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Friday, January 19, 2018

DJ Needs More Work on His Iron Play (Video)

I just had to post this. Both the Abu Dhabi and Singapore tournaments are letting amateurs try to hit shots closer to the pin than the pros on some holes... and DJ got beat by a 13-year-old. Take a look:



Young Oscar Murphy hit a 3-wood around 177 yards and got within 25 feet, which beat both DJ and Tommy Fleetwood. Apparently he didn't beat his hero, Rory McIlroy -- who was also in the group -- but he did get to hang out with Rory for a bit.

The coolest part of it for me? Take a listen to that solid crack when Oscar hit the ball. There's a lot of pros who would pay to hit it that solid.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ernest Jones on Creating Clubhead Speed

Ernest Jones is the source of most modern teaching on "swinging" a golf club as opposed to "hitting" with one. And most instructors tend to avoid his teaching, on the grounds that the classic swing uses centrifugal and centripetal force while the modern swing depends more on leverage.

Ernest JonesBut a swing by any other name is still a swing, and the two approaches do share some basics. So today I thought I'd pass on a thought from the Jones book Swing the Clubhead (originally called Swinging into Golf), which is generally considered a classic instruction text.

There's a truth in here that any golfer can benefit from learning, no matter what swing method he uses:
There are, to be sure, more ways than one to strike a ball. You can strike it by swinging the clubhead or by employing leverage. You can strike it harder with a swinging action than you can in any other way with the power at your command, and still retain reasonable control over your effort. The principle of centrifugal application of force guarantees this. But it is not likely that you will come to a realization of this of your own accord. To do so is not consistent with your past experiences. Your natural instinct is to try to turn the power on all at once.

A swinging action must begin smoothly and rhythmically, and the force producing it must be applied gradually. There can be no quick jerky movement at any stage of the procedure. As soon as the movement develops this characteristic, the swinging is destroyed. Steadiness, not speed, is the keynote in beginning the application of power in a swing. Speed is developed later. [p60-61]
That last paragraph -- and particularly the last two sentences -- is something that applies to any method of swinging a club. If you want to hit the ball a long way and still keep some kind of control over its direction, you have to stay SMOOTH. And Jones describes that smoothness with the word STEADINESS.

What does that mean? It means you don't try to suddenly jerk the club from the top, where it has basically stopped in order to change direction, and accelerate from zero to 100mph all at once. You have to get the club accelerating smoothly for the first foot or so of hand and arm movement. Then and only then can you try to let it go.

Or, in the words Jones uses, "Speed is developed later."

This is no different than what Hogan said when he wrote that he wished he had three right hands to create power in his swing. He made the point that you don't try to "hit" the ball until your hands are well into the downswing and your body is in position to unleash that power with balance and control. Both classic and modern swingers have to unleash their power SMOOTHLY, whether they do it through centrifugal force or leverage.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lots of Things I Wanted to Mention Today

I found several things that, while most didn't merit a post on their own, they were all things I found interesting. So here they all are...

First, tournaments. Several players are making their 2018 debuts this week and those events will be on TV:
  • Phil Mickelson makes his debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge tomorrow.
  • Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose make their debuts at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. That will be starting TONIGHT at 10:30pm ET on GC, so don't forget. (DJ's in this event also.)
  • Sergio makes his debut at the SMBC Singapore Open this week as well. If I saw correctly, that event will be tape-delayed starting Thursday night. (Patrick Reed and Pat Perez are in this event, as is Kurt Kitayama, a young American player who just got his card on the Asian Tour.) [UPDATE: I put Reed in the wrong event -- he's at CareerBuilder. And the GC coverage of the Singapore Open starts Wednesday night before the HSBC. I really got these events wrong!]
  • The Champions Tour itself debuts this week in Hawaii at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. You get one guess who the defending champion is!
And the Web.com Tour's Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay did get finished on time Tuesday. 19-year-old Korean rookie Sungjae Im won going away. This is noteworthy because K.J. Choi is apparently his mentor... and apparently doing a very good job of it! If Im can get a few PGA Tour exemptions and play this well, he might be on the PGA Tour sooner rather than later.

Second... "wildlife." I don't know how else to categorize this, but I saw it over at golfchannel.com and... well, it's two of my least favorite animals. Richard Nadler saw them "cuddling" while he was playing golf in Florida last Friday.



I can do without them in MY foursome, thank you very much.

Finally, Nick Faldo announced formation of the Major Champions Invitational on Tuesday. The link takes you to the video, in case my embedded video below won't play. The short version is this: The event will be held on March 12-14 (the week of Arnie's event) and will feature both male and female players in their teens from all over the world, each chosen by various major champions to be on their "teams."



In addition to Faldo, a bunch of major champions have already pledged their support. The link lists Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly, but Nick also mentioned Ernie Els and said that he hopes to get Jack Nicklaus and some others involved. Apparently the idea is very popular with the players Nick has talked to, so this could end up being a big junior event going forward.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dr. Gio Valiante on Making Swing Fixes

Okay, that's not exactly what Dr. Gio called it... but GC didn't post the video for it and I can't remember exactly what he called it. However, it was such a brilliant insight that I wanted to write about it anyway.

Dr. Gio Valiante

Dr. Gio did two segments on Morning Drive Monday morning. GC has only posted one of them. (I've reposted it below. The first 2:40 or so is a recap of the Diamond Resorts event, then he uses that to talk about "psychological fluctuation." Sounds weird, but it's useful stuff.) The one they didn't post included Charlie Rymer and talked about his first professional tournament in a decade or so, and what Dr. Gio said struck me as incredibly useful.

He says your golf swing is made up of three parts -- the psychological, the physical and the mechanical. But here's the cool thing: Dr. Gio says you can use any of the three as "fixes" for a problem, regardless of which area is causing it! That's because a problem in any one of those areas affects the other two, so you can attack the problem from any area.

Here's an example: Let's say your having confidence issues with your driver. You hit it fine on the range but can't keep it in the short grass during a round. If you feel anxiety when you stand over your driver, that's going to cause physical problems like raising your blood pressure, which changes the tension in your muscles or the blood flow in your hands (which affects your feel). It might also cause you to develop a mechanical problem because your flexibility is affected or you just get impatient and jerky. What are you gonna do to fix it?
  • Well, you've probably hit some good drives before. So you could try visualizing those good drives -- the rhythm and how you felt when you hit them. You've hit good drives before, so there's no reason you can't do it again.
  • Or you might attack the physical tension. You could focus on slowing your breathing or relaxing your forearms.
  • Or you might do what a lot of pros do and create a go-to, can't-miss shot. You might learn to tee the ball lower and (if you're a rightie) swing left with an open clubface. That way you eliminate one side of the course and effectively double the width of the fairway.
The first is a psychological fix. The second is a physical fix. The third is a mechanical fix. And any or all of them could be effective for you.

In other words, you don't have to drive yourself nuts trying to identify exactly where the problem originates. You can simply identify the effect of the problem and adopt a fix that you're comfortable with. Isn't that cool?

Here's the video of that first session with Dr. Gio I promised. You might also find some useful help in it.



Remember: You don't have to agonize over the exact cause of your problem. All you have to do is find a way to correct its effect on your game, and that should help you beat it.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Sony Open

Winner: Patton Kizzire

Around the wider world of golf: The European team put on a furious rally in singles to win the Eurasia Cup 14-10; Chris Paisley won the BMW South African Open for his first ET victory; Mardy Fish and Scott Parel won the celebrity and pro divisions (respectively) at the Diamond Resorts Invitational on the Champions Tour; and the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas won't finish until Tuesday.

Patton Kizzire with Sony Open trophy

It was the longest playoff in Sony Open history. Six extra holes became the battleground for two men who simply couldn't separate themselves from each other.

The first was James Hahn, who shot a career best 62 in the final round to set the clubhouse lead at -17. Hahn has won twice before, both in playoffs, but it's been nearly two years.

The other was Patton Kizzire, who has already won once in this wraparound season -- at the OHL Classic in Mexico. The best he could do in regulation was 68, just enough to tie Hahn (who had been waiting in the clubhouse for a while).

From that point on, however, neither man could shake free from the other. They matched scores hole-for-hole, each making a heroic effort just to continue the playoff. Par, birdie, par, birdie, par... and then they reached the sixth playoff hole, the par-3 17th. Kizzire's iron shot crept off the back of the green; Hahn left himself a tricky shot nearly twice as long... and his putt from off the green came up short.

Then his putter finally let him down. He posted bogey. Kizzire two-putted for par and the win.

Patton Kizzire becomes the first multiple winner of the 2017-18 season. That also makes him the first multiple Limerick Summary winner of the wraparound season. Who will be next?
It took six extra holes for Kizzire
Because Hahn played his last round on fire!
Neither man could break free
From the other, you see,
Till Kizzire’s par won him his desire.
The photo came from this page at PGATOUR.com.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Todd Casabella on Stopping the Shanks (Video)

I know I post a lot of videos and tips about shanking, but that's because I know lots of you have this problem from time to time... and let's face it, one fix does not fit all. So here is instructor Todd Casabella's tip on how to stop shanking.



Now, let's get one thing straight. While shanks are often caused by standing too far from the ball, standing too close can cause them too. You need to identify which it is with you but, once you learn what to look for, it's not too hard to track down the cause. Todd's tip is for those standing too far away from the ball.

Todd says that standing too far from the ball causes you to lean forward and put your weight over your toes, basically falling toward the ball when you swing. To prevent this, he wants you to move the ball a bit closer, set up with your weight already over your toes, and "rock back" onto your heels as you make your downswing. It's not a dramatic move, but most problems in golf usually aren't. Anyway, if you're reaching for the ball at setup, this is a good thing to try.

This is only one of the things you can try if you have problems with the dreaded shank. But this is a simple fix and, if it works, it shouldn't take you long to integrate it into your swing -- this fix should be compatible with almost any instructor's swing method.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why You Should Care about the Eurasia Cup

The second day of the Eurasia Cup -- Europe VS Asia, played in Kuala Lumpur -- is still undeway as I write this, but it looks as if the Euros could even things up or even lead when today is over. In fact, the team of Stenson and Fleetwood has just posted the first win of the session, tying the score at 3.5 points each.

Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood

The Eurasia Cup plays 6 fourball matches, 6 foursome matches (that's the current session) and 12 singles, for a total of 24 available points. As I write this, Europe leads three matches and Asia leads two.

So why should you care about these matches? Here in America, we're more interested in the Ryder Cup matches later this year, aren't we?

There are two reasons this event should be at the forefront of everybody's attention. First of all, the Euros are the players we're likely to see in the Ryder Cup later this year. It's a good chance to assess the competition (if you're American) or assess potential pairings (if you're European).

And second, the Asian team is a strong competitor for the Euros. While players will most likely be at a different place in their prep later this year, the Asians tied the first playing of this event (10-10) while the Euros devastated the Asian last time (18.5-5.5). It's worth noting that the last event was played in an Olympic year and the Asian competitors were probably more focused on that, given the extreme competition for an Olympic spot among Asian athletes.

I know I'm extremely interested to see how the Euros fare this week. This shows no sign of being a blowout, and I want a good look at what the US will be facing in France. This could be the best indicator we'll get.