Connect with us

Instruction

Your Golf Swing: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Published

on

There is a general belief that swinging a golf club is like riding a bike; once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. The truth is that the swing is elusive, and while it might seem on occasion that you’ve found “the secret,” you can be assured it will disappear within a matter of time.

This is the vexing part of the game. As Gary Player once said, “The swing is a puzzle which will never be solved.”

Constant State of Change

The reality is that your golf swing is in a constant state of change, moving in one direction or another. The key to high-level performance is being aware that these changes occur and calmly accepting that they are both natural and inevitable.

And so, when it happens, you have to understand that you haven’t “lost” your swing, but what has been lost is the way in which your senses interpret the feeling of your swing. You must then redefine the feeling of your swing through practice, working toward discovering a parallel feel that produces the desired outcome. This process goes on forever.

A Change In Feel

The feeling of your swing changes because the chemistry of your body is constantly changing. These changes are so subtle that you are largely unaware that they are even occurring. But in the process, they are redefining the feel of your swing through the seven senses.

There is some debate as to the total number of human senses with the numbers ranging from five to 21. That said, the accepted number in most learned circles is a total of seven. They are touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, balance, and spacial awareness.

The role of the seven senses is to monitor the systems of your body in relationship to your immediate environment. The information that your senses gather is then integrated and sent through the central nervous system to the brain. The system then awaits orders as to how to proceed. The new information is then consolidated on a second-to-second basis, making whatever changes may be necessary given the state of the body at any one moment.

You might be wondering, “What would be required for there to be NO CHANGE in the way my swing feels?” The answer is that each of the seven senses would have to remain exactly the same for some period of time, which is an impossibility. The problem being that when even one of your senses change, it has the potential to change the way your entire swing feels.

Seven Lions, Seven Senses

You might picture a lion-tamer in the circus. He is alone with seven tigers in a cage, equipped with only a whip and a four-legged stool. There are seven pedestals lined up in a row, each one positioned next to the other. The lion-tamer’s goal is to have each one of the seven lions, at the same time, remain sitting on top of their designated pedestal.

The challenge is that the lions are not inclined to stay in one place for any period of time. They would rather pace around the ring than stay in any one spot. And so, just as the imaginary lion-tamer is a able to get the seven lions into position, one of them jumps off the pedestal and begins pacing back and forth.

And then just as the lion-tamer is able to direct that first lion back into position again, a second lion jumps down and starts pacing back and forth in the same manner as the first.

The Canary In The Coal Mine

The flight of the ball is the first to be affected by sensory changes in your swing, serving as “the canary in the coal mine.” Assuming solid contact, the ball’s flight is a direct reflection of your mechanics, and the degree in which they may have been altered by the seven senses. For example, you may have been hitting the ball straight, but then at some point the seven senses interceded, causing your swing to move in one direction or another. These changes can be plotted on a scale.

You might imagine a 12-inch ruler. The 1-inch point represents a hook with the 4-inch point representing a draw. At the opposite end of the ruler, the 12-inch point represents a slice with the 8-inch point representing a fade. A straight ball would lie in the middle at 6 inches. The challenge is keeping your ball flight within acceptable perimeters, understanding that your swing is not going to feel the same each day even though it may be identical.

Balancing Out The Swing

What does this mean if you’re competing? Assuming you’re an advanced player, your goal when practicing the full swing should be to constantly balance out your ball flight. This means when you practice, rather than trying to hit the perfect shot each time, you devote a portion of each session to working the ball in the opposite direction against your immediate tendency.

The reasoning is, of course, that if you have a sense of the two extremes that lie on either end of the spectrum, you are better equipped to find the middle. For example, assuming you fade the ball, you should practice hitting a few draws or hooks to balance out your swing. On the other hand, if you draw the ball, you should practice hitting a few fades or slices for the same purpose.

This type of practice is referred to as “bracketing,” which is far superior to “block practice,” an attempt to hit shots repetitively to a single target. The act of bracketing will increase your ability to “find” the central target as you become more familiar with the boundaries on each side. Sam Snead understood this principle at an intuitive level. During his career, he played left-to-right and right-to left depending on where his swing was on the scale. He would fade the ball until it became a slice, and then he would draw the ball until it became a hook. And then he would reverse the process. He did this throughout his entire career.

Mastery

At a higher level, when you have a physical grasp of these three feels, you can curve the ball simply through visualization because you have repeated the shot over and over again in practice. And when you have reached this point in your game, you are approaching a level of mastery that will allow you to challenge the golf course and play whatever shot is required in any given situation.

Your Reaction?
  • 202
  • LEGIT19
  • WOW9
  • LOL7
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP5
  • OB2
  • SHANK16

As a teacher, Rod Lidenberg reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named to GOLF Magazine's "Top 100" Teachers in America. The PGA Master Professional and three-time Minnesota PGA "Teacher of the Year" has over his forty-five year career, worked with a variety of players from beginners to tour professionals. He especially enjoys training elite junior players, many who have gone on to earn scholarships at top colleges around the country, in addition to winning several national amateur championships. Lidenberg maintains an active schedule teaching at Bluff Creek Golf Course Chanhassen, Minnesota, in the summer and The Golf Zone, Chaska, Minnesota, in the winter months. As a player, he competed in two USGA Public Links Championships; the first in Dallas, Texas, and the second in Phoenix, Arizona, where he finished among the top 40. He also entertained thousands of fans playing in a series of three exhibition matches beginning in 1972, at his home course, Edgewood G.C. in Fargo, North Dakota, where he played consecutive years with Doug Sanders, Lee Trevino and Laura Baugh. As an author, he has a number of books in various stages of development, the first of which will be published this fall entitled "I Knew Patty Berg." In Fall 2017, he will be launching a new Phoenix-based instruction business that will feature first-time-ever TREATMENT OF THE YIPS.

Continue Reading
12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Pedro

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:09 am

    How come I can go from the 1 inch point to the 12 inch point in the space of two shots?

  2. Rano

    Aug 28, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Interesting. I guess this is why I was told to attempt hook shots in a lesson about my driver slice.

  3. cgasucks

    Aug 26, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    You don’t own your swing…you just rent it…

  4. Steve Wozeniak

    Aug 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Love the picture of Snead…….

    He talked about feeling like the shaft was a gun sight going straight at the target through impact!!!

  5. Philip

    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Realizing this I’ve begun focusing more on what creates the results and controlling the input to the ball (club face at impact, path and knowing where the bottom of the swing arc is) – watching older videos of some majors I realize why it is said that pro’s create shots, as it is quite clear that they do not repeat swings in similar situations … they appear to go with what feels correct at that moment in time – doesn’t always work, but they commit to it. I’m currently working on bracketing my woods. Great article

  6. Marc Oreille

    Aug 26, 2017 at 3:13 am

    That is so true! excellent article!

  7. Dr. Freud

    Aug 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Rod L:– “…the accepted number in most learned circles is a total of seven. They are touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, balance, and spacial[sic] awareness.”
    When my swing is grooved I can taste and smell it!
    (btw…it’s ‘spatial’ not ‘spacial’… you must have been phonics educated.)

  8. chinchbugs

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Instant like just because it is the truest article title in the history of WRX…

  9. JEC

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:41 am

    This is why chasing perfection in the golf swing instead learning to play golf holds so many back and ruins so swings.

  10. Scott

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Thanks. That helps having an excuse for my inconsistent play. I love the idea of practicing working the ball more, especially when things feel out of sync.

  11. Paul

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    FORE!!!

  12. AceW7Iron

    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:05 am

    So THATS why I always feel like Im chasing my tail out there from round – round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instruction

6 things to consider before aiming at the flagstick

Published

on

One of the most impactful improvements you can make for your game is to hit more greens; you’ll have more birdie opportunities and will avoid bogeys more often. In fact, hitting more greens is the key to golfing success, in my opinion… more so than anything else.

However, there is a misconception among players when it comes to hitting approach shots. When people think “greens,” they tend to only think about the flagstick, when the pin may be the last thing you should be looking at. Obviously, we’d like to stick it on every shot, but shooting at the pin at the wrong time can cost you more pain than gain.

So I’d like to give you a few rules for hitting greens and aiming at the flagstick.

1) Avoid Sucker Pins

I want you to think about Hole No. 12 at Augusta and when the pin is on the far right side of the green… you know, the Sunday pin. Where do the pros try and aim? The center of the green! That’s because the right pin is by all means a sucker pin. If they miss the shot just a touch, they’re in the water, in the bunker, or left with an impossible up-and-down.

Sucker pins are the ones at the extreme sides of the green complex, and especially the ones that go against your normal shot pattern.

So go back to No. 12 with a far right pin, and say your natural shot shape is right-to-left. Would you really aim out over the water and move it towards the pin? That would be a terrible idea! It’s a center of the green shot all day, even for those who work it left-to-right. Learn to recognize sucker pins, and you won’t short side yourself ever again.

2) Are You a Good Bunker Player?

A “sucker pin,” or just a difficult hole location, is often tucked behind a bunker. Therefore, you should ask yourself, “am I a good bunker player?” Because if you are not, then you should never aim at a pin stuck behind one. If I wanted to shoot at pins all day, I’d make sure I was the best lob wedge player around. If you are not a short-game wizard, then you will have a serious problem attacking pins all round.

For those who lack confidence in their short game, or simply are not skilled on all the shots, it’s a good idea to hit to the fat part of the green most of the time. You must find ways to work around your weaknesses, and hitting “away” from the pin isn’t a bad thing, it’s a smart thing for your game.

3) Hitting the Correct Shelf

I want you to imagine a pin placed on top of a shelf. What things would you consider in order to attack this type of pin? You should answer: shot trajectory, type of golf ball, your landing angle with the club you’re hitting, the green conditions, and the consequences of your miss. This is where people really struggle as they forget to take into account these factors.

If you don’t consider what you can and cannot do with the shot at hand, you will miss greens, especially when aiming at a pin on a shelf. Sometimes, you will simply have to aim at the wrong level of the green in order to not bring the big number into play. Remember, if you aim for a top shelf and miss, you will leave yourself with an even more difficult pitch shot back onto that same shelf you just missed.

4) Know your Carry Distances

In my opinion, there is no excuse these days to not know your carry distances down to the last yard. Back when I was growing up, I had to go to a flat hole and chart these distances as best I could by the ball marks on the green. Now, I just spend an hour on Trackman.

My question to you is if you don’t know how far you carry the ball, how could you possibly shoot at a pin with any type of confidence? If you cannot determine what specific number you carry the ball, and how the ball will react on the green, then you should hit the ball in the center of the green. However, if the conditions are soft and you know your yardages, then the green becomes a dart board. My advice: spend some time this off-season getting to know your distances, and you’ll have more “green lights” come Spring.

5) When do you have the Green Light?

Do you really know when it’s OK to aim at the pin? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help:

  • How are you hitting the ball that day?
  • How is your yardage control?
  • What is the slope of the green doing to help or hinder your ball on the green?
  • Do you have a backstop behind the pin?

It’s thoughts such as these that will help you to determine if you should hit at the pin or not. Remember, hitting at the pin (for amateurs) does not happen too often per nine holes of golf. You must leave your ego in the car and make the best decisions based on what information you have at that time. Simple mistakes on your approach shot can easily lead to bogeys and doubles.

6) When is Any Part of the Green Considered a Success?

There are some times when you have a terrible angle, or you’re in the rough/a fairway bunker. These are times when you must accept “anywhere on the green.”

Left in these situations, some players immediatly think to try and pull off the “miracle” shot, and wonder why they compound mistakes during a round. Learn to recognize if you should be happy with anywhere on the green, or the best place to miss the ball for the easiest up and down.

Think of Ben Hogan at Augusta on No. 11; he said that if you see him on that green in regulation then you know he missed the shot. He decided that short right was better than even trying to hit the green… sometimes you must do this too. But for now analyze your situation and make the best choice possible. When in doubt, eliminate the big numbers!

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Instruction

Is There An Ideal Backswing?

Published

on

In this video, I talk about the backswing and look into optimal positions. I also discuss the positives and negatives of different backswing positions.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Instruction

Build A More Consistent Short Game Through Better Body Movement

Published

on

So far in my collection of articles on GolfWRX, I’ve talked at length about the importance of posture, stability and movement patterns in the full swing, particularly utilizing the GravityFit equipment for feedback and training load. Many coaches use the same equipment to teach better movement in the putting, chipping, and pitching actions.

To help give some more insight into exactly how they do this, I have recruited Matt Ballard to co-author this article. Matt is an Australian-based coach and short game specialist who has been working with Adam Scott for the past year.

Matt Ballard (right) with Adam Scott.

According to Matt, the short game issue that the club players he coaches struggle with is contact and delivering consistent loft with their wedges.

“Most people tend to get steep, the handle comes in first and not enough loft is delivered,” he says. “This means that the bounce of the wedge isn’t being used properly, which makes control of contact, trajectory, and distance very difficult. ”

As Matt explains in the video below, this problem tends to manifest itself in chips and pitches that are either fat or thin, fly to short or not far enough, and either check up too soon or go rolling on past the pin.

The really frustrating part is the inconsistency. Not knowing how the ball is going to react makes committing to a shot extremely difficult. This has the unnerving effect of turning a simple task into something difficult… and pars into bogeys or worse. For the past few months, Matt has been using the GravityFit TPro to teach correct set up posture and body movement for chipping and pitching.

“I use the TPro to first of all establish spine and shoulder position,” Matt says. “I like my students to have the feel of their shoulders and forearms being externally rotated (turned out). From this position, it’s much easier to control the clubface (i.e. not getting it too shut or too open). The second benefit of using the TPro is controlling the golf club radius during the swing, with the radius being the distance the club head is from the center of the body. Controlling the radius is paramount to becoming an excellent wedge player. The third reason I use it is to help teach that pure rotation from the thoracic spine (mid/upper back), minimizing the excessive right side bend (for a right handed player) that gets so many people into trouble.”

20170712-_MG_5867

Nick demonstrating how TPro drills can be performed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essentially, Matt uses the GravityFit TPro to train a simple movement pattern that, once mastered, all but eliminate the typical problems normally associated with chipping and pitching.

“When (golfers) learn to turn using their thoracic spine and keep their arms in front of their body, it has a dramatic effect on how they deliver the club to the ball,” Matt says. “They are now able to maintain width or radius on either side of the ball, shallow out the club, and engage the bounce (sole) of the wedge to interact with the turf effectively, which is a key trait of all excellent wedge players. Doing this greatly increases their margin for error from a strike perspective and produces a far more consistent outcome in terms of loft, trajectory and distance control.”

Here is Matt’s 5-step process that you can follow with the TPro:

  1. Push handles out in front of your body, keeping slight bend in elbow.
  2. Stretch tall. Feel the green spikes in your middle/upper back and your shoulder blades on the paddles.
  3. Hinge forward into posture for pitching or chipping (the shorter the shot, narrower the stance.).
  4. Slowly turn chest into backswing, keep arms out in front of body, and maintain pressure on the spikes and paddles.
  5. Turn through to finish position using normal tempo, maintaining same pressure on the TPro and keeping arms in front of your body.

In summary, using the TPro and Matt’s drill can help you train a simple movement pattern that can give you far more control over the strike, trajectory and distance of your chips and pitches.

Click here to learn more about the TPro. To discover more pearls of wisdom from Matt, take a look at his website here and his social media activity here.

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Trending