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Archive for the ‘backswing’ Category

In between majors, golf on TV can be prosaic. Lack of name players. Tournaments that mean little. Competition from other sports. Decreasing interest in golf throughout the country, except for the majors. I, for one, find it both entertaining and instructional watching golf on TV between majors. I often turn off the sound, read a book or Sunday paper, and occasionally look up to study swings, strategies,attitudes, and scores on the PGA, LPGA, and European tours. First, check out Mike Ritz, announcing for the Euro tour these days.  He’s the Vin Scully of golf: dynamic, exciting, play by play, with great background info. This guy makes Frederick Anderson Hed look interesting. How about more Mike Ritz announcing for the PGA Tour? Then there’s Kevin Na. Other than John Daly, Na is golf’s biggest potential train-wreck. He badly screws up one shot and is guaranteed to screw up the next four, or more. You can see his mind twisting, churning, and gears grinding until metal hits metal and his teeth start gnashing. It’s the pace that showcases the mind. He gets real speedy over three-foot par putts, way out of his routine. For those few moments, he’s given up, the death knell for a professional golfer. Na’s a record holder around this behavior. He made a 16 on one venture into the woods last year at the Texas Open (only JD’s beat him with an 18 once). Take a look at what Na does during these meltdowns, and don’t play that way. Take a deep breath after a poor shot. Get back into your routine, your pace, your rhythm. Re-find your game. This year, Na got to +7 at the Texas Open and withdrew. Here are a few other tips I picked up watching golf (more…)

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Winter is a time to prepare for the new golf season, mentally and physically. Golf is tough enough for you to try to play much in winter. When I was a kid just starting to play the game in Philly, I’d put on three sweatshirts and play Cobbs Creek for 50 cents on frozen ground with 25 degrees temps. Cold? What cold? I felt no cold as the ball would roll about a million miles (as Rocco would put it), much to my delight. But that was then. Now, in my older middle age, my body and mind just can’t take the cold, wind, rain, and mud of winter, even in relatively mild northern California (I do get out a bit more this winter as we’ve had practically no rain and temps in the 60s so far). Instead, I watch the pros start off the season in Hawaii, swing a bit on my patio, putt  on the rug with a device that guides me into a slight open/close pendulum stroke, joined a gym, and have purchased some very helpful apps for my iPhone/iPad.

My favorite app is Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus. I love Jack’s breezy, personal style, from filming made at the height of his powers back in the early (more…)

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The golf swing is essentially a whipping motion, and in order to maximize the whip, the shaft has to be right for you. I found this out recently during a swing analysis when I discovered that a senior shaft was ideal for me. The computer screen was showing 20-30 extra yards straight down the middle. For the price of new shaft (fifty bucks installed at my local golf repair shop), I could radically change my game. All I had to do was get over my reluctance to admit that I needed a senior flex. No small hurdle, that one. In fact, along with using white or senior tees, it’s probably the biggest hurdle in lowering one’s scores. And it’s nothing other than a thought, a perception, a view. Men have a tougher time getting older than women, I think. But golf equipment allows us to flow with the years, if we have the wisdom to accept and change. I took that club out to the range and I could see right away the ball was flying farther and straighter. Then I took it out to the course, and, sure enough, I was hitting one or two clubs less into greens. I was driving the ball about 220-230 instead of my usual 200-210. What a difference. And a whole lot more fun. And a better score by several strokes. A faster swing speed? Perhaps. But only because of the increased whip in the shaft. I haven’t gotten stronger, nor do I consciously swing the club any faster.

The whippier shaft does help me load up more efficiently. It increases my lag, and gives me just a split second more (more…)

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As with the previously mentioned monkey traps of South America, where monkeys trap themselves by holding on to the food in a simple gourd hung from a tree, only having to let go the food and go free, many golfers are like those monkeys and hold on too tight to the club, from address on through the critical impact zone. By clutching the grip like a splitting maul, tension builds up throughout the swing, and when the first significant resistance is encountered, at impact, the likelihood of letting go the club is great.

Tension is the archenemy of the golf swing, be it mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. And tension starts with the grip. The hands are so sensitive that they translate any tension generated by the above factors. And that translation is usually one of tightness. We think the tighter the better, but golf is often counter-intuitive. Unfortunately most instructors emphasize holding the club tightly with the last three fingers of the non-dominant hand. The brain often interprets that as a kind of death grip that also affects the other fingers. And it’s there we monkeys are caught in the trap of no return. For with a grip of such intensity, there’s only one way to go: (more…)

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Doing a jigsaw puzzle can take a long time with many pieces to fit together. Such is the swing that motors the drive, and most all the other shots in golf. I’ve studied many books, apps, DVDs, and uTube videos on the subject. I’ve observed the swings of PGA pros on tour, Tivo-ing tournaments and watching in slow motion. I’ve tuned into dozens of instructional shows on the Golf Channel. I’ve spent hundreds on lessons. And I’ve devoured countless tips from golf magazines and online. And yet the jigsaw puzzle of driving a golf ball, for me, remained unsolved…until now.

The three main elements of the puzzle involve distance, accuracy, and (more…)

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