Hello there loyal HDiD Golf Academy readers.
Just a quick note about this weeks post, Neil has the dreaded man flu (all together...Ahhhh), and so there will be no video this week. Even in his feverish state he is however working on a blog post. This will be posted when it is ready, but it will probably be a little later than normal, maybe even Saturday morning.
So no need to worry, your weekly fix of golf advice will soon be here!
All of us at HowDidiDo towers wish Neil a speedy recovery.
Thank You for reading,
Content and Technologies Management for HowDidiDo Media
29 November 2013
On the 1st December we introduce Stage 2 of the HowDidiDo Academy, a fully interactive online lesson facility. In this area you will be able to send in video of your golf swing, taken on a camera, a phone or mobile device and have a full analysis and lesson returned to you via your e mail and mobile phone. These lessons will be stored in your own online locker and accessible any time you can connect to the internet. This allows you not only to understand how your swing works and why you hit the shots you do but also to monitor your future practice to see if your swing is improving.
On the 1st December you will be able to watch a sample video showing what the site will provide and how your lesson might look. Click the Swing Analysis tab at the top of the page and then “view sample lesson”. You can pre-register free of charge until the end of the year by simply creating your own account from the log in screen. Lessons will be available in the New Year and by pre registering you could win a free first lesson.
By downloading the free V1 Home facility on your mobile devices or using the V1 Golf App you can film your practice and compare your swing to the analysis you receive as well as an extensive library of Tour players.
You can use this facility to work on any part of your game from full swing, short game to putting.
Our thanks to MIA Sports Technologies for helping us create this fantastic facility; it could really change your game.
This week our video follows on from the last blog and continues to look at wrist action in the golf swing. It is an area of the swing which is crucial if you are to maximise your club speed at impact and therefore maximise the distance you hit the ball. Club speed = Distance, for every 1mph of club speed you create your distance increases by 3 yards. Most players can increase their club speed by 3-5 mph producing 10-15 yards more distance per club by understanding the correct role of the wrist action.
Most of you I’m sure have at some stage tried to slow down in an effort to be more accurate. Unfortunately slowing the swing down has NO influence on the shape of the swing or your impact conditions; all you produce is a slower bad swing. Any feeling of increased control is an illusion created in the mind. The correct wrist action not only increases club speed but it also allows you to set the club on a more natural plane. It is crucial if you wish to draw the ball, allowing the club handle to be pulled down from the top reducing or eliminating any over the top move and creating the outward path needed for a draw.
Like our hdidgolfacademy Facebook page to ask questions, leave comments and see more swing tips. Adam Scott is the hottest player in the world this month and we’ll show you what you can learn from his swing in next week’s Facebook post
22 November 2013
We have had a number of questions from you recently relating to the top of the top of the backswing, especially over swinging or collapsing at the top. I have talked about over swinging in a previous blog and so this week the video deals with the role of the lead arm and causes of bending or collapsing that arm at the top of the backswing.
I have spoken before about the need to approach the game with the correct concepts or ideas and this problem nearly always starts with the belief that we should start the swing by keeping the club head as low and wide as we can, delaying the hand/wrist action until late in the backswing. The problem is this is simply not true. The hands, wrists and forearms have a significant role to play early in the swing. If you visit our Hdid Golf Academy Facebook page you will see pictures of Louis Oosthuizen’s Driver swing. It clearly shows all the hand and wrist action is competed in the FIRST HALF of the backswing.
A sound grip is very important if you are to achieve this. I have always maintained that your grip should only be checked or changed in person with your Professional or Coach, but if you find your glove wearing out on the fleshy pad of your palm then your grip will need some attention. This wearing or rubbing on the glove indicates a grip in the palm not the fingers and will limit your ability to hinge the wrists correctly. This, as you will see in the video, is a major cause of a bent lead arm at the top of the swing.
From this backswing position it becomes impossible to deliver the club with a powerful, accurate downswing. Your lead arm will straighten early, casting the club away from the body, killing the club speed. As the shoulders unwind this casting motion sends the club out and over the top, the most likely result being a weak fade or slice.
Regardless of the overall shape of your swing you must develop the proper wrist action in your backswing if you are to have any chance of a powerful, accurate and consistent strike on the ball.
There are still a few team spaces available for the Overseas AM-AM held in February at the fabulous Quinta Do Lago resort in Portugal. Four players make up a team playing 72 holes over two great courses, Quinta South and the new Laranjal course. For details and an entry form e mail email@example.com
Join our Facebook page for updates, more weekly swing tips and to leave comments and questions, we look forward to hearing from you.
15 November 2013
As an individual your game and swing are unique and so buying clubs off the shelf or over the Internet is unlikely to maximise your potential as a player. The money you save is a false economy in terms of your performance in my view. If you are serious about your game your clubs should not only be fitted for loft, lie, length shaft etc but you must have a set which hits the ball consistent distances and trajectories.
I see many golfers who, as the club gets longer cannot maintain a consistent gap between each club. They cannot hit 5 iron further than a 6 iron for instance. This is always associated with a loss of trajectory, the ball goes lower but not further. This is a very common problem and you finish up buying clubs which you rarely or never use and do nothing to improve your game.
Using Flightscope you can measure how far you hit every club. Your goal should be to have a set of clubs which hit the ball with consistent gaps between each one and also reach the same height. The images below show what I mean.
shot grouping showing distance for each club
sideways shot/trajectory profiles
Each club hits the ball into its own distinct grouping and importantly the highest point of the flight is similar with every club. A 9 iron should NOT peak higher than a 4 iron. Good players are trying to hit every club on average 90 feet in the air.
By mixing the heads or set you use it's much easier to maintain even gaps and consistent trajectory. You will increase the distance you hit the longer clubs and you won't waste money on clubs you can't hit.
By looking at the table below you will see the height for the 3 iron drops well below 90 feet. The lower flight reduces carry distance and makes it very difficult to stop the ball on the green. This player should remove the 3 iron and replace it with a hybrid club
Table of shots
I recently converted a player to this way of thinking, reducing his clubs from 14 to 12 with a mixture of 2 models. 7-PW in one club and a 6,5 iron in a more forgiving head. In the first month he has won over £100 in vouchers, the clubs are paying for themselves.
Every week on the HDiD Facebook page we look at what you can learn from the Tour Players. We post pictures of the swings and highlight interesting points. This week looks at Louis Oosthuizen and an important Driver tip. Like the page and keep up to date with the Academy as well as send us your comments thoughts and questions.
8 November 2013
Advice is something we are constantly surrounded by as golfers. The well-meaning players who give you all the reasons you just hit another bad shot can cause more damage in a short time than almost anything else. I have a list of the top 3 worst things you can do to your golf swing and on that list is keep your head down. That may seem a little controversial but I can promise you I have NEVER seen a good player keep the head down or still, regardless of what you may have heard or been told. Of course, you must keep your eyes on the ball but the head must never be consciously kept down. It will destroy any chance of a consistent and powerful delivery of the club through the ball. This week’s video shows you why.
To play better golf you must first ensure that your concepts and beliefs are correct. It is the first and most important stage of learning. Imagine if you wanted to learn to play the piano but someone told you to use your feet not your hands, that concept would severely limit your ability to play the piano. I know that’s extreme but it happens to golf swings all the time. Before making any change to your swing you should have a complete explanation as to WHY you should change. Most advice tends to focus on what to do and not explain why you should do it.
If you visit the HDiD Golf Academy Facebook page you will find a picture of Henrik Stenson at and just past impact. You may be very surprised at the position of his head through the ball.
One of my early mentors, PGA Professional Peter Tupling had the perfect response for dealing with advice. Simply ask 2 question:
How qualified is the source?
How applicable is the information to you?
A lower handicap does not automatically qualify someone to give advice, would you go to an 8 handicap dentist? He may know more about teeth than you but I doubt you would let him put the drill in your mouth!
Make it your goal this winter to improve your swing concepts, they form the foundation of your whole game and control your chances of playing better golf.
In February we will be hosting the first HowDidiDo Overseas Am-Am at Quinta Do Lago in Portugal. The event will be played in teams of 4 players over 72 holes at the fabulous Quinta South and Laranjal golf courses. Entries will be on a first come first served basis. For event information and to enter please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward you entry details. It promises to be a great event.
You can leave comments, thoughts and questions at the HDiD Golf Academy Facebook page or e mail the Academy. I look forward to reading them.
2 November 2013
I spent large parts of October travelling to the UK Finals of the HowDidiDo National Matchplay. Meeting the competitors on the first tee and watching them deal with the pressure and nerves of the opening drive is always interesting. It’s also an excellent reminder that no two swings are the same. As a teacher of the game I often watch golfers and think if I could give only one thing to every player to improve their golf what would it be? I always come back to the same thing, BALANCE.
If every player I saw at the finals worked only to improve their balance then every player would improve THEIR individual swing and it’s the same for all of us. Balance is one of the key building blocks for creating more power, accuracy and consistency in the swing. You will never see a tour player lose their balance during the swing.
Good balance is a product of good posture. We have videos in previous blogs looking at creating the ideal posture and it is always an element to review and check if you are trying to improve. In the video this week I wanted to look at the relationship between balance and distance. An off balance starting position will need some sort of recovery during the swing. If your balance is poor during the swing there is a ripple effect out to the club. The more off balance you are then the further off line you will swing, affecting two crucial parts of the swing for creating power and distance.
Firstly, you will start to miss hit the ball on the club face and to maximise your distance you MUST consistently hit the sweet spot on the club face. Even a slight miss hit will take yards off your ball flight. Secondly, the path of the club will be affected, most commonly a downswing which is above or over the top of the backswing. This will create a glancing blow at impact and limit the amount of force delivered into the ball. Think of a boxer, a glancing blow will never deliver a knockout punch.
I recently worked with a couple of players at the Tech Excellence Swing Studio, home of our new partners MIA Sports Technology. They have a piece of equipment called BalanceLab, a force plate built into the floor to measure weight distribution and balance at address and during the swing. After just a couple of hours the improvements at impact were significant. Not only did the player gain over 10 yards off the tee but the ball flight was significantly more accurate and consistent. The picture below shows just how much more stable the legs and feet are at impact as the balance improved. The two swings were filmed just one day apart.
If you improve your posture and balance this winter you will immediately improve your swing shape, create a stronger impact position and hit the ball consistently further.
Like the HDiD Golf Academy Facebook page and you will see more tips every week and we will show you what you can learn from the Tour players, starting this week with Fred Couples.
25 October 2013
One of the things I enjoy doing is talking to golfers about their game and how they perceive it. Perhaps the biggest challenge a golf teacher faces is to quickly understand the truth or reality of a pupil’s game. How a player of any level interprets their golf is very often not the “real truth” but a version of that, seen through the eyes of the golfer. Without some sort of testing it can take a coach some time to understand the real faults or tendencies a golfer has and time is something many players are not prepared to give. Expecting instant results, a magic wand lesson is almost certainly doomed to failure.
When I ask players about their game it often strikes me that they talk about different clubs working and not working. “I hit my 7 iron well but I can’t hit my 5 iron” or “there is nothing wrong with my irons but I can’t hit my Driver”. They believe that they swing the club differently with the clubs they perform poorly with and in most cases this is NOT TRUE!
The video this week introduces you to a concept I use almost every day, Transfer of Error. This is a term I use to explain different results from swings which feel the same and it is based around the fact that all our clubs are different lengths and lofts.
The key elements from the video are that the swing paths were similar with both Iron and Driver, the clubface positions at impact were similar and yet due to the length and loft of clubs being dramatically different the same error is transferred on to the ball in very different ways.
If you are a player who has always wondered why some clubs seem to work and some don’t then there are a couple of very important points to learn.
· Our golf swing remains similar in shape for all clubs
· Loft and club length are very influential, more loft and shorter shaft reduces the amount of curve on the ball
· Your current swing will be functional up to a certain loft and length of club and so if your 9 iron flies straight it doesn’t mean the swing faults are not there
· Aim to understand and improve your swing so that it works equally well with ALL your clubs.
Join our HDiD Academy Facebook page and you can leave comments, ask questions and talk about your game. We look forward to hearing from you.
11 October 2013
The HDiD National Matchplay UK Finals have begun this week. At Cardrona on Monday the winners booked their places at the Grand Final in Portugal. There was some excellent golf played and it’s always good to meet new people as well as catch up with some familiar faces from previous years. We have 3 more events over the next 2 weeks, good luck to all of you who are competing.
To me, the Matchplay events are a reminder that the end of the season is almost here and we should be thinking about winter golf. We will be looking at how to review your season and how to make a plan to play better next season. We start this week with a look at golf balls and a Flightscope test to see if premium golf balls have any benefit in the winter.
I have always been interested in golfer’s approaches to golf balls. Some players will use the first thing they find in their bag; others will only use one type or brand of ball. My belief is that the ball is very important; playing the wrong kind of ball for your game can be detrimental, especially from a distance point of view. I know however, there is a lot of hype and misconception about golf balls.
As with anything else, I would recommend you play the best ball you can afford. Each company makes 5 or 6 different balls all at different prices so how do you know which to choose? Certainly speaking to your Club Pro or coach is the place to start. Five minutes asking why there are different balls and what each does can very educational. The purpose of this week is to find out if there is a big benefit to an expensive premium ball in very soft, wet winter conditions. These balls are designed not only to be long but to produce more spin and control (feel) around the greens. There are certainly very tangible benefits to using these balls in firmer summer conditions but is it really necessary in winter?
I asked Josh to hit 3 shots with each ball, cleaning the club face after every shot. It was a 65 yard pitch using a 54 degree wedge. This is just the type of shot where the spin and feel of a premium ball should produce big benefits.
The results are very interesting. The Mizuno MP-S ball certainly did spin more even though the club speeds were very similar. The D201 ball showed a spin rate of 6,399 rpm, some 1500 rpm less than the MP-S. The critical part of the test however was looking at how much roll the ball had after landing. The MP-S rolled 2.1 yards (6 feet) however the D201, even with less spin only rolled 0.9 yards (3 feet). The reason for this is the premium ball (MP-S) had a lower flight (some 5 feet lower). On a soft winter surface the extra spin delivered by the premium ball delivered NO BENEFIT to the control of the shot.
In summer conditions the results would certainly be different, however in the winter you can save some money choosing a mid-price ball such as the D201 and be confident you won’t lose any control around the greens.
You can leave comments and questions by joining our new Hdid Golf Academy Facebook page. Let us know what ball you play and what you think about this test.
4 October 2013
The Academy has just launched its Facebook page, Hdid Golf Academy. It is designed to create interaction and comment on golf and coaching topics. It’s also the ideal place for you to ask questions, talk about videos and parts of your game you would like to improve.
This week we look at technology, its influence in coaching and how you can use it to improve your game. Coaching has seen a revolution in recent times as technology has moved at a dramatic pace. As golfers you are surrounded by this every time you play. Equipment technology moves at a frightening pace, and not always for the best reasons in my opinion. If you have been for a lesson or club fitting recently you will have seen this in action. Super slow motion cameras, laptops or tablets and launch monitors such as the Flightscope we use are essential to elite players and becoming more widely used in the Club game.
The internet is about to provide the next coaching development. Sending video clips from a phone or tablet to a coach and getting a lesson back to your e mail already exists and is widely used at elite level. I already use this to work with players around the UK and with 1 player in Florida at Lee Westwood’s Golf Academy.
We will soon launch this facility on the Academy site, giving you the chance to improve your game at a fraction of the cost of a normal lesson.
One of the most common threads I hear in lessons is “It doesn’t feel like I do that” or “That doesn’t feel right”. One of golf’s great truisms is that “Feel isn’t Real”. Using a smartphone or tablet to video your swing in practice or on the course is the easiest and best way to monitor your game and build improvement. If you have App capability then using the V1 Golf App lets you see in more detail what is happening. If you have lessons you can check your progress as you practice and see for real if you are making the changes you need. If you don’t have lessons then filming your swing when playing well gives you something to refer back to after a bad run of form to see what’s changed.
Whilst technology can be intimidating and present challenges I really believe that taking advantage of it can help you play better, more consistent golf.
I look forward to reading your comments and by joining the Facebook page you can get more access to the Academy and let us know what you think. How has technology helped your game?
27 September 2013
This week I am proud to announce an exciting new partnership with MIA Sports Technology, providers of V1 Coaching software and Flightscope Radar launch monitor equipment. They join our existing partner Mizuno and over the coming weeks we will be highlighting how new technology in golf can have a big influence in your improvement as a golfer. MIA Sports Technology will also be working with us to create the HowDidiDo Online Tuition service. You will soon be able to send swings to us from your smart phone, tablet or PC and receive a golf lesson, sent directly to your e mail.
Using Flightscope in our videos will allow us to show you exactly what happens to the ball and the club and help you understand why you hit the shots that trouble you. Flightscope and V1 will also be an integral part of all our tuition and Academy coaching days, where you will be able to experience them for yourselves.
In this week’s video we deal with a very common problem which can sap yards from your tee shots.
How high should you tee the ball?
It is a question I’m often asked and it has much more effect than you may think. Working with Iain MacKenzie hitting a series of Drivers from 2 tee heights even I found the results surprising. I wanted Iain to hit the shots as he is a category 1 golfer and HDiD member, his club speeds would be a little closer to the typical golfer and more relevant than looking at Professional players.
The low tee peg had the top of the ball just above the top of the Driver, the higher tee two thirds of the ball above the top of the driver. I have found the majority of players tee the ball too low, often because they fear the skied drive, popping the ball straight up. This shot is not caused by tee height but by hitting down with a steep angle of attack better suited to an iron shot. A lower tee does not solve the problem in fact it makes it worse. Whilst it avoids the pop up shot it decreases launch angle and dramatically reduces distance.
You see in the video that the higher tee peg creates a much higher launch with less backspin and though the shot had less club speed it hits the ball significantly further.
Learning to strike the ball with a shallow, upward motion allows you to tee the ball higher. I like to see half to two thirds of the ball above the top of the Driver. Working at this combination of higher tee with an upward strike will allow you to hit your tee shots significantly further.
Please continue to e mail your comments and questions to email@example.com and like our new Facebook page HDiD Golf Academy to leave questions and comments about your game. It’s also a great place to find information from other great coaches.
We now have our own Facebook Page! Keep up to date between blogs @ www.facebook.com/hdidgolfacademy
We now have our own Facebook Page! Keep up to date between blogs @ www.facebook.com/hdidgolfacademy
14 September 2013
In last week’s blog I mentioned that this time of year is ideal for reflecting on your game this season and looking for areas to improve. Putting is an area which lends itself to keeping accurate statistics and its part of the game where you can get a closer comparison to the Tour Players than any other. There are no real physical demands in putting and so all of us have a chance to be great putters.
As with all other parts of the game, set up is crucial. In putting however, the margins for error and recovery are much smaller and so set up mistakes will be carried into the stroke itself. I believe one of the most important parts of the set up is the eye position, not necessarily having your eyes directly over the ball (although I believe this is preferable) but ensuring your eye line is PARALLEL to the target line. Remember your target line is the line you want to start the ball on as most putts have some degree of slope or break to them. If on a breaking putt your eyes are not parallel to the starting line then your ability to aim the putter along that line will be compromised. If your eye line is to the left or right of the starting line then your stroke shape is very likely to follow your eye line. This combination of poor initial aim and poor stroke shape now demands a severe compensation from the hands during the stroke to try and get the putter face back to the starting line at impact. This is both very difficult to achieve and guaranteed to be very inconsistent.
I am not always a huge fan of training aids for players. They are of course very important in coaching but I find for most golfers many are seldom used and have no real impact on the golfer’s game. There are a few I would consider absolutely vital and a putting mirror is one of those aids which every golfer should own. They are not expensive and consistent use even for short sessions at home on the carpet will have a huge influence on your score. Imagine reducing the number of putts by 1 every 6 holes, you are already 3 shots per round better. A mirror will give you the feedback you need to check your eye line and shoulder alignment as well as how to aim the putter correctly.
It was great to see 3 HowDidiDo members play in the Walker Cup last week, including US Amateur Champion Matt FitzPatrick. Unfortunately the team were unable to retain the trophy, a reflection on just how difficult it is to play away from home. I’m sure some of this team will go on and become very well known in the Professional game.
The Academy is moving forwards with the availability of online tuition launching soon. By joining this area you will be able to send in video clips of your swing taken on camera, phone or tablet and get a lesson delivered to you via your e mail. It is a fantastic way to supplement any existing lessons you may be taking or maybe you would like a few simple tips without feeling like you are having your swing overhauled. We will be announcing more details soon including the launch date.
Please keep your questions and video requests coming to firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to hearing from you.
7 September 2013
One of my core beliefs is that there is a big difference between playing golf and playing golf swing. What do I mean by this? Well, spending a lot of time working at your golf swing mechanics, hitting endless balls on the range, learning the golf swing, may help you strike the ball better but it may not improve your golf score. The game is not played in a perfect lie, flat stance environment and unless you spend time learning the subtleties of the game you will never reach your potential as a player. Golf courses are not flat and undulating holes present a challenge in several ways. Yardages and the distance the ball flies, trajectory and the curvature of the flight are all affected when you play from sloping lies. If you understand how to deal with these problems you can take your scoring to the next level.
The video this week shows you how to make simple changes to cope with playing from a downslope, one of the most challenging shots to play.
When playing out on the course from any undulating lie you should follow this simple 3 point plan; it will improve your management and course strategy saving you shots during a round.
- Always remember you are what I term “shot limited”. An awkward lie does not allow you to play a normal flat lie shot. Too many swing factors are affected and if your mind-set is to simply to ignore the slope and attempt your normal shot you are doomed to failure before you start.
- Balance will always be affected. This has a major influence on how much power you can produce and remain in control. Most slopes will reduce the power you can create as it is more difficult to maintain your balance during the swing motion.
- A pre-shot assessment is vital. Before the shot you must assess the lie, slope, yardage and club required in that order and then select the shot you think you can play. More often than not you will find a more conservative choice of shot will limit the trouble you can get into, saving you shots.
It’s hard to believe it is September already; the season seems to have flown by. I realised this week that I haven’t played 18 holes since the week of The Masters in April, (a common story for many golf pro’s). Now is the time to start to reflect on how you have played this year and the results you have achieved. The HowDidiDo stats area is a great starting point to look back and see what your strengths and weaknesses have been this season. As an exercise write down what you think are the 3 parts of the game you are best at and then the 3 parts you are worst at. Do you have evidence to back this up? Do you spend time practicing things you are already pretty good at? Have you had any coaching this year? I would be interested to hear your stories from this year, what would you like to do better? E mail email@example.com and let us know.
If you have never had coaching before then look at the list of the 3 weakest parts of your game, perhaps a little help in each of those areas could make a huge difference to how you play.
30 August 2013
This week I want to show you a shot which has become increasingly popular in recent times. In fact Justin Rose chose this shot from behind the 18th Green to win the US Open. The hybrid or fairway wood chip is a shot which if given a little practice can become a very effective weapon in your short game. I’m sure there are many of you who, at times lack a little confidence around the greens and learning this shot certainly presents you with a low risk option when putting from off the green is not posiible. However, as Justin Rose showed, from poor lies it becomes a great choice even for very confident chippers.
Making some changes to your set up is important to play the shot consistently. The main focus is to imagine the shot as a long putt but with loft. You should try to minimise or eliminate any hand or wrist action from the stroke without increasing your grip pressure. Ensure you hold the club more through the palm of your top hand, as you should for a putter. With the narrow stance your posture should remain tall creating a natural triangle from your shoulder line down the arms. A gentle pivot of the shoulders is all that is needed to create the stroke. Don’t be tempted to put the ball back in your stance as this will de-loft the club and encourage it to snag or stick in the grass.
This shot can also be used from further away from the green. From up to 20 yards or so and with only fairway length grass in front of you it may prove more consistent than a lofted chip or pitch. As with any short game shot your first goal is to ensure you hit the green and get to use the putter, this shot can be a very effective low risk choice. With a little practice and experimenting out on the course or practice green to develop some feel and distance control you may find this option could save you a couple of shots per round.
At the Wales Open this week the qualification process starts for next year’s Ryder Cup Team. It’s always fascinating to see how the year unfolds and watch the race for the team but I don’t expect too many changes from recent teams. The qualification process is heavily stacked against players not in the top 50 in the world rankings. Only those players automatically play the 4 majors and WGC events and a good result in these events alone will secure a spot on the team, such is the point’s bias. Only 4 players will qualify from the European points list and I think some of the romance of the team has been lost. Ryder Cup heroes such as Eamonn Darcy, Christy O’Connor Jnr or Phillip Walton would perhaps never have made the team under the current process. Who could make the team? Both Matteo Mannesero and ThorBjorn Oleson have the potential to be rookies and Henrik Stenson could return to the team.
I look forward to reading your comments and questions and e mail requests for videos to firstname.lastname@example.org
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23 August 2013
I believe that the correct footwork in the golf swing is a crucial part of hitting the ball consistently well. As the modern swing has become much more focused on upper body rotation the role of the feet has become the forgotten fundamental. Footwork however, is very often an important factor in the good or bad swing moves higher up the body.
Bad footwork is common to ALL swings with poor weight shift. To swings which lack power. To swings which slice the ball. Good footwork allows correct weight shift, increasing distance. It allows the correct sequence of the body action, unwinding the hips and legs before the shoulders. It prevents the over the top downswing and allows a more in to out swing path through impact.
The video shows an excellent drill and movement which you can also take out onto the course. It will allow you to move the feet in a more natural way through impact and create a much better weight shift. As a comparison try throwing a ball without moving your feet at all and you will soon see how important they are to a natural flowing motion. It allows you to co-ordinate your body action with the delivery of the club onto the ball.
My favourite example of great footwork is the swing of the late Payne Stewart. He was coached by one of golf’s great teachers, Chuck Cook who coaches the PGA Champion Jason Dufner. I met Chuck Cook a couple of years ago and asked him about Payne Stewart and he said that the footwork was not only crucial to the swing shape but that it set the rhythm and tempo too. You can find footage on YouTube of Payne Stewart and it well worth looking at before you next play or practice.
I’ve written in previous articles about how I believe the women’s professional game is more relevant to you than the men’s game. Watching the Solheim Cup Victory showed the relevance of good swing technique combined with great balance and rhythm. The European Team winning for the first time in America was a fantastic achievement and means the full set of Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup remain on this side of the Atlantic.
Please e mail your questions and comments to email@example.com and send us stories of how your game has progressed this year. What have you improved in order to achieve your goals this year?
We would also like you to send in any video requests, are there any shots or parts of the game you struggle with? If so let us know and we will try to make a video to help.
16 August 2013
You may perhaps have noticed that here on the Academy we very rarely talk about Tour Players and their golf swings. This is a conscious decision on our part and very much based around its relevance to you, the Club golfer. The modern Pro is fitter and stronger than ever before and so coaching and the modern golf swing have evolved alongside this athletic revolution. The result of this is that in order to copy the swings of current Tour golfers you must first be in the same physical shape.
We can, however, still learn from how these players perform out on the golf course. In winning the USPGA Championship last week Jason Dufner showed great consistency and skill and in the video I highlight a couple of things which will really help your game.
I see a large number of golfers who can produce a smooth swing and consistent ball flight when out on the range but put them out on the course and their game starts to collapse. Tension and anxiety are a big part of this, standing over the ball for a long time unable to start the swing smoothly.
Jason Dufner will take his time during the decision making part of his routine, yardage, club selection and picking a target. He may have several waggles to stay relaxed but from the last look at the target to the start of the swing he takes very little time. He has made his decision and he lets the swing flow. A lot is written about negative thinking in golf but I prefer the term indecision. The indecisive player is doomed because they don’t know what they are trying to achieve with any swing. You will play better golf if you are decisive with your shot selection, club selection and then simply “pull the trigger” allowing your swing to do its job.
I wanted to highlight the achievements of some of our Academy viewers and pupils. Our aim with this project was to make improvement seem more accessible and show you that playing better golf is not as challenging as many believe. One HDiD member has supplemented her course of lessons with her Club Pro by watching our videos and has reduced her handicap by 5 shots this season. By using the short game videos to supplement her swing lessons her game improved rapidly. Two Academy pupils have also this year broken personal barriers. Mark Harris of Vale Royal Abbey GC smashed his lowest score with a 73 (+1) off 12 handicap for a Medal score of nett 61 whilst Jane Brannan of The Tytherington Club utilised SAM PuttLab to reduce her handicap below 13, a goal she had held for 5 years and is currently 11.5
We are keen to hear more of your success stories, e mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
I look forward to hearing your comments and questions about this week’s video, next week we look at how improving your footwork creates a better weight shift.
9 August 2013
What is the “Secret” to great golf? Having been a Professional for almost 20 years I have always been fascinated by the wild and outlandish claims made by many who have found “The Secret” of golf. It is a game which lends itself to this hocus pokery, as every player I have ever encountered would love to hit better shots. Unfortunately there can be no one defining secret to better golf. We are all different, produce different swings, have different goals and so one idea for all players cannot work. This for me is why coaching one method almost always creates more casualties than success stories.
This week I reveal “My Secret”
There are no secrets!
There are however, a small number of fundamentals which are common to all golfers who play well, regardless of their overall swing shape and method. The video this week explains what I would consider one of the critical fundamentals to hitting the ball consistently well.
Understanding the 90 degree rule explained in the video is perhaps the fastest way to improve your ball striking and consistency with all your clubs, from Driver to Wedges. Within a few hours of correct practice you will start to deliver the club head into the ball much more accurately. It is the key to eliminating topped, thinned and fat shots. With accurate body action it is much more difficult to swing your arms and club significantly offline, your mistakes get smaller and so your bad shot improves.
The USPGA Championship this week again offers a great weekend of golf. Oak Hill by all reports will be severe, deep rough and narrow fairways creating a demanding test. Accurate ball striking will be crucial this week and I am expecting a US Open style of player to collect possibly the largest trophy in golf.
If you watch this weekend I urge you to see how the players follow my 90 degree rule. Are there any players who break this rule? Let me know if you find one, I’ve been looking for almost 20 years.
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For details and a brochure of our upcoming coaching day’s e mail email@example.com these days are your chance to see how you can play better golf.
I look forward to reading your comments and questions and over the coming few weeks we will answer some common questions in new videos.
2 August 2013
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things in the game is seeing a good shot miss the target. As golfers, whatever our handicap or level, the truth is we spend more time hitting poor shots than good ones and so we need to ensure every time we strike the ball well we also hit the target.
It seems the ultimate dream of every handicap golfer to hit the ball straight, to fight against any curve on the ball flight. As a result, out on the course the overriding tendency is to aim straight at the finishing target, be that the centre of the fairway or the flag on the green.
As a consequence, if you produce any curve on the ball flight at all, (and let’s be honest most of us do) aiming straight WILL RESULT IN MISSING THE TARGET, even with a good strike.
The video highlights how to set up to hit your intended target with a fade/slice ball flight but the principle is valid for all flights and shots. Over the final months of the season make it your goal to work with the ball flight you produce and not fight against it. Pick a target left or right of your finishing point, aim at that and shape your good shots back into the fairway and green. Ensuring your good strikes finish on target will save you several shots per round and could be the difference in reducing your handicap or winning a match.
At this time of year there are big golf tournaments coming thick and fast. World Golf Championships, the USPGA next week, The Fed Ex Cup in September and in the next couple of weeks the possibility of golf history being made. At the Women’s British Open this week Inbee Park is attempting to win 4 majors in the same year, something never achieved in the Professional game. Amazingly, should she win it would not be the Grand Slam as this year a fifth Major was added in the Women’s game. If you get chance I recommend watching some of the coverage as it is a chance to learn how the best players both swing the club and structure a round. As a coach I strongly believe there is much more you can learn from the Women’s game. The swing and ball speeds are closer to the average handicap player than the men’s game where the strength and conditioning have made it largely irrelevant to ordinary golfers. The swings of the LPGA Players are very efficient, maximising strength and speed. The balance and rhythm are something every golfer should attempt to emulate, especially through impact and into the finish position.
We will be hosting our first coaching events this September. This is your chance to come and spend a day or half day learning how to improve your game in a fun friendly environment with players of a similar handicap. Designed to improve your existing swing you won’t be left with technical swing rebuilds or complicated information you don’t understand. For information or a brochure of dates and events e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to reading your comments and questions and seeing you at one of our events soon.
26 July 2013
I really enjoyed The Open Championship, links golf is my favourite way to play the game and watching great players challenged by a hard fast and brown golf course made great viewing. It looked as if it would finally be Lee Westwood’s week, his improvement in the short game is a great step forwards. Unfortunately too many missed fairways with irons from the tee set the tone for the day and his challenge faded. It should be noted, however, that to win he needed a score under par in the final round, something only 3 out of the last 20 players managed. This was a Mickelson victory and not a Westwood defeat and given the conditions Mickelson’s final round was incredible. He has the best imagination in the modern game and his shot making and putting under pressure make him a very worthy champion.
Although the wind never really got up at Muirfield the course demanded a change of approach. Lower trajectory shots from ¾ swings were constantly in demand, running the ball up onto hard fast greens. I am sure many of you are playing in similar conditions given the recent weather. If your normal shot is not working in the conditions then using the information in this week’s video will help you control your trajectory either in the wind or on fast bouncy courses.
Understanding and controlling Dynamic Loft is one of the most important elements of good, consistent ball striking. Many golfers believe you must hit the ball up to get it to fly through the air. This belief is very destructive, hitting up leaves the body weight on the back foot with a weak lofted clubface at impact. It reduces distance and power creating duffed, thinned or topped shots. Learning to reduce your dynamic loft can completely change your game. You will hit the ball further for less effort and create a much straighter, more consistent ball flight than ever before.
Using this technique on windy days will give you much more control over the ball. Reducing the dynamic loft creates a lower more penetrating flight on the ball and as the shot is more solid the effect of the wind is reduced. The ball will curve less is cross winds and fly closer to the normal yardage when playing into the wind.
As the Academy enters its 2nd Year we would like to hear from you, what have you learnt? Do you have a success story to tell, a competition win or handicap reduction related to something you learnt from our videos? We would love hear your story, e mail email@example.com
Please send us your comments, questions and requests for a video you would like to see.
19 July 2013
This week is the 1st anniversary of the HowDidiDo Academy. We would like to thank you all for your support and feedback over the past 12 months. There is now a library of almost 50 videos covering all parts of the game. With around 150,000 blog views and over 65,000 YouTube views your response has been fantastic. We hope you have found the content interesting and useful and we hope that we have helped improve your game in some way. We would like to thank our Brand Partner, Mizuno for their continued support and help in understanding how equipment technology influences your game.
Year 2 promises a huge expansion and is very exciting so remember to get involved. The more you interact with us and ask questions the more we can tailor the content to your needs and help you improve.
We have a lot of questions from you regarding hybrid or rescue clubs. It struck me that there is a bit of confusion out there about what these clubs are designed for and the best technique to use them well. The video this week covers what I see as the 2 most important swing keys to hit them consistently well. Better approach shots give you many more scoring opportunities by hitting more greens I regulation or keeping the ball in play for simpler short game shots.
A common question has been about how many hybrids to carry and which lofts to use. Obviously this will vary for the individual but a good guide is to start by looking at your existing irons. Do you have a point where you start to hit 2 clubs the same distance? For example, if you hit your 5 iron the same distance as your 6 iron it shows your current swing is not working well enough to carry the 5 iron further than your 6 iron. In other words 6 iron loft is your limit with irons. A hybrid club is lighter and longer, it creates more impact speed and combined with the head design flights the ball higher and longer than the equivalent iron. If the 6 iron was your limit then your next club should be a 5 hybrid, combined with either a 4 or 3 hybrid, then your most lofted fairway wood. This idea of hybrids being the bridge or gap between your irons and woods gives you consistent gaps between each club.
The Open Championship is my favourite week in golf and this week promises to be a great one. Muirfield has a history of producing only great champions and so I expect the world’s best players to be in contention on Sunday. If you have never had the chance to play links golf I recommend it. I feel it is the purest form of the game and on a sunny day with a little breeze it’s the most fun you can have with a set of golf clubs. It’s a game where par is not relevant as the wind can change so quickly. A short par 4 can suddenly play like a par 5 and vice versa. Most of all it tests your mind set, playing “normal” shots is seldom the best way and shot selection and imagination are the most important skills. Who will win? It’s so hard to predict but I would love to see Luke Donald have a chance on Sunday.