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Golf is as easy as peeling carrots

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I heard through the grape vine that Tiger Woods is searching for a technique he can use to allow him to play golf without any further damage and compete again. Here’s an idea: focus on a task that gets the results needed, and let the body tell you how to perform the task!

If Tiger were to go to a lumberjack camp and learn how to chop trees down the old fashioned way with a nice, sharp, 6-pound axe, he would walk out of there like Paul Bunyan after a month with a complete skill acquired and no injuries. Use the task in this video to acquire the skill needed to send a ball to a target!

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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.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Sean Reardon

    Oct 24, 2017 at 1:02 am

    No one actually brought carrots to the driving range did they? This is so stupid. It took vegetables to say the lead arm is dominant for direction and trail arm is passive and power. As to the bottle of water on the mat. Save the water go to a real driving range. Mats are nonsense. Fat shots skip into the ball making it look like you’re not a lumber jack and are terrible for your clubs and wrists.

  2. TC

    Oct 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    So… hit a wrist shot (hockey) in golf. Got it. lol

  3. Squire

    Oct 1, 2017 at 1:44 am

    He just used his right hand, and sliced AWAY from his body, left to right, horizontally, to slice that carrot. Yet he is hitting the ball right handed, right to left, in a downward motion, and with right palm facing down wrapped around the grip, and not slicing the turf away with his left hand or arm pulling horizontally across the top of the ground with the clubhead.
    Don’t do this move folks. Clearly it doesn’t work, even philosophically speaking. How embarrassing.

  4. Robert Parsons

    Sep 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I’d like to hire Shawn as a prep cook at one of my restaurants. I hope he can use this technique with potatos too! Who knows what he can cook up with a driver?!?

  5. ButchT

    Sep 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    More effective imagery for those who struggle than “hit down on the ball to compress it.” Tom Watson made a good living peeling carrots.

  6. AD

    Sep 29, 2017 at 3:10 am

    So completely wrong, it’s mind boggling he’s even allowed to teach.
    The objective of the golf club is to compress the ball off the turf onto the lofted face of the club to get it airborne with momentum and speed. It’s the downward-hitting, compressing, de-lofting motion of the forward leaning shaft angle that facilitates this downward hit that rebounds the ball onto the face of the club off the ground that propels the ball. Without the hitting, drive-down power motion bottoming out under where the ball was into the turf, the ball will not launch properly and you will consistently hit thing shots and will be cursing your finger joints and thumbs for believing that you weren’t holding onto the club properly. If you were going to peeling away with just the lead hand and arm pulling, why use the other hand at all then? This ain’t tennis’s one-handed back-hand like Federer. Good luck trying that with just your lead arm. You’ll get nowhere

    • OB

      Sep 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Shawn has made the video for golfers who learn through imagery, not imitation or confusing scientific verbal mumbo jumbo.
      Of course Shawn understands the scientific aspects of the golfswing but neither he nor you would tell that to the adult golfing duffer with the frightened brain of a 12 y.o. and a bagful of ill-fitting golf clubs.
      Would you explain the golfswing to a student in all it’s gory scientific details, or would you communicate in a manner that is similar to that of Shawn?

    • BCM

      Sep 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Shawn’s methods don’t work for everybody. But neither do yours. I have found that my most successful striking occurs when my trail arm (my right, which also is my dominant arm in every other activity) is very passive. I do agree with your description of contact/compression, etc. But you can find it with a swing dominated by pulling, as I have with my connected, body turn dominated swing. I do maintain more “ball is target” focus than Shawn exhibits here, but successful striking can happen by pulling/swinging as well as by pushing/hitting.

      • AD

        Sep 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        You don’t slice like that in golf – you do that in baseball batting. Why do you think batters have a hard time converting to golf? If this above method of slicing worked, then all batter would be the greatest ball strikers – and they are not. But ice hockey players are. They understand that the club is at the deck and know how to hammer it off there. Some of the more successful converters out there are former ice hockey players, and not baseball batters. But the slicers are welcome to keep slicing the ball far and away out of bounds if they want :-p

    • Bugs

      Sep 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Errrrrr wot’s up, Doc? I tried dis here method, but I just decided to eat the carrots instead

  7. Da Judge

    Sep 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Great golfing images for those who can’t think for themselves. Carrots, boards, water….. what’s next? Twirling a baton and hammering nails?

  8. Doobie

    Sep 28, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Bought a bunch of carrots and all I got with Shawn’s shaving drill is strips of julienned carrot… hitting too fat and shredding the carrot tops.
    Wotta waste of carrots. Wotta mess on my clubs. Wotta mess at the driving range!

    • AZ

      Sep 30, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Try a zucchini or cucumber…. combines slicing and water.

  9. 8thehardway

    Sep 28, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Wonderful analogy and addresses my problematic focus on the ball and thinking my swing is over once I make contact. Great tip on watering the mat too. Does ‘peel the carrot’ work for drivers, which is my biggest problem, or is there something better suited to an abbreviated driver swing?

    • Doobie

      Sep 28, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Go get lessons from Shawn and all your driver problems will be cured.

    • WillyWankel

      Sep 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      For drivers you “mash” the potato….. and for irons “peel” the carrot.
      And for the putter you just pop the ball.

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Instruction

How the Trail Arm Should Work In Backswing

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Stop getting stuck! In this video, I demonstrate a great drill to help you move your trail arm correctly in the backswing.

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Self-discovery: Why golf lessons aren’t helping you improve

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Of all the things I teach or have taught in golf, I think this is the most important: It’s not what we cover in a lesson, it’s what you discover. 

Some years ago, I had a student in golf school for a few days. She was topping every single shot. Zero were airborne. I explained that she was opening her body and moving forward before her arms and club were coming down. “Late” we call it. I had her feel like her arms were coming down first and her body was staying behind, a common correction for late tops. Bingo! Every ball went up into the air. She was ecstatic.

Some time later, she called and said she was topping every shot. She scheduled a lesson. She topped every shot. I asked her why she was topping the ball. “I think I’m picking up my head,” she said to my look of utter disbelief!

I had another student who was shanking the ball. At least 3 out of 5 came off the hosel with his wedges. I explained that his golf club was pointed seriously left at the top of his backswing. It was positioned well OUTSIDE his hands, which caused it to come down too wide and swing OUTSIDE his hands into impact. This is a really common cause of shanking. We were able to get the club more down the line at the top and come down a bit narrower and more inside the ball. No shanks… not a one!  He called me sometime later. The shanks had returned. You get the rest. When I asked what was causing him to shank, he told me “I get too quick.”

If you are hitting the golf ball better during a golf lesson, you have proven to yourself that you CAN do it. But what comes after the lesson is out of a teacher’s hands. It’s as simple as that. I cannot control what you do after you leave my lesson tee. Now, if you are NOT hitting the ball better during a lesson or don’t understand why you’re not hitting it better, I will take the blame. And…you do not have to compensate me for my time. That is the extent to which I’ll go to display my commitment and accept my responsibility. What we as teachers ask is the same level of commitment from the learners.

Improving at golf is a two-way street. My way is making the correct diagnosis and offering you a personalized correction, possibly several of them. Pick the ONE that works for you. What is your way on the street? Well, here are a few thoughts on that:

  • If you are taking a lesson at 10 a.m. with a tee time at 11 a.m. and you’re playing a $20 Nassau with your buddies, you pretty much wasted your time and money.
  • If the only time you hit balls is to warm up for your round, you have to be realistic about your results.
  • If you are expecting 250-yard drives with an 85 mph club head speed, well… let’s get real.
  • If you “fake it” during a lesson, you’re not going to realize any lasting improvement. When the teacher asks if you understand or can feel what’s being explained and you say yes when in fact you DO NOT understand, you’re giving misleading feedback and hurting only yourself. Speak up!

Here’s a piece of advise I have NEVER seen fail. If you don’t get it during the lesson, there is no chance you’ll get it later. It’s not enough to just hit it better; you have to fully understand WHY you hit it better. Or if you miss, WHY you missed.

I have a rule I follow when conducting a golf lesson. After I explain the diagnosis and offer the correction, I’ll usually get some better results. So I continue to offer that advice swing after swing. But at some point in the lesson, I say NOTHING. Typically, before long the old ball flight returns and I wait– THREE SWINGS. If the student was a slicer and slices THREE IN A ROW, then it’s time for me to step in again. I have to allow for self discovery at some point. You have to wean yourself off my guidance and internalize the corrections. You have to FEEL IT.

When you can say, “If the ball did this then I know I did that” you are likely getting it. There is always an individual cause and effect you need to understand in order to go off by yourself and continue self improvement. If you hit a better shot but do not know why, please tell your teacher. What did I do? That way you’re playing to learn, not simply learning to play.

A golf lesson is a guidance, not an hour of how to do this or that. The teacher is trying to get you to discover what YOU need to feel to get more desirable outcomes. If all you’re getting out of it is “how,” you are not likely to stay “fixed.” Remember this: It’s not what we cover in the lesson; it’s what you discover!

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Instruction

Jumping for Distance (Part 2): The One-Foot Jump

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In Part 1, I wrote about how I think this concept of jumping up with both feet for more power may have come about in part due to misinterpretation of still photography and force plate data, self-propagation, and a possible case of correlation vs causation. I also covered reasoning why these players are often airborne, and that can be from flawed setups that include overly wide stances and/or lead foot positions that are too closed at setup or a re-planted lead foot that ends up too closed during the downswing.

In Part 2, let’s look at what I feel is a better alternative, the one foot jump. To me, it’s safer, it doesn’t complicate ball striking as much, and it can still generate huge amounts of vertical ground force.

First, set up with an appropriate stance width. I like to determine how wide to stand based on the length of your lower legs. If you go to your finish position and stand on your lead leg and let your trail leg dangle down so your knees are parallel, your lower trail leg should extend only as far back as it will go while being up on the tip of your trail toe. If you roll that trail foot back down to the ground, viola, you’ll have a stance width that’s wide enough to be “athletic” and stable but not so wide you lose balance when swinging. You can go a little wider than this, but not much.

To contrast, the stance below would be too wide.

Jumping off the ground can be caused by too wide of a stance and lead foot position that is too closed at setup

Second, make sure your lead foot is open sufficiently at address. I’ve previously outlined how to do both these first two points in this article.

Third, whether you shift your weight to your trail foot or keep a more centered weight type feeling in the backswing, when you shift your weight to your lead foot, be careful of the Bubba replant, and then push up with that lead leg to push your lead shoulder up. This is the one-foot “jump” and it will take advantage of parametric acceleration (read more about that here).

But also at the same time, shift your lower spine towards the target.

From a face-on viewpoint, this can look like back bend, but in 3D space it’s side bend. It kind of feels like you are crunching the trail side of your mid-section, or maybe just bending over to the side to pick up a suitcase, for example. This move helps lower your trail shoulder, which brings down the club (whereas this is more difficult to do if you try to two-foot jump with your trail leg). It also helps you to keep from getting airborne off your lead foot. Further it doesn’t change your low point (by not changing the relative position of the C7 vertebrae in its general orb in space) and complicate ball striking like a two-foot jump does.

At this point, the club releases and you can stand up out of the shot (you don’t need to transition in to any sort of dangerous back bend) in balance on your lead foot having generates tons of vertical ground force without having jumped off the ground or putting yourself at risk for injury.

“Movember” mustache… not required!

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