18 July 2014

Is Your Practice Time Really Helping You Improve Your Game (Featuring Flightscope Xi)

Are you a golfer who finds that practice is mundane or boring?
Are you a Golfer who is frustrated that you hit the ball better on the range than in the Medal?

Practice is a curious thing.  I'm sure many of you will answer Yes to one or both of the questions above and yet, many of you will make regular trips to the Driving Range.

I have a long held belief that the advent of the Driving Range has in fact been damaging to the improvement rate of many golfers.  They make practice much more convenient but if you go and watch golfers behaviour for half an hour at your local range you will be amazed at what you see.  Golfers pouring huge buckets of balls in automatic mats and then just swinging away, every few seconds, very often with only one club and very often with the Driver. 

                      Please understand that this is NOT practice

It's has nothing to do with how we play the game out on the course and that is crucial if you are to improve your game.  Yes we need to practice our swing mechanics, especially if we are making changes but this MUST be only a part of your practice time.

European Tour Sports Psychologist, Lee Crombleholme, who features on the HDiD Academy has a very important principle.

                    "Practice like you play to play like you practice"

This means you must be able to introduce targets and variety into a practice session.  To have some sort of scoring or measurement of the result to introduce pressure to the shot.  To be able to keep a record of your score from one practice session to another.

The new Flighscope Xi Radar Launch Monitor does this and more.  The first launch monitor designed and priced for you, the golfing public.  It allows you to practice on the range to specific targets with a set number of shots to each.  The targets can appear at random, recreating situations you face on the course.  It demands you take weather conditions into account, allowing for wind if you're to hit your target and it quickly shows you whether you really hit each club as far as you think.

                               

By completing tests programmed into the App you will quickly see your strengths and weaknesses, you can compare your performance to PGA Tour players and load your results into leaderboards showing golfers all over the world.
It is then possible to create your own tests, perhaps set at the yardages you hit each club or recreating the shots needed to play your home course.  You decide on the size and shape of the targets and how many shots you hit to each one.

Practice will never be boring again!  More importantly you are following Lee's principle, your practice is

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time Based

This is also called a SMART Goal or task.  This is how the best players in the world practice and how they improve.  Both Lee and I use this in our coaching and it produces amazing results for many players.

In my opinion this is the most important development in golf and practice since the driving range first appeared in the UK.

Find out more about Flightscope Xi by going to www.miasportstechnology.com or e mail sales@miasportstechnology.com

HowDidiDo Members can claim a 5% discount on Flightscope Xi units.


If your Club Professional or Coach has Flightscope ask him/her to show you the Skills Tests.

12 July 2014

How to Video Your Golf Swing and Improve Your Game


If you are a regular visitor to the Academy site you will have seen that I am a strong believer in using technology to improve your game.  From high speed video and V1 analysis software to Flightscope 3D launch monitor technology, the development of coaching tools has proceeded at an incredible pace.

Technology itself however cannot change your game on its own, it's simply a tool to speed up the learning process.  One of the great challenges for coaches now is to make sure the golfer is only exposed to the information relevant to them and this is most often only a couple of key points.  Too much information will only slow the learning process down.

We are now at the start of a dramatic shift in how golf is taught and how you the Club golfer can improve.  With the appearance of YouTube, smart phones and tablets with video cameras, which many of you will already be using, free information about the golf swing has never been more available.  There are now devices available to collect club and ball data as you practice, telling you all kind of things about how your swing works.  Flightscope have just launched the worlds first customer launch monitor the Flightscope Xi, designed for golfers not just coaches and at a fraction of the price.

So, what is my point this week? Well, I have a couple!

Firstly, as a golfer you MUST know the reality of how your swing looks.  What is the reality of what you are producing and does that swing look like it feels?

Here is the importance of videoing your swing on your phone or tablet and loading it into the V1 Golf App where you can see in detail what is happening.

Secondly, you MUST protect yourself against the unsolicited advice of well meaning golfers.  I recently posted an article on Twitter I found on this subject and can forward to anyone who requests it.  As an example, someone I know recently posted his struggles with a shank creeping into his game.  The suggestions from other golfers of what he should do to fix it were not only all completely wrong but very likely to add new faults which did not previously exist.



To protect yourself against this well meaning ignorance you must see your swing and then understand the cause and effects of its technique.  Almost all swings have only a small number of faults (causes) which produce a much larger number of effects. Like ripples in a pond the faults spread throughout the swing.  The only way to improve is to address the faults (causes), if you only see the effects you can never improve.

To film your swing using your smart phone or tablet simple.  You will need 2 views, Face On (F/O) and Down Target Line (DTL).

DTL - film at waist height with the camera aiming  in line with the hand position at address

F/O - film at waist height directly facing the player, camera pointing at the belt buckle.

Film as close as possible ensuring the Club is visible on screen for the entire swing.


Film your swing and send it to us via the Swing Analysis facility here and we can help you understand how your swing works (causes and effects) and put you on the right path to playing better golf.

3 July 2014

Understanding the Correct Downswing Sequence

One of the challenges of writing articles and producing videos for golfers is trying to make complicated, technical swing ideas seem simple and easy to understand.  Spend 10 minutes searching the Internet for golf tips and you'll soon see what I mean!  As golf technology has advanced so the game and it's techniques are presented in an ever more scientific way, it's language seemingly a mystery to all but the most knowledgable players.  The whole concept behind the HowDidiDo Academy was to simplify golf, to make instruction and lessons seem more accessible and to help you understand good coaching is never difficult to understand or tries to re-build your game.  I hope we go some way to achieving this.

The correct Downswing Sequence is one area which seems to cause a huge number of Club golfers a lot of problems and confusion.  I have talked about this area in past videos but it is an issue which has come up repeatedly in recent HDiD Coaching Days and so the video will show you how to sequence the move from the top of the backswing.  The ball throwing drill is the simplest way I know to feel and co-ordinate all the elements into one flowing motion.



I have included 2 screenshots taken 1 month apart to highlight the swing improvements you can make by understanding the correct sequence down to the ball.  The first shows a player on the right, who from that top of the backswing is anxious to HIT the ball, trying to get the club head back to impact first and as a result the upper torso unwinds before the lower body.  The arms swing outwards and the club shaft appears on a very steep plane, dissecting the neck line.

The left image shows the difference in the club shaft line, much lower or shallower as the legs and hips rotate ahead of the shoulders.  This downswing is working much more from the inside as you see in the second picture, the hands leading the club head towards impact.  Again, the right hand picture shows the club head outside the line of the hands, the shaft aiming well right of the intended target creating a path through impact across the ball.





At this point I believe it's important to highlight that this move, and indeed any of the topics we talk about on the Blog, are designed to help your swing understanding and improve your concept of how to play.  It is vital however, that you understand your own individual swing patterns otherwise you will never know if this or any other video is relevant to your game.

The downswing sequence here is important to the golfer who has good posture, grip and adequate wrist/arm action.  If these are not present then this sequence may in fact make you worse, your swing patterns won't work with this sequence.

This is why we created the HowDidiDo Swing Analysis facility.  Be e mailing your golf swing from your smart phone or tablet we can provide you with a full online swing review and highlight the areas of your swing which can improve your game.  By reviewing your swing you can understand which information applies to your swing and use it to improve.  The changes you see above took only 1 month to learn, what could you achieve in the same time?

23 June 2014

Ensure Your Set-Up Allows You To Create a Better Hip Turn

The monthly HowDidiDo Academy coaching days at High Legh Park GC have continued to grow throughout the early part of the season with many players making significant gains in their golf game.  This week I wanted to share with you something I have seen in a significant number of golfers, a restricted hip turn with poor leg and foot action.  I view the hip action as being the bridge between the upper body and the legs and feet as well being crucial in how easily you can create power in the swing.
In the video you will see how poor positioning of the feet at set-up can have a huge influence over how your hips work and in recent weeks I have seen this affecting players of all handicaps.

The feet have an important role, they are obviously the part of the body interacting with the ground and as such we should ensure they provide a stable strong platform for our swing.  It is very common for the feet to be too square or facing straight forwards and this can significantly affect the legs and hips. Remember the feet/ankles, knees and hips are all joined up together and if one moves poorly then all will move poorly.
Common backswing problems I have seen include a hip slide and body tilt, poor weight transfer/reverse pivot and short restricted swing length producing no power. By turning both feet outwards at address you can significantly improve the range of hip turn making it much easier to rotate the torso into a full powerful backswing.  The screenshot below shows what a difference this small change can make.

If you are interested in attending a Coaching Day then please contact me directly at neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com You will experience high speed video analysis and Flightscope launch monitor review during the session and will be provided with an online video lesson review.
All sessions are individual and are either 1 or 3 hours long. 
We have seen an amazing 2 weeks at Pinehurst No 2 hosting back to back U.S Opens.  Martin Kaymer produced a dominating display to win his second major and ensure another Ryder Cup appearance.  Then Michelle Wie, finally fulfilling her talent winning her first major.  I wrote in a blog some weeks ago that I thought Martin Kaymer was coming back to his best, reverting to his Fade swing shape has taken some time but has got him back to his best.

I posted on Twitter an interesting article on how individual body shapes dictate what the ideal swing plane and ball flight should be.  If you would like to read it please contact me and I will happily forward it to you.

9 June 2014

Control Your Eye Line to Strike Perfect Pitch Shots

One of the great difficulties with golf as a game is that 1 technique does not fit all shots or situations.  The swing motion needed to hit perfect long drives is very different from the technique needed to play short touch and feel shots.  Of course many of the principles remain but the power moves needed for full shots can be very destructive when playing delicate chip and pitch shots around the green.

Imagine what your handicap would be if you never missed the green from 50 yards and in.  In this weeks video we look at a little known or talked about issue but one which is hugely influential when you're looking for consistent crisp short game shots.

           

Golf is a target based game and as such is a very visual sport.  How we position our eyes when standing to the ball has a huge influence, not only on how we see or perceive the target but also the swing patterns we produce through impact.  If you position your eyes across the target line rather than parallel to the target line your swing path can shift significantly.

Crisp, consistent pitch shots demand you have complete control over where the club contacts the ground.  If this "low point" moves around you will hit a combination of thinned or fat shots.  From a confidence point of view there is nothing more destructive than duffing that short pitch shot into a bunker in front of you!

Perhaps the most common visual fault is to address the ball with your head back behind the ball and your eye line tilted outwards (for a right hander this would be to right of target).  This head and eye position moves the low point of the swing back in the stance and creates a swing path which is too far from in to out.  The only way to recover from this is to involve the hands and try to manipulate the club back to the ball and find the target line, guaranteeing an inconsistent strike.

Checking your eyes are parallel to the target line in a mirror should be the first thing you check if you struggle around the greens.  Improving this will allow you to control the low point of the swing with much greater consistency and could save several shots a round.

Our Academy coaching days continue this month at High Legh Park GC, Cheshire.  From 17th-19th June individual 1 hour or 3 hour sessions are available and incorporate video analysis and Flightscope launch monitor data.  If you would like to work with me on your game contact me neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com for more details or appointments.


Finally this week a look forward to the U.S Open at Pinehurst No 2 in North Carolina.  I was lucky today this course several times whilst at University in North Carolina, it is an incredible place an remains the best course I have played.  Having been a Major in which European players struggled for many years we have won 3 of the last 4 with Graeme MacDowell, Rory McIlroy and last year Justin Rose.  Pinehurst is a very different U.S Open course with fairways wider than normal and large run off areas around the greens instead of the usual thick rough.  My pick for the week is Henrik Stenson, hugely long, the wider fairways will benefit his Driving and he's running back into form recently.

26 May 2014

Improve Your Bunker Play Part 2

In last week’s article and video we looked at the important set up fundamentals to improve your bunker shots around the green.  This week we move on and show you the 3 most important elements of the swing you need to execute these shots both accurately and consistently.
I really believe these shots are much easier to play well once you understand both the set up changes and the swing you need to allow the sand wedge to do its job.  They are not shots you need to fear and with a little practice and confidence you may find you save several shots a round. 



It’s important to say that you must have a wedge which gives you the best chance of success, something your Pro can help you understand.  These guidelines may help you.
·         Your bunker wedge should have at least 56 degrees of loft
·         It should have at least 10 degrees of bounce, more if you take lots of deep divots
·         The deeper the sand the wider the sole and more bounce you need
·         Your bunker wedge should have a flatter lie angle to allow you to lower your hands at address.

If this sounds a bit technical or your first thought is that I’m not good enough for that to make a difference then ask yourself, am I giving myself the best chance to learn these shots and improve.  The wrong club will make these shots much more difficult to play.
A problem for many of you may be a lack of facility to practice your bunker shots.  If your Club doesn’t have a practice bunker then you can take your practice to the course.  Play some holes on your own when the course is quiet using just one ball, and whenever your approach shot missed the green rather than chip or pitch simply move your ball into the nearest bunker and play out the hole.  This gets you some regular bunker practice and allows you to monitor your progress.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the HowDidiDo Coaching days at High Legh Park GC last week.  It was good to meet some new players and to see in person those of you who had used the Swing Analysis facility.  There was excellent progress made and I’m looking forward to hearing about your results through this season.  The next coaching days will be in June, please contact me at neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com for more details or to book your place.  All appointments are individual and are for 1 or 3 hours.

This week is your last chance to enter the HowDidiDo Morocco Matchplay and win you place at the Grand Finals.  Entries close on the 25th May visit www.howdididomatchplay.co.uk to enter; you could be spending a week in Morocco competing to find the best Matchplay golfers in the UK.  

20 May 2014

Bunker Shot Basics, How to Make it the Easiest Shot in the Game

Bunker shots, perhaps more than any other shot in the game seem to strike fear and dread into many golfers.  Adding to that frustration we see Pro’s on the TV every week making it look so easy.  I have created a 2 part video which I feel addresses many of the issues I see golfers make.  It also seeks to create a clear picture or concept of how to play the shot well.  To gain confidence and lose the fear associated with this shot it is critical we understand how your wedge is going to move through the sand to guarantee the ball clears the bunker and lands on the green.  With a little practice you will start to gain confidence and control over the shot.


Part 1 is designed to deal with the set-up and concept of the shot, the swing itself will be Part 2, released next week.  Without the set-up being in place you will find it almost impossible to create a consistent entry into the sand and never gain control over the shot.  I believe this is the main cause of a loss of confidence eventually leading to fear of the shot.  If you can guarantee every bunker shot at least finishes on the green imagine how many shots that could save you during a round.

It’s important I mention equipment at this point.  I see many players attempting these shots with a wedge which gives them very little chance of success.  Most commonly the standard sand wedge matching the set they use or a 60 degree lob wedge.  These clubs are almost always lacking one of the key elements you need, either bounce or loft.  Modern sets of irons have become increasingly less lofted in order to promote increased distance, as the Pitching wedge has less loft so the Sand wedge is forced to follow.  Many “set” Sand wedges now have only 54 degrees of loft, not enough to play the bunker shot with the control needed.  The 60 degree wedge is almost always lacking the required bounce.  It was never intended to be used as a bunker wedge but as a specialist tool for high soft pitch shots were loft is the priority.  In a bunker the lack of bounce makes it almost impossible to create a consistent divot often causing fat or thinned shots.

My preferred choice would always be a wedge with 56-58 degrees of loft with 10-14 degrees of bounce.  I strongly recommend you check with your Club Pro or coach the wedge you currently use.  If bunker shots are a problem for you it is very likely the wedge you use is partly responsible.
 
The special offers within out Swing Analysis service continue, if you have a mobile device you can film your swing and submit it to us.  We will record an analysis of your swing and recommendations of what to practice to improve your game.  For a fraction of the cost of a normal lesson you can use this to understand your own swing and focus your practice and play without getting wrapped up in useless swing thoughts.
We have already had success this season with golfers already reducing their handicaps.  Click the Swing Analysis tab to learn more and watch a sample lesson.


Thanks to everyone who has e mailed recently with questions and comments, it is greatly appreciated and I look forward to hearing more from you.    

3 May 2014

How to Fix Your Hook

HDiD Golf Academy is back after an unscheduled Easter (and a bit more) break.Sorry about the lack of communication but we are back to get you on the right track as the season kicks into high gear.

It’s widely accepted that the majority of golfers are plagued by a slice ball flight and we have produced a variety of videos looking at causes of this shot shape.  In this week’s video I look at the opposite shape, the hook.

Ben Hogan was famously quoted as saying “You can talk to a fade but a hook won’t listen” and it would be true that a hook would be the shot feared by low handicap players and professionals.  Low handicap players generally have more consistent control of the swing path, tend to deliver the club more from the inside and have greater club speed.  It is the club speed which can cause problems especially if the downswing is not well co-ordinated, relying on the hands to deliver the club into impact.  If the hands are late squaring the face then a block/push results sending the ball wide right (for right hander) but if they rotate to quickly then the club face will be closed relative to the swing path. The result is a hook shape, curving out of control and missing well left of target.

Two examples of high speed players who have struggled with block/hook ball flights would be Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.  Their incredible speed and power can actually become a disadvantage if they lose the co-ordination between the body action and the arm swing.  You may have heard commentators talking about being “trapped on the inside”. 

If you are a player who can easily produce power and distance but struggle to find the control and accuracy needed to improve then this video could really help you understand the impact conditions you will need.

This year’s Matchplay Tournament is open for entries.  It is your chance to win a place at the finals held in Morocco, a quickly emerging golf destination with great weather and facilities.  Some of the best golf course designers have built spectacular courses and it was this year home to winter training weeks for the England Golf Elite Squads.  To enter simply follow the link to the Morocco Matchplay on the howdidido home page.

Over 20 golfers attended our Academy coaching days at High Legh Park GC in Cheshire last week.  In individual 1 hour or 3 hour sessions they all made some great improvements and it was a pleasure to work with everyone.  Using video and Flightscope analysis it is a great way to understand your swing and find improvements no matter what your handicap or age.  Many thanks to everyone who attended. 

We will be hosting another event at High Legh Park GC from 20-22nd May, to book your individual appointment please contact me at neil.clarkson@golfprobooking.com

Our Swing Analysis facility continues to grow, by filming your swing on a mobile or tablet you can use the V1 Golf App to send it to us.  We will send you back a lesson of up to 30 minutes showing you how to improve which you can access any time you have internet access.

Click the Swing Analysis tab at the top of the page to register today. 

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
Not
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.