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The Road to Golf Glory

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Man sees an ocean and he seeks to collect oysters from it.

He sees a field and he seeks to extract glory from it.

Golf courses are no longer fields of play, but fields of battle. They have become fields upon which man fights for the full extent of his self-worth and the integrity of his own personal image.

The golf course is seen as a minefield. And thus the player treads hesitant and fearful with every step.

Man has become a discontented creature. His life is almost never sufficient just the way it is. He is never enough just the way he is.

Drama is his drug. He creates it. He swims in it. He drinks it. He suffers its every high and its every miserable low. This is the game he has created for himself.

Complexity has become a habit. For he feels that intellectualization is forever the road to truth. As a result, he feels he must create something where there is nothing. He must attach importance to something that inherently has no importance. He must create a story out of disconnected events.

The media is a master at this. But the media learned it from man. The media is, in fact, the public manifestation of man’s private musings.

If man initially looked upon golf as a game, it is a game no longer. Somewhere along the way everything became real. And this reality has caused more suffering than can possibly be imagined.

Reality is too mundane for man. And this new reality that he has created is simply insufferable. So much so, in fact, that it is not sustainable.

Man has a habit of turning backyard battles into world wars. He has a habit of turning play into conquest. As an athlete he has turned the field into a wishing well. And he comes with a decade-full of baggage in hand.

For him, the field is no longer a field, but an opportunity. An opportunity to replenish what he lost long ago. An opportunity to look into the mirror and see a reflection that is greater than the image that produced it.

He has certainly found his way to it. But how can he make his way through it?

Perhaps he could look at the field through innocent eyes. And a motiveless heart.

Perhaps he could look at the game as an expression of his joy. By looking at play as an expression of his freedom.

For if he cannot play with freedom, of what use is it to play at all?

In order, then, to play the game, one must commit himself to the playing. To play like a warrior, with full presence of mind. Losing himself in the rhythm. And allowing all of his skill to surface.

If the athlete comes to the game in search of something, he will not be able to PLAY it. If he comes to the game in hope of something, he will not be FREE within it.

The game is inherently empty. It is a skeletal structure. A scaffolding. The game itself does not contain joy. If it did, everyone who played it would always be joyful.

The game provides an arena. The athlete brings the joy. But the athlete who brings a demand will leave empty-handed. The athlete who arrives with hope will leave disappointed.

Why?

Because he is looking for an ocean without realizing that he is in a desert.

The game is a desert. Windswept and wild.

And as long as the athlete fails to realize this, he will forever suffer within it.

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Dr. Gupta is the founder of Siddha Performance, a company that teaches human beings to transcend their own mind in order to access the source of superhuman performance. Dr. Gupta has devoted close to 30 years of his life developing understandings and techniques that allow human beings to transcend the mind. Through his analysis and experimentation he has discovered that ultimate freedom and ultimate performance arise NOT from within the mind, but beyond it. Dr. Gupta can be contacted directly at DrGupta@Siddhaperformance.com His work and his writings can be found at http://www.siddhaperformance.com/ He also appears weekly on PGA Tour's "On the Mark" radio show with Mark Immelman.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Michael Holmstrom

    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Good stuff!

  2. Ian

    Feb 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent, thought provoking, the truth, damn all that hope and fear, hope and fear, it`s only a game go play it !!!

  3. Dan

    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I like the picture

  4. Chip

    Feb 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    SHANK!

  5. Awedge333

    Feb 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “Hit the right club, you will….” Yoda

  6. Marc

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Cripes what a load of tripe. Get over yourself – your writing style is so forced it bores me. This isn’t the New Yorker and you aren’t writing Moby Dick. LOL

  7. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    All roads lead eventually back to their source. To pursue a goal with rigid determination, to seek a destination, as if following a path, is to find oneself precisely where one started. Golf is not linear. It is omnidirectional: progress and retreat, the broad vista and a microscopic view. One must focus not on the grains of sand or the blades of grass nor on the bunker or the fairway, but embody all, simultaneously: the ball, the club, the body, the grass, the sand, the sky… as one. True golfing progress is expansion, not direction.

    Only this way will you cure that nasty slice 🙂

  8. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Inner Desert-Warrior… That doesn’t wear shoes, and argues with an ex navy seal over frivolous survival techniques?

    • sgniwder99

      Feb 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Interesting. Somehow your response managed to make less sense than the post.

      That’s actually fairly impressive.

      • Brad

        Feb 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Check out Dual Survival on Discovery Channel. It will make sense.

  9. Golfraven

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    very dramatic.

  10. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha. What a load of pseudo-spiritual rubbish!! And like a fool I just thought that golf was a fun and challenging game. I guess I need to get in touch with my inner Desert-Warrior to achieve GLORY and accept SUFFERING! LOL

  11. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. Whatever you are on right now…… I want some. I have no idea what i just read, but somehow enjoyed reading it?

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Instruction

Golf 101: How to chip (AKA “bump and run”)

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Although golf for a beginner can be an intimidating endeavor, and learning how to chip is part of that intimidation, this is one part of the game that if you can nail down the fundamentals, not only can you add some confidence to your experience but also you lay down a basic foundation you can build on.

How to chip

The chip shot, for all intents and purposes, is a mini-golf swing. To the beginner, it may seem like a nothing burger but if you look closely, it’s your first real way to understand contact, launch, spin, compression, and most importantly the fundamentals of impact.

What is a chip shot? A pitch shot?

Chip: A shot that is hit typically with anything from a 3-iron to a lob wedge that launches low, gets on the ground quickly, and rolls along the surface (like a putt) to the desired location.

Pitch: A shot that is hit typically with anything from a PW to a lob wedge that launches low- to mid-trajectory that carries a good portion of the way to your desired location and relies on spin to regulate distance.

Now that we have separated the two, the question is: How do I chip?

Since we are trying to keep this as simple as possible, let’s just do this as a quick checklist and leave it at that. Dealing with different lies, grass types, etc? Not the purpose here. We’re just concerned with how to make the motion and chip a ball on your carpet or at the golf course.

Think “rock the triangle”

  1. Pick a spot you want the ball to land. This is for visualization, direction and like any game you play, billiards, Darts, pin the tail on the donkey, having a target is helpful
  2. For today, use an 8-iron. It’s got just enough loft and bounce to make this endeavor fun.
  3. Grip the club in your palms and into the lifelines of your hands. This will lift the heel of the club of the ground for better contact and will take your wrists out of the shot.
  4. Open your stance
  5. Put most of your weight into your lead leg. 80/20 is a good ratio
  6. Ball is positioned off your right heel
  7. Lean the shaft handle to your left thigh
  8. Rock the shoulders like a putt
  9. ENJOY!

Check out this vid from @jakehuttgolf to give you some visuals.

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Clement: Best drill for weight shift and clearing hips (bonus on direction too)

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This is, by far, one of the most essential drills for your golf swing development. To throw the club well is a liberating experience! Here we catch Munashe up with how important the exercise is not only in the movement pattern but also in the realization that the side vision is viciously trying to get you to make sure you don’t throw the golf club in the wrong direction. Which, in essence, is the wrong direction to start with!

This drill is also a cure for your weight shift problems and clearing your body issues during the swing which makes this an awesome all-around golf swing drill beauty! Stay with us as we take you through, step by step, how this excellent drill of discovery will set you straight; pardon the pun!

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Confessions of a hacker: Chipping yips and equipment fixes

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There’s a saying in golf that, paraphrasing here, it’s the person holding the weapon, not the weapon. Basically, if you hit a bad shot, it’s almost certain that it was your fault, not the fault of the golf club. It has a better design than your swing. And while that truism is often correct, it ain’t necessarily so.

For example, if I were to try to hit one of those long drive drivers, I’d probably mis-hit it so badly that the ball might not be findable. That stick is way too long, stiff, and heavy for me. Similarly, if I were to use one of those senior flex drivers, I’d probably hit it badly, because it would be too floppy for my swing. It’s clear that there are arrows that this Indian can’t shoot well. Maybe a pro could adapt to whatever club you put in his hand, but there’s no reason he would accept less than a perfect fit. And there’s little reason why any amateur ought to accept less than a good fit.

I was never a competitive athlete, although I’m a competitive person. My path led a different direction, and as my medical career reached its mature years, I was introduced to our wonderful and frustrating game.

Being one who hates playing poorly, I immediately sought instruction. After fifteen years, multiple instructors, a wallet full of videos, and a wall full of clubs, I am finally learning how to do one particularly vexing part of the game reasonable well. I can chip! But as you may have guessed, the largest part of this journey has to do with the arrow, not the Indian.

We may immediately dismiss the golf shaft as a significant issue since chipping generally involves a low-speed movement. And as long as the grip is a reasonable fit for the hands, it’s not a big deal either. The rubber meets the road at the clubhead.

Manufacturers have worked hard to get the best ball spin out of the grooves. Their shape is precisely milled, and then smaller grooves and roughness are added to the exact maximum allowed under the rules. Various weighting schemes have been tried, with some success in tailoring wedges to players. And some manufacturers market the “newest” designs to make it impossible to screw up wedge shots. And yet, nothing seemed to solve my yips.

So I went on a mission. I studied all sorts of chipping techniques. Some advocate placing the ball far back to strike a descending blow. Others place it near the center of the stance. The swing must have no wrist hinge. The swing must have a hinge that is held. It should be a short swing. It should be a long swing. The face should be square. The face should be open. There should be a “pop.” There should be no power added.

If you are confused, join my club. So I went on a different mission. I started looking at sole construction. Ever since Gene Sarazen popularized a sole with bounce for use in the sand, manufacturers have been creating massive numbers of “different” sand wedges. They have one thing in common. They are generally all built to 55 or 56-degrees of loft.

The basic design feature of the sand wedge is that the sole extends down and aft from the leading edge at some angle. This generally ranges from 6 to 18-degrees. Its purpose is to allow the wedge to dig into the sand, but not too far. As the club goes down into the sand, the “bounce” pushes it back up.

 

One problem with having a lot of bounce on the wedge is that it can’t be opened up to allow certain specialty shots or have a higher effective loft. When the player does that, the leading edge lifts, resulting in thin shots. So manufacturers do various things to make the wedge more versatile, typically by removing bounce in the heel area.

At my last count, I have eight 56-degree wedges in my collection. Each one was thought to be a solution to my yips. Yet, until I listened to an interview with Dave Edel, I had almost no real understanding of why I was laying sod over a lot of my chips. Since gardening did not reduce my scores, I had to find another solution.

My first step was to look at the effective loft of a wedge in various ball positions. (Pictures were shot with the butt of the club at the left hip, in a recommended forward lean position. Since the protractor is not exactly lined up with the face, the angles are approximate.)

I had no idea that there was so much forward lean with a simple chip. If I were to use the most extreme rearward position, I would have to have 21-degrees of bounce just to keep the leading edge from digging in at impact. If there were the slightest error in my swing, I would be auditioning for greenskeeper.

My appreciation for the pros who can chip from this position suddenly became immense. For an amateur like me, the complete lack of forgiveness in this technique suddenly removed it from my alleged repertoire.

My next step was to look at bounce. As I commented before, bounce on sand wedges ranges between 6 and 18-degrees. As the drawing above shows, that’s a simple angle measurement. If I were to chip from the forward position, a 6-degree bounce sand wedge would have an effective bounce of 1-degree. That’s only fractionally better than the impossible chip behind my right foot. So I went to my local PGA Superstore to look at wedges with my Maltby Triangle Gauge in hand.

As you can see from the photos, there is a wide variation in wedges. What’s most curious, however, is that this variation is between two designs that are within one degree of the same nominal bounce. Could it be that “bounce is not bounce is not bounce?” Or should I say that “12-degrees is not 12-degrees is not 12-degrees?” If one looks below the name on the gauge, a curious bit of text appears. “Measuring effective bounce on wedges.” Hmmm… What is “effective bounce?”

The Maltby Triangle Gauge allows you to measure three things: leading-edge height, sole tangent point, and leading-edge sharpness. The last is the most obvious. If I’m chipping at the hairy edge of an adequate bounce, a sharp leading edge will dig in more easily than a blunt one. So if I’m using that far back ball position, I’ll need the 1OutPlus for safety, since its leading edge is the bluntest of the blunt. Even in that position, its 11-degree bounce keeps the leading edge an eighth of an inch up.

Wait a minute! How can that be? In the back position, the wedge is at 35-degrees effective loft, and 11-degrees of bounce ought to be 10-degrees less than we need. The difference here is found in combining all three parameters measured by the gauge, and not just the angle of the bounce.

The 1OutPlus is a very wide sole wedge. Its tangent point is a massive 1.7″ back. The leading edge rises .36″ off the ground and is very blunt. In other words, it has every possible design feature to create safety in case the chip from back in the stance isn’t as perfect as it might be. Since a golf ball is 1.68″ in diameter, that’s still less than halfway up to the center of the ball. But if you play the ball forward, this may not be the wedge for you.

Here are the measurements for the eight sand wedges that happen to be in my garage. All are either 56-degrees from the factory or bent to 56-degrees.

A couple of things jump out from this table. The Callaway PM Grind at 13-degrees has a lower leading edge (.26 inches) than the 11-degree Bazooka 1OutPlus (.36 inches). How can a lower bounce have a higher leading edge? Simple geometry suggests that if you want a higher leading edge, you will need a higher bounce angle. But it gets worse. The Wishon WS (wide sole) at 6-degrees (55-degree wedge bent to 56-degrees) has a leading-edge height of .28 inches, higher than the Callaway which has over twice the nominal bounce angle!

One thing is missing from this simple discussion of angles.

If I place one line at 34-degrees above the horizontal (loft is measured from the vertical), and then extend another at some angle below horizontal, the height above ground where the two join depends on how long the lower line is. This means that an 18-degree bounce with a narrow “C” grind will raise the leading edge a little bit. A 6-degree bounce on a wide sole may raise it more because the end of the bounce on the first wedge is so close to the leading edge.

 

Let’s look at this in the picture. If the red line of the bounce is very short, it doesn’t get far below the black ground line. But if it goes further, it gets lower. This is the difference between narrow and wide soles.

This diagram describes the mathematical description of these relationships.

Our first task is to realize that the angle 0 in this diagram is the complement of the 56-degree loft of the wedge, or 90 – 56 = 34-degrees since loft is measured from vertical, not horizontal. But the angle 0 in the bounce equation is just that, the bounce value. These two angles will now allow us to calculate the theoretical values of various parts of the wedge, and then compare them to our real-world examples.

My PM Grind Callaway wedge has its 3rd groove, the supposed “perfect” impact point, 0.54 inches above the leading edge. This should put it 0.8 inches back from the leading edge, roughly matching the measured 0.82 inches. So far, so good. (I’m using the gauge correctly!)

The 13-degree bounce at 1.14″ calculates out to 0.284″ of leading-edge rise. I measured 0.26″, so Callaway seems to be doing the numbers properly, until I realize that the leading edge is already .45″ back, given a real tangent of .69″. Something is out of whack. Re-doing the math suggests that the real bounce is 20-degrees, 40 min. Hmmm…

Maybe that bounce angle measurement isn’t such a good number to look at. Without digging through all the different wedges (which would make you cross-eyed), we should go back to basics. What is it that we really need?

Most instructors will suggest that striking the ball on about the third groove will give the best results. It will put the ball close to the center of mass (sweet spot) of the wedge and give the best spin action. If my wedge is at an effective 45-degree angle (about my right big toe), it will strike the ball about half-way up to its equator. It will also be close to the third groove. But to make that strike with minimal risk of gardening, I have to enough protection to keep the edge out of the turf if I mis-hit the ball by a little bit. That can be determined by the leading edge height! The higher the edge, the more forgiveness there is on a mis-hit.

Now this is an incomplete answer. If the bounce is short, with a sharp back side, it will tend to dig into the turf a bit. It may not do it a lot, but it will have more resistance than a wider, smoother bounce. In the extreme case, the 1OutPlus will simply glide over the ground on anything less than a ridiculous angle.

The amount of leading-edge height you need will depend on your style. If you play the ball forward, you may not need much. But as you move the ball back, you’ll need to increase it. And if you are still inconsistent, a wider sole with a smooth contour will help you avoid episodes of extreme gardening. A blunt leading edge will also help. It may slow your club in the sand, but it will protect your chips.

There is no substitute for practice, but if you’re practicing chips from behind your right foot using a wedge with a sharp, low leading edge, you’re asking for frustration. If you’re chipping from a forward position with a blunt, wide sole wedge, you’ll be blading a lot of balls. So look at your chipping style and find a leading-edge height and profile that match your technique. Forget about the “high bounce” and “low bounce” wedges. That language doesn’t answer the right question.

Get a wedge that presents the club to the ball with the leading edge far enough off the ground to provide you with some forgiveness. Then knock ’em stiff!

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