11 April 2014

Create More Lag in Your Swing for More Powerful Iron Shots

I have never been a coach who has particularly used a huge number of teaching or training aids during lessons.  Not because I don’t believe they work but mainly because I always felt that the player should be able to practice on their own the same way as they learnt during the lesson.  It is obvious that you are not going to buy a new training aid after every lesson and so I have always looked for more inventive ways to get my message across.
Over the coming few weeks, starting today, I am going to show you a series of drills/lessons which use a new product called SwingPlane Perfector.  If you are serious about your golf and improving it then this is one of the very few must own devices I have ever come across.  It’s small, light, very accurate and can be used to improve every part of your game both indoors and out, on the range or out on the practice ground.  Visit www.swingplaneperfector.com to find out more and quote HowDidiDo if you decide to order one for yourself.

The video this week looks at a hugely important power source in the swing.  Creating lag in the downswing is perhaps a term you may have come across but maybe not really understood what it means.  Simply put, it refers to the ability of the player to get the club head to “lag” behind the club handle in the downswing.  There is little doubt that the vast majority of golfers suffer from a slight sense of panic from the top of the backswing, a desire to get the club face back to the ball as soon as possible.  In talking to players I find this most often stems from a lack of trust, a feeling that they want to make sure the club face contacts the ball.  In other words they want to have total control over the club head.  My very first mentor, Peter Tupling had a great saying,

In order to gain control you must feel yourself losing control”

A powerful efficient downswing is one which free wheels, we give up conscious control and let momentum deliver the club into and through the ball.  The more we are able to create this trust the more consistent and powerful our ball striking becomes. 
To show you how quickly this can be achieved I include below a screenshot from a recent lesson.  Michael is currently 17 handicap but keen to improve and the differences in his impact position came in just 1 hour using the drill in the video above.

Our second month of HowDidiDo Academy Coaching Days are now full with over 20 players attending over 3 days next week at High Legh Park GC in Cheshire.  We are now taking bookings for May at the same venue, if you would like to attend for individual coaching then contact me at neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com for details.

Also entry is now open for the new HowDidiDo Matchplay, which is now known a the Morocco Matchplay powered by HowDidiDo. its the same great amateur golf competition, but now the final will be held in Morocco! Follow this link for entry details 

5 April 2014

Hole More Putts with Lower Body Stability

The start of the season is here!  The clocks have changed, The Masters is a week away and I’m sure most of you are starting Club Competitions.  Our aim this year was to structure the Blog and videos in a similar way to how elite players start the year.  Starting in January we reviewed the importance of the fundamentals, then Short Game technique before focusing on hitting the Driver longer and straighter.  Each topic building on the fundamentals we learnt back in January.

This week we have the first of our Guest Instructor videos.  Richard Hudson is the Head Professional at Pestana Vila Sol Resort in Portugal.  In his first video he shows you a fantastic drill to hone your putting stroke for the start of the season.  As he demonstrates, it can be done on the putting green, or at home on the carpet.

Movement in the lower body is one of the most common faults we see in putting.  It causes poor stroke technique and rhythm and perhaps most damaging, a very erratic strike point on the putter face.
If you are a player who suffers from poor or inconsistent distance control on the greens then Richards drill is one of the best I have seen.  Three putting is almost always caused by bad speed control, which in turn can almost always be linked to a poorly struck putt.

Putts left short are most often caused by a mishit and if we don’t recognise this we will start to hit the ball harder on subsequent putts.  If we now hit the sweet spot of the putter we can suddenly roll the ball several feet past the hole, our confidence on the greens now disappearing fast.

I have always believed that a putting green is the most under used facility at a Golf Club.  It is generally only used by the juniors, very low handicap players or for 15 minutes before a tee time.  Very rarely do handicap golfers have a specific practice session on the putting green and in my view that is a wasted opportunity to improve.
Visit any tournament, amateur or professional and you will see the putting green is always full.  Players working to improve their stroke consistency by practicing drills or working with training aids is deemed hugely important.  If you can commit 30 minutes a week to improving your stroke in a dedicated practice session you will see a huge improvement in putting consistency out on the course.
I spent a day at PGA EuroPro Final Qualifying this week at Frilford Heath, the picture below shows the putting green late in the day and still players were out working on their stroke.

I’m sure many of you have visited Portugal to play golf.  If you are playing on the Algarve then you can contact Richard Hudson at Pestana Vila Sol resort or e mail him at richard@rbhgolf.com

There is nothing worse than playing poorly when on holiday and Richard can certainly help you play better golf.  Tell him you are a member of HowDidiDo and he might even give you a discount!
We will bring you more great drills from Richard throughout the season. 

31 March 2014

Small Mistakes Can Lead to Big Swing Errors

Alongside the launch of the HowDidiDo Academy Online Swing Analysis facility last week saw the first Academy Coaching Days.  Hosted at High Legh Park GC in Cheshire we held 3 days on one to one coaching for players of all levels.

This week I wanted to share something which was very much a feature of the sessions.
I have spoken before in various videos about the importance of creating a consistent repetitive address position if your aim is to play consistent golf.  Talking to players of all handicaps last week it quickly became clear that after a very wet winter nobody had played or practised much for quite some time.  As a consequence nearly everyone was struggling to feel the co-ordination and timing brought on by regular play. 

The beginning of the season is a great time to work with players, mistakes in the swing are generally not covered up by the timing which regular golf brings and we get to see the “true” results from swings which carry technical flaws.

The one thing which stood out the most however was players ranging from low single figures up through mid to high handicaps all struggling to find a consistent accurate POSTURE.
Included below are some screenshots from the lessons last week, all taken at the start of the session.  These pictures all have one thing in common, the posture. 

Coming out of a winter where perhaps you have played little golf the first thing you should look to is your posture.  It is very easy to bend forward from the waist, not setting the correct pelvic angle and as a result create a very rounded looking spine, shoulders hunched over the ball.  All the players shown above complained of inconsistent direction control with a weak strike and less distance than they normally produce.

Perhaps the most common fault associated with this posture is a backswing which is too far on the inside, the club head travelling behind the hands and in every case a downswing from there which is much steeper and across the ball.  This combination produces pulls and weak fades/slice and significant frustration for the players!

Compare those pictures to the one below, also from last week, of two elite players I work with.  In both instances the posture is set in a similar way, with very accurate angles and balance points.  Posture is directly linked to swing plane and poor posture will create a poor swing shape.

Use the camera on your phone to film or photograph your posture, you may be surprised how it looks.  If you are struggling with your ball striking after a long wet winter it may not be your swing but your start position causing all the problems.

If you would like to attend one of our coaching days at High Legh Park GC they will be held every month.  To book for April (15/16/17th) please contact me directly by e mailing neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com and I will send you details.

21 March 2014

The HowDidiDo Academy Internet Lesson/Swing Analysis System

This week, as you may have seen in the most recent HowDidiDo newsletter we have officially launched the Academy swing analysis tool.  Using software called V1 Sports in association with our partners MIA Sports Technology we are able to offer you the chance to have an analysis of your golf swing sent directly back to your e mail.  Included in your lesson will be information and drills highlighting areas to improve your swing and how that will lead to better golf out on the course.  We can offer comparisons with other players and provide a reference point for your future practice.  Each lesson may be up to 30 minutes in length and is stored in your own personal online locker for you to access anytime you have internet connection.

This week’s video shows you how to use the V1 Golf App to upload and send your swing from a mobile device (phone or tablet) to the Academy.

As you can see, in just a few clicks you can send your swings through to us having first purchased your lesson and created your account (locker).  To do this simply click the “Swing Analysis” tab above, create account and then use PayPal to securely purchase your chosen lesson plan.

Most of us struggle to improve, golf is a game where form comes and goes and consistency can seem an impossible dream!  Perhaps one of the main reasons for this is that what we feel we do in the swing is seldom the reality.  I’m sure many of you have hit bad shots and immediately thought “I know what I did wrong”.  The trouble is most of the time we are wrong, the feedback we get from swing feelings are unreliable at best.

What I love about the technology available now is that we can use video ourselves to monitor our own swings, either in practice or on the course, to see whether we did know what we did wrong!  Perhaps more importantly we can use it to show us what we need to do right.  It is much more important that you know how to hit a great shot than the many reasons you may hit a bad shot. 

Ask yourself do you really know how to hit a great shot, do you have an accurate and clear picture in your mind of what your swing looks like?  If the answer is no then it is unlikely you will achieve the consistency you are searching for.

This week I have created a new sample lesson in the Swing Analysis section to show you what can be achieved be using this system.  The player shown was part of our trial of the system and volunteered to send his swing and work at the changes.  We never met in person and he was able to make the changes within his own practice.  I believe it shows how much you can improve in just a short time.

We look forward to seeing your swings and helping you play your best golf ever.

14 March 2014

How the Wrong Mis-Hit Could Cost You 30 Yards

How much attention do you pay to where you strike the ball on the club face?  My experience is that for many golfers the answer is “not enough”.  The strike point on the club face has perhaps more influence on where the ball goes than anything else.  With Driver in your hands it is THE most important thing. 
The club face (Driver) surface is curved (convex) and designed to produce something called Gear Effect.  This design allows mis-hits to curve back towards the target.  A toe strike will create draw/hook curve and a heel strike will create fade/slice curve.  Less well known is the height of the strike on the face is also critical, creating a good mis-hit and a bad mis-hit as you will see in the video.

I have found the most common mis-hit to be low and from the heel of the club face.  Very often coinciding with a Driver that is too long for the player and a tee height which is too low.  This strike point is the main reason players dramatically lose distance from the Tee.
If you have been for a Driver-fit you are bound to have heard the term high launch low spin, the optimal conditions for distance from the Tee.  I have included screenshots from Flightscope which correspond to the shots in the video and these show why a heel strike is a distance killer.

This is the table showing 4 shots, shots 1 and 3 being as close to centre as possible.  Shot 2 is a low/heel strike and Shot 4 is higher/towards the toe strike

The picture above shows you what happens when the ball is struck low and from the heel.  There are a couple of critical things to look at.
1.     With a 10 deg Driver the launch angle is only 4.7 degrees, very very low
2.     The spin rate is over 4400 rpm which would be approximately 2000 rpm too much.
3.     The low flight and high backspin have reduced distance by over 30 yards.
4.     The ball was struck with a downward angle of attack (0.4)

This screen shows the drive struck high on the face and from the toe.  The differences are immediately obvious.
1.     The launch angle is almost 3 times higher at 12.8 degrees
2.     The spin rate is almost 2000 rpm lower at 2489 rpm
3.     A much higher, draw flight is created
4.     The ball was struck upward 3.5 degrees (a 4 degree increase)

The most important difference though is DISTANCE.  A high/toe strike is over 20 yards longer than a low/heel strike even with 2mph less club speed.  It is only 8 yards shorter than the longest shot compared to 30 yards less with the low/heel strike.

To play better golf it is important we understand our mis-hits and try to lessen their effect.  If you what longer Tee shots then you must eliminate a heel strike from your game.  Improve your angle of attack (more upward) and your swing path (more outward) and your distance from the Tee will consistently improve.

7 March 2014

Turn Inside the Right Knee for More Power

It’s just 34 days until The Masters, the tournament which seems to signal the start of the season.  The clocks have changed and courses are improving after a winter spent under a lot of water for many of us!  With the season about to begin I have a couple of questions for you to ponder.
Have you set any goals for the season ahead?
What have you done to improve your game?
Is your handicap going up or down?

This week the video shows you a key swing move to create more distance from the tee.  However, it is much more important than that, it forms the foundation for EVERY swing to improve.

I have talked about body action and coil before but I truly believe it is the foundation around which consistent swings are built.  This was apparent watching the finals of the recent HowDidiDo Matchplay Finals; you can immediately separate the low handicap golfers by just watching the body action.
The body action or coil refers to how the upper torso rotates above or on top of the pelvic area and legs.  This is the engine room of the golf swing; it allows power built in the coil to be transferred through the arms into speed on the golf club.  In other words,
Coil Creates Speed

If not performed well it is a major weakness in the swing, taking yards off your ball flight.  More than that however, good coil creates good swing plane and delivers the club down a more consistent line to the ball.  The swing becomes more efficient or as I like to say, produces
Effortless Power
Powerless Effort
Included below are screenshots from my V1 Golf App.

You can see how excessive weight movement in the backswing has actually reduced the rotation or coil through the shoulders and hips as well as pulled the head too far behind the ball.  The result for this player is a backswing which is too far on the inside (flat) before the arms lift up and swing down both over the top and too steeply into impact.  Without a change in the body action it is almost impossible to swing down the correct path or maximise speed and distance.  Already a single figure golfer, the changes in the ball flight and consistency were dramatic after just a short time working with body drills.

With the V1 Golf App on your tablet or smart phone you can video your swing and check your own body action.

From there you can register with the HDiD Academy Swing Analysis facility and purchase an internet lesson.  To see how this works click view sample lesson at the Swing Analysis page above.  We look forward to seeing your swings and showing you how you can improve.

2 March 2014

Hit Out and Up with the Driver for your Best Tee Shots Ever

The season is fast approaching and hopefully the worst of the weather is behind us.  With daylight hours getting longer and the Masters only 5 weeks away I’m sure many of you are coming out of your golfing winter hibernation!
With that in mind, I have a question for you to consider.  What are you going to do to play better golf this year?  Over the past few weeks we have looked at series of videos dealing with set up and address positions, the true key to consistency.  We have also looked at some short game elements, showing you ways to improve even when limited to driving range practice.
The great American coach, Jim McLean has carried out research showing that for most players 75% of shots hit in a round of golf are with just 3 Club types.

  •  Driver
  • Putter 
  • Wedges
This is an idea I would very much support. You drive on all holes but the Par3’s, likely take over 30 putts per round and play a short game shot every time you miss a green.
Over the coming weeks we will focus on the Driver, starting today with a video looking at how to create the ideal swing path to hit the ball longer and more accurately.

One of the great benefits of having access to Flightscope has been using it to gather research on the tendencies of Club golfers.  With the Driver some very clear patterns emerged amongst the players we tested.

  •  Most players had an inward swing path (out to in or leftward for a right hander)
  • Almost all but some of the very lowest handicap players with this swing path also had a downward angle of attack
  • Players with both these tendencies COULD NOT maximise the distance and accuracy they created from their Club speed with their Driver
In other words a downward and inward swing path hits the ball shorter and wider than a swing path upwards and outwards with the Driver.  Finding 10 yards per tee shot, in the fairway, could make the course play 140 yards shorter, that’s like missing out a Par 3 and will have an impact on your score.
To help illustrate the point I have included below Flightscope screenshots from a recent lesson.

Having started with a swing path almost 6 degrees left and over 3 degrees down which produced a weak fade and a lot of heel strikes on the club face this player worked at the drill shown in the video.  An hour later the path improved considerably, with the shot shown 5.6 degrees right (outward) and 2.8 degrees up creating a very accurate flight.  This increase in distance was dramatic, from a starting average of 197 yards to 231 yards with this swing.

Find the correct swing path and you will find the key to great Tee shots.

23 February 2014

Key Elements Of Pitching With Lofted Clubs

This week the Academy continues after a weeks break for the Finals of the HowDidiDo National Matchplay Championships in Portugal.  Quinta Do Lago proved to be an excellent venue despite some wet and at times windy weather, with the South Course and new Laranjal layouts an excellent test.  5 rounds over the 2 courses determined the winners and some excellent gold was played over the week.  Watching the games it is interesting to see how players adapt to different conditions and the longer course set up combined with greens quicker and much more undulating than most in the UK proved very difficult for some players.

Entries will soon open for the 2014 tournament and the process of qualifying will begin all over again.  Congratulations to all the competitors and especially to the winners of each event.

We continue our look at the short game this week with a video looking at 2 key elements of pitching with lofted clubs.  It seems to be a shot many club players struggle to execute consistently, either suffering mis hits (fat or thin), or producing erratic trajectory and distance control.

Perhaps the first thing to understand is that our wedges are inaccurately named.  By calling then Pitching Wedge and Sand Wedge we create the impression that they have 2 distinct jobs and we must only pitch or hit sand shots with the "named wedge".

This couldn't be further from the truth, the modern pitching wedge is significantly de-lofted these days as manufacturers continue their seduction with promises of distance.  This renders it almost useless when coming to play short to mid length touch based pitch shots.  The smaller swing doesn't have enough speed to create the higher softer flight required with the loft available on the club.  This in turn can create huge swing problems with the most common being a scooping action through impact in an attempt to add loft during the swing.  Any time the club head is overtaking the club handle through impact, particularly in wedge play, you are almost certainly doomed to failure.  The strike becomes very erratic as you struggle to control the low point of the swing, very often hitting the ground before the ball.  The distance control suffers as the loft you deliver at impact (dynamic loft) is different almost every shot.

By working with the drill/exercise from the video, feeling a little more "knuckles down" towards impact and combining that with the correct wedge, (gap or sand wedge) you will soon see a higher softer and more consistent shot pattern in all your pitch shots.

The Academy Swing Analysis service is available on the site.  Using your mobile phone or device you can now send YOUR swing in to us for video analysis and have a personalised lesson sent back to you via e mail.  Each lesson will include practice drills and ideas to help you improve your swing and can be up to 30 minutes in length.

To see the system working visit the Swing Analysis tab at the top of the page and then View Sample Lesson.

Sending your swing is a simple 3 step process and your lesson will be returned via e mail within 72 hours.

We are looking forward to seeing your swings and helping you play your best golf ever.

8 February 2014

Strike Your Chip Shots Better with the Cross Handed Drill

The wettest January on record for many of us has certainly dampened the chances of getting out on the course recently.  I have certainly seen a lot of golfers out on the range because their course was closed.  As we get closer to the start of the season I think it’s important to remember that a lack of on course time can have a major impact on your short game.  It’s not something most players ever think to practice out on the range, after all how can you re-create a chip from the rough or a lob shot over a bunker?  Well the short answer is that you can’t but that shouldn’t stop you from spending a little time working on your chipping and pitching technique. 
If you want to play and score well from the very first competition (after all someone will win) then don’t neglect your wedge game on the range.

The video this week shows you a great drill to practice now in preparation for that first competition.  Chipping around the green, especially with loft, tends to be an area of wasted shots for most players.  The most common mistakes relate to the strike on the ball, shots are hit thin or fat leaving a long putt or not even making the green at all.

            The key elements of consistent chipping are
·         Limiting the use of the hands and wrists
·         Delivering the Club on a shallow angle of attack
·         Creating slight forward shaft lean at impact

The Cross Handed drill in the video achieves all three of these elements and allows you to feel the correct delivery of the club.  It is well worth adding into your range practice, even if it is only 10 shots or so.  You may find it quite difficult the first few attempts as it will feel quite strange, limit yourself to hitting the ball only a few yards.  As you adapt to the feeling and strike 2 or 3 successfully you should then adopt your normal grip and try to replicate the feeling and club delivery.

By investing a little time now in more specific areas of your game you greatly increase your chances of scoring well from the very first competition.

Next week I will be attending the Grand Finals of the HDiD National Matchplay Championship, played at the fantastic Quinta do Lago Resort in Portugal.  We have 32 players competing over 5 days of Matchplay and I am looking forward to seeing the matches unfold. 

I will be filming new videos, including some on course instruction for the start of the new season.  If you have topics or questions you would like to see as videos then please e mail academy@howdididomedia.com and by joining our Facebook page hdidgolfacademy and leave a comment.

31 January 2014

Build More Power into Your Downswing

In the previous three blogs I have highlighted the importance of what I believe are the three critical fundamentals.  Alignments, Posture and Ball Position are ALWAYS the first things I look for in any swing I see, no matter what standard the player is.  My view is only with these in place can we build a powerful, consistent swing.
To complete “fundamentals month” this week’s video shows you the two moves you need for a more powerful, accurate downswing.

The Theraband drill is a fantastic way to improve and develop your downswing.  Having one in your golf bag is a great idea, not only for drills in practice but using one is an excellent way to stretch and warm up before a round. 
The initial move from the top of the backswing is perhaps the most important in the entire swing motion.  Any mistake you make here will be carried with you all the way to impact.  The downswing happens in such a small time frame, on average 0.3 of a second, that it is almost impossible to consciously make any corrections.  How you start the downswing will determine how you strike the golf ball.

The combination of weight shift and downward movement of the arms and club is one of the most difficult motions for many players to achieve.  It’s a bit like trying to clap your hands and tap your feet at different rhythms and requires full body co-ordination as well as the correct mental picture. 

The body will only move to fit a picture or image you form in your mind; it will try to create what you believe to be true.  The example in the video, a belief that the clubface should arrive at the ball first and not last, will create a movement, (your swing) which is guaranteed to swing over the top of the correct line or plane.

What you believe to be true about how you should hit the ball is perhaps the most powerful fundamental of all.  A poor belief WILL create a poor swing and we can never reach our potential as a golfer.  Ask yourself this, have you ever hit a great shot with any club and thought “I wish I knew how I just did that?”  If you have, then you have very little chance of doing it again.  Any golf lesson you take should always take this into account. I have seen players make huge improvements in their game simply by understanding how a perfect shot is created and building the fundamentals to improve your chances of it happening.

Please like and share the videos if you find them helpful and you can comment or ask questions at the HdidGolfAcademy Facebook page or e mail academy@howdididomedia.com

The new Swing Analysis area will soon be ready, you will be able to get your swing analysed and a video lesson sent back to your e mail.  To see how it works click the Swing Analysis tab at the top of the page and “view sample lesson”

We look forward to helping you play better golf this year.

24 January 2014

Consistent Ball Position Leads to Consistent Striking

This week we continue the process of preparing for the new season by looking at the consistency of ball position.  I have always been fascinated by the number of different theories I hear about what you should do with the ball at address and by the different and conflicting ideas many players have.  I have a fairly simplistic view which I have explained in previous articles and videos and you can find them in the blog library at the side of the page. 

I think what is most important however, is the consistency of the ball position.  To play consistently we must produce as much repetition as possible at address.  The following statement is certainly true and perhaps overlooked by too many golfers who look for difficult solutions to simple problems in their game.

You can have the best swing in the world but if ball position is incorrect or inconsistent you cannot use that swing effectively

As you will see in the video, we will always swing the club towards the ball, wherever the ball is positioned.  To play consistently we must ensure that the ball position is not only correct but is repetitive every time.  I am not a believer in moving the ball back in the stance for every club.  It is too vague a method, after all how much should it move for each club and how do we measure that accurately?  I much prefer Ben Hogan’s model of a ball position a consistent distance inside the lead heel and where necessary the right foot moving to create a narrower stance for shorter irons.  Perhaps the most important element to remember is that for a full swing with ANY club the ball should ALWAYS be forward of the centre of the stance.

It is at this point I would recommend reviewing each of the videos and blogs from this year and spend the next few weeks making a conscious effort to practice your set up fundamentals.  Alignments, Posture and Ball Position are the foundation of any consistent swing, making a mistake here will make it impossible for you to swing the club to your potential and will guarantee inconsistent golf.

As our development continues into 2014 you can look at how you can get help with your own game with our Swing Analysis facility.  Perhaps you have been nervous in the past about going for lessons or feel you would not gain from them.  Perhaps they are an expensive luxury.  The swing analysis area will allow you to get feedback and information about your swing, highlighting areas which could improve and explaining what is responsible for your poor shots.  Perhaps you already have lessons but would like help with a different part of your game (chipping or putting for example).  By sending us a clip of your swing from a phone or mobile device via the V1 Golf App we can send back an analysis with suggested improvements and practice drills direct to your e mail which you can watch anytime you have an internet connection.

Click the Swing Analysis tab at the top of the page and “View Sample Lesson” to see how the system works.

Please leave us your comments and questions by e mailing academy@howdididomedia.com or like our page on Facebook, HdidGolfAcademy, where all your comments or questions will be answered.

17 January 2014

Improve Your Posture and Create a Better Turn

In last week’s blog we started a review of the fundamentals you need to play your most consistent golf ever this year.  If you missed it then you can review it in the blog library before moving onto this week’s article and video.  Alignments are crucial because as we learned last week they control the patterns of movement during the swing.  In this post I want to talk about Posture, and in particular how good posture allows you to create a good turn resulting in a powerful, athletic backswing.

In my view one of the main goals of any golf swing is to produce “Effortless Power” and not as many swings do, “Powerless Effort”.

One of the easiest ways to make your swing more powerful and more consistent is to understand that great posture improves body turn/coil which in turn builds and stores power in the backswing.  Regardless of what is said these days about the importance and dominance of impact I have seen very few players hit consistently bad shots from a good backswing position.

Posture, like Alignment is seldom worked on in practice sessions or on the course but it has a huge influence over the shape of the swing.  As is explained in the video a common issue is too much knee bend which creates a weak turn and erratic backswing position.  If you suffer from inconsistent ball striking, hitting a variety of thinned or fat shots there is a very good chance it relates back to your posture and the poor swing positions have followed.

I like to see all players work on creating the correct pelvic position highlighted in the video.   Using the arm drill shown helps you feel both an increase in rotation, especially with the torso and the shoulders turning at 90 degrees to the spine angle.  A better rotation/coil will build more power into your swing, helping your downswing feel more “effortless”.  Turning the shoulders at the correct angle allows the club to return to correct height at the ball, eliminating the tendency to hit the ball thin or the ground first.

The split arm drill is an excellent way to feel the body work within it’s new, improved posture and allows you to see and feel the body turn inside your shoelaces.  In practice start by hitting smaller clubs, maybe a 9 iron and work up through the bag, changing club every 15 balls or so.  You can rehearse the split arms drill every few balls to keep the feeling fresh in your mind and ensure you don’t slip back to old habits.  Many ranges now have mirrors in some of the bays and this is the ideal way to check posture every swing.  It’s also a good idea to get a friend to video you on the course, using a camera phone, to check your posture and turn are as good on the course as in practice. 

We had some great feedback from last week and one thing that seemed common was the sensation that what you feel isn’t what is actually happening.  For instance aligning the body left of target (for right handers) felt very strange/wrong even if it hit the ball better.  Any change you make will ALWAYS feel strange at first, if it doesn’t then you probably haven’t changed anything!  This is why feedback is so important, if something feels odd but looks much better then you must trust that feeling odd is a good thing.  The more you do it the less odd it feels and soon it will be natural.

Visit our Swing Analysis page and “view sample video” to see our new online lesson facility.  By uploading your swings we can give you feedback and show you how to improve your game this year. 

Leave your comments at our Facebook page or e mail any questions to academy@howdididomedia.com We will answer as many as we can.    

10 January 2014

Understanding Alignments for More Consistency

Understanding Alignments for More Consistency

Happy New Year Everybody

2014 see’s the launch of the Academy Swing Analysis/Online Lesson Facility.  Using V1 software, either as an App on your mobile device or on your computer, available as a simple download, you can send us video clips of your swing and we will send a complete analysis and lesson back to you.  Up to 30 minutes in length each analysis will be stored in your personal online locker and is available to view on your device anytime you are connected to the internet.

You can now watch an example showing how the system works by clicking the Swing Analysis tab and then “view sample lesson”.  You can also pre-register for free on this page.  Lesson packages will become available in the coming weeks. 
This system is easy to use and designed to give you access to personal instruction as well as help you monitor your own practice and progress.

January is an interesting month for golfers.  With the shocking weather around the UK recently you may have been restricted to the driving range.  A combination of Christmas presents and New Year’s resolutions has certainly created a busy range here at Tonbridge Golf Centre.  Now is the perfect time to do some work on your golf swing fundamentals.  I know many of you will consider this to be the dull boring bit of the game but Jack Nicklaus spent a month with his coach Jack Grout at the start of every year and worked on nothing but his set-up.

Nicklaus understood that the most important part of playing consistently was playing with the perfect set-up every shot.  We would all like to play more consistently and the most important element in achieving this in my view is creating a consistent starting position.

Alignments control your patterns of movement.

What does this mean?  Your body can only move according to the positions you create at address.  If you want to get rid of your slice or create more power, improve your wedge game or hole more putts then you must produce the correct alignments.  If you want to change or improve your swing then it is almost always essential to first change the alignments in your set-up.

As people we have brains which have developed amazing problem solving abilities and in golf this can be very bad news!  It allows us to hit great shots from bad swings and start positions but it is almost impossible to solve that problem every swing, hence we play inconsistently.  By committing some time and practice to creating perfect alignments now you will create the foundation for your most consistent season ever.

This year we want to hear from you, the more we interact the more we all can learn.  What works for your game? Do you have any great practice drills to share? What would you like to see covered in our videos?

Like our HdidGolfAcademy Facebook page to get involved or e mail academy@howdididomedia.com

22 December 2013

Hit More Greens with Your Longer Clubs

This is the last blog of 2013 and I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Thank you for your continued support and feedback, over 200,000 views on the site is a fantastic response.  I would like to thank our brand partners Mizuno and MIA Sports Technology for their help and support this year and look forward to all the new features coming in 2014.

Perhaps one of the most controversial ideas in 2013 within coaching, and certainly elite player coaching has been the statistical revolution and the discovery that long game is more important than short game.  If you are someone who follows the game on Twitter or various online coaching resources then you will probably have come across this.  Approach play has become more important than putting, and from longer yardages becomes the defining factor in whether a player is truly world class.  If you have read or seen this information it is important to remember that it relates to Tour Players, the best in the world and as such we need to understand how much relevance it has to those of us who play every week for fun. 
The truth is that in order to improve we must develop our skills in every part of the game, focusing on only the long game or short game will ultimately limit our progress.  Every golfer is different and discovering your own strengths and weaknesses is critical to improving your own game.   The stats on Tour are great for separating those players and finding out who are the best, but of little use when you are trying to get your handicap down in the weekly Medal.

In this week’s video I want to share some information I think is important when looking at long irons and specifically what type of club should be your longest iron. 

          There are 3 critical elements to hitting more greens from long range.
·         Distance
·         Trajectory and Height of the ball flight
·         Landing Angle

When it comes to long irons the majority of golfers hit the ball with a reduced carry distance and a lower flight meaning that it is very difficult to control the ball when it lands.  Most of you will reach a point where your swing will no longer increase the distance the ball carries through the air as the club gets bigger, a 4 iron goes no further than a 5 iron for instance.  This is where you should look for an alternative club, most likely a hybrid for most players.  As the ball flight gets lower we will produce more roll on the ground and this ultimately makes out targets smaller.  If you slit the green into thirds; front, middle and back then a low flight and shallow landing angle makes it difficult to land the ball on the green and stop it time.  In other words your target area gets much smaller.  The better your trajectory and the steeper the ball lands into the green the quicker it will stop thus increasing the size of the target.

If you hit a great shot from long range you must make sure your trajectory makes the target as big as possible, a great shot which won’t stop on the target is a waste of a great shot.
You can see in the screenshots below how my 3 iron shots flew lower and had a landing angle less than the hybrid or the MP-H4 as well as having a much lower ball speed.  In other words, less distance with less control.  The 3 iron alternatives both had much higher flights and steeper landing angles combined with more distance. 
Hybrid 3
3 Iron

If you want to improve your long iron approach shots you first need the correct tools for you.  Then work at creating a higher trajectory landing the ball with less roll to give you the best chance of hitting the green.

14 December 2013

Effective Winter Practice

A quick note before we start.
Sorry about not having a blog after all last week, after the note was posted stating that there would be a post despite Neil's poor health, Neil started feeling worse and wasn't up to finishing off the post.

I am happy to report that Neil is feeling much better this week and is back with a brand new post and video.


“We learn to ski in the summer and we learn to play golf in the winter”

This is one of my favourite sayings in golf, it simply means that to ski well in the winter you should learn before the snow arrives and to play good golf in the summer you should learn and improve in the winter.  At a time where daylight is limited, weather is poor and courses are set up for winter I am sure many of you are spending time at the driving range.  How you use that time is very important if your goal is to play better in 2014.  The winter is the perfect time to learn new things and improve your technique; I have long believed a coach should be busier in the winter than the summer.  You have several months to learn new things without the worry or pressure of playing in the Club competition every week.  Technique is not the only thing you can practice however; you must make sure you devote some time to improving your shot making skills if you are to perform better on the course.  The video this week shows you 2 equally important parts of practice and the best way to spend time at the range.

I have spent a lot of time over the years watching golfers practice.  It is interesting in that it becomes very easy to spot good players not just by their swing or ball flight but by their practice habits.  If you are spending time in the block practice segment of your session it is critical to build or create a practice station in order to develop repetitive and consistent fundamentals.  Standing with no lines for targets, alignment or ball position will very often create or groove in faults.  The result of this is very often you get worse as you practice rather than improve.  Feedback is critical; do you stand in good posture with consistent ball position and stable alignment?  If not, how can you tell if your swing is improving?  In block practice, especially if you are having lessons, I would encourage you to film your swing using your phone or tablet.  The V1 Golf App can help with this and you will quickly see if you are doing what your coach has asked of you.

Practising for the course is also vital as part of your session.  Take the lines away and hit shots to targets as if on the course, changing club and target every couple of shots.  I have found using Flightscope and the skills tests available is a huge benefit to practice.  It not only prevents boredom setting in by measuring and scoring every shot you hit but you quickly become aware of the shots or clubs which are weak parts of your game.  Many Pros around the UK now have this facility, finding one in your area and booking a skills session will really invigorate your practice.

The pictures show practice with Flightscope to 5 wedge targets (30-110 yards) with each shot measured and points awarded for every target hit.  A complete practice session will involve hitting every club, try not to spend all your time hitting your favourite clubs and NEVER a basket of only Drivers!

Flightscope creates virtual targets for your session and allows you to see how many times you can hit those targets.  As your technique and your practice habits improve so will your scores and your confidence.