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When we look at the anatomy of the arms and wrists, we quickly realize that we were built for slinging objects with great velocity.

In this video, we compare the release of baseball, hockey, fencing, golf and hammering, and we notice that… hey, there is no difference! When you use your body the way it is designed, you set yourself up for decades of strain-free use with high performance gains. Another side effect of this proper use? No more slice!

Watch the video to see how our arms and wrists are designed to be loaded, and then how the weight of our “instruments” release us through the task without any conscious thought on our part. Enjoy!

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Shawn Clement is the Director of the Richmond Hill Golf Learning Centre and a class A PGA teaching professional. Shawn Clement was a 2011 and 2015 Ontario PGA Teacher of the Year nominee and was also voted in the top 10 (tied with Martin Hall at No. 9) as most sought after teacher on the internet with 65 K subscribers on YouTube and 29 millions hits.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Dill Pickleson

    Mar 11, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Shawn, I’ve taken lesson from many famous instructors and have seen all the others videos, too. I just came to say you are a great orator and keep up the good work. Hard not to enjoy and learn something watching you.

  2. Ted

    Mar 11, 2017 at 12:09 am

    lots of ways to get it around on the golf course, this is one, may work for some not others…great thing about the game it is a never ending search for something to support the loss of one or two strokes in a round. Like the “Hammer” idea look up Jerry Heards Super Swing from 20 years ago…now that is the “Hammer” idea taken to the max…

  3. Shawn Clement

    Mar 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Hey man! All you need to do is try the drill!! You will feel for yourself how the weight of the club releases you! It is not your job to place the club; it is your job to use the weight of the club to perform a specific task with it! Try it and let me know how you do!
    See also “hammer through shawn clement” “fencing for power shawn clement” and “how arms and club release shawn clement” as well as “throwing the club shawn clement” on youtube!

  4. Bert

    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Tried this today and while making sure my right elbow was ahead of my right hip, I hit quite a few really nice powerful high draw shots. Boy did they feel so much better than my weak fade.

  5. DaveT

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    You have to be careful with analogies. There are too many false analogies in golf instruction, and I think we’ve got one or two here. Just a few places where my mind rebelled:

    (1) Throwing a football lines up the radius and ulna. True. But pitching a baseball has radius and ulna in what was presented as a “weak position”. So you can pick and choose your analogies, but there are others that make the opposite point.

    (2) Continuing on this point, the hammer and sword analogies have the “impact” in the lined up position. If you did that in golf, you would hit the ball with the hosel, if you hit it at all. To get the clubface on the ball, you need the radius and ulna in what is called here the weak position at impact.

    (3) The hockey analogy is all about what the biomechanics community calls the “hand couple”. But in golf, the hand couple is not providing the power through most of the release; power comes from the moment of the pull on the handle. Encouraging a golfer to focus on hitting the ball with the hand couple is likely counterproductive.

    (4) “Engineers say” the force is 2000-3000 pounds per square inch. I’m an engineer, and I would NEVER say that. Pounds per square inch is a measure of pressure, not force.

    (5) As long as “compression” is just a buzzword, harmless and meaningless, I guess I won’t complain. But if you’re going to use it as a serious argument, you should say enough to distinguish it from ordinary momentum transfer. I don’t see genuine understanding conveyed here.

    Bottom line: there are so many errors in detail here that I don’t know what to believe and what to dismiss.

    • Shawn Clement

      Mar 10, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Hey Dave! Awesome reply, thank you for taking the time!
      Yes, agree with 1-Dustin Johnson would be the baseball and Bubba the Football; both can propel like crazy! 2-don’t agree there as there are G-forces at work tht you connot prevent the club head from being taken when in a full out kinetic chain; so the face of club comes around but only if the grip is strong enough…
      3-not encouraging anyone to do that; if you simply performed the drill with the sword without filters and felt how the weight of the shaft releases your anatomy; it would be very clear
      4-there are other engineers who say that (I am sure your clan is as varied as the golf clan as is the medical clan) and I am merely trying to demonstrate that there will be “an elastic collision” slowing down the club through impact that the Central Nervous System will compensate for in comparison to say “air or a whiffle ball” how would you describe it better so I can choose my words better next time?
      5-ok, let’s make this one crystal clear: our students are our best coaches as they convey their golden feedback to us as we teach them; I start with a solid understanding of human anatomy-blend that with breaking par both right and left hand and playing just about every sport in the book and growing up on a farm-apply this to 20 years of proper teaching 80 to 100 students a week after cutting my teeth for 10 years and get this validated byDOZENS OF MD’s including several orthopaedic surgeons and you get what you see today; so when I do a video like this, understand that you have literally, a stadium full of people speaking through me saying hey, this worked for me!!
      So please, this is not my first ride around the block; I have and continue to do my homework every day.

  6. Steve Wozeniak

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    WRONG.

    This is teaching people how to shank it. At least he demonstrates how to do it correctly while hammering, and then screws it all up when telling people how it works at impact…..SHANK!!!!

    Steve Wozeniak PGA

    • Shawn Clement

      Mar 10, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Steve;
      This could not be farther from the intention; have you tried the drill? Did you feel how the weight of the instrument releases the anatomy? This is a universal movement of a human being.

    • doc_c

      Apr 12, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Dear Steve,

      more constructive criticism would be helpful if you feel like there are errors. your trumpian like attitude is quite unbecoming. But maybe you play golf with the guy, so who knows.

      Shawns anatomical understanding is spot on. As a physician, I can attest to that.
      cheers,

      doc c

    • JR

      Apr 20, 2017 at 12:16 am

      Hey Steve, you have crapped on Shawn twice in the comment thread, but you have failed to tell us the “right” way to do it.
      Your attitude toward other golf instructors is a huge turnoff, dont know why anybody would take a lesson from you the way you conduct yourself toward other golf pros.

  7. James

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:59 am

    better have excellent hand eye control if your going to use this idea…this is the swing where you shoot 70 one day and 84 the next…major timing issues here…..I wonder how many new players watching this are going out and trying this idea on the first tee tomorrow…let me help “FORE RIGHT”.

  8. SoCal

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Ah!!! Don’t think so…

  9. Joseph

    Mar 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    While I appreciate the comparisons, I’ve got to speak out against his thesis – that the timing of the wrist action is the same across various sports.

    The main problem I had picking up golf was overcoming the comparatively late wrist release (rotation) I’d learned playing baseball. Hitting to the opposite field with power in baseball requires a delayed wrist release, i.e. the wrists don’t begin to rotate until well after impact. The same action in golf leads blocks and slices.

    Consider the demos from the video, but imagine Shawn is wearing a pair of wrist watches. In the hammering motion, the face of the watch would be oriented about 90 degrees from the target line at impact. Same thing in the baseball demo; as the bat travels through the contact zone, the watch faces would be facing up and down.

    But in golf, at impact, the watch faces would be oriented more or less along the target line, meaning that the release has already begun and your wrists have already begun to rotate before contact is made.

    So for anyone struggling with a beginner’s slice, understand that, while the loading motion of the wrists is similar across sports, in golf, your wrists must begin to rotate in the last half to quarter of your downswing in order to square/close the club face at impact.

  10. Ian

    Mar 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    When I try swing like that – my brain screams fore left.

    • Jim

      Mar 9, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Ian…Been there, done that! If I focus on releasing the club “at the ball” instead of following Shawn’s advice of releasing the club “To the Target” I can hit some nasty high hooks. OTOH, when I follow Shawn’s advice and focus on the Target, the same swing produces a tight, medium-high draw (his “Throw the Club” videos are awesome!) It’s kind of spooky, but changing the focus from the ball to the target down range makes the swing feel less powerful and more like a natural swinging / throwing motion, but the impact sensation is “WOW”…
      WARNING: any impulse at the top to “Crush” the ball for extra power instantly changes your focus to the ball and will validate your brain’s “Fore Left!” screams and can produce some lethal OTT snap hooks that threaten the OB boundaries of the next fairway!

      • Ian

        Mar 9, 2017 at 10:31 pm

        Well said. I’m just not sure it’s worth the risk – OTT snap hook spells disaster and can wreck my confidence/score card at the same time.

      • Shawn Clement

        Mar 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        Awesome comment!!

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Instruction

Golf 101: 3 fundamentals to straighter shots

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Editor’s Note: This article was written by Kyla Carlson (Alaska), Hayley Mortensen (Oregon), Garret Howell (Arizona) and Seth Abrahamson (Guam), four students in New Mexico State University’s PGA Golf Management Program.

It is our belief that the majority of golfers are looking to achieve a straighter ball flight at a more normal trajectory. To accomplish this, we put together three fundamentals to help golfers improve. They are:

  1. Contact the Ball with the Center of the Club Face
  2. Contact the Ball when the Club Face is Square to the Target Line
  3. Swing the Club along the Target Line

Below, we take a step-by-step approach to helping golfers achieve these fundamentals so they can hit straighter shots.

Fundamental #1: Contact the Ball with the Center of the Club Face

In the photo above, Hayley demonstrates the circular nature of the swing as she maintains her balance.

Setup: A balanced setup is one where your weight is evenly distributed between your feet (50 percent on your right foot, and 50 percent on your left foot) and evenly distributed from heel to toe. The reason for the balanced setup is that it creates a radius between you and the ball. By maintaining your balance, you maintain the radius of the swing. Therefore, the center of the club face will return to the ball.

Swing: It is important to remain balanced throughout the swing. Be sure not to slide the weight of your body from left to right, as we want a balanced, circular rotation, not a swaying motion.

Fundamental #2: Contact the Ball when the Club Face is Square to the Target

In the photo above, Garret demonstrates holding the club with the grooves vertical. In addition, he demonstrates holding the club face “open” and “closed.” respectively.

Setup: To confirm that you’re holding the club with a square club face, stand up and hold the club out in front of you so that the shaft is parallel to the ground. From this position, the grooves of the club should be vertical.

A neutral grip gives the player the best chance to return to the point of impact with a square club face. A neutral grip is one where your palms are facing each other. In addition, the palm of the right-handed golfer will face the target. The club should be positioned behind the ball so that the club face is square to the target. Then, set your body so that you’re square with the grooves of the club face and so your club is in the center of your stance.

Grip Check: With your normal grip, stand upright with the club out in front of you and allow a friend to hold the club head with his or her index and middle fingers. Once he or she has a hold on the club head, relax your joints and lean back. This will mimic the centrifugal pull that is created by the swing. Depending on the position of your hands, the club head may twist one way or the other. If it does, adjust your hands (clockwise or counter-clockwise) until the club doesn’t twist. A neutral grip will not twist.

In the photo above, Henry does the grip check to confirm that Garret is holding the club with a neutral grip.

In the photos above, Garret and Henry also demonstrate the effects of holding the club with a “strong” and “weak” grip, respectively.

Swing: The club face should maintain its relationship to the player as it swings. The player should make no attempt to twist the club face. Holding the club face with a neutral grip will allow centrifugal force to square the club face at impact (as long as the player started the swing with the club in the middle of his stance and maintained balance throughout the swing).

Fundamental #3: Swing the Club Along the Target Line

In the photo above, Kyla demonstrates swinging the club along the target line. Notice how the shaft of the golf club tracks the target line as it swings around her body.

Setup: Set the club face so that it is perpendicular to the target line (Orange Line). The shaft of the golf club should also be perpendicular to the target line. Then set the feet and shoulders so they are parallel to the target line.

Swing: The shaft of the club should track the target line and point directly at the target just prior to 9 o’clock in the forward swing. Thinking of the shaft as a fire hose or telescope can be a helpful visualization for a player to understand this concept. A drill that may be helpful is to swing a short pool noodle along the target line, stopping before 9 o’clock to look through the hole and confirm that its pointing at the target.

By understanding and practicing these fundamentals, you will experience straighter shots and have more fun playing this wonderful game.

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Instruction

Davies: The Trail Elbow In The Downswing

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In this video, I discuss the role of the trail elbow in the downswing. I also share some great drills to help golfers deliver the trail elbow correctly, which will help improve distance and contact.

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The 3 different levels of golf practice

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“I would have practiced as hard, but I would have made my practice more meaningful. I would have worked more on my short game and putting. I would’ve done a lot more drills to make the practice more meaningful, and I would’ve added pressure to the practice as much as possible.” — Lee Westwood

Now here’s the rub. Practice is not monolithic! I approach practice as having three different, distinctive and separate curriculum and criteria.

  • Level 1: Basic
  • Level 2: Advanced
  • Level 3: Extreme

Basic Practice (Level 1) by definition is “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.” Basically, it’s doing the same thing over and over again to get better at it. My favorite skill that requires practice is the 76-yard “flighted wedge.” I do it, and I recommend it be done at every range practice session. Additionally, I identify and then practice as many different “skills” that are required to hit different golf shots. I have found that a non-pressurized environment is the best way to practice in a basic model.

It goes without saying that golf is not played in a pressure-free environment, so basic practice doesn’t help us play golf. The prime objective of Level 2 Practice (Advanced Training) is to take what you do in Basic Practice to the golf course.

First, create on-course situations that require you to hit the shots you have practiced. There should be rewards for demonstrations of competence, and there should be consequences for demonstrations of incompetence

“When you practice, try to find a situation to fit the shot you’re trying to practice.” — Ben Hogan

For example, a major problem is the unevenness of the lies you will encounter during play as opposed to the lies you used for your drills. From marginal to extreme, lies are difficult to replicate on the practice tee. So, play a round of golf and move the ball into the most undesirable lie that is very close to where you are.

Another example would be duplicating the creativity that is sometimes required during actual play. The prime example of that would be the sensation of “being in-between clubs.” I would suggest that you play an occasional round of golf using only half of your clubs. Take two wedges instead of four. Take only the “odd” or “even” numbered irons. Look at not taking the driver, or not taking all of your fairway clubs. I have not taken my putter, which forced me putt with my sand wedge!

A third example would be to play a round of golf and deliberately miss every green in regulation. Should your ball accidentally finish on the green in regulation just move it off into the rough, a bunker or whatever else could use the extra attention. You can create games where your opponent moves your ball off the green into something that would be advantageous to him.

Level 2 Practice is conducted on the practice ground as well as on the course. What I do and recommend is to take each of the shots, skills and drills used in Level 1 and add some accountability to the range experience. I have my students and clients use a “Practice Book” to schedule activities and to keep track of improvement.

Author Note: I will send you a sample practice book page that many of my players actually use. Request it at edmyersgolf@gmail.com.

Please be advised that Level 2 Practice can feature games, wagering or other forms of friendly competitions because they should only activate the lesser emotions of irritation, annoyance, anticipation, anxiousness, joy, pleasure and disappointment. Dealing with these feelings in practice will help you recognize and deal with the minor stresses experienced by most recreational golfers.

Stress is the major cause of “CHOKING.”

Stress, by definition “is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Stress can ruin our ability to perform when we experience the major emotions such as fear, anger, shame, humiliation, euphoria, ridicule, betrayal, doubt and/or disbelief.

Level 3 Practice (Extreme Preparation) is on-course training sessions best suited for very serious competitive golfers. The more a player is able to compete in a simulated or controlled environment that accurately replicates the actual “pressures” that produce the kind of stresses that can effect performance, the better the player will perform when stressed in actual tournaments or events. Please be advised that Extreme Practice DOES NOT feature games, gambling or “friendly” competitions. They don’t control the conditions of play sufficiently to replicate the type of pressure that would induce “stress.”

“Simulation, which  is a technique (not a technology) to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones, often “immersive” in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.” For many years now, the medical profession has used simulations to train doctors, the military has used simulations to prepare troops for the realities of the battlefield and aviation has used simulators to train pilots. Simulating has the added benefits of being cost and time effective while producing verifiable results.

If it’s possible for airlines to replicate every possible scenario that a pilot could experience in the cockpit by using simulations, then why isn’t it possible to replicate situations, and subsequent emotional responses, that a competitive golfer could experience on the golf course? Let me give you an example of what I mean.

“I got nervous all the time, as nervous as the next guy. It’s just that I caught myself before it became destructive.” Jack Nicklaus

Recent events at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play gives us some evidence of the destructiveness of uncontrolled emotions. Justin Thomas said that he couldn’t get the thought out of his mind of becoming the No. 1-ranked player in the world should he defeat Bubba Watson in the semi-finals, which he failed to do.

“I haven’t had such a hard time not thinking about something so much,” Thomas said. “And that really sucked. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, to be perfectly honest.”

Then there was Ian Poulter being told that with his win over Louis Oosthuizen he had earned a spot in this years’ Masters tournament only to be told 10 minutes before his next match that he had not actually secured the coveted invitation. With elation, joy and satisfaction jerked away and replaced with disappointment, and possibly anger, the Englishman went out and got whipped by Kevin Kisner 8 & 6!

I concede that Justin Thomas’ and Ian Poulter’s situations were so unique that simulation-based practice and preparation techniques may not have been available to them, but now they both must know that their performance was effected negatively by mental stresses. And with that knowledge they may want to get tougher mentally. Level 3 Practice does that!

Not all that long ago, I was approached by a PGA Tour veteran for some on-course, one-on-one training. He was experiencing severe “choking” in pressurized short-game situations. So I took him out on the course and we replicated the exact shots he had problems with in the past. He demonstrated that he could perform each and every shot in a stress-free environment. We went into a “low-stress” training environment and his performance began to suffer. Then, at his urging to get “real,” we went into a “high-stress” practice mode and he melted down. Without going into details, he became so angry that not only couldn’t he hit golf shots, he tried to run me down with the golf cart as he retreated to the safety of his car.

Now, that’s not the end of the story. A few hours later, after some soul searching, he apologized for his lack of self-control and acknowledged that he had recognized the early signs of stress growing internally as we worked. We went back out onto the course and got back to work.

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