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It’s important not to overdo the “Sam Snead squat.” Understanding the subtle leg movements of the game’s greats is key to making your practice purposeful and making real improvement.

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Lucas Wald is a former touring professional turned instructor. Lucas has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Best Young Teachers in America (2016-2017) and the Best Teacher in Arkansas (2017). His notable students include Harris English, Brad Faxon, Brandel Chamblee, Jeff Flagg (2014 World Long Drive Champion), Eddie Fernandes (2018 World Long Drive Champion, Master Division), and Victoria Lovelady (Ladies European Tour). Lucas has been sought out by some of the biggest names in the game for his groundbreaking research on the golf swing, and he’s known for his student case studies – with juniors, adult amateurs, and tour pros – that show that significant improvement in power and ball striking is possible in golfers of all levels. Check out his website - lucaswaldgolf.com - and be sure to follow Lucas on social media.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. tom

    Dec 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

    you may or may not agree with his articulation. but the topic itself is huge in order to swing the club correctly. actually it’s got nothing to do with swinging itself, the left knee just sets the correct sequence up .

    upper body and lower body separation . with lower body needing to move first. with the left knee needing to get out of the way first. a total cascade effect.

    this is the bull whip effect imo.

    george gankas has a cult following with many of his students thinking he invented the topic. but whatever works.

    stack and tilt addresses the need to move left knee first and feet first. again to clear the lower body out to make room for the upper body to swing.

    lean, tilt, and rotation of course all need to be there as well.

    • tom

      Dec 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

      you may or may not agree with his articulation. but the topic itself is huge in order to swing the club correctly. actually it’s got nothing to do with swinging itself, the left knee just sets the correct sequence up .

      upper body and lower body separation . with lower body needing to move first. with the left knee needing to get out of the way first. a total cascade effect.

      this is the bull whip effect imo.

      george gankas has a cult following with many of his students thinking he invented the topic. but whatever works.

      stack and tilt addresses the need to move left knee first and feet first. again to clear the lower body out to make room for the upper body to swing.

      lean, tilt, and rotation of course all need to be there as well.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQNjDOVSmRM&index=6&list=PLoiojOHre1oM1zXVoUgMdTYp7OPllRTQ2

      steve elkington’s temp coach. secret dirt etc.

  2. CB

    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I’m flabbergasted at how wrong this analysis is. Blows my mind how some people just have it so totally wrong.

    • FG

      Dec 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Who knows, you may be totally wrong as well! You can’t just disregard everything and say you are right and everyone is wrong when it comes to golf instruction, it’s too subjective, everyone has their own opinion

  3. mM

    Dec 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

    You completely misunderstand Snead’s move, which is so completely not the same as the other players mentioned in the list. Facepalm this one, this is precisely why there is misinformation out there and it’s why people are confused. Pigeon toed??? Snead was 45 degrees flared out with BOTH feet! Man, you cannot be farther from the truth. Try making your feet flared 45 degrees out. You will realize why the squat works and why that load happens, unlike the McIlroy move, where Rory does not lift his heel. You can’t even see that.
    You should not be teaching.

  4. stevek

    Dec 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Sit… at address
    Squat… in the backswing
    Slide… at top of the swing
    Swing… in the downswing
    Simple… and so obvious!

  5. The dude

    Dec 14, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Ya…let’s teach this…..wow.

  6. Brett Weir

    Dec 14, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I’ll listen to Lucas Wald teachings over Shawn Clement 11 times out of 10.

    • Someone

      Dec 16, 2017 at 7:32 am

      i will have to agree with you here for the simple fact that he’s direct and to the point. keeps the videos short. but as for the validity of the advice, i think it needed a bit better explanation of why. he only discussed what the pros do, not what we need to do as amateurs to apply this. He also doesn’t mention who this applies to. All instructional videos require 4 parts. identification/application : who does this apply to. diagnosis : what the swing fault is. remedy : how to fix the swing fault. drill : what to practice to ingrain the swing correction. those four parts, and all instructional video can be spot on. everything else is just spouting random knowledge without proper application.

  7. tom

    Dec 14, 2017 at 8:38 am

    this one is a keeper !

  8. The great suarini

    Dec 14, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Poor video didn’t explain why Snead’s squats
    It’s simple he didn’t slide much at all and had a lot flare in his right foot. So as he compressed a little he got the squat look

    • RBImGuy

      Dec 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      without sneed to show, one have to ask what happen?

  9. fred

    Dec 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

    The legs move laterally to permit the hips to rotate.
    Lateral motion is not natural to the human body. Add to that that most golfers lead a sedentary life and only move forward to get around, it’s not surprising that most golfers cannot effectively move their legs laterally and hips rotating around.
    And that’s why most golfers suck at swinging.

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Instruction

Dennis Clark: Hitting from the turf

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I have seen as much as 4-5 MPH increase in clubhead speed when my students hit form a tee compared to hitting off the turf. Why?  Fear of FAT shots.

First question: Are you better hitting off a tee than on the turf?

Next question: When you play in a scramble and you have the option of dropping in the fairway or slightly in the first cut, do you choose the rough-especially when hitting over water or sand?

The answer to all these the same: Because the vast majority of golfers do not have a bottom of the swing arc safely in front of the golf ball consistently.

Consider a PGA Tour event, Korn Ferry, Champions Tour, LPGA Tour, whatever…You might see missed fairways, missed greens, hooks, blocks, etc. but we rarely, if ever, see a FAT shot. They simply do not hit the ground before the golf ball. Of course, there are exceptions, into the grain on short pitches, for example, but they are just that-rare exceptions. On the other hand, go to any golf course and watch average golfers for a while. Fat shots are not uncommon. In fact, they, or the fear of them, dominate most golf games.

The number one mistake I have seen on the lesson tee for over 35 years is unquestionably a player’s inability to control the bottom of the golf swing. I have seen everything from hitting 4 inches behind the ball to never reaching the bottom at all It has been my experience that that hitting fat shots is the number one flaw in most golf swings.

Let’s start with this fact: elite level players consistently reach a swing bottom (low point) some 3-4 inches in front of the golf ball-time after time after time. This happens for a variety of reasons, but the one I’d like to look at today is the position of the golf club at impact with the golf ball.

The club is leaning forward, toward the target, the hands are ahead of the club head, never straight up over it, never behind it-always, always leaning forward is the only way to consistently bottom out in front of the golf ball.   

A player cannot hit a ball consistently from the turf until he/she learns this and how to accomplish it. For every golfer I teach who gets into this position, I might teach 50 who do not. In fact, if players did not learn how to “save” a shot by bailing out on the downswing (chicken wing, pull up, raise the handle, or come over the top, (yes over the top is a fat shot avoidance technique) they would hit the ground behind the golf ball almost every time!  Hitting better shots from the fairways, particularly from tight lies, can be learned, but I’m going to be honest: The change required will NOT be easy. And to make matters worse, you can never play significantly better until you overcome the fear of hitting it fat.. Until you learn a pattern where the bottom of the swing is consistently in front of the ball, the turf game will always be an iffy proposition for you.

This starts with a perception. When first confronted with hitting a golf ball, it seems only natural that an “up” swing is the way to get the ball in the air-help it, if you will. The act of a descending blow is not, in any way, natural to the new player. In fact, it is totally counterintuitive. So the first instincts are to throw the club head at the ball and swing up to get the ball in the air; in other words, it makes perfect sense. And once that “method” is ingrained, it is very difficult to change. But change if you must, if your goal is to be a better ball striker.

The position to strive for is one where the left wrist (for a right-hander) is flat, the right is slightly dorsiflexed, and the handle of the golf club is ahead of the grip end. Do your level best to pay attention to the look and feel of what you’re doing as opposed to the flight of the golf ball. FEEL that trail wrist bent slightly back, the lead wrist flat and the hands ahead. It will seem strange at first, but it’s the very small first step in learning to hit down on your tight lies. If some degree of that is not ultimately accomplished, you will likely always be executing “fit in” moves to make up for it. It is worth the time and effort to create this habit.

My suggestion is to get on a Trackman if possible to see where you’re low point actually is, or perhaps you may just want to start paying close attention to your divots-particularly the deepest part of them. I’m sure you will get into a pattern of bottoming out consistently in front of the ball when you begin to learn to get the hands ahead and the club head behind. And best of all, when this becomes your swing, you will lose the fear of hitting the turf first and be free to go down after the ball as aggressively as you like.

Ok, so how is this accomplished? While many players are looking for a magic bullet or a training aid which might help one miraculously get into a good impact position, I dare say there is not one. It is a trial and error proposition, a learn-from-the-mistakes kind of thing achieved only through repetition with a thorough understanding of what needs to be done. The hardest thing to do is IGNORE the outcome when learning a new motor skill, but you must do it. A couple of things you might try:

  • Start with 30-50 yard pitch shots, paying close attention to the hands leading at impact. Again ignore the outcome, look only at the divot.
  • Hit a TON of fairway bunker shots. Draw a line in the sand 3-4″ in front of the ball and try to hit it.
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Instruction

What you can learn from the rearview camera angle

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We often analyze the golf swing from the face-on view or down-the-line camera angle. However, we can also learn how the body moves in the swing from the rearview or backside view.

When seeing the swing from the rearview, we can easily see how the glutes work. The trail glute actually moves back and around in the backswing. This means the glute moves towards the target or towards the lead heel. Note the trail glute start point and endpoint at the top of the backswing.

To some, this may seem like it would cause a reverse weight shift. However, this glute movement can enable the upper body to get loaded behind the ball. This is where understanding the difference between pressure, and weight is critical (see: “Pressure and Weight”).

This also enhances the shape of the body in the backswing. From the rear angle, I prefer to have players with a tuck to their body in their trail side, a sign of no left-side bend.

This puts the body and trail arm into a “throwing position”, a dynamic backswing position. Note how the trailing arm has folded with the elbow pointing down. This is a sign the trailing arm moved in an efficient sequence to the top of the backswing.

Next time you throw your swing on video, take a look at the rearview camera angle. From this new angle, you may find a swing fault or matchup needed in your golf swing to produce your desired ball flight.

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Instruction

How to stop 3-putting and start making putts

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When we are 3-putting we are ‘stuck in the box’. This means that when we are standing over the putt the second before we make our stroke everything happens to ‘go downhill.’ When this happens, depending on your playing level, things can become a bit erratic on the putting surface.

When a 3 putt happens, it is typically because you failed to do something before you made your stroke. The large majority of my 3 putts happen when I am not completely SOLD on the line of my putt, aka not committed. Questioning anything over the ball will lead to 3 putts.

Here is a breakdown/checklist on how to approach the green and get your ball in the cup without hesitation.

1. It starts with the approach shot into the green and the decision of direction you make to enter the hole. Scan the entire green with your eyes on the walk-up. Left to right and right to left. Look for a few seconds before you step onto the putting surface. This helps determine the high side and the low side, or if the green is relatively flat. Don’t be picky, just look and make a decision.

2. Once you get to the ball, mark it. Take 3 steps behind your ball mark. Now you must pick a line… Left, Center, or Right of the cup. (Skip step 3 if you know the line) It should take seconds but for those that are not sure it will take longer. Understand that every putt has a statistical level of difficulty. So to increase the odds, players must avoid putting in the unsure mind, and take the time to figure out a line. I also find that people who are 3 putting are overly confident and just not committed aka too quick to putt.

3. To commit, you must find the angle of entry into the cup. Walk up to the hole and look at the cup. How is it cut? Determine if it is cut flat or on a slope angle. This will help you see the break if you are having a hard time. Then determine how much break to play. Cut the hole into 4 quarters with your eyes standing right next to it. Ask yourself, which quarter of the cup does the ball need to enter to make the putt go in the hole?

I encourage using the phrases ‘in the hole’ or ‘to the hole’ as great reinforcement and end thoughts before stroking the ball. I personally visualize a dial on the cup. When my eyes scan the edges, I see tick marks of a clock or a masterlock – I see the dial pop open right when I pick the entry quadrant/tick mark because I cracked the code.

Remember, the most important parts of the putt are: 1.) Where it starts and 2. ) Where it ends.

4. To secure the line, pick something out as the apex of the putt on the walk back to the mark. Stand square behind the ball mark and the line you have chosen.

5. To further secure the line, place your ball down and step behind it to view the line from behind the ball. Don’t pick up the ball mark until you have looked from behind. When you look, you need to scan the line from the ball to the cup with your eyes. While you are scanning, you can make adjustments to the line – left, right or center. Now, on the walk into the box, pickup the mark. This seals the deal on the line. Square your putter head to the ball, with feet together, on the intended line.

6. To make the putt, look at the apex and then the cup while taking your stance and making practice strokes to calibrate and gauge how far back and through the stroke needs to be.

7. To prove the level of commitment, step up to the ball and look down the intended line to the apex back to the cup and then back to the apex down to your ball. As soon as you look down at the ball, never look up again. Complete one entire stroke. A good visual for a putting stroke is a battery percentage and comparing your ‘complete stroke’ to the percentage of battery in the bar.

8. Look over your shoulder once your putter has completed the stroke, i.e. listen for the ball to go in and then look up!

If you find a way that works, remember it, and use it!

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