. (144)..#2 "Aim & Alignment"
One of the biggest differences I see between better players and recreational golfers is how they align their bodies and clubfaces to their targets. The better player gets it perfect nine times out of 10 while only a small percentage of recreational golfers can consistently aim their body and clubface correctly. Golfers who mis-aim make one of two mistakes. The first type of mistake stems from a poor concept. Many golfers align their feet, knees, hips and shoulders at the target first, then ground the clubhead. What this does is point your clubhead way right of the target. The second type of mistake stems from a poor ballflight. For example, many slicers will aim to the left to accommodate their left-to-right shot patterns. This is a band-aid remedy at best.
It's no surprise that golfers who misalign their body and clubface to the right miss the target to the right, unless they make an adjustment in their swings to get the ball back online. That usually translates into adjusting the swing path more to the left in order to pull the ball back to the target. This over-the-top move creates a swipe across the ball and contact out near the toe of the club. The resulting miscues can run the gamut of pulls, pull-slices and slices. If a slicer aims left to make room for the left-to-right ballflight, he or she will only exacerbate the slice problem. This is only one of many compinsating adjustments I've seen golfers make. None are the correct cure.
Correct alignment begins with aligning the bottom edge of the clubface (face score lines) perpendicular to the target line and pointing the body parallel-left of the target line. Stand behind the ball and identify a divot or twig. anything that is with in 12" to 24" of the ball that is in a direct line between the ball and your target. Step around to the ball (do not set your feet), set the club behind the ball, aiming your clubface at the 12" to 24" intermediate target in front of the ball (it is your target now). Making sure the shaft is straight up and down, face lines perpendicular to the new target. Place your feet together so you can see that a ninety degree angle is created by the shaft and your toes on both sides of the shaft. Your feet should now be parallel with your target line. Widen your stance to the appropiate width keeping the shaft perpindicular, hips and shoulders square with your feet. You are now in perfect alignment....
1..Think of it as a railrod track. The club head is on the farthest rail, aimed at the target. If your feet are on the inner rail, then your feet, hips and shoulders must be aimed left of the target to be in the correct alignment to make a golf shot.
2..If you have a ball flight problem, find out what it is and correct it, do not compensate for it.
3.. Make this part of every shot. Watch the pros, they don't walk behind the ball every time to look at the green to see if it's raining down there.
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. (145).."#3 Inside Takeaway"
Because golfers must stand to the side of the golf ball at address, it's easy to understand why many players improperly rotate both the body and golf club away from the ball during the takeaway . Often, this improper rotation assumes the form of an inside takeaway, where the hands and forearms roll clockwise and rotate the clubface open. As soon as the club is taken too far to the inside, it becomes trapped behind the body—literally. From this position, the only option is to lift the club to the top while destroying your coil and swing path.
When you swing the club too far to the inside at the start of the backswing, you're forced to re-route the club out away from the body on the forwardswing in order to make contact with the golf ball. What you get is a steep, cut-across forwardswing, producing pulls and slices. Although your intent may be to produce more of an inside path to the ball, you've actually created the need to re-route the club back to the ball with the out-to-in move you wished to eliminate. Ouch.
To develope a move that will keep you in the swing plane and stop the inside move try this drill.
1. At address reach back with the golf club with out rotating your shoulders until the shaft is parallel to the ground. Do this with a relaxed grip and you will see that the toe is pointed straight up into the air. This is the fondation for a good golf swing.
2. If you do not allow your arms to move and rotate your hips and shoulders you'll find that the club ends up in the correct position at the top with out manipulation of the arms and you have stayed the swing plane (the grip end of the club points at the target line) . Be sure to relax and allow your wrists to fold (#1 Weak Grip) to finish the back swing or you will have to reach with your arms to finish, thus pulling your self out of the swing plane and off the ball.
3. Start your down swing with the rotation of the body and not the "HANDS/ARMS". Allow the hands and arms to go along for the ride. To get the feeling, pretend you are making a swing with a base ball bat, tennis racket, ping pong paddle etc...just try to make a swing with the arms with out rotating the body to start the swing. Do you think the golf swing is any different.
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. (146).."#4 The Reverse Pivot"
If I had to point to one flaw that most amateurs share, it's the reverse pivot. A reverse pivot occurs when the head and upper body tilt toward the target in the backswing and the weight shifts onto the left (front) foot rather than the right (back) foot. This is the exact opposite of what should happen in an efficient golf swing. Since your weight falls away from the target during a reverse pivot, it's difficult to finish on the left leg at the end of the swing.
The reverse-pivot action positions the bottom of the swing arc too much behind the golf ball. This causes you to either hit the ground behind the ball or hit the top half of the ball as the club makes its way upward from the bottom of the swing arc. Not only does the reverse pivot create fats and tops, but also weak, glancing blows as the golfer fires while falling back away from the target. Furthermore, it's nearly impossible to square the clubface when you're falling away from the target, and the directional miss is often a weak, high push-slice.
The major cause for the reverse pivot I've observed is an improper first move and trying to keep the club face pointing at the ball through the entire backswing. If when you make the first move (last weeks tip)and the club is parallel to the ground and the toe "is not" pointing straight up with at that time, the only way to complete the swing is to raise the arms, thus pulling the left shoulder and head down going into a reverse pivot. This is compounded by the fact your wrists can not cock correctly, because the back of your hands are pointing at the ground, which if cocked will put the club out of the swing plane.
Another cause of a reverse pivot is trying to keep the head too still to point of restricting the rotation of your spine. No body rotation means you must use your arms only and a arm swing equals a reverse pivot. Golfers with this problem are constantly told to "keep their head down". This is real good reason "NOT" to listen to your golfer buddies and seak the help of a teaching professional. You raise your head, because you pulled it down (they don't see this). Your brain knows you'll hit the ground if you don't raise back up, so you do (they see this). So you listen and here you are, head locked, swinging with your arms only and woundering why your distance and consistency are in the toilet.
Allow your chin to rotate slightly away from the target. This allows the left shoulder to turn under the chin and your upper body to coil into the correct position behind the golf ball. A good, upper-body pivot will naturally shift your weight onto your right leg without a conscious effort to do so. Now you're in a powerful position and poised to deliver the club on-plane.
Make the correct first move. Reach, club parallel to the ground and target line, toe straight up toward sky. Work on keeping the shoulders level during the rotation of the body and not letting the left shoulder drop.
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. (147).."#5 Coming over the Top"
PROBLEM: Coming Over The Top
The ideal plane for your swing is the one inwhich the club head and grip end point at the taget line (line created from the ball to the target) during the back swing and down swing. When on the down swing the club head goes outside the target line (above the line looking from address), you've come over the top, which is the basic cause of slices and pulls. Golfers who come over the top fail to execute the proper sequence of moves. They start the forwardswing with an upper-body lunge, Throwing the arms (casting) or start the down swing by first throwing the right shoulder out toward the target line, moving the club out and over the target line and causong the dreaded out-in swing path.
The out-to-in forwardswing creates a steep angle of approach and a cut-across path, causing both pulls and slices. Most of the time it's a slice with the long irons and woods and a pull with the more-lofted short irons. You'll know your swing is over the top if you make crater-like divots to the left with the irons and weak pop-ups with the driver. Check the point of contact on your clubs—this dreaded move makes marks near the toe on the irons, and there may be some dings on the top of your driver.
To rid your swing of over-the-top woes, you need to create the proper backswing and then have the correct sequence to start the forwardswing. You want a slight shift toward the target with your lower body to establish the left leg as the pivot point for the downswing. At the same time, the upper body, hands and arms should "just" uncoil and drop the club close to the body on the correct plane. An on-plane swing is important because it gives you the best chance to hit the ball with the correct angle of approach and provides the best opportunity to square the clubface. Be sure to finish the swing completely, don't stop. Basically you unscrew from the ground up, not from the shoulders down. If you start the down swing with your upper body or with the arms you will have an out to in swing path and also rob yourself of most the power you developed when you coiled your body during the backswing. I've found the biggest cause of this "arm swing" is when golfers do not release their head during the down swing and keep their eyes locked on the "T" instead of the ball. Remember when you hit the ball it is flying down the fairway...so why are you looking at the "T"? Literally...keep your eye on the ball...
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. (148).."#6 Lower Body Rotation"
If you watch kids play golf, you'll notice they have great lower-body rotation and weight transfer on the forwardswing because, in order to generate clubhead speed, they need to recruit all their muscles. Adults, however, try to get by with just the muscles in their upper body, leaving the lower body behind. Proper lower body rotation allows you to create the proper impact, where you hit the ball first, then the ground. It also allows you to fully release the club and extend the arms through the hitting area. Sometimes this fault is difficult to detect because while a golfer may have a nice finish—facing the target with weight on the left side—quite often they're flat on their feet at the all-important moment of impact.
Hitting the ball with dead legs on the forwardswing slows the club through the hitting area, encouraging a weak flip with the wrists as you try to scoop underneath the ball. It also causes you to hit the ground before the ball, and before you know it, you'll train yourself to pull in your arms to avoid hitting the ground—a huge power leak. You'll end up creating a cycle of topped and fat shots, depending on whether the club bottoms out before it hits the ball or catches the ball on its way up.
As you start the forwardswing, allow the lower body to initiate a pivot toward the target as the hands and arms drop the club into position to approach the ball on the correct forwardswing path. When the lower body pivots correctly, most of your weight will be on your left leg, your right heel will be lifted off the ground and your right knee will have worked in toward the left knee by the time you strike the ball. Consequently, the bottom of the swing moves just where you want it—slightly ahead of the ball. Now you've got a golf swing.
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. (149).."#7 Poor Tempo"
In golf, tempo refers to the overall speed of the swing. It's the total amount of time it takes to create your golf swing from beginning to end. Some players, like Nick Price, have a relatively fast tempo, while others, like Fred Couples, have a slower tempo. A golfer's optimum tempo is often related to his or her personality and yours should be, too. If you walk and talk fast, like Fuzzy Zoeller, your golf swing tempo should reflect this as Fuzzy's does. On the other hand, if you're soft-spoken and have a slower gait, your golf swing should match, like Ernie Els. Golfers get into trouble when they either slow down or speed up their natural tempo. Most often, the tendency is to speed up with the longer clubs to gain extra yards, especially with the driver.
When your tempo starts varying from club to club, the timing required to hit consistent golf shots is destroyed. That's one reason why you feel you can hit your irons well one day, but not the woods, and vice versa. The results of poor timing run the gamut, from tops, fats and directional misses.
For every club in the bag, the tempo, or time it takes to make the swing from start to finish, should be the same. For example, it should take the same amount of time to make a swing with your pitching wedge as it does with the 7-iron and the driver. What varies is the speed of the clubhead. Because the driver is longer than the pitching wedge, the clubhead moves faster throughout the swing, but if it takes two seconds to swing a pitching wedge, it should take the same two seconds to swing the driver. Next time you feel like your tempos perfect for you, make up a word phrase that matches it. Hickery,Dickery, doc...A one anda two anda three...lula bye baby in..anything you can run through your mind during the swing to groove your tempo. Only when your tempo is the same between clubs will have true distance control.
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. (150)..#8 "Get Some Rhythm"
Regardless of whether your tempo is fast or slow, you need to have good rhythm in your golf swing. A typical symptom of poor rhythm is a golfer who has trouble with the longer irons and woods. The takeaway is slow to the top, then a quick lunge back down to the ball in an effort to hit at the ball with maximum clubhead speed.
When you have poor rhythm with the longer clubs, the tendency is to come over the top, producing a steep, cut-across forwardswing and a weak, high slice or a pull, depending on the clubface angle at impact. You also get inconsistent contact because you've effectively moved the bottom of the swing ahead of the ball when you jerk the club over the top, making it difficult to deliver a square clubhead into the back of the golf ball.
In the golf swing, rhythm describes how you apportion the total time you take to complete your swing among the three main parts: backswing, downswing and forwardswing. Tempo measures how much time you take to move from your address to the top of your backswing, from the top of your backswing to impact and from impact to your finish. Rhythm is simply how smoothly or jerky you accomplish the swing. "Keep it smooth Baby". If you treat the golf swing like a simple pendulum and divide it into "equal" beats or counts, the backswing would take two beats, and the combined downswing and forwardswing gets two beats. For example, you could count "one-two" to the top of your backswing, and "three-four" to impact and finish. This 2:1:1 ratio is the golf swing rhythm. Like tempo, it's critical that you have the same golf swing rhythm for every club and every swing.
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. (151).."Reality Check"
I thought this was a very good article and worth passing on.
HOW CHANGES IN SPECIFICATIONS AND NEW TECHNOLOGY REALLY EFFECT DISTANCE. by Britt Lindsey - Golf Works Director of Technical Services
Considering the bombardment of media hype on golf equipment enabling players to pick up unbelievable amounts of distance, I thought we might take a moment to look at the real math behind some of the claims. There is no doubt that equipment is better today than it has ever been, but to think that by changing golf balls or clubs we could pick up 40 or 50 yards in distance is simply not realistic. In other words, it's time for a REALITY CHECK!
First, examine this whole business of face deflection and those drivers which are deemed 'illegal' by USGA standards. Stories abound about how players immediately gained 50 yards by changing from their conforming drivers to the non-conforming drivers. But look at the math.
The Coefficient of Restitution (COR) is a scientific ratio which measures the efficiency of the impact between the ball and the clubhead. A zero COR indicates that all energy between the ball and the clubhead was lost in the collision and would be considered the worst case scenerio. At the other extreme, the highest rating of 1.0 COR would be considered a 'perfect' impact, where all the energy of the collision is retained within the ball after impact. If you measured the COR of the first popular stainless metal woods that came out in the 1980s, you might get a COR of 0.740. Some of the hot metal woods of today easily reach 0.845 COR. For reference, the USGA limits clubheads to a maximum COR of 0.830. At 90-mph clubhead speed, the difference in these two heads, all else being equal, would be approximately 13.7 yards. The difference in the performance of a 1980s metal wood and a clubhead that is just under the USGA's legal limit (say 0.815 COR), is approximately 9.8 yards.
Another factor in the quest for increasing distance has been increased clubhead speed which also affects an increase in ball speed. Longer and lighter clubs have continued to be developed in the hope that a person could generate greater clubhead speed without actually having to become stronger, nor improve their technique. Again, the math reveals that for every 1 mph we increase clubhead speed, distance could be increased by approximately 2.8 yards. The misconception is that every player that goes to a longer and lighter club automatically sees distance increases, but looking only at length, clubhead speed increases by only about 0.5 mph in computer models for every one inch the club's length increases. Of course, golfers are different and the results may vary, but if all golfers could swing exactly the same from one swing to another with the only exception being the club length, the math says that the increase of one inch would be just 0.5 mph, which equates to 1.4 yards.
Overall club weight is the other key factor in determining what swing speed a player can achieve, and it must be considered when testing longer clubs. The bottom line is that longer clubs must be lighter for most people to swing efficiently. To examine the differences let's look at a comparison between a 43.5-inch, 13.5-ounce overall weight driver (which was the average 25 years ago) and a 45-inch, 10.45-ounce club that could be built today. Based on our computer model, the increase in mph would be 8 mph and, if you consider the 2.8 yards for every 1 mph increase, the increase in yards is 22.4 yards. That is, indeed, significant, but remember that the player must be able to hit the lighter, longer club in the center of the face to achieve the optimum results. These numbers are based on one type of swing path. Each person can experience different results due to differences in their swing angles and swing speeds from the model.
These exercises help us set realistic prospects on what we can expect from golf equipment with regards to distance. In a nutshell, you should play the longest, lightest, club you can control (hit in the center of the face) with a face designed to deflect the maximum amount allowable.
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Casting for Fishing is Good; in Golf it's Bad
Casting of the clubhead is done by probably 95 percent of amateur golfers, and I would consider this their No. 1 fault.
Casting of the clubhead is when the wrist cock is too early on the down swing. Therefore we get a "scoopy" position. The hands are either slightly behind the ball at impact, or more toward our right leg. What happens at impact is you add loft to the club and your 8-iron now becomes a wedge and you lose a lot of distance.
Some players, such as Sergio Garcia, lets the clubhead stay behind him until the last possible second, which causes what is referred to as a "late hit" or lag of the golf club. The ball is struck and then the ground. Most amateurs do just the opposite. They strike the ground, then the ball with a scooping action, and don’t get the maximum distance out of their irons.
All that being said, how do we get into this powerful hitting position? Well, I think it just a series of good positions. If you look at good amateur golfers or professionals, they have a tendency to get into a strong impact position. Many amateur golfers have a tendency to hang on their left side on the way back and then on the downswing keep all their weight on the left side. Therefore, they never get to their right side and have to hit it early on the downswing, which creates the scooping action. It all is a series of good movements that started on the back swing that leads to the proper striking of a golf ball. When you do this correctly, it should feel like the butt end of the club is leading through impact, which gives the clubhead width and the lag at the bottom which produces the power you want.
A good drill you can do this winter to help your game is to swing crosshanded. Take the club in a crosshanded position—if you are righthanded, the left hand would be below the right; if you are left handed, it would be just the opposite. Take your backswing as you normally do, and when you bring it down, try to hold the back of that left hand (or right hand for left-handed golfers) as long as you can and you will notice that your right wrist is still in the hitting position. It still has a load to it. It’s not unloaded. The better we can make that left wrist, the flatter we can get it, with the right wrist still in that hitting position will produce tremendous power, and you’ll get that feeling of the lag that all great golfers get.
Lag is a very difficult thing to achieve, and it will take time and patience, and a lot of practice, but it’s getting toward the winter months and it’s time we get to work for next spring. If you work with weighted clubs, that will help you with club head speed and better impact. But I really suggest that if you want to get some good downward lag, feel like the butt of the club is pulling through, and you will produce long and straight and powerful shots.