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Measure your hip speed to determine your proper setup



The major variables influenced by hip speed are the player’s grip, ball position, foot flare and distance from ball. Unfortunately, over the years many golfers have been told that there is only one correct way to play golf well. Yet, when you watch the best players on tour, you’ll notice that most of them grip the club differently, have varying ball positions and all stand different distances from the ball at set-up.

The fastest way for golfers to implement changes in their games is to make changes based on what they can do naturally. All golfers are built differently and because of this all have various ranges of flexibility, range of motion and mobility. This obviously affects how golfers swing the golf club. Knowing that, why would we try to make every player setup or swing the golf club the same way?

The hip speed golfers have will have a huge influence on the clubface at impact, and because of this they must make changes at setup to offset what they do naturally. First, however, they must find out what type of hip speed they have. They can either have slow hips, medium-speed hips or fast hips. Once they understand their natural hip speed, they can make the appropriate changes to their grip, ball position and the distance from ball at set-up.

While this test does not quantify a golfer’s hip speed numerically, it does show the difference between the speeds of the lower body and upper body.

The Test

What’s needed: A golf bag and a headcover.

Start off by standing your golf bag in an upright position and put the headcover on your right hand. Take your 5 iron posture with your left hand holding your golf bag and your right hand on the golf bag. From this position, you will make your backswing as if you were making a normal swing. As you begin the downswing, you should begin to pick up speed until you hit the side of your golf bag with your right hand. You have now reached the impact position. Hold the position while looking towards your right foot. Is the heel still planted, slightly off the ground, or is your right toe up in the air?

If you have medium-speed hips, your lower and upper halves will be working in unison at impact. If you have fast hips, the lower body will be out in front of the upper body and your right toe (for righties) will be up in the air. If you have slow hips, on the other hand, your right foot will be firmly planted at impact. Remember, there is no correct hip speed. There is only the correct hip speed for you.

Hips 1Hips 2Hips 3

Slow Hips

If golfers have slow hips, their lower half is slightly behind the rotation of the torso right after impact. This player typically plays a draw, although this is not always true.

When the hips are a touch slower, the clubface will want to close quicker through impact. An example of a golfer with slow hips is Kenny Perry.

The first thing golfers with slow hips should be aware of is how they hold the club. Their grip should show about two knuckles in their upper hand, with the trail hand on top of the grip. As a result, the “V” made by their thumb and index finger on their trail hand will be pointing directly at their nose. While this grip is considered weak by the standards of the modern era, it can be helpful because it delays the closure of the face in the downswing.

Golfers with slow hips should also flare their front foot about 20-degrees outward while keeping their trail foot square. This will help them player sync up their upper body and lower body a bit better.

Next, golfers with slow hips should move their ball position one ball forward of “standard,” because it will help their face-to-path relationship. When a player’s hips are slower, the club will tend to shallow out a bit more, and this causes the club to swing more outward, or too much from the inside. By moving the ball slightly forward, it will help the player come closer to “zeroing” things out. This along with the grip change will help with ball flight consistency.

KP Slow Hips
Kenny Perry is a golfer with “slow hips.”

Slow Hip Speed Keys

  • Take a slightly weaker grip (a maximum of two knuckles visible at address on the upper hand).
  • Position the “V” of the trail hand at your nose at address.
  • Moved the ball position one ball forward in your stance.
  • Flare your front foot 20-degrees with their back foot square.
  • Stand a touch farther away at set-up.
  • You’ll most often hit a draw.

Medium-Speed Hips

Golfers with medium hip speeds are the one-size-fits-all player that you read about in all of the best instruction books of all times. This style golfer will have their hips and torso working in unison at impact. Both the hips and the torso will typically be about 35-to-40 degrees open. The grip should be the classic Hogan picture, showing the “V” of the top hand pointing towards the right eye and the “V” of the trail hand pointing closer to the right ear. Foot flare should be square as long as the player doesn’t have a mobility issue.

Ball position should be standard, with the width of the feet widening as the club lengthens, and the hands at address should be about an open handful from the body. Believe it or not, I find that most golfers are either a slow-hip or fast-hip players. I see very few that I would categorize as a medium hip-speed player. An example of a golfer with medium-speed hips on tour is Adam Scott.

Wood Med. Hips
Adam Scott has “medium-speed” hips. 

Medium Hip Speed Keys

  • Use the ideal “standard grip.”
  • Have a “traditional” ball position.
  • You can have square feet as long as you don’t have mobility/flexibility issies.
  • Stand a standard distance (open-hand distance) away from the ball at address.
  • You can work the ball left-to-right or right-to-left.

Fast Hips

Golfers with fast hips have hips that outrace their torso in the downswing. This can make golf difficult if you are trying to make the “fundamentals” of golf work for you. The majority of fast hip players tend to play a fade, but that’s not always the case. When the hips are fast, the hands are moving quickly inward, or on an out-to-in path. Henrik Stenson is a good example of a golfer with fast hips.

When a player has fast hips, the face will tend to be held open for a longer period of time. This usually means that golfers with fast hips have to make a grip change. They should strengthen their grip to help them improve the face alignment at impact. A stronger grip of 3-to-3.5 knuckles on the top hand — with the “V” of the trial hand pointing towards the trail ear — would be appropriate.

Golfers with fast hips should also increase the foot flare of both the front and back foot to around 20-degrees outward. This forces the hips to cover more ground, allowing for the torso to match up just a touch better to the lower body.

Next, golfers with fast hips should stand just a touch closer to the ball than what’s prescribed to the masses. The reason for this is to help the player hit the ball on the center of the face. As the hips move faster, the hands move more inward, affecting where the ball is struck on the face. If you don’t make this change, you will find you hit the majority of balls off of the toe of the club. That’s why you will see many players on tour with faster hips actually align the ball off the hosel at set-up and then at impact they strike it centered.

Finally, golfers with fast hips need to move the ball one ball farther back of standard at address. This will help improve their face-to-path ratio, helping them improve their ball flight. When the hips move faster, the club wants to exit left. By moving the ball back in the stance, this will help the club move on an improved path.

Stenson Fast Hips
Henrik Stenson has “fast hips.”

Fast Hip Speed Keys 

  • Take a stronger grip (3-to-3.5 knuckles visible on the upper hand)
  • Point the “V” of the trial hand toward your right ear.
  • Position the ball about one ball back of “standard.”
  • Flare both feet out about 20 degrees.
  • Stand a touch closer to the ball.
  • Most fast hip players naturally fade the ball.
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Bill Schmedes III is an award-winning PGA Class A member and Director of Instruction at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, the largest golf facility in New Jersey. He has been named a "Top-25 Golf Instructor," and has been nominated for PGA Teacher of the Year and Golf Professional of the Year at both the PGA chapter and section levels. Bill was most recently nominated for Golf Digest's "Best Young Teachers in America" list, and has been privileged to work and study under several of the top golf coaches in the world. These coaches can all be found on the Top 100 & Top 50 lists. Bill has also worked with a handful of Top-20 Teachers under 40. He spent the last 2+ years working directly under Gary Gilchrist at his academy in Orlando, Fla. Bill was a Head Instructor/Coach and assisted Gary will his tour players on the PGA, LPGA, and European tours. Bill's eBook, The 5 Tour Fundamentals of Golf, can now be purchased on Amazon. It's unlike any golf instruction book you have ever read, and uncovers the TRUE fundamentals of golf using the tour player as the model.



  1. bgh

    Aug 5, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I have extremely fast hips. My fast hips currently kill my distance to where I am hitting the ball shorter than most people despite my fitted x-flex irons. I am really searching for a way to slow them down. When viewing videos of my swing from the side, it is apparent that I am making contact with the ball as my right knee is sliding on by my left leg. One funny quirk about my swing is that I generally mishit the ball a little on the heel. I’m cool with having fast hips. I’m tall and lean and that is where my power comes from, but I am at the point where I need to slow them down. Is this possible and how do I do it.

  2. Ryan

    Jul 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Brilliant article. I have never heard this before, and even before trying I know it will help me tremendously with some of my issues. Thanks!

  3. SwingBlues

    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Interesting article. Wow, I have a fast hip. I always thought I had a slow hip because of the hook that plagued my driver swing. It’s still show its presence but I have since switched to an SLDR with an Ahina 60S which seems to improve this bad shot remarkably.

    So, heres a question: for a driver, what characteristics of a shaft is best suited for the various hip speed? ie stiff or active tip for fast? What does your research show as “best” fit?

  4. golfing badger

    Jun 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    very good. And also remember the relationship of path to hip speed-

    golfers with slow hips can have a problem swinging over the top because it is easier for their heads to lead their bodies into impact, so they should slightly bump their hips forward on the downswing to allow an easier inside clubhead delivery.
    Conversely, golfer with fast hips have the opposite problem of tending to tilt backwards and drop the clubhead in too much. They need to keep their right shoulder high and have their shoulders slightly more open at impact to allow the clubhead to allow an easier down the line clubhead delivery.

  5. Ebk

    May 31, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I can’t figure this out – how can a right handed player have his right toe in the air at impact?

  6. Randy

    May 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bill! Turns out I have fast hips. No one from whom I’ve taken lessons ever thought to look at that. I made the adjustments you suggested, and my ball striking improved immediately. More-centered contact with the driver (and a more-penetrating flight), with a much-reduced range of misses either left or right. Irons were solid and predictable. Distance on good hits was longer with every club (and almost all the hits were good:-). Suddenly, the game seems MUCH easier, I guess because I’m no longer playing against my own body.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Great to hear Randy! Keep up the good work!

  7. jjmule

    May 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Bill – Here’s my question:

    I’m a slow hips player (apparently always have been) and have played pretty well down thru the years like this (high single digits). In an effort to improve, should I attempt to change what seems to be my natural tendencies and add in a touch more hip rotation (in an effort to hit it longer) -or- just compensate for this tendency in the manner that you describe in this excellent article. I’m thinking that these sort of natural tendencies really cannot be changed nor should someone even try to do so.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks for the note jjmule. The purpose of the article was to find what the player can do naturally. No golfer is the same really,each golfer will show differences in body build, flexibility, mobility, strength, you name it. Often players try to make changes in their game without really having knowledge of what their bodies are capable of and it’s detrimental.

      I would maximize what you can currently do naturally in your full swing, in regards to your body, and put more time on working on your game from 100 yards and in. If I were you I would visit they have alot of great info on the site regarding workouts and physical screens to see where your currently at. Hope that helped. Thanks!

      • jjmule

        May 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

        Thanks Bill, this is exactly what I was looking for.

  8. Enrique Sierra

    May 16, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Great Article!

  9. AP

    May 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    The nomenclature you’ve chosen is IMO a bit of a misnomer. Stenson, who has “fast hips” by your account, is also a player that restricts his hip wind up to say (20 degrees*). His rear foot is well off the ground because it appears he fires through with his right side, causing that rear foot heal to be well off the ground at impact. While Perry, who purportedly has “slow hips” winds his hips back more (closer to say 45-50 dergrees*). Which also appears to be more of a rotation around the centre of the hips with the left side retracting out of the way of the right side, and so maintaining a planted heal through impact. [*no measurements taken, just using numbers for the point of making a relative comparison]

    Then you have someone like Bubba – he takes a full hip turn, rotates around the centre of his hips, yet has both feet in the air often. What speed hips is he?

    The nomenclature you’ve chosen has an insinuation which I am suggesting you might want to consider how it influences readers understanding of the cause and effect suggestion being made. I think golf as a sport has a lot of issues in this regard based on the terminology being used resulting in poor communication of concepts which may in fact be better understood than the terminology and phrasing represents.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks for the input AP. Again, as mentioned in the article, the test shows what the players natural tendency is between the lower and upper halves. Much of the information given is from a study by Mike Adams, who is one of the best coaches in the world, he has tested thousands of players and calls this test a hip speed test, but he also states its really the difference between the upper and lower halves.

      There are plenty of variables that happen in the transition into impact that can effect the look of impact including COM, COP, physical limitations, and we can go on and on. The article is more about taking the test to understand the players tendency and then making modifications at set-up to help that player with what they do naturally. The test obviously doesn’t measure any data, and 99% of players don’t have access to the technology to measure movements, but its something that can and has helped a large amount of golfers from professionals to amateurs.`

  10. Unknown

    May 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

    That’s not Adam Scott, It’s Chris Wood from The U.K who plays on the European tour. Please correct this!!!

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Yes it is. Thanks for the good eye. It should have said Chris Wood. Apologizes

  11. Winmac

    May 13, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I thought I am naturally unfit for golf as my friends picked it up faster than me. I read through the ‘ideals’, diligently followed them and still my swing improved only slightly. I read the comments above and I find the fast hips players are the ones always troubled. I’m glad to say that my swing has now improved and I dropped 2 strokes. Thanks and keep the articles coming, Bill.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you Winmac. Happy to hear its helped! It has worked for many of golfers and has been proven through tests to be accurate. Keep up the good play!

  12. James

    May 13, 2014 at 1:11 am

    This article is silly…what your trail foot is doing at impact has little to do with fast or slow hips. And your example aren’t showing consistent comparisons. You have stentson hitting a wood (wide stance, fast swing) and Adam Scott hitting what appears to be a mid iron (narrow stance, controled swing) of course Scott is going to appear to have more passive bottom half by comparison. Show Scott hitting a driver and you will see his trail foot more on point at impact. By that same token Mcilroy for instance is well known to have some of the fastest hips measured yet at impact he barely has lifted the heel of his back foot.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for the input James. If you read careful you would have noticed I said “While this test does not quantify a golfer’s hip speed numerically, it does show the difference between the speeds of the lower body and upper body”

      So although I and Mike Adams (who has run thousands of test on golfers including tour professionals) call it hip speed its actually the difference between the upper and lower half. There are obviously many variables in the transition in regards to COM and COP that effect “the look” of the right foot at impact. It’s not a perfect visual but has helped many.

      The test will show what the player can do naturally, and it’s Chris Wood not Adam Scott that appears to be a typo, I just noticed that myself. If you think the article is Silly that’s fine. Move along. Thanks!

  13. John

    May 13, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Bill, I am a slow hips natural. My driver ss is only high 88. When I gave up straight shots and played a draw my HDCP dropped 5 strokes in 4 months. The issue is everything is a low bullet. How can I stay with the draw but raise ball flight?

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      John, to be honest it could be a multitude of things, but without being able to see the swing I would just be guessing. It could be equipment also. Thanks

  14. Amr

    May 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Using your test, I have a fast hip speed and yes my drives are a fade but when I try to strength my grip I end up with either a pulled shot or a high flying hook.

    Any Advice about how to stay from the left trouble for a ultra fast hip.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      A pull would be common for someone that fades the ball for a miss. When you hit a fade the face is slightly closed towards the target but open to the path. When you hit a pull the face is still closed towards target and square to the path, basically they both match so not much curvature.

      The hook you talk about I would imagine is a toe strike with a similar motion. Gear effect takes over ball starts a bit left and gear effect curves it more left because of toe hit.

      If you have the prescribed foot flare, I would have you feel like your hands move a bit more left through impact so you can keep seeing your fade, meaning the path is more leftward. The grip will control the face. Without seeing it, it’s a bit tough, but that’s what sounds to be the problem

    • Philip

      May 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      I had the same issue until I combined the above info with Mike’s article in May’s Golf Magazine “The New Secret to impact”, as well as his prior article “Find your Perfect Swing” which I downloaded from his website. Both appear to deal with similar items from different perspectives. I was doing the test incorrectly so the older article helped me realize that.

      I then combined his articles with the prior information I got from the Golf WRX article “The difference between professionals and amateurs is in the ground”.

      Keep in mind that I only made one adjustment at a time, hitting a bucket of balls. I find if I tried to change too many items I lost my feel.

      It is so for me intuitive to adjust your set-up and grip and just let the swing happen then keep a bad set-up and grip and try to correct your swing through drills. YMMV

      • Philip

        May 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

        Last point, for my grip I gained my understanding of it (and the feel) from Five Lessons.

        The key to solving any problem is the gathering of as much information as possible and then the deliberate applying of the different ideas until something sticks.

        I had tried all of the things recommended for my body type over the last two years on my own just by experimenting – but never any two at the same time – so I think I would have eventually found my grip and set-up, but it would have taken another year or two with our short golf seasons.

        • Philip

          May 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

          And it doesn’t matter where you get the information from, either a swing coach or books and articles. I tried a swing coach, but he wanted to teach me his swing instead of helping me find my swing.

          • Bill Schmedes III

            May 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

            Thanks for the comments Philip. Finding the right coach that will run you through a screening to see what your physically capable of doing is so important to make sure both the player and coach are on the right page. If you can find a coach like this it’s much easier to improve rather than always reading the latest tip in a magazine or online. Like this article I wrote and many others they are all general. They can help some but not all. Thanks again!

  15. Tony

    May 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

    For fast hip players, feet flared means both feet slightly toward the target?


    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Back foot flared away from target and the front foot flared towards the target. Thanks

  16. Tony Starks

    May 12, 2014 at 9:44 am


    By flaring feet for a fast hip player, do you mean they both point toward the target or left toward target and right away from?


    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Tony, the back foot would be flared away from the target and the front foot would be flared towards the target. Thanks

  17. Ryan

    May 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Bill … Great article. Did you get my email so that you can send pics of the prescribed grips described above? Thanks!

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Ryan, I have no way of seeing your email because they don’t publish it. You can either message it to me here or send me an email at [email protected] Thanks again!

  18. Shane

    May 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Bill, for a fast hip player, would it be easy to try to increase arm speed to match the hips, or is what you have described above a more reliable way to attain consistency?

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks for the note Shane. I like the way of going about it as I listed above. As I mentioned to another gentlemen earlier, Mike Adams has researched and tested thousands of golfers in many different area’s. Hip speed being one of them, and what I wrote about in this article is fairly similar to what he has researched and found to be true. Thanks!

  19. Sam

    May 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I dislike it when articles like this completely ignore left handed golfers. I understand that we are a minority but not even taking the time to comment out in parenthesis the mirrored analysis/tip leaves it to me to try and flip everything in my head and makes it difficult to visualize.

    What left handed golfers exhibit which traits traits (what would you classify Mickelson, Weir, Flesch or Watson?)

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      I apologize Sam. If you’d like leave me your email and I can help you with any questions you may have. Bubba-fast, Mickelson-slow, Weir and Flesch are medium. Thanks

  20. Ryan

    May 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    So if my right heel is slightly off of the ground, I have medium-speed hips? This is implied by, but not directly conveyed in, the article.


    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Yes that’s typically the case Ryan. Mike Adam’s has done extensive research on this. I would suggest researching his findings. He has multiple tests to help players find what they can do naturally.

  21. Ryan

    May 10, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Can you provide pictures of the different grips you prescribe? I’m new to playing golf and unfamiliar with the verbiage. Thanks for your help!

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Ryan, send me your email and I can send some pics of the differences. Thanks

      • Ryan

        May 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Bill … Included it in my response info. Is that good?

  22. Cypress1

    May 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm


    I’d always wondered why my swing worked pretty well down through the years (I’m “Slow Hips” player) – I now know why and – most importantly – I know what I need to do to get better. Your first 2 articles have been excellent. Please keep them coming!

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 10, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Happy to help. Thank you for your kind words!

  23. Jason Kanis

    May 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Enjoyed this. As a fast hip swinger these adjustments should help equally on good and bad swing days. Thanks.

  24. Mitch

    May 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you much for validating what I always thought were band aid fixes.
    I am a Fast Hip player and I have “self-medicated” with a stronger grip, standing closer to the ball, and playing the ball back in my stance all in an attempt to conquer the dreaded toe hits that are the bane of my game.
    I always felt like I was making these changes as a compromise to a proper swing.
    Thanks for affirming that there are reasons I tried the modifications that I did. I will try flaring my feet at my next range session.

    • Bill Schmedes III

      May 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for the comment Mitch. Hope the feet flare key helps!

  25. Philip

    May 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Excellent article! Perfect timing for the next stage of my swing rebuild. Knowledge is definitely power.

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Why you are probably better at golf than you think (Part 1)



Golf is hard. I spend my career helping people learn that truth, but golfers are better than they give themselves credit for.

As a golf performance specialist, I give a lot of “first time working together” lessons, and most of them start the same way. I hear about all the ways the golfer is cursed and how s/he is never going to “get it” and how s/he should take up another sport. Granted, the last statement generally applies to an 18-plus handicap player, but I hear lots of negatives from better players as well.

Even though the golfers make convincing arguments for why they are cursed, I know the truth. It’s my job to help them realize the fates aren’t conspiring against them.

All golfers can play well consistently

I know this is a bold statement, but I believe this because I know that “well” does not equate to trophies and personal bests. Playing “well” equates to understanding your margin of error and learning to live within it.

With this said, I have arrived at my first point of proving why golfers are not cursed or bad golfers: They typically do not know what “good” looks like.

What does “good” look like from 150 yards out to a center pin?

Depending on your skill level, the answer can change a lot. I frequently ask golfers this same question when selecting a shot on the golf course during a coaching session and am always surprised at the response. I find that most golfers tend to either have a target that is way too vague or a target that is much too small.

The PGA Tour average proximity to the hole from 150 yards is roughly 30 feet. The reason I mention this statistic is that it gives us a frame of reference. The best players in the world are equivalent to a +4 or better handicap. With that said, a 15-handicap player hitting it to 30 feet from the pin from 150 yards out sounds like a good shot to me.

I always encourage golfers to understand the statistics from the PGA Tour not because that should be our benchmark, but because we need to realize that often our expectations are way out of line with our current skill level. I have found that golfers attempting to hold themselves to unrealistic standards tend to perform worse due to the constant feeling of “failing” they create when they do not hit every fairway and green.

Jim Furyk, while playing a limited PGA Tour schedule, was the most accurate driver of the golf ball during the 2020 season on the PGA Tour hitting 73.96 percent of his fairways (roughly 10/14 per round) and ranked T-136 in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. Bryson Dechambeau hit the fairway 58.45 percent (roughly 8/14 per round) of the time and ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

There are two key takeaways in this comparison

Sometimes the fairway is not the best place to play an approach shot from. Even the best drivers of the golf ball miss fairways.

By using statistics to help athletes gain a better understanding of what “good” looks like, I am able to help them play better golf by being aware that “good” is not always in the middle of the fairway or finishing next to the hole.

Golf is hard. Setting yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations is only going to stunt your development as a player. We all know the guy who plays the “tips” or purchases a set of forged blades applying the logic that it will make them better in the long run—how does that story normally end?

Take action

If you are interested in applying some statistics to your golf game, there are a ton of great apps that you can download and use. Also, if you are like me and were unable to pass Math 104 in four attempts and would like to do some reading up on the math behind these statistics, I highly recommend the book by Mark Broadie Every Shot Counts. If you begin to keep statistics and would like how to put them into action and design better strategies for the golf course, then I highly recommend the Decade system designed by Scott Fawcett.

You may not be living up to your expectations on the golf course, but that does not make you a bad or cursed golfer. Human beings are very inconsistent by design, which makes a sport that requires absolute precision exceedingly difficult.

It has been said before: “Golf is not a game of perfect.” It’s time we finally accept that fact and learn to live within our variance.

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Walters: Try this practice hack for better bunker shots



Your ability to hit better bunker shots is dramatically reduced if you have no facility to practice these shots. With so few facilities (especially in the UK) having a practice bunker it’s no wonder I see so many golfers struggle with this skill.

Yet the biggest issue they all seem to have is the inability to get the club to enter the sand (hit the ground) in a consistent spot. So here is a hack to use at the range to improve your bunker shots.

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Golf Blueprint: A plan for productive practice sessions



Practice range at the Dormie Club. Photo credit: Scott Arden

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

You’ve gotten lessons.  Several of them.  You’ve been custom fitted for everything in your bag.  You even bought another half a dozen driver shafts last year looking for an extra couple of yards.  And yet, you’re still…stuck.  Either your handicap hasn’t moved at all in years or you keep bouncing back and forth between the same two numbers.  You’ve had all the swing fixes and all the technological advances you could realistically hope to achieve, yet no appreciable result has been achieved in lowering your score.  What gives?

Sample Golf Blueprint practice plan for a client.

One could argue that no one scientifically disassembled and then systematically reassembled the game of golf quite like the great Ben Hogan.  His penchant for doing so created a mystique which is still the stuff of legend even today.  A great many people have tried to decipher his secret over the years and the inevitable conclusion is always a somewhat anticlimactic, “The secret’s in the dirt.”  Mr. Hogan’s ball striking prowess was carved one divot at a time from countless hours on the practice range.  In an interview with golf journalist George Peper in 1987, Mr. Hogan once said:

“You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but the truth is, I was enjoying myself. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. I’d be at the practice tee at the crack of dawn, hit balls for a few hours, then take a break and get right back to it. And I still thoroughly enjoy it. When I’m hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply—when anyone is— it’s a joy that very few people experience.”

Let me guess.  You’ve tried that before, right?  You’ve hit buckets and buckets of range rocks trying to groove the perfect 7-iron swing and still to no avail, right?  Read that last sentence again closely and you might discover the problem.  There’s a difference between mindful practice and mindless practice.  Mindful practice, like Mr. Hogan undoubtedly employed, is structured, focused, and intentional.  It has specific targets and goals in mind and progresses in a systematic fashion until those goals are met.

This is exactly what Nico Darras and Kevin Moore had in mind when they started Golf Blueprint.  In truth, though, the journey actually started when Nico was a client of Kevin’s Squares2Circles project.  Nico is actually a former DI baseball player who suffered a career-ending injury and took up golf at 22 years old.  In a short time, he was approaching scratch and then getting into some mini tour events.  Kevin, as mentioned in the Squares2Circles piece, is a mathematics education professor and accomplished golfer who has played in several USGA events.  Their conversations quickly changed from refining course strategy to making targeted improvements in Nico’s game.  By analyzing the greatest weaknesses in Nico’s game and designing specific practice sessions (which they call “blueprints”) around them, Nico started reaching his goals.

The transition from client to partners was equal parts swift and organic, as they quickly realized they were on to something.  Nico and Kevin used their experiences to develop an algorithm which, when combined with the client’s feedback, establishes a player profile within Golf Blueprint’s system.  Clients get a plan with weekly, monthly, and long-term goals including all of the specific blueprints that target the areas of their game where they need it most.  Not to mention, clients get direct access to Nico and Kevin through Golf Blueprint.

Nico Darras, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

While this is approaching shades of Mr. Hogan’s practice method above, there is one key distinction here.  Kevin and Nico aren’t recommending practicing for hours at a time.  Far from it.  In Nico’s words:

“We recommend 3 days a week.  You can do more or less, for sure, but we’ve found that 3 days a week is within the realm of possibility for most of our clients.  Practice sessions are roughly 45-70 minutes each, but again, all of this depends on the client and what resources they have at their disposal.  Each blueprint card is roughly 10 minutes each, so you can choose which cards to do if you only have limited time to practice.  Nothing is worse than cranking 7 irons at the range for hours.  We want to make these engaging and rewarding.”

Kevin Moore, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

So far, Golf Blueprint has been working for a wide range of golfers – from tour pros to the No Laying Up crew to amateurs alike.  Kevin shares some key data in that regard:

“When we went into this, we weren’t really sure what to expect.  Were we going to be an elite player product?  Were we going to be an amateur player product?  We didn’t know, honestly.  So far, what’s exciting is that we’ve had success with a huge range of players.  Probably 20-25% of our players (roughly speaking) are in that 7-11 handicap range.  That’s probably the center of the bell curve, if you will, right around that high-single-digit handicap range.  We have a huge range though, scratch handicap and tour players all the way to 20 handicaps.  It runs the full gamut.  What’s been so rewarding is that the handicap dropping has been significantly more than we anticipated.  The average handicap drop for our clients was about 2.7 in just 3 months’ time.”

Needless to say, that’s a pretty significant drop in a short amount of time from only changing how you practice.  Maybe that Hogan guy was on to something.  I think these guys might be too.  To learn more about Golf Blueprint and get involved, visit their website. @Golf_Blueprint is their handle for both Twitter and Instagram.

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