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The year-long quest to fix my swing at GolfTEC

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If golf instructional materials were drugs, call me Tony Montana. I wish I wasn’t such an addict, but it’s too late. I’ve read just about every instructional there is, watched countless YouTube videos and tune in to the Golf Fix regularly. Throughout this fascinating, but tortuous and often trippy journey, I’ve observed two basic constants:

  1. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons is largely viewed as the Holy Book on golf instruction.
  2. No one agrees with one another.

In fact, I think golf instruction is probably the most complex, highly debated, nonsensical moving target in all of sports training; a subject that is not only mired in an endless black hole of tips, triggers and tricks, but features such opposite opinions on seemingly basic principles that the result of one’s glance into the kooky kaleidoscope of its instructional labyrinth is more likely to yield finished products more akin to Jack Torrance than Jack Nicklaus.

jackRead the books or watch the thousands of YouTube videos yourself, and you’ll see what I mean. The contradictions that exist within basic aspects of the golf swing are so maddening that even the most shameless of flip-flopping presidential candidates would likely cry uncle if forced to offer a harmonious explanation. Swing the club head or the handle? Do the hips lead the downswing or the hands and arms? On errant shots, is it better to keep a positive attitude or act out psychotic fantasies of bludgeoning your golf bag to death and stuffing its decrepit remains into the nearest trash can? For what it’s worth, I can see the latter being a great stress reliever.

In the spring of 2014, I made the foolish attempt to self medicate a swing flaw which, as I now know, has been a more challenging obstacle to overcome than my fraternity hell week. A premature extension of my wrists was occurring prior to impact and producing the hallmark of every doomed amateur: the dreaded flipped left wrist/chicken wing at and after contact. Try as hard as I might, I could not rid myself of this grotesque post impact deformity, despite my clear awareness of the issue. I knew the fault, but literally could not fix it. It was as if my brain was tapping my hands on the shoulder, evading detection, and pulling my hands’ pants down. And the advice I would get from fellow playing partners — my personal favorite, “you’re not making a golf swing, you know?” — was not helping matters either.

The months that followed were a mixture of mystery and misery. The “flippy” release was now in my head. One-hundred-yard pitch shots became a breeding ground for blooper-reel content. Drives were too often finding the wrong fairway, subjecting me to perplexed glares from different foursomes, even occasionally obligating me to explain the reason for wayward tee ball. For what it’s worth, I have found that an exasperated, “Rough night last night,” provides the best way to diffuse of this embarrassing situation.

In July of that year, my friend took me to his member guest, and we proceeded to finish DEAD LAST in the entire event, causing us to be the brunt of countless jokes and even some match fixing accusations from the affected parties in our flight. Thankfully, the bartenders made that weekend a little less painful.

This was no way to live. I solicited opinions from a variety of sources: friends, online articles, psychology journals. Experimenting with psychedelic drugs was considered. One of my friends had suggested I go to GolfTEC. “GolfTEC?” I thought. Sure, I had seen the (overly simplistic, cheesy) advertisements, but my legal training made me skeptical. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I went. And I’m glad I did.

I walked into GolfTec for a swing evaluation in October of 2014 with Wayne Sciscio, a friendly, straight-talking Jersey-Italian who runs the East Hanover, New Jersey, GolfTEC branch. He asked me about my long-term goals, my current misses and overall thoughts on the swing. He then hooked me into a vest of sorts (which measured my hip and shoulder rotation at various points in the swing vs. tour averages) as we took some initial cuts. Wayne explained the features of each GolfTEC hitting bay, which includes a down-the-line and face-on camera view, and the ability to immediately replay each swing in slow motion. There was also a launch monitor to provide us with all of the helpful data (swing path, launch angle, etc.), as well as an accompanying flat screen which simulated my ball flight (essential for any indoor training, really).

flatscreenThe initial consultation uncovered two major flaws: First, I was burying my right elbow deep behind my body on the backswing, thus necessitating a “throw” of the club head during the downswing to get the club “unstuck” and, most importantly, that my brain’s idea of impact needed serious rewiring. For about 20 years, my “squaring mechanism” for the golf club, like most amateurs, was to flip/throw the club head past the hands, as opposed to using lag, a proper pivot, and a descending blow at impact.

“I want you to imagine that the top line [of the club head] beats the leading edge through impact,” Wayne said.

I’d never heard impact expressed that way. Wayne even set up an imaginary finish line a few inches beyond impact, in which the top line of the golf club was to finish ahead of the leading edge. For anyone struggling with impact, I urge you to stop reading this article right now and try this exact move.

range

2014 (left) vs. 2015 swing position at the top

The entire look of my swing was different. Instinctively, I engaged my core, held the angle of my wrists, and kept the club more in front of me. We spent the last third of the swing consultation doing no-ball, slow-motion swings to reinforce this thought. It was necessary to, as Wayne put it, “create new neural pathways” for my brain to understand correct impact conditions. Side-by-side, before-and-after shots showed an immediate difference. But after my lesson, with Wayne not there to restrain my unbridled stupidity, full speed shots featured that same hideous flip through impact. Still, upon a week’s worth of reflection, I signed up for a 10-lesson package with a 3-month practice pass. Wayne was optimistic that, eventually, I’d realize some noticeable success.

Wayne

Wayne makes some swing observations, and gleefully questions whether my suede bucks are suitable lesson footwear.

It’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge the dueling cameras I referenced before — undoubtedly one of Golftec’s strong points — and how they allow you to watch your swing immediately after its completion. As someone who uses the V1 App on my iPhone to frequently check my swing, GolfTEC’s video apparatus makes using my smartphone seem like dial up internet. There is no comparison. I could probably take, and watch, about 10 swings in the time it would take me to analyze one swing on my iPhone. And, until I land on the winning end of a plaintiff’s class action lawsuit and install my own personal indoor golf simulator, the GolfTEC set up is more than fine for now. It’s great, actually.

screen

The green buttons allow golfers to watch each swing in slow motion, rewind, and watch again at GolfTec.

For the next several weeks, Wayne put me to work. One week, he’d reach into his tub of swing noodles or gadgets to assist him in making his point, whereas other times, he’d merely express ideas, suggest imaginary targets and reinforce the critical importance of no-ball, slow-motion training. We’d then analyze each swing on Wayne’s nearby computer, and talk about the differences between the early- and late-lessons swings. It was almost like my own version of the Golf Fix or School of Golf, but instead of Holly Saunders and Martin Hall, it featured two Italian dudes from Jersey talking about why the %$#^ I couldn’t achieve proper impact conditions.

A few hours after each lesson, I could watch my video highlights on my GolfTEC personal web page, a helpful feature in keeping a sense of continuity between GolfTEC visits. I could even book follow-up lessons on my iPhone through GolfTEC’s mobile app. Tough to beat.

I now know that the various golf packages offered at GolfTEC, which I initially figured to be a scam, are the only way to go. Golf, at least to me, is really, really hard. If you’re trying to make swing changes, it takes total dedication and appreciation of the difficult journey ahead. What feels right is likely wrong, and what feels wrong is likely right. I recall asking Wayne to recommend to me the best golf instructional to supplement my training, but his answer was a bit different than what I expected. He explained to me that the process of learning new positions and addressing swing flaws is rarely expressed or taught — certainly not in any of the famous swing manuals that we’ve all read — and that what I would learn most from my GolfTEC experience was how to train correctly.

And this, to borrow a cryptic Hogan term, is the “secret” of GolfTEC. It exposes the actual culprit in why we cannot improve at golf: our very own brain. Yes, that same alleged “super computer” that once assured you that streaking the quad wouldn’t attract campus security attention or, more appropriately, convinces you that you can automatically incorporate Sergio Garcia’s shaft lean into your weekend game without any practice whatsoever, is the main governor in your swing’s inability to break through to new heights.

For my specific impact ailments, the difference in what I was feeling versus what was actually showing up on GolfTEC’s cameras was, to be honest, nothing short of mind blowing. I personally had to feel like my golf club was in a state of free-fall for what seemed like an hour before I could actually see any real lag and shaft lean on video. New leaks would also spring up due to these changes, and I occasionally had to use lessons to address unforeseen setbacks. With each lesson, Wayne calmly prescribed a cure and never once seemed to share my sense of panic or despair; even as a couple of months had gone by with inconsistent results. Conversely, Wayne kept on preaching proper practice (again stressing the importance of slow swing or no ball training) and patience (not to mention all of the hands-on instruction, drills, and side-by-side comparisons with tour pros). If I had tried to make these changes by swinging 100 percent during each practice session or lesson, I would have never progressed.

shaft lean

My “flippy” release (top photo, circa October 2014). By March 2015 I’d improved it significantly.

Then, one day in the early spring of 2015, the things that I had been working on started to feel familiar; almost natural. Once foreign motor patterns were more instinctual. On the cameras at GolfTEC, I giggled with childlike wonderment as I witnessed my newly grooved strike in which my arms were fully extended after impact on full swings. On the course, I began taking proper divots, with a penetrating ball flight and a sweet crack that hadn’t been there previously. With my driver, I began hitting a hard push draw by employing a slightly bowed left wrist through impact to stabilize the club face and minimize my natural tendency to flip.

driver

My swing in 2014 (left) and in 2015 (right). Note the slightly bowed wrist, rotated hips and better face control in 2015.

I was then able to apply these newly formed habits toward meaningful golf. Later that year, my friend and I won our flight this time in his member guest, and in the fall, I went on to capture my club’s A-Flight title. This year, I hope to make further progress and qualify for my club championship. My golf IQ has also increased. At GolfTEC, you’ll learn about (and witness the effects of) concepts like gear effect, how to properly diagnose missed shots, and (most importantly for me) why occasional episodes of the shanks creep in to your game and how to immediately fix them. By the way, there is nothing quite as disgusting and motivating as watching in slow motion what happens to your club face, post-shank.

Playing with my weekend group, I now laugh at the various forms of irrelevant unsolicited swing advice being tossed around. You’re not keeping your head down or you need to swing in a barrel are just a few of the nonsensical, know-it-all bits of blabber you may hear from the latest Butch-Harmon-of the-moment mid-handicapper. Now, when that same blowhard tries to rationalize your latest pure draw due to you swinging out to the target, you can politely counter: “Actually, my path at impact was right of the target with a club face that essentially bisected the target line and my swing path, thus putting draw spin on the ball. I even caught the ball a little off-center, toward the toe, thus producing a gear effect impact condition which aided the draw.”

Nuff said.

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Lawyer, Bachelor and Golf Nut. John also writes for his and his sister's Italian culinary and lifestyle blog at www.johnandelana.com, maintains an honest GHIN handicap, and is from New Jersey; all of which he is proud of.

55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. MattMcW

    Jun 8, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    For all of those folks who are leery of GolfTec, I am living proof that if you put in the work, you can get the results. I started with GolfTec 3 years ago with an index of 6.9 and my June 1st revised index is 3.5. It hasn’t been easy and I will echo John’s sentiments about being able to actually see what you think you’re doing as opposed to what you actually are doing. To be honest, I’m not anywhere near where I actually want to go, but I have seen a change in the shape/path of my swing, my release pattern, the quality of my strike and the shape of my ball flight. I’ve gone from a classic come over the top pull slice that was caused by an over active upper body at the top, which produced shots high in the air with a lot of spin and great for hitting lots of fairways, but rarely did tee shots get any roll out. Now, I’m seeing shots come off the club with a more penetrating right to left shape to them.

    As for the whole “Stack and Tilt” commenter, GolfTec talks about body positions that all the pros get into during their swings but doesn’t force you into those positions because everyone’s body moves differently.

    Matt McWilliams- I go to the GolfTec in Tysons Corner, VA

  2. Wayne Morris

    Jun 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    In my opinion the fact that you claimed to be a 13.6 handicapper prior to starting this golftec experience but looking at those before pictures and those horrible positions makes me scratch my head. Truly your new after positions and knowledge sounds like a more avid golfer, and its more believable that you are a 8 to 10 handicap now not a 5-6. I do agree that high speed video helps pick the flaws to work on, where on the range its always a guess. But golftec does force feed you a certain style which i think is not always the right way for everyone. Belive it or not, with your obvious dedication, and hunger to get better, any instruction would have improved your game but trust me you would have gotten better with a PGA pro than golftec

    • John Iaciofano

      Jun 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Hmm…I am not sure where I claimed I was a 13.6 handicapper, nor did I claim I am a 5. Also, many PGA Pros are also Golftec Pros. In my case, my instructor was a Class A PGA Pro.

  3. JJJ

    Jun 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Started up with GolfTEC last July, got a good pro. Little bit lazy with the lessons, usually only 1 or two a month. Was a 17.1 back then, 12.4 now and trending down. The big thing for me is the immediate visual feedback, frame by frame, both in the lessons and in the video practice. What I think I’m doing is so often far from is actually happening. The visual reinforcement of what I’m trying to achieve has been extremely helpful.

  4. Bogeypro

    Jun 3, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Congrats on the better play, but this really sounds like a plug for a sponsor.

  5. Truth

    Jun 3, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Golftec is garabge. A computer can’t teach you how to feel or how to “swing your swing” as Arnold Palmer put it.

  6. [email protected]

    Jun 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Avid or serious golfer never go to GolfTec for any fix of their swing. Most of the pros there are “rookies” who just started their teaching career with limited experiences. They are good for beginners who is trying to get a glimpse of the golf and having a very “programmable” swing.

    If you already have a good taste of the golf swing but would like to get better, find some experienced instructors hosted in nearby golf courses or dedicated learning schools (teaching centers, non-franchised). They normally charge more for a lesson ($100-$250 one hour lesson depends on who you are working with) but deliver more effective fixes that you can see the results immediately when you walk off the lesson. The guys who can survive the teaching competition and root themselves on a golf course normally have something to show around.

    I worked with one instructor for four lessons ($150 per lesson, I visited him once a month) and brought down my scores from mid 90s to low 80s (or even mid 70s) in a few months. But you need to keep educating yourself and keep practicing / experimenting during the learning process. By gluing all the swing facts together, you will find a swing that suits you and your game.

    • John Iaciofano

      Jun 3, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      It all depends on the Golftec. The pro that taught me there is a class A PGA professional and I think has given close to 30k lessons. Not exactly a “rookie.”

  7. Jim

    Jun 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

    One of the best articles about instruction—as opposed to instructional articles—I have read. I particularly liked your emphasis on slow swing/no ball training. If you can’t get into the proper positions in slow motion, you don’t understand what they are and you will never achieve them at full speed. I went to a winter golf school this year and had similar swing faults as you, especially flipping at the ball and contacting the turf before hitting the ball. My instructors are advocates of slow swing/no ball training and it wasn’t until I got serious about this aspect that I saw real improvement. And I think this is true regardless of the system or method of instruction.

  8. Philip

    Jun 1, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Checked out the GolfTec site. Interesting, but it has two issues for me. The first is if the lessons are mainly on fake grass – as I’ve found it can hide too many flaws. Of course, if your swing is good then you can hit off of anything, but that is not their larger market. The second is the use of video – I’ve never found it to be helpful in understanding my swing. It is interesting and useful to understand other swings from a general point of view, but I need to visualize my swing internally from my perspective, and video is external from a different point of view, and other peoples swings is irrelevant to me as I am not them. My best success has been with a golf pro on real grass reviewing my fundamentals to make sure they haven’t gone adrift. The more I understand how setup and address affects a swing by practicing in slow motion, as well as at regular speeds, the better I am able to control the club face and distance.

    • John

      Jun 10, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Philip – I’m sure everyone is different; perhaps video is not your thing and you could be right. I must say however, that in my case, I couldn’t have possibly made progress without video. It’s necessary for me to see my swing faults and be able to see what it feels like when I’m trying to correct it.

  9. Brian

    Jun 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I have to agree with John. I worked with GolfTec for about 18 motnhs. I started as a 12 and went to an 8. Obviously, we all learn differently, but I will not go back to taking lessons on range.

  10. Johnny Muscletown

    Jun 1, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    GolfTec seems to be very polarizing, especially by the armchair pros out there. I had a great experience at GT for over a year. I quit because I had to buy an engagement ring. I took a few other lessons here and there that were not in Golftec from various pros that were very good as well. Bottom line is to find a good teacher and actually do what they say.

  11. Bob

    Jun 1, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    John, how much did GolfTec pay you? I’ve heard more horror stories then good things about GolfTec. The picture you posted does confirm one thing, Golf Tec obviously is teaching the Stack & Tilt. Looking at your before and after picture gives me shivers down my back just as reading about the Stack & Tilt golf swing gives me nightmares at night. Sorry John, but this post of your reeks of “Paid for by” Personally I would not waste my time or money on GolfTec. Sorry John, just don’t buy it.

    • John Iaciofano

      Jun 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Bob – Actually, I did this after my Golftec experience, which I paid for personally. Golftec is likely not teaching the stack and tilt; I personally like to have a bit of a forward move to assist me with proper impact.

      • Bob

        Jun 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

        John, look at the picture you posted of your after back swing. “Stack & Tilt”

        And yes from what I have been told “Stack & Tilt” is the company teaching policy.

        John like it or not you are now a Stack & Tilter. Scary stuff 🙁

        • John Iaciofano

          Jun 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

          Ha. Never once was Stack and Tilt taught during my golftec experience. Although I would not mind swinging like this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im5UAZHeoDc

          • Bob

            Jun 2, 2016 at 10:37 am

            Maybe that’s what they told you but the reality is you are now a Stack and Tilter John. Have fun.
            And as for me, I have better things to spend my money on rather then making the CEO of Golf Tec richer.

            • John Iaciofano

              Jun 2, 2016 at 11:38 am

              I will have fun. Golf has never been more fun. Thank you, Bob.

  12. larrybud

    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    So what’s the bottom line? What’s your GHIN before and after? It’s all about scoring.

    • John Iaciofano

      Jun 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      larry I would say i was about a 9-12 and now hover between a 6-8.

      • Ric

        Jun 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        The tip you gave” Wayne even set up an imaginary finish line a few inches beyond impact, in which the top line of the golf club was to finish ahead of the leading edge” sounds like what happens when the clubhead overtakes the handle. Am I missing something?

        • John Iaciofano

          Jun 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

          Ric – it’s the opposite actually. If you have your club’s “top line” (the top of the club) beat the “leading edge” (the bottom of the club) your handle would overtake the clubhead.

      • larrybud

        Jun 2, 2016 at 7:42 am

        You don’t have any hard numbers?

        • John Iaciofano

          Jun 2, 2016 at 11:36 am

          Rarely is my handicap ever fixed or hard; it moves around. At the end of last year my index was a 6.9; which is the lowest it has ever been by at least 1-2 strokes.

  13. Peter d

    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I did 2 years of golf tec, plus countless other lessons. I see gt as a system of instruction rather than instruction itself, but that system addresses a key fault of “normal” lessons: frequency and long-horizon. I think most people go to lessons to “get fixed” and do not usually keep up with lessons unless they self identify a problem. The gt system addresses this by regular, consistent lessons over an extended period of time, past the initial “fix”.

    That said you still need a solid instructor to actually do the lessons!

  14. cody

    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I think all instruction is as good as the instructor. Golftec included. All the gadgets and gizmos in the world will not make up for quality instruction. I am sure, that golftec locations, just like golf courses are individual and vary in the “pros” ability and understanding to teach the swing. I dont think that golftec is good or bad. I am glad they exist to try to help players get better, and don’t begrudge them trying to make a dollar at the same time. I say if you are looking for instruction, give them a pass and see if it fits. if not move on.

  15. KangarooLefty

    Jun 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    John,

    If you mentioned it in the article – I missed it. Do you actually score better?

    While I don’t agree with the masses on the issue of GolfTec: that it is a rip-off/scam/waste; and, that you will never get better. I do believe that fixing an aspect of your swing may not always lead to better results on the course. I know, that statement seems counter-intuitive, but hear me out.

    Most single digit handicappers have either one or both of these parts of their game significantly better than higher digit handicappers: they hit the ball a lot farther; or, they have better than average course management skills. All single digit handicappers are better at yardages under 100 and chipping/putting. GolfTec does not teach you course management and does not teach you chipping/putting. So, while your swing may be getting better – are your scores?

    To most people – the score at the end of the round is more important than the look of the swing or the flight of the ball. A few years back – when I was really devoting time and energy to the sport and had achieved a fairly modest handicap of 4 – I went to GolfTec and had a few lessons. If I had stuck with the entire package maybe my results would have been different, but I immediately felt like my swing wasn’t good enough. I was young and spry and could hit the ball a mile, but my shoulder turn wasn’t maximized and during portions of the downswing I was sliding too much. So off to the range I went with the drills and the thoughts in my head and I started to decline.

    My biggest problem with the GolfTec way is that they only use Professional Golfers as the barometer for your swing. Does your hip rotation match that of Phil Mickelson? Does your shoulder rotation match Dustin Johnson? Here – how does your swing look side-by-side to Tiger Woods in his prime? Are you left-handed – here we can mirror any pro you want to see how you compare. Then – they use averages for shoulder rotation, hip rotation, swing plane, etc to compare your 40 year old swing to that of a professional golfer in their prime. Amateurs that are taking GolfTec lessons will not be able to match those numbers – not anatomically and not physiologically. Therefore, what are you really getting?

    MOST of the time a lesson with a PGA instructor on the range, or better yet, on the course will yield more favorable results than GolfTec – and it behooves me that we keep seeing article after article about experiences with GolfTec.

    I will never take away from a person’s positive experience at GolfTec – it is your money and your pipe dream. If you get better I am happy for you.

    If most high handicappers spent more time on the putting green and chipping area they would reap greater rewards than any full-swing lesson will get them.

    • John Iaciofano

      Jun 1, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Kangaroo – I definitely improved from golftec; I was breaking 80 with regularity due to the lessons, I think. I am down to about a 6-8 index these days whereas before it was more like a 8-13.

      I personally think that the video lessons are incredibly valuable. If I just went to the range with some tips, I would have not improved. That’s how I always did things prior to golftec; but it took my experience at golftec for me to realize that for me to change an inch, it had to feel like a mile. For what I was trying to do – move my swing bottom forward – I couldn’t have done it without video and Wayne’s guidance. The interesting thing was that my experience was not overly technical. We definitely spent time doing side by side comparisons with tour pros, but it was used as more of a benchmark as to what were working on than a teaching point.

      Actually, one of the things that improved the most was my scoring ability from 100 yards and in. By improving my impact conditions (divot after impact) I was really able to get a more surgical with my pitches and even long chips.

      • KangarooLefty

        Jun 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        John – thanks for the response. Sorry my comment was not displayed they way I spaced it paragraph wise. Like I mentioned, I am happy that practicing paid off for you (literally!). I think getting from that low double digit handicap spot to single digits is a great milestone to achieve. As a proper lead-in to any before/after comparison: how did your practice schedule/intensity change? You mentioned that you read every book and you watched every youtube video on golf instruction, so there was obviously knowledge of the golf swing before GolfTec. Was the practice as concentrated and numerous before GolfTec? Or, as you learned to like your new swing/results did your practice sessions become more regular or concentrated?

        • John Iaciofano

          Jun 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

          The practice was definitely quite frequent and concentrated, before. I would bang balls at the range; even using my V1 app frequently. It’s actually possible that I practiced less with golftec, although I definitely took advantage my 3-month practice pass.

          I identified the “flip” due to my own recording with the v1 app, but it was a really hard fix and I enlisted Wayne’s help. I would say the WAY I practiced became much different.

  16. JOL

    Jun 1, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I also signed up for a series of lessons at GolfTec and after 2-3 months never got past trying to get into the “PERFECT” backswing position. In hindsight, it was a waste of time and money.

  17. Snoop

    May 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Glad you liked it, but your picture is too perfect for this meme:

    Pays GolfTEC lessons

    Shows up in jeans

    Maybe we should all forget about golf and get some of that lawyer money

    • John Iaciofano

      May 31, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      GT’s cost per lesson is actually pretty reasonable vs. competitors. The way I saw it, I’d probably be paying for 10 lessons anyway in the next couple of years. And the practice pass is nice, too.

  18. Steven

    May 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    John,

    Great article. I agree that the system at Golftec is designed for improvement. The constant instruction and video is great. Making swing changes does take time, and Golftec does a good job of showing the process for making changes. That learning is critical to long term success.

    My experience wasn’t as good at Golftec because I had 3 different instructors. I was following a similar improvement plan after a year, but then started having to switch instructors. Like you said, everyone has a different perspective, so I struggled with the switches. I think Golftec is great for accountability, but the right instructor (or instruction) is the most important. A good plan with V1 can have similar results if consistent. It sounds like Wayne is a good instructor, and my guess is he would be good anywhere if the student follows the plan.

    Just my thoughts. I know tons of people have great success with Golftec. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same luck with the instructor.

    Hope your progress continues and you qualify. That is a great accomplishment.

  19. Jay

    May 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Nice article – I had experience with GT prior to them offering the ball flight simulator. Would imagine thats a big plus to their (already pretty snazzy) technology

  20. ooffa

    May 31, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I could have fixed you in two minutes for the price of a cocktail at the 19th hole.

  21. John Iaciofano

    May 31, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks puffy – completely agree with your thoughts. I was very pleased with Wayne’s instruction, and my experience, at Golftec.

  22. Feherty's Large Mouth bASS

    May 31, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Really? Another advertorial for GolfTEC? Poor kid had tons of lessons to fix a post impact problem where the root cause was 100% in the backswing and transition. Probably took more like 10 minutes to discover that and fix it rather than 10 months and thousands of dollars!

    • John Iaciofano

      May 31, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      100% huh? Feel free to enlighten us; this is an educational piece after all.

  23. PuffyC

    May 31, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Great write-up, couldn’t agree more. I’ve been working with GolfTec for over a year and the main thing I tell people is that if you’re taking lessons without video, you’re probably wasting your time. What you think your swing is doing is almost 100% never what it is actually doing, and without the cameras you have no idea.

    • Pe

      May 31, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Video works for some, not for all. Just like any lesson. And some are just not born for physical activity of any kind, let alone any sport. Don’t encourage those people they can play this sport. They can’t.

      • bruce

        Jun 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        i think most people can find their way around a par 3 or executive course (they’re ok from 100 yards and in). and even on “real” courses one can always play from the forward tees (they should remove the gender designation). but, yeah, some people (myself included) don’t have what it takes to play from the tips. for me scoring mostly comes down to pitching, chipping, bunkers and putting anyway (and avoiding complete mis-hits on longer shots).

    • larrybud

      Jun 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      Depends on how you learn. My wife is all about showing her (like putting her into a certain position) so she can feel that position. Video is nearly useless to her.

      • bruce

        Jun 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm

        for me it’s interesting to see how i’m doing on video but it doesn’t really help me figure out what i’m supposed to “feel” (or think about) during the swing. and if i think too hard about one particular aspect of the swing (like touch your chin to your shoulder on the backswing) it generally kills my tempo and i hit a horrible shot. maybe it’s as much about rhythm, tempo and confidence as anything else (i know i can hit this shot because i’ve done it before). and for me my results on the driving range are pretty much unrelated to how i play (it’s all different when you’re actually playing a course).

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A few thoughts on off-season improvement

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Having lived my entire life in South Texas, one of the things I had to learn very quickly when I went into the golf business nearly 40 years ago was that this was a much more “seasonal” activity than I had ever thought about. Though we are blessed to be able to play golf year-round down here, we do have periods (like the past two weeks), where cold/windy/wet weather keeps all but the most devoted off the courses. Still, I certainly understand that there are many of you who have had to “hang ‘em up” for the next few months and get your golf fix with maybe one or two trips over the winter, or just by watching golf on TV and reading about it.

Over those 4o years I’ve talked with lots of golfers about what they do to “get their fix” during the long months when the weather just does not allow you to get out at all to work on your game. It seems I’ve heard everything from “I just try to forget about it” to “I’ll take a couple of trips to southern climates” to “it hurts every day”.

I’m going to try to offer you a bit more than that today, with some tips anyone can use to actually improve your game during the long off season. So here goes:

Improve your putting stroke. All you need is a strip of commercial grade carpet about 8 feet long if you don’t want to purchase one of the specialized putting mats (get it in a green color if you can, but any neutral earth tone will do). Find a place in your home where you can set this 12-20” wide strip of carpet down on the floor and leave it for regularly scheduled sessions. The goal with this off-season exercise is to improve your mechanics to a point where you have so much trust in your stroke that when you get to the course in the Spring (or on one of your trips) that you can focus entirely on making the putt.

One of my very closest friends was/is maybe the best putter I ever saw in the recreational ranks . . . because he dedicated time nearly every day to honing his putting stroke to a razor edge. He would spend a half hour each night watching the evening news with his putting mat in front of the TV and stroke 6-8 footers . . . one after the other . . . probably several hundred every day. He had so much confidence in his set-up and mechanics that the only thing he thought about on the greens was the line and hitting the putt the right speed.

While you might not work on it every day as he did, you can build an extremely reliable putting stroke over this off season that will pay off very well for you in 2023.

Rebuild your chipping/pitching technique. Making significant changes in our techniques during the golf season is the hardest thing we golfers try to do. What happens is that you learn something new, but on the golf course you are really wanting to get results, so you end up trapped between old and new, and quickly lose confidence in the new. I’ve heard it said that any new physical activity become a habit after 21 consecutive days of doing it. Well, the guy who wrote that probably was not a golfer, because this is a lifelong learning experience.

If chipping and pitching the ball are not your strengths, make this off-season the time to do something about it. In my opinion and years of observation of recreational golfers, poor chipping and pitching are the result of poor technique. There are dozens of good books and videos out there (not to mention dozens of my own posts here) showing you how to develop a proper technique, and physical strength is not an obstacle around the greens. ANYONE can learn to chip and pitch with sound fundamentals, and those can be better learned away from the course than on it.

All you have to do is commit to making the change, get one of the great books by Stan Utley, Tom Watson or others, purchase some of the soft “almost golf balls” that won’t break anything and work on it through the off season.

Keep yourself “golf ready”. As I have transitioned now to life after 70, I have realized that keeping my flexibility was the key to feeling great every morning, and to being able to maintain my golf skills. A number of years ago, I began a simple 4- to 5-minute stretching routine I do every day before I even get out of bed, and it has made a world of difference in everything I do and the way I feel.

Especially for those of you 40-50 years and older, I guarantee you that if you will commit to a daily stretching routine, not only will your golf dramatically improve, but it will change the way you feel every day.

So, there are three ideas for you to consider for using the off season to improve your golf game for 2023. Regardless of your age, there is no reason not to set a goal of making next year your best golf year ever.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 Alfred Dunhill Championship: Betting Tips & Selections

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As the DP World Tour ends its stint in South Africa, the stars come out to play.

Whilst the Nedbank was officially part of the 2022 season, the invitational was the start of a four -event run that now concludes at the picturesque Leopard Creek, summed up by the course website:

“Golfing hazards take on a new dimension at Leopard Creek, for much of the water is home to the magnificent creatures for which the river is named – crocodiles. Extensive use has been made of water features and sightings of crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and elephant are commonplace, on the course or in the Kruger Park bordering the course.”

Not only is this time for Tony Johnstone to show his exacting knowledge of the local wildlife, but golf fans can witness some of the true legends of South African and European Tour golf.

Whilst single-figure favourite Christiaan Bezuidenhout represents the best of the current generation of players, viewers will also see the likes of former Masters winners as well as the future of African golf.

In Bez we have a worthy favourite that is hard to crab given his current and course form. The 28-year-old won here in 2020 on the way to an impressive back-to-back fortnight that included the South African Open (at another Gary Player design), whilst both his victory at Valderrama and play-off defeat against Lucas Herbert in Dubai can be linked into Adri Arnaus, runner-up and third in those events and, incidentally, sixth here behind this week’s favourite.

Latest form sees the short-game wizard leave some acceptable, if disappointing, PGA results behind, with a fifth at his favoured Gary Player Country Club being followed a fortnight later with a very laidback third place finish at the Joburg Open.

At both home events, Bez started slowly and was never nearer than at the line, and trusting that the cobwebs have been blown away, he has to be in the plan, even if as a saver.

There’s a decent argument to say multiple event champion Charl Schwartzel and still-classy Louis Oosthuizen should challenge for favouritism (Oosty has now shortened up) but I’m simply not convinced their hunger is as strong as it once was, and of the three, I’d much rather be with the player with more to come.

If we are getting Bez beat, then it makes sense to row along with history, at least for a pair of back-up wagers.

There is a host of South African players attempting to continue the run of seven home winners from the last nine, but this course tends to lend itself to experience and Hennie Du Plessis looks the type to ‘do a JB Hansen’ and finally crawl over the line, as the Dane did in Joburg in 2020.

The 26-year-old has been banging his head against the winning line for a few years now, with many of his multiple top-five finishes having genuine potential to bring home the trophy instead of glancing at it.

6th at both runnings of the South African Open in Covid 2020, to Branden Grace and then Bez, he recorded a host of top-20 finishes at Challenge Tour level (including three top fives) before qualifying for the DP World Tour off the back of an 18th place at the Grand Final.

2021 ended well, with his three home visits, including 7th in Joburg and third in his home Open, suggesting a good year, and for more evidence he ended his first full DP season with five top-10s.

Unlike his more obvious compatriots, Schwartzel and Oosthuizen, Du Plessis was a surprise call-up to the LIV Golf series, but he hardly let himself down in his brief spell, running-up to the 2011 Masters champion at LIV London.

After his season-ending top-10 behind Jon Rahm in Spain (third at halfway), Du Plessis followed a steady 33rd at Houghton with an improved and closing top-10 at Blair Atholl last week when his game was in acceptable shape in preparation for this week’s test.

Whilst length is somewhat negated around Leopard Creek’s twisting fairways, huge hitter Adrian Meronk finished joint runner-up here two years ago (look at him go now!) and Du Plessis should be able to club down on many of the tee-shots and take advantage of his tee-to-green play – a factor for which he ranked in ninth place through the DP season.

With players catching the eye much earlier than in previous generations, it’s hard to believe that Wilco Nienaber is just 22 years of age.

It’s a tough thing to say that this former amateur star should have won the 2020 Joburg Open, as it was surely only inexperience that cost him the trophy against a determined JB Hansen. Whilst hugely talented, the former world amateur ranked 28 has become frustrating, winning just once and that at the lower level co-sanctioned event, the Dimension Data, in the Western Cape, although an event the likes of Nick Price, Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke and Oosthuizen, amongst others, have won.

Still, back to what he can do today and going forward.

Another huge hitter off the tee, Nienaber has been 18th and ninth in tee-to-green over the last two tournaments, finishing in 24th and 15th but in far better position through the events (10th at halfway in Joburg and 5th into Payday last weekend). Whilst last week’s test was right up his long-driving alley, that should have been a perfect warm-up for an event at which he’s improved to finish 24th and 12th in 2019 and 2020.

Adrian Otaegui has always been a tee-to-green machine, and whilst he already had three trophies in the cabinet, his six-stroke victory at Valderrama was a revelation.

It’s not as if the Spaniard was in poor form, having arrived in Sotogrande off the back off just one missed-cut in 11 starts, including a third place in Scotland and 13th at Wentworth and Le Golf National, interesting comparisons to this week’s venue. However, when recording figures of first in approaches, second for tee-to-green and second in putting, Otaegui not only took his form to a new level, but showed his strength against adversity.

The Spaniard became the first ex-LIV plater to win a ‘proper’ event, overcoming a bizarre attitude from the organising tour, who ignored much of his outstanding play and refused to cover any of the highlights on their social media pages.

I can certainly forgive a moderate effort the following week in Mallorca, but the 30-year-old has performed well of late, finishing 18th at the Nedbank (in seventh place going into Sunday), 16th at the DP World Tour Championship (11th at halfway) and dropping away from 8th overnight to 23rd at Joburg.

Take away the home contingent and Spaniards almost dominate recent runnings of the Alfred Dunhill, with Alvaro Quiros, Pablo Martin (x2) and Pablo Larrazabal winning here since 2006. Otaegui can make a good run at making it the nap hand.

I’m waiting for the right moment to back Joost Luiten, showing some tremendous play but only in spurts, whilst the likes of Tom McKibbin and Alejandro Del Rey are players I’ll have in the list of ‘follows’ through 2023. For the final selection, let’s go big!

Christiaan Maas is a young South African player that has been on the ‘watch’ list for a couple of years. His brilliant amateur career saw him rank a best of 19th and awarded him the Brabazon Trophy, the prestigious national amateur stroke-play event, as well as some of his homelands most valued events.

However, it is hard to understand how he rates 50 points shorter than his amateur rival, Casey Jarvis, who has recently shown he can compete with the legends of the game, leading George Coetzee at the South African PGA Championship before succumbing into second, and following that up with a top-10 at Joburg.

Following a stellar junior career, the 19-year-old won four of the best home amateur events in 2020, beating the best that South African golf could throw at him – including Mass – as he won the African Amateur Stroke Play in back-to-back years.

Maas took revenge on the development tour – the Big Easy – but Jarvis was back on the winner’s rostrum in July this year, and recent form suggests it might be better sticking with him this week.

A 63 in the second round in Joburg was matched only by multiple winner Daniel Van Tonder, and was one shot ahead of Bezuidenhout, so the game is there for all to see.

Jarvis missed the cut on the number when making his debut here in 2020, but the following week improved throughout the week to finish 25th behind Bez at the Gary Player Country Club. That is promising enough without much of what has gone on since, and it might pay to be on at big prices in better fields, before both he and Maas start mopping up the lesser home events.

Recommended Bets:

  • Christiaan Bezhuidenhout WIN
  • Adrian Otaegui WIN
  • Wilco Nieneber WIN/Top-10
  • Hennie Du Plessis WIN/Top-10
  • Casey Jarvis WIN/Top-10/Top-20
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Club Junkie

Club Junkie Review: Samsung’s Galaxy Watch5 Pro Golf Edition

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Technology has been playing a larger part in golf for years and you can now integrate it like never before. I don’t need to tell you, but Samsung is a world leader in electronics and has been making smart watches for years. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition is the latest Samsung wearable running Google’s Wear OS operating system and it is more than just a golf watch.

The Watch5 Golf Edition is a full function smartwatch that you can wear every day and use for everything from golf to checking your text messages. For more details on the Golf Edition made sure to check out the Club Junkie podcast below, or on any podcast platform. Just search GolfWRX Radio.

Samsung’s Watch5 Pro Golf Edition has a pretty large 45mm case that is made from titanium for reduced weight without sacrificing any durability. The titanium case is finished in a matte black and has two pushers on the right side to help with navigating the pretty extensive menu options. The case measures about 52mm from lug to lug and stands about 14mm tall, so the fit on smaller wrists could be an issue. I did notice that when wearing a few layers on colder days the extra height did have me adjusting my sleeves to ensure I could swing freely.

The sapphire crystal display is 1.4 inches in diameter, so it should be very scratch resistant, and is protected by a raised titanium bezel. The Super AMOLED display has a 450 x 450 resolution with 321ppi density for clear, crisp graphics. Inside the watch is a dual-core 1.18Ghz Cortex-A55 CPU, 16GB + 1.5GB RAM, and a Mali-G68 GPU to ensure your apps run quickly and efficiently.

I do like that the Watch5 Pro Golf Edition’s white and black rubber strap has a quick release system so you can change it out to match or contrast an outfit. The Golf Edition strap is very supple and conforms to your wrist well, holding it in place during multiple swings.

Out on the course the Watch5 Pro golf Edition is comfortable on the wrist and light enough, ~46g, where it isn’t very noticeable. I don’t usually wear a watch on the course, and it only took a few holes to get used to having it on my left wrist. Wearing a glove on the same hand as the watch doesn’t really change much, depending on the glove. If you have a model that goes a little higher on the wrist you could feel the watch and leather bunch a little bit. Some of my Kirkland Signature gloves would run into the watch case while I didn’t have an issue with my Titleist or Callaway models.

The screen is great in direct sunlight and is just as easy to read in overcast or twilight rounds. The images of holes and text for distances is crisp and has a bright contrast agains the black background. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition comes with a lifetime membership to Smart Caddie for your use on the course. Smart Caddie was developed by Golfbuddy, who has been making rangefinders and GPS units for years. I didn’t sign up for the Smart Caddie app as I did not buy the watch and have logins for multiple GPS and tracking apps. Smart Caddie looks to be extremely extensive, offering a ton of options beyond just GPS and it is one that works seamlessly with the Galaxy watches.

I ended up using The Grint as it was an app I have used in the past and was already signed up for. Getting to the app to start a round was very simple, needing one swipe up and one tap to start The Grint app. The screen is very smooth and records each swipe and tap with zero issues. I never felt like I was tapping or swiping without the Watch5 Pro acknowledging those movements and navigating the menu as I desired. The GPS worked flawlessly and the distances were accurate and consistent. With The Grint’s app you did have to keep the phone in your pocket or in the cart close enough for the Bluetooth connection. For most that is’t a big deal and the only time I noticed it was when I used my electric cart and drove it well in front of me down the fairway.

Overall the Samsung Watch5 Pro Golf Edition is a great option for golfers who want one device for everyday wear and use on the course. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition still has all the fitness and health options as well as being able to  connect to your email, text messages, and social media apps. With the Watch5 Pro Golf Edition you won’t have to worry about buying a device just for golf or forgetting to bring your GPS to the course.

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