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Learning golf from the best instructors on Twitter

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I hate to admit this, but when I first started teaching golf in 1992, golf swing video analysis was in its infancy, and there was no internet, email or smartphones. And of course, there was no easy way to learn about about the golf swing. Sure, we could go this place called a library where we could check out a book on golf instruction, but only if it was not already lent out to someone else. It was a far more difficult time to gather information, and teachers didn’t make it much easier on themselves, as many considered their golf instruction knowledge proprietary.

Nowadays, golf swing information is everywhere, and you don’t need to be a teaching professional to learn about the science of the golf swing — you just need to have Internet access. Personally, I like to use Twitter, and I follow people who know much more than I do about certain aspects of teaching golf. That way, I learn something every time I log on, and I often save the best photos or tidbits so I can recall them when necessary.

What I would like to show you today is show you some of the best things I have pulled off Twitter over the last few months from people such as @felixclubworks, @pinkenterprise1, @trackmanmaestro, @oraclerio, @kirkoguri, @golfgurutv, @andrewricegolf, and @chuckevans. I recommend you follow each of them to expand your golfing knowledge.

So, here are my favorite tips and information I’ve found on Twitter from the last few months. Enjoy my collection… and don’t forget to post your favorite golf Twitter accounts in the comments section below so we can all learn together.

StickneyTwitter1

What a great listing of how different ball speeds need radically different launch and spin conditions in order for you to maximize your distance output. This makes a solid case for getting your driver fit to you swing mechanics. If you don’t, you could be losing serious distance and roll-out.

StickneyTwitter6

This is one of my very favorite photos. It shows how off-center toe and heel hits, combined with gear-effect, can cause the ball to move the opposite direction than it should based on you face to path relationship. When you have a negative face-to-path, the ball should go left and vice versa. However, heel hits cause the ball to want to move more rightward and toe hits are more hook biased. So sometimes your swing is OK, but your off-center hits are causing your problems.

StickneyTwitter2

These ball-flight laws have been proven by the latest science. It’s now indisputable that the ball begins mostly in the direction of the face at impact, and curves away from the path with a center hit. Yes, the ball flight matrix above looks complex, but it becomes easier to understand when keep these two things in mind:

  1. The red arrow is the path.
  2. The black arrow is the face at impact.

Assuming you’re striking your shots in the center of the club face, you should now know why your ball curves the way it does.

StickneyTwitter8

Nothing more needs to be said about this slide; Jamie is a STUD! I have been lucky enough to have known him for many years, and he amazes me every time he hits the ball. In fact, at Vidanta this fall, he put on a show for us. He hit a drive off his knees, and his swing speed was still 113 mph — more than the average Tour professional standing on two feet!

StickneyTwitter5

Here is great insight from a slideshow presentation that shows you how to spin the ball back on the green. It says you need a certain spin rate and a certain landing angle, or the golf ball won’t spin back. This can actually be practiced if you know a teacher with a Trackman. My advice would be to get the mechanics and feel of these numbers down, and from there you can practice it on your own by remembering the feeling!

StickneyTwitter4

For you gear heads out there, here is Kirk showing us that for every degree of loft change you will see a certain amount of distance and spin change with all other things being equal.

StickneyTwitter7

Jordan Spieth is seriously the best putter I have ever seen over the course of an entire the season, and simply brilliant from 20-25 feet. If you want to be a better player, make putting your strength!

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to follow Tom Stickney (@tomstickneygolf) and GolfWRX (@golfwrx) on Twitter. 

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: [email protected]

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Frances Diliberti

    Aug 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Home Instruction . Learning golf from the best instructors on Twitter. In Part 1, you learned about several training factors that have been scientifically proven to help enhance any golfer ’s health and performance. This process of picking the right golf instructor for you will ultimately provide the best way for you to realize the maximum return on your investment of money, resources, and your time while minimizing your learning curve.

  2. chris

    Aug 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    This is great, I’ll be excited to add these guys later today. Thank you!

  3. Weekend Duffer

    Aug 12, 2016 at 9:35 am

    They need to ban you from here

    • Jim H

      Aug 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      I second that motion.

      • Marty Moose

        Aug 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

        Third.

      • mlecuni

        Aug 12, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        The comments are reflecting the way this website is.
        May be it’s time to change, to grow. It was good to see some new editors coming, but still, a lot of articles aren’t anything more than sacasm, biased ideas or empty stories.

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Instruction

Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive

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Drop the mic on how the wrists should load and be positioned for compressive power, accuracy, and longevity! There is a better way, and this is it!

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Short Game University: How to hit wedges 301

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In golf, there is nothing harder than judging a flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin out of long grass. Why? Because there are so many variables to account for — in addition to what you can and cannot do with a wedge. In fact, up until very recently in the world of wedge design, we were limited to only increasing the landing angle to stop the ball, because relying on spin from this lie and this close to the green was next to impossible.

Now with the advent of things like raw faces, different CG locations, new groove design, and micro-ribs between the grooves, we can now spin the ball out of lies that we never could have done so before. This is not to say that you can now zip the ball back from these types of lies, but we are seeing spin rates that have skyrocketed, and this allows us to not open the face as much as we needed to do before in order to stop the ball.

Before we get into the shot around the green itself, let’s talk a bit about wedge design. For that, I called a great friend of mine, Greg Cesario, TaylorMade’s Staff Manager to help us understand a bit more about wedges. Greg was a former PGA Tour Player and had a big hand in designing the new Milled Grind 3 Wedges.

Cesario said: “Wedge technology centers on two key areas- the first is optimizing its overall launch/spin (just like drivers) on all shots and the second is optimum ground interaction through the geometry of the sole (bounce, sole width, and sole shape).”

“Two key things impact spin: Groove design and face texture. Spin is the secondary effect of friction. This friction essentially helps the ball stick to the face a little longer and reduces slippage. We define slippage as how much the ball slides up the face at impact. That happens more when it’s wet outside during those early morning tee times, out of thicker lies, or after a bit of weather hits. Our Raised Micro-Ribs increase friction and reduce slippage on short partial shots around the round – that’s particularly true in wet conditions.”

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to find optimal CG (center of gravity) placement and how new geometries can influence that. We know that CG locations can influence launch, trajectory and spin. Everyone is chasing the ability to produce lower launching and higher spinning wedge shots to help players increase precision distance control. In that space, moving CG just a few millimeters can have big results. Beyond that, we’re continuing to advance our spin and friction capabilities – aiming to reduce the decay of spin from dry to fluffy, or wet conditions.”

Basically, what Greg is saying is that without improvements in design, we would never be able to spin the ball like we would normally when it’s dry and the lie is perfect. So, with this new design in a wedge like the Milled Grind 3 (and others!), how can we make sure we have the optimal opportunity to hit these faster-stopping pitch shots?

  1. Make sure the face is clean and dry
  2. Open the blade slightly, but not too much
  3. Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the AoA
  4. Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

Make sure the face is clean and dry

If your thought is to use spin to stop the ball quicker under any situation, then you must give the club a chance to do its job. When the grooves are full of dirt and grass and the remaining exposed face is wet, then you are basically eliminating any opportunity to create spin. In fact, if you decide to hit the shot under these conditions, you might as well hit a flop shot as this would be the only opportunity to create a successful outcome. Don’t put yourself behind the eight-ball automatically, keep your club in a clean and dry condition so you have the best chance to do what you are capable of doing.

Open the blade slightly, but not too much

Without going into too much extra detail, spinloft is the difference between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft. And this difference is one of the main areas where you can maximize your spin output.

Too little or too much spinloft and you will not be able to get the maximum spin out of the shot at hand. With wedges, people equate an open clubface to spinning the ball, and this can be a problem due to excessive spinloft. Whenever you have too much dynamic loft, the ball will slide up the face (reduced friction equals reduced spin) and the ball will float out higher than expected and roll out upon landing.

My thought around the green is to open the face slightly, but not all the way, in efforts to reduce the probability of having too much spinloft during impact. Don’t forget under this scenario we are relying on additional spin to stop the ball. If you are using increased landing angle to stop the ball, then you would obviously not worry about increasing spinloft! Make sure you have these clear in your mind before you decide how much to open the blade.

Opened slightly

Opened too much

One final note: Please make sure you understand what bounce option you need for the type of conditions you normally play. Your professional can help you but I would say that more bounce is better than less bounce for the average player. You can find the bounce listed on the wedge itself. It will range between 4-14, with the mid-range bounce being around 10 degrees.

Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the angle of attack

As we know, when debris gets in between the clubface and the ball (such as dirt/grass), you will have two problems. One, you will not be able to control the ball as much. Secondly, you will not be able to spin the ball as much due to the loss of friction.

So, what is the key to counteract this problem? Increasing the angle of attack by setting the wrists quicker on the backswing. Making your downswing look more like a V rather than a U allows less junk to get between the club and the ball. We are not using the bounce on this type of shot, we are using the leading edge to slice through the rough en route to the ball. Coming in too shallow is a huge problem with this shot, because you will tend to hit it high on the face reducing control.

Use your increased AoA on all of your crappy lies, and you will have a much better chance to get up and down more often!

Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

The final piece of the puzzle through the ball is speed through the pivot. You cannot hit shots around the green out of tall grass without keeping the club moving and having speed. A reduction of speed is obvious as the club enters into the tall grass, but you don’t want to exacerbate this problem by cutting off your pivot and letting the arms do all the work.

Sure, there are times when you want to cut off the body rotation through the ball, but not on the shot I am discussing here. When we are using spin, you must have speed to generate the spin itself. So, what is the key to maintaining your speed? Keeping the rear shoulder rotating long into the forward swing. If you do this, you will find that your arms, hands, and club will be pulled through the impact zone. If your pivot stalls, then your speed will decrease and your shots will suffer.

Hopefully, by now you understand how to create better shots around the green using the new wedge technology to create more spin with lies that we had no chance to do so before. Remembering these simple tips — coupled with your clean and dry wedge — will give you the best opportunity to be Tiger-like around the greens!

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Instruction

An awesome drill for lag that works with the ball!

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Many lag drills have come and gone in this game because they have a hard time working when the ball is there! How many times do you hear about someone having a great practice swing and then having it all go away when the ball is there? This one is a keeper!

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