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What you can learn from Tiger’s new coach, Chris Como

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My colleague on GolfWRX, Tom Stickney, wrote an article recently in which he listed five reasons why teaching golf will never be the same. Tom rightly pointed to recent technological advances and how they have and will impact teaching in the 21st century. To put it bluntly, the days of the pro leaning on a club, standing behind the student and occasionally barking out a few comments are over.

Recently, Tiger Woods hired Chris Como as his swing coach. After the announcement, Chris’ website had so many hits it crashed in like five minutes! Though largely unknown to all but avid followers of golf instruction, Chris is a very bright and modest young man — a welcome addition to the often opinion-dominated world of PGA Tour teachers.

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Above is a recent video of Chris working with Dr. Sasho Mackenzie, one of the leading golf research scientists in the world. In the video, Sasho makes a clear case for what he terms “passive squaring of the club face” through the golf club’s relationship to the hand path. In the downswing, the more UNDER the hand path the player can get the golf club, the easier it is to square the face. Conversely, the more OVER the hand path the club gets, the more it tends to open through impact. It is a great piece of science, proving that bio mechanics and a thorough understanding of the body’s influence on the golf club can help a player get to the next level.

A while back I wrote an article offering some thoughts and how to stay down through the shot. The Como/Mackenzie piece offers scientific evidence of the relationship. It is always better to get the shaft to lay down early in the golf swing. The steepening of the shaft, which occurs as part of the torque on the club and the body’s movement through the ball, can and will take effect if we can get the club below the hands early.

Below is my video offering some evidence of what Chris and Sasho are explaining. Notice that the amateurs in the video struggle with getting the shaft under the hand plane.

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I am not saying that this is what Chris and Tiger will work on, but it is evidence of Chris’ dedication to his craft. I guess we will all have to wait and see if the Como/Woods connection is a good one for Tiger. In the meantime, this is a great instructional tip, which will certainly help most golfers.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

Instruction

3 drills that will build a great putting stroke

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When you find yourself scratching your head because of all the putts you’re missing, take the time to hit the practice green and work out the kinks. All players go through slumps and face times when their stroke needs touching up, these three drills will go a long way in helping to reestablish a solid putting motion.

1. 4 Tee Drill

This drill is great for focusing on center contact as well as helping to maintain a square putter face through impact.

Most players will associate this drill with the two tees that many players on tour use for solid contact. But what makes this drill different is that by having two sets of tees, it forces us to have a good takeaway, as well as a good, follow through. Just have the two sets spaced 3 to 5 inches apart with the openings of the two sets being slightly wider than your putter. From there, any unwanted lateral movement with your putting stroke will be met by a tee.

2. Coin Drill

This drill pertains to those who tend to look up before hitting a putt which throws off our follow through and makes us manipulate the head. We do this for different reasons, though none of them are justifiable. Because those that keep their head down through the stroke will allow you to have better speed, control and just make a better stroke in general.

To perform this drill, just place the ball on top of the coin and make your stroke. Focusing on seeing the coin after you hit your putt before looking up.

3. Maintain the Triangle drill

One of the biggest things that I see in high handicap golfers or just bad putters, in general, is that they either don’t achieve an upside-down triangle from their shoulders, down the arms, and into the hands as pictured above. If they do, it often breaks down in their stroke. Either way, both result in an inconsistent strike and stroke motion. It also makes it harder to judge speed and makes it easier to manipulate the face which affects your ability to get the ball started online.

I use a plastic brace in the photo to hold my triangle, however, you can use a ball or balloon to place in between the forearms to achieve the same thing.

These three drills will help you establish proper muscle memory and promote strong techniques to help you roll the rock!

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Instruction

Tip of the Week: The “Rear-Hand Drill” for improved chipping

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Top 100 teacher Tom Stickney shows you a simple way to make sure you aren’t “flipping” or “slapping at” your pitch shots.

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Instruction

Tommy Fleetwood: ball compressor!

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This man from the UK can really pound it! And accurately! Find out what are the aspects of his set up and swing action that will help you get to your next level!

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