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Most golfers believe they have to lean toward the ground to hit a ball that is on the ground. What this video demonstrates is that the best players in history are flat to the earth in balance and don’t lean over at all. Put this principle in your game, and it will make all your shots easier — from driving to putting.
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Northbound Golf provides a comprehensive way to learn and play the game. Martin Ayers and Michael Powers have uncovered what great players do that makes them great. It’s an approach that you can adopt, irrespective of your current level of play. Martin Ayers is a former Australasia Tour player who has coached Major Champions Steve Elkington and Mike Weir, as well as 3 time PGA Tour winner Cameron Beckman. Michael Powers is a PGA Member from Boston, Massachusetts with over 25 years of coaching experience. At Northboundgolf.com you’ll find over six hours of instructional video content, question and answer podcasts, plus personal online coaching.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Doug Kercher PGA Pro Australia

    Jan 8, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Plenty of know all commenting. If you saw Martin’s pure ball striking you would want what he has. Well done keyboard warriors.

  2. Gunter Eisenberg

    Jan 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Martin Ayers!?!? Automatic thumbs down.

  3. Ed LeBeau

    Dec 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Unnecessarily complicated.
    Sole the club on the ground with the arms hanging and the weight the same in each foot with it just behind the balls of the feet.
    Maintain that weight distribution in the feet till impact.
    Thats balance.

    • Web

      Dec 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Ed, you should talk with PGA Pro and teacher Bobby Greenwood in TN about balance and footwork. He is amazingly knowledgeable and experienced.

  4. Web

    Dec 31, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I could watch Snead swing all day long.

  5. George

    Dec 31, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Let’s see. Did Sam Snead in this video hit up on a teed ball? Did Bobby Jones? Did Jordan Speith? What clubs were they using? 460cc? So maybe JS’s upper body hangs back, because he wants to improve launch conditions? Or maybe it’s just a swing “fault” he developed to counter his chicken wings etc. etc.
    Oh, another thing. Maybe don’t use the phrase “flat to the earth” when you don’t mean parallel to the ground. JM2C

  6. wilbur

    Dec 31, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Ideal balance is determined using force plate technology underfoot. It tells you where the pressures are under your feet and where the pressure point from your body moves throughout the swing… otherwise it’s just a bunch of nebulous words.

    • geohogan

      Jan 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      @wilbur, ideal balance is determined by billions of neurons in our subconscious, without a conscious thought.

      How nebulous to think we would need force plate technology for proper balance. Imagining how much better the balance of Sam Snead if he only had force plate technology. LOL

      Good laugh to start a new year.

      .

  7. Dan Black

    Dec 30, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Every golfer that’s ever been worth a lick has anywhere from 35-43 degrees of forward bend/lean/tilt from the waist. I understand your concept but saying golfers do not lean forward is misleading and untrue. Nice video though.

  8. Ian

    Dec 30, 2018 at 7:08 am

    What did I just watch? This is more misleading than helpful. Were you trying to say you have to tilt (not lean over) to hit the ball (Balance is achieved by pushing out the rear end to counter the tilt of the torso)?

  9. geohogan

    Dec 29, 2018 at 10:35 am

    The human species would not have survived or evolved without an automatic balance system to keep us upright. It happens subconsciously.

    Our head and hips counter balance in the coronal plane, so of course our knees move to balance both sides of our torso. As we move the mass of our arms(about 30-40 pounds) from one side of your torso to the other, our subconscious knows automatically, to preprogram movement of hundreds of muscles to balance that movement of mass.

    Our balance mechanisms work exactly as they did for Sam Snead and Bobby Jones… subconsciously. Any attempt to control our balance with conscious movement of individual body parts is as ludicrous as trying to learn golf swing, one body part at a time.

  10. Will

    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Snead reminds me of Cameron Champ.

    • geohogan

      Jan 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      @will, and reminds me of Ben Hogan
      All three drop into the slot and torso rotation brings the clubface to impact from the inside with little to no manipulation with the hands ….so much more consistent and less timing dependent, as taught by Monte and the like.

  11. Zek

    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Talk with Bobby Greenwood, former PGA golfer and TN Hall of Famer about his teachings of balance and footwork.

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Instruction

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

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

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

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

All golfers can play well consistently

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are two key takeaways in this comparison

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

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

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

Take action

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

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

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

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Instruction

Walters: Try this practice hack for better bunker shots

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

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

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Instruction

Golf Blueprint: A plan for productive practice sessions

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

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

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

Sample Golf Blueprint practice plan for a client.

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

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

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

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

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

Nico Darras, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

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

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

Kevin Moore, co-founder of Golf Blueprint

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

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

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

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