Watching The Open Championship I was drawn to the variety of golf swings by the leading contenders. It really did remind me that there is no such thing as a perfect golf swing. Each of the leaders have adopted a swing that works for themselves. That’s exactly the reason why you should try unique swing features that work for each of the top golf performers.
Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote an article about Marcel Siem (golfer from Germany) who lost his winning ways when he tried to copy Dustin Johnson’s dramatically bowed wrist at the top of his swing. Marcel was looking for more distance but he lost control of his direction. He recently changed back to a slightly cupped wrist to turn his game around and ended up tied 15th at The Open. Siem, who played his best golf with a cupped leading wrist and open clubface at the top of his backswing, similar to Webb Simpson, was trying to adopt something on the other end of the spectrum and it didn’t work. Referring to his attempted change to a bowed wrist at the top of his swing he said: “I was top 50 in the world…and lost my card. That was the worst decision I ever made in my life.”
Here is a list of changes that you may want to try: 1/ Slow Backswing: Hideki Matsuyama had a very slow backswing and has now been speeding it up to a more conventional backswing. The winner of The Open this year, Collin Morikawa, was the only player who starts his swing with a very slow takeaway and then speeds it up as his club travels to the transition. He seems to be searching for the perfect arm and body location before he accelerates to the top.
2/ Bowed Wrist:Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm and even Jordan Spieth use different levels of a leading bowed wrist at the top of their swing. They all hold this bent wrist through the point of impact. They all use their hip and body rotation to square up the face of their club at the point of impact.
3/ Wide Takeway and Shallowing the Downswing from the Top:Rory McIlroy is not leading the field in wins but he has a beautiful style similar to Adam Scott. I prefer this swing as it stops you from coming over the top and slicing the ball. Jim McLean loves to teach this swing as you start to open your hip and then swing up the inside slot to hit the inside quadrant of your ball.
4/ Putter Grip Styles: Most golfers use a conventional grip with their trailing hand gripping below the leading hand. The trailing hand claw grip is a new version of the standard grip. Bryson DeChambeau leads the field of many players who have adopted an extended putter handle pressed against a straight leading forearm (to avoid a shaking wrist). As an aging golfer I love this grip, even using a standard putter shaft , especially for short putts.
One of the 6 swing fixes that GOLFSTR+ can be used for is to practice your swing with a flat leading wrist backswing. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Over the past few months Jordan Spieth has reversed the winning drought that he experienced over the past few years. Every golfer experiences highs and lows in their games but when your game reaches the pinnacle of golf, you hope to continue to improve. Unfortunately Jordan informed the golf world that he was on a mission to improve his strength and the distance of his drives. That was the beginning of his 4 year golf drought. Prior to his 2021 victory at the Valero Texas Openhe admitted that he had no idea where his next drive was going. That was the beginning of his golfing rebirth.
Cameron McCormick had been Jordan’s only coach from the age of 12. During Jordan’s effort to increase the distance of his drives he changed to a more vertical backswing. His driving distance may have increased but his direction control was lost. Cameron reformed Jordan’s swing by starting with the point of impact and working backwards. This focus must have helped Jordan mentally lock in his current consistent swing.
Jordan Calls his NEW SWING: “Turn and Burn” -He changed to a lower takeaway plane with a 90 degree wrist lag near the start of his backswing. -At the top of his swing his wrist is now slightly bowed. -He starts his downswing with the rotation or “TURN” of his hip as he shallows his swing plane. -As his arms drop to swing from the inside slot, his trailing elbow nearly grazes his side. -The BURN is the acceleration of his down swing and release of his lag as he whips his club through the ball. -He only thinks about his hip TURN followed by his downswing BURN. The shallowing of his swing plane is the major change that he added to his swing for better direction control.
I picked up this description from the TV commentary during The Open Championship as they praised Jordan for his success. [He must be controlling his draw or fade using a slightly open or closed face of his club but this was not described during the broadcast.] Jordan missed a few short putts but his driving and iron games were almost perfection as compared to his historic past 4 years of dismal results.
You can learn your straight leading arm swing and wrist lag as well as 4 other swing fixes by practicing with GOLFSTR+. Just make sure that you shallow your down swing as you start TURNING your hips. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #68: You can hit a two acre fairway 10% of the time and a two inch branch 90% of the time.
Do you realize that your mishits are fractions of an inch off of a perfect swing? The pros hire a team to find their weaknesses and to get themselves back on the road to success. Recreational golfers can take lessons and prey for success but I so often hear that a lesson has destroyed a friend’s golf game. So what should you be doing to take corrective action to become a WINNER?
The problem with the game of golf is that the slightest change in your emotions or your swing or the ground that you are standing on can destroy your next shot. A gust of wind can make you tighten up or swing faster. A slight slope on the ground can throw your ball left or right or create fat shots. A simple practice swing at your planned speed for your next shot can tell you a lot about your potential success. You need to find the keys for perfection in your drives, fairway shots, chipping and putting.
Every golfer has different strength and swing imperfections. What works for one person may not work for you but you need to sort out the simple tricks that will work for your swing.
Why Not Try the Success Found by other Golfers 1/ Longer Drives:Wilco Nienaber, one of the longest drivers on the PGA Tour, recently revealed his secret to hitting the ball 400+ yards. He changed to a 3/4 inch longer shaft and slowed down his backswing. He has a very straight arm in his backswing where his driver never reaches horizontal. Why fight a high speed backswing when you really want a high speed downswing. 2/ Sink More Putts: My wife was frustrated with her recent streak of poor putts. I told her that she must be putting down into the ball as her ball is bouncing off the ground at the point of impact. She ignored my suggestion (for about a year) to move the ball forward when putting until yesterday. She played 9 holes with the girls and shot a 40 with 6 pars. She was excited to tell me that she had moved her ball forward to a point off her leading heel. “You’re welcome.” 3/ Eliminate Slices: Take a wide backswing like Rory McIlroy and shallow your downswing so that your trailing elbow nearly grazes your rib cage. It will help you drive your shots straight up your target line. 4/ Consistent Hits: Eliminate extra angles by keeping your leading wrist flat in your straight arm backswing and your downswing. 5/ Stop Swinging for the Moon: Swing with a commitment to finish in balance. That will slow down your swing and improve your percentage of fairways and greens hit. Be happy with a 200+ yard drives and chose less lofted clubs with a lower swing speed to hit your target landing area. 6/ Matt Wolff has a pre-shot swing routine and a swing that just does not stand up to consistency. Don’t try it. 7/ Ben Hogan saw a unique move in one of Bobby Jones’ training films. He said that Bobby “shortened his left thumb to keep the club under control for repeatability during his backswing. He found that it works.” But not for me!
Practice your swing with every club for simplicity and excellence. Eliminate angles to take control of a golf swing that suits your mind and body. GOLFSTR+ is a great starting point to train your mind to minimize angles in your swing. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #67: There are 2 things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have and which one is wearing the glove.
Putting really is a crap shoot but the more you practice the luckier your will get. So how did John Rahm sink his 25 foot curving putts on the last 2 holes at the US Open? John gave credit to his new Odyssey Hot White putter but his putter also missed a number of other putts that week. When it comes down to putting success, every putter can sink every putt, if you choose the right line and swing with the right speed. So what should you do to sink more putts?
The professional tournaments are played on greens unlike anything that many of us will ever play. The surface of the greens for the 2021 US Open were setup with a 14 on the Stimpmeter (a ramp device used to measure the rolling speed of a golf ball on greens). Public courses are setup with about an 8 to a 10 on the Stimpmeter and Private courses are setup with anywhere from 9 to 13. I was fortunate enough to play on The Bears Club (a private Jack Nicklaus course) just prior to The Masters a few years ago, when that course was setup for the tour pros to play on greens with putting speeds like Augusta National Golf Club with a Stimpmeter of 14. Putting on those greens is like putting in another world. The pros have no choice but to adjust their swing rhythm to accommodate the speed of those greens.
What should you do to sink more putts on every course that you play? 1/ The Stimpmeter of greens is different on every course and it also changes during the day as the greens dry out with sun load during the time that it takes to play 18 holes. Even the pros suffer from the increased speeds of the greens as they approach the end of their round. They often second guess the speeds and end up hitting short of the hole as they try to reduce their putting speed. Don’t fall into this trap after you make a few surprising longer putts followed by putts that are short of the hole. Pay attention to the changing putting speed of the greens and adjust your swing accordingly. 2/ Practice Putting Greens: Never start a round of golf until your hit some long and short putts on the practice putting green. It should be setup to match the Stimpmeter speed of the greens on the course. Tune-up your putting speed before you start your round. 3/ Damage Near the Hole: Too many golfers destroy the roll of the green near the hole when they lean on their putter to bend down and remove their ball from the hole. A slight rise around the lip of the cup (caused by poor cup placement), is also a problem that will keep a weakly hit putt out of the hole. Firm putts (that can pass the hole by up to 2 feet) will have a much better chance of sinking. 4/ Slope at the Hole: Often the sadistic person who sets up the daily hole locations will place the hole on the edge of a slope. [It’s the only enjoyment they have as they think of the missed putts that they will cause.] If the hole is on a minor slope make sure that you choose a line closer to the hole and make a firm putt. If the hole is on a major slope, putt on a line above the hole with the perfect pace to die down into the hole. 5/ Long Putts are Lag Putts: Even the pros are happy to make 2 putts when they land a long way from the hole. Read the break and try to putt with a speed that will break down to the hole as it slows down. 6/ All Putts Break More Severely as they Slow Down: Putts slow down at the end of their journey as they near the hole so a firm putt will make less of a break as it passes the hole. Jack Nicklaus tried to let his putts die into the hole. He won a lot of tournaments doing that but you do have a better chance to sink a putt if you make firm putts which stay straighter as they pass the hole. Brooks Koepka sinks a lot of shorter pressure putts by BANGING them into the back of the hole.
It does not matter what putter you like to play with. They all sink putts. Get a putt that you like so that you can build confidence with it. Knowing that you can sink putts will allow you to sink more putts. Choose your target line and rock your shoulders to hit every putt on the center line of your putter face directly up your target line. Practice with GOLFSTR+ to keep your leading wrist flat (to control your direction). Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #66: If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.
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