Clear as Mud...Balls!

mudballs

It's never a good feeling when you've striped one down the middle and you get to your golf ball only to see a large chunk of mud attached to one side of your golf ball. For years I had heard that mud on the right would cause the ball to go left, but I never was sure. The best way to build some clarity - do a test! Here's a sampling of what we found...

For the "Facts of Golf" series I filmed recently with Revolution Golf in conjunction with PING this was one of the first ideas we were interested in testing. Thanks to some guidance from Erik Henrikson, Director of Innovation for PING, these were our findings:

  • Mud on the left with a 'neutral' swing will almost always cause the ball to move strongly right in the air
  • Mud on the right with a 'neutral' swing will almost always cause the ball to move strongly left in the air
  • The large clumps of mud will be 'ejected' off the ball very quickly after impact, but it's the remaining small particles that alter the ball flight
  • Mud that's located on the top, front or back will cause for quite a significantly shorter shot without much directional change
  • It's hard to find good quality mud to do a test like this

Shot data for mud on the right (a fairly neutral swing) from TrackMan:

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Shot data for mud on the left (a fairly neutral swing) from TrackMan:

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As I hit each of these shots I was floored at how much the ball moved in the air relative to the feel of the shot. The feel was neutral, yet the ball seemed to take off with a mind of it's own. I hope this information helps you save a stroke or two the next time you encounter the dreaded mud ball!

Thoughts on Master's Eve

 Shubankar Sharma by David Cannon

Shubankar Sharma by David Cannon

Wow! This is going to be a good one. They all are, but this one just seems poised to be something above the norm when it comes to Augusta National and the Masters. I know you're as excited as I am and it seems everybody has their own thoughts on who will take this year's green jacket. Here are my thoughts...

If you haven't checked it out already you should jump over to Masters.com for all the news, updates and some incredible ANGC photography. Anything that's worthy of the Masters can be found there.

Here are all the players along with the tee sheet for Thursday. And in case you were wondering about TV times and channels here you go...

When and Where to watch the Masters

Date: Thursday, April 5 - Sunday, April 8  

Location: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia Time: 3 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. ET (Thurs., Fri. & Sat.), 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET (Sun.)  TV: ESPN (Thurs. & Fri.), CBS (Sat. & Sun.)  

Online Streaming: WatchESPN, CBS All Access, Masters.com (Holes 15 & 16, Amen Corner, Featured Groups)

Enjoy the week and please let me know who your favorites are....

Cheers!

The Value of Engagement

Engagement in learning is defined as the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism and passion that students demonstrate. Most of the current research shows that an increase in student engagement leads to improved retention and heightened skill acquisition. What are you going to do about it and how can this impact you as a golfer?

Have you ever had a boring practice session? Headed to the range to get your ‘reps’ in? It’s time for us to move beyond rote practice regimens because when practicing, the ideal environment is one of engagement and ultimately, challenge.

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Don’t get me wrong – block practice will always have a place on my lesson tee. It just shouldn’t be the only form of practice we put in. Let’s incorporate challenges where you keep track of a score or an outcome. Let’s try to do things you previously have been unable to do. If you’re doing all you can to beat your personal best score for a particular chipping challenge, you cannot help but be passionate, interested and optimistic. That’s where the real growth occurs!

To a certain degree I’ve looked up the research to see if it aligned with what I’ve been seeing anecdotally with my students recently. I’ve created a few games to challenge some of my better golfers during their long hours on the range and the results have been promising. They find themselves spending less time on the technical aspects of their golf swing and more time trying to break ‘records’ and put up a ‘score’ and I like that. They do too!

The research and my experience agree – we get better when we’re very much into what we’re doing. Here are a few challenges that will whip you into learning shape…

16 Shot Driver Challenge

  • 4 sets of 4 balls
  • Each 4 ball set is for a different fairway you select on the practice ground
  • Shot 1 is rough both left and right
  • Shot 2 is rough left and hazard right
  • Shot 3 is hazard left and rough right
  • Shot 4 is hazard both left and right
  • Scoring is 1 for fairway, 2 for rough and 3 for hazard
  • Objective is to score 20 points or less

18 Shot 9-Club Approach Challenge

  • Use the 9 clubs between wedges and driver (3 wood to PW)
  • Hit 2 shots with each club in random order
  • Each of the 2 shots are to a different target
  • Each club hits a shot to the left and a shot to the right of the target
  • Don’t select clubs in a smooth order – keep it random
  • 30 foot zone for <5 handicap
  • 40 foot zone for >5 handicap
  • Scoring is 1 for in the zone, 2 for outside the zone on safe side, 3 for wrong side of the target
  • Scoring objectives are ability/handicap dependent

36 Shot Pitching Challenge

  • 36 different shots inside 60 yards
  • Targets can be flags, balls, divots...anything
  • You compete against your own expectations
  • Balls should be counted out prior to getting started
  • Scoring is 1 for better than expected and 0 for outside expectation

10 Ball Gate Putting Challenge

  • Select a 15 foot putt
  • Place a tee at 15' from the hole and another tee 2' behind the hole
  • After reading the green place 2 coins a putter head width apart in the mid-point of the putt
  • The coins are adjustable and indicate your start line
  • Scoring is 1 for through the gate without touching the coins, 2 for appropriate pace with the ball finishing between the front edge and the back tee and 3 for a make
  • There is the potential for 30 points and the scoring objective is dependent on putt difficulty and player ability
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These challenges are really fun to work through and they will certainly engage you in the process of executing better golf shots. I’ve even found that asking students to report there score to me via text or Edufii serves to heighten their level of engagement and thus learning.

My hope is that this article serves to cause you to institute productive changes into your practice routine. Make 2018 the year where your performance finally meets your potential.

Wedges: Friction and Trajectory

The other day during a Three Day Golf School I hit four demonstration pitch shots for my students. My intent was to repeat the same shot in each attempt, with the only difference being how I manipulated the amount of friction between the club face and the ball.

The amount of loft I was able to deliver for each of the four shots was between 44.3º and 45.3º - the best I've been able to do! The interesting part is that the launch angles ranged from 30.4º tall the way up to 40.0º. How does that happen?

 The Four Shots

The Four Shots

The reasons why the launch angles are different is something that too few golfers (and coaches) understand and while I've written on this before it's a mission of mine to get the good word out. My intent was to carry each shot 50 yards and they are all played in the same fashion, with the same club except for shot 4.

Shot 1 - clean, dry club face and a clean, dry range ball. Spin rate - 6246 rpm. Launch is a respectable 32.1º

Shot 2 - clean, wet club face and a clean, wet range ball. Spin rate - 2782 rpm. Launch is a whopping 40º

Shot 3 - clean, dry club face and a clean, dry premium ball. Spin rate 6923 rpm. Launch is the lowest at 30.4º

Shot 4 - clean, dry grooveless club face and a clean, dry range ball. Spin rate is 5837 rpm. Launch is decent at 33.6º

I must mention that in order to 'manage' the friction between the club face and the ball each of these shots is played off a tee so as to eliminate grass and outside matter from interfering.

While the loft is maintained the launch, spin rate and peak height can be greatly influenced by the amount of friction generated between the club face and the ball. The moral of the story here is that the best pitchers in the world hit low launching, high spinning shots when the conditions allow. There is more at play than simply the loft at impact determining the launch angle. As you can tell friction plays a massive role too. It is my hope that in understanding this you will be less likely to try and 'fix' something that isn't broken. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

 Luke Donald

Luke Donald

 

 

Coach Camp London

If you're a coach or a golf professional you may have heard about Coach Camp. If you've been fortunate enough to attend one then you already know what it's about. If you haven't and would like to learn more then this 90 seconds is for you...

When the idea for Coach Camp was hatched I wanted it to be something that made a significant change in the way coaches and professionals helped students improve, operated their business and marketed what they do. It has and always will be "Two days of industry leading coaching information designed to positively enhance the course of your career."

 Chuck Cook Teaching at Coach Camp USA

Chuck Cook Teaching at Coach Camp USA

The feature presenters in London will be coaching legend Chuck Cook, putting guru David Orr, biomechanics expert Scott Cowx and myself. We will also have Dr. Scott Lynn share his presentation on ground reaction forces

There will be live lessons, Q&A sessions, putting demonstrations and perhaps best of all - the cocktail party on Monday evening where we can get down to the nitty gritty questions you might have. All so that you can be more successful on the lesson tee!

 Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

We will be at the Drift Golf Club in East Horsley outside London on September 25 & 26. Our title sponsors: KVEST3DSwing CatalystTrackMan; and True Spec Golf will also have representatives on site. Not only will you be able to see this technology in action, but the company representatives will be able to answer any questions you might have. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to learn from some of the best in our business.

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Register for Coach Camp London HERE

 

Saving Strokes with Science

With so many limits and restrictions being placed on golf club manufacturers these days it's amazing to see what really smart people can do, within the legal lines, to help us save strokes. This is a prime example from the engineers at Ping. Watch...

What the people at Ping found was that the depth of the grooves on the face of a putter played a tangible role in determining ball speed and thus how far the ball travelled off the face. They also knew that off-center strikes tended to travel shorter, so they used the groove depth to actually help maintain the intended ball speeds on off-center strikes.

All of the six balls pictured above were struck with a putting robot and the exact same stroke. The three circled/striped balls were hit with a variable depth grooved putter, with one being hit out the center, another 0.75" out the heel and the other 0.75" out the toe. The three non-circled balls were struck in the same fashion, but they did not have the advantage of the variable depth grooves. Notice the massive difference in dispersion!

We all hit off-center putts. We all despise three putts. The answer seems pretty simple to me! Please know, this is not a sales pitch for Ping putters, but before you go out and buy your next golf club learn about the science behind the design.

Thanks for reading.

Coach Camp Europe

Wow! What a fantastic ten days. Terri and I have just returned from Coach Camp Europe and we could not have been more pleased with the outcome of each event. After the success of the inaugural Coach Camp in South Carolina in February earlier this year we had received numerous requests from coaches in Europe to put on a similar event over there. We were blessed to have all the original presenters, Dana Dahlquist, Martin Chuck, Joseph Mayo and myself make the trip while managing to add brand guru and content creator extra-ordinaire, Mark Crossfield to the line-up.

On September 20th & 21st we kicked off just outside Brussels at Chateau de la Tournette hosted by teaching professional Alan McLean. There were almost 80 attendees with most of them traveling in from Holland. 

The weather was incredible and the outdoor segments were conducted in warm sunshine on both days. A highlight appeared to be the newly introduced 20-minute quick lessons that each presenter gave to golfers of various handicap levels. Or maybe it was the story Joe Mayo told about a porcupine living inside the head of a driver…

After Belgium we moved on to Dublin, Ireland where, on September 26th & 27th Stephen Ennis hosted us at Roganstown. Here there were 70 attendees with the majority being from the UK and Ireland. We did have two coaches come in from South Africa, a handful from Poland and a return attendee from Russia.

Having had some prior experience with Irish weather I was shocked when the sun came out on the first day. The second day might have been a bit chilly and windy but there was nothing we could complain about.

Each of the presenters was asked to speak on a topic of their choosing:

  • Martin Chuck: What I’ve Learned

Martin took us through his approach to giving a lesson and the factors he felt were important in putting the student at ease and developing a relationship

  • Dana Dahlquist: Swing Preferences

Dana shared a variety of swing patterns (CP & CF) with the group and spoke about what to look for from certain players

  • Joseph Mayo: Trail Shoulder External Rotation

Joe regaled us with the value of trail shoulder rotation in the swing and it’s importance in getting the shaft to lay down correctly.

  • Mark Crossfield: Coaching to Your Audience

Mark presented on his business brand and shared a number of valuable points. A highlight was his discussion on ‘exit strategy’ for golf coaches.

  • Andrew Rice: What I’ve Learned

My theme explored what can we as coaches can do to make the game easier for all golfers. I presented on the importance of hand path, the face to path relationship and skill development. 

 Dahlquist and Mayo

Dahlquist and Mayo

As per usual at these events the lunchtime and evening banter was second to none as this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to dig deeper on certain topics and swing elements.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sponsors of both events, Foresight Europe and SwingCatalyst.  They provided the most incredible crew at each site and I do not stand alone in saying that each of the presenters was impressed with both the technology and support each company provided. In fact Dana Dahlquist purchased a SwingCatalyst.

Thank you to the sponsors, the presenters, the hosts and most of all the coaches who attended. Our objective is to make Coach Camp the premier coaching event in the world and we sincerely appreciate you joining us. It really was a blast!

I am currently working towards setting up a fresh, world-class list of feature presenters for Coach Camp 2017. The event will be held on January 30th and 31st at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort in Savannah, Georgia. The line-up of feature presenters will be announced the week of October 24th (or sooner!). We will have 100 available spots for attendees this year, so please block off the Monday and Tuesday after the PGA Merchandise Show if you plan on attending. 

See you in Savannah…

How to Practice: 1. SWING

This is the first in a series on how to get the most out of the limited available time you have to work on your game. I'm a big proponent of allocating a portion or your practice time to taking ownership of mechanics and SWING, another portion to SKILL development and finally executing SHOTS to carry the upgrades to an "on-course" styled environment. Each session should be filtered through the swing, skill and shot mantra.

Let's get started with understanding what should be going into the swing segment of your practice. This is block practice and that is a good thing! We need it. Block practice is a necessity as it allows us to get enough technical reps in to start taking full ownership of the upgrades. Block practice only becomes a problem when that's the ONLY way you practice. If you can find a way to incorporate swing, skill and shot into all of your practice sessions I have a sneaky feeling things will start to get better. Check this out...

When in swing mode this is what I'm looking for:

  • I use a 7 or 8 iron and practice off preferred lies or even tees
  • I'll most often use an alignment aid and hit all shots to one target
  • I don't pay much attention to the shot. My focus is primarily on the motion
  • I make a number of practice swings and feels between each shot
  • This is the only time I'll devote to doing swing drills
  • A nice addition to this segment of your practice would be a mirror as it allows you to 'feel' the look you're after

Make sure that to avoid the trap of trying to hit result based shots while you're attending to mechanics - that will come later. Check back next week where I will share my take on how to develop your skills as a golfer.

Trip Update: I have an opening for one more couple to New Zealand in February 2017 and space for a few more couples to South Africa in January 2017. Should you be interested check out www.syncexcursions.com or shoot terri(at)andrewricegolf.com an email. Would love to have you join me!

Coach Camp Presentations

Coach Camp 2016 was a tremendous success and now you have an opportunity to learn from all the presenters as if you were there. From trending #1 on Twitter to all the rave reviews we've received I believe that whether you're a golfer or coach you will benefit from the information shared in seven plus hours of presentations available here.

The videos are broken into segments but unfortunately do not include Scott Fawcett's presentation as he opted to not include his proprietary information. The cost is $150 and is payable once you have registered at www.coachcampvideo.com.

The topics for each presentation are as follows:

Martin Chuck - Developing Your Teaching Style (59 min)

Dana Dahlquist - The Golf Machine and the "P" System (61 min)

Joseph Mayo - Wrist Angles, Hand Path and Sweet Spot Orientation (56 min)

Andrew Rice - Forward! Information and Tools to Help any Coach and Golfer Improve (52 min)

Live Lesson Golfer Evaluation 1 - In this segment each of the four main presenters evaluate a student and share how they would work to help this golfer improve (25 min)

Live Lesson Golfer Evaluation 2 - In this segment each of the four main presenters continue their evaluation and discuss a plan to move forward (28 min)

Dr. Morris Pickens - How to Practice and Improve Short Game (25 min)

Curious Coaches - Matt Wilson and Corey Lundberg discuss the Coaching Spectrum (47 min)

Business Development - Each of the feature presenters shares their ideas on what they are doing to grow their teaching business. (47 min)

On Range Driver and Wedge Session with Feature Presenters - Here the group discusses their favorite drills and ideas to hit drivers and wedges better. (82 min)

Question and Answer Session - numerous interesting questions along with a fabulous Joe Mayo segment on why it's important to keep the center of mass of the club out of line with the hand path. (68 min)

The videos will give you insight into what some of the top coaches and minds in the game of golf are working on to improve their students performance. They include individual presentations from Martin Chuck, Dana Dahlquist, Joe Mayo and Andrew Rice. Our guest presenters, Dr. Morris Pickens and Matt Wilson and Corey Lundberg from Curious Coaches are also featured. Perhaps one of the most insightful segments is the lesson evaluation each feature presenter did with 10 handicap golfer Karl Deblitz. There are also in depth discussions on wedge and driver play.

I am confident that whether you're  a golfer looking to improve your ball striking or coach looking to advance the quality of your information you will find these presentations to be immensely helpful. One veteran attendee echoed the sentiments of many others when he said, "This was the best education experience I have ever attended!

To make your purchase go to www.coachcampvideo.com 

NOTICE

It has come to our attention that privacy protected videos will not currently display properly using the iOS 9.3 system or Safari 9.1 on Mac.  This is a known issue with Apple that was caused by their latest update, and they are currently working to fix it.  On your Mac, you may use a different browser or an earlier version of Safari.  Unfortunately, your iOS device running 9.3 will not be able to display these videos properly until Apple releases a new iOS update.  We apologize for any inconvenience to our iOS 9.3 and Safari 9.1 users, Apple is working to correct the problem.

New Home for Andrew Rice Golf

 The Club at Savannah Harbor

The Club at Savannah Harbor

I'm pleased to announce that I have partnered with the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa and starting on February 15th I will be the new Director of Instruction at the Club at Savannah Harbor.

This is where my Three Day Golf Schools and all individual instruction will be based and I couldn't be more excited to be positioned just minutes from the heart of the Savannah Historic District (voted "Best Small City in the USA" by Conde Nast 2015).

Not only is this a great golf school location, but it's also a fantastic retreat for couples. Whether you're looking to take a lesson, play a world-class golf course, relax in the Heavenly Spa or just explore one of America's most historic cities, the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa (voted one of "Georgia's Top Golf Resorts" by Golf Week 2015) will meet all your needs.

This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I cannot wait to welcome you to Savannah Harbor - I know you're going to love it. 

For more information on my upcoming golf schools please contact my Managing Director at terri@andrewricegolf.com or to book your next lesson contact me at andrew@andrewricegolf.com

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This is going to be good....

Join My Team...

It's FREE! This is something I'm very excited to share with you as I know it's going to upgrade our ability to interact and connect. I have partnered with an amazing technology company called Edufii. Edufii is the social network for skills development. It is going to enable us to connect and collaborate more efficiently and effectively to improve your golf and for 90 days my Andrew Rice All Access Preview Team is completely FREE of charge. No more links or long videos, just 'bite sized' nuggets of information to help us connect and learn in a distraction free mobile environment. I’ll be sharing drills, practice info, updates, challenges and much, much more all directly to your mobile device instead of using email, Facebook etc. To join the Andrew Rice All Access Preview Team click the link below and create your account, then be sure to download the app too. Signing up should take you about 60 seconds! 

Edufii is currently only offering this opportunity to a limited number of coaches so I’m thrilled to be on the forefront of this cutting­-edge mobile technology while bringing you a whole new level of interactive coaching.

This promises to be an absolute game changer for all involved plus a whole lot of fun! Since we’re just getting started, this program is FREE for the next 90 days.  Join today and experience this revolutionary way to stay connected.

Divot Patterns

It has often amazed me how a golfer's personality tends to shine through in the manner in which they practice. Some are neat and tidy while others seem to be all over the map! Good golfers however, always seem to manage their practice sessions and the turf they have at their disposal. Creating good divot patterns when you practice might not be the key to you shooting under par, but you'll look good and might even make a few friends while you're at it...

 The Excavator

The Excavator

The excavator tends to:

  • be a more experienced and often, better player
  • clear cut any and all life forms from the rectangle where they've been hitting irons
  • make it very difficult for the turf they use to grow back in a timely fashion
  • cause the practice tee to be uneven and wavy
 The Roamer

The Roamer

The roamer tends to:

  • use up as much space on the practice tee as is humanly possible
  • be a type AA personality
  • not be too bad for turf growth and management
  • makes it very difficult for the golfer using the space behind them
 The Striper

The Striper

The striper tends to:

  • be an experienced, better golfer
  • is efficient with turf usage - they get the most out of the space they use
  • make it easy for the turf to recover and fill in
  • use an alignment aid to help both their golf and divot patterns
  • is a friend to superintendents everywhere

This video with Chris Young, head superintendent at Berkeley Hall, will help you get the picture...

If you feel this article and video could be a help to golfers and superintendents where you play and practice please share it with them. This is a must share for all excavators and roamers you know.

Thanks for tuning in.

Weight Shift vs Pressure Shift in the Golf Swing

The SwingCatalyst Pressure Plate and 3D Force Plate has been invaluable tool, not only to my students, but also to my understanding of how the golf swing works. Here's a video explaining something that took me quite a while to comprehend. There can be a significant difference between where a golfer's weight is at a point in the swing and where they are exerting pressure on the ground. This should clarify....

Of course it's also important to keep in mind that how a golfer pressures the ground will ultimately determine how they eventually shift their weight. 

Thanks for checking in and I hope this stuff helps your game!

Prepare to Play Great Golf

In today's fast paced world there isn't enough time to play golf, never mind work in a proper warm-up before you play. With the help of Berkeley Hall's TPI Certified trainer, Derek Lemire, this article isolates a few important exercises you can sneak in before the round to help you better prepare to play some great golf.

Here is a breakdown of the key areas to focus on and suggested exercises to complete:

HIPS

  1. Hip Kick (0:50)
  2. Hip Rotation (1:05)
  3. Hip Tilt (1:35)
  4. Internal Hip Rotation (2:10)
  5. External Hip Rotation (2:25)
  6. Hip Flexion (2:35)
  7. Hip Separation (3:10)

LEGS & SPINE

  1. Hamstring Stretch (3:45)
  2. Lateral Lunge with Rotation (4:30)
  3. Forward Lunge with Rotation (5:15)

SHOULDERS & LATS

  1. Vertical Shoulder Activation (5:45)
  2. Scarecrow/9090 (6:10)
  3. Shoulder Fly (6:30)
  4. Lat Stretch (6:50)

CORE ACTIVATION

  1. Forward Plank (8:00)
  2. Side Plank (8:30)

I would encourage you to select two from each body zone and work towards incorporating them into either your daily routine or at the very least do them before going out to play.

Remember this - if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll continue to be the golfer you've always been! Accept the challenge and commit to the change.

 

Top 100 Most Popular Golf Instructors

A list with a twist! The crew at swingmangolf.com recently came up with a novel way to rank golf instructors by using advanced Google analytics to analyze over 600 coaches to see which of them were most sought after by the golfing public. Which teachers are being watched and read online more than any other?

 Mark Crossfield

Mark Crossfield

Here are the Top 50 from the list:

43rd Josh Zander, James Sieckmann, Jeff Ritter, Maggie Noel, Pia Nilsson, Mike Malaska, Bill Harmon, Gary Gilchrist

38th Suzy Whaley, Grant Waite, Claude Harmon III, Ben Doyle, Mark Blackburn

35th Mac O'Grady, Darrell Klassen, Mike Adams

30th Stan Utley, Brian Manzella, Pete Cowen, Chuck Cook, Zach Allen, 

25th Bob Toski, Kelvin Miyahira, Meredith Kirk, Jim Hardy, Bobby Clampett

21st Andrew Rice, Peter Kostis, Wayne Defrancesco, Manuel De La Torre

18th Doug Tewell, Dave Stockton, Martin Chuck

16th Monte Scheinblum, Todd Graves

12th Dave Pelz, Michael Breed, Mike Bender, Jimmy Ballard

9th Jim McLean, Martin Hall, Shawn Clement

8th Todd Anderson

7th David Leadbetter

6th Paul Wilson

5th Chris Como

3rd Hank Haney, Sean Foley

2nd Butch Harmon

1st Mark Crossfield

(Article and full list HERE)

 Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

An interesting list that is bound to raise a few eyebrows. A few points to note:

  • All the teachers in the Top 5, except Mark Crossfield, have at some point coached Tiger Woods.
  • Faculty from  Revolution Golf are nicely represented with Sean Foley (3rd), Jim McLean (9th), Martin Chuck (18th) and yours truly (21st).
  • Both Berkeley Hall teachers were in the Top 100 with Krista Dunton coming in 82nd.

I was honored to be recognized by you, the golfing public, and I am fully committed to upgrade the quality of the information I share with you on a daily basis. My philosophy is this - I want to communicate the most accurate information available in a manner that is easily understood by all golfers.

Thanks for reading and for your support!

Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie

With Every Shot Counts Mark Broadie has written the most important golf book I have ever read. I say that because the book has done more to shape how I coach and deliver a golfer to their full potential than any technical manuscript before it.

Mark Broadie has done an exceptional job in sifting through the mountain of Shotlink data generated by the PGA Tour over the last decade. A Columbia Business School professor and avid golfer, Broadie is widely credited with coming up with strokes gained - a measurement of how much better or worse a golfer performs off the tee or from any given distance when compared with all other PGA Tour players.

The PGA Tour has been using strokes gained putting for a while now, but Broadie has also developed strokes gained driving for tee shots; strokes gained approach for shots of more than 100 yards; and strokes gained short game for shots of less than 100 yards, excluding putts. Add them together and you get total strokes gained.

From 2004-12 the top 10 players in total strokes gained were: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson. A pretty impressive list and arguably the best players in the game over the last decade.

The author goes on to show how these proven golfers outperformed their counterparts - "Two-thirds of the strokes they gained were from shots outside of 100 yards and one-third was from inside 100 yards," Broadie said. "Putting accounted for just 15 percent of the scoring difference between the top 10 golfers in the world and the average PGA Tour pro."

Wow! I have quizzed many of my students over the past few weeks on how they would rank, in order of importance, the four primary areas that contribute to the standard of any golfer. I think one person (who had secretly read about the book and it's findings) got the order correct. Most of them had it completely backwards. It also shocked me how many ranked putting as the most important factor.

Here is the order: (followed by the player who gained the most strokes on their competitors over the last decade)

  1. Approach shots outside 100 yards (Tiger Woods)
  2. Driving (Bubba Watson)
  3. Short game shots inside 100 yards (Steve Stricker)
  4. Putting (Luke Donald)

To me this order is hugely important as it should influence the manner in which you go about improving. I have encouraged all my students to ramp up the amount of long iron, hybrid and driver practice they have been doing.

Essentially, good golfers are good because they hit it good.

markbroadie

The book also shows the importance of length and what an asset making the ball go a long way is. Bubba Watson has literally pummeled his competitors off the tee with brute power and speed. Now all of my competitive students work on speed sets to increase their clubhead speed as much as possible.

The book is filled with valuable nuggets for both the better and weekend golfer - far too many to mention in an article like this. It includes drills for putting and even ideas on how to approach challenging tee shots dependent on your ability. If you are an avid golfer or coach and you find that your progress has plateaued, do yourself a favor and go out and buy this book and commit to reading it twice. The second time with a highlighter in hand!

If you don't get anything from it call me and I'll refund you your money...

Guidelines for Junior Golfers

Junior Golfer

I have so much to say to junior golfers – they are the future of the game.  Here is a summary of what I believe to be the most important points for them to observe:

  • Always walk versus ride! Golf carts have been forced into the game primarily for financial reasons. They do not speed up the game; they do not provide the golfer with a better experience; and they do not improve the design of golf courses!  Do yourself a favor and commit to never riding again unless it is absolutely called for.
  • Compete, casually and seriously, as often as possible. One of the primary reasons boys are much better chippers than girls is because they love to compete and try unique shots around the practice green. It is this competitive environment that stretches them to create new and better shots. Apply this philosophy to every element of the game.
  • Study and learn to appreciate the history of the game.  Do you know who Bobby Jones is?  Why is St. Andrews such a special place?  Who is Dr. Alister MacKenzie? I wholeheartedly believe that this is an element of the game that is being lost on our young golfers – an appreciation of all who have walked the fairways before them.  Read books and ask questions!  You will be better off for it.
  • Take full advantage of every opportunity you are presented with.  Do not give yourself the chance to look back on your career and regret that you did not give everything 100% effort.  Do everything to the best of your ability!
  • Heart always beats out a pretty swing!  When it comes to the game of golf, this statement will forever be true.  All of the great champions played with a tremendous amount of heart; not all of them had pretty swings.
  • Have fun with the short game. Try to hit the craziest shots you can imagine.  It will teach you how to control your club face and ultimately the ball.  I actually remember having SW long drive contests. Try to hit the highest, lowest, shortest shots you can think of; it all adds up to creativity around the greens.
  • Work hard at the game. It’ll teach you about life and its challenges. Golf, like life, is not always fair, but patience, belief and persistence will pay off in the end.
  • You do not have to be the next Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus.  This is a huge problem I see amongst junior golfers and their parents.  When did it stop being okay for junior golfers to just simply play the game for enjoyment? It seems that every junior golfer and their parents have their sights set on grandeur and no expense or sacrifice is too great for a slim shot at stardom. If you want to be as good as you can, by all means go for it, but if you just like the game for what it is, take it easy and just have fun.
  • Play with the best golfers you can find. Nothing will improve your game as quickly as playing with players that are a lot better than you.
  • If you are over 15 and serious about being good you need to look into getting stronger and fitter. Find a trainer who knows the golf swing and how to train for golf.
  • Respect the etiquette, honesty and integrity of the game. Play the game at a different level than your peers. The vast majority of champions in the game were very clear in this regard – play golf the way it was meant to be played!  Behave in a first class fashion on the course and it will start to carry over into all areas of your life.
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A Note to Parents:

Give your young golfers a chance to have a great time playing and practicing the game.  This way they will learn to love the game and when they love the game they will come back to it over and over.  This is the only way they will ever reach their full potential - if you will allow them to have fun while playing golf!I have seen the game become work and a career for too many 12 and 13 year olds.  I taught perhaps the best female junior golfer of all time in Aree Song At 13 she had won the US Junior, the very first AJGA event she played in, finished in the top 10 in an LPGA major and was a first team AJGA All-American.  Aree, now in her late twenties, no longer plays on the tour.  She should be a dominant force in the prime of her career! We can all guess why she no longer has a passion for the game.  Trust me; I have seen the right way and the wrong way; tread lightly and let them have fun.

Winter Weather Drills

With the entire northern hemisphere seemingly in the grip of the polar ice cap I have come up with two drills that can be performed without a club and indoors.  They should prove to be invaluable to golfers of every caliber. The Ball Compression Drill

The Ball Compression Drill

This is a drill to do at home or in the gym and translates the feeling of impact nicely. Be sure to only drive the hips to compress the physio ball and not the entire body.  Do this drill on a regular basis and you will really start to gain a sense for what the downswing should feel like.

Arms at Impact Drill

This drill conveys the feel for what the hands and arms need to be doing as they approach impact. It can easily be done indoors and is something that every golfer could benefit from.  Be sure to start this drill with some crease in the right elbow and right wrist if you are a right hander.

If you are hunkered down indoors yet still feel the need to work on your game these drills will go a long way towards preparing you for when the season rolls around. Please view all the above drills and others on my Youtube channel. Just enter andrewricegolf to see them all.

Thank You and Merry Christmas!

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!

#wedgeproject

My Day with Chuck Cook and Stan Utley

Utley, Cook and Rice 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.

Chuck Cook

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...

Jason Dufner

Stan Utley

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...