Centeredness of Contact

As you may have heard, it's all about impact! And it really is. The most important part of the golf swing is the point at which the golf club communicates to the golf ball - impact. The ball spends 1/2000 of a second on the face and it's during this sliver of time that the outcome of every shot is determined.

I often share with golfers how the laws of physics cause the ball to respond to the club, and while this information is helpful it refers primarily to centered hits. It is too seldom that I discuss off-center hits and how the ball responds to this frequent occurrence. Today's the day!
When the ball is struck anywhere other than the center of the face a phenomenon called gear effect occurs. Ever heard of it? It causes the ball to draw (or fade less) on toe oriented hits and fade (or draw less) on heel oriented hits. I often see a golfer struggling to stop the ball from fading, yet every shot is struck off the heel or inside of the face. Gear effect is elevated when you use clubs with larger heads such as a driver and it's actually the reason why the face of a driver is curved from toe to heel and from top to bottom. The curve on the face of a driver actually gets the ball, when struck off the toe for example, to launch to the right (for right-handers) and then gear effect causes the shot to curve back to the target. Gear effect plays a role in all shots where the ball is not struck in the center of the face and let's be honest - and that is most shots.
The research I have conducted using TrackMan has shown that better golfers (single figure handicaps or better) hit the sweet spot or center of gravity less than 20% of the time! Think about that for a second...
The best method to ascertain where you are striking the ball on the clubface is to use a dry erase marker to cover a portion of the face. Hit a shot or two, take note of where the strike occurs and then re-apply. After a handful of shots you'll start to get a good idea as to what your tendencies might be because, while you may not hit the sweet spot often enough, most golfers are fairly consistent with where they miss.

Keep in mind that it is very difficult to influence where the ball is being struck on the face by altering your distance from the ball. For example, heel hits do not mean that you should move away from the ball as this will more than likely cause you to reach out for the ball even more and exacerbate the problem.
Once you start to learn what your tendencies are an excellent drill is to position a row of tees just outside the toe if you hit shots predominantly off the heel and vice versa for toe hits.
After a few shot you will start to sense what the body and arms need to do in order to make a quality strike in the center of the clubface. Give it a try!
Another important note: is pleased to announce that Derek Lemire,

Fitness Trainer at Berkeley Hall and trainer to recent PGA Tour Champion Kyle Stanley, will be making regular contributions to this site. Derek will be offering important advice to all golfers concerning exercise programs, stretching and even nutrition. I have worked with Derek at Berkeley Hall for a long time and I am excited to share his passion and knowledge with all of you.
Thanks for reading and good striking!

Comeback for Kyle!

Kyle Stanley did something very few golfers ever get to do - he turned the tables. And the amazing thing is he did it all in the span of eight days. After losing at Torrey Pines after having a seven shot lead, he righted all his wrongs on Sunday, by negating Spencer Levin's eight shot lead to win his first PGA Tour event.

Kyle is the touring professional for my home course, Berkeley Hall, where he is also a resident. He takes full advantage of our amazing practice facility and plays with the members whenever he is in town. We are all so proud of "our man"!

This is what was in the bag for the victory week:

  • Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5 degree with Mitsubishi Diamana Kai'li 70X
  • 3-wood: Titleist 910Fd 13.5 degree with Mitsubishi Fubuki 83X
  • Irons: Titleist 503i 2-iron; MB712 4-P with Project X 6.5
  • Wedges: Vokey Design 52.08, 56.14, SM4 60.10 with TT Dynamic Gold S-400
  • Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless (GSS)
  • Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

An interesting note is that during the off-season Kyle switched from a 9.5 degree D3 to a 7.5 degree model. He could not get comfortable with the 7.5 and after testing on our TrackMan we found that he was a lot more consistent, and felt better, with an 8.5 degree model. Good to see he stuck with the 8.5.

Another interesting note - and this will tell you a little about his work ethic - his three wedges are each stamped with a word - DO WORK SON. One word for each wedge. He really does do work....

Kyle tweeted this after his victory yesterday:

"To do list on my week off: 1. Relax. 2. Work on my lag putting from 15 feet!!"

And a very classy tweet from playing partner and runner-up Ben Crane:

"As a fan of sports you have to love what @kylestanleygolf did this week. CONGRATS, Kyle. You earned this. The whole golf world is proud of u"

My sentiments exactly!

Choking, Putting and the US Open

One of the greatest choking hazards a golfer faces is a large lead with 18 or fewer holes to play.  And here's why; any golfer within 8 strokes of you has a legitimate shot at catching you!  When a golfer get's out in front they often start to play a different style of golf and we have all seen the results of this change - Norman in '96 Masters  (I could put multiple events for Norman here), Van de Velde in the '99 Open, Palmer with a 7 shot lead and 9 holes to go in the US Open at Olympic......

Jean van de Velde
Jean van de Velde

(Did you know - Jean Van de Velde's ball crossed the burn 8 times on the 72nd hole of the '99 British Open!)

With a big lead the mind and approach tends to change and when that happens you are in big trouble.  Think of it this way - if you were competing in a one round event against all the players within 8 strokes of you, you could play relatively well, yet still lose to one or more of the players in that limited field by more than 8 strokes!  And that's without any change in approach!

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a large lead (and I hope you do!) forget protecting and go out and play golf the way you played to get yourself in that position! Play the event as if it were a one round shootout and all the golfers are tied with you starting the round.  A golf tournament is a marathon; you can only play protective golf (and get away with it!) with three  or fewer holes to go.


I thought the following two photographs might clarify the difference between a proper release of the putter and a non-release.

The Correct Release
The Correct Release
No Release
No Release











I hope the above pictures help to clarify any confusion that there might have been.  The furthest point from the axis of a pendulum travels the furthest.

Let the putter head swing!

U.S. Open Notes:

If you are ever in the Hilton Head area and are looking to go and catch some fish please look up my friend Capt. Christiaan Pollitzer on the Bulldog.  I fished with him yesterday and we caught 6 cobia and a red snapper amongst various other denizons of the deep!  I actually invited friends to a cobia dinner before we even left the dock - the man is a fishing legend!