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Video: Hudson Swafford’s drill to hit more fairways

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This story was selected as one of the 15 best GolfWRX stories of 2015!

The way I teach a golf lesson has changed a lot in the past few years. For 10 or more years, I had the same cameras and computers in my academy. Then, I got my first TrackMan in 2012 and ever since I’ve added more and more technology to help me find whatever small thing will help my clients play a little better.

I’ve got a SwingCatalyst and BodiTrak to check how players use the ground, a K-Vest to see how they transfer energy from one segment to another, SAM PuttLab and a Quintic system to see how the putter moves and the ball rolls. I’m lucky enough to help some really good PGA Tour players with their games. It’s nice to have all these fancy tools to find that “needle in a haystack” that can be the difference between a player missing a cut and contending on Sunday.

That being said, I still use old-school video more than anything. It’s easier for a player to understand their swing by looking at an image of themselves instead of looking at a number from one of my tools. I even like for my players to use video on their own. The cameras on today’s phones are so good that I can give my players check points to use during off weeks so they can check their swings themselves. Of course, it’s easy for them to send me a video for a second opinion, too.

The guy in this video, Hudson Swafford, came to me in the middle of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season. He had a hot start to his year with finishes of 8th, 18th and 12th in his first three events. After that, he began to drive the ball a little erratically and missed the cut in eight of his next 13 events. We started working together at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. We were able to right the ship and Hudson made 10 of his last 14 cuts to finish 81st on the money list.

To straighten out his tee shots, we started with a simple check point of getting the club shaft pointed parallel to the target line at the top of the swing. With the club laid off and pointing to the left of the target at the top, Hudson had to make some complex moves with his arms and body to get the club head traveling in the right direction to hit the “bomb fade” he likes so much.

If I’m not there to check it for him, all he has to do is put his phone in the right place (as described at the end of the video), hit record and look for his club head to appear “in the window” between his forearms at the top of his swing. If he sees that he knows he’s on the right track.

The author, Scott Hamilton has created a four-lesson video course with his keys to achieving consistent, solid contact. The Solid Contact Series is available for free on his website OnTourGolf.com.  

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Currently teaching 14 PGA Tour players, Scott Hamilton is a staple on the PGA Tour range each week. In 2015, a poll of PGA Tour players conducted by Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 instructor on the PGA Tour. His players like him for his ability to conduct a complete analysis of their games and return a simple solution to help them play better. “You get the result you want without all the big words.” as Scott often says.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Dr Troy

    Oct 30, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Scott has an awesome stable of pros. Amazing how that many studs come to little ol Cartersville here north of ATL for instruction. Keep up the great work Scott!

  2. Spencer

    Oct 30, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Can this apply to irons as well?

    • Scott Hamilton

      Nov 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Yeah Man. This applies to all clubs if it gets to parallel. If it’s a shorter swing the club head can point a little left. Bowdo does this.

  3. Jeff

    Oct 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Great article. Where should the club head be with an iron?

  4. Chipshot

    Oct 29, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Being 5’9″, this technique would feel super steep at the top of my backswing. The flatter plain feels more comfortable for me. I favored the Woosnam’s and Hogan’s with the lower center of gravity.

  5. Connor

    Oct 28, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    if the club is laid off at the top shouldn’t it be pointing to the left of the target?

  6. Birdeez

    Oct 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    what type of phone holder or tripod is being used? where can i find this online.

    those offered that attach to alignment rods sway or shake in the slightest breeze.

  7. Mike

    Oct 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks this was great.

  8. jesse

    Oct 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Great video, even better website. After watching the video I loved in and watched the videos on your site. Golfwrx can we please get more content like this.

    • Scott Hamilton

      Nov 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I’m working with a good friend of mine on this OnTourGolf.com site. It’s gonna have a lot of the other coaches on tour on there soon and I think more of these videos are supposed to be posted here too. I’ll check.

  9. Fred

    Oct 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Cool video. Thanks for posting.

    • B-man

      Oct 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

      One of the best articles I’ve ever seen here.

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Instruction

TXG: Should you carry TWO DRIVERS? // Distance, Accuracy, Draw & Fade Setups

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Some of the best players in the world have been testing a two-driver setup for their bags. Does it make sense to play two drivers if they are set up for two different shot shapes? We test one driver setup for maximum distance and draw flight and another setup for accuracy and fade flight. See whether this could be an advantage for your game—and help you get off the tee better at your course!

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Fixing the shanks: How to stop shanking the golf ball

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May you never be concerned about fixing the shanks! But if you’re begging the golf gods for guidance how to stop shanking the golf ball? Ready to offer up your first-born child for the wisdom how to stop shanking irons? Frantically asking Google how to never shank a golf ball again?

Fear not. We’ll get to drills to stop shanking irons shortly that are guaranteed to ingrain the proper feel and anti-shank action, but first, a brief discussion of what exactly a shank is (other than will-to-live crushing).

More often than not, a shank occurs when a player’s weight gets too far onto the toes, causing a lean forward. Instead of the center of the clubface striking the ball—as you intended at address—the hosel makes contact with your Titleist, and—cover your ears and guard your soul—a shank occurs.

How to stop shanking the golf ball

If you’ve ever experienced the dreaded hosel rocket departing your club at a 90-degree angle, you know how quickly confidence can evaporate and terror can set in.

Fortunately, the shanks are curable and largely preventable ailment. While there are drills to fix your fault you once the malady has taken hold, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How to stop shanking the golf ball

If you’re trying to understand how to stop shanking the golf ball, you need to understand where the ball makes contact with the club during a shank.

Fixing the shanks

To avoid shanking the golf ball, it’s important to lock in on some keys…

  • Have a proper setup and posture…Athletic posture, arms hang down, neither too bent over nor too upright, weight on the balls of the feet.
  • Keep your grip light and arms tension free…If 10 is a death grip of golf club and 1 is the club falling out of your hand, aim for a grip in the 4-6 range. Make sure your forearms aren’t clenched.
  • Maintain proper balance throughout the swing…50/50 weight to start (front foot/back foot). 60/40 at the top of the backswing. 90/10 at impact.
  • Avoid an excessively out-to-in or in-to-out swing path…Take the club straight back to start, rather than excessively inside (closer to the body) or outside (further away from the body).

The best drill to stop shanking the golf ball

Set up properly (as discussed above), flex your toes upward as you begin your swing and keep your chest high (maintain your spine angle) throughout the swing.

Other than those focal points, keep your brain free of any additional chatter, which only exacerbates shankitis.

(For more advice, be sure to check out what our friends at Me and My Golf have to say below)

Now you know how to stop shanking the golf ball and have the tools to never shank the golf ball again.

Praise the golf gods!

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Cameron Smith’s 3-month Covid-19 training block

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Whilst Covid-19 has presented countless grave health and economic challenges to the world’s population, it has also provided opportunity for many people to focus their attention on projects that they normally wouldn’t have time for.

Turns out PGA Tour players are no different, and in the case of Cameron Smith, we used the enforced break from competitive golf to undertake a very rare, uninterrupted 3 month block of strength training.

Cam plays 25-30 events a year spread across 4 continents and this presents a number of challenges to overcome from a training and programming perspective:

– Varying facilities

– Travel fatigue and jet lag

– Concerns around muscle soreness affecting ability to perform on course

– Physical and mental cost of competing

When combined, these challenges can often render even the most carefully planned training programs redundant. So whilst many golf fans were coming to terms with a prolonged absence of PGA Tour events, I was getting stuck into designing programs that would hopefully elicit the following outcomes for Cam:

– More muscle mass

– More strength

– More power

In a normal season, I’m hesitant to prescribe programs that focus on muscle gain, because the nature of the training volume tends to tighten Cam up (reduce his range of motion), reduce his club-head speed and elicit a lot of muscle soreness…..not an ideal combination for short term performance! But I knew in this case, we could get stuck into some higher volume work because we would have plenty of time to recover from any lost mobility, reduced speed and increased soreness before tournaments started again.

 

Mid March – Program 1 – General Hypertrophy Focus

We decided with the global virus outlook looking dire and the PGA Tour promising to deliver a 30 day notice before resumption of play, we should focus on hypertrophy (increasing muscle size) until the 30 day notice period was delivered. At that point we would switch to a more familiar power based program in preparation for tournaments starting up again.

Program Breakdown:

– 4 weeks

– 3 sessions per week

– 1 x lower focus (legs, glutes, core)

– 1 x push focus (chest, shoulders, triceps, core)

– 1 x pull focus (back, biceps, core)

– Gradually increasing volume over 4 weeks (more reps and sets to failure)

Training Variables:

Sets: 3 to 4

Reps: 8 to 12

Tempo: 2-0-2 (2 seconds up, no pause, 2 seconds down)

Weight: around 70% of maximum

Rest: 60 seconds, but this can vary when pairing exercises together in supersets or mini circuits

 

Example Workout – Lower Body Focus (legs, glutes, core):

 

Example Exercises:

 

Mid April – Program 2 – Lower Body Hypertrophy Focus

As Cam was about to finish up his first hypertrophy program, there was a fairly clear indication that there would be no play until mid June at the earliest. Knowing that we had 2 more months of training, we decided to continue with another hypertrophy block. This time increasing the focus on the lower body by breaking down the leg work into 2 seperate sessions and ramping up the training volume.

Program Breakdown:

– 4 weeks

– 4 sessions per week

– 2 x lower body focus (1 x quad focused workout and 1 x hamstring / glute focused workout)

– 1 x push focus (chest, shoulders, triceps, core)

– 1 x pull focus (back, biceps, core)

– Gradually increasing volume over 4 weeks (more reps and sets)

Training Variables:

Sets: 3 to 4

Reps: 8 to 12

Tempo: 2-0-2 (2 seconds up, no pause, 2 seconds down)

Weight: around 70% of maximum

Rest: 60 seconds, but this can vary when pairing exercises together in supersets or mini circuits

 

Example Workout – Pull Focus (back, biceps, core):

 

Example Exercises:

Mid May – Program 3 – Power Focus

Once we received confirmation that play would be resuming 11th June at Colonial, we made the call to switch to a power focused program. Moving back to 3 days per week, lowering the volume and increasing the intensity (more weight and more speed in the main lifts).

The idea is to get the body used to moving fast again, reduce muscle soreness to allow better quality golf practice, and supplement the with more mobility work to re-gain any lost range of motion.

We also added some extra grip work because Cam discovered that with the muscle and strength gain, plus lifting increased weight, his grip was failing on key lifts…..not such a bad problem to have!

Program Breakdown:

– 4 weeks

– 3 sessions per week

– 1 x lower body focus (legs, glutes, core, grip)

– 1 x upper body focus (chest, back, biceps, triceps, core, grip)

– 1 x combined focus (legs, glutes, shoulders, core, grip)

– Volume remains constant (same sets and reps), aiming to increase intensity (either weight or speed) over the 4 weeks.

Training Variables:

Sets: 4 to 5

Reps: 3-5 for main exercises, 8-12 for accessory exercises.

Tempo: X-0-1 for main exercises (as fast as possible in up or effort phase, no pause, 1 second down). 2-0-2 for accessory exercises.

Weight: around 85% of maximum for main exercises, around 70% for accessory exercises.

Rest: 90 seconds, but this can vary when pairing exercises together in supersets or mini circuits

 

Example Workout – Combined (legs, glutes, core, shoulders, grip):

 

Example Exercises:

 

If you are interested in receiving some professional guidance for your training, then check out the services on offer from Nick at Golf Fit Pro

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