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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lee Westwood on Weight Distribution (Video)

Of course I'm taking a look at the old guys this week! Here is Lee Westwood demonstrating a proper weight shift.



I'm using Lee's video here to demonstrate something about golf swings -- namely, that what we're doing is often somewhat different from the way our explanation makes it sound.

Look at Lee's demonstration of how you want to shift your weight during the backswing (it's right around the :20 mark). See how much his body seems to move to his right side?

Now look at his actual swing (around the :37 mark). You'll see that his body isn't shifting to his right side nearly as much as his demonstration would have you believe!

In both parts of the video, the principle that he wants you to learn -- that his right hip is braced to prevent a sway -- is the same. But when he makes his actual swing, there's even less movement than in the demo because he's using his whole body to make the actual swing, as opposed to isolated muscles in the turn in the demo.

That's common whenever a player or instructor is teaching a lesson. The demo is an isolated, perhaps even exaggerated move while the swing uses the demo'ed move "in context" and is less exaggerated. You can work on a specific position in your swing all you want, but it will always look slightly different when you make the actual swing at full speed.

Lee's anti-sway move is a good one to learn. But learning that the actual execution of that move is slightly different is a good principle to remember whenever you're trying to learn something new.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Matt Wallace on Swing Thoughts (Video)

Matt Wallace has won three ET events this season, making this his breakout year and getting him consideration for a Ryder Cup pick. Here are his thoughts on swing thoughts:



While Matt says his primary swing thought is to hit the ball in the center of the clubface, his most valuable advice here is about how to choose a swing thought.
  • You need to find the swing thought that works best for you.
  • Finding that thought can give you extreme confidence when you make a swing.
  • You need to make sure it's only ONE thought, in order to better focus your mind.
  • Your swing thought doesn't have to be a mechanical thought.
He also makes an interesting statement related to that last one, that putting is about art and feel, not mechanics.

Matt Wallace won't win the Race to Dubai; at #19 he's too far back in the rankings. But he IS in the field and if he continues to think clearly when he plays, there's no telling how far he may go in the future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Jason Zuback on Creating Power (Video)

This is an older video, but 5-time World Long Drive Champ Jason Zuback knows a bit about hitting it long. Besides, this drill can help you in numerous ways.



Zuback's drill is simple. He sticks club shafts in the ground touching the outside of each foot, then he tries to make a full swing back and through without his knees hitting the shafts.

This drill encourages a number of good things in your swing:
  • It teaches you to make a good shoulder turn, which helps create clubhead speed.
  • It helps eliminate swaying, a flaw which reduces clubhead speed.
  • It helps you stay centered over the ball, which helps you hit the ball more solidly.
Yeah, I know. Zuback's swing was extremely long and flexible, especially in his younger days. You don't have to go to such extremes. But doing this drill with your normal range of motion will help you create a more repeatable swing without requiring you to learn some unnatural move. Best of all, since you can feel your knees tap the shafts if you sway, you can just swing freely and know that the shafts will give you feedback if you move too much.

A great little drill.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic

Winner: Matt Kuchar

Around the wider world of golf: Gaby Lopez got her first win at the Blue Bay LPGA; Vijay Singh won the Schwab Cup Championship on the Champions Tour, but Bernhard Langer got his fifth Schwab Cup; Lee Westwood broke a four-year drought at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the ET; Tatsunori Nukaga won the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour; and Clodomiro Carranza won the Neuquén Argentina Classic on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Matt Kuchar wins at Mayakoba

It was a weird bit of symmetry. Lee Westwood had won his last tournament on 20 April 2014. So had Matt Kuchar -- exact same day.

And here we were, around four and a half years later. Lee finally broke his drought in South Africa, and Matt broke his in Mayakoba -- exact same day.

The wins themselves weren't quite the same though. Lee posted a dominating four-stroke win.

Matt started the day with a four-stroke lead... but things went a bit downhill after that. He toughed it out down the final stretch to squeak out a one-stroke win over Danny Lee.

Still, after four winless years, it's hard to find fault with Matt's performance. Lee broke down with emotion after his win, expressing how hard it can be when you don't know if you'll ever do it again. The players around Lee struggled down the finish, while Matt wasn't so lucky. A number of chasing players shot four, five, six, even eight-under while Matt could only muster two-under.

Nevertheless, a win's a win and the trophy isn't sized by the margin of victory. A couple of rough seasons have finally given way to victory for Matt, so he gets a fresh Limerick Summary and a wish for a bright 2019. (Lee gets the wish as well, though without the limerick. But I look for him to snag one of his own in 2019.)
And so Kuchar broke through a long drought
But the outcome was not without doubt.
Though he led it by four,
Loose play opened the door;
Just a single shot let him win out.
The photo came from this page at pgatour.com.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Gaby Lopez on Uphill Bunker Shots (Video)

With Gaby becoming only the second Mexican winner on the LPGA -- the great Lorena Ochoa being the other -- I thought it might be fun to find a tip from her. And I found a very useful piece of info in this video about playing uphill bunker shots.



For the most part, Gaby's advice here is the same you'll hear for playing most any bunker shot, but few weekend players ever consider changing clubs when the lie changes. The tendency is to always use the same club -- usually your lob wedge -- out of a greenside bunker, but Gaby doesn't.

In this video, she first mentions that she generally takes one more club than usual -- that is, if she normally plays a 60° lob wedge, she'll move up to her 56° sand wedge. The reason is that the uphill lie causes the ball to fly much higher. In fact, she specifically says a lie like the one you see in the video will add about 2° to the loft of the club.

But she doesn't stop there. Later in the video she says you could use other clubs, up to around 50°. Depending on your particular set, that's a gap wedge (typically a 52° wedge) or a pitching wedge (47-48°). Not all uphill lies are the same, of course, so you'd probably want to use one of these clubs on a steeper lie.

And you'll want to experiment a bit to see what works best with your swing; I have successfully used a 9-iron out of a steep uphill lie before when the sand was soft.

If you saw any of Gaby's final round, you know she's a good scrambler. So -- especially if these kinds of bunker shots give you problems -- you may find more success by using a different club, based on her guidelines.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

History

Well, it's official. Suzy Whaley is the first-ever female president of the PGA of America.

New PGA officers Jim Richerson, Suzy Whaley and John Lindert

Actually, that's just one of a lot of firsts Suzy has done. You can get a more complete listing in this PGA announcement -- as well as info on the other two new officers -- and there's a link in that announcement to her bio (which is loaded with her accomplishments) but here's a few of her more notable achievements:
  • first woman to serve as a PGA Officer in the roles of PGA President, Vice President and Secretary
  • first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event (the 2003 Greater Hartford Open)
  • first PGA of America female professional to win the Connecticut PGA Championship
  • first person to represent both the Connecticut and South Florida PGA Sections as PGA President
Ironically, she's the 41st President of the PGA of America. I say it's ironic because the 41st President of the United States of America is George H.W. Bush. He was named after his grandfather George Herbert Walker, who was President of the USGA in 1920 and started the Walker Cup. And of course his son, George W. Bush (often just referred to as "W") was the 43rd President of the US and also very involved with golf.

I won't be surprised if they start referring to Suzy as just "W" before it's all over. Congratulations, Madame President!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Thinking About the 2018-2019 Schedule (Video)

Today I have a link to Rex Hoggard's GC article about the new PGA Tour schedule. It's easy to underrate just how different the season will look when it gets to March next season, and Rex does a good job showing just how things will change.



As Brandel says in the above video clip, the 2019 FedExCup winner could win up to $30mil next year... but to do that, they'll have to make some serious decisions concerning how they'll pace themselves. They will have a three-week break between "seasons" in September, but it's a murderers' row of events from THE PLAYERS at its new place in March all the way to the Tour Championship in late August. How will they chose which events to play and which to skip?

You can see the full lineup in the Tour's 2018-2019 schedule here.

But it's not just the schedule over the spring and summer months that will test them. After that three-week break, commissioner Jay Monahan says the fall events may increase from eight to perhaps eleven. Players will want to play more in the fall, hoping to "get ahead of the curve" so they can take time off in that rough March-August stretch and not fall behind in the points race.

When Monahan says it may take three or four years for players to figure out how to deal with this wealth of opportunities, he may actually be understating the case. We saw how tired players got at the end of the season this year, and next year will be worse.

I want to see how the players deal with this next year -- especially that July jump from the Open in Northern Ireland to the WGC in Tennessee the very next week. The Playoffs start two weeks later. Oh yes, this will be very interesting to watch!