Archive for the ‘The Drive’ Category

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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I have struggled with the driver since I took up the game as a teenager many years ago. I never really learned how to control the longest club in the bag. I envied the number one player on my high school team, Henry Leon, for his driving ability. Henry was a fine all around player and his driving was most ¬†impressive. A thin, wiry fellow, who had a Ben Hogan quality to him, Henry bristled with confidence, trusting his swing would set him up well to par or birdie any given hole. I, on the other hand, never really trusted my tee ball swing, having to count on decent iron play and superior chipping and putting to land me the number 2 spot on the team and score consistently in the high 70s, low 80s. I was a good athlete but for some reason could not square up that persimmon head at impact. And today, I’m still struggling. I have my good days (like when I shot my recent 77), but most often my driving is inconsistent and unpredictable. And driving, I believe, is the most important key to playing successful and satisfying golf. Driving is what makes golf a sport and not (more…)

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