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Sunday, September 27, 2020

How Your Dominant Hand Squares Your Clubface (Video)

Unless you're someone like Phil Mickelson who swings with his dominant hand as his lead hand -- that is, he's a righthander who swings lefthanded -- you probably have trouble squaring the clubface because you use your trail (dominant) hand and arm incorrectly. This drill from Chris Ryan will help you fix that problem.


You may need to watch this video several times before you understand what Chris is saying. The simplest explanation is that your trail elbow needs to be bent when you hit the ball BUT what you're actually doing right now is straightening it before you ever hit the ball. Another way to describe this move is that your trail elbow leads your trail hand into the impact zone.

Yeah, it sounds weird. But that's the way you throw a ball at hip level, what we sometimes call a 'sidearm' throw. And that's the motion that Chris is trying to teach you with this drill.

For most of you, this is going to take a little work to learn how it feels when you hit the ball. Let me add a couple of thoughts.

  • This drill works very well when used with the L-to-L drill. (I know, I say that about almost every drill. But it's true because the L-to-L drill is a basic move in a powerful, accurate golf swing.) When you start hitting balls using this move, incorporate this 'leading elbow' move into the L-to-L drill. You'll be very happy with the results.
  • And while Chris wants you to throw the ball at the ground during this drill, you may find it makes more sense for you to also try throwing the ball toward a target in front of you, the same way you'd try to hit the ball toward a target with a club. This has the added advantage of teaching you how to place your trail hand on the club's grip in order to know you've squared the clubface. And once you can do that, it's a simple matter to learn how to open or close the face a bit to hit a fade or draw.

No matter what your golf swing looks like now, you can always learn how to aim the clubface with that swing. And once you can do that, your score will start to drop because the ball will end up where you wanted to play from -- which, if you want it in the fairway, will be a lot better place to play from than the rough!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mike Sullivan on Playing from Bermuda Rough (Video)

Mike Sullivan runs a golf school in Raleigh NC, a couple of hours from where I live. Here are his tips on how to play from Bermuda rough, both near the green and beside the fairway.


Beside the green probably didn't throw you at all. If the ball's on top of the grass, great -- you can just chip it. But when the ball has sunk down into the heavy stuff, it's all about the bunker shot -- hit behind the ball and let the grass lift the ball out.

But out in the rough beside the fairway is a bit trickier. Mike says if the ball is less than halfway down in the rough, you're likely to get a flier. But if it's deeper, you're likely to lose distance so you should take a longer club and make more of a controlled swing in order to make better contact.

The coolest tip from this is his warning that, when you try to swing hard out of deep rough -- which is when you really need to hit close to the ball in order to make decent contact -- you're more likely to hit the ball fat and flub the shot. This is a mistake you often see, even from the pros. Don't make the same mistake!

In my opinion, the tips for around the green are pretty much no-brainers. But when you're out there in the rough after a poor drive, I think these tips might not be the whole story -- the condition of the rough has to be considered as well, since thin dry rough behaves a bit differently from thick juicy rough. Keep that in mind.

Still, these tips are a really good place to start when you're standing over an almost invisible lie in Bermuda rough and trying to choose a club.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Cindy Miller on Stopping Your Slice (Video)

Some of you may have heard of this drill, but it's something you can use on the course as well. In this video LPGA pro Cindy Miller shows you how to fight off a slice.


Slices are caused by leaving the clubface open at impact. You all know that, I'm not telling you anything new.

As you can see, in this drill basically all you're doing is closing your stance. But this is an extremely closed position because you're trying to give your hands more time to square the clubface.

The trick to this drill is WHY you're leaving the clubface open, which means this may actually be overkill for some of you and will cause you to hit a draw or even a big hook. If that's the case, you can adjust how closed your stance is.

Many of you are moving forward too much during your downswing. I know, you've been told you need to do it but you're doing it WAY too much. This super-closed setup is going to tone down that move without you really having to think about it.

Note also that Cindy hasn't changed her ball position at all. It's still just inside her lead heel. However, she has closed her stance so much that the toes on her lead foot actually point a little bit behind the ball. That forces your body to slow down its turn just enough for your hands to catch up and square the clubface.

This is going to feel weird, I know. But that's because you aren't used to using your hands properly during your downswing. That's really what this drill teaches you, much like the L-to-L drill I write about so often. (That's the link to the most recent post I did about it.) But Cindy's drill goes straight to the full swing while the L-to-L drill starts with your short game.

Once you get the hang of squaring the clubface you won't need this drill anymore. But it's a nice thing to have in your arsenal. After all, sometimes you just HAVE to draw the ball...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Paul McGinley on Strategy (Video)

No commentary today, just a Golf Monthly video with Paul McGinley playing three holes with an 18-handicapper to teach him some basics on scoring. Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Irish Eyes Are Still Smiling...

Because the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is going to be played despite the pandemic. This is a Rolex Series event, so it's a big deal for it to be played -- even if it is four months later than usual.

Defending champion Jon Rahm

Like so many events in this odd year, the Irish Open had to change venue in order to be played this year. The new venue -- for this year only -- is Galgorm Castle Golf Club, a course regularly featured on the Challenge Tour so many of the players will likely be familiar with it.

There is one downer for the Irish fans: Defending champion Jon Rahm won't be there. (Rahm has actually won this event twice, in 2017 and 2019.) I'm guessing the one-two punch of the pandemic and Winged Foot just made the trip too demanding for him.

But that didn't stop Shane Lowry, who is making his first ET start since the restart. Lowry won this event as an amateur back in 2009 and he'll be heading up the field this year. I can't help but feel that, regardless of how tough the weather might be, this event will still be a relief after the grind of Winged Foot. I'm sure his presence will ease any disappointment the Irish fans might feel over Rahm's absence!

Also in the field -- and my favorite to win this week -- is George Coetzee, the South African player who won Sunshine Tour and ET events back-to-back earlier this month, as well as posting a T3 in Portugal last week. It's hard to bet against a run when a good player like Coetzee is having it!

GC is covering this event starting at 8am ET Thursday morning. We'll be getting a five-hour window to watch it, and what could be better than spending a few pleasant hours viewing the Northern Ireland countryside?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

After a stressful week trying to keep up with DeChambeau's drives, Twofer Tuesday opts for the laidback shores of the Dominican Republic and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell

The CPRCC has moved from the Korn Ferry Tour to an alternate field event to (this playing only) a fullblown FedExCup event offering 500 points. Defending champion Graeme McDowell would certainly love to repeat this time! And if he does so, he'll be the first player to successfully defend his title.

Unlike most of the events since the restart, the CPRCC field isn't stacked to the gills with top players. The highest-ranked player in the field is Henrik Stenson (OWGR #43), who is making his debut at this event. That means the event is more wide open for someone to break through for their first win this year or perhaps even the first of their career.

That doesn't mean this is a weak field. A quick look at the field list shows a number of solid players coming off a missed trip to East Lake as well as several players on major medical extensions. Even the sponsor exemptions strike me as reasonable bets to win.

All of which means this is going to be one of the hardest weeks to me to pick so far this season.

  • Will Zalatoris is coming off a T6 at Winged Foot, meaning he made it into this event on his own and doesn't need to use the sponsor's invite he originally had. Although he is the #4 pick on pgatour.com's Power Rankings, that's not why I picked him. I figure if you can shoot +5 at Winged Foot in those conditions, Corales Puntacana should be a breeze!
  • My other pick is Thomas Detry.The young Belgian hasn't won on the ET yet but he had a runner-up at the Celtic Classic and was only +6 for three rounds at the US Open before shooting 81 in the final round to finish T49. Still, that's a great finish in Wales and a decent showing on the toughest US Open course in the rotation. I think the Dominican Republic will be good for him.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 3pm ET. Even with a stiff breeze, the Corales Puntacana course should be a good place for players to get their groove back... and great scenery for us fans to watch.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 US Open

Winner: Bryson DeChambeau

Around the wider world of golf: Jim Furyk went two-for-two by winning the Pure Insurance Championship, his second start on the Champions Tour; Georgia Hall got her second LPGA win at the Cambria Portland Classic; Garrick Higgo won his first ET victory at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos; Julia Engstrom won her second LET title of this season at the Lacoste Ladies Open De France; and Ayaka Furue won the Descente Ladies Tokai Classic on the JLPGA (thanks, IC!).

Surprise winner Bryson DeChambeau with his US Open bling

My Twofer Tuesday picks, like so many other people's picks at Winged Foot, struggled with the course. But I had Dustin Johnson (T6) and Webb Simpson (T8) and both got me Top10s, so I'm satisfied.

  • Top10s: 21 for 50 (9 Top5, 12 other Top10s)
  • Winners: 2 for 25 events
Yes, I can freely admit that Bryson DeChambeau was a surprise winner. It's not that I didn't think Bryson was good enough to win -- he's pretty accurate with the driver when he's on and he's strong enough to dig the ball out of the rough. But it was his well-publicized plan to break Winged Foot with long drives that seemed unbelievable.

And once again the Mad Scientist proved that he's not so mad after all... plus he proved that the 'Mad Scientist' moniker seriously shortchanges his depth as a player.

He was the only player to shoot under par in the final round (-3) and he was the only player to finish the tournament under par (-6). And along the way he demonstrated an amazing array of imaginative shots, feel shots, skill shots and just plain mind-blowing shots. And he did it without ever losing his focus or cursing his luck.

Along the way he showed everybody that there's more than one way to play this game -- a belief that seems to take hold of this sport (and life in general) every time somebody does something new in a dominant way.

I suspect we're going to hear a lot of debate about whether Bryson's win this past week is good or bad for the game. I'll just make a couple of observations about what may happen going forward:

  • In the "How Can We 'Bryson-proof' Our Courses?" department: Despite having learned that 'Tiger-proofing' just made courses better suited for Tiger because he, better than anyone else, adapted to the extra length, my guess is that the powers-that-be will at least consider graduated rough -- that is, the rough will get longer as it gets closer to the green. It won't work because Bryson is so strong, but I won't be surprised if it gets suggested.
  • And in the "What Will Bryson Do Next?" department: Bryson was pretty vocal about his intent to try a 48-inch driver. Brandel Chamblee suggested that Bryson might try using it to draw the ball around the doglegs at Augusta... but I think he's not thinking enough like Bryson. Given that Bryson hits the ball higher than anybody else, if he can get control of a 48-inch driver in time for the Masters, I think we'll see him (in a practice round at least) try taking the ball OVER the trees on 13 to drive the green. If he's successful, just imagine the scene if Bryson gives himself a putt for an albatross every round...!

In the meantime, I hope Bryson just takes a couple of days off to enjoy this massive victory... and maybe read his first major Limerick Summary. Well played, Dr. DeChambeau, well played!

They told him it couldn’t be done
But now that the trophy’s been won
DeChambeau is king
‘Cause this whole science thing
And its test results say he’s The One.

The photo came from the tournament page at pgatour.com.