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  1. This will be my last response. Before I go any further though, I will say iacas, you would be the only person on the planet who does not have comfort zones. Every single person living, has comfort zones. Now...why should the right leg maintain flex through the backswing? Many reasons, to maintain the correct hip level, consistent loading pressure, promotion of correct secondary spine angle, and keeping the tolerances tight for the transition. That is why 99.9% of playing pros do not straighten the trailing leg (R for R/hander) in their backswing. If the trailing leg is correctly positioned in this manner, a myriad of compensations will not be necessary in the remaining motion. If not, many compensations will need to be implemented. I have stated why I am finding it necessary to spend my time in other areas where I feel it will be used more efficiently, I would like to cease my posts and just accept that I made a mistake in coming least as far as some of you may be concerned. For me, it was no mistake. Why? Because I always love to learn more about every aspect of life. I learned some things while visiting here. What I learned will help me to communicate to others more effectively in the future. I wish all of you the best as you enjoy this great game! Please forgive me if my words were offensive. Thanks again for the time I was allowed to spend here.
  2. I actually don't promote the USGTF and more than I promote the PGA. The difference being that the USGTF specializes in teaching rather than running a golf course, dealing with budgets, pleasing the members and teaching, like the PGA does. A person can no more become a decent teacher in 5 days, than they can become a CPA in 5 days. I have also certified many PGA pros who have decided that they want to learn more about teaching than they do running a golf course. I didn't certify them in the PGA, I certified them in the USGTF. The purpose being so that they have one more source to which they could go to finally become a true golf teaching pro, through many thousands of hours of teaching. One of those Class A PGA pros, has actually told some of the people I was certifying a few years back, that he learned much more about teaching golf in the USGTF, than he has in all his years in the PGA. Those weren't my words, they were his. As far as playing ability goes and the ability to demonstrate a great golf swing; if a person wants to teach for me, they have to be able to demonstrate a great golf swing. They also have to be able to demonstrate almost any type of golf shot, upon request...and done well, while under scrutiny. A person can be a very good teacher and not be able to do that but if they have decent health, they better be able to do that or they are showing me that they don't believe what they teach. Even though I am no longer able to play, because of back problems, and being almost 60 years old, I can still demonstrate a golf swing that is as good as the top 20 percent of touring pros. Let me just add though, I am very busy in my business. I didn't come here to try to recruit new students. I am eye poppingly busy and have very little time to put elsewhere. I used to get flown into other countries many times a year, for a week at a time, to train other instructors but also to conduct week long teaching seminars. I just don't have any time to do that now as I am so busy at home. I don't need any new students because I am finding it very difficult to spend the necessary time with the ones I have currently. I just strolled by this site, as I have many others in the past, and thought I would submit some articles in case someone might be interested in hearing another perspective. I didn't mean to cause any issues. As I still write for a magazine and have to spend time training other teachers, I have to be very careful on how I allocate my time. I have decided that it might be better for me to spend my time in other areas than right here. You have a teacher who has a lot of confidence in his abilities so it would be good for you to learn from his words. Can you appreciate my perspective? A side note: PhillyK, I constantly back up what I proclaim. I just choose to do it where the time spent is more efficiently used. If you were to talk to anybody I have trained in the past, any of them would tell you that I never shy away from being willing to discuss. Unless I have decided that in that particular forum or venue, my time would be better spent elsewhere. I still have to answer and deal with questions from hundreds of teachers around the globe on a continual basis. I just don't have the time to spend in some areas.
  3. No hurt feelings at all guys. I think this is a good site and the discussions are good. I just have other sites that I participate in and I write for a magazine. Those take up a lot of time for me, other than running a golf school full time. I've been at this a long time and my gut usually tells me when my time might be better spent elsewhere. Honestly, I wish all of you the best and I hope iacas is very successful at what he does.
  4. Initially, yes! I absolutely love discussion. I have certified over 1,000 golf instructors and because of that, I've been asked thousands of questions that I've had to deal with in the last few decades. But, I believe in this case, it would be better to leave this site to iacas. It is his site and he seems to know how he wants it done. I will respectfully bow out and wish everybody the best.
  5. I have been nominated plenty of times for one of the top 100 teachers in America list. I have always just thrown the questionnaire that they ask me to send back to them, in the trash. I know how political the process is and I don't care to waste my time with it. In the future, iacas, you'll learn more through the situations you experience, if you can always make yourself see what is being said, through the eyes of the author, so that you can gain context. Or, you can just work to tear apart whatever they did say, and not learn anything. I've read some of your articles and I don't have a problem agreeing with much of what you've said, but I could just as easily, tear apart what you've said, if that was my goal. It always tends to be the young ones who do that sort of thing...always. My experience in the teaching industry though, has proven to me that anybody can tear down what they want to. It takes a person with a little more experience to leave the confines of their comfort zones and learn to see things the way they were mean to be seen, so as to learn more about the panorama of the discussion. Then...after seeing it through the eyes of the author, a better and more efficient discussion can take place. I wish you the best!
  6. iacas, no...I don't know who you are. I apologize for not posting a link, if that is the preferred method on this site. The point of the article, is to stimulate discussion and/or, help golfers to look at the process of loading, storing and releasing energy, in a different manner than they might have in the past. You made a lot of generalizations about what you think I should have done with my article. I have used this article many times in years gone by, to help other instructors to look at the process in ways that would stimulate their minds to consider things they haven't in the past. I am sorry that you haven't seen what I have accomplished with the article but I have had many seasoned instructors through the years, to tell me that they saw and understood things that they haven't considered before. Good...that was the intent of the article. I have also had many of my students to share with me how they finally understood things about the release that helped them to understand the kinetic chain more completely. Good again...that was my goal. No, the swing isn't a pressure filled tank of air, but when using analogies of any kind, anybody can pick apart the differences of the systems used for the analogy. Since this is your site, I will be happy to back off and let you conduct things the way you see fit. I gave my first lesson over 40 years ago and have worked with beginners, through many touring pros. My experiences have taught me many things. One of those being discernment as to when something could be profitable for all involved or not. I could go on and on and on, responding to your questions and comments but without doing it in a way that an open, give and take discussion, face to face, using our voices could be had, it would simply take too long to accomplish. I wish you the best!
  7. LOADING, STORING AND RELEASING ENERGY By: Steve Williams You know the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”! Let’s think about that, a picture can be construed as many thoughts or feelings, wrapped up in one package. If we can put a picture in our student’s mind…that effectively conveys the thought that we would like for them to remember, they will have a vivid picture that they can replay at any time. Kind of like zipping an e-mail. Once a person gets an e-mail that has been zipped, all they have to do is open it and voila, many words…maybe thousands, that were zipped into a nice little package so that the computers involved, didn’t have to send and receive all of the bits of information associated with thousands of words but…just one package as a whole. You’ve probably also heard the statistics about how much of a speech we remember after one hour, one day, three days or even a week! It is difficult for our students to remember very much of the things we ask them to do unless we can put a picture of what we are trying to achieve…in their mind. Then they can always call that picture back into their conscious mind and with that picture they have a flood of thoughts that might convey many things that both of you had worked on earlier. Ever tried to convey a thought to a student and they just didn’t seem to get it? Maybe even to the point that you became frustrated. If you can get into their world to paint a picture of what they are familiar with, you might see their eyebrows raise a little as they nod their head, when you relate what you are trying to convey to a picture of something that they understand a little better than they do, the golf swing. Into their world? Uhhhhh, how do I get there, you might ask? You will get there by becoming familiar with their background. I ask many questions that may even seem to be of a personal nature when I am working with a new student. I ask questions so that I can enter that person's mind and then maybe find out what they do and do not relate to. By becoming familiar with their past, I have a better idea of what they might relate to. I use lots of analogies, metaphors and mental pictures when teaching. Some pictures, virtually everybody can relate to but this process helps me to use things that they are familiar with when possible. Just think, all they have to do is recall the picture that they have stored in their memory…and they have something that will give them information each time they think of it. Do you notice everything about a picture the first time you see it? Not likely! Each time you look at it, you may see things that you’ve never noticed before. Correspondingly, each time your student can recall the picture that you’ve put into their mind, they will understand more and more, what you want them to understand. Would they be able to recall all of the things that you associated with that picture if they tried to think of each and every word you had used? Not unless they put the picture back in front of their conscious mind. I am going to give some examples over the next few issues of American Golf Pro Magazine, which create pictures that you can use to convey thoughts. You might want to call these analogies. Webster’s Dictionary defines “ANALOGY” as follows: resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike: similarity: correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin. In an effort to stir up your minds to become like natural springs that have a never-ending source of enlightenment, I would like to give some examples that I have formed in my mind that aid me in teaching my students. Amazingly, these analogies that sometimes just seem to jump into my mind out of mid-air…serve to help me to understand things better than I had reasoned in the past. Imagine that, pictures that I have formed in my own mind…further educate me about the golf swing, human nature, physics and the learning process. I am just a normal person with a normal mind, which ought to prove that virtually anybody can experience what I have been experiencing for many years. Whereby each of you, based upon your life’s experiences such as; your temperament, occupation, hobbies, sports you have played in the past, things that you have struggled with for many years and have thereby learned tremendous lessons…and any other things that go into the creating of your disposition, intellect, interests, emotions and paradigms can become sources of knowledge to us all. That is, if you will share your knowledge and ideas with us. Sometimes, all we need is a little priming to open up our minds to inspired imagery, concepts and many other thought processes that are seemingly out of reach. I have no doubt that after reading what little I have to offer, many of you will become sources of information to all of us as you open your minds to those images that are the result of your experiences in life. Experiences that make you unique and therefore, able to see things differently than the rest of us. The first analogy that I would like to use is comparing the golf swing to a compressor and air tank. As I explain this, let your mind create the corresponding pictures. There is a ½” hole where the air can escape on top of the tank. You put a golf ball on top of the hole. Your goal is to shoot that ball as high into the air as possible. There is a gauge on the side of the tank that will show the PSI of air pressure. The gauge goes up to 100 PSI as…that is the maximum that the tank will hold without risking damage. There are two valves on the side of the tank that will let air escape through the hole in the top where the ball is. One is a valve that you turn with your fingers; we will call it a “rotary” valve. When turned five revolutions, (which takes about 5 seconds) it is completely open. The other valve is one that you hit with your hand; we will call it an “impact” valve. When you hit it, it will release virtually all pressure from the tank in 1/2 of a second. You now have all of the facts that you need to send that golf ball skyward. However, there are a few things that you need to consider to send it as high as possible. Let’s think about them. • You need to load as much pressure as possible…in this case, 100 PSI. • You will also want to make sure that there are no leaks because leaks would reduce the amount of pressure that is available when you use one of the valves to release the air. • You will need to decide which valve you will use. Can you see how the wheels inside your head are turning as you think about the best way to send the ball as high as possible? This is a simple picture that you can paint with words to your student. Personally, I wouldn’t use this analogy with a beginner unless they are pretty analytical. People can get overwhelmed very easily and decide to work with someone else if you make things seem too difficult to understand in the beginning You can explain to them that our first goal in the backswing, is to load PSI or…ENERGY! After loading as much as we are able, we want to store this energy until the last possible second before impact. When we do start to release the energy, we want to do it as quickly as possible and we want to release ALL of it. Any energy left over after impact becomes wasted energy. If I have a student that has made the commitment to invest time in developing a good golf swing, I might use this as a picture of what we will be trying to achieve with their swing over a period of time. They will need to understand that this project is virtually never-ending. The more they refine their swing, the more efficient it will become. You will want to make them aware of four terms that will be used to describe their RELEASE. • EARLY • LATE • SLOW • QUICK For the sake of simplicity, I will be referring to a right-handed golfer. EARLY and LATE refer to the point in the downswing that the release starts. Let’s think of the release starting when the angle of the left arm and the shaft become greater then 90 degrees or more importantly, the cup in the back of the right wrist starts to flatten. SLOW and QUICK refer to the duration of the release. Let’s think of the release as being finished when the right arm is fully extended and has rotated past the left arm. If the student doesn’t accomplish both of those in the swing…they didn’t finish their release. Believe it or not, many people don’t ever finish their release in a swing. Actually, these examples are just guidelines. The release would be finished before the events that I described take place. Everybody is different and so defining these facts for each person would be relative to that person’s swing characteristics. However, I find them to be the simplest in helping the individual to understand principles of releasing energy in the golf swing. Now, let’s relate the compressor and tank to the swing. The process of the compressor loading energy into the tank is like the muscles loading torque into the body in the backswing, through shoulder rotation and resistance of the right leg. When you start to turn the rotary valve or hit the impact valve, you have started the release. This is analogous to the person starting to lose the left arm and shaft angle or…the cup in the back of the right wrist in the downswing. Either one of those is going to leak pressure (energy) out. The rotary valve (slow) is going to have a much longer duration of release than the impact valve (quick). Eventually, the same amount of energy will be released with each valve but the impact valve will send the ball higher because it will release virtually all of it’s pressure in 1/2 second while the rotary valve will release it’s energy in maybe ten seconds or a few seconds after it is completely opened. When the rotary valve is opened, the ball will be propelled upwards but only after the escaping pressure overcomes the weight of the ball. However a certain amount of energy will escape first, since the release is so slow. Think about this now, the rotary valve will be causing the tank to hiss before the ball leaves and after it is gone. The impact valve, for all intents and purposes, will be silent until the ball leaves and have no sound afterward. Hissing is the sound of energy escaping. Hissing before the ball leaves is energy that will not propel the ball and hissing after, is energy that is wasted since it was not used to propel the ball. If a person is “chicken winging” the left arm after impact, they would be unable to finish their release. The left arm must provide resistance so that the right arm can transfer energy down the shaft. If the upper left arm does not stay close to the body through and after impact, it absorbs much of the energy that should have gone to the shaft, which delays the finish of the release. This becomes wasted energy since it was diverted along a different path and didn’t make it to the shaft and eventually, the ball. Let’s make a comparison of a touring pro and a club golfer. TOURING PRO CLUB GOLFER LOADS APPROX. 100 PSI: LOADS APPROX. 50 PSI: Maybe through a good shoulder Maybe because of a reverse pivot, poor turn. Correct upper body shift to shoulder turn and outward bowing of the inside of the back leg that is the back leg. also resisting the turn of the upper body by maintaining its flex. VIRTUALLY NO LEAKS: MANY LEAKS: Maybe because of starting the Maybe because of starting the down- downswing with the lower body, swing with the shoulders, casting the dropping the right elbow into the club, changing the spine angle, and right hip and maintaining the angle breaking down the left wrist. in the back of the right wrist and between the left arm and shaft. RELEASES ALL ENERGY ENERGY STILL REMAINING AT IMPACT: AFTER IMPACT: Maybe from transferring the weight Maybe from cupping the back of the left to the left foot, clearing the left hip wrist, shortening the radius and spinning and maintaining the radius through out with the hips. impact. I often tell my students that when I see people swing, I sometimes hear a great deal of hissing. I hear it because I have tremendous hearing you see. I like to explain to them that they’ll start to hear it also…now that they know what to listen for. After understanding this analogy, the student has a picture that they can always refer back to. This picture helps them to understand how ENERGY in the swing is loaded, stored and released. If you happen to video and review their swing with them at the start of your lessons, they will see how their compressor might be faulty. They might see some leaks in the tank. The point is, they will have incentive to work on things and even be able to see progress clearer because they now understand the principle and therefore the objective of what you want them to work on. They will also see that they can now judge their immediate progress by accomplishing correct positioning and not worrying about how it affects their ball striking. It is absolutely essential that the student KNOWS that they are progressing. If you cannot show them what to look for, they will judge their progress by how they hit the ball immediately, not by getting into the correct position. This will cause them to get distracted and lose sight of the objective that you two have agreed upon. Remember, they will help you to define the objective by what their goals are, physical limitations, talent and their work ethic. Make the objective too difficult to achieve by normal means (for that person) and you have made a mistake that you will have to repair at some time in the future. Make the picture clear to them through better communication (use analogies), support them with positive feedback by commenting on things they have overcome and always be willing to LISTEN. Good golfing!
  8. AVOIDING RHYTHM BUSTERS By: Steve Williams What in the world is a rhythm buster? It’s a term that I use for something that takes place during a round of golf…when the golfer makes a bad decision and finds him or her self frustrated to the point of a loss of focus in the present. Now let your mind visualize this situation: Justin is a 7-handicap golfer who is on the green of the sixth hole. He is one under par and is looking at a birdie putt of about eight feet. It is a slippery downhill putt that is going to be quite fast. He lines it up and imagines making it to take himself to –2 for the round. Standing over the putt, he wants it so bad, he can taste it! He strokes the putt and gets excited as he sees it breaking toward the hole…”yes, yes, it’s going to drop!” No, it doesn’t drop but lips out and goes beyond the hole about six feet. Now he has to make a six-footer just to save his par and remain –1. He ends up missing that putt and disgustedly walks off the green with a bogey. On the way to the next green, Justin is madder than a wet hen! “How could I have done that?”…he laments. “I can two-putt that same putt ten times in a row if I wanted to…why did I have to be so bold in trying to make it?” While deciding how he is going to play the tee-shot on the seventh hole, his mind keeps thinking about the blown shot on the last hole. “I don’t get many opportunities to score this well and now I three putt from eight feet. What an idiot!” He then proceeds to hook his tee-shot into a water hazard. Drops out in two and before he hits his next shot, he can’t help but feel like the wheels are coming off of this round. He then hits his short iron approach fat and into the bunker short of the green. From there, he blasts out and two putts for a double bogey…six. Can you see how this particular round of golf is on the fast track to destruction? Believe me, this happens on a regular basis to most golfers. If you haven’t experienced a round such as this, you probably just haven’t played that much golf. Justin has just suffered the aforementioned “Rhythm Buster!” I describe a rhythm buster as a negative event that is the result of a bad decision regarding course management or just a lack of focus. I want to persuade all those I work with, to eliminate rhythm busters during their rounds of golf. There are times when any of us would three putt from eight feet…even if we are careful not to! If I three putt from eight feet but walk off the green feeling as if I still used caution and focused well…that does not constitute a rhythm buster. In other words, there was not anything that I would have done differently in the way my thought processes worked. I would then accept that the threeputt is an isolated event that happens on occasion to any and everybody and it just happened to me. Acceptance of that reality allows me to refocus on the task at hand and not be distracted by what could be described as a “stupid decision” or “lack of focus.” Rhythm busters are avoidable if we stay focused and realize that the shot we are presently hitting is setting up our next shot. That mind-set substantially decreases the odds of suffering a rhythm buster. Something that can be helpful in learning to lower your scores is to recall your round after you are through playing. Re-live each shot; think about the strategy that you had planned for each shot. Recall what you were trying to accomplish with each shot. After going through your entire round, (which will usually take about five to ten minutes) think to yourself how many shots you could have saved if you had used a little more caution with your course management. Honestly, the golfer who averages 90 let’s say…will probably be able to shave five shots or so from his/her round just by eliminating those aggressive decisions that ended up costing them another stoke or two each time they made a poor decision. Have you ever watched a tee-ball game? You know…the baseball games that are played by kids that are in the 5-7 age group. They can be quite entertaining! Many times, someone will hit the ball to let’s say…the shortstop. The shortstop fields the ball and then throws it to first base. The first baseman doesn’t catch the ball as it skitters past him and rolls another twenty feet or so. He runs to pick it up and then throws it to second base in hopes of nailing the runner. The second baseman jumps to catch it as it flies over his head and into left field…but he cannot jump high enough. The runner now decides that he can make it to third base so off he goes. The left fielder picks up the ball and throws it to third base. However…his throw is off the mark and now the runner is headed to home plate. By the time one of the other players picks it up and throws it home, the player is safe with an inside-the-park home run…but only because of the errors that had been committed. In other words, what was really only a single, turned out to get the player home because of faulty decisions. Those games used to remind me of watching “The Keystone Cops”. They can be hilarious. Couldn’t those kids see how many mistakes they were making and that they would probably keep many runs from scoring if they’d just play a little smarter? There were so many times that I wanted to scream at the players just to hold the ball for a second just to make sure the runner was not trying to advance…and then throw it back to the pitcher. If that strategy were employed, much fewer runs would be scored in a typical teeball game. Well guess what? Very often…uhhhh, I mean the majority of the time that I play with golfers; it is close to the same scenario. I am dumbfounded quite often by the lack of reason that the average golfer uses while playing golf. Many times I just want to stop them and say “do you not realize that it would be much more advantageous for you to just punch the ball back into the fairway and set up a nice short iron approach than to try to hit it through those trees 225 yards trying to reach the green? Please understand this; if you are the average golfer, you are guilty of the same thing on a regular basis. Shocking? I am being rather pointed here after all. What am I doing…insinuating that you are an idiot? No…not really, you’re just normal! As such…you are at risk of succumbing to such mistakes. I am just asking you to learn from those mistakes by recalling them and trying to not make the same mistakes on your next round. In summary, always remember that the shot you are getting ready to hit…is setting up your next shot. Try to plan accordingly! Recognize a situation that can get out of hand quickly and result in some lost shots because of not playing cautious enough. Make a conscious effort to notice when you have a rhythm buster and learn from that experience for future situations. Good golfing!