Posts Tagged ‘jack nicklaus’
There are many, many different ways to control the shape of a golf shot, yet none quite as reliable as the method I have outlined below.
This formula works off the fact that most golfers spend hours trying to make their golf swing as consistent as possible. If you spend all that time ‘grooving’ your swing why, when you need to shape a shot, do you employ a totally different golf swing from the one you worked so hard on?
Do you remember your mother saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right!” ?
Well, for shot shaping, three rights make a left! And three lefts make a right. Keep in mind that whether you are a lefty or righty the formula works the same. Here’s the explanation:
To curve the ball to the right
- Aim your body and club face to the left; the direction you would like the ball to start.
- Move the ball position to the left in your stance. (As you view the ball)
- Rotate both hands to your left on the grip of the club. This should be done in a subtle fashion.
Once you are set and ready to fire; make the same swing that you are accustomed to making and the ball should launch in the intended direction and curve to the right.
To curve the ball to the left
- Aim your body and the club face to the right of your target.
- Shift the ball to the right in your stance
- Rotate both hands slightly to the right on the grip.
With a little practice you will start to get a sense for how much the ball position or grip needs to be altered in order to produce the desired result.
Regardless of whether you are a Tour golfer or a beginner, shot shaping is a necessary component to controlling your golf ball. If it’s simply a hook to find your way back into play or a soft little cut 6-iron into that front right pin position shot shaping is something you need in your ‘bag’.
If you have any thoughts or ideas on shaping the ball please feel free to let me know or post them here.
A common complaint I hear from golfers is that their swings are too fast or aggressive. They just have a sense that they are quick either in the transition or the downswing.
Rhythm and pace are very important elements in the golf swing. When a golfer feels quick the first thing they do is try to ‘slow down’…and in an attempt to get some rhythm in the swing they often go overboard and end up slowing everything down a little too much. This can lead to an overly slow start to the swing, which in turn leads to a rapid change in pace during the transition and on into impact. It is this drastic change in speed that conveys the sense of quickness and aggression in the swing.
The PGATour average time for the backswing is right around 0.75 seconds, with an additional 0.25 seconds for the downswing. Notice that ideally there should be something close to a 3:1 ratio of backswing time vs. downswing time. That means that on average a Tour golfer will strike the ball in about a second from when the swing starts. Ernie Els, one of the smoothest swings out there, takes just over a second to strike the ball while Nick Price, who has one of the faster swings, takes around 0.8 seconds. Far too many of golfers I teach take well over a second to complete just the backswing. In watching Els or even Price, most golfers believe they swing a whole lot faster than either of those two top players – that is not the case.
Each of the above golfers are able to maintain a good rhythm in their swing because they maintain something close to a 3:1 ratio in their swings. When a backswing takes over a second to complete the golfer is now faced with a 4:1 or even 5:1 ratio which feels way out of rhythm.
Here are a few pointers when trying to get better rhythm and pace back into your swing:
- Don’t try to speed up your backswing up too quickly – take one pill a day and not the whole bottle…
- The body should not feel hurried; the wrists and arms will create much of the necessary increase in speed.
- Try a few shots with the clubhead starting 2-3 feet ahead of the ball and then flow into the backswing in one motion. This gives the club a moving start and gradually increases the pace.
- Remember that rhythm does not have to be slow…
- Stay patient and gradually build up to it; try to build the speed in your downswing from the transition.
There are not many ways to track your timing ratio, but SwingCatalyst software does it for you.
Another factor to consider is that the less time your swing takes the less opportunity you have to get your body out of position. This is a very important factor and cannot be overlooked – keep the motion concise and it is more likely to be consistent. Give it a try….
One of the most important aspects of great ball striking is compressing the golf ball. Now, we’ve all heard that statement and we know the feel of a purely struck shot, but what really is compression and how can we do a better job with it? Let’s start by understanding the photograph below. This is a simulated shot where the clubface is just about to reach the back of the golf ball. The red line indicates where the loft or upward face angle is at impact and the blue line indicates the direction the clubhead is travelling during impact. The white line connecting the two represents the amount of compression “experienced” by the golf ball.
The narrower the gap or closer the two lines are the more compression will be exerted onto the golf ball and assuming a decent strike and appropriate launch, the ball will travel further. TrackMan refers to this gap as spin loft and without being too detailed it is the difference between where the face points at impact and where the clubhead travels at impact.
Fredrik Tuxen – one of the founders of TrackMan refers to spin loft as compression itself. To get a better understanding of how the numbers work let me give you a few examples: Jack hits a 5 iron with the face pointing at 16 degrees and the clubhead moving 2 degrees down. Bob swings at the same speed as Jack with his 5 iron and he gets the face pointing 15 degrees up and the clubhead moving 6 degrees down. Jack has a spin loft of 18 and Bob has a spin loft of 21. Both shots are hit well, so which goes further? Jack’s does because he has a narrower spin loft gap and thus compresses the ball more than Bob. What spin loft would create the maximum compression? Zero! However, as we will learn spin loft is in large part responsible for the amount of spin imparted on any shot and a golf ball needs some spin to keep it flying in the air. I have found that a spin loft of 11 is very good for a driver.
Some interesting points about compression or spin loft:
- Hitting down will not increase your compression of the golf ball or the spin on the shot. Invariably this only leads to a shot where the face angle and the clubhead direction both move downward – there is no change in spin or increase in distance.
- A higher spin loft increases spin and generally slows down ball speed.
- If you have similar swing speed, but hit your shots far shorter than your playing partners – this is due to a lack of compression on your shots.
- Shots with a lower spin loft will curve in the air more easily than shots with less compression. That’s why it’s easier to keep a 7 iron straighter than a driver.
- Custom club fitting can help to improve your spin loft simply by delofting either your irons or driver.
Now that we really understand what true compression is we can start to look at methods to help us improve our own ball striking. There are two ways we can compress the ball better – deloft the face angle more at impact without hitting down any more or hit down less without increasing the the loft of the face during impact. Ideally we need to deloft the face without hitting down any more. Notice how in the Jack and Bob example I used above – Bob’s face was delofted more than Jack’s, yet he hit down more and this limited his ability to compress the ball.
To get a good sense of what is required:
- Get in front of a mirror with a 7 iron.
- Grip the club and facing the mirror get the clubhead about 3″ off the ground two feet back from where the ball would be.
- Now slowly glide the clubhead through impact while maintaining the 3″ space between the clubhead and the ground noticing that as you go beyond impact how much your hands need to stay in front.
- When you start hitting balls – start small and hit soft shots off of a tee.
- There should be no ground contact, try to leave the tee in the ground and see how low you can hit these little 7 iron shots.
This is the feel you want! Delofting the face without slamming the club into the ground. And believe it or not this applies to the driver as well. I know it may sound strange and it took me a while to wrap my brain around this, but it is entirely possible to hit up on the ball with the handle/hands in front of the clubhead.
If you have gained something from this article please share it with a friend. Let’s be honest, they could most probably do with the help….
Long ago I came to realize that much of modern day golf instruction is based primarily around instructor style preference. Way too much of the information being peddled is form based instead of being function based. Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey’s win this weekend on the PGATour illustrates that there is more to a golf swing than simply what meets the eye.
In studying the top golfers of all time – no two swings are alike. Who is to say that Ben Hogan‘s flat plane is better than Jack Nicklaus‘ vertical arm move? Who is to say that Sam Snead‘s slight over the top move was better than Nick Price‘s drop down transition?
Ultimately it all comes down impact and physics – the forces and angles you are causing the club to impart on the golf ball. Impact is the one position in which all of the great players are decidedly similar. From Patty Berg to Annika and Tom Watson to Phil Mickelson – all these players assume a very similar position at impact. If this is the case, which, trust me, it is, then the appearance of the swing should play far less of a role in a golfer’s path to improvement.
Here are the elements of a great impact position with irons:
- the weight is noticeably on the front foot; 80% or more
- the handle always leads the clubhead
- the head remains over the ball, while the hips have shifted to the target; this creates what I refer to as body ‘curve’
- the clubhead travels down (downswing) into the ball; this includes fairway woods and hybrids
Here are two short videos to help:
The next time you take a lesson make sure your teacher works towards getting you into a better position at impact. It is the only way you are going to start hitting better, more compressed golf shots.
Schwartzel bested Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia by 10 strokes. This year there were only 11 golfers that made the cut in all four majors – an average number. Charl actually made the cut in all four majors last year too!
Charl Schwartzel: 274-280-285-279–1118
Steve Stricker: 283-283-283-279–1128
Sergio Garcia: 288-279-282-279–1128
Rory McIlroy: 284-268-287-291–1130
Y.E. Yang: 284-278-285-292–1132
Ryan Palmer: 282-284-289-280–1135
Phil Mickelson: 287-291-278-280–1136
Gary Woodland: 286-285-289-279–1139
Bill Haas: 290-285-294-279–1143
Bubba Watson: 289-293-289-281–1152
Edoardo Molinari: 283-291-297-292–1163
Colin McGillivray tracks the majors aggregate each year on his website www.golf-majors-champion.com and has compiled the annual results going back to 1960.