Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category
Thank you so much for your support and readership in 2013 and I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Without you my passion would be pointless….
Holiday Gift Certificate Specials:
- Series of Five Lessons (Pay for 5 and get 1 FREE)
- Series of Ten Lessons (Pay for 10 and get 2 FREE)
- Members receive $10 off a One Hour Lesson
- Non-members receive $20 off a One Hour Lesson
- Great Offers for Wedge and TrackMan Group Sessions starting at $75 in the New Year too!
The member lesson rate is $120 per hour and the non-member lesson rate is $175 per hour. Payments can be made via PayPal.
Please contact arice(at)berkeleyhallclub.com for further details.
I am also very excited to release what is the culmination of almost three years of research and testing . The Wedge Project is an in depth video that explains what is important to being able to hit consistently crisp, zippy wedge shots. Please trust me on this one – I know I have been promising this video for some time now – it will be worth the wait and every penny you spend on it!
Here is a little of what you can expect…
I anticipate the cost to be in the $14 range and it will be available via download from my website. The video will be somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes in length and will include numerous drills and a clear explanation of what really is important when you have a wedge in your hand.
Please be patient with the release of this video as I would much the final product be a little late and great than early and mediocre. I know you’re going to love it, simply because what I share WORKS!
I am looking forward to an exciting 2014 as I spend my first full year at Berkeley Hall in a long time. I hope we can all get to spend some time together on the lesson tee or online in the upcoming year. Thank you for everything!
I was recently invited to present at the Illinois PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit alongside Stan Utley and Chuck Cook. Besides it being a tremendous privilege for me the day was both educational and entertaining. I thought it would be beneficial to relay a few of the nuggets they shared during the course of the day.
The theme of Chuck’s presentation revolved around what he teaches and why. His themes were:
- a flat or bowed lead wrist
- a straight plane line (similar to the “one-plane” look, but with the elbows staying in front of the chest like Jason Dufner)
- lag is a major power source – use it, don’t lose it!
A few important ideas he shared with the group were:
- There has never been a swing method that has lasted
- If the face is shut you need to outrun it with something
- The weight moves where the hips are pointing
- I don’t like a lot of hip drive
- Both feet should be flat on the ground at impact with irons
- To make any golfer better, take their weakest element and turn it into a strength
- Let juniors smash the ball with all they’ve got until they stop growing – then work on technique
Here is a swing by Jason Dufner, one of Chuck premier students – this swing seems to epitomize so much of what Chuck stressed as he spoke about the swing…
As you may well know Stan’s teaching focuses primarily on the shortgame and putting. Here are some of the important principles Stan shared in his presentation:
- Putt with dead strength – he described “dead strength” as being similar to dropping your limp arm against your side
- Let the putter drop and crash into the ball – I love saying it that way!
- An important point in both chipping and putting is to put pressure on the ball
- He is an advocate of wristy putting with soft, loose elbows
- Where you strike the ball on the face vertically with the putter is very important
- Finish the putting stroke with the putter low and the right shoulder high
- Have the handle travel more slowly so the clubhead can travel faster
I really enjoyed so much of what Stan had to say as he seemed to be a proponent of so much of what I preach in both the shortgame and putting.
It was great to listen to these exemplary teachers, but the highlight of my day was being able to present my teaching approach to the Illinois PGA membership. Thanks to Nick Papadakes and all the staff at Olympia Fields CC for a very cool experience and I look forward to my next opportunity…
I recently attended a two day Southern Ground Music and Food Festival in Charleston, SC put on by the Zac Brown Band. Now you may be asking – “What does this have to do with golf or my game?” Stay with me here, because as you will see, there is so much you can learn from successful entities in other industries.
I came away from the event inspired about what I needed to do to move forward and how I can do a better job for my students. Here is what I learned:
In 2013 ZBB will have been on tour from early January through late October. Once the tour is done they will be recording a new album - talk about getting down to it! They always seem to be stretching their abilities by experimenting with new or different genres of music. Lesson - persistently work hard at being the best you possibly can be – every minute of every day!
SUPPORT and EXPERTISE
ZBB is made up of a motley group of supremely gifted artists where each member is exceptionally talented in one or multiple areas. It truly is a case of the sum of the parts is greater than each individual part. Each band member beautifully complements what the others do. Lesson – specialize, but also surround yourself with experts in each field. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in areas you might be weak in.
The band strives to go above and beyond what one would expect – even above what one would expect from a world class act like they are. Their sets are immaculately planned and nothing seems to be “thrown together”. Lesson – be over-prepared! Let your students see that you are ready and excited to help them achieve their goals.
SHARING and MENTORING
ZBB is always open to lending a helping hand to young up and coming bands. The Festival I attended was evidence of this in that most of earlier acts were younger bands being supported by ZBB. They will also often invite artists, both young and old, to perform on stage with them. This is in addition to their album titled “You Get What You Give“! Lesson - go out of your way to help younger teachers and golfers. It costs you nothing!
I have been fortunate to see the band perform a few times now and they are always very thankful for all the people who allow them to be successful at what they do. Lesson – always let your clientele know how thankful you are for their support and business.
You might think I’m crazy (and there’s a good chance you’re right!) but I took all that from a concert put on by an exceptional country music band! What can you take from this information? And how can it benefit what you do in golf?
What do racing tires have in common with wedge play in golf? Read on because there might be a lot more to this than you might think.
It’s all about traction or friction, or more simply put – grip. The more the tires grip the road, the faster the driver can go and the more our clubface grips the ball, the lower the flight and the more the ball spins. Let’s look at how these tires work and see if we can draw a few parallels to how the specialized clubface on our wedges interact with the golf ball….
On a dry, sunny day day a race car will have tires that are wide, soft and completely grooveless. The tires are wide and grooveless in order to get as much rubber in contact with the road. Any grooves simply decrease the amount of traction the tire exerts on the road. They are softer than normal tires to increase traction. In rainy conditions the drivers will switch to tires with grooves (as seen above). The grooves on the tires channel water away from the road and thus allow the flat portion of the tire to grip the road cleanly. Grooves reduce the amount of rubber in contact with the road, thus reducing traction.
Club manufacturers now make their top tier wedges with a milled, legally grooved clubface. The milling on the clubface represents the softness of the racing tire as it allows the cover of the ball to settle into the mini grooves, even on these partial shots, and friction is increased. Our clubface needs grooves because we encounter many different lies during a round of golf. Many of those lies dictate that matter (grass/moisture) will be trapped between the face and the ball, greatly reducing friction. Grooves are not on the clubface for spin, but primarily as a channel to keep matter from being caught between the face and ball thus decreasing grip. Race car drivers have the luxury of changing tires for rainy conditions, while golfers do not have the luxury of changing their clubface for a variety of lies.
If we hit all our pitch or partial wedge shots off a tee using a premium ball and there was no way any grass or moisture could interrupt friction I actually believe a non-grooved, yet milled clubface would actually spin the ball as much or slightly more than the current grooved clubface designs. Good luck trying to convince your playing partners to go for that idea, but isn’t it helpful to know how the clubface is really designed to interact with the cover of the ball?
A milled clubface will increase friction in a similar fashion that softer racing tires will, but those milling lines also wear out like a softer tire does. If you are a competitive golfer have a practice set and a tournament set of wedges. This way you’ll always have that lower, spinning wedge shot when it matters most….
There has been a fair amount of banter online recently regarding various topics and I thought it would help both of us if I jotted down a few thoughts:
A functional draw is one that finishes at the target – something many of us strive for. In order to hit functional draws you need a clubpath that is traveling outward (in to out) and a clubface that is angled slightly closed relative to the clubpath, yet open to the target (assuming center contact).
It is possible to hit both functional draws, ones that finish at the target, and bad draws, ones that move away from the target, with a clubface that is open, square and closed to the target at impact. You can even hit good and bad draws with the appropriate clubpath, but I believe an outward moving clubpath is integral to hitting functional draws. And here’s why…
I am yet to teach a golfer who fades the ball that consistently swings from in to out!
Clubpath is king and clubface is queen – I might get the desired shot shape with clubface, but I cannot get the desired result without clubpath. It is simply not possible to hit a functional draw with a clubpath that travels from out to in (assuming center contact). It is clearly not the only thing, but in my opinion it is the most important thing.
I am well aware there are many different ways to achieve this and whether as a coach or golfer you upgrade the clubface first or the clubpath first is entirely up to you. After all it’s all about results no?
Many golfers and TrackMan users are under the impression that smash factor indicates how well a ball was hit, or how centered the strike was – this is not necessarily the case. A high smash factor purely indicates high ball speed relative to club speed. Here is the simplified formula:
It is quite possible to have a smash factor with irons that is too high. Golfers who play from a closed face position and who tend to flight the ball low will often have a higher smash factor than golfers who flight the ball appropriately. This does not mean the low ball hitters are striking it better, it just means they are generating too much linear ball speed off of a particular club.
It is important for golfers to understand that ball type and condition, dynamic loft, clubhead mass, attack angle, CoR and of course quality of strike go into determining the smash factor for any given shot. If you don’t believe me take a look at the real formula for smash factor:
The objective with the driver should 1.50 or higher, but with the shorter clubs a higher smash just might not necessarily better. Go for solid hits and ball flight over smash factor any day!
A Note to Golf Coaches:
I have made more than my fair share of mistakes in life. From these mistakes I have learned and improved as a coach and a person. One of the many valuable lessons I have learned from making mistakes is to never deride, belittle or insult another golf coach. It does nothing to enhance your image or reputation and you will never look better while attempting to make someone else look worse. Be wise when addressing other coaches and the methods they employ – you’ll be better off for it.