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My journey to swing like Ben Hogan

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Ben Hogan humbly said in an interview that he wanted to give back to the game much more than he subtracted, and he left behind two books: Power Golf and Five Lessons.

When I think about what Mr. Hogan left behind, I’m reminded of the Greek myth about Theseus who entered the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur. Theseus faced a second challenge that was just as daunting: How would he find his way out of the maze if he succeeded in slaying the Minotaur? Well, it turns out all he needed was a spool of thread. He tied the thread to the entrance of the maze and unspooled it as he ventured into the darkness. Thus, he was able to accomplish his goal, and eventually find his way out of the labyrinth. Like Theseus in the labyrinth, Ben Hogan left us these books to help us on our way. All we have to do is follow the thread of the hero path.

As I look back over the past few years, I have to laugh because I’ve never been as good at golf as I wanted to be. I’m sure many people could say the same thing. I started playing when I was 8 years old, and today I’m 47. I was willing to work on my game and I spent a lot of money on clubs and lessons, but I did not get better. My average score was in the high 80s. I often shot in the 90s, and I sometimes shot in the 100s. The worst score I can recall was 126.

Then one fine day, I was in the checkout line at a golf store and saw Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons on a rack by the cash register. I bought that book, and it changed my life. Around the same time, I got a Flip video camera and I saw my swing for the first time in decades. Well, suffice to say, I didn’t look like Ben Hogan. I realized I needed to improve my swing, and Mr. Hogan’s books gave me a path to follow. Over the course of the next five years, I would undertake the challenge of trying learn how to swing like Ben Hogan. Along the way I started a YouTube channel, and began rebuilding my swing and sharing my work with the world. Today, I have more than 9 million views on my channel and I can even shoot under par.

Taking on the challenge of trying to rebuild my golf swing in the manner of Ben Hogan probably sounds a little crazy. At first, it seemed like a preposterous goal. I had been a martial arts champion and professional ballet dancer in my past, however, and it was by studying Bruce Lee and Mikhail Baryshnikov that I was able to achieve a respectable level of mastery in each of those fields of study. So, I thought “How hard can it be?” Well, it was the most complicated of all of my pursuits due to the counter-intuitive nature of the golf swing.

It didn’t take long before I could make golf swings that bore some of the hallmarks of the Hogan golf swing. The first year, I flattened my backswing plane and I learned to use my body well enough to create a good amount of lag. My scores quickly improved and I achieved my initial goal of being able to break 80. In fact, I did it 14 times that first year! To be honest, that was all I wanted from my game at the time. I just wanted to be able to shoot in the 70s, and not feel like a buffoon when I stood on the first tee box. But the goal of mastering the Ben Hogan golf swing began to fester in the back of my mind, and being in my mid-40s, it seemed like an age-appropriate pursuit since my days of combat and theater were far behind me.

After some initial successes, the greatest challenge I faced moving forward in regards to learning how to swing like Mr. Hogan was how to use my lower body correctly. Years of playing the game with my weight too far forward had caused me to develop some bad habits that seemed impossible to break. I’m right handed, and as soon as I started my downswing, my right heel would immediately pop off of the ground. This led to early extension of my hips and my spine angle would rise through impact. These are common maladies in the world of golf, and it took me years before I could get “over the hump.” Mr. Hogan said many times that what really separates world-class players from everyone else is the use of the lower body.

I would spend years trying to overcome my early extension, and sometimes I convinced myself that it was just how my body worked. But then I learned about a teacher named Gregg McHatton in my area. I began taking lessons with Gregg, who was known for being an expert on Ben Hogan’s swing. Once I arrived, Gregg pointed out something that many folks on YouTube had also noticed. He told me I resembled Mr. Hogan until just before I released the club head. At that point, I would lose my angles and I looked like an average Joe. The truth is my swing was really just a poor imitation of Mr. Hogan at that point. I had to tackle my impact and release.

bad-hogan-swing

Gregg first helped me to understand what a proper impact position actually looked like. The first time he asked me to demonstrate what I thought the impact position should be, I was flummoxed. I didn’t really know. He wanted me to keep more flex in my knees through impact, especially my front leg, with my hips open and forward shaft lean. Gregg has an interesting way of teaching. It seems to me that he prefers not spilling his guts about everything right away, but he rather enjoys leading students down a pathway that causes them to have their own epiphanies. At least that was the case with me.

Gregg and I enjoyed a number of conversations about Ben Hogan and baseball, and I like to practice swinging a bat to feel my hips leading on the downswing. I’ve always had a tendency to overpower the golf club with my hands and arms, but the weight of a bat makes this harder to do. But it was after I took a look at pitching that helped me to really understand how to use my feet and legs better. Once I started to imagine feeling my back foot against the rubber, I realized how inefficient it was to allow my right heel to pop off of the ground. I knew I needed to use my leverage against the ground. This caused my lower body to work in a much more efficient manner, and also helped to deepen my hips and to stop me from early extending. By mimicking a sidearm/underhand throwing motion like Mr. Hogan showed in his book, I really started to feel how the swing builds from the ground up. Today, I have a consistent move that allows me hit the ball farther than I ever have before and my consistency has vastly improved.

staying-planted

We all know there is only one Ben Hogan, and his swing was one of a kind. Mr. Hogan was so modest he didn’t even believe his swing was the perfect swing to copy. But he did say the ultimate judge of the golf swing is the ball itself. I do not believe I will ever perfectly match Mr. Hogan’s swing, but I have received so much enjoyment just from the pursuit, not to mention the benefit from my tremendously improved golf game. I certainly hope to keep improving at this wonderful game, but judging from my ball flight I can say that I made it much farther along than I ever thought possible.

I’ve slain the Minotaur and lived to tell the tale.

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After playing average golf for more than 30 years, Christo Garcia began working on Ben Hogan's 5 Lessons and learned to break par. Along the way, he picked up millions of YouTube followers and tens of thousands of subscribers.

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  22. surewin73

    Jun 8, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I can’t believe how much negativity is being displayed over some communicating their golf swing change using his translation of Ben Hogan’s thoughts from his books.

    If you don’t like his thoughts, don’t read his articles, view his YouTube channel or buy his DVD.

    People (internet trolls) are just sad nowadays.

  23. MAC O

    Jun 8, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    AND FOR HAMMERBOY WHO GOT THE RHOIDS, WELL WHAT ELSE DID YOU EXPECT WHEN YOU SIGNED UP FOR THE LEADBETTER “A” SWING!
    http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/1345684-hemmorhoids-and-golf/page__pid__13717720#entry13717720

  24. Lord Vader

    Jun 8, 2016 at 11:38 am

    HEY DAT SLICEFIXER DUDE AND THE HOGAN WANNABEE ISNTCLOSEBEE SHOULD WHIP ON DOWN TO THAT SWEATSHIRT THIEF DD FOR SOME OF MY INFO.
    DD IS GOOD FOR PUNCH ELBOW AND THE GOON HERE WOULD BE BETTER OFF AND MIGHT BEGIN TO CARRY IT 220 YARDS.

    • Dana

      Jun 8, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      It’s really sad that you have to air our dirty laundry on the internet. I will send you the $40 for the sweatshirt, but please please let me back in the program! I need to learn to CP from elbow plane with a pitch elbow. That guy Gankis is stealing all of my students!

      • lord vader

        Jun 9, 2016 at 1:08 am

        You clown, what use is a CP pattern for you? All you do is get steep and swing left and gas bag on about MORAD CP being wipey with too much ball spin.
        News flash dude, you have LOFT issues and can’t shift out whilst getting on the elbow plane early enough or is that being captain obvious!

        • Dana

          Jun 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm

          Maybe you should film yourself hitting another 120-yard 7 iron?

          • lord vader

            Jun 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm

            How short would you like my shorts to be? I know you love my hairy legs…..

  25. Cary Schoen

    Jun 7, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I think a match between Scheinbloom, Iteachsnooker and Cristo would settle the issue.
    3 snake oil salesmen ferreting around in the scrub on every hole looking for their balls!

    • Slicefixer

      Jun 7, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Hey dude, I could take them all. Their best ball versus my worst ball and it will be obvious who the real Hogan guru is.
      And throw that other clown Mike Maves into the ring, I will have him for dessert.

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        Jun 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

        DUDE YOU STOLE MY ORIGINAL MORAD INFO ALONG WITH THAT PENCIL NECK JOHN F ERICKSON.
        WHAT YOU BOTH HAVEN’T HAD IS AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT IN THE 26 YEARS SINCE.
        I PUT THE LEVEL LEFT AND SHOULDER TURN IN THE TRASH BIN 25 YEARS AGO.

  26. Tim

    Jun 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    No one is ever going to look just like Hogan. Using Hogan’s principles to create a Hogan ball flight is what it’s all about. I’m very impressed by the progress Cristo made by focusing on Hogan, and his ball flight speaks for itself. So only listen to or buy from Cristo if you want his ball flight. What’s more important to you anyway, how his swing looks, his pga status, or the ball flight?

    • Monte Sheinbum

      Jun 6, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Like the duck hooks and block cuts into the trees every other hole when he played with the other hack Devore?

      • Christo Garcia

        Jun 6, 2016 at 9:38 am

        Generally, I don’t respond to baseless criticisms like this but I will in this case because it is a “teaching moment.” Out of hundreds of videos on YouTube that show me working very hard to improve my game to the point that I have now shot 2 under on 18 holes twice, all you can focus on is a poor round I had while I was going through the most recent swing changes. These changes I made are what gave me the greatest breakthroughs of my journey, in fact I have not gone through any major changes in 2016. If someone wants to overhaul their swing, you will have to face the fact that you might be taking a few steps backwards at times. During my years studying Judo and Jui-Jitsu at the Florida School of Judo under Black Belt Hall of Fame member, Ed Maley, I was only submitted 4 times out of hundreds of sparring matches. Yet, those 4 losses were the most important. You do not learn anything new if you are not pushed to the limit. I can tell by your hater attitude that you are unaccomplished, not only in golf but in life as evidenced by your personal attacks on myself and my friend who I played against. This accomplishes nothing for you except give you a brief moment of satisfaction while you try and hide from your painful and obvious inadequacies. Please, let me know where I can find your body of work on the game of golf if I am incorrect. I’m sure your fragile ego will have to respond with some sort of personal retort against me. I don’t know you, so why do I care? I care about golf, and my friends – not you. So, the test will be if you can read this response to your flippant insult against me and another fast growing YouTube star (Be Better Golf), who is willing to share his game warts and all with the public in the hopes of helping other golfers get better. If you can read this and let it sink in without lashing out, I’ll be slightly impressed. If you can’t, I’ll be laughing very hard at you while feeling very sorry for what you have live with when you look in the mirror.

        • Monte Sheinbum

          Jun 7, 2016 at 8:12 am

          All I saw was 2 separate 9 hole matches where neither of you broke 45 on short goat tracks. I doubt whether you’d break 100 on a tour set up course so why would anyone want your ball flight?

          • Christo Garcia

            Jun 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm

            Haha! Just as I thought. You’ve spammed my article with numerous negative posts and you don’t know a thing about my channel or my game. What a nice life. BTW – where can I see your swing or your work in the game of golf, Hotshot?

            • TCJ

              Jun 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

              So, your “body” of work consists of “studying” a book by a true legend of golf, and now conveying those techniques as some evolution of your design in exchange for money? Some might call that plagiarism…

        • hater

          Jun 8, 2016 at 2:14 am

          ” I was only submitted 4 times out of hundreds of sparring matches. Yet, those 4 losses were the most important. Yet, those 4 losses were the most important.”

          That is true so you should be tapping out every single class. If you aren’t tapping you either have too much ego and shitty training partners or in a shitty environment with meat heads you don’t trust. If you are owning your training partners, take the opportunity to try some more advanced techniques. There are things that will get you tapped out during your first 20 attempts before you finally get it. If you are afraid to fail, you will never get to the 21st time when you nail it. You also need to put yourself in near-submission situations to practice escapes and learn how close to the edge you can go. If you only tapped 4 times, you missed out on a lot of jiujitsu.

          • Christo Garcia

            Jun 9, 2016 at 6:32 pm

            In the mid-90’s that was the best competition in town. Today, when I train with Eddie Bravo I tap all the time because the talent there is stellar. Also, golf is my focus now.

        • surewin73

          Jun 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm

          Keep doing what you are doing, Cristo.

      • Tim

        Jun 6, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        No, like the ones that start at 0:45 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De7QvPIpQDI

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  28. Ray Bennett

    Jun 4, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    The only thing I got out of Five Lessons was confusion. Some of the swing fundamentals that Hogan described in his book were not what he did. Examples are his grip and setup. His grip was much weaker than the book. He didn’t externally rotate his shoulders as in the book but had his left elbow at the target and his right shoulder rotated inwards (giving him freedom to externally rotate it during the backswing). Before Hogan, swing plane wasn’t an issue. His comments on plane are very confusing, especially when it is subjected to 3D analysis. It does raise the issue of who wrote the book – Hogan or Wind? Did Hogan leave notes for Wind to put into words and Wind placed his own perceptions of what he thought Hogan meant. Doing doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how we do automatic/habitual movements. Tiger is a perfect example.

    My advice is to forget copying Hogan’s swing because he never revealed the hidden movements that made his swing unique. Looking at your swing – you are not even close to Hogan because you are copying this movements you can see, not the movements that he was conscious of making that caused the macro movements.

    • Tl

      Jun 5, 2016 at 2:54 am

      This guy Christo doesn’t care about any of that stuff. He just wants to get famous and make a quick buck from sheep that will pay him to reveal what he’s done on DVDs he’s selling. Don’t take him seriously.

      • Dan Plan

        Jun 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        Hmmmm.Sounds like he will have tons in common with all other online instructors than

  29. Dan Iteach Golf

    Jun 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I wear my DC engraved belt buckle for a reason bucko.Ever been slapped by a 4 foot 8 midget in the solar plexes?Keep up this Hogan stuff and I will midget slap you

  30. Monte Sheinbum

    Jun 2, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Cristo how come you are humping a goat mid downswing? Look at the peak of the cap in reference to the background and your spine is losing its inclination relative to the ground. Hogan didn’t do that.

    • Christo Garcia

      Jun 2, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      If you will notice in frame 1 my cap is 2-3 inches above the background pole. In frame 2 you will notice my cap has compressed down to meet the pole so I am increasing my spine angle without losing my hip depth.

      • Monte Sheinbum

        Jun 3, 2016 at 2:49 am

        I noticed that but just because you are lowering doesn’t mean it’s from the spine angle increasing or adding inclination, your lowering is coming from below your spine whilst your spine is losing inclination.
        That’s a long ways from what Hogan did.

        • Hater

          Jun 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm

          Wow, another fake Monte. I now see why Christo deletes the negative comments from his videos. I thought he was being a baby but this is ridiculous.

          • Monte Sheinbum

            Jun 4, 2016 at 8:19 am

            This Monte knows more though, isn’t that obvious or are you blind like Cristo and can’t see the peak of the cap reversing away from the ball and losing his spine inclination!

  31. John

    Jun 1, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    FWIW… From me, personally, I’m not sending any hate. Maybe others are but I want to be clear that my comments are simply about whether Christo’s swing is like Hogan’s and whether I think he has the ability to teach it to others. I’m not riled up and have no hateful intentions. But I think that if he’s going to claim he learned to swing like Hogan (again, it’s a title he used, not my words) and claim that he can teach others to do the same (again, that’s what his web site says, not my words) I think it’s fair if someone points out to the people looking for advice where he’s mistaken before they spend their money. No hate intended. He said that people don’t know anything about his work and, since I have seen his work, it should be expected that I might give my opinion. In fact, until he got personally snide with me, I had said that I would enjoy this conversation with him over a pint in a very friendly way. He said he enjoys a healthy debate but hasn’t really brought a healthy debate to the conversation yet. He hasn’t offered up a counter-point to my assertion that he doesn’t swing like Hogan. And he hasn’t refuted my claim of his inability to teach with any evidence other than to say that he has a lot of followers. I’m trying to be professional and respectful, very open to a “healthy debate” and definitely not getting riled up with any hate.

    • John

      Jun 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Interesting. In fact, I’ve even defended him in a few comments when I thought he was wrongfully attacked/accused. But, alright. If it comes across that way, I’ll make a note of it.

      • John

        Jun 1, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        Again, I haven’t bashed him. I’m indifferent to him, personally, and just pointing out objectively what I see.

        • John

          Jun 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm

          Uhh….Ya. You’re contributions to this discussion have added a lot of value. Thanks.

  32. BL

    Jun 1, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    The enhanced ball-striking sound effect on the before and after video are overly excessive.

    Swing looks nice though.

  33. Johnny

    Jun 1, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Cristo how many strokes would it take you to get around the course in a US OPEN? More or less than a 100?
    I don’t see a single aspect in your swing that resembles Ben Hogan, wait yeah that hat but it looked way better on Hogan’s head as he was a good looking man with blue eyes!

    • Carl

      Jun 1, 2016 at 10:58 am

      You know Ben Hogan did a screen test in Hollywood back in the day but I get the picture.
      Hogan is like Han Solo and Cristo is Jabba the Hutt in golf swing and looks!

  34. oikos1

    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Hey Christo, remember that one time on the range not so long ago when you were swinging like a hack and “Dave” came along to give you a “few pointers”, since the last time he saw you, and much of it rooted in his love of Nicklaus. How much of that have you incorporated into the “Hogan Code”?

    • Christo Garcia

      Jun 1, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Dave was a Class A PGA teaching pro in Florida and he played on the mini tours as well. He really taught me some interesting things about leverage and helping people fix multiple problems without overloading their mind with too many swing thoughts. He’s as crazy about Nicklaus as I am about Ben Hogan, but Dave actually got to work with Jack on the range a few times. He said Jack hit it farther than anyone back in the day. Very cool!

      • oikos1

        Jun 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        Thanks for the reply. What I’m asking is it appeared that you had lost something in your swing yet you make the claim of the “Hogan Code” and how you learned to swing like Ben Hogan, even asking for money to fund a book, so it seemed odd that you would go to a Nicklaus guy to find a fix. Are you mixing and matching methods?

        • Christo Garcia

          Jun 1, 2016 at 9:25 pm

          What happened was I was working on my Hogan swing, and Dave was getting off of work and wanted to watch me hit. He had some suggestions and he’s such a great character I filmed it because I thought it’d be a good video.

          • oikos1

            Jun 2, 2016 at 11:38 pm

            Good video? It’s great video! From what I gather, the people want more “Dave”.

  35. Leon

    May 31, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Lots of mixed comments. Sure you guys don’t mind my 2 cents:

    For all the videos, books and information from Mr. Garcia, whether you like them or not, they are commercial products from Mr. Garcia. It’s your decision to buy them or not. But just like Mr. Hogan said: “Dig it out of dirt”. There is no secret, no technical short path, or any holy grail that can help you play better in a short period. The only way is the 10000 hours rule that requires you to keep practicing, keep thinking, keep educating, keep experimenting and keep playing. You will get better for sure. Nothing else applies.

    For the fort worth hogan irons, I have played all of them, the performance and quality are just as good as any brand on the market. The feel is ok (their blade feels a tough firm), but nothing special. The old hogan blade irons feel more pure and soft. Again, everyone has different swing and personal preference, you need to try different equipment head and shaft combination to get the sweet gear that makes you smile

    • Wit

      May 31, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Yeah, like somebody said, this fake dude is trying to make a quick buck with somebody else’s ideas.

  36. Titleistfann

    May 31, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Good for you Christo- we all want to improve and find ‘the secret for OUR OWN swing’

    Simple is best I believe and emulating Hogan is fantastic, I’m chasing anything right now so will also look at the Hogan book based on this.

    Hogan said he wanted to give back more than he subtracted, a fantastic sentiment.

    As you are emulating him in looks and style maybe you could do similar in a smaller way, for example stating what ‘secret’ you took from his teachings as it could be very subjective with each reader possibly?

    To go from a max handidap player to breaking par is wonderful and I applaud you. What’s your handidap now if you dont mind me asking?

    • John

      May 31, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      I know you asked Christo but I thought I’d just say that I don’t believe he’s ever claimed to know the great secret. I saw another comment in here about “the secret” but in my viewing of his videos, I don’t recall him ever saying he knew what it was. He’s been studying Hogan’s swing and working on emulating it but I don’t believe he would even try to imply that he knows Hogan’s “secret”.

      BTW… From what I understand, the only reference Hogan made to any secret was much later in his life when he said that the thing he never shared with anyone was that he wanted to feel his left wrist cupped at the top of his back swing. And since he said it, I guess it’s no longer a secret. I’m no Hogan historian so maybe there’s another reference since that time that he made to some other secret that people are referring to??

      • Brian

        Jun 1, 2016 at 3:11 am

        I believe you are correct, the left wrist cup or “little twist” at the top of his backswing. Tom Bertrand explains and demonstrates this in his video
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPW8g63DdYM
        I learned to flatten my L wrist at the top of the swing to open the face and counteract a draw or hook – it is something similar to Hogan’s little twist, and I wonder if this was Hogan’s way of countering a draw which he hated.

  37. Peteholly

    May 31, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Is Christo doing anything to harm the legacy of Mr Hogan? I think not. In many ways he is introducing a lot of kids on You Tube to the great man. For that Mr Garcia deserves a pat on the back.

    • Ezra

      May 31, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      So true!

    • Wit

      May 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      He shouldn’t sell the ideas that aren’t his. All of his videos and stuff should be given out for free. That’s the problem.

      • Cornfused...

        Jun 1, 2016 at 11:20 am

        So a guy works hours and hours to uncover what he feels is a set of keys to swing better, spends his time working on those skills and then works to put all of that on film, and he should do all of this free of charge? First of all, he is not saying that he is even giving you Hogans swings, he is taking Hogan as a swing model and formulating a technique and teaching based on it. By this logic at least 75% of the coaching professionals in the world shouldn’t be charging people for their time to teach them the swing. Him trying to make a little money off of a lot of hours of hard work isn’t mean spirited or evil. His DVD is like 30 bucks, that might be the cheapest instructional DVD I’ve seen. And the BIG kicker? You don’t have to buy it.

        These are his ideas he’s formed from hours of working with Hogan as a model. The problem here isn’t him monetizing it. The problem is overly entitled jerks like you trying to bring a guy down for his hard work. Get over yourself, for the sake of everyone here.

        • Wg

          Jun 2, 2016 at 2:32 am

          ” The problem here isn’t him monetizing it.”
          Er, yes it is. He’s not a PGA Professional, and has no license to teach and to take money off people for just some random personal experience he felt pounding balls in a way he felt that sort of was based on somebody else’s swing by recording it. That’s just as sick as some kid showing you how to spin hoolahoops in his backyard and asking you to pay him for the trick to do it his way.
          “Get over yourself, for the sake of everyone here.”
          Look in the mirror.

          • surewin73

            Jun 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm

            Being a PGA Pro or USGTF Pro should not be a the only qualification to teach someone about golf. I know plenty of certified pros who suck and many non-certified individuals are excellent teachers.

            Most PGA teaching pros don’t even teach but run the golf shop at their facilities.

  38. oikos1

    May 30, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    We know what Christo is doing. I’m most disappointed with the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company and Terry Khoehler. Here they are reviving the Hogan name and they put Christo as the front man. Pathetic. I still play Eidolon and Scor wedges but I will never touch the Fort Worth irons. Disgusting sell out and poor decision making at the top. What were you guys thinking?

    • BoJangles

      May 31, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Dont listen to this guy, I had a great experience with the new Ben Hogan Company and their clubs. They are a great group of guys that treat the customer great and the clubs are worth every penny!

      • oikos1

        May 31, 2016 at 1:01 am

        I had a great experience with Eidolon and Scor. You missed the point entirely.

    • Ezra

      May 31, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Well, Christo has a lovely swing! And for me, golf is all about pleasure and style. And it should be the same for every amateur player.

  39. Monte Scheinblumh

    May 30, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I say leave Christo alone.Blame fakes and phonies like Dan Iteach golf.That idiot doesn’t know what is up or down.Buffoon to the highest degree

    • Christo Garcia

      May 31, 2016 at 1:57 am

      Thanks, Monte. I’m not sure if you’ve heard it but I’m a subscriber, student, and great fan of yours.

      • Rex

        May 31, 2016 at 6:48 pm

        I’ll bet my savings account there’s no way in he’ll that was Monte!

    • Tbone

      Jun 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Clearly not Monte. This post should be deleted by the mods. What a tool.

    • Monte Sheinbum

      Jun 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      What a muppet!

  40. BoJangles

    May 30, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Christo for sharing. I know you understand all the haters are just idiots behind a keyboard.

  41. Matt

    May 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Can’t believe all the criticism. He’s found a way to improve his game, have more fun, and he’s trying to help people do the same. Good on him. So many people forget that the game is meant to be enjoyed.

    • Hater

      May 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Are people criticizing him for trying to improve his game or trying to help people? No they are criticizing him for becoming another golf swing snake oil salesmen. Watch any recent video – its not about him getting better or helping anyone. It just an infomercial for his videos and clinics. I wouldn’t “hate” on him for asking for donations on his quest to get better but he has found the answer and will now sell it to you. There are enough false prophets out there with far better credentials than him. Make money if you can but don’t turn into the golf world’s equivalent of Kevin Trudeau in the process.

      • Faker

        May 30, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        Exactly. Just trying to sell Hogan’s idea without actually being Hogan. Why do we need this Christo guy? He should be offering his ideas for free, since they aren’t his. He’s just another wannabe faker Hollywood bloodsucker type preying on the poor golfers attempting to make money off of somebody else’s ideas and concepts. Horrible.

  42. Stretch

    May 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Kudos Christo. I have studied Hogan’s swing for years and when the secret that he said would be obvious when looking at his swing actually is. Steve Wozniak is spot on about Hogan leaving out the key that brought the rest of the book together. It is pretty simple to teach his swing even though each player’s bio mechanical structure will make it look different yet the same.

    • oikos1

      May 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      That’s hilarious. Simple to teach his swing. The book is titled “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf”. It was his thoughts interpreted and written by Herbert Warren Wind. Hogan built his swing from thousands of hours of practice. Good luck teaching that…

  43. Alex

    May 30, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Funny thing the haters. I always respect anyone that goes from hacker to build a golf swing to play good golf. Especially because it is a journey that lets you grasp the intricacies of the golf swing. And if you take Ben Hogan as a role model, that’s a really wise decision. I’m sure this guy can teach golf better than the average instructor. He’s been through it. I’ve seen some of your vids, but not in depth. I promise I’ll pop in. Congrats man.

  44. David

    May 30, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Ahhhhh good old golfwrx where everyone on here is on a scratch handicap. You guys make me laugh. Keep up the good work mate a great swing you have there f the haters.

  45. Eric

    May 30, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Why all the hate? People are people. If he’s enjoying his journey, good for him. You don’t have to hang out with him. You don’t have to take his lessons. If you don’t want to watch his videos. Trolling him is pretty lame.

  46. Alex Jackson

    May 29, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Hogan’s “code” was his work ethic. His swing “code” would have been different if his body ended up growing to different proportions than it eventually did.

    I don’t like that you say you’ve understood and figured out his swing. You haven’t. Hogan thought Snead was a superior swinger, but lacked the ethic or killer instinct. Hogan was a genius, incomparable. He was much more than his swing, which he felt would crumble and decay if he didn’t practice incessantly every day.

    You can also bet Hogan’s swing would be different if he were playing today. He would have been forced to play a higher ball flight. I have no doubt he would have done this seamlessly, but it would have changed his swing.

    What I’m saying is, the golf swing is more than a singular model. I hope you learn this if you keep teaching golfers to play golf.

  47. Korean Slum Lord

    May 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I think there should be a thread Christo v Haters. The haters should post a video of their swings to compare side by side with Christo. My swing is modeled after Tony Lema’s and not Hogan’s, so I don’t really care too much about his videos or blogs, but would love to see his Hogan style swing vs Haters Hogan swing.

    • John

      May 30, 2016 at 12:43 am

      Straw man. Nobody else here is saying that they can swing like Hogan, let alone a better Hogan swing. He’s the one saying he can swing like Hogan and can teach others the same. His YouTube videos have clearly demonstrated otherwise. What does anybody else’s swing have to do with this? Nothing. Like I said, if he’s going to make the claims he’s making, scrutiny should be expected and welcome.

  48. Christo Garcia

    May 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I enjoy healthy debates about the golf swing and what I’ve discovered. However, some folks don’t believe a former hack like me could offer anything to the game. I would say they do not know anything about my work. Here’s a third party opinion of my video The Hogan Code.

    http://golfunfiltered.com/review-hogan-code-christo-garcia-2016-03-20

    • John

      May 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      A golf blogger with a double-digit handicap giving a review of your video doesn’t really tell us much. Personally, I’m not saying you don’t have anything to offer the game. But you are claiming to have learned Hogan’s “code” and now swing like him. You don’t. And you’re claiming you can teach it to others. You can’t. We’ve seen the videos you’ve made that demonstrate you don’t really know the swing well and we’ve seen the one you made attempting to teach a student. You got him in a worse impact position than where he started. Sharing your journey is great. Totally commendable and every entertaining! Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s when it’s more than sharing and when you’re making the claims you’re making about what you can teach people that you’ll get these “folks” chiming in for a “healthy debate”.

      • Christo Garcia

        May 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        First, Adam Fonseca has thousands of followers and has played golf for over 20 years. He has devoted his life to this great game and it’s unfair to discount his opinion because he may not be as good as yourself. Many of the most important voices in golf are not scratch golfers. I am just like Adam. The general offerings and tips did not help me, nor did formal instruction. I’m very happy I could help him.

        Second, I make it clear in the article that Mr. Hogan’s swing was “one of a kind.” I will never duplicate his swing but what I have focused on learning was how he leveraged the club. In doing so I have attracted correspondence from a number of pros on tours around the world. In addition, I am friends with Doug Sanders, Kris Tschetter, and Terry Koehler who all worked with Ben Hogan personally.

        Lastly, it is only your opinion that I cannot teach. And, I will venture to guess that you are a golfer teacher in some regard due to your vehement distaste for my opinions. That is fine and I’m happy you are passionate about the game. I am a TV and film producer so I do appreciate the comment that my videos are entertaining.

        Hit ’em long, and hit ’em straight!

        • John

          May 30, 2016 at 9:37 am

          My comment about the reviewer wasn’t intended to attack or insult him in any way. Stating a person’s handicap isn’t an insult – I have zero issue with anybody’s handicap – it’s a point of reference. You identified him as a way to establish credibility for what you’re offering and my point was simply that a double-digit handicap probably isn’t in the one others should be listening to when trying to decide who to learn golf from. Nothing derogatory intended at all. Just perspective.

          Also, everyone has seen your video of what you taught that kid, Jonah. As well as your videos with Dave. With Jonah you completely misunderstood what needed to be fixed in his swing and ended up putting him in a worse impact position than he already was. And with Dave, you both demonstrate in those videos the lack of knowledge you have about the mechanics of the golf swing. You clearly have spent a lot of time swinging the club and studying others (Hogan especially) but you proved in those conversations that you don’t really understand swing mechanics. So my opinion on whether you can teach isn’t just an assumption. It comes from watching you try.

          You say I have vehement distaste for your opinions. That’s absolutely not true. If we were sitting down over a pint, I’d be having this same conversation with you without any distaste at all – not from me, anyway – and it would be collegial and friendly. I have not personal issues with you and no distaste for you or your opinions. Like you said, you enjoy a healthy debate about the golf swing. So do I. And in a healthy debate, my point of view comes from the evidence that I have in front of me which, in this case, is all the videos you provide on your YouTube channel. If your comment about charging for the DVD’s was directed at me, it was off the mark. I never once said that you shouldn’t be able to do so. In fact, I said it’s commendable and entertaining so I have no idea why you even made that comment. I think you’re mistaking my disagreement with your abilities as a teaching professional with my opinion of you, personally. Don’t do that – they’re completely unrelated.

          • Christo Garcia

            May 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

            John, you disagree with me, with Golf Unfiltered, and now you insult my friend Dave, who was a Class A PGA Teaching Professional, and also a pro golfer in the 1970’s and 80’s. I guess we should all get out of the way and you rule the golf world. BTW – where can we follow your work? I’d love to see what you have contributed to this great game.

            • John

              May 31, 2016 at 3:20 pm

              Was that an insult to Dave? Saying that he demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the swing? If somebody told me the same thing, I don’t think I’d be insulted. Maybe because he’s a teaching professional, he finds the statement insulting. I suppose I can see that but I can’t apologize for him taking offense at it. I watched the video a couple of times and in it neither of you demonstrated a good knowledge of swing mechanics and you made contradictory statements about the swing. Also, my intent wasn’t to bring Dave into it but was to suggest that when you agreed with him in the video, it was more indication of your lack of knowledge of the swing. It really wasn’t intended to take a swipe at Dave but I can see how it did, indirectly.

              And I don’t disagree with Golf Unfiltered. I simply said that using his review of your video isn’t really providing sufficient credibility. He doesn’t have enough knowledge of the swing to be an authoritative voice about that aspect of your video (he’s probably right about it being a high-quality production based on your other videos which are all very well made and entertaining, but not about the swing). You’re completely misconstruing what I’m saying and taking it as an attack against you and your friends. It’s not. Read my words at face value, rather than adding anything personal to them. There’s nothing in between the lines. I’m simply talking about your abilities as a teaching professional.

              And the only place where I disagree with you is about that claim – that you can teach people to swing like Ben Hogan. I also don’t agree that you, yourself, can swing like him. I’ve watched your YouTube videos. And I guess there’s another thing you and I disagree about and that’s whether you improved Jonah’s swing. I assume you believe you have, since you put it up as an example. I think his impact position is actually worse. I’m not alone in that, by the way.

              Finally, why would I have to put up anything for you to follow? I haven’t once made any claims about my own swing like you have. Nor have I made any claims that I can teach people to swing, let alone swing like Hogan. Those were all your claims so you should expect to be questioned on them and asked for the proof by people who would pay you money for this information. I, on the other hand, don’t have to offer any proof since I don’t have any claims to back up.

              • Christo Garcia

                May 31, 2016 at 4:33 pm

                I listened to Dave because I am respectful, unlike yourself. And, just as I suspected you’re all talk, with nothing to back it up.

                • Wit

                  May 31, 2016 at 7:53 pm

                  If you had any substance at all as a decent human being, you wouldn’t have to defend yourself here. You’ve been called out, and you know it. You are as fake as they come, and you know you should provide your videos for free, and that you shouldn’t be making money off of your attempt that making your swing better. You’re not a teacher, a PGA pro, or any of that. Why don’t you just leave Hogan alone. It’s obviously not working for you, because if it worked that well you’d be at least on some Tour by now. And that’s sick part – that you’re trying to make money off of it when you’ve achieved nothing, except to wave your hands around trying to get innocent people’s attention and making them believe that the secret is attainable. Go away

                • John

                  May 31, 2016 at 9:44 pm

                  What am I supposed to back up? You’re saying that I need YouTube followers like you have to “back it up”?? I’m not making any claims about my abilities or trying to get people to by my teaching aid – that’s your deal. What do I need to back up and how would I?

                  I really don’t think I’ve been disrespectful at all. I’ve been polite, professional, and respectful throughout this entire conversation. Just because I don’t agree that you and Dave are good teachers means I’m disrespectful?? I don’t agree at all. In fact, you saying that I’m “all talk” is beginning to get disrespectful. I haven’t been personal about this and you hadn’t either until now. I’ve only said that I reviewed your videos and don’t think that you swing like Hogan and that what you taught to Jonah was wrong. Please give me an example of where I was disrespectful.

                  P.S. I disagree with the comment made that your should provide free videos. That’s absurd and, like I said earlier, the work and quality you put in is commendable. Certainly you should be paid for that if people want it. Whether I think what you’re teaching is right and whether you should ask for money for it are completely separate things.

              • Golf Unfiltered

                Jan 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm

                Hey, Fonseca here. Can’t believe I’ve only stumbled upon this thread just now. At any rate, I can assure you I have a substantial knowledge of the golf swing, much like Christo. As any golfer would know, just because you know what to do on the course or in the swing doesn’t mean you score well. I recommend not assuming what I do or do not know when it comes to anything golf related. Or, as an alternative, assume I know more than you (because I probably do).

      • Car

        May 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm

        And trying to take money off innocent people’s hands with it. That’s the problem

        • The Truth

          May 30, 2016 at 12:38 am

          “Trying to make money off of innocent people” LOL. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads, they are seeking and purchasing advice from him voluntarily. Go back to your bureaocrat cubicle parasite.

          • Rac

            May 30, 2016 at 2:58 am

            Its says “trying to TAKE money off” not make. Go back to elementary school and learn to pay attention

            • Hacksaw Duggan

              May 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

              Hey Poindexter go back to school. LOL. If it wasn’t for the profit motive, none of the freedoms and technologies that you enjoy today would exist. Learn some economics, oh yeah I forgot you’re a Liberal, you ignore reality.

      • Christo Garcia

        May 29, 2016 at 6:43 pm

        I’m disappointed that you would attack the reviewer personally by insulting his game – a low blow. How many golf writers, and bloggers are scratch players? I helped his game and that means a lot to me.

        Also, I make it clear that I will never look exactly like Mr. Hogan and I state that his swing was “one of a kind.” I have endeavored to learn how he leveraged the club and I’m satisfied that I am doing something similar. I am proud to be working with Doug Sanders, Kris Tschetter, and Terry Koehler at the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company since they all personally worked with Mr. Hogan.

        You said that I am incapable of teaching others and yet I have over 9 million views and I’ve received thousands of personal notes of gratitude from golfers around the world. I am enjoying correspondence with a number of professionals on tours such as the European Tour and Asian Tour as well pros here in America.

        I appreciate that you commend my videos and call them entertaining. I am an award-winning TV and film producer. Productions cost a lot of money, therefore, I do not feel there is anything wrong with charging for DVD’s that I’ve produced. You simply don’t have to buy them if you don’t want the content.

        Above all, I wish you well with your game. Hit ’em long, and hit ’em straight!

        • John

          Jun 1, 2016 at 9:23 am

          BTW… Saying that Fonseca is a double-digit handicap is only an insult if you think it’s insulting to have a double-digit handicap. I don’t think a persons handicap is an insult. I think it might say something about their ability to evaluate a swing or someone’s ability to teach the swing but it’s not an insult to them. Why would you think it’s insulting and a low blow to refer to someone’s handicap???

          Also, you absolutely do say that you swing like Ben Hogan. You have a video called “How I learned to swing like Hogan”. And your web site says “Learn to swing like Hogan”, as though you can teach people to swing like Hogan.

        • James Carlson

          Jun 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

          This video was created to discuss con artists who rip off people with Cash to Gold schemes, but it still seems pretty appropriate and I feel like you’ll enjoy it nonetheless Christo!

          https://youtube.com/watch?v=QQUg4XozVI8

    • mhendon

      May 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      I applaud you Christo keep up the good work.

  49. farmer

    May 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    If a player dedicates 5+ years to improving their swing, with instruction, that player is going to get better. Has nothing to do with unlocking the Hogan “secret”, wearing pleated pants or the cap.

    • Christo Garcia

      May 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      I spent two years working with one of the most famous teachers in the world and it did not help me. I spent a lot of money on new golf clubs as well. However, focusing on the swing of Ben Hogan got me where I wanted. And, it’s true it had nothing to do with the cap or pleated pants. That just made it more fun!

      • Hogan & Garcia Fan

        May 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        I am a Ben Hogan fan. I’ve read his books and many others about his swing and the secret. The bottom line is he was spot on and so are you. I have watched your You Tube videos and what you have accomplished in swing development is tremendous. The motion is fluid, athletic and no doubt efficient. I applaud you and I continue to be encouraged to pursue swing perfection in spite of my limited abilities. Best wishes!

  50. The Truth

    May 29, 2016 at 10:03 am

    2nd best golf swing on youtube behind Peter Finch. A close second though, beautiful swing.

    • John

      May 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

      You can’t be serious! You’re trying to be funny, right?

  51. Blank

    May 29, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I met this guy and he’s a total jerk. So fake. Typical Hollywood-LA type who just wants to be famous, doesn’t really have time to talk to you in person, he just wants you to watch his videos on YouTube and subscribe and buy his stuff so he can get rich and just play hobby golf. Don’t feed the dude. He has a personality of a blank salesman

    • Zach

      May 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      I have met Christo in person a few times and he has never been anything but polite and gracious. I don’t believe you really met him. Our maybe you did and you’re just lying about him.

      • Eric Mcglashing

        May 29, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        I have not had the pleasure of meeting Christo in person. However I have sent him several emails and he has always taken the time to respond. No way I believe your nasty and obviously untrue comments. I imagine he is nothing but a true gentlemen.

        • Blank

          May 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

          He promised to send me info on his stuff, I gave him me email and card, he was going to send me a sample disc and other materials on other projects he was working on and I never heard from his again – except that as he was leaving our cordial conversation he repeatedly said I should check his YouTube page, check the YouTube page. I actually initiated the conversation when I mentioned I had seen him on there and thought it could interesting, at which his ears perked up and is why we got into a conversation about it.
          Not a nice man.

          • Christo Garcia

            May 29, 2016 at 6:48 pm

            Hello Blank. I would like to apologize if I misplaced your card or I did not follow up after you met me on the course. I run into many folks on the course that are nice enough to introduce themselves. I appreciate that you mentioned that our conversation was “cordial” and it seems that your are upset that I didn’t follow up with you. Well, I’m here now and if you would like to send me an email at myswingevolution@yahoo.com I will certainly write you back. My apologies.

            • Rac

              May 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

              You’re as fake all the actors and wannabes in L.A.

              • Really Rac?

                May 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm

                Sounds like you hold a grudge. You should forgive and try not to be so harsh.

  52. M Smizzy

    May 29, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Took me 10. Sorry it took u so long.

    Smizzy

  53. cgasucks

    May 28, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    He is the real deal. I’ve been following Christo’s Youtube Channel for the past 4 years and see him break 80..and then 70 while gaining distance on his clubs..

    • oikos1

      May 28, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      Are you kidding? He’s posted two rounds with “Be Better Golf” and hasn’t broken 40+. He’s an average hack at best who can produce a good show…

      • ders

        May 29, 2016 at 12:38 am

        It would be fine if he was just a guy trying to learn and have fun. Breaking 80 or 70 one time would be considered a great success but thats not what its about anymore. He neglects to mention it in this article, but he has found the secret to the Hogan swing and will sell it to you for $50. If you want to be a teaching pro, there is an established career path to follow. If he has truly improved as much as he says he has, it won’t be that difficult.

        • Fake

          May 29, 2016 at 11:52 am

          Exactly. All this guy wants is money and he’ll sell you his secret. He is so totally fake.

  54. Jake

    May 28, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Not recommended for the average golfer who doesnt have the time to beat 1000 s of balls .Christo how many hours have you spent on the range working on your swing? Just to put things into reality 99 percent of golfers don t have the time to put in the hours so try for a more simple fix.Well done on your progress so far.

    • Christo Garcia

      May 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      I would usually hit a large bucket twice a week and play one round every couple of weeks. I put in a ton of time off the course studying, watching videos, and visualizing what I wanted to do.

  55. M smizzy

    May 28, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Awesome journey and video. Keep up the great journey. Just curious did u do any work/have issues with flexibility/mobility or/and do some strength training?

    Thanks

    smizzy

    • Christo Garcia

      May 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Today I am actually working a great deal off the course on my strength and flexibility but through most of my work I avoided the gym. I gained a lot of length in my back swing by simply figuring out a slightly different way to turn that changed everything. I discuss that in my latest YouTube video.

  56. Max

    May 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Love the YouTube channel. Makes me want to go out and play. He has some fun videos on Miura and Hogan irons that are sure to be of interest to WRXers.

  57. Steve Wozeniak

    May 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Your close Christo,

    But you still have a wipe in your swing that can easily be fixed……first of all, go ahead and throw away Power Golf, Hogan understood that this book was garbage after he started working on the correct information with Sam Byrd a former Yankee and PGA Tour winner of over 20 events, 6 official. While still working with him he came out with his correct book, Power Golf, but he did not give it all to you, just ask Jackie Burke!!!! Let me know if you want to fix it…..keep working!!!

    Steve Wozeniak PGA Director of Instruction

    http://www.stevewozeniak.com

    • Dick Moser

      May 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Steve, Is Hogan’s book “Five Lessons” ok? Since you did not think The book “Power Golf” was accurate, I was just wondering. Thanks!

      • Steve Wozeniak

        May 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        Yep sorry no way to edit a post on here…..

        Power Golf – bad……He was dead at address and got worse from there!!!!

        Five Lessons – great…..He learned how to set up correctly and how the arms and body work together correctly……

        He just left a crucial part out, on purpose he was still competing in the 50’s and did not want to give it all away!!!!!

        • Brandon

          May 28, 2016 at 9:46 pm

          Which part was that?

        • oikos1

          May 29, 2016 at 12:01 am

          Well of course you would know the “Hogan Secret”. Why not just tell us? No way average hacks could replicate it anyway…

    • Christo Garcia

      May 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you, Mr. Wozeniak. I’d love to learn more! I’ll look you up on your website. Cheers!

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Opinion & Analysis

Don’t Leave Your Common Sense in Escrow Outside the Golf Course Parking Lot

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Disclaimer: Much of what follows is going to come off as elitist, harsh and downright mean spirited — a pro looking down from his ivory tower at all the worthless hacks and judging them. It is the opposite. The intent is to show how foolish WE golfers are, chasing around a white ball with a crooked stick and suspending all of the common sense we use in our every day lives.

Much of what follows is not just the bane of average golfers, but also low handicappers, tour players and even a former long-drive champion during his quest for the PGA Tour… and now, the Champions Tour. In other words, if WE take ourselves a bit less seriously and use a bit more common sense, we are going to have more fun and actually hit better golf shots. We will shoot lower scores.

FYI: All of the examples of nutbaggery to come are things I have actually witnessed. They’re not exaggerated for the sake of laughs.

It’s winter time and most of you poor souls are not enjoying the 70-degree temperatures I am in Southern California right now (see, you all hate me already… and it’s going to get worse). That gives us all time to assess our approach to golf. I am not talking course management or better focus; I am talking how WE golfers approach our successes and failures, which for many is more important than the aforementioned issues or the quality of our technique.

Why is it that golf turns normal, intelligent, successful and SANE people into deviant, ignorant failures that exhibit all of the tell-tale signs of insanity? I also forgot profane, whiny, hostile, weak-minded, weak-willed and childish. Not to mention stupid. Why do we seem to leave our common sense and sanity in escrow in a cloud outside the golf course parking lot… only to have it magically return the moment our car leaves the property after imposing extreme mental anguish on ourselves that Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (don’t feel bad if you have to google this) would find extreme?

Smarter people than I have written books on this, but I think they missed a key factor. Clubs, balls, shoes, bags, gloves, tees, the grasses, especially the sand in the bunkers, the Gatorade they sell at the snack bar, hats, visors, over-logoed clothing, golf carts, etc., are all made with human kryptonite. Not enough to kill us, but just enough to make us act like children who didn’t get the latest fad toy for Christmas and react by throwing a hissy fit.

Bob Rotella has said golf is not a game of perfect, and although religious texts say man was made in God’s image, thinking we are perfect is blasphemous. We all play golf like we think there is an equivalent of a bowling 300. We expect to hit every drive 300 yards (the bowling perfect) with a three-yard draw… in the middle of the face… in the dead center of the fairway. All iron shots must be worked from the middle of the green toward the pin and compressed properly with shaft lean, ball-first contact and the perfect dollar-bill sized divot (and not too deep). Shots within 100 yards from any lie should be hit within gimme range, and all putts inside 20 feet must be holed.

We get these ideas from watching the best players in the world late on Sunday, where all of the above seem commonplace. We pay no attention to the fact that we are significantly worse than the guys who shot 76-76 and missed the cut. We still hold ourselves to that ridiculous standard.

  • Group 1: “Monte, you’re exaggerating. No one has those expectations.”
  • Group 2: ”Monte, I’m a type-A personality. I’m very competitive and hard on myself.”

To the first group, the following examples say different. And to the second group, I am one of you. It’s OK for me to want to shoot over 80 percent from the free throw line, but at 50 years old and 40 pounds over weight, what would you say to me if I said, “I’m type-A and competitive and I want to dunk like Lebron James!” Oh yeah, and I want to copy Michael Jordan’s dunking style, Steph Curry’s shooting stroke and Pistol Pete’s passing and dribbling style.” That seems ridiculous, but switch those names to all-time greats in golf and WE have all been guilty of those aspirations.

I don’t know how to answer 18-handicaps who ask me if they should switch to blades so they can work the ball better and in both directions. The blunt a-hole in me wants to tell them, “Dude, just learn to hit the ball on the face somewhere,” but that’s what they read in the golf magazines. You’re supposed to work the ball from the middle of the green toward the pin, like Nicklaus. Well, the ball doesn’t curve as much now as it did in Nicklaus’ prime and most tour players only work the ball one way unless the circumstances don’t allow it. “And you’re not Jack Nicklaus.” Some joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf has that punch line.

Wouldn’t it be easier to get as proficient as possible at one shot when you have limited practice time, versus being less than mediocre on several different shots? This also applies to hitting shots around the greens 27 different ways, but don’t get me started…just buy my short game video. Hyperbole and shameless plug aside, this is a huge mistake average golfers make. They never settle on one way of doing things.

The day the first white TaylorMade adjustable driver was released, I played 9 holes behind a very nice elderly couple. He went to Harvard and she went to Stanford. He gets on the first tee and hits a big push. He walks to the cart, grabs his wrench and closes the club face. She tops her tee shot, gets the wrench and adds some loft. Out of morbid curiosity, I stayed behind them the entire front 9 and watched them adjust their clubs for every mishit shot. It took over 3 hours for a two-some. These are extremely nice, smart and successful people and look what golf did to them. Anyone calling this a rules violation, have a cocktail; you’re talking yourself even more seriously than they were. Old married couple out fooling around, big deal if they broke a rule. No tournament, not playing for money, they’re having fun. They had gimmies, mulligans and winter rules. Good for them.

This is an extreme example of a huge mistake that nearly 100 percent of golfers make; they believe the need for an adjustment after every bad shot… or worse, after every non-perfect shot. How many of you have done this both on the range and on the course?

”(Expletive), pushed that one, need to close the face. (Expletive), hit that one thin, need to hit down more on this one. (Expletive), hooked that one, need to hold off the release.”

I’ll ask people why they do this and the answer is often, “I’m trying to build a repeatable swing.”

Nice. Building repeatable swing by making 40 different swings during a range session or round of golf. That is insane and stupid, but WE have all done it. The lesson learned here is to just try and do better on the next one. You don’t want to make adjustments until you have the same miss several times in a row. As a secondary issue, what are the odds that you do all of the following?

  1.  Diagnose the exact swing fault that caused the bad shot
  2.  Come up with the proper fix
  3.  Implement that fix correctly in the middle of a round of golf with OB, two lakes, eight bunkers and three elephants buried in the green staring you in the face.

Another factor in this same vein, and again, WE have all been guilty of this: “I just had my worst round in three weeks. What I was doing to shoot my career low three times in row isn’t working any more. Where is my Golf Digest? I need a new tip.”

Don’t lie… everyone reading this article has done that. EVERYONE! Improvement in golf is as far from linear as is mathematically possible. I have never heard a golfer chalk a high score up to a “bad day.” It’s always a technique problem, so there is a visceral need to try something different. “It’s not working anymore. I think I need to do the Dustin Johnson left wrist, the Sergio pull-down lag, the Justin Thomas downswing hip turn, the Brooks Koepka restricted-backswing hip turn and the Jordan Spieth and Jamie Sadllowski bent left elbow… with a little Tiger Woods 2000 left-knee snap when I need some extra power.” OK, maybe it’s a small bit of exaggeration that someone would try all of these, but I have heard multiple people regale of putting 2-3 of those moves in after a bad round that didn’t mesh with their downtrending index.

An 8-handicap comes to me for his first lesson. He had shot in the 70’s four of his last five rounds and shot a career best in the last of the five. All of the sudden, those friendly slight mishits that rhyme with the place where we keep our money show up. First a few here and there and then literally every shot. He shows up and shanks 10 wedges in a row and is literally ready to cry. I said, “Go home, take this week off and come back… and what’s your favorite beer?”

He comes back the next week, pulls a club and goes to hit one. I tell him to have a seat. I hand him a beer and we talk football for 15 minutes. Then I pull out my iPad and show him exactly why he is hitting shanks. I tell him one setup issue and one intent change and ask him to go hit one. It was slightly on the heel, but not a shank and very thin. I said to do both changes a bit more. The second one — perfect divot, small draw and on target. I walk over, put my hand up for a high five and say, “Awesome job! Great shot!”

He leaves me hanging and says, ”Yeah, but I hit it in the toe.”

Don’t judge him. Every day I have people with 50-yard slices toned down to 15-20 yards saying the ball is still slicing. These are people who won’t accept a fade, but slam their club when it over draws 15 feet left of the target… and so on. I can’t judge or be angry; I used to be these guys, too. During a one-hour lesson, I often hear people get frustrated with themselves for thin and fat, left and right, heel and toe. Apparently, anything not hunting flags or hit out of a dime-sized area is an epic fail. I also get emails the next day saying the fault and miss is still there.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

My big miss has always been a big block, often in the heel. Instead, I now often hit a pull in the left fairway bunker out of the toe. I celebrate like I’m Kool & the Gang and it’s 1999… and I get strange looks from everyone. I can manage a 10-15 yard low, slightly drawn pull. I cannot not manage a 40-50 yard in the atmosphere block… that cuts.

So, now that I have described all of US as pathetic, let’s see what we can do.

  1. Be hard on yourself, be competitive and set lofty goals all you want… but you need to accept at least a one-side miss. If you hate hitting thin, weak fades, you need to allow yourself a slightly heavy over draw. Not allowing yourself any miss will make you miss every shot.
  2. Generally, the better the player, the larger the pool of results that are used to judge success. Pros judge themselves over months and years. High-handicappers judge themselves on their previous shot. Do you think pros make a swing change after 10 good shots and one minor miss? We all seem to think that course of action is astute. Bad shot, must have done something wrong… HULK MUST FIX!
  3. Don’t judge your shots on a pass/fail grade. Grade yourself A-F. Are you going to feel better after 10 A’s, 25 B’s, 15 C’s, 4 D’s and 1 F… or 10 passes and 40 fails? If every non-perfect shot is seen as a failure, your subconscious will do something different in order to please you. Again, 40 different swings.
  4. Improving your swing and scores is a lot like losing weight. No one expects to make changes in a diet and exercise routine and lose 20 pounds in one day, yet golfers expect a complete overhaul in a small bucket. Give yourself realistic time frames for improvement. “I’m a 12. By the end of next year, I want to be an 8.”  That’s your goal, not whether or not your last range session was the worst in a month. It’s a bad day; that is allowed. Major champions miss cuts and all of them not named Tiger Woods don’t change their swings. They try and do better next week… and they nearly always do.
  5. DO NOT measure yourself either on the mechanics of your swing or your scoring results according to some arbitrary standard of perfection… and especially not against tour players. Measure yourself against yourself. Think Ty Webb. Is your swing better than it was 6 months ago? Do you hit it better than 6 months ago? Are you scoring better than 6 months ago? If you can say yes to at least two of those questions, your swing looking like Adam Scott is less relevant than the color of golf tee you use.

That is a winning formula, and just like bad habits in your swing, you can’t wake up one morning and tell yourself you’re no longer into self flagellation. It takes effort and practice to improve your approach and get out of your own way… but more importantly, have some fun.

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Opinion & Analysis

15 hot takes from Greg Norman on our 19th Hole podcast

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Our Michael Williams spoke with the Great White Shark himself, Greg Norman, for GolfWRX’s 19th Hole podcast. Not surprisingly, the two-time major champion had no shortage of hot takes.

While you’ll want to check out the full ‘cast, here are 15 takes of varying degrees of hotness, from Norman’s feelings about bifurcation to whether he’d pose for ESPN’s Body Issue.

1) He wants bifurcation immediately, rolling back technology for the pros, rolling it forward for amateurs

“I would instigate a bifurcation of the rules. I would roll back the golf ball regulations to pre-1996. I would roll back the technology that’s in the golf equipment for the professionals. And I would open up the technology and give it to the masses because the pros who developed the maximum club head speed of 118, 120 are the ones who maximize what technology is in that piece of equipment. So the person who’s under 100 miles an hour does not hit the ball an extra 30, 35 yards at all. They may pick up a few yards but they don’t get the full benefit of that technology…I would definitely do that because I think we’ve gotta make the game more fun for the masses. “

2) He has no relationship with Tiger Woods and doesn’t plan to watch him play golf

“And this might sound kind of strange. What I’ll say is … I really, in all honesty, I really don’t care what Tiger does with golf. I think Tiger is, golf probably needs him to some degree but golf doesn’t need him, if you know what I mean, because there’s so many other incredibly talented great young players out there, probably a dozen of them, maybe even more, that are equal, if not way better than Tiger, and they can carry the baton of being the number one player in the world. So, I get a little bit perplexed about and disappointed about how some of these guys get pushed into the background by the attention Tiger gets. I hope he does well. If he doesn’t do well, it doesn’t bother me. If he does do well, it doesn’t bother me.”

3) He plays almost no golf these days

“I really don’t play a lot of golf. I played with my son in the father-son at the end of last year, had a blast with him. Played a little bit of golf preparing for that. But since then I have not touched a golf club.”

4) He doesn’t enjoy going to the range anymore

“To be honest with you I’m sick and tired of being on the driving range hitting thousands and thousands of golf balls. That bores me to death now. My body doesn’t like it to tell you the truth. Since I’ve stopped playing golf I wake up without any aches and pains and I can go to the gym on a regular basis without aches and pains. So my lifestyle is totally different now. My expectations, equally, is totally different.”

5) It took him a long time to get used to recreational golf

“But I’ve been in this mode now for quite a few years now so the first couple of years, yes. My body was not giving me what my brain was expecting. So you do have to make those mental adjustments. Look, there’s no difference than when you hit 40, you’re a good player or not a good player. Things start to perform differently. Your proprioception is different. Your body is different. I don’t care how good you are and how great physical shape you are. Your body after just pure wear and tear, it eventually does tend to break down a little bit. And when you’re under the heat of the battle and under the gun, when you have to execute the most precise shot, your body sometimes doesn’t deliver what you want.”

6) He’s a big Tom Brady fan

“I’m a big fan, big admirer of his. He gets out of it what he puts into it obviously…But he’s also a role model and a stimulator for his teammates. No question, when you go to play Brady and the Patriots, you’d better bring your A game because he’s already got his A game ready to go.”

7) He believes we’ll see 50-plus-year-old winners on Tour

“I said this categorically when Tom Watson nearly won at Turnberry in his 50s, when I nearly won at Royal Birkdale in my 50s….if you keep yourself physically in good shape, flexibility in good shape, as well as your swing playing, and your swing. Yeah, maybe the yips come in maybe they don’t, that depends on the individual, right? But at the end of the day, my simple answer is yes. I do believe that’s going to happen.”

8) The Shark logo has been vital to his post-golf success

“But I realized very early on in life too that every athlete, male or female, no matter what sports you play you’re a finite entity. You have a finite period of time to maximize your best performance for X number of years. And with golf, if you look at it historically, it’s almost like a 15 year cycle. I had my 15 year run. Every other player has really has had a 15 year run, plus or minus a few years.”

“So you know you have that definitive piece of time you got to work with and then what you do after that is understanding what you did in that time period. And then how do you take that and parlay it? I was lucky because I had a very recognizable logo. It wasn’t initials. It wasn’t anything like that. It was just a Great Shark logo. And that developed a lot of traction. So I learned marketing and branding very, very quickly and how advantageous it could be as you look into the future about building your businesses.”

9) He’s tried to turn on-course disappointments into positives

“We all … well I shouldn’t say we all. I should say the top players, the top sports men and women work to win. Right? And when we do win that’s what we expected ourselves to do because we push ourselves to that limit. But you look at all the great golfers of the past and especially Jack Nicklaus, it’s how you react to a loss is more important than how you react to a victory. And so, I learned that very, very early on. And I can’t control other people’s destiny. I can’t control what other people do on the golf course. So I can only do what I do. When I screw up, I use that as a very strong study point in understanding my weakness to make sure that I make a weakness a strength.”

10) Jordan Spieth is best suited to be the top player in the world

“I think that Jordan is probably the most balanced, with best equilibrium in the game. He’s probably, from what I’m seeing, completely in touch with the responsibilities of what the game of golf and the success in the game of golf is.”

11) His golf design is built on two pillars

“Two things: Begin with the end in mind and the least disturbance approach. I think we, the industry of golf course design industry, really did the game of golf a major disservice in the 80s and 90s when everybody was leveraged to the hilt, thought they had unlimited capital, and thought they could just go build these big golf courses with big amounts of money invested in with magnificent giant club houses which weren’t necessary. So, we were actually doing a total disservice to the industry because it was not sustainable.”

12) He’s still not happy about having essentially invented the WGC events and not getting credit

“I’ll always be a little bit salty about that because there’s a saying that I keep telling everybody, “slay the dreamer.” I came up with a pretty interesting concept where the players would be the part owners of their own tour or their own destiny and rewarded the riches if they performed on the highest level. And quite honestly, Michael, actually a friend of mine sent me an article, it was a column written, “Shark and Fox Plan to Take a Bite out of the PGA”. And this is written in 11/17/94 and I literally just got it last night. And I’m reading through this article and I’m going, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I was ahead of my time!” I really was ahead of my time.

So, it was very, very kind of like a reflective moment for me. I read it again this morning with a cup of coffee and I did sit back and, I’ll be brutally honest with you and your listeners, and did sit back and I did get a little bit angry because of the way I was portrayed, the way I was positioned.”

13) He was muzzled by the producer at Fox

“I’m not going to dig deep into this, I think there was just a disconnect between the producer and myself. I got on really well with the director and everybody else behind the scenes, some of my thought processes about what I wanted to talk about situations during the day, and it just didn’t pan out. And things that I wanted to say, somebody would be yelling in my ear, “Don’t say it, don’t say it!” So it became a very much a controlled environment where I really didn’t feel that comfortable.”

14) Preparation wasn’t the problem during his U.S. Open broadcast

“I was totally prepared so wherever this misleading information comes saying I wasn’t prepared, I still have copious notes and folders about my preparation with the golf course, with the players, with the set-up, with conditioning. I was totally prepared. So that’s an assumption that’s out there that is not true. So there’s a situation where you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

15) He would do ESPN’s Body Issue

“Of course I’d do it. I think I like being fit. I think on my Instagram account I probably slipped a few images out there that created a bit of a stir…And I enjoy having myself feel good. And that’s not an egotistical thing, it’s just none of my, most of my life I’ve been very healthy fit guy and if somebody like ESPN wants to recognize that, yeah of course I would consider doing it.”

Don’t forget to listen to the full podcast here!

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Podcasts

TG2: “If you could only play one brand, what would it be?” (Part 2)

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“If you could only play one brand, what would it be?” Brian Knudson and Andrew Tursky debate their choices in part 2 of this podcast (click here in case you missed Part 1). Also, TG2 welcomes special guest and GolfWRX Forum Member Ed Settle to the show to discuss what clubs he has in the bag.

Listen to our podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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