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!

Adam Scott's Driver and Notes

Last weekend we saw a tremendous back nine battle at Augusta National between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. There was so much to note, that little was made of the fact that Adam had a brand new driver in his bag - the Titleist 913 D3 (9.5 degree) with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8 shaft.

Adam has used this shaft for a few years now and only upgraded the clubhead to the latest Titleist model. His shaft is the only one of its kind - built especially for him. The shaft is built in the same manner and includes the same technology as all other Tour AD DI 8 X flex shafts, but he requested the color pattern and they agreed to build it, but just for him. Legend has it that even Tiger Woods, who uses the Tour AD DI 6 ( a lighter version), asked for the same color pattern and was turned down!

Adam's driver shaft weighs in at a trimmed weight of just over 80 grams and measures out to a playing length of 44 3/4". Here is Ian Fraser from Modern Golf sharing a few interesting notes on the club:

I also wanted to mention that I am honored to announce that I have been named a TrackMan University Partner.

From TrackMan:

TrackMan University Partners are highly respected members of the golf community and they share our enthusiasm for the TrackMan technology and data parameters. TrackMan University Partners will be invited as guest speakers at Users Conferences, Certification Workshops and / or other TrackMan events.

I am very excited and look forward to sharing my knowledge with you for many years to come.

I also wanted to let you know that my last day of teaching at Berkeley Hall before departing to Atlantic GC for the summer will be Saturday May 11th. I will start teaching at Atlantic on Saturday May 18th.

As always thanks for reading!

Forward Shaft Lean

I love this photograph taken by Robert Beck yesterday at the Open Championship.  It reveals what it takes to hit compressed and penetrating iron shots - forward shaft lean.  If you tend to hit the ball too high with your irons or haven't taken a divot all year this is a fantastic image for you to keep in mind the next time you practice.

Remember these important points to help you get into this position at impact:

  • If you have a weak grip it is almost impossible to get here. Strengthen your grip a touch and that will encourage the hands to lead and hold through the strike.
  • Your weight must be forward at impact - favoring the lead foot 80%/20%.  Drive the hips forward in the downswing with out the head shifting in front of the ball for proper weight distribution at impact.
  • Deloft the clubface as much as possible at impact.  Top players actually launch a 4 or even a 5 iron at a height similar to that which they launch the driver.  Practice hitting low, punch type shots until you can hit the ball at head height.

A few additional articles to help:

Hands Forward at Impact

How to Stop Scooping

2011 Majors Aggregate Champion

Charl Schwartzel is the Majors Aggregate Champion of 2011! That means that among the golfers who made the cut in all four major championships Schwartzel used the fewest strokes over the 16 round marathon. In fact I'd love to see more made out of this "event" which entails 288 holes played on 16 days spread over a period of 5 months. What do you think? Read on.

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!

Here are the standings:

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

I was surprised by the finishes put up by Sergio and Ryan Palmer - might be a sign of things to come.

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.

Here are a few interesting points:
Largest margin of victory - 35 strokes Tiger Woods (2000)
Could this be the greatest year of golf ever? I believe so.
Most wins - Jack Nicklaus (10)
Who is the greatest golfer of all time? Tiger Woods has won this "event" 5 times - good enough for second best, and while he's not done (maybe?) it's a tall order to expect him to do this 5 more times. Not even close folks - Jack rules!

Most golfers to qualify - 2000 18 players
Fewest golfers to qualify (in the modern era) - 1988 4 players
Highest winning total - Gary Player (1963) 1156
Lowest winning total - Tiger Woods (2000) 1095
Longest timespan for qualifying - Jack Nicklaus 29years (1962-1991)
Most times qualified - Jack Nicklaus 21
Highest recorded score while qualifying - 1182 Arnold Palmer (1983) and Tommy Aaron (1970)

Looking through the list of qualifiers it is uncanny how many exceptional golfers appear on a regular basis. Based on this year's Majors a few players are moving up while some notable players are moving down - and just about out.
Up - Schwartzel, Yang, Bubba, Garcia, McIlroy, Woodland, Watney, Stricker, Kuchar, D. Johnson, J. Day, Karlsson and Scott.
Down - Woods, Stenson, Els, Goosen, Villegas, Weir, Casey and Vijay.
Do yourself a favor and take a look at the list of results over the years. It really does speak to the quality of the players that appear on the list time and time again. In my opinion measuring a golfers play in the year's four biggest events is an excellent barometer of who has had an exemplary year. Thoughts?

Tiger Woods and Sean Foley

Here is an excellent article that I came across that explains a little more about Sean Foley and his relationship with Tiger Woods and Stack and Tilt's Bennett and Plummer:

(Robert Lusetich/Fox Sports)

Sean Foley has "no interest" in getting Tiger Woods to swing as he did in 2000, when the world No. 1 had arguably the greatest year in the history of golf.

"That was how he learned to swing, and he had great success with it but it was penal on the body and dependent on timing," said Foley, who's working with Woods this week at the Deutsche Bank tournament outside of Boston. "It was pretty looking, but it just wasn't the most efficient way to swing."

Woods won four straight majors from the middle of 2000 to April, 2001, but it came at a cost.

The way he snapped his left leg on the downswing, Foley and Woods agree, caused serious damage to the knee, which had to be reconstructed in 2008.

"This is nothing against Butch (Harmon, who was Woods' coach at the time) but trying to go back to that would be a huge mistake," Foley said. "Plus, he can't rotate like he did when he was an elastic kid. He's nearly 35, he doesn't have that body anymore."

Instead, Foley has Woods more centerd over the ball throughout his swing, putting less stress on his body and, judging by the jump in fairways and greens hit last week at The Barclays, leading to improved ball-striking.

Woods has stopped shy of anointing Foley as his new coach, but on Thursday he again spoke glowingly of how much better he was playing since starting to work with the 35-year-old Canadian three weeks ago.

"I'm hitting the ball much better, hence I have more confidence," Woods said. "I'm driving the ball much straighter, hitting the ball a little bit farther, especially with my irons, and those are all positive signs.

"It's just a matter of, as I said, making it a little bit more natural, and that's just reps."

Although Woods has been careful not to criticize the unorthodox teaching methods of his previous coach, Hank Haney -- he made a point last week to note that they won six majors together -- Foley isn't as diplomatic.

"Let's be honest about this, it's not like he was flushing it with Hank," Foley said. "I think he hasn't been happy with how he's hit it for a very long time."

Indeed, Foley has spent much of their time on the range together ridding Woods of what he calls "counter-intuitive moves introduced in order to offset something else that didn't need to be there."

What Foley, who is enjoying the challenge of taking on golf's most recognizable name, has in common with Haney is that they both quickly became aware that Woods is a lightning rod.

Foley's teaching philosophy wasn't of particular interest to anyone outside the small world of golf swing nerds until he started working with Woods.

Now, he's at the center of a whisper campaign that accuses him of stealing his ideas from two colleagues, Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett.

Plummer and Bennett developed a system of hitting a golf ball called Stack and Tilt, which calls for players to keep their weight on their front leg throughout the swing.

Though hailed as revolutionary, it was met with derisive condemnation by the teaching establishment. Nonetheless, several players who switched to Stack and Tilt won on the PGA Tour, giving the method legitimacy.

Foley admits that he enjoyed discussing the intricacies of the swing with Plummer and Bennett, whom he likes and respects, but ultimately, he credits them with "maybe 5 percent" of the inspiration behind his own, very similar, swing ideas.

"Andy and Mike are very bright guys, but how much of what they teach is Mac O'Grady?" Foley said of golf's Bobby Fisher, a tortured genius who's spent years breaking down the secrets of golf.

"And how much did they take from (Sam) Snead and (Ben) Hogan? And how much of it is taken from (Isaac) Newton?"

Foley says his swing ideas were developed over 15 years. He said he learned when still a teenager trying to copy the swing of Curtis Strange -- who swayed off the ball on his backswing -- that keeping the weight more centred worked better.

He then studied the swings of great players in history and noticed they didn't make dramatic weight shifts away from the ball either.

"Mike and Andy aren't reinventing the wheel," Foley said. "Like me, they watched old school players hit it good and realized there was something to what they were doing, but they didn't invent the 1950 golf move."

The most obvious difference between Stack and Tilt and Foley is that all the players taught by Plummer and Bennett swing very much alike.

Foley's three highest-profile students (before Woods), Sean O'Hair, Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose, don't swing anything alike.

"Stack and Tilt is one method of swinging," Foley said. "If it's such a great system, then why are people coming for a 'watered-down version' from me?"

Foley finds it amusing to hear that he's being derided as the "flavor of the month" on the Tour practice range.

"If I'm flavor of the month then I've been flavor of the month for ten years," he said. "I'm doing what I was supposed to do, I really believe that.

"There's a sense that this was what I was meant to do, and here I am. But this is not fixing world hunger, this is getting people who are already very good to hit a golf ball better.

"I suppose my point is that I'm not a guru, and I'm not some guy who (BS'd) his way to the top. I'm just who I am."

Very interesting!

To learn more about better ball striking visit www.itsallaboutimpact.com

To see how Sean Foley's other students have fared click HERE

Congrats Graeme!

Graeme McDowell Celebrates (Vuich/SI) Well played Graeme! You played like you actually wanted to win while everybody else around you couldn't wait to get their hands off the trophy.

My thoughts:

  • Pebble Beach is great place, but I believe the course needs work. When 7 out of 84! of the best golfers in the world hit the 17th green (on Sunday) in fairly benign weather conditions there is a problem. When the shortish par 5 14th hole plays as the most difficult hole on any day there is a problem. No major changes required - it just needs to be made a little more playable. That being said I thought the course was beautifully set up for the week.
  • Tiger's stock is down once again after a week of better ball striking. Could somebody please teach him how to give a post round interview? Let's start with congratulating the champion....! Much better swing though.
  • Hank Haney (who was at Mission Hills in China during Open week) - if Tiger's numbers were so much better with you than any other coach, then I would expect hordes of Tour golfers to be waiting on your doorstep now that you can teach golfers other than just His Highness.  How is that going for you? (BTW - don't bother emailing me on this one)
  • Ernie Els let another one slip from his grasp. Of the 17 full swings he made on the back nine, 8 were in the poor category and that's not to mention a handful of makeable putts sliding by the edge.  I really thought he would pull it out.
  • Phil was just plain flat!
  • Dustin Johnson will be doing some soul searching today. He is a tough kid who has the ability to let things slide of his back and I firmly believe he will come back stronger than ever. To those who might blame his swing for the breakdown on Sunday, please be quiet - Graeme McDowell has almost the exact same left wrist in his swing and that held up just fine. It's all about impact!
  • Gregory Havret played the best out of all contenders on the back nine. He actually had a real shot at the trophy on the last two holes. Great looking swing and I found myself wondering why he doesn't do well more often. Strange game we play! Did anybody think Steve Martin in Pink Panther during his post round interview?
  • I loved the way Graeme McDowell chatted with the camera coming up the eighteenth hole. He showed confidence and personality. Not that any Irishman has been short on personality! He seemed friendly and likeable.
  • Out of the last eight events on the PGA Tour there has been one US winner! Can you believe it - 7 out of 8 have been foreign. It is such a global game and in my opinion that only makes it more interesting.

Graeme and his Dad (Vuich/SI)

Graeme McDowell's Equipment

Happy Father's Day - I hope you have been as blessed as I have with my dad, Bill Rice. What a truly great man. I owe everything in my life to you Willy - thanks.

Masters Week 2010 Edition

Augusta National

The week that every golfer anticipates from all the way back in November is finally here - Masters Week 2010! I would like this to be a one-stop shop for all things pertaining to Augusta National and the Masters and as a result I have tracked any and all pertinent information down and linked it to the site. Enjoy!

masters-logo

Augusta 15th Hole Aerial (Sports Illustrated)

The "New" Tiger?

The English are coming..... (How/Getty)

Augusta National in Winter

This week also happens to mark the one year anniversary of andrewricegolf.com! In our first year we have had almost 40,000 visitors and continue to grow. Thanks so much for your support and readership and I can promise another year of even better and more insightful content.

BTW - my picks for this week are Phil and the Goose! Yours?

Enjoy the tournament.

Open Championship Notes

Wow!  After watching the happenings at Turnberry yesterday I can emphatically state that the Open Championship (and not the 'British Open' as we Americans prefer to call it!) is the greatest golf event in the world!  At what other championship would a 16 year old, an almost 60 year old and a champion all be involved in the awards ceremony?  From the history, to the ever changing weather, to the golf courses, to the true international 'openness' of the event I love everything about it. Stewart Cink:

Golf Greatest Kiss!

  • All the other contenders (Watson, Westwood, Wood and Els) bogeyed the final hole while Stewart made birdie.  A great recipe for winning major champioships - get in contention and then birdie the last!
  • While I felt bad for Old Tom, Stewart played beautifully in the playoff;  getting it up and down from a pot bunker from 35 yards; parring a par three that played all of 230 yards; and making simple birdies on the final two holes.  Flawless!
  • Did you notice how far short of the hole he landed his ball on the 72nd green?  It looked like 35 yards and finished beautifully.  The other contenders who bogeyed all landed their shots in the 15-20 yards range short and we know where they ended up.
  • Did Cink have anything to do with his handsome young sons? They look like exact, albeit male, replicas of their mom.
  • I am sure the Cink family will enjoy their vacation in Montana over the next two weeks.  Hopefully Dad's cell phone will not have service as he might be getting a few calls!

Old Tom Watson: (and I call him that with admiration!)

The great Tom Watson

  • What an amazing performance! Perhaps the greatest tournament ever played by a golfer over fifty? This Open week will always be remembered as the year of Tom Watson.
  • I spent a few hours with Mr. Watson on a charter plane a few years ago and was amazed at the toughness I sensed in the man.  Toughness in a positive way.  That toughness came out this week in his play on the back nine and even in his final swing in regulation.  In his press conference he indicated that he struck an 8 iron to the 72nd green and said, "I like it!" when the ball was in the air.  If only it was a nine iron!
  • What a gentleman!  Tom Watson should be applauded not only for his stellar play, but also for his self control, lack of emotional outburst and sportsmanship. Young golfers can learn so much from Tom Watson and his demeanour on the course this week. In fact all golfers, Tiger Woods included, can learn from him.
  • I never once saw him speak to his ball in flight or grimace at a poor strike or result.  Sergio, I hope you were watching and learning!
  • I love the way Tom gets into a shot - two waggles of the club and bang!  Every time!  He is a good one to emulate when it comes to a pre-shot routine.

The Golf Course:

Simply great Turnberry

  • Why can modern golf course designers not build golf courses like Turnberry today?  I cannot understand why notThe course is simple without any trickery or  manufactured hazards. 
  • I love links golf as it incorporates the two greatest hazards of all - wind and undulation!  All a golf course needs is a little exposure to wind, firm turf and a few well thought out humps and hollows and you have a gem.
  • While Turnberry looked green due to all the rain they have had this year, the course is not irrigated.  What is wrong with a little browning in a fairway?  It makes for firm ground conditions, allows the ball to roll and ultimately plays a whole lot better than the always fashionable plush green fairways.

As you can tell I like old school.  I like old school championships, golfers, courtesy and courses!  What do you like?

Release the Putter

Tiger Woods A pendulum swings around a fixed point and in order to release the face of the putter correctly, so should your putting stroke.

Jim Hardy, the noted 'One-Plane' teacher, has gone on record as stating that the majority of great putters are invariably 'hookers' of the golf ball in their full swing.  They all release the putter face the same way they release their club face - aggresively! And when looking at a sampling of the greatest of all time; Faxon, Crenshaw, Locke (as in Bobby!), George Archer and Ballesteros;  I certainly can concur with his reasoning.  Of course Jack and Tiger aren't too bad but let's just stick with the formula for now!

In order for the face to release the stroke needs to work like a pendulum.  Notice in the pictures of Tiger Woods above how the butt end of the putter in each frame points at the same spot on his torso.  So often I see golfers, in an attempt to not use their wrists, push the hands through the stroke, thus discouraging the wrists, hands and face to release freely.  This leads not only to poor direction and ball striking, but most importantly decreased distance control.

An excellent little teaching aid to overcome this common flaw is the Perfect PendulumThis device attaches to your own putter and telescopes up into your belly. (Unless your belly happens to telescope into it!)  Once it's anchored make a few strokes to get a sense of the putter head swinging beyond the hands into the follow through.  It ensures a correct release.

I love simple teaching aids that convey the correct feel while using your own club and this one takes care of everything for you!

Here are a few keys to remember:

  • Assume your normal address position and note where the butt end of the putter points.
  • As you stroke try to sense the butt end pointing at the same spot on your upper body.  This should be maintainted from address to the back of the stroke and on into the follow through.
  • Feel the putter head SWING to either side of your center.
  • A light, soft grip will aid in the putter face releasing freely.
  • Roll a few putts with your dominant hand only to feel the correct rhythm of the stroke.

For better distance and direction (is there anything else?) with your putting try these ideas.  They will help!

Things to Ponder:

  • John Daly's career can be marked by either upward or downward trends.  Over the past few years the lows are lower and the highs are not quite where they once were.  He is clearly on an upward trend at the moment, I just hope he has the sense to survive the next low.
  • I have had a few responses to my All-time Heart List.  After reconsideration, I must add Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods to the list.  Tom Watson is waiting in the wings.
  • Why do Davis Love and Ben Crane have to qualify for the British Open?  They are both in the top 60 players in the world and are both having relatively good seasons.
  • It's about time Vijay Singh has showed up again on a leaderboard!  Where has he been?

Thanks for reading and please feel free to make abusive comments about the author.

Golf Has Only Nine Shots!

I've got all the shots I'm just not sure when I'm going to hit them!

Control Your Ball!

Or what about a shank, a top, a blade, a whiff?  Okay, there are only nine proper shots that a golfer needs to master.  They are the low draw, straight one and fade; the regular height draw, straight one and fade and the high version of each option.  Tiger Woods incorporates all of the above shots into his practice sessions - shouldn't you?

Try this fun and challenging exercise in your next practice session:

  • Be sure to use an alignment string that is set up to a target within range of a 7 iron.
  • Keep the size and pace of your swing at around 75%.
  • Start on the 'ground' floor (low) with the shot shape that is most comfortable for you (draw or fade)
  • Stick with the low shots until you have hit one of each.  Keep in mind the draws/fades should start at the target and curve away from it.
  • Work up to the medium and high trajectory shots until you have also hit one of each.
  • Keep track of the number shots required to complete the SLAM (all nine shots) and set yourself a target score for the next time you practice.  The fewer shots, the better.

This exercise will illustrate to you the type of shot that is most difficult for you to hit. (Hey, some golfers just don't know!)  Practice the most difficult shot until you can pull it off on the course.  This will serve to neutralize your swing and allow you to ultimately hit the ball straighter.

If you struggle with slicing the ball, practice hooking the ball!  If you hit the ball inordinately high, practice hitting low punch shots all day long until you can hit it at a regular trajectory.  Get to a point where your extreme misses are less extreme than before and the ball will stay closer to the intended target and your scores will do the same!

Over the upcoming week I'll address the techniques required to hit the ball low or high and with a draw or fade.  Check back!

Things to Ponder:

  • At the Texas Open this Lance Ten Broeck, both caddied for Jesper Parnevik and played in the event. They both missed the cut but what must it feel like as a player when your caddie beats you! (Ten Broeck 141 vs. Parnevik 144)
  • The PGA Tour must be struggling to find players.  I can think of 20 golfers better than a caddie and a dozen washed up golfers from the 80's to play in a PGA Tour event!
  • And this little interesting snippet from www.geoffshackelford.com

John Huggan with this nugget from last week's Players:

Not only did the diminutive leader of the world's richest circuit manage to mangle the champion's name, calling him "Heinrik" more than once, Finchem's minions were apparently hard at work pressuring host broadcaster NBC into not mentioning just how many Fed-Ex Cup points the Swede picked up along with the $1.7million first place cheque. Embarrassingly, that number is nil, due to the fact that Stenson (who will no doubt have welcomed the sizeable boost to his bank balance in the wake of losing a goodly chunk of his fortune amidst the recent Stanford fiasco) thinks he can muddle by without being a PGA Tour member.

  • Don't think the PGA Tour does not go out of their way to censor what information we get during the broadcast of their beloved 5th major!
  • Zach Johnson is quietly becoming a top five player in the world.  Gutsy!

Quail Hollow Notes

Tiger@Quail Hollow (Getty)

 

  • Sunday is shaping up to be a beauty with Zach Johnson on the cusp of a 'validation' year and Tiger and Co. hot on his heels.
  • The top 13 players in the field (T9 or better) played the Green Mile in a mere +3.  Zach is +1 for the week even with his bogey, bogey, bogey finish yesterday and Tiger is +4 for the week.
  • The group of Ian Poulter (now there's a guy who can dress!) and Cliff Kresge played the 14th to the 18th holes in 6 under;  with 3 birdies on the Green Mile holes!
  • Someone must come up with a better name than the Green Mile!  That's not scary.
  • The 17th hole is a poor design and something needs to be done!  On what hole do the best players hit a well struck 7-iron that lands pin high and releases 60 feet before being stopped from going in the water by 3 feet of rough?  The shape is fine, but the green must be changed!
  • Was today the blue shirt and khaki pants day? (notice Tiger above)  I saw 3 or 4 players wearing that same line-up.
  • I like the 14th hole.  When was the last time you saw a major winner hit a 50 yard pitch into the water?  There is a great risk reward balance on the hole.
  • I do believe the 2 inch rough plays into Tiger, Phil, Bubba and Goosen's hand.  So what!  I like birdies and the greens are countering the lack of rough with excess speed this year.  Good idea!
  • What Zach is doing this year once again proves that there will always be room on the PGA Tour for a 'little' man with a big heart.  Just ask Gary Player, Corey Pavin, Lee Trevino and Ian Woosnam.  Even though Zach has each of those guys by a few inches.....
  • Tiger Woods seems angry almost all the time. Ever since Augusta, all I ever see him doing is cursing or giving somebody the evil eye.
  • I look forward to watching someone stand on the 16th tee and attempt get a one stroke lead to the clubhouse tomorrow.
  • Watch my man David Toms........

Setting Up for a Great Impact (Part 2 of a Four Part series)

So often I read that it is important to be "behind the ball".  While this statement is almost correct I would prefer for a golfer to be "over" the ball and this sense initiates with the set up position. The Set-up

 The set-up encompasses ball position, stance width and spine/shoulder tilt.  Let's take a look from the ground up.

With the irons I would like to see the ball played from the middle of the stance - keep in mind, that in order to hit down on the ball, a must, the weight must be in front of the ball.  Notice that I said weight and not body or head!  When the ball is centrally located it is that much easier to hit down on.  As you get to the longer clubs(woods) slide the ball up toward the inside of the left heel.  In the Ben Hogan illustration you'll notice how his ball is not quite in the center but a little forward.  This is due to his pronounced hip slide into impact which still allowed him to be able to hit down on a more forward ball position.

As far as the stance width goes, I prefer a narrower stance than a wider one and here's why.  A narrow stance allows for the weight to get to the front foot easily - that's why you should be chipping and pitching with a narrow stance.  Too wide and you'll have a hard time getting onto the front foot without excess movement.

Head position and spine tilt is the most important factor in the set-up!  I read an article yesterday pontificating about if you tilt away from the target you'll reduce your slice.  Well, you might reduce the slice, but you'll have a hard time making solid contact with the ball.  All the best ball strikers set up as Hogan has here, with the head positioned between the feet, the left eye over the ball and the spine just about vertical.  There should also be a minimal amount of shoulder tilt when the spine is vertical.  Make sure you avoid any excess tilt into your back side as this will make it almost impossible to get "over" the ball at impact.

Set yourself up to get into a great impact!

Things to ponder:

  • Harbourtown and the TPC Louisiana are both Pete Dye golf courses. They look like they are from different planets!
  • Can Steve Stricker finally get the job done on Sunday? It's been a while!
  • Tiger Woods is a great champion, but does he play golf the way it was meant to be played? Does modern equipment let him play the game "his way"? I offer Greg Norman and Nick Faldo as contrasts.
  • I was going to ask, " When will Sergio grow up?" but I'm not sure he ever will.
  • Will Sergio ever grow up?