Archive for the ‘Long Game’ Category
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…
Here’s a great drill that will help to create awareness of where the clubface is angled at impact…
Keep in mind that the clubface is PRIMARILY responsible for where the ball launches, while the clubpath is PRIMARILY responsible for the curvature of the shot. If you know the predominant shape of your shots, the key is to launch the ball in the proper direction – this drill will help! Give it a try and please let me know if you’ve made any progress.
I have never taught a predominant slicer that did not always have their clubpath travelling from out to in on a very consistent basis. I have never taught a predominant hooker that did not always have their clubpath travelling from in to out on a very consistent basis. In order to upgrade these golfers’ ball flight we needed to improve their path first and then work to adjust the face to point somewhere between the path and the target line.
Here is an example of a lesson I might give to a golfer who predominantly fades/slices the golf ball:
I hope these two clips help you to better understand what it is you need to do to improve your ball flight and have more fun out on the golf course.
We are all capable of hitting amazing golf shots, yet it is those mind-numbingly bad shots that ruin our day and erode any measure of confidence that we may have been hanging on to. The question we all would like to know the answer to is – why? Why was that shot so far offline when I’ve been hitting the ball straight just about all day? What is the primary cause of my inaccuracy?
My experience is that most golfers tend to look in the same place to find answers to their problems. Just like husbands tell their wives on every bad shot she might hit – “You lifted up!” Well, so to do we tend look towards the same area as a cause for our bad shots. Talking with my students it appears that far too many golfers are of the belief that bad shots are caused by a swing that was suddenly over the top or under plane – in other words the clubpath was different and that’s what led to the offline shot. This is even a favorite for the golf commentators on Sunday afternoons – if a golfer hits a shot left coming down the stretch you are very likely to hear Nick or Johnny chime in with, “Well, he came over that one…”
Teaching with TrackMan has taught me that most golfers’ inaccurate shots are caused by one of two factors:
- An open or closed face at impact
- Or an off center strike (heel or toe)
Golfers tend to be fairly consistent with their clubpath. Keep in mind that this is a general statement and not all golfers are consistent, but my experience has shown that golfers that work at their game tend to have a good measure of consistency when it comes to the direction their clubhead is travelling at impact – clubpath. It may not be an ideal path or what they are looking for, but consistent it is!
Consistency to your shot pattern comes from passive hands through impact and a predictable point of contact on the face (even if it’s not in the center!)
Please note that there is a mistake in my video! The face does not determine where the ball finishes, but rather where it starts! Sorry about that….
If you would like to find out what’s causing your shots to veer offline contact me at andrew(at)andrewricegolf.com to set up a TrackMan lesson or to discuss an online lesson.
I have had so many people ask me how to better control where they strike the ball on the face that I had to share this drill. Most golfers display a consistent pattern when striking the golf ball and although the impacts points may not be in the exact same position, after hitting a handful of shots a definite pattern will start to emerge. Many golfers want to hit draws and a slight toe side bias to that strike pattern will encourage draws. The ideal strike point with the driver is above and outside of center. Here’s how to build your strike point awareness and ultimately improve your ability to hit it on the good part of the face.
I spray the clubface with Dr. Scholl’s Odor X foot spray and then divide the clubface into four quadrants. The objective is to place the center of the ball in each intended quadrant.
- The frist shot should be the high toe strike
- Followed by the low heel
- Then the more difficult shots, the low toe
- And the high heel.
The above photo is the first time I have ever seen anyone complete this drill on the first try. The more I learn about the importance of impact location, the better I feel about this quote from my Twitter feed:
I see a higher correlation between quality shots and where the ball is hit on the face, than just about any other factor in the swing.
You may ask why don’t we just practice hitting the shot on the intended location? As my friend and fellow coach Chris Como once shared:
Repeatability does not necessarily come from just trying to be more repeatable. Learn to solve similar ‘problems’ a variety of ways…
In other words – learning to hit the ball in a variety of locations on the face will actually make you better at hitting it in the desired location. If you can learn to better (you’ll never be perfect!) control where you impact the ball on the clubface you will dramatically improve the consistency and quality of your shots. Give it a try and feel free to share your experience and photos.
Any idea which shot went the longest out of the four? Read the link below for the answer…