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You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Martin Hall's Anti-Chicken Wing Drill

Martin Hall calls this a backswing drill but it's better termed a followthrough drill. It'll help you get rid of the tendency to "chicken wing" your finish. Best of all, you don't need to use a club!



It's simple enough. By letting your trailing hand stretch out your lead arm, your lead elbow will automatically point toward the ground during impact. Chicken wings happen when your lead elbow points more toward the target.

You can use this drill anywhere since you don't have to use a club. As an added bonus, it'll also teach you to create a wider arc in your swing, which should help you get more distance. Give it a try!

If for some reason you don't see the video embedded above in this post, just use the link to find the original video at golfchannel.com.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Limerick Summary: 2015 Honda Classic

Winner: Padraig Harrington

Around the wider world of golf: Lydia Ko won again at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women´s Open on the LET; Amy Yang won the Honda LPGA Thailand on (what else?) the LPGA; Katie Kempter won the Volvik Championship on the Symetra Tour; and Andy Sullivan won the Joberg Open on the ET.

Padraig Harrington with trophy

Okay, first things first...

ATTENTION STEVE WEBSTER! If you don't get to tee it up at the Africa Open this week as planned, by all means find some tournament you can play in! Because this week you are #297 in the world, just as James Hahn was two weeks ago and Paddy was this week, so you are next up to win. If everything plays to form, you will need -6 to make the playoff, which you will then win. BY ALL MEANS, DO NOT MISS THIS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY!!!

Now where were we? Oh yes, Paddy Harrington's mind-bending come-from-behind win at the Honda... and I DO mean mind-bending. Paddy says his biggest problem over the last few years has been mental, which mind guru Bob Rotella has been helping him learn to manage. Even the announcers seemed to go deeper and deeper into shock with each twist and turn coming down the stretch. So rather than rehash the finale and playoff of the event, let me pass on something many of you may not have seen.

A couple of hours after the playoff, Paddy chatted with ESPN's David Lloyd. (And it really was a chatty interview, very relaxed between the two. A nice change from the typical after-round interview.) Lloyd, as most of the broadcasters have done, made reference to the "short memory" players need to have... only to have Paddy interrupt him and disagree. Here's Paddy's version in my own words, since I didn't expect this so I didn't take "quote notes":
The waterball at 17 during regular play WAS very much on Paddy's mind when they got back to the hole during the playoff. However, Paddy has been following Daniel Berger's career for some time -- Berger made reference in his own after-round presser to meeting Paddy back in 2011 -- and Paddy said he was well aware of how long and straight Berger was, so he didn't want to face him on the 18th again. His best chance to win was at 17, so he "manned up" and hit the shot right at the pin... and, as it turned out, Berger missed the green.
And that's how Padraig Harrington got his second win in three months (he won the Asian Tour's Indonesia Open in December), and his first PGA Tour win in around seven years.

Nobody saw this coming except maybe Paddy, who is an eternal optimist... and rightfully so. Now he's back in the Masters and the proud owner of his first-ever Limerick Summary:
The squibs and the shanks and the waterballs
Perplexed the announcers, whose final calls
Saw Paddy on top
After Berger’s ball dropped
In the drink! It was all a bit off-the-wall.
The photo came from this page at PGATOUR.com.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Is Yani Tseng on Her Way Back?

No, I'm not jumping to conclusions here. I know we need to see more before we can be sure of anything...

Yani Tseng LPGA bio photoBut perhaps Yani Tsengs IS finally getting her groove back. It's not so much the T2 finish this past weekend in Taiwan -- Yani always seems to play well there, and she did miss the cut in Australia just a week ago -- but some of the things she told the folks at Focus Taiwan caught my attention.

She admitted she was "just fricking nervous out there." She also said "I think just at least I back into the circle. Hopefully take into next week." Those responses don't sound like she's as down on herself as she has been recently. I find that encouraging.

According to the article, she's training with David Donatucci, who trains Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis, and her psychology coach is apparently just trying to get her to get out of her own way. (Perhaps he should also talk to Stacy Lewis? She seems to be having the same problem.)

In fact, I think that's why I'm encouraged. It's beginning to sound as if Yani's problems are just the normal problems that golfers face rather than the darkness she's talked about over the last couple of years. She managed to put four decent rounds together on a course she likes -- granted, we need to see her play well more often before we can say she's back, but everybody has to start somewhere. And she's starting to talk about good things in her game, as opposed to being all doom and gloom.

Being relaxed enough to admit she's nervous sounds like a big step forward to me. Believing that she may finally be "back in the circle" sounds like another big step. She won't be playing in the HSBC Women's Champions this week -- she's not qualified -- but having some time to think about how well she played this week may be more beneficial to her right now.

Perhaps I speak more from hope than anything. But I know women's golf is better when Yani is a factor to be reckoned with. Until she proves me wrong, I'm going to assume last week was a positive sign.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Kobra Snaps Up Number 10

Yes, it's official. Lydia Ko got her 10th professional win at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women´s Open.

Lydia holds up scorecard with course record

It wasn't enough that she shot the lowest round of her career while setting the course record (61) at the Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch during the second round. She also made it back-to-back wins after taking the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open last week.

After that brilliant second round, the Kobra struggled a bit in her final round. She managed to shoot -3 in the first 7 holes, only to double the 8th and bogey the 9th. Then she barely missed a chip-in eagle on 10 (she did get the birdie) and barely missed a 50-footer for birdie on 11.

But the big move came on 12. Charley Hull was doing her best to run Lydia down and was only 2 shots back... until she doubled the hole while Lydia birdied. That 3-shot swing dropped Charley 5 strokes off the pace and she never recovered. Lydia could only post a 71 in the final round -- for a -14 total -- but it was good enough for a 4-stroke win over amateur Hannah Green. Charley shot 75 and finished 7 shots back.

Of course, Lydia is supposed to play this week at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore -- you know, the tournament Paula Creamer won last year with that ridiculously long putt. Of course everybody wonders if Lydia can make it 3 in a row. But there's an even more tantalizing question begging for an answer...

Just how many tournaments can the Kobra win before she turns 18 in late April?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Scott Munroe on How to Keep a Slice in Play

Golf Magazine has made a lot of its online content unavailable unless you have a subscription. (You can get to the pages but they won't respond to your mouse.) However, I keep checking things there because sometimes I find useful things that ARE available for free.

One such thing is the video at this link. In this video Top100 Teacher Scott Munroe teaches you how to keep a problematic slice in the fairway when you simply can't afford to miss. I'm going to summarize his tips here but you'll want to watch the video.

  • Tee the ball on the right side of the tee. (Obviously you lefties will tee it on the left side since your slice flies right to left.)
  • Tee the ball lower. Yeah, this may cost you a little distance but the lower ball flight makes it easier to reduce the slice and hit the ball straighter. Think stinger.
  • Aim down the left side of the fairway. (Again, you lefties will aim down the right side.)
Let me take a moment here to make sure you understand what Munroe is saying here. He is NOT saying to open your stance. If you do that, you're only going to make your slice worse.

What you want to do is take a square stance -- a stance for hitting a straight ball -- that is aimed down the side of the fairway. (Again, righties are aimed down the left side, lefties are aimed down the right.) The idea is to aim your shot so that, if you do hit the ball straight, it will land in that side of the fairway. Got it?
  • Make sure you don't have a weak grip on the club. You don't have to overdo it and turn your grip so it's superstrong. Just make sure that you can clearly see a couple of knuckles on that lead hand when you take your grip.
  • Finally, when you make your backswing be sure to get your lead shoulder back behind the ball.
Again, let's make sure you understand this. You don't want a big sway away from the ball during your backswing. You're just trying to make sure you get a good shoulder turn.

Also, when you make your downswing you don't want to hang back or slide forward ahead of the ball. If you do this whole "lead shoulder behind the ball" correctly, your upper body will stay relatively centered in your stance until you smack that ball and finish your swing with your weight balanced on your lead foot.

Practice it slowly a few times to get used to the feeling because a good shoulder turn might feel strange if you haven't been making one. Here's a good checkpoint to help you know if you're doing it correctly: Your trailing knee should be over the inside of your trailing foot when you reach the top of your backswing. You can check it by using your club shaft -- if you point it straight at the ground in front of your knee, the grip end should point at the ground and not the top of your foot.

And that's all there is to it. The main mistake to watch out for is opening your stance when you need to aim a straight stance down the side of the fairway. (Remember, opening your stance increases the slice.) If you follow these steps, they should help you start turning that slice into a nice controllable fade.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Quick Fix for 23 More Yards

Golf Digest has a new article on how most players can pick up, on average, 23 yards off the tee. That's worth a look, don't you think?

Drawing from GD Fitting article

Basically the article is recommending a driver fitting, much the same way you get fit for your irons. The best thing to do is simply read the article -- it's not overly complicated -- and follow the instructions. However, I want to pick out a couple of practical suggestions.

After testing about 150 players with a variety of swing speeds (from 60mph to 130mph) and handicaps, they said:
What we found is that the average golfer launches the ball too low, generates too much backspin and doesn't make solid contact with the center of the face. Specifically, we're not hitting it as far as we should given our respective swing speeds.
They suggest using your average driving distance to help determine if you have a problem:
What's a good estimate for your driving-distance potential? If you're not hitting it 2.5 to 2.7 times your clubhead speed, you need a better-fitting driver, a lesson, or both. This means if your swing speed is 75 miles per hour, you have the potential to hit your drive at least 185 yards. If your swing speed is 100 mph, your distance potential could be as high as 270 yards.
I'm sure you've heard instructors like Michael Breed and Martin Hall say you should make some changes that let you "swing up" with your driver swing. Without going into all the info in the article (read it!) Golf Digest says:
Simple things like shifting the ball forward in your stance, teeing it higher and swinging slightly up on the ball can dramatically change distance. A recent test by TrackMan, whose launch monitor is used on the PGA Tour, found that a swing speed of 90 miles per hour can gain about 30 yards by just swinging up on the ball.
Like I said, take a few minutes to read the article. It's well worth your time if you want to pick up some easy yardage without driving yourself nuts.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Since Tour Pros Are Such Big Sports Fans...

I found this Tuesday and just couldn't resist posting it, although *technically* it isn't golf-related. But since we always hear the PGA Tour pros discussing their favorite sports teams (and the ladies do it as well), and since we're right on the verge of March Madness -- which, for those of you who live outside the States, is what we call the NCAA college men's and women's basketball championships -- this seemed just perfect.

I'm a huge Weird Al Yankovic fan, and this is from his latest album Mandatory Fun. Rather than being a parody of a specific song, it's a parody of college fight songs simply called Sports Song. You can find a version of it on YouTube (I can't embed it because embedding has been disabled for this video) but it's better if you go to this link at the Funny or Die website anyway because they have the high-definition version of the song.

And yes, I know that they're marching on a football field but the college bands always play their teams' fight songs at the March Madness events.

Weird Al leading the marching band

As the tagline says, "'Weird Al' Yankovic doesn't need a full marching band behind him to tell you your team sucks. But it definitely doesn't hurt." Enjoy!