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How to feel your swing fix

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I keep a collection of swing images and associated feels on hand to facilitate subtle adjustments for advanced players’ launch monitor data and ball flight. Let us define an “advanced player” as one who possesses a solid setup, consistent face strike and good coordination of in-swing movements. These players generally do not require dramatic mechanical changes and can quickly benefit from the well-defined images and task below.

Shallowing AoA (Angle Of Attack)

CONE UP 600 edit

Advanced players can often struggle hitting down too steeply with their short irons and wedges.

Feel: Most of us have tinkered with our swings while indoors, so I ask the players to take a wedge and make a few rehearsal swings. The players should feel a nice, shallow brush as if swinging on their living room carpet. I remind them, “You can brush the carpet, but you had better not take a chunk out of it!” Feel this, then apply. The angle of attack number will become more shallow and strike will improve.

Players can also hit down too much with their driver. An image that I like is placing an agility cone in front of the ball; then feel as if the club head is ascending along the inclined angle of the cone. Feeling like you are set up and swinging a bit “uphill” is another great sensation to achieve positive AoA with the driver.

Neutralizing an outward path

CONE 3 600 edit

Advanced players can hit hooks and blocks from their path moving too much outward, or traveling too much from inside-out in relation to the target line.

Feel: I place a taller cone inside the target line and about 2 feet in front of the impact area. I then ask the players to make a swing and feel as though they will knock the cone over. Sometimes the image is all that is needed, but sometimes we make practice swings while actually hitting the cone. Swing path and direction will quickly improve.

Tweaking face-to-path relationship

CONE 1 Heel Inset 600

Most golfers tend to be good at making adjustments to their swing path. Consistently controlling the club face, however, is a bit more challenging. I see many advanced players who struggle with misdirected shots that draw too much or too quickly.

Feel: I want you to imagine a race to impact in which the heel of the club wins. “Heel beats toe!” is the mantra. This image works well in conjunction with our cone drill. Rotate the chest open and the hands inward to give the heel the advantage of winning.

Conclusion 

Check your pre-swing fundamentals, then give these fixes a try. For advanced players, a little bit goes a long way, so pay close attention to your ball flight and/or measurement device to determine just the right amount for you.

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Michael Howes is a G.S.E.B. authorized instructor of "The Golfing Machine" - Director of Instruction "Carter Plantation Golf Course" Springfield, La. - Director of Instruction "Rob Noel Golf Academy at Carter Plantation. - Golf Channel Academy Instructor - SPi Instructor of the SeeMore Putter Institute - Featured Writer GolfWRX Teaching philosophy: "We will work together on adding the all-important elements of power and consistency to your game while maintaining the individualism and art of your swing." Work on your swing from anywhere in the world - NO software needed. www.howesgolf.com www.youtube.com/cedarstreetgolf

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. RT

    Oct 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    GREAT stuff, Michael! Keep it coming!

  2. Saevel25

    Oct 1, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Mike,

    You are asking golfers to make swing changes to their path and clubface control with out even talking about the fact that most golfers can’t keep their heady steady enough, or get their weight forward enough at impact for them to even attempt such control. These tips are very much for better golfers since they have a better foundation to actually tinker with the swing path and clubface.

    You also talk about these feels as if they would work with anybody. Golfers come in all different shapes and sizes. One golfer might feel one thing while another golfer might feel another. How would you instruct Phil Mickelson who is a right handed person playing left handed versus Rick Fowler who is right handed playing right handed? See what I mean. Putting out these articles with quote “Feel” of what they should do is not good instruction because it might not even work for a golfer who reads it. Heck it might even damage their swing.

    It’s better to give the commonalities of a good swing and then tell people to go find a good instructor to help them figure out what works for them.

    • Hawk

      Oct 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      There is not enough space here to account for every body type.
      That is just silly.
      What of the handicap golfer, (hearing, sight, blind, missing a limb etc.), are the instructors suppose to account for them?
      These are general statements/instructions for the average body type, better player.
      Most instructions are given for the average golfer.
      Golfers who are, shorter, taller, heavier, slighter etc., know what they are and I suspect adjust for it.
      Common sense must prevail.
      Hawk

  3. Kevin

    Sep 30, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Heel beats toe? I did that several times today, shank city. I’m swinging too much out and not enough down and left, I’d like to forget I read this. No offense…

    • Michael Howes

      Oct 1, 2015 at 12:43 am

      Substitute an empty water bottle for the cone drill on the range and start there. Get path under control first. From your description sounds like u started with, and were overdoing the face part. Hope that helps.

  4. Nathan

    Sep 29, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Great article!

    ‘Heel beats toe’ has been my swing thought recently and has really helped my game turn the corner.

  5. luke keefner

    Sep 29, 2015 at 5:45 am

    More of this please!!!!!

  6. Travis Saxton

    Sep 28, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Excellent article! I’m a feel player and 1 handicap and have always wanted instruction that can resonate with me. Thanks for the great article love golfwrx

    • Michael Howes

      Sep 29, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Appreciate it Travis!

      • Regis

        Sep 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        I’ve been playing 50 years and never been close to a 1 hcp and never will be. But the heel beats toe is something that is easy to pattern and I will like give it a shot. Periodically (read most days) my swing goes into a funk and one adjustment I’ll fool with during a round is to open the clubface slightly at address. Always seems to work as a stopgap measure but the heel beats toe seems comparable and less drastic of a fix. Thanks.

  7. snowman

    Sep 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Yes, Yes.. More of this and less Swing Mechanics Please. How bout some “Feel” Sugestions or images to cure over-the-top move and Poor Downswing Sequencing.

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Instruction

Clark: On learning golf

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“A true teacher will teach how to think, not what to think”

There are several versions of the above adage, but when you teach every day, you get to see this up close and personal. In my opinion, all a teacher can do is to guide you as to what happens when you hit a golf ball. The student has to discover what works for them to achieve better results. It is that simple. The internet is loaded with “how-to” info, and some of it might actually apply to your individual issue, but do yourself a big favor: Go beat some balls and see how it goes; try this, try that, repeat steps one and two!

Let’s take turning as a classic example. If someone were to ask a teacher HOW to turn, there could be a dozen answers. What the teacher, the data, video show is simply this: You are NOT turning. Let’s try this, let’s try that, no, how about this? There are an unlimited number of ways, but the student needs to: FIRST, realize the lack or incorrectness of turn, and SECOND, find a way to do it. Any way, YOUR way. This is called participating in your learning and discovering process. When Ben Hogan said: “the secret is in the dirt,” this is precisely what he was referring to. 

I have a short section each day in my golf school dedicated to the ballistics of impact. A student needs to know exactly what happens at impact. And when you know what produces good flight, then find what you personally are doing to violate those laws. How to correct an open and/or closed clubface means nothing to a student who doesn’t know what open or closed actually is, or does. Swing path and its relationship to clubface resulting in ball flight curvature is knowledge every teacher has, but is like rocket science to the student who knows none of this. I once had a student who thought his shanks were coming off the toe! When I told him that just the opposite was happening, he immediately moved away from the ball a little and stopped shanking (there were other reasons he shanked but just that much knowledge got him off the hosel!)

In order to correct anything, anything at all, it is first necessary to discover the problem and find a way, any way to correct it. No teacher, book, TV tip, or article can do what you can do for yourself. All the teacher might do is make you aware of the problem. But in the end, just go play and try this, that and the other thing. The answer is there, believe me, the answer is in you. You have to find it!

The problem, very often, is that golfers are looking for someone to offer them a light bulb moment, a flash of “aha,” the “I’ve-got-it-now” solution. The aha moment is the only way to get sustained improvement, but it must come from you, the individual. There is no universal “light-bulb moment,” it is uniquely-yours alone to discover.  As I’ve said before, “it’s not what I cover, it’s what you discover.” Discover what? That “thing” you can grasp and go hit ball after ball until you have, at least to a functional degree, internalized it!

Good luck on your personal journey!

On a personal note, this will be my final article for GolfWRX. I have written 100-plus articles over the last 10 years or so and I have thoroughly enjoyed helping all of you who read my articles.

If you read through them on some rainy day, you’ll notice a theme: “If this, then that.” Meaning: If your golf ball is consistently doing that, try this. The articles are all archived on this site, and I am writing a book about my life on the lesson tee. It has been a labor of love as my whole career has been. There is no greater joy in my professional life than seeing the look on a golfers face and feel the joy within them when they improve. The minute that slice straightens, or that ground ball goes up in the air, is a special bond and a shared joy in the student-teacher relationship.

But I’ve said most of what I think is pertinent and anything after this would be redundant. There is now a plethora of how-to info out there, and I personally feel the reader may begin to think he/she should do this or that as opposed to thinking “I should try to discover this or that through my own personal exploration.”

If any of you wish to contact me directly regarding help with your game, you know how to do so. But do remember this: You cannot learn golf from words or pictures. My advice is to get a good teacher to look at you a few times, then go out and find the answer in the dirt. Golf is a game to played. And in that playing, in that trial-and-error process, you will find things that will help you achieve better outcomes. No one owns this game: We only to get to borrow it from time to time!  

 

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Me and My Golf: The basics of playing golf

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In this week’s Impact Show, we give you week one of our brand new FREE coaching plan How To Play Golf: The Basics! This plan is ideal for all golf beginners and for any experienced golfers who would like to improve their golf swing, where they will be provided with the best golf tips and get back down to the basics of golf! In the first week, we will guide you through: the grip, ball position, and stance as we begin to show you the perfect golf set up. We also run you through two golfing myths and concepts that will help improve your backswing, through swing, and the impact you make with the golf ball.

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Kyle Berkshire’s long drive wisdom wins!

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This one is a doozie! So many awesome elements to take away from Kyle Berkshire and implement them immediately in your golf swing for effortless power in the swing. From the set up with strong grip to the timing mechanism to start the action and give it a heavy flow, to the huge backswing and massive load in the ground in the transition to the deepest delivery towards the target there is in the sport! Watch and learn long ball wisdom right here.

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