a hunch and a tiny dash of personal experiences. These comments are also often made by someone who has had limited success in the game, in part because — I believe — that the work it takes to get down to a low single digit handicap, for example, tends to make one very aware of just what is actually required. Note: I'm one of the first guys to tell you that I think most instructors aren't very good. And I have reason to dislike those guys more than most, because they actually make it more difficult for me to do well in my instruction business. If the perception is that instruction is bad (because it is), then that de-motivates people to seek out good instruction. It's a bit of a sinking tide lowers all ships sort of deal. What's the reputation of used car salesmen? Poor, right? I imagine nobody hates that reputation more than the good used car salesmen out there, as they have to work harder to overcome their perception of their peers as well as the normal things that come up in selling a car. In no particular order, then, here are some pins and my short (for me) responses knocking them down. Golfers Should be Taught the Basics and then Left Alone to Do What is Natural There's nothing natural about the golf swing. It's not even a move we've developed via evolution as a necessary hunting/gathering/whatever type move, like throwing or hitting something might be. Fewer than 20% of golfers ever get instruction, so most of what you see on the golf course is people trying to do what is "natural" to them. How's that working out for them? Not very well - most people's "natural" golf swing is a train wreck, and the reason why they can't break 100 very often. As humans, I'm not going to argue that we don't have some sort of natural hand-eye coordination. We do, to varying degrees. But golf is a whole new world of precision and speed with very little margin of error. So, yes, with a little practice the average human can get pretty good at making contact with a ball nearly every time they swing a club… but that motion, what they come up with "naturally," will often not be very good at all for playing golf. No Other Sport is as Technical as Golf Instruction Two quick things to say to this: Other sports are easier. I played soccer for a long time, and a bit of hockey. Skating isn't all that complex. Even puck-handling and shooting isn't all that complex. You can say things like "you roll your wrists like this, drag the puck like this, and then flick like this" or whatever, and that's - at most levels - about as complex and difficult as it gets. Golf is much more difficult than virtually any other sport - nearly every muscle in your body is involved in the thing, we have to hit shots accurately with the longest implements swung about as fast as anything else, our margin of error is ridiculously small (a putt from 3' with dead weight misses the hole entirely if it's not within 4° of accurate… and that's a three footer… have the wrong clubface angle on a driver by 3° and, hooo boy!). Anyway… golf is freaking difficult. Other sports, at the higher levels, are also incredibly technical, making the statement above in red a lie. Pitching coaches have all sorts of video and 3D motion capture devices. They analyze all kinds of things. Do we do this in Little League? They often aren't all that "technical" at the early stages, but things can ramp up for the better players. Some pitching camps and clinics will expose younger kids to this stuff. Every sport has things to gain from using science and technology, and the higher level you get. Other sports are incredibly technical. If you consider Formula 1 or NASCAR a sport, those sports are incredibly technical. Everyone is a Feel Player and Modern Instruction is Too Technical I agree that everyone is a feel player, and that giving a player too much technical "stuff" is bad, but that's inherent in how I stated it: "too much." Nobody would argue that giving the student "just the right amount" of technical "stuff" is bad, because again it's inherent in how I wrote it: "just the right amount." Some take this even further, and say things like "any technical information is too much," as if telling someone some basic technical thing is going to short circuit their brains and lead them to a complete inability to function. The truth is, mechanics are how you hit the golf ball. Someone who has the clubhead 18" outside their hands at A6 DL has bad mechanics, and those need to improve for them to be a better golfer. I see my job as an instructor to focus the student on the mechanics they need to improve (their "priority piece"), and then I use feels to get them to change those mechanics. The hypothetical student swinging across the ball here would understand that we generally want the clubhead somewhere inline with the hands at A6 DL, but feels are how we'd get there. Feels, drills (drills are just motions or exercises that help encourage the new mechanics to feel more normal and repeatable at higher and higher speeds), and other tools are what allow the students to change the thing, and if they understand the basic mechanics, they'll have a better chance of continuing to practice on their own properly. When students leave my lesson, they should understand the hows, whats, whens, and whys of their lesson: what the priority piece is, why it's important, when it occurs in the swing, and how to go about improving it. But the last thing is almost always feels and drills to enhance/encourage those feels. If the Instructor Talks about Mechanics, the Player Will Only Think About Mechanics This one comes about because sometimes people don't give enough credit to other people. If I tell a student "Okay, from the top what you're going to see is your hands shifting out, the club shaft steepening, and kicking out to here at A6 where it's 18 inches outside of your hands. This is why your good shots are big pulls and your bad shots are slices and wipey cuts" that doesn't mean the student is going to be thinking about "okay, my hands need to do such and such, my shaft needs to do this and that, and at this point, I want to have the clubhead and my hands at this point in space…" They might think that if you stopped the lesson there, but that's literally ten seconds of a lesson, and the next thirty plus minutes is often you working with the student to find the feelings, drills, etc. that help them improve those mechanics. If the student feels like his hands travel down toward his right pocket from the top of the backswing to fix the issue, then that is what the student leaves with, as well as an understanding of the what, when, why, and how… My students aren't thinking about mechanics. They know the mechanical change we're trying to make, yes. But I give people the credit they deserve: they can understand what mechanical change we're trying to make, and even why, while still being able to process, understand, and remember HOW they should go about making that change. Instructors who Draw Lines on Video Only Care about Positions, but the Golf Swing is a Dynamic Moving Thing High speed video is like having super-human vision. I say that a lot, because it's true. I wrote a lot more about this one here, but in short… the "positions" in the golf swing are merely "checkpoints" through which we pass through while making a dynamic motion. So that golfer with the clubhead 18" outside his hands at A6 DL that I've used a few times… on camera, he wants to start seeing the clubhead lining up closer to the hands. But he can't get there just by kind of posing it there, he has to get there dynamically, by finding the feeling that lets the clubhead pass through that "checkpoint" dynamically. At the end of the day, too, the camera often becomes more for the student than the instructor. The student can see that "wow, I did it!" They can try a feeling and see what happened in reality. They can experiment with how much of a feeling is needed to get something to pass through the "checkpoint." And they can use the photos the instructor makes and the notes they write down for them to continue guiding them as they practice. An Instructor with Lots of Gadgets is Obviously Too Technical Gadgets — launch monitors, high-speed video, pressure plates, SAM PuttLab, FocusBand, training aids, GEARS, etc. K-Vest… etc. — are tools. The good golf instructors I know have a lot of tools at their disposal. Just because they have every tool available to them doesn't mean they use them in every lesson. High-Speed video, for example, is like super-human vision. The golf swing happens too fast to see little pieces, and yet given the margins of error we have in the golf swing, we sometimes need to see those little pieces. And… I don't believe for one second that some of the famous instructors that pre-dated technological advances would have continued to teach the way they taught before. Ben Hogan would have been one of the first people to buy a FlightScope or Trackman, I think. The old instructors would have loved using high-speed video. Technology would have expanded their tool box, and they'd be foolish not to give themselves more options. As the saying goes, when you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But when you have a full toolbox, you can fix all kinds of things, even if you don't use every tool in your toolbox on every job. Golf Instruction is One Size Fits All and Does Not Adapt to the Student / Golf Instructors Have Only One Method and Everyone Fits that Model I've heard some people say that some golf instructors teach one thing to everyone. I think every instructor tends to have things they prefer, or like, but the best instructors are incredibly flexible. For example, I "prefer" something closer to a one-plane swing… but I have a number of students with Justin Thomas style backswings, very high hands, very two-plane-swing type motions. My only real constraints are working within the 5 Simple Keys®, and I'm always working toward improving one of those in the full swing. My instruction, and the instruction of good instructors I know, is highly personalized, and that doesn't just mean what they're actually told to do and fix and change in their golf swing. Some students aren't going to visit the range very much, so they're given lessons which focus on things they can do at home for 5-10 minutes per day. Vice versa for someone who I see 3-5x a week hitting balls 20 feet from me at Golf Evolution - they might get more drills you can do while hitting balls. Some students are able to "buy in" more if they understand some of the little details of what they're doing. Other people just have complete faith in you and are confused by or don't want to hear anything except what they're supposed to be doing. They don't even want to know why; your word is good enough. Some students learn by observing. Some like external cues, others internal more. Some like auditory assistance. People learn differently, and while you won't always get this perfect, good instructors try to notice those things and tailor everything they do and say to fit that person's mentality. Heck, one of my students loves to shoot the breeze, and get his little priority piece in about ten minutes, hit balls for five more minutes, and then shoot the breeze for a bit more. Then he goes off and works on what he was given, occasionally sends me a text with a follow-up question. He was a 22 three years ago. He's a 4 now. Getting to know your golfer, your student, is important, and while poor golf instruction might be one size fits all, good instruction is not. Golf Instructors Tear Down Your Swing before Building it Back Up Again This almost never happens, and when it does, odds are high that the instructor is horrible, lazy, or at best unimaginative. I've never actually heard a golf instructor say this to a student, and I've sure as heck never said it to a student. Golfers come capable of breaking 100, or 90, or 80… or whatever. They come with skills. What good instructors do is correct the priority piece at the moment, leaving everything else the golfer is doing well already alone. Oftentimes, fixing one thing improves several other things, too. I had a mother of a golfer — a girl, not a great swing, but she can sometimes shoot in the 80s, and other times barely breaks 100 — tell me that she didn't want to get instruction for her daughter because "she has a unique way of doing it and she doesn't have time to start over from the ground up and rebuild her swing as she's already a sophomore." Uhhhh… right. So just because the perception is out there, and because a few instructors might actually take this approach (e gads!), it doesn't mean it's valid or widely done. Let me put it another way… an instructor who wants to "rebuild" is telling you that they're incapable of working with the skills that you have now, and that he is only capable of teaching you how to play golf if you swing one way the entire time. He's saying that he's incapable of finding and fixing a priority piece while using the skills you already have. It's an utterly ridiculous way to approach instruction. The cynic in me thinks that anyone who says this is basically trying to lock you up for a bunch of lessons. After all, you can't "rebuild a swing from the ground up" in only two or three lessons. Comparing Someone to a PGA Tour Player is Pointless Because Golfers Aren't Built Like PGA Tour Players Golfers are built like PGA Tour players. Like PGA Tour players, they have two arms, two legs, a head, fingers, hips, and all sorts of body parts in common. They're also using similar tools — clubs, balls, etc. — and trying to perform a very similar task. Instructors often use a PGA Tour player to show something being done correctly. For example, if someone doesn't transfer their weight/pressure to their front foot, I might show them a PGA Tour player doing this, so that the person a) understands that it can be done, b) starts to realize that it probably should be done, and c) has a glimpse into how it's done or what it looks like. Then, I work with that student on feels that produce better mechanics - squishing a foam ball under their lead foot, bumping the fridge door closed from the top of the backswing, letting the hips coast downhill, etc. Average golfers may not be able to swing like a PGA Tour player, but they can certainly improve at one of the 5 Simple Keys®, the commonalities found in all great players, and comparing a golfer to a PGA Tour player can often be illuminating for the student. Plus, as the student begins to have success improving her mechanics, she'll often be thrilled to see you comparing her swing to a successful golfer and happy to see that, at least in the piece you're working on, she "looks like an LPGA Tour player" (or whomever). No, we don't show an 85-year-old guy the golf swing of Justin Thomas and say "we want you to swing like that" and leave it at that. But if JT does some small piece that the golfer in front of you can do, the comparison may be perfectly valid. I Saw a Video Online and it was Bad, So Lessons are Bad Videos online are often NOT lessons. Even videos of private lessons are often not the same as a true private lesson, because the instructor is often talking to the audience behind the camera as well as the student in front of him. Online lessons often focus more on mechanics than "feels," but that's almost bound to happen when you do not have a student right there in front of you. Videos try to give generalized instruction, and because everyone's feels may vary, they almost have to focus on the mechanics, trusting players to do the mechanics themselves and to find their own feels. Outside of saying "students often tell me they feel like X, Y, or Z when they do this move," videos can't really get into feels much, because two people given the same feels might produce very, very different mechanics, and both could be "wrong," but they'd feel like they did what you asked (and they're being honest, because they did the "feel" they were told to feel) and consider the video and the instructor in it to have failed. If You're Not Hitting it Better at the End of the Lesson, It's a Bad Lesson If this one said "you should know how to hit the ball better at the end of the lesson," then cool. But no, not every golfer is going to be hitting the ball better at the end of every lesson. You want to know a sure-fire way to hit the ball better at the end of a lesson? Do nothing. Just have your student hit 7-irons for 35 minutes or so. By gosh, they'll get in a bit of a groove and be hitting the ball better at the end — hey, why wouldn't they, they've been hitting a 7-iron for 35 minutes straight — than they were at the beginning. That's not a lesson. There are a ton of lessons where the student will need to work on something for a few days, weeks, even months after the lesson. They may be slightly worse for a time, and then as they begin to get better and better at the new skill, meet and then surpass their previous performance level. Golf is hard®, and changes take time to incorporate at full speed. If you insist on hitting the ball better at the end of the lesson, on being literally a better golfer at the end of a lesson, right at that moment… then you're likely only looking for band-aid type lessons. Quick fixes. The thing is, those types of lessons often don't last. There are occasions when they do, but true, lasting changes often take time. Changelog: Version 1.0 - 2018-12-18 - Initial Draft. Version 1.0.1 - 2018-12-27 - Added an image so that embedding this topic elsewhere will use that image. I plan for this to be a living, breathing document of sorts, and I'll add things here and there, revise the wording, etc. as time goes on. Changes for more than grammar/spelling/clarification I will try to note in the changelog.
  18. In recent days, the idea that the golf ball should be rolled back 20% has been floated about. Every time I hear someone tell me that the golf ball should be rolled back 20%, I think to myself "have they actually done the math?" and then, shortly afterward, "are they freaking insane?" At what point in time would a 20% roll-back be? Dustin Johnson hits the ball 315 yards, let's say (because it was his average exactly in 2017). Well, welcome to 2021, where the new and improved Dustin Johnson absolutely annihilates the ball 252 yards! Dan Pohl led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1980 - 1980 - with a driving distance of 274.3 yards. That's just over 87% as far as Dustin Johnson, so if you wanted to roll back to 1980 standards, you're way, way closer to 10% than 20%. That's as old as driving distance stats get, but the equipment didn't change much between 1980 and 1960, when Jack would regularly bust 300-yard drives of his own. So a 20% roll back goes back to, when… 1930? Best as I can figure… Let's also consider the guy who hits it 250 now. He's going to be content to hit it 200? The guy who hits it 215 and plays from 5900 yards? He's happy with 172? Proponents of rolling the ball "back" suggest that golf courses are spending money hand over fist to build new longer tees (despite no course in my area adding significant yardage in the last 20 years), but a ball roll-back could actually have them spending money to build longer tees. If you play the blue tees at Whispering Woods (scorecard image here) at 6475 yards, your 80% yardage is 5,180, which means you could play the Yellow tees at 5298 or the red at 4760. If you play the white tees now, at 6043, you're pretty well set for the red tees. But if you play either of the forward two tees, the course is now too long for you, and needs two new sets of tees forward of the forward-most existing tees. Sure, they can let the black tees go to pasture (6804 becomes 5443, which is about where the yellow tees are now), along with the blue and possibly the white, but they're just going to have to rebuild those tees further forward. And… Whispering Woods clocks in at a par 72, 74.0/144 rated/sloped course from 6804 yards! It was built about a decade ago, well into the distance boom. If you think courses are building new back tees now, just wait until they have to build all new forward tees, or risk seniors, women, and children not being able to play the game. The ball roll-back would be the opposite of "Grow the Game." BTW, green-to-tee walks? Instead of the most commonly used men's tee being situated close by, you'll find yourself walking or driving 80 to 100 yards forward, past the tees that have been left to pasture, to get to your new men's tees. If you've ever had to drive or walk forward to the forward tees, that's what every hole will be like now. Additionally, the entire scope of the game will be thrown out of whack with a 20% roll-back. Consider a 30-yard wide fairway now, with a golfer hitting it 250 yards. To hit that fairway, assuming he's aiming at the center, he has to hit the ball within roughly 3.4° left or right to hit the fairway. At 200 yards, he's got 4.3° to hit the fairway - an extra 26%. To provide the same challenge, we'd have to narrow fairways that same 20% to only 24 yards. And let's consider a 400-yard hole played by a guy who hits his tee shot 245 and his second shot 155. Right now he plays that hole with a driver and a 7-iron, so there's a fairway bunker 150-160 yards from the center of the green. The new hole is 320 yards, and our fella hits his tee shot 196 yards, leaving him 124 yards. Now, that 124 yards is still his 7-iron, but that fairway bunker… guess what? It's now completely out of place. At 155 yards from the tee, it's now 30 yards behind where the guy is playing his second shot from, and will now punish people who currently hit the ball shorter than 245 off the tee. Punishing the short hitters… that's what golf is all about, amiright? If a critical hazard on a hole's tee shot can't be moved - like a creek that tempts players to carry it - then you'll be faced with the decision to move the entire green closer to the tees. If you talk with any course architect, the first thing they tend to do when routing a course is locate possible green sites. They're carefully selected, and it would greatly undermine the architecture to have to move more than a few green sites per course. Oh, and let's not forget the greens themselves. Right now, from 155, players are often asked to hit a green that's 30 yards deep and 24 yards wide. But, with the same club in their hands, that 155 yard flight will again be reduced to 124… yet the green dimensions will stay the same. Greens will start to feel like massive targets. They'll play completely out of scale to the way they did now. They, too, would have to be shrunk 20% in both dimensions (resulting in greens that are 64% the size of current greens) to maintain the same challenge. And guess what? If you reduce the size of a green, you're going to have to again move greenside bunkers and hazards. Pin placements will become greatly reduced. Wear will increase given the smaller area of concentrated traffic. But your alternative - leaving the greens the same size and not moving any hazards - will result in lower scoring across the board, by all players. I wouldn't want to have to make that choice, or incur those costs. So in addition to the new tees, golf courses may incur other expenses as well: Consulting with an architect once again, even though their course operates well now. Narrowing fairways, tree-lines, etc. Moving hazards, bunkers, or green sites. Possibly changing the dimensions of greens, and all greenside hazards. Completely changing the value of par or the course rating and slope. Punishing shorter hitters with existing hazards. Consider, say, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It plays about 140 yards. With a 20% roll-back, the hole will effectively play 175 yards. Consider, say, the 12th at Augusta National. It's a devil of a hole at 155 yards. Players will hit anything from 8I to Wedge. It plays 155 yards, slightly downhill, and to a historical average of 3.28. Over a quarter shot over par. After a 20% roll-back, it will effectively play 194 yards. That green is not built to accept shots from 194 yards! But that's okay. Augusta National can afford to blow up one of the most famous, tested, tried and true holes in golf. Right? For maybe 95% of golfers, 6500 yards is fine. I've yet to see numbers on how many courses are really undergoing massive costly projects to add significant length. I think it's a small minority - just as the PGA Tour and players of a similar skill level are a really, really small % of golfers. Consider the massive disruption to golf around the world if this 20% roll-back were to occur. Consider that the Honda Classic - yes, not an "awesome" course, but still - held players in nearly perfect conditions to a -8 winning score at "only" 7100 yards. Consider that we're still playing major championships on courses dating to the early 1900s or earlier, and that the winning score at Oakmont, for example, was only -4. Consider what a 20% roll-back would do to your game, your enjoyment, and your home course. And then you'll likely find yourself asking the same question I ask whenever I hear someone say 20%: are you nuts?
  19. Back home with the Newport Cup trophy. Played our final points tournament today, came in 3rd and man I am beat, but I can't thank @iacas and @mvmac enough for putting on an awesome event, as well as everything else they did to make the tournament run smoothly. And I would also like to thank all of the sponsors who provided gear, it was greatly appreciated. Everything about this event was amazing. And big thanks to @RandallT for doing the updating and coming in and hanging out for a couple of days, always great to see you. For anyone who has thought about doing a video and getting selected, you should do it. It's as much fun as I've had playing in any golf tournament. The guys that came to play, both the blue team, @NCGolfer @DaveP043 @coachjimsc @cipher @bkuehn1952 and the red team, @Golfingdad @kpaulhus @Pretzel @phillyk @DeadMan @mcheppwere awesome guys, and to me that is what the event is about, the comradery of the guys playing. It was just a fantastic time and I'm glad I got to meet you all and play golf with most. And the competition was superb, everyone hit good and some not so good shots, but in the end it was so close, that we needed the challenge balls on the final day to break the tie. Brian - Our smooth swinging elder statesman, . Great putt, by the way, on our challenge hole. Kyle I'll see you in Florida in January for golf and a cigar, Drew and Phil, where can I find those magic golf balls that always seem to find a way to come back out of the trees. Dave P, my ace partner from VA, hope the IPA's were good, the golf was awesome, see you on the links soon. And yes your par 5 15th hole is goofy but I still like playing your course. Mike, I didn't get to play against you, but Dave P said your a pain in the tokus to play against. Jim, how do you hit your driver so straight, every single time and when do I get to see the dance moves again? That has to be part of your next v-log. Phil and Tyler, I hope you two still have backs when you're up there with the age of the blue team. Dan, yes I know you're name when I can see you up close, not from across the pond from 130 yards, I'm old, can't see worth a darn. Which by the way, the blue team's average age was about 52 and the red's was around 30. Not sure what that means, but old guys rule. Dave K and Nate, although we didn't get to play any golf together, throughly enjoyed hanging out with you off the course. Thanks to all my blue teammates and to the red players that I got to play against and the ones I didn't, it certainly was a pleasure to meet you all and I hope you all had safe travels home and can't wait to see you all again on the links. -Jerry
  20. It has been a long time coming but I made my first real swings today in a very long time. I only hit about 30 balls, but it felt great. The wrist has some very slight soreness but overall it felt very sturdy. This was a about a 125 yard ball flight from a 7 iron. I will try to get to the range a couple times a week and work on getting stronger with the swings. Swung a couple very easy swings with a fairway wood as well and that also felt very solid thus far.
  21. Almost 65 years in the making, never before released to the public ... let me be the first to introduce the current front runner for the 2018 Academy Award for "Documentary (Short Subject)": bkuehn's 2017 Newport Cup application Shoe Size: 9.0 Medium or Regular width (Footjoy is what I typically purchase) Shirt Size: Small (or at least that is the size for Greg Norman, Ashworth and Cutter & Buck - if the brand runs small then Medium) Pant Size: 34 waist and 30 inseam (actually 33 waist and 29 inseam but most pants are only even numbers)
  22. @MEfree Now that I'm at home and not browsing on my phone, I can actually research all of the changes you propose to make for the Masters. According to you, here's how this field would have changed. [QUOTE] Reduce the 5 year exemption for other major winners to 3 years Include all major winners ranked inside the OWGR Top 100 and multiple major winners inside the Top 120 [/QUOTE] Players removed from the field: Darren Clarke Players added to the field: none [QUOTE] Limit Past Masters Champions to those that are in the OWGR Top 500, made a cut at Augusta in the last 5 years, won a PGA/Euro Tour event in the last 5 years, won a Senior Tour event in the last 5 years, finished Top 10 in a Senior Tour Event in the last 2 years OR made a cut in a regular PGA/Euro Tour event in the last 2 years [/QUOTE] Players removed from the field: Ben Crenshaw [QUOTE] Include the OWGR Top 50 both the week before and week of the Masters ; use 51+ as alternates to fill the field if below a certain designated # (say 100 players) Do NOT include the OWGR year end Top 50 [/QUOTE] Players added to the field: Marc Warren, Harris English (53rd OWGR, highest-ranked not eligible; 100th player in the field) Players removed from the field: Mikko Ilonen, Steve Stricker, Marc Leishman (withdrew) [QUOTE] Include the current PGA Tour Fed Ex Top 20 [/QUOTE] Players added to the field: Shawn Stefani, Daniel Berger, Scott Piercy [QUOTE] Include the current year top 20 OWGR point earners [/QUOTE] Players added to the field: Gary Stal, Andy Sullivan, Daniel Berger* So, your criteria would have added seven players to the field and removed five. Among those who would have had the week off if you had your way include... [LIST] [*] a recent major winner (who made the cut) [*] a player who was ranked 15th in the world prior to last year's Masters; who finished T7 at the PGA Championship last year; and is coming back from back surgery (who made the cut) [*] a player with two top-five major finishes since 2013, including T4 at the 2013 Masters; and two top-ten finishes in WGC events in 2014 (who had to withdraw due to a family emergency) [*] a two-time winner on the European Tour in 2014, including the Volvo Match Play Championship, where he defeated Stenson, Dubuisson, and McDowell; and finished T7 at the 2014 PGA Championship (who missed the cut by one stroke) [*] a past Masters champion who knew it was time to hang it up [/LIST] Meanwhile, the seven players who would have replaced them in the field include... [LIST] [*] A three-time winner on the European Tour, who has never played in the Masters; best major finish, T12 (2013 PGA Championship) [*] A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, with a missed cut in his only Masters appearance; best major finish, T15 (2013 Open Championship) [*] A player with a best PGA Tour finish of second, who has never played in the Masters; best major finish, T59 (2013 U.S. Open) [*] A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, with a T54 in his only Masters appearance; best major finish, T5 (2013 PGA Championship) [*] A PGA Tour rookie with a best finish of second, who has never played in the Masters; best major finish, T28 (2014 U.S. Open) [*] The 2015 Abu Dhabi Championship winner, who has never played in any major championship [*] The 2015 South African Open and Joburg Open winner, who has never played in any major championship [/LIST] Collectively (and even excluding Crenshaw), your proposal would have excluded from the 2015 Masters field... [LIST] [*] 16 PGA Tour victories [*] 19 European Tour victories [*] 3 World Golf Championships [*] 1 major championship [*] 23 top-ten finishes in majors [*] 30 combined Masters appearances [/LIST] In return, your proposal would have included players with "more legit" chances to win, with a collective resume of... [LIST] [*] 3 PGA Tour victories [*] 6 European Tour victories [*] 0 World Golf Championships [*] 0 major championships [*] 1 top-ten finish in majors [*] 2 combined Masters appearances [/LIST] If your argument is that the Masters field would be stronger with the latter playing instead of the former, that argument quantitatively fails. You've created a needlessly excessive set of criteria filled with loopholes in order to retroactively say that Ernie Els should have been invited to the Masters in 2012 simply because he's Ernie Els, while excluding players with excellent track records in major championships in favor of far less deserving golfers. And if you try to say those criteria were never meant to exclude those players like the Masters excluded Els in 2012, then you're building loopholes on top of loopholes.
  23. Y'know, I see post after post after post on here where people either complain about their hip slide and their lack of rotation near impact or people recommend that you rotate more. You know what a lot of pros work on that you never hear them talk about? Getting their hips to slide forward, to push forward all the way to impact. It's easy to be misled, too. Even Hogan's Five Fundamentals book talks about "bumping" the left hip and then rotating through the ball, but that's not really what Hogan did. It's not what Tiger does. It's not what Sergio Garcia does. Contrary to what Golf Magazine and Golf Digest will tell you, better players are often quite a bit more open at impact than amateurs: around 40° or so with their hips, and 15-20° or so with their torsos. Amateurs are often square or even closed with both of those numbers. Here are a bunch of images for everyone. We'll start with one I've used a few times already: Here's Tiger hitting a 9-iron of all things. Took the photo with my iPhone and I apologize for the DVR banner being in the first one, but the position is nearly exactly the same and it wouldn't really matter - the camera position didn't change: And remember, that's a 9-iron. This is a big one so I'll just link to it: Tiger and Geoff posted up on their left side at the follow through . Nick Faldo in his prime: Some others (Baddeley, Scott, Faxon, Howell III, Montgomerie, Duval, Els): Note also Kenny Perry's rolled right foot. He's not a short hitter either. Click this for a final image showing the impact positions of quite a few pros. Check that out and compare them to the hip and shoulder positions of most amateurs at impact. You'll notice a few things: Pros hips are open to the target line at impact. Amateurs tend to be either (rarely) open quite a lot at impact or very close to square to the line (far more common) because they've pushed their butts toward the golf ball and are straightening up, which slows down pivot speed. The left hip of the pros is much higher than the right (because it's pushing towards the target as it rotates). Amateurs tend to have very flat, level hips at this point. Their shoulders are closed relative to their hips. Even Chris DiMarco - a pronounced fader of the golf ball - has his shoulders closed relative to his hips. Amateurs often (not always) reverse this and get the shoulders more open than the hips. This all ties into the hip slide. The longer you push your hips forward towards the target line, the longer your hands can remain on plane to deliver the clubhead on the plane. The instant your hips start spinning open without going forward, the hands, clubhead, and shoulders all kick out over top of the plane, leading to a pull, a cut, a slice, or even a fade if you have absolutely perfect timing, but good luck with that. Drill for this: put something (a little tripod perhaps between your knees, closer to your right knee than your left, and just towards the ball. Hit balls moving your right knee towards the target, not out towards the ball. You want to feel the right foot roll over onto the instep, the knee to bank inwards (again towards the target), and not to go out towards the ball where it'll hit the tripod or stick or whatever you've got positioned there. FWIW, here I am demonstrating this: I've circled and drawn lines on a few things. As with all of the above, they're not super-precise, but they're close. First note the right heel and the knee. In the left photo the heel is lifting because the knee is kicking in. The hips are open and the shoulders, pre-impact, are already open. The hips and shoulders are the second thing to notice. The last thing to notice is what it did to my club. Clearly the position on the right is a better position. The tripod is visible in the image on the right.
  24. I went to Whispering Woods Golf Club yesterday, 11/4/17, with one of my golf friends, Max. The weather was weirdly nice for a November in Erie. I bogeyed the first hole (I usually do) and as we were driving to the second hole, I decided I was going to aim for the pin. Usually I just aim to the center of the green but since it was a warm day and just a practice round, I went for it. The pin was left center and 110 yards from the gold tees so I grabbed my 7I and my blue Callaway Supersoft ball and walked up to the tee. I did my pre-shot routine and hit the ball. It was a clean hit with a little draw and it was going straight for the pin and I knew it'd be close. After it landed, the ball disappeared and I thought it may have gone just past the hole and the flagstick was covering it up. My partner, Max, said it went in and I laughed because I thought he was joking around. We drove the cart up and I grabbed my putter. We saw his ball about 20 feet away from the pin and didn't see mine. I checked the hole and there was my ball!! Me and Max both screamed and I was so happy! The first person I called was my step dad, Erik, because he always told me I would get a hole in one before him (he was happy for me and very sad for himself at the same time ). I shot a 38 which is my lowest round at Whispering Woods! I'll always remember the day I got my first hole in one!!
  25. Let’s see if I can summarize the 2017 Newport Cup experience from this past weekend: Weds: • Arrive • Meet everyone • Get golf swag • Back to the condo, discuss hole/course strategy • Go to dinner and talk about pairings Thurs: • Get up, eat breakfast and talk pairings, • Warmup and play golf • Have lunch, talk about previous matches, talk strategy • Warmup and play golf • Go to dinner, talk about golf events of the day • Go back condos, talk about more golf and watch NFL Friday: • Wakeup, go to breakfast, pick teams and strategy • Warmup and play golf • Wait a very long time for lunch, talk about strategy and pick teams • Warmup and play golf • Go to dinner, talk about golf events of the day • Head back to condo, watch ALCS and talk about golf Saturday: • Wakeup, go to breakfast and pick teams • Warmup and play golf • Go to early dinner, watch college football and talk about golf • Head to Pavilion, drink beverages, watch College FB and talk about all the golf happenings of the week So if you are not fully into golf no need to apply. I would like to give a big thank you to @mvmac and @iacas for organizing this outstanding event. I run one of these golf outings every year and it is no easy task. This was by far the best golf outing I have ever been a part of and it's not close. All the goodies or “swag” were unexpected and really appreciated. The golf and condo facilities were outstanding even with the little mishap at lunch. Big, big thank you to @RandallT for coming out and helping with the scoring and pictures. Really enjoyed meeting you and hopefully that neck heals up so you can be a participant next time out. Also @GolfLug great meeting you with a surprise drop in. Remember to get to “Greenville” next time. I really enjoyed meeting everyone on the Red team @Golfingdad, @Pretzel, @mchepp, @phillyk, @kpaulhus, @DeadMan. Top notch young gentlemen all around. I think having the application videos beforehand really helped us get to know one another before we actually met. And last but certainly not least are my Blue team playing partners and roommates. It’s hard for me to describe how much fun we had as a group and it didn’t have anything to do with golf. The golf was just the icing on the cake. @bkuehn1952 – The events elder statesmen. Great getting to know you. I believe you did a lot better than you thought you were going to do. No surprise here. @cipher – Blue team’s youngest member. I’m sorry I did not get a chance to play with you. It was cool we both have the body shop background in common. @DaveP043 – I am really glad we got to play together in the singles match. We did pretty well on our challenge ball together. A true gentlemen and thanks for suggesting that area for the NC. Looking forward to playing with you in the future. @jsgolfer – Yo yo yo dude! (18 tee moves go with that) What can I say about my fourball partner? I know I’ll have to say it fast or you will be gone. Man did we have fun together. And as I predicted you were the anchor of our team, Mr. MVP, it was well deserved. Looking forward to playing with you again in the near future. @NCGolfer – My roommate Dave K. who does not snore. Can’t ask anymore from a roommate. I had an absolute blast playing alternate shot with you. Yeah we could have played better but didn’t really matter we had a lot of fun both on and off the course. Looking forward to catching up with you in the spring and playing in Charlotte. In conclusion, as we were all finishing up on the 18th hole of the event, Erik looked at his phone and said, “Blue team won 31-29”, there was no yelling or hollering or high fiving and no Champaign flowing. The event come to an end just about as close as it started. 12 guys going at it as hard as they could for 90 holes and it came down to 1 point. The Newport Cup is so much more than winning or losing. So the Blue team has bragging rights for two years. Okay great. More importantly we have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
  26. And the final leaderboard is ready at last. I was scrambling to head out for a function as you guys were finishing up 17 & 18 (the reason I had to depart yesterday). The Snell Get Sum Optic Yellow Challenge results were coming in via twitter and text messages. I was leaving the house, just as Erik and Mike had figured it all out. So I'm finally relaxing and sipping some coffee Sunday morning, and there's time to make sure I've got it right. Congrats BLUE and RED players for duking it out in style. As Erik said, the matches were a tie. It took a late surge down the back nine to put BLUE in position to win it with the challenges, but I've definitely learned how quickly these competitions can shift by a couple points. Very similar craziness down the stretch in 2015. Great stuff. I'm sure the players will all soon echo the same thoughts as they get settled, but Mike and Erik did an incredible job putting on such a cool competition. Crashing in their room for a couple nights, I can see all the preps that went into it. The pile of boxes alone that I slept under was enough to give me that impression. Remnants of bling shipments filled the corner of the room! All the work with the sponsors, all the logistics, and hell, just the crazy idea itself that you can pull off something like this. Very ambitious, and they pulled it off while making it look easy. Until 2019, a toast of Man of Law IPA to the coaches, and then one of course to the players who definitely took to the spirit of the competition. A lot of fun, some great play, and RED and BLUE still driving each other to the airport afterward
  27. As @mvmac and I drove around observing golfers playing in the Newport Cup this past few days, several thoughts occurred to us. We won't single anyone out, of course, and to those of you reading I want to point out that these players were all single digit handicappers. In no particular order, here are some of the things we noticed and what you can or should do about them to play better golf. 1. Short Game Shot Selection As it says in Lowest Score Wins , the first rule of a short game shot is to not leave yourself with another short game shot. If you have a 30-yard bunker shot but the green is five yards away, hit the ball somewhere between six yards and 40 yards. Leave yourself with a PUTT first and foremost. Countless times @mvmac and I observed someone going for a pitch to a short sided pin only to leave themselves still short sided and pitching again. Though, yes, "Golf's Longest Yard" is important, you're simply far more likely to make a putt than a chip, and you can't start worrying about golf's longest yard before you get the ball on the putting green. 2. GIR is King Following up on #1, hitting greens is important. I advised my team all week to get the yardage to the flag and, if it was in the back, to subtract five yards or so and if in the front, to add five yards or so. I still think they could have done that more, and paid more attention to it. It's a tough thing to actively look away from the flag and play a shot to the green. Sometimes it's tough to even pick a target line. But it's important, because again, you're more likely to make a putt (or two-putt) than to hole a chip (or get up and down). #1 and #2 tie in to each other. The point of both is to get you to the areas where you're almost as good as a PGA Tour player as soon as possible: putting! 3. Shot Zone Size @mvmac and I joked that everyone's Shot Zone must have been about 5x larger than they thought. Some holes had 100 yards between homes left and right… yet we watched balls find the homes to the left and the right. Yes, maybe they were in the 20% of the "aberrations," but with the penalty buffer that players should have been using, drivers were often not the play given the actual size of the Shot Zones. On a 398-yard hole, and given the importance of GIR (they're the King!) and nGIR (Queens), a player who hits hybrid 240 yards and can then reach the green with an 8- or 9-iron rarely has the need to hit a driver to leave a sand wedge. This seems to fly in the face of "advancing your ball," but remember The Rule from Lowest Score Wins . Particularly, remember the "safely" portion. If there are Penalty Buffers, Bunkers (which have their own penalty buffers, remember), or thick trees… it can and often should change the chosen shot. 4. Not Watching Ball @mvmac and I have noticed some things that differentiate good players from the not-so-good players. When a good player hits a good tee-ball, he doesn't watch it. When he hits a bad shot, he watches it like a hawk. The not-so-good player is the opposite: he will turn away from a bad shot and often takes delight in watching every second of his good one. Yet… this approach leads to lost balls. There aren't a lot of places to lose a ball in the desert (particularly when the course is not really a desert course with a bunch of cactus off the fairways), but we saw a fair number of lost balls. Watch the ball. Move sideways to get a better angle to view where it lands. Keep your eyes on the area where it lands. Remember landmarks to serve as pointers when you start to look for the ball. This applies to everyone's shots. We saw a number of people not watching their partner hitting a shot… in the alternate shot format. Blows our mind. That's your ball that your partner is hitting. 5. Learn to Hit Big Curves The 17th hole required (the first two days, anyway) a big cut with a driver, 3-wood, or hybrid. Yet very few attempted this shot, mostly because it wasn't in their arsenal. Good players can hit big curves on occasion. Big curves are a form of trouble shot - a big hook can get you around a corner, a big cut can get you out from behind a tree but still on or near the green, etc. Many hit a double-cross and pulled the ball straight into the water, but that can't happen: learn how to hit some big curves because, when they come in handy, they can save you one or two shots on THAT hole, right then, instantly. Plus, learning to hit big curves (hooks and slices, effectively) can teach you quite a bit about your path and your clubface awareness. @mvmac will finish this with five more observations.
  28. Wish I had a little more time. I definitely have a better appreciation for all the film makers out there. My lighting sucks...lol. Thank you to @NCGolfer for being the first one to post. Shoe size: 9.5 (Under Armour), 8.5 (Footjoy) Shirt size: M all brands Pant size: 32 x 32
  29. Yes there are many other philosophies or schools out there. Here's a few of them - Hogan school: basically Hogan was the best ball striker of all time and every single position of his should be copied. 5 Lessons is the bible, take every word literally and never dispute it. Also Hogan's secret will fix your swing and work for any player regardless of skill, body type, ability (even though there is no consensus on what the secret it). - Modern school: resist and coil, create the most X-Factor to produce the most power. Make sure to have a good release by rolling the right hand over the left. Good posture means sticking you ass out, arching your back, puffing out your chest and barely being able to see the ball at address. - Swing your swing school: Your swing doesn't suck, you just haven't found "it" yet. Just stay positive, hit a lot of balls to reinforce your crappy instincts and "it" will happen. - Old School: Everyone should raise the lead heel on the backswing, golfers before 1970 swung the best and knew more about the golf swing than today's players. - Short Game is more important school: 70% of shots are inside 100 yards so spend 90% of your time working on the most basic, easiest and least separating aspect of your golf game. - Stack and Tilt school: Andy and Mike are never wrong, if you hit up on the driver you'll never be able to find it, if you don't hit a push draw you suck, fully support research and learning new things as long as it doesn't conflict with Andy and Mike. - Fact based school (not sure what else to call it): Every golf swing will have it's own individual traits but there are commonalities of great players that we can identify and learn from. Focus on one or two important pieces that will have a "domino" effect on other parts of your swing. Use biomechanics, technology and stats as tools to help golfers prioritize, save time and play "smarter". Keep communication, swing feels or cues simple and encourage golfers to come up with their own feels.
  30. I made a post here that prompted this thread: That post was in turn prompted by the age-old "Drive for Show, Putt for Dough." I wanted to cover what I said there in a bit more detail, because I think that the importance of putting is vastly over-stated for two reasons… #1: Proximity to the Finality of the Hole's Completion The last thing carries the most weight. You see this all the time in day-to-day life, and even more often in sports. If you wanted to bet on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl a few weeks ago you'd have gotten 5/2 odds. They'd just defeated the Denver Broncos, and people were high on their chances. They hadn't even secured a playoff spot, yet they were the third most favorite team to win the Super Bowl behind the Patriots and the Panthers. Then they laid an egg against Baltimore, suffered no lineup changes or injuries, and… their odds dropped like a rock. It's recency bias, pure and simple: a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" mentality. The same kind of thing tends to apply to one's putting. Here's an example. A generalized player stands on the tee of a 350-yard par four which he plays in 4.0 strokes. From 12 feet he takes 1.8 strokes (he makes it 20% of the time and almost never three-putts). From 35-feet he three-putts 20% of the time and almost never makes. So our golfer plays the hole. He hits a good drive, and hits a great approach shot to 12 feet. He misses the birdie putt, mumbles a curse word, and taps in for par. Yes, the golfer lost ground by missing the putt… but he wasn't likely to make it anyway. A PGA Tour player was not likely to make the putt. Nobody was. The strokes he gained by hitting his drive (perhaps 0.0) and hitting his approach shot (around 0.2 gained there), he simply lost with that putt… but he was likely to lose them. He only makes that putt 20% of the time. So he plays the hole again. He toe-hooks it into the left rough, leaving himself 130 yards out. He catches the ball cleanly but it doesn't cut so it winds up in the left bunker. From there, he splashes out to twelve feet, and again misses the putt. This golfer probably blames his putter again… but this time he also blames the bunker shot. In reality the bunker shot saved him a few tenths of a stroke, because amateurs of his skill level average 3.1 strokes from the bunker, but he hit it to a position from which he will average 1.8 strokes (3.1 - (1.8 + 1) = 0.3 strokes gained for the bunker shot). If the golfer thinks about it he might even blame the approach shot, but the tee shot will be forgiven by this golfer because he only had 130 yards to the green and an open look. In reality, the tee shot likely cost the golfer the most strokes. I see this kind of thinking time and time again. Three times this year my college team golfers reached a par five in two (they reached more than three par fives in two… I'm just going to talk about three occurrences): First Time: the guy two-putted for a tap-in birdie from about 20 feet. Second Time: the guy two-putted for a birdie from 7 feet. Third Time: the guy three-putted for a par from about 50 feet. In the first example, the guy missing his putt probably cost him about 0.15 strokes. Players of his skill level make 20-footers about 15% of the time. But he made a birdie… because he gained nearly a full shot on players of his skill level by hitting the green in two. If he (players of his skill level) averages 4.85 on that hole, hitting the ball to 20 feet in two is a full 1.0 stroke gain. He lost 0.15 by missing the 20-footer, but gained a full stroke with the combination of his tee shot and second shot, to net the 0.85 strokes gained over the average. In the second example, the same thing is true, except his putting cost him 0.5 strokes… which means that his tee/approach shot saved him a massive 1.35 strokes! Half the time he plays the first two shots that well, he's walking away with eagle… yes… but he's still only 50/50 to make the putt from there. His average score after the first two shots is 3.5. Standing on the tee, it was 4.85. In the third example, the guy three-putted from 50 feet. He hit his first putt about ten feet past the hole and lipped out the birdie attempt. The math says… from 50 feet away, he was likely to take 2.5 strokes: he'll three-putt as often as he two-putts. This means that his approach shots saved him 0.35 strokes: yeah, he was on the green, but 50 feet away. His putting? Since he's expected to take 2.5, and took 3 instead, well it cost him half a stroke. In each case, you know what the people said? Some variant of "Man, I should have made that putt!" In the first two examples, they were talking about their eagle putts. In the third example, he was talking about his birdie putt. Yet only one of them was even money to make their putt, and he just happened to miss. The third player rightly blames his putting for making only a par, but even he doesn't really spread the blame across the first two putts. He blamed the second putt, from ten feet. From 50 feet, golfers at his level should putt to 7 feet on average (from where they average 1.5 putts), but he putted to ten feet (where they average 1.75 putts). The first and second putt are equally to blame: both cost him 0.25 strokes, resulting in a par on a hole where he gained 0.35 strokes with his first two shots. Golfers far and wide apply increasing attention - meaning blame and credit - for the shots they hit the closer they are to finishing the hole. Yes, a missed one-footer costs golfers a full stroke loss. But so too do tee shots that you have to hit out sideways or which you can't advance your ball very far at all, and so too do tee shots and approach shots that leave you in a greenside bunker from which you average 3.1 strokes. Which of those are more likely to happen: missing a one-foot putt, or hitting into a greenside bunker? When you fail to get up and down from that greenside bunker, do you blame the tee and approach shots, or do you blame the bunker shot (which may have actually been quite good) and the missed putt you weren't likely to make? Most golfers blame the bunker shot and the putt. The more recently something happens, the more emphasis golfers tend to give it. And in golf, because putts are the finality - we make or miss - we tend to assign too much weight to them. @mvmac and I were playing at Little Mountain Country Club a year or two ago with @cedrictheo and we faced two brutally long par fours on the back nine. We both had to hit hybrids (I think @mvmac may have hit 3W one of the times) from 200+ yards. All four shots we hit onto the green and to about 15-30 feet. After each of the shots, I would yell to @mvmac "Strokes Gained!" as, at even our level of play, hitting the ball to 20 feet from 215 yards is a tremendous gain in strokes for one shot! (From 215 in the fairway, we probably average about 3.25 strokes [if not a bit more], so putting the ball to 20 feet where we average 1.75 is a half stroke saved.) You see, @mvmac and I recognize that partial strokes are saved here and there all the time. We also recognize the odds of making a putt, and that basically means that outside of seven or eight feet, we aren't likely to make a putt. We're likely below 50% from outside seven or eight feet. We likely average 2.0 putts from about 30-35 feet. If we miss an eagle putt from 20 feet, we recognize that we hit two great shots to get there, and then realize that we were likely going to make birdie. If we make an eagle putt from 20 feet, we don't give a tremendous amount of weight to the putt: we still appreciate the two shots that did most of the heavy "saving" (4.85 - 3.0 is 1.85 strokes gained. Making the putt from 20 feet only gained us 0.75 of the strokes… the first two shots gained us 1.1). Golfers have to learn to overcome both of those things - recency bias as well as seeing things as "full strokes" lost or gained - to truly appreciate where strokes are lost or gained. It's a world of decimal points, with tenths or hundredths of a stroke gained or lost on virtually every shot, including those that happen ten minutes before your ball finds the bottom of the cup. #2: Contribution to Winning (or Playing Well) Again, "Drive for show, putt for dough." Gary Player thinks so. It's the phrase that started this topic, and despite what we know about how things truly play out over large sample sizes (hundreds or thousands of rounds), it's still tough to buy in completely. It still feels like putting plays a huge role in getting that "dough" (shooting low scores). And, frankly, it's tough to buy in completely to the new way of thinking because… it's kinda true. For the rounds in which you score really well, you tend to putt really well, too. But you also probably hit the ball really well, too. It's tough to score really well if you're missing fairways and taking penalty shots. Every aspect of your game is likely performing at better than peak levels when you play well. As I said in the other thread… The chart from ESC is this one: Now, you'll note that only two players have overcome poor ball-striking tournaments, and both of those were in limited field events (i.e. there were significantly fewer players to beat). And… they only lost 0.26 and 0.03 strokes with all other shots outside putting. Meanwhile, multiple players overcame shots lost to putting (and by significantly larger amounts than 0.26 and 0.03) to win, and many of those were in full-field, 140+ player events. But, clearly in the middle of the graph, you can see a lot of players get about a 34% contribution from putting. If you average all of these numbers, you get this chart: This chart shows that putting averages about a 35% contribution to a win. You have the exceptions, like Bill Haas in the Tour Championship with fewer than 30 other players, just as you have Vijay in 2008, Tiger in 2007, and several other players who lost strokes from putting yet still won the event. This is to be expected, for two reasons: Putting, though stable long-term, is relatively volatile in the short term. There are more strokes to be lost or gained "tee to green" than from putting over the long term. Below, I've created two charts showing 80 rounds of an "average Tour player" and Tiger Woods (not 2015 Tiger Woods, but not 2000 Tiger Woods either - just a "very good player"). I randomly generated numbers between ±5.5 strokes gained "other" (SGO, or "tee to green") and ±3.5 strokes gained putting (SGP) for the Average Tour player, and did the same with Tiger, except that I bumped Tiger's SGO limits up 1 and his SGP up 0.5. In other words, Tiger would average a full stroke gained better tee to green and half a stroke gained better with the putter. Because neither Numbers nor Excel can properly show a stacked bar chart of 1.0 for something that is +1.2 and -0.2, I added the numbers together to present a single bar. That's unfortunate, as you can't see each's contribution to the total, but it also helps to simplify the graph, too. Now, a few caveats. First, this doesn't account for ebbs and flows, particularly tee to green - each round has completely random chances of getting any number, while in reality an average PGA Tour player and Tiger Woods could both be expected to "find something" in their full swings and putting strokes or to "lose it" for a series of consecutive rounds. What I mean is that both could have stretches of slightly better than average play and stretches of slightly worse than average play, particularly tee to green, than I was able to generate here, randomly. Second, I came up with these numbers based on the ranges from the charts above. Given the stats from the 2015 PGA Tour (farther below), I probably over-estimated both, but more so putting. I used these numbers based on the maximum values from the chart above, and assumed that the distribution was fairly even. In other words, I assumed that if one player can be +4 strokes tee to green, another player could be -4 tee to green. This tends to be how it shakes out - we tend not to see 1/3 of the field at +x while 2/3 of the field is at -x/2. But, it's still a small assumption I wanted to note. Here, then, are the results of 80 somewhat random rounds. Again, the Player was SGO ±5.5 and SGP ±3.5, while Tiger was SGO +1 and SGP +0.5 over the Player. Average Tour Player Tiger Woods I drew a red line at 3 strokes gained. Let's imagine that's playing well enough to win a PGA Tour event (so long as someone else doesn't also have a hot week). As you can see here, the average player plays well enough to win a PGA Tour event… maybe once, assuming someone else doesn't have an even better set of four rounds those days and that rounds 21-24 (SGT are 6.45, 5.30, 6.85, and -2.51 for a total of 16.09) occur during the same event. Those rounds break down to: SGO SGP SGT ----- ----- ----- 4.89 1.56 6.45 2.47 2.84 5.30 4.79 2.06 6.85 -4.73 2.22 -2.51 That works out to about 54% contribution to the win from his putting. The player finished about 16 strokes below the average for the tournament, and nearly 8.7 of those came from putting. The player had such a big lead going into the last round that he played safe from several tees, lost a lot of strokes tee to green, but then let his "hot putting week" carry him to the possible win. And have a hot putting week, he did… if the theoretical normal max you can gain putting is 3.5 strokes putting (14 total), this player gained an average of 2.17 per round, or 62% of what I'll call "maximum putting." Conversely, since you can gain 5.5 strokes with all other strokes (or 22 total), this player gained only 33.7% of his "maximum other." He had a great week putting, and a pretty good week tee to green. Contrast that with Tiger Woods, who probably wins… four to eight times, depending on how the rounds fall (i.e. a stretch of four good rounds doesn't overlap two tournaments and, to a lesser extent, how his peers play. Even rounds where he treads water or loses a fraction of a stroke in total are made up for by the rounds in which he gains, for example, 5.42 SGO and 0.56 SGP. Looking at his last four rounds of the simulated "year" he has: SGO SGP SGT ----- ----- ----- -0.91 -0.28 -1.19 5.31 2.57 7.88 5.42 0.56 5.98 2.86 0.79 3.64 That's 16.31 strokes, or averaging over 4 SGT despite losing 1.19 strokes in the first round (boy what a "Tiger charge" he put on Friday, though!). His contributions? SGP: 22.3%, SGO: 77.7%. For Tiger's skillset, he could get a max of 26 tee to green, and he got about 56% of his "maximum" there. In putting, he can gain 4 strokes, or 16 total, and managed to get only 23%. Still a net positive, but not great. He had a pretty good week tee to green, and an "okay" week putting. Earlier I listed these two reasons: Putting, though stable long-term, is relatively volatile in the short term. There are more strokes to be lost or gained "tee to green" than from putting over the long term. The second is the easiest to address. One simply has to look at the Strokes Gained stats on the PGA Tour website for this. If they do, and if they look at the 2015 stats, they'd see these results: http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.02564.2015.html SGP: Top 5 +.65, Bottom 5 -.94. http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.02674.html SGO: Top 5 +2.4, Bottom 5 -3.0 There are between three to four times more strokes to be gained tee to green than there are putting. Now, this is all relative, remember. This has to deal with how widely separated players are. As we know, both from ESC and LSW, players are much closer in putting than they are at any other skill. The longer the shot, the wider the separation becomes. So, since the "strokes gained" stats are all compared relatively, to their peers, it makes sense that the gap between the best and worst putter is barely 1.5 strokes, while the gap between the best and worst players tee to green is almost 5.5 strokes. The problem, though, are with the red words from up above: randomly generated. You see, while putting stats are often somewhat random, or more volatile, ball-striking and the short game is not. It's actually relatively stable, for long stretches of time. Putting, however, is not. This gets into the repeatability of the skill. As I said above in the quote and in the other thread, putting is not a highly repeatable skill in the short term. Watch a PGA Tour player hit 20 five-irons and they'll probably all be within a pretty small area. Watch him hit 20 twenty-foot putts, though, and he'll make some and miss some. Though it is 72 holes, in comparison to the length of a season, a PGA Tour event is a rather small window, and a rather small sample size. Over the course of a long season, the better putters separate themselves, but over 72 holes, it's much, much more difficult to separate yourself due to the lack of repeatability in putting. Tournament to tournament, more so day to day, and especially hole to hole… putting stats vary wildly. Consider a single eight-foot putt: if you make it, you gain 0.5 strokes. If you miss, you lose 0.5 strokes. Each time you face an eight-foot putt, you could be 100% or 0%. That's highly variable, with a huge swing in the results: half a stroke from the average every time. The only time you can lose or gain strokes that quickly tee to green is when you hit your ball into a penalty situation or hole out - in other words, horribly bad (super unlucky) or good (super lucky) shots that don't happen very often at all. Because of the proximity to the hole as well as the finality of "make" or "miss," putting, in effect, has a much higher dose of randomness, of "luck," than the rest of the game. I'll illustrate this - while further addressing the red words above - with two thought exercises. Imagine you have a magical bag with 100 slips of paper inside that say either "good" or "bad." A good putter might have 55 that say "good" and a poor putter will have only 45 "good"s. (I've chosen the words "good" or "bad" because if you have a one-footer a "bad" putt will still likely go in, and from 40 feet, a "good" putt will either go in or, more likely, leave a tap-in second putt while a "bad" putt may lead to a three-putt. If it simplifies things for you, though, consider "good" as "make" and "bad" as "miss." It's not quite that granular, though.) So again, the good putter has 55 "good"s and the poor putter has 55 "bad"s. You ask both players to pull 20 pieces of paper from their bag. (I chose 20 because it's a nice round number, and because if you have 29 putts, we can ignore the 9 tap-ins per round.) The bag is magical because if a player draws a "good" slip, a new "good" slip is regenerated inside the bag, and the same is true of the "bad" slips. The bag maintains the 55:45 or 45:55 ratio. Over 20 tries you could easily imagine either player scoring 10-10, 13-7, or even 15-5 one way or the other. These types of results would not be uncommon. Over the course of a season? Why, you'd expect the score to be 55-45 for the good putter and 45-55 for the poor putter. But the smaller you make the sample size, the more likely you'll get some extreme results. Again, draw one slip of paper and you'll get 100%-0%. Draw three, and you'll still get 100%-0% (1/8th of the time if there are 50 of each). And remember… these are the "best" and "worst" putters out there, too: the vast majority of putters have right around 50 "good"s in their bag. random sequences of 3, 4, 5, even 10 things in a row occur more often than you might think. Tee to green behavior, though, is far more repeatable (or far less variable). Because there's virtually no chance of finality when you hit your tee shot on a hole, the slips of paper don't say "good" or "bad." Instead, the pieces of paper have a bunch of numbers that can range from 1 to 100, distributed not as evenly as with putting, but much like a bell curve. There may be five "50"s in a bag with very few numbers (perhaps only one each) from 1-10 and 91-100. A player pulling from that bag is likely to get a lot of average shots: a 50, a 47, a 55, and so on. A tee shot that goes 289 yards into the right rough might be slightly better than a tee shot that goes 267 yards into the fairway, but it's going to be a small fraction of a stroke: it's not going to be as final as "good" or "bad," as significant as "make" or "miss." This means that strokes in the full swing and short game add up more slowly, yes, but also more consistently. While putting is a bit like pulling a 95 or a 5, with the full swing you're likely to pull a 58 and then a 47. We also know from, well, everything that there's more separation to be had in the full swing. Just look again at the PGA Tour stats above: the best to the worst putter was about 1.5 strokes, while the best to the worst tee to green was nearly 5.5 strokes. And consider that while Mark Broadie tells us a scratch golfer can putt better than a PGA Tour pro 30% of the time (over 18 holes), we know they'll never hit the ball better than a PGA Tour pro tee to green over a round of golf. This gap, though narrower, still exists on the PGA Tour: the distance between the best putter and the worst putter is quite a bit smaller than the distance between the best and worst "tee to greeners." This means that bell curve, the "SGO" is shifted to the right or left quite a bit more than we saw with putting. While putting had a range of 10 from the best to the worst putter (55/45 to 45/55), Tiger's pouch has a bell curve centered around 65 or so while the poorer "tee to greener" has a bell curve centered around 35 or so, creating a gap that's about 3x the size of the putting gap. Nice how that all works out, isn't it? In other words, Tiger's pouch has a lot of 60s and 70s, and even a few from 91-100, while the other player's pouch has few numbers above even 70. Again: Putting, though stable long-term, is relatively volatile in the short term. There are more strokes to be lost or gained "tee to green" than from putting over the long term. I haven't really addressed the second issue directly, but I can do that now in two parts, quickly. Those parts are: 2a) There's more separation between players, long-term. 2b) While putting only offers about 20 chances, "tee to green" offers about 40 chances to lose or gain strokes. The latter point also speaks to the variability that's possible in putting, so it also partly supports point 1. Long story short, a few bullet points: Because putting is so close to the end of the hole, you're more likely to notice the success and failures. Because putting is so granular, so "make/miss," you're more likely to notice the success and failures. Because you hit 40 shots that allow for separation tee to green, and only about 20 putts, you're more likely to notice the putts that drop (or don't) over the smaller gains you make more often tee to green. Strokes gained tee to green can be incredibly small, but add up. The difference between the #1 player and the #120 player from between 150 and 200 yards on the PGA Tour over a stretch of time was three feet.* Putting does contribute higher to winning. Poor putting can also contribute to losing, too. But again, that's because it's highly variable, round to round, and even tournament to tournament. To summarize even further: Tee-to-green play determines what quartile you're likely to finish that week. Putting determines where you finish in that quartile. Thank you. And yes, I spent entirely too long on this… From the asterisk above:
  31. First things first: I do not want your money! That said, I accept the challenge. Got out of work early today and had a couple of hours of light left, so ... figured lets have some fun. Using last years kiddie pool, I was able to get it filled to just under 9" of water. The first video is two attempts swinging kind of how I'd imagine would be required, ball a little back of center, a little steep with the swing. Second video is ball off my back foot and a really steep swing. Last two videos are just a couple of throws of a ball into the pool (on request.) Anyways ... enjoy:
  32. When I first started playing I was taught what "athletic" posture was in the golf set-up. Straight back, stick the butt out and have the chin up. Similar to what this article and video recommend. Posture Article Quote: Good posture can be attained by bending your knees so they cover up your shoelaces. Then you must also bend from the hips at the same time. Sticking your butt out while keeping your back straight is the proper way to bend correctly from your hips. Adam Scott was said to have the most athletic posture and that having the chin up allowed the shoulders to turn. I'm going to share why I feel that information is wrong and can be harmful to your body. According to this Tilteist Performance Institute(TPI) Article Quote: Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints of all golfers. This is usually due to the high velocity rotary forces that are applied upon the lumbar spine during the golf swing. Some golfers actually put themselves into this position on purpose because they heard it was good to stick their butt out at set up. Unfortunately, if you arch your back to stick your butt out at set up, you are also putting your lower back in jeopardy of being injured. The Lower Crossed Syndrome / “S-Posture”: One of the most clinically relevant patterns of muscle dysfunction is a lower crossed syndrome. Simply stated, the lower crossed syndrome is a grouping of weak muscles combined with overactive or tight muscles, that create a predictable movement pattern in the lower back that can lead to injury. S- Posture would be the pic of me on the left. “S” posture is caused by a player creating too much arch in their lower back. We’ve all been told to stick our butt out at address, yet when over done, it impinges the spine and the body’s ability to rotate. Feeling some posterior pelvic tilt and rounding my shoulders inward. I can view the ball out of my central vision in the right pic. Weight is also balanced, too much into my heels in the left pic. As I said I'm feeling posterior tilt, in reality I am closer to anterior but adding posterior. By tucking my tailbone under me, posterior, I place the hips in the best position to release the flexion of my right hip during the backswing, not to mention how much easier this position is on the lower back. The shoulders feeling rounded, inward and down, allows the chin to be down, which allows for the ball to be seen with central vision. The eyes which are located in the head are what need to be stable or centrally foviated on the object to maintain the balance centers located in the eyes, ears, and muscular system. When we are looking at the golf ball, and our head is down, we are able to see the golf ball out of the middle of our eye sockets and in the center of our vision, called "foveal vision". When an object is in foveal vision, we are able to make more detailed processing of the image (being golf ball and surroundings) during the golf swing. If the eyes are being forced to strain within the eye socket and keep relocating the golf ball because vision is temporarily lost from one eye, this is called "saccadic eye movement" and is slower and less detailed processing of sensory input from the eyes to the brain. If we lose the ability for depth perception, which can cause compensations and make it difficult for our brain to calculate where we are relative to the ball. This could cause the golfer to have to adjust to see the golf ball out of both eyes and make the fastest adjustments during the course of the golf swing. Adam Scott has made some changes the past couple years. So even though there may instruction that advocates what Adam was doing in 2002, it's hard to find examples of this kind of address position from the best players. Especially players from Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus years. TPI would call a Hogan or a Palmer address a "C" posture. I will say that today's players have the chest "taller" than players in the past but still do the neck tilt piece well. More of a neutral posture between the C and S postures. I like the way the classic guys did it, I think it just looks much better and sets them up to perform a very dynamic motion. A lot of address postures to me look too static. Check out these pics And a few good videos to share From Martin Hall's show Couple posture drills - Place your heels 2-4 inches from a wall or stick - Stand up straight, bend from the hips and add knee flex until..... - ....y our butt touches the wall. - Then soften the upper back and lower the arms Here's a feel/visual/drill for those that struggle with an upper back that is too upright. Balance a cup of water on top of your neck/cervical spine. If you can't do it, then your eyes are looking up too much and/or you're not "slouched" enough.
  33. I'll take the bet. It would be quite a story to tell in prison.
  34. Well I finally did it. After months of lessons and trips to the driving range I finally got up the nerve to go to a golf course. By chance I stumbled on a women's "new to golf group". Non-competitive and very supportive group. I had a great time and can't wait for the next outing. It was a par 3 course that I'm sure many of you would sneer at, but for a first round it was great. I even got a birdie!
  35. Yeah… People that get upset about sponsor's exemptions should almost always shut up. They're SPONSOR's EXEMPTIONS. They exist to boost publicity. The sponsor is, you know, sponsoring the event, so they get a few perks for their millions of dollars. One of them is that they get to pick a few players to play. Often it's a local guy, or if they can't find people who can boost the publicity, they just choose deserving players. But the spots can go to a circus clown or a celebrity if they want. Sometimes they do. If you didn't get a sponsor's invitation but feel you deserved one, and thus, feel screwed by Curry… play better so you don't need to rely on an exemption.
  36. Mamas' don't let your babies grow up to be caddies Don't let 'em pick golf or haul those old bags Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such Mamas' don't let your babies grow up to be caddies 'Cause they'll never stay home and they're always alone And fired by golfers who suck.
  37. At long last, I've completed my vlog Just to be a little different, I added voice-over in my best announcer voice. And to consolidate, I've quoted my previous posts, I think its all together here.
  38. Wikipedia defines the four stages of competence as: Unconscious incompetence - The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn. Conscious incompetence - Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage. Conscious competence - The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill. Unconscious competence - The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned. It comes with a picture that I've included to the right. Consider how you learned to ride a bike. You started off being incompetent, for sure. Before you knew that you could ride a bike, or how you might even start to go about doing it, you were unconsciously incompetent. You didn't even understand how to ride a bike. At some point you hopped on a bike and swerved all over the place for the four feet you traveled before you hopped off or fell over. You knew that you were incompetent, hence, conscious incompetence. Slowly you figured out that it was all about balance. You knew what you had to do - balance, and lift your feet up, and pedal, and steer too. And you were thinking about all of these things as you were riding your bike. Your four feet turned into ten, then a hundred, then halfway down the block before you crashed because you tried to turn around in a driveway. You crossed over from being consciously incompetent to consciously competent somewhere in there (depending on how you define competence). For a more specific example, the first time you get a bike with dual hand brakes (one controls the front wheel, one the back wheel) you started off having to think about which brake to apply (never just the front one!). You could do so, but there was always a partial second of thought like "which one is it again?" Then after a short while, you can hop on your bike and go. You can turn. You can brake. You're clearly competent, and you can do those things while thinking about how much of a bummer it is that Jenny doesn't like you back, and that your parents are mean, and that you can't wait for your baseball game tomorrow. You are unconsciously competent - you don't have to think about riding a bike at all. For a more recent example, consider how you learned to drive. At first you had to remember all sorts of things, and think about them, even which way to flick the stick to signal a left turn. Now, you just hop in your car and go. This all applies to golf, as well, and this thread is how you do it: Let's take, for example, a golfer who just goes out and plays golf. Let's say he shoots in the 90s and hits the ball fat, thin, and all over the map. He goes to take a lesson. Why? Because he's unconsciously incompetent. He knows he's incompetent, yes, but he doesn't know why or what he should work on first. So his instructor films him and says "you need to work on Key #2: your weight does not go forward at all in your downswing." Bam: the golfer is now consciously incompetent. He knows what the fault is, but still can't do it right. So the instructor gives him some drills. He demonstrates. He has the golfer do things in slow motion and with shorter swings. The golfer is still consciously incompetent. He still can't do the move properly. He can do it better, but it still may not be competent. So the golfer keeps working. He knows what he's doing wrong, how to fix it, and eventually when doing drills or actively thinking about a feeling, he can do it (as well as he can be expected to, which may not be perfect). He's become consciously competent. Eventually, the golfer notices more and more that he's able to do this - he's trained himself to do this - without having to think about it so much. Maybe it's a swing thought, or something he practices with a little half practice swing before he hits his shot, but it's not something he's actively thinking about while hitting the ball. So, a question for you all: at what point should the golfer above seek out instruction for his full swing? There are three possible answers, IMO, but the first - Time #1 - is a given: at any point in step 1 the golfer should seek out instruction, because he's both incompetent and lacks a road map or the knowledge to do anything differently to improve. Take a moment to think about it, and then scroll down. Here are the other times when a golfer should seek instruction. Remember that Time #1 is when the golfer is incompetent and doesn't know what to do to improve. He's "unconscious" (doesn't know) and "incompetent" (bad at the thing). Here are the other times: Time #2: When the golfer is unconsciously competent, or in the middle of step 4, he's ready for new information. If he can achieve Key #2 reasonably well during the downswing without having to think about it, he is ready to work on something else - to go back to step 1 and work on shallowing his shaft in the transition, or achieving inline impact, or something else. It's inadvisable for the golfer to seek out new instruction when he's in the middle of the third step - the golf swing happens too quickly to consciously think about two things during one swing. Occasionally we'll give students two things, but we typically only do so when one is a backswing thought and the other is a downswing thought, and even then we will caution them to work on only one thing at a time. I'll say something like "yeah, hit four balls thinking about this one, and then three balls thinking about the other one. It helps things stay fresh and staves off boredom or complacency." Time #3: When the golfer is struggling to move from conscious incompetence to conscious competence, he should seek out instruction. He knows what's wrong, but for one reason or another, is having trouble actually correcting it. It may range from the student not really understanding the drills or things he was given (note: that doesn't mean he's unconsciously incompetent - he still knows what he's trying to improve, just not how to do it), or that he's overdone them so much that he's almost created a new problem, or that he's just forgotten the feel that clicked during a lesson and a text to the instructor may be all he needs to get back on track. Golfers screw this stuff up all the time. They seek out a lesson when they're between steps 2 and 3. More commonly, they seek out instruction when they're dead smack in the middle of step 3 - they can make really good swings (for them) when they're actively thinking about their "piece," but it hasn't sunk in yet to where it's truly unconscious. Golfers also almost never really achieve complete unconscious competence, either. Unlike riding a bike, golfers tend to slowly revert back to what's natural, or form some new bad habits. When a PGA Tour player says something like "I have a tendency to get a little stuck sometimes. I worked on it all winter and was playing well in the first half of the season, but it got away from me a bit around the British Open." What that golfer is saying is that he was in step 3 in the off-season, worked to get it pretty deep into step 4, but as he played in tournaments and pro-ams and had some good finishes and then worked on his putting stroke and his bunker play and hitting the driver a bit higher, he slowly slipped back into step 3 territory: conscious competence. He still knows what he has to fix, and how to fix it, but it's slipped back into where he can probably only do it when he's thinking about it. He's just across the line - he might even win tournaments with a swing thought related to getting stuck. I'll conclude with a question for all of you. We see this golfer on TST all the time, and it's something that plagues a lot of golfers on the Internet. This golfer seeks out a ton of information. They read a lot, watch a lot of videos, and absorb a ton. They can tell you fifteen things wrong with their swing. They can point out the various quirks of different Tour players, and are often dogmatic about what makes a good golf swing. They seem to "know" a lot of stuff… So the question: what zone are they in? Why?
  39. Rio should be kicked out of the Olympics.
  40. Work has been busy and my buddy was bugging me all week to get out on the course today (like I dont play enough already). At lunch yesterday I cancelled because I thought for sure I would be stuck in the office today. At 5pm I got it all sorted out so I could play this morning. The usual, $20 match play event where I have to give up 14 shots. Need to shoot a good round to have a chance....but I had no idea how good it would be. Then this happened. Par 5, Driver, 7 iron from 176 one hop and in the cup for an Albatross! 2 on a Par 5! I was elated to say the least. My buddy and I drove closer to make sure it wasn't hiding behind the pin and it was actually in the hole! Finished the front 9 with a 4 under par 32, my lowest 9 holes to date. Then on the back I had a dumb bogey, an eagle, two birdies and finished with another dumb bogey where I had to punch out to the right of the green due to some trees. An even par back 9 for a 67. I ended up breaking even on my match play bet because he pressed me on the last hole and we both made bogey but he got a stroke. Oh well, I dont need his $20 to celebrate this round haha! Some interesting strokes gained data from Game Golf. My Evolvr subscription is the best thing I've done for my golf game.
  41. There once was a man named Dan He thought that he had a grand plan He drummed up some money Though most thought it funny That he spoke like a confidence man Dan thought that he ought to go pro Better than others he thought he might know "Aptitude shm-aptitude" With these words he wooed The people who handed him dough It came as a suprise to only Dan For it had turned out that his plan Had but one glaring flaw Despite Dan's chutzpah Golf could only make him a poor man
  42. 6. Misses and Adjustments We saw a number of players that had a particular miss but they didn't make any adjustments. If you notice you're pulling the ball, whether it's on the range or on the course, play for that shot. It doesn't make sense to set up for your "stock" shot when, for whatever reason, your stock shot has changed that day. Be aware of where you're missing it and account for it. It's fine to play your "miss" that day, fix it on the range after the round but when you're on the course you have to figure out how to grind out a score. 7. Pace of Play I think players tend to interpret slow play as the golfer that takes a lot of practice swings or stands over the ball for a long time. While the Newport Cup players weren't "slow" but they certainly weren't fast. It comes down to doing the simple stuff correctly. Players wouldn't drop their partner off at their ball and then go to their ball. There was too much time spent watching other players hit their shots when they could have been moving or standing near their ball, getting ready to play. Players wouldn't start reading their putts until it was their turn to play. Players needed to play more ready golf, not "wait until it's my turn and then get ready" golf. Next time you play, make sure to get to your ball and be ready to play. Get your yardage, take your practice swings while other golfers are playing or are at their balls. 8. Simple Rules Don't lose strokes or holes on the simple stuff. One simple rule a couple players broke was the "sin" of hitting the wrong ball. Make sure you hit the correct ball, take a second to check because it can be very important. Not just because it may cost you a hole but also because it can change the momentum of a match. 9. Pattern Awareness Erik and I were surprised at some of the misses we saw. Some players could hit a push draw off the tee and then push fade an iron. They didn't have a pattern. It's important to hone a pattern because it makes it much easier to manage your way around a golf course. You can't play good golf standing over a ball and not knowing where it's going to start and how it's going to curve. Obviously we're all going to hit bad shots from time to time but the majority of your shots have to fall within your shot pattern. 10. Get out of Jail When you hit it in trouble, make sure to get yourself out of the trees, high grass, bunkers. Advance your ball the farthest you can but make sure to advance it in a position where you have a clear shot at the green. Part of the problem was the player didn't hit their punch shot solid. They would hit it fat and not get it out of trouble. This is a big mistake. We also saw a player use a sand or a lob wedge when they had to hit the ball under a tree. The player hit the ball solid but the ball launched too higher and hit a tree limb. Be smart about what clubs you use, don't try to hit a club that has 56 degrees of loft under something. Take a 8 or 7 iron and make sure to get it under and past the tree. Spend some time on the range practicing these shots. Play the ball back, weight forward and hit it hard. Get familiar with what you need to do to hit these shots solid and the correct trajectory.
  43. 11 points
    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's all about the results, not what it looks like. Better mechanics eventually lead to better scores, but sometimes you have to find a swing that works THAT DAY. 2. One or two bad shots is not a pattern. If you duck hook it off the first three tees, then yes, you might want to do something different the next time you get a driver out, but don't rush into changing your entire swing thought or game plan after one or two or even three slightly funny shots, or you'll be changing something after EVERY bad swing, which happens more often than people realize. 3. Have realistic expectations. PGA Tour players: make 50% of their 8-footers and only 15% of their 20-footers. On better greens. Average 2.8 shots from 100 yards out in the fairway. They hit it to about 18' on average. Hit about 60% of their fairways, but almost always keep it "between the ropes." Hit three to four "great shots" per round on a great day. Their standard is higher, but still… they don't love every shot they ever hit. They also hit shanks, chunk chips, etc. You only see the leaders on TV. Get up and down only 2/3 times. Scrambling is tough. But they almost never take two chips or two bunker shots. Then of course, talk about how having proper expectations for yourself will be very personal. Expectations can be for one shot or for the score for 18 holes. 4. Have proper expectations and goals for entering tournaments, but enter them BEFORE you're "ready" for them. You might have a better way of saying this, but basically, we entered Natalie in HJGT events before she was anywhere near competitive for them… so that by the time she was competitive in them (now), she'd know what they were like. It's NEVER a bad thing to play as many events where you have to put your name and a number up on a scoreboard for all to see - it can only be BAD if you have unrealistic expectations about your abilities. Go into competitive golf with the proper mindset - that you're LEARNING how to compete, LEARNING how to deal with it all, how to handle the slow pace of play, playing under the rules, playing with strangers, everything… go in with the proper mindset and it's all about growth, regardless of the outcome.
  44. Here's a brief video on golf pitching technique. Over the years this thread has gotten a LOT of updates, so I encourage you to read through this thread before commenting. However, one thing that hasn't changed is our belief in how this simple technique can save strokes and make pitching easier and even fun. This technique broadens the margin of error by using bounce or "glide" on the club, while allowing you to properly use speed to help control distance, get the ball out of tough lies, and get the ball closer to the hole. It is, by far, the best pitching technique out there, and is exhibited by the best PGA Tour players. There are plenty of testaments to its functionality throughout this thread (and site), so please enjoy, and thank you for watching.
  45. The thing that's bad for golf isn't "faster play", I don't believe that the speed of rounds has increased. What is bad for golf is intolerant assholes, and it seems that you've found a few of those. I'm sorry for the bad experience, but I think you handled their start in the world of golf as well as you possibly could have. The only thing that could have improved the situation was to find an uncrowded course for the first few rounds, maybe at an off time, weekdays, whatever is least crowded.
  46. You may recall hearing Dave Pelz tell you that the optimal distance a putt has to roll past the hole is 17 inches. How big might you guess the hole is at 17 inches? 4 inches wide? 3 ½? What if I told you that the hole, at 17 inches, was only about 2¼ inches wide? What? Am I crazy? No - it's just math. Consider a well cut hole, and what's required for the putt to go in. For a putt to be holed, it has to have enough time for the ball - 1.68 inches in diameter - to fall half that distance, or 0.84 inches, or more. Gravity is a constant force (9.8 m/s 2 ) and 0.84 inches is about 0.021336 meters. Given that distance (d) = 0.5at 2 we can solve for t time: 0.021336m = 0.5 * 9.8 m/s 2 * t 2 . 0.021336m = 4.9 m/s 2 * t 2 . 0.021336m / 4.9m/s 2 = t 2 . 0.004354s 2 = t 2 . t = 0.065987 seconds. In other words, a golf ball needs approximately 0.066 seconds to fall 0.84 inches, striking some part of the back of the cup at the equator for the ball to be holed. As you all know, d=rt. Distance equals rate times time. For example, in two hours going 60 MPH you'll travel 120 miles. 120 miles = 2 hours * 60 miles/hour. Simple stuff. I don't know what the "rate" of a ball rolling 17" past the hole is, but smart people do and they've plugged that in to the equation. t is always going to be 0.066 seconds, and thus they can solve for d. That "d" is effectively the amount of air a ball needs to have under it's path in order to fall into the cup by dropping 0.84 inches (or more). A putt that rolls over the very very outside edge of the hole might only have a quarter of an inch of "air during which it can fall. If the putt is barely rolling at any speed, that'll take 0.66 seconds or longer and the putt will drop. If the ball is rolling really fast, it'll cross that 1/4 inch in no time at all, and not fall in. Here are the numbers, in graphical form: In other words, a putt that rolls six inches past the hole (0.5 feet, or 0.5') is effectively 3.8 inches wide. We lose 0.45 inches off the sides of the cup (0.225 off each side, the left and the right) and are effectively putting to a hole that's 3.8 inches wide. If this graphic shows you anything, it's that the cup gets really small, really quickly. The hole is less than an inch wide for a putt that rolls four feet past the hole. Heck, even a putt that rolls only three feet beyond the hole - leaving what would amount to a tap-in for most people - is only 1.4 inches wide. Here's that same graphic in a form that makes the distance a bit more obvious. Notice how at "A" the distance the ball needs to travel is much shorter than the distance needed in "B". Putt a ball about eight feet past the hole and there's almost no chance of it going in the hole - the target is virtually 0 inches wide. These are the putts that hit the back of the hole, fall 0.7 inches instead of 0.84, and pop up and sit behind the hole. (These numbers are for a flat green at about 8 on the stimp. On faster greens, these holes are a little larger because a ball can be rolling more slowly and still roll six inches past the hole, or two feet past the hole. On downhill putts, the hole can be a little larger too for the same reason - the ball is rolling more slowly - but this is often offset by the fact that the far edge of the cup is a little lower, so the ball has to fall more than 0.84 inches. On an uphill putt, a similar thing occurs - the ball will be traveling faster to roll out three feet past the hole (or whatever distance), but the back of the cup is a little higher so the ball only has to fall perhaps 0.8 inches.) So, what's the point of all of this? If you like putting to large targets, strive to hit your ball about six to twelve inches past the cup. 17 inches, two feet... three feet... they're all too firm. The ball will be rolling too fast at the hole and it will be rolling too fast to have a very large target - 2.25 inches, 1.9 inches, and 1.4 inches respectively. Okay, so why not strive for "dead at the hole" capture speed? After all, the hole becomes 4.25 inches wide then, right? Well, three reasons. If you're off by an inch in terms of your speed, or two inches, you're virtually 100% certain not to make the putt. Never up, never in. The lumpy donut. It's not a huge effect, but it can play a small role when the ball is moving that slowly. Wobble. As a ball comes to a stop, the last six inches of its roll are really, really affected by small imperfections in the green. The ball will sharply break left and right on these small things (spike marks, a tuft of grass, a heel print) and nobody wants to see their putts swerve half an inch right because of a tiny little bump and miss the hole. 6-12 inches gives you a pretty darn big hole to putt into and it avoids the "wobble" problem. You've probably heard about golfers hitting the ball "firmly" and "taking out the break." Well, guess what? You know all those putts that lip out? Capture speed problems. The hole was too small, the ball didn't have enough time to drop, and it hit the far side of the hole with most of the ball still above the edge of the hole, veered hard sideways off the back of the cup, and climbed out. Give yourselves the biggest hole to putt to: strive to roll the ball six to twelve inches past the hole. You might leave one short now and then, but I guarantee you'll make more than enough additional putts to offset the occasional ones left short. Update 2017-11-09: Here are the numbers for other stimp speeds: Effective Capture Width at Various Roll Speeds and Stimps Speed Stimp 8 Stimp 10 Stimp 12 Die 4.2" 4.2" 4.2" 6" 3.8" 3.9" 3.9" 1' 2.6" 2.7" 2.8" 2' 1.9" 2.1" 2.3" 3' 1.4" 1.7" 1.9" 4' 0.9" 1.3" 1.5" 5' 0.5" 0.9" 1.2"
  47. Well, I'm certainly no cinematographer but this came out a little better than expected. Hope ya'll enjoy it. I had fun making it. Closed Captioning (the gist of it, at least) for the intro to the par 4 hole: It's a fairly sharp dogleg right so distance off the tee isn't as important as direction. The closer you can comfortably get to the water, the shorter your approach is going to be. Since I tend to draw/hook everything right now, my target is the right edge of the furthest right bunker in the distance. That gives me a little bit of cushion right - on the off chance I push it - while maximizing fairway to the left. I'm hitting a hybrid off this tee, but from this far forward, I think a 4 iron is probably a better play, as I darn near went through the end of the fairway. Shoe size: 13 (True Linkswear), 13W (Adidas) Shirt size: XL (XLT in a perfect world but that's usually not an option) Pant size: 38 x 34
  48. Fun video I did yesterday analyzing Donald Trump's golf swing. You may even find some political references here and there . Anyway... enjoy it for what it is, don't turn this into anything political, and feel free to share! Hopefully The Donald himself sees it at some point! Abridged version: Full Version:
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    • I play faster than most players.  I don't take any practice swings and that baffles some of my buddies.  I am always ready when it is my turn to hit.  I walk faster than your typical players as I like to walk briskly in general.  I always like to play early in the morning so that I can get done (as a foursome) in 4 hours or less.  If we are the first few group, we generally finish in about 3-3/4 hours (one guy in my group is a bit of a slow player, relatively speaking).  It's not rushed just a good pace. Having said that, I don't mind playing with people as long as they can finish 18 holes within 4 to 4-1/2 hours.  However, when it starts to creep into 5 hour + territory, it is too slow for me.
    • If I lived in a golf course community, I would want to own one for my personal use. But I can see courses not wanting to own them for customer rental.
    • 5 hrs is fine for me if I am out practicing. If I am practicing ( hitting multiple tee shots, trying different approaches, chipping from different spots and checking the green slopes) I am letting anyone I see play through. If I am out playing on my own in regular medal play, I'd be shocked if I took longer than 3:30.
    • I pick up the clubs I find and if the owner has not come looking for them by the time I'm done with my round I leave them at the clubhouse or pro shop. To me, keeping the club would be theft and I would never be able to play a found club without feeling guilty.
    • I too like his swagger and what appears to be mind game he plays with his competitors.  I also like his candidness in the press room especially on slow play.  I wish more tour players would complain about slow play.  If enough players complain, I am sure the tour would do something about it. Tour is spineless organization unwilling to enforce slow play penalties. 

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