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Swing to Launch, Power or Scoop

Each type of club requires a unique approach for your setup and swing. Unfortunately many recreational golfers attempt to use the same swing for every club and they pay the price. Actually the sweep of your club across the ground has the same type of arc but your point of impact has a huge affect on your success with each type of club.

You can easily adjust your draw or fade with any club by changing your face direction, your swing path and your trailing foot back or forward. A side hill lie (up or down) also has a huge impact on the success of your shot. Before you can master your swing with any club you need to see the resulting impact of a properly lined-up shot verses a poorly lined-up shot. This blog is primarily concerned with avoiding mishits with your driver, your fairway woods/hybrids and your irons.

Launch your drives as you impact with an upward angle of attack off your trailing foot.

Setup to LAUNCH your Drives
Your driver has a limited angle on its face. It’s really designed so that you can hit up on your ball and LAUNCH it in an upward angle. Of course that’s why you tee your ball up and line up your ball with the heel of your LEADING foot. That’s also why you need to impact your ball as your club arcs upward on an inside to outside path (AFTER it passes the low point of your swing arc).

To help you create longer drives you should setup with your shoulder line tilting slightly down on your trailing side and 55% of your weight on your trailing foot. Give yourself a count of 1, 2 to create time for a full backswing rotation (and count 3 for you downswing). Keep your leading ear behind the ball through-out your swing. Release up your target line as you thrust forward to LAUNCH YOUR BALL UPWARD.

Setup to POWER your Fairway Woods and Hybrids
Setup with your ball closer to the heel of your leading foot in addition to your weight evenly distributed. Your goal is to impact the ball near or just after the low point of the arc of your swing as you transfer your weight up your target line.  Use the loft of your club to create the angle of rise on your ball.

Setup to SCOOP your Irons
Setup with 55% of your weight on your leading foot and your ball lined up progressively closer to the center of your stance for your wedges. Let your weight continue to press forward during your transition to ensure that you impact your ball on your downswing before you SCOOP any divot.

Focus on LAUNCH, POWER or SCOOP for each type of club to ensure that you create the right impact and shot. Finish your full swing to a balanced finish to ensure that you don’t leave the face of your club open at the point of impact. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to keep your leading arm straight through impact. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #18: Any change works for three holes.

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Center Impact for Distance and Control

All of your golf clubs are made with a wide head face to help you avoid mishits. You can get away with hits off the toe or heel of your driver, woods, irons and putter but you are losing distance and direction control if you don’t impact your ball in the balanced center of mass on your club face. Using tape or powder on your club head is a great way to understand where you are normally impacting your ball on the face of your club.

GolfersRX recently released another video by Gene Parent at Golf Laboratories illustrating the lost distance for driver mishits at 90 MPH (the typical recreational golfer swing speed). At that swing speed you will hit a ball about 200 yards in the air and it will roll out to about 230 yards IF YOUR IMPACT IS ON THE DEAD CENTER OF YOUR DRIVER CLUB FACE.

Center impact is always to best impact to control distance and direction.

If your impact is ¾ of an inch inside or outside of dead center, you will lose about 10 yards of distance. Impact toward the toe will push your shot about 10 yards to the right of a right hander’s target line and impact toward the heel will pull about 10 yards to the left.

Unfortunately if your swing path is over the top and from the outside to inside when you impact toward the toe you will compound your error and slice away from your target line. An inside to outside swing path, when your impact is near the heel of your club, will create a duck hook.

Ben Hogan said that about 90% of all shots in golf are either a draw or a fade. His suggestion was to plan for your draw or fade and plan your shot by aiming up the side of the fairway and bringing it back into the center with your expected draw or fade. Using his suggestion will at least keep your landing area in the fairway.

Spend some time at the driving range to test the results of your swing path and your point of impact on each type of golf club. Controlling your swing path will help you improve your Fairways hit in Regulation (FIR) and Greens hit in Regulation (GIR). Start marking your score card with a tick mark in the upper left in the box for each hole for each FIR and a tick in the upper right for each GIR. Now guess which holes will yield the most pars and birdies?

Plan on hitting more draws by hitting in the center of your club face when you move your trailing foot 1 inch back from your target line (or you can close the face of your club slightly). Practice your straight arm swing with your GOLFSTR+ to improve your consistency in hitting more FIRs and GIRs. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #17: Whatever you think you’re doing wrong is the one thing you’re doing right.

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Your Brain Controls The Success of Your Game

It’s amazing to read the Monday morning reviews about the changing scores as both the Professional and Amateur tournaments wrap-up ever Sunday. Streaks of birdies or bogies and double bogies seem to happen for no explainable reason. The only way that we can explain these successes or failures is through rays of sunlight or dark clouds that pass over every golfer under pressure. Your brains controls all.

If only we could control our positive mental attitude, even after an unexpected double when we hit into the ruff, sand trap, water or a low hanging tree branch. It’s the unexpected shot that seems to cloud our next few holes, if not the rest of our game. We need to recognize and accept our failures and get back into a positive mental attitude. GET OVER IT!

When Should Our Alarm Bells Go Off  Pay attention to the problems that can throw your game off:
1/ Your playing partners start kidding you about the pressure on your next shot.
2/ You just hit an amazingly long drive on your last hole and expecting to hit even further on your next drive.
3/ The joy of making birdie affecting your next drive (PBSU: Post Birdie Screw-Up)
4/ Hitting the perfect shot only to nip a branch and lose 100 yards on the shot.
5/ When you have 3 other sets of eyes watching you prepare to make a 3 foot putt.

Jon Rahm found that throwing a club was a lot safer then breaking it when he slams the head into the ground.

What Happens to Your Mind and Body
1/ Flashbacks of past failures
2/ Your heart and mind start to race so that you rush and limit your backswing
3/ Your muscles tighten up to limit your flexibility.

How to Get Your Mind and Body Back on Track
1/ Mentally say the word “STOP” so that you can clear your mind.
2/ PAUSE and shake your hands or wiggle your fingers to get the jitter out.
3/ Relax your shoulders and LET THEM DROP as you take a deep breath and exhale.
4/ Remind yourself that your last shot is done so get on with your game.
5/ Accept the fact that you can’t make a miracle shot so just go for a recovery or layup that will put you in a good position for you next great shot.

Jon Rahm has learned to control is temper. It’s called Anger Management. You can do it too.

Ben Hogan said that the most important shot in golf is YOUR NEXT ONE. We have all seen the pros make a bad shot. They seem to be able to clear it from their mind and get on with their game. Jon Rahm is a great example of a golfer who carried a lot of mental baggage after a bad shot. He has changed his attitude and it paid off at the Memorial Tournament where he won and took over as the #1 PGA GOLFER.

Mental baggage may be the only thing holding you back. Don’t slam your club down after a poor shot. Compose and get on with your next wonderful shot. Take a practice swing by slowing down your backswing and make a full swing to a balance finish. Make YOUR next wonderful shot. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for every shot in your game. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #16: The odds of hitting a duffed shot increase by the square of the number of people watching.

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Any Putting Style Works

Why are there so many styles of putters and so many different ways to improve your putting? We are all made up with different body structures, minds and strengths. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.  Some methods work better than others and stubborn golfers find it hard to change.  As it turns out there are only 3 consistent skills that you need to master for putting success.

You need to understand that every method of putting CAN BE successful. Every different style of putter and putting stoke has won the US Open and The Open (British). You can be successful by swinging your wrists or rocking your shoulders and swing in a straight line or arc. You can also jab at the ball or swing with the consistency of a pendulum or accelerate through the ball. Only you can determine what works best for your physical limitations and ability.

Phil Kenyon training Rory McIlroy (who has a wonderful putting stroke).  He locks his wrists, rocks his shoulders and swings straight up his target line.

I recently read an article by Phil Kenyon, who is now the director and principal owner of Harold Swash Putting in the UK. He has trained many of the top professional golfers and recent winners to the US Open and The Open  to help them hone their personal putting styles. He believes that they must achieve three key outcomes to have success.

The 3 Key Skills:
1/ Control the starting direction of the ball,
2/ Control the speed of your ball.
3/ Predict the break of your ball.

Kenyon stated: “So regardless of the technique you may use, which ever style of green reading, which ever style of technique to start the ball on line, you have to master those three skills. So for any player that I work with, it would be around developing that skill set and then finding the appropriate techniques to help them develop that.”

Suggestions for YOU to Apply the 3 Putting Skills:
How to Control the Direction: You have no choice but to impact the ball on the balanced center of your putter face to make the ball roll with topspin and no side spin. That means that your putter face must impact the ball exactly in the direction of your target line and on the upswing. Do whatever is required with your arms and body to make a straight impact. Before every round of golf test your skill at sinking straight 3 foot, 5 foot and 10 foot putts on the practice green.

How to Control the Speed: This is a combination of understanding the speed of the greens and the slope of the greens that you are playing on. Practice will help you improve your appreciation for every situation. Before every putt that you attempt, make the practice swing that you know will reach or pass the hole by up to 2 feet. Short putts never go in the hole.

How to Predict the Break: You can only learn your feel for the break by trial and error in every condition. We still recommend that you learn to putt with GOLFSTR+ using a flat wrist to eliminate extra angles in your putting stroke. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #15: No matter how badly you are playing, it’s always possible to play worse.

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Putting Success!

Have you ever said “If I could only make a straight putt, I could sink this one”. Then you push or pull or leave your putt short. It’s so frustrating but it happens all the time. Fortunately if you say this to yourself, you are way ahead of 50% of all golfers. At least you understand the critical component of putting: Choose your line and make a straight putt.

Alignment is critical. If you swing your putter directly up your target line and impact the ball dead center on your putter face, you should at least hit the right line. Developing a “Feel for the Break” is the hard part. Getting the right swing speed for the right distance is a matter of practice but the break and slope is different on every putt.

Alignment
I saw an ad for a putting alignment mirror highlighting steps to hit a straight putt:
-Choose the right target line. The mirror has a line which is easy to line up when you stand behind it and line it up with your target point. [Too bad it’s not legal on the course.]
-Make sure that your head and eyes are directly over the ball to avoid a distorted view of the direction to your TARGET. [Basically, that’s all the mirror is helping you control.]

Prove to yourself that you can hit a straight putt on a flat surface. Build CONFIDENCE in you ability to putt straight.

-Swing so that the putter will impact directly on the center point of your putter. [That’s your primary thought during your swing.  [Test your putter on a perfectly flat surface to build confidence in your putting stroke and your swing for a straight 4 foot putt.]
-Limit your backswing so that you can accelerate through the ball and continue your swing directly up your target line. (Don’t jab at it and quickly return your putter.)

Feel the Break
We can all play catch by tossing a ball 4 feet or 10 feet or 15 feet. Unfortunately putting is infinitely more difficult. Judging the distance is easy but you must develop your feel for the green speed as well as the slope and break of the green to hit a very small target. Jerry Seinfeld is NOT a fan of golf. He said “golf is about as challenging as throwing a Tic Tac 100 yards into a shoe box.” And sometimes we wonder why we play this crazy sport.

PowerPutting
During the COVID-19 recovery period, you may be fortunate enough to play on a course where the holes are ringed with a rubber insert. On those course, if you hit the insert, USGA ruled that it counts as a sunk putt. Smart golfers quickly learn that a firm putt does not break as much near the hole and they nail that rubber ring every time. BINGO, LIGHT BULB: Why not hit firm putts to limit the break and sink more putts. Hitting PowerPutts (that could run 2 or 3 feet past the hole) are much more likely to sink.

Practice putting using your GOLFSTR+ to hold your leading wrist flat. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #14: One birdie is a hot streak.

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Shallow Your Driver

That may seem like a pretty strange phase for a golf training solution but stay tuned and I guaranty that it will turn your drives on.  Yes, shallowing your driver in the backswing will be a key for your future power and consistency with your driver. The length of your driver is actually messing up the swing that you have honed with your irons. It’s easy to make your downswing from the inside with your iron and not as easy with your much longer driver.

We are all watching the pros swing their driver on TV and it appears so easy. They seem to swing back on one plane and then swing down on a slightly lower plane. Well as it turns out for recreational players it ain’t so easy.

Webb Simpson shallows his driver in the downswing so that his trailing elbow almost grazes his rib cage for Power and Consistency.

David Leadbetter and Jim McLean both talk about swinging from the inside or from the slot. It’s easier said than done.
Top Speed Golf Blog gave us 3 areas to focus on at impact (for right handed golfers)
1/ Your left bicep should be squeezing against your left chest or peck muscle,
2/ Open your hips first (as you are rotating them toward the target)
3/ Your swing is to the right of your target line or you may feel that way as you shallow your club in the downswing.

 

Swing Trick to Shallow your Club in the Downswing
I saw this in Rory McIlroy’s swing as he likes to take a wide or straight back takeaway which is on a more vertical plane than his wider and flatter downswing. You should actually feel more power thrown into your swing as you thrust from the inside and up your target line.  You may even feel your trailing elbow graze my rib cage on the way down. That forces my early hip rotation and my shallow swing “up the slot”.

In slow motion you can see a slight loop at the top of the swing during the transition. That loop creates the shallowing of the driver club head. You only need to practice this with your driver as it is your longest club so it naturally needs to be dropped or shallowed from the top of the swing.

Brooke Henderson is about 5 foot 6 inches tall but she uses the longest regulation shaft (mind you, she does chock down on her grip). Her loop at the top is very exaggerated but it has a huge impact on her ability to hit longer drivers than most of the LPGA pros.

If you are very tall and have no problem with your hip and shoulder rotation in your backswing, you may not need to shallow your club in the downswing. But for golfers who struggle with consistency and power you should try to loop and shallow your driver head from the top of your swing. The 3 points listed above will make it happen automatically.

Learning to shallow your driver from the top takes a little practice. Try it out with your leading arm straight using your GOLFSTR+ for your straight arm swing. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #13: No foursome in front of you ever played too fast.

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Are you a “Trigger Finger Golfer”?

Too many golfers pull the trigger too early in their swing. I’m an active recreational golfer and I watch a lot of other golfers (as well as myself) who get so frustrated by their ability to hit a golf ball perfectly 100% of the time. They would even be happy with 50% or any improvement but they can’t seem to calm down and execute the shot. I know the secret.

Unfortunately golfers love to watch the pros on TV executing every shot perfectly. We rarely see the duck hooks or the fat shots or the topped balls, but the pros do it too. The program producers just make sure that they only show the best of shots unless they happen to be following one of the tournament leaders who happens to make a poor shot.

My point here is that the pros have an amazing ability to start the transfer of their weight from the trailing foot to the leading foot during their swing transition at the top of their swing. They have no problem doing this with amazingly fast swings. We see this and our minds think we can repeat it on the golf course.

Ernie Els is a great image to remember your weight transfer starting during your transition. And he holds off on the wrist release.

In the Heat of Battle on the Golf Course
We are always wondering where our bad shots are coming from especially when we do them on the golf course. It seems so simple to repeat great shots on the driving range. But on the course it all changes. When our minds are caught up with our last amazing drive or our last disappointing flub, we tend to internalize our feelings and release them by pulling the trigger too early in our next shot.

The Problem
You rush your downswing with your arms and never give your body the time to transfer your weight from your trailing foot to your leading foot. Your practice swing may be perfect because you are calm and relaxed. I see it all the time. Your practice swing is at 60% of your actual swing. At the moment of truth, YOUR ARMS TAKE OVER. You are already bottoming out the arc of your swing 4 inches before your club head reaches the ball.

The Result
Either you hit a fat shot, a topped-ball or you power through the ball causing a pulled shot or major slice. This is caused by 2 situations. 1/ When you are over confident because of an amazing last shot [often referred to as the PBSU, Post Birdie Screw-Up) or 2/ You are really steamed after a missed last shot and you are trying to make-up for lost distance.

The Solution
Slow down. Realize what is going on in your mind. Take control of your mind. You can’t afford to let your arms take over the swing. Make sure that your backswing takes twice as long as your down swing by saying “1,2,3” during your swing. “1” during your takeaway, “2” during your transition and weight shift and “3” as you swing down to impact.

In your practice swing, feel an early weight shift to allow you to impact your ball before any turf. This is a critical step before you move up to your ball. Feel your weight shift when you practice with your GOLFSTR+. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #12: No golfer ever swung too slowly

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Discover Perfection with Irons

The different length and style of each club has a major impact on the way that you swing that club. Past Swing Tips have focused on swinging up with your driver off a tee. For an iron the point of impact is just before your swing arc bottoms out. The face is actually dropping and causing a reverse spin. When hit properly your ball will actually climb before it drops to the ground.

You may have seen a training video on the proper way to swing an iron by using a towel. When you swing with an iron, your goal is to impact the ball before you impact any turf (before your swing arc bottoms out). Practice your iron shots by placing a tee or a bottle cap or towel flat on the ground about 2 or 3 inches behind your ball. Shifting your weight to your leading foot during your swing will allow you to impact your ball before the arc of your swing bottoms out.

Impact you ball first before the bottom of your swing arc.

Turning Point
Practicing with a towel is wonderful but when you are on the course, your mind goes into autopilot and your arms take over. My wakeup call came on the course while hitting my ball out of the rough. I knew that I had to swing down to hit the ball before catching any of the fluffy grass behind the ball. Thinking about my downswing, I impacted with the ball before I swung through the rough and nailed the perfect shot. BINGO, EUREKA!
1/ Setup properly with the ball midway between your feet depending on the iron that you are using.
2/ During your swing transition at the top of your swing, allow your weight to shift from your trailing foot to your leading foot.
3/ Weight shift is caused by what some pros call “the bump” as hip rotation starts your down swing (and weight transfer).
4/ Don’t rush the start of your downswing or your swing will be all arms with your weight still on your trailing foot. Another way to feel this is to keep your wrist weak as they hold their lagging position from the top of the downswing. The combination of weight shift and whipping your wrist release through the ball will generate surprising power. Let your club do the work. Don’t try to muscle your arm through your swing.
5/ Impact on the ball should be just before the bottom of your swing arc which is directly below your leading shoulder.
Practice with GOLFSTR+ by letting your straight leading arm control the consistency of your swing while your wrist release generates the power. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com.

Golf Truism #11: It takes 17 holes to really get warmed up.

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The New Normal for Golf

In our weekly Golf Swing Tips I typically minimize humorous comments as some may be offended. I just wanted to provide some interesting thoughts. I suspect that COVID19 may mess up our lives as well as our golf for the next year or 2 as I hear that the vaccine may not be developed for up to 3 years.

I know that President Trump continues to pump the positive comments to keep our spirits as well as the stock market up. Unfortunately the common cold is a Virus similar to the Coronavirus and how successful have we been in eradicating the COLD?   Scary isn’t it?

Please golf responsibly so that governments don’t reverse their thinking and decide to close it down. I’m hoping that these rules will help you keep your spirits up.

You may only understand how important this is when you lose a friend.  Please Play Safe and apply Social Distancing at all times.

The New Normal Rules of Golf:
Hazmat suits are permitted. As an alternative, one can wear a college mascot costume or big bunny pajamas.
Masks are not permitted, because we would look more like stagecoach robbers than a foursome. (Social distancing is critical.)
Leave the flag in. And to avoid retrieving balls from the hole, any putt shorter than Lebron James is good.
Ride in separate golf carts and don’t come closer to another player than a fully extended ball retriever.
Don’t touch another player’s balls. This is always good advice.
• No high fives. Fortunately, we seldom have a reason.
No petting the geese or the cart girl.
• Don’t use the Porta-Potty. More disease in there than Wuhan China.
No excuses. Slicing or hooking are not side effects of COVID-19.
Make an online bank transfer to pay your bets. No cash allowed.
Straddle the sprinkler on the 18th hole before getting into your car. (Chilly but refreshing.)

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for bad golf. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to avoid those poor swing habits. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #10: One good shank deserves another.   [Unfortunately as it’s all in your mind]

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Crazy Quirks Can Help

If a crazy quirk works for you, Just do it!  COVID19 forced me to take a break from golf. In my first round back on the course I learned a few things about my game as a result of my physical limitation. My inspiration started when I watched Rory McIlroy partner with Dustin Johnson in a skins game against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at Seminole Golf Club, Florida, Why was Wolff using that crazy quirk in his pre-swing motion?

By now every passionate recreational golfer has either seen Wolff in that first live broadcast since the start of Covid19 or winning his first tournament in 2019. He looks like a freak of nature when he incorporates his pre-swing motion into his swing. As he explains it, he is just duplicating the turn of his body that he wants to feel at the point of impact. He just includes that “motion and feeling” instead of a waggle at the start of his swing. It works for him so why not learn from his quirk.

He also includes a major leading heel lift and a huge Furyk type of loop at the top and shallowing of his downswing.   All of this extra motion must have some effect on his consistency which must cause good and bad rounds of golf.

Matthew Wolff adds about 10 moves to his swing that no other golfer tries. It’s mind boggling. Klick image to see the video of his swing.

As it turns out, every professional golfer has their own quirk, even though it may be hidden to the viewers:
-Dustin Johnson: His takeaway has an early wrist break and his transition has a bowed wrist.
-Jim Furyk: He loops his golf club at the top of his swing.
-Bubba Watson: He loves to hit a huge draw or fade on every swing of his club
-Matt Kuchar: His light practice swing is from the outside and across his ball to avoid his duck hook. He also hovers his club behind his ball before he swings.
-Phil Michelson and many golfer love to press their shaft forward to initiate a swing or putt.

I now realized that every golfer that I play with have their own quirks. Some are minor and some are almost hilarious, but they work.  One of the most interesting quirks that I have seen is the closed driver setup stance (for a person who shall remain nameless), where he moves his trailing foot at least 12 inches back from his target line (to create an inside-to-out swing.

This got me thinking. I like to shallow my driver in my downswing but I tend to hit my longest drives up the right side of the fairway (or into the right rough). I must have a physical limitation that is stopping me from driving up the center of the fairway. To fix this, I now open my stance about 10 degrees to the left (as a right handed golfer), shallow my downswing (to swing from the inside or slot) and drive my best drives directly up the center of the fairway with a slight draw. This only works for my driver so it must be my limited strength handling the extra weight and length which was causing my push shots.

I’m sold on my quirk. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to improve your consistency and incorporate any quirk that improves the consistency of your drives and iron shots. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Golf Truism #9:  Progress in golf consists of two steps forward and ten miles backward.

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