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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.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Patrick Cohn on Breaking 100

Sometimes the hardest thing about improving your game is just getting out of your own way. That's especially true when you're trying to get past a scoring barrier.

Dr. Patrick CohnYou can find Dr. Patrick Cohn over at Peak Performance Sports, where he helps athletes in a number of sports. But he's become pretty well known in the world of golf, in no small part because Bob Rotella was one of his mentors. He's also written a couple of books on golf. Today I pulling some stuff from Going Low.

Cohn devotes fairly large sections of the book to breaking 100 (or 90) and breaking 80. Here's some of what he had to say about trying to break one of those first barriers and you're facing that first tee shot of the round:
A tee shot is tough enough, but it is even more difficult when this is your first shot of the day and you think everyone in the clubhouse is watching. The first tee shot can often make or break a round, because it sets up your performance on the the first hole. First-tee jitters can turn a straightforward shot into the most difficult shot you'll hit all day.

You may have experienced two different types of first-tee jitters. The first is the friendly kind of butterflies characterized by excitement and anticipation. This is a good feeling of anticipation of the start of the round. You feel excited to play and ready to get going. These butterflies can help you play better by getting you focused. You are excited, your heart is pounding faster, and your focus becomes more acute. The pros often experience this type of butterflies and interpret them as necessary for playing well.

The second kind of first-tee jitters is the type that makes you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your gut. Your mind races, your heart rate accelerates, your palms sweat, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure increases, and you get an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach. If you feel anxious or afraid, your performance suffers, because it makes you physically tense and cripples your ability to focus. A golfer feels this when he or she is afraid to hit a bad shot or embarrass him- or herself, or is afraid of losing the match on the first hole. Once you experience "bad" jitters, you become obsessed with the uncomfortable feelings, which distract you from what you need to focus on.

The first kind of jitters is helpful to your performance, but the second can be detrimental to your game. If you experience "bad" jitters, the first step is to address your fears. [p138-139]
No, that's not the entire section but it's enough to get us started.

The key here is to identify which kind of jitters you're feeling... and the difference is easier to see than you may at first believe. The first is focused on the game, the second is focused on YOU. The first is focused on the joy of playing, the second on what other people will think of you -- or rather, your worst imaginings of what they might think of you.

I am reminded of this quote from the late humorist Ethel Barrett:
We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
She was right on the money. We all think we are the center of the universe, but most people don't give a damn about what we do... unless it affects them in some substantial way. A botched shot doesn't diminish you as a person. And if you hang with folks who think it does... well, why are you hanging with them? You need to find some friends who have a life!

If you want to break through a scoring barrier, the first step is to get a life of your own. Your value as a person isn't dependent on a golf score. Think about what Pat Perez said, that he's playing better simply because he doesn't care as much. It's not that he isn't trying to play well. Rather, he is free to try to play better because, if he fails, he knows it's just one day's score. It's not about HIM.

Once you wrap your mind around that simple truth, you've taken the first step toward breaking your personal scoring barrier.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some Newsy Bits about Various Events

With so much golf getting underway this week, I thought I'd post a few notes I've picked up that may affect your viewing choices.

Newly redone par-5 13th hole at Waialae

First, Sony Open: The above photo is from the new tee on the redone par-5 13th hole at Waialae. The tee has been moved up so the hole can play as a 477-yard par-4. I believe they've redone three other holes as well, which should give the players at least a moment's pause to reconsider their strategies. Starts later today (Thursday).

Next, Diamond Resorts Invitational: The biggest news here is that this will be Gerina Piller's only event this year. She's 23 weeks pregnant -- most of you already knew that -- and she told the Morning Drive crew that she's taking the entire rest of the year off. If you want to watch her play, this week is your only chance in 2018. Starts Friday.

Then, Eurasia Cup: When I mentioned the BMW SA Open in yesterday's post, I forgot that the Eurasia Cup will also be played this weekend, except it starts on Friday. It's been played in Malaysia the last two times. (You guys do remember that it's a Ryder Cup-style event between Europe and Asia, right?) This is only the third edition of the event, and Europe is the defending champ. If you want to see Henrik Stenson, this is the event you want to watch.

Although I can't find it on GC's TV schedule, they did say they would be carrying it -- as I remember, right after Morning Drive. Presumably, that will be Friday morning.

Finally, Web.com Tour: The first couple of Web.com Tour events will be carried on GC. The first one, the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, starts Saturday and runs through Tuesday. This is part of the Tour's attempts to get new viewers by finishing between the other tours' events. You may remember the horrible weather that affected this event last year. That unpredictability could make for another interesting event this year.

Those are the main things I wanted to mention. Forgive me for not posting times, but I'm not certain I trust the schedule at golfchannel.com since the Eurasia Cup isn't even listed. If they are carrying it (as they said), there have to be some incorrect listings in the schedule!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The European Tour Resumes This Week

Both the PGA Tour and the European Tour start their regular schedules this week. The European Tour kicks off 2018 with the BMW SA Open.

2017 BMW SA Open champ Graeme Storm and caddie

You may not realize it, but the South African Open is the second oldest national Open in the world (1893). It's hosted by the City Ekurhuleni (don't ask me to pronounce that) at Glendower Golf Club, a nearly 7600-yard course at Johannesburg. And the defending champion is Graeme Storm, whose win last year locked up his Tour card.

Rather than repeat a lot of information, let me just link you to a page at europeantour.com called Five Things to Know, which will give you all this info and more.

To be honest, the thing I find most interesting about the tournament (at least, so far) is that Rory McIlroy isn't included in the entry list. Graeme beat Rory in a three-hole playoff last year, and I thought he'd want to see if he couldn't finish one spot better this time.

GC's schedule shows their coverage of this event begins at 2:30am ET on Wednesday morning. It's listed until 9:30am ET then continuing at 11:30am ET after Morning Drive. I don't know if that's all live coverage or not... but it's definitely a bonus for us ET fans.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Golf Ball Debates Resume

Dustin Johnson's 432-yard "almost a hole-in-one on a par-4" drive at Kapalua's 12th hole Sunday has started the new round of debates over the modern golf ball and how far it flies. GC posted this piece by Randall Mell on Monday that sums up some of the issues.

I must admit that at times I find this all a bit humorous. The history of golf is filled with players who seemed to be ungodly long with a driver, regardless of the ball they used.

Jack Nicklaus in 1966

For example, in an article in The American Golfer (dated 7 May 1921) O.B. Keeler wrote:
BOB JONES is an extremely long hitter. He has been a long hitter since he was thirteen years old. At Merion, in the national championship of 1916, Bob being then fourteen, he drove some of the longest tee-shots in that tournament, and, incidentally, traveled thirty holes against Frank Dyer in a matter of four strokes under 4's, if my memory is not at fault—the best stretch of golf shot in that tournament. He hit one or two tee-shots of better than three hundred yards. [p7]
Hmmm... a 14-year-old Bobby Jones could hit one of those old Haskell rubber balls -- essentially a balata ball -- over 300 yards with a persimmon-headed, hickory-shafted driver that would have been about two inches or so shorter than the current standard. And Jones was only around 5'10", about Rory McIlroy's height. Interesting.

Even more interesting is an article Keeler wrote in the same magazine later that year, in the 17 December 1921 issue, the tenth in a series called Why These Fads and Fancies? titled simply Ballistics. Here is a short section of that article, which began on page 13 and continued on page 30:
Recently we have got the golf ball in our power in at least one direction—we have the wretched thing standardized. That is, it must not weigh more than a certain weight (1.62 ounce); and it must not be smaller than a certain diameter, which I think is that same amount in inches; while it can be as much lighter or as much larger as desired—which doesn't appear to be much.

It seems we were tending toward a pellet about the size of an old-fashioned quinine pill, with a soupcon of radium in it, or something to give it a range that would result in the scrapping of all our standard golf courses and making them over on the Great Plains of the Middle West or the Desert of Sahara, or somewhere where there was more room.

The Royal and Ancients and other golf arbiters decided something ought to be done about it—steps should be taken, resolutions adopted; measures taken, or something. It turned out to be measures; weights and measures, you might say. And now we have the standardized golf ball, with no especial sacrifice of power, velocity or range, if the advertisements may be credited.

As a matter of fact, they stopped the revision of the ball downward right about where it was; I think that a few brands were a shade smaller and a shade heavier than the present standard; but I do not recall a season with more punishment administered to long-hitting records than the past one.

So the golf courses are saved, it seems; and we moderate players won't have to battle our way with a drive and five screaming brassies to get in range of the eight hundred and nine hundred and thousand-yard holes, predicted not so long ago by the more excitable pessimists as the logical outgrowth of the smaller and heavier and higher-powered projectiles turned out year by year.

Six hundred yards will, for the nonce, remain the approximate limit — that is to say, a drive and two screaming brassies for the gentler players to get in pitching distance; for it generally is agreed that a brassie shot should not be expected to scream unless it travels more than one hundred and fifty yards.
Bear in mind, this was written in 1921. It laments the (at that time) extreme distances which the ball traveled -- note that a 600-yard hole was considered "the approximate limit" at that time, although there weren't many of them. Note that Keeler says that others before him have lamented that the situation would be even worse!

And in the modern day? A 2013 Golf Magazine article said there were 20 holes over 600 yards on the PGA Tour and included pictures of the ten longest, the longest being the 667-yard first hole at Firestone.

So, despite all the advances in golf ball design, club design, course architecture, agronomy and player size -- that last is rarely mentioned as a significant change, although I would expect 6'4" DJ to hit the ball a bit longer than most players who weren't that tall! -- despite all that, the longest hole on Tour was still only 60-some yards longer than in 1921. (Please note that, while there are longer holes in the world, they aren't par-5s.)

And other players besides Jones have been long hitters despite using "inferior" equipment. Jack Nicklaus -- the above photo comes from 1966 -- won the 1963 PGA Championship at the Dallas Athletic Club by two shots. In the long drive competition held on Wednesday that week, Jack won with a 341-yard drive. Like Jones, Jack used a balata ball and persimmon-headed driver, albeit with a steel shaft. (I found that info in both this USA Today article -- where I got the photo above -- and Wikipedia's article on the 1963 PGA.)

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not arguing either for or against how far the ball travels. Personally I'd like to see something done to keep the older courses in play. Longtime readers of this blog may remember a 2009 post called Why Not a Par 67 Course? where I suggested the (apparently) blasphemous idea that par is a relatively meaningless concept and we could set it at any number we chose. These days I don't think that would make any difference, simply because Tour events have become so large that those courses don't have enough room for all the tents and parking and such.

I'll leave those debates to the analysts and officials who get paid to debate such things.

I suspect the powers-that-be will have to put a lid on development eventually -- longer courses are simply becoming economically and ecologically unfeasible these days. But it seems to me that, when you consider just the basic issue of distance, the golf ball debate hasn't changed much in at least a century. The pros have always been cited as "proof" that the ball flies too far, while the average amateur can't even drive the ball 200 yards consistently.

Perhaps this says less about the equipment and more about our inability to make a simple swinging motion with a club.

But whatever else it means, I guess we can look forward to an increased battle over golf ball standards this year. And that's about par for the course.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Winner: Dustin Johnson

Around the wider world of golf: I don't know of any other events this week. The year is young!

Dustin Johnson with Sentry ToC trophy

Well, yesterday I wrote that if Dustin Johnson was "on" at the Tournament of Champions, he could take the title easily. However, I thought there might be an upset in the making, simply because big leads -- especially in the first event of the year -- can be tricky to hold. My feeling was based on him possibly being rusty.

Shows how much I know. DJ posted the biggest win of his career, winning by eight shots in warm but soggy weather.

Now I wasn't the only one who considered a possible upset. Some analysts wondered if DJ's collapse at the WGC-China would eat at his confidence. They mentioned his record of 4-7 when leading after 54 holes. But THAT Dustin Johnson doesn't exist anymore.

At least, it's not a mental issue when he loses these days. It may be equipment problems or physical problems or simply the fact that nobody wins all the time. But DJ has enough positive performances in his memory banks that he isn't going to just crack under pressure.

The rest of the field might have had a chance if he did. Don't be counting on that, folks. DJ is healthy again and he knows he's not going to re-injure himself. This year may end up being the year we expected from him in 2017.

I think this Limerick Summary is only his first of the 2018 season. The rest of the Tour better buckle their seat belts -- it may be a rough ride for them!
With his back pain a thing of the past,
DJ’s lead at the start grew so fast
That the field groaned in shock—
‘Cause the golf course he walked
Didn’t play like the course where THEY crashed!
The photo came from this page at usatoday.com.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Is an Upset Brewing Today?

Yes, I admit it -- today's final round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions tantalizes me. And yes, I think we could see an upset.

Third-round leader Dustin Johnson

Of course, if DJ takes care of business he'll easily walk off with the win. History says the Plantation Course suits his game to a tee. And he's certainly playing well enough to take this event easily.

But there is other history at work here. Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner are five back, Jon Rahm is four back and Brian Harman is two back. In the last year Rahm has lost out to DJ once and to Harman once. And DJ was tied with Rahm in that last one, so Harmon has already beat him once as well.

Do I expect a shootout today? Yes, I do. But unlike most people, my money's on Harman. He's been playing very well for the last year or so, and all I can say is that I've got a feeling.

Then again, my brain might just be numb from the cold. I guess we'll find out later today.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Kenny Nairn on Hitting the Sweet Spot More Consistently (Video)

Instructor Kenny Nairn showed this impact drill a couple of days back on GC... and it fascinates me. This is a great example of a drill where you try to create a feel BUT your swing won't include the actual move you're practicing!



I know that 45° angle between the shaft and the target line seems unrealistic, but my testing seems to back it up. Your wrists are uncocking as you come down into the impact zone so they won't actually stay cocked that long UNLESS you're deliberately trying to hold the angle... and if you are, you're going to lose clubhead speed. However, because you are swinging on an inclinded plane extending from the ball up through your shoulders, that 45° angle is close to what you would see at some point as the clubhead approaches the ball. Do you follow me so far?

But here's the trick: If you are swinging freely, there is no way you're going to hold that shaft angle through impact as you do during this drill. What this drill teaches you is the necessity to keep turning your body until you completely finish your swing. That's why he stresses keeping your lead elbow close to your side all the way through -- this forces you to turn to your finish.

And with all the bad weather we're having this time of year, you can practice a half-swing version of this drill indoors. Just place a coin or something else small and flat on the floor instead of a ball. You can set up the entire "drill station" with just two clubs and a coin.

If you record your swing when you start swinging at full speed on the range, you won't actually see this position in your swing -- the club will be moving too fast. But trying to create this feel should help you learn to make better impact.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Real Golf at Last!

Defending champion Justin Thomas

Of course, things continued to happen in the world of golf over the holidays. For example:
  • At GC, Sean Foley and Jaime Diaz are in while Michael Breed and John Feinstein are out
  • Tiger announced his first two events of the season on the West Coast instead of in Dubai (a wise choice for his back, I think)
  • Sergio signed a new equipment contract with Callaway, probably the first of many new contracts for the pros
But the resumption of actual GOLF is what we've all been waiting for, and Thursday that became a reality as the Sentry Tournament of Champions got underway. So it's only fair that I post a few personal observations of the first round.

This is the first time in recent memory that the trade winds actually showed up as expected on Kapalua. And with so many young players in the field -- GC said the average age is 29.7, the youngest ever -- their inexperience with those winds, compounded by a little holiday rust, definitely showed. Of the 34 players in the field, only six broke 70. (Remember, par at Kapalua is 73.)

One of those players was Rickie Fowler, who got it to -3, fell back to even, then went birdie-birdie-par-par-eagle down the stretch to finish at -4. Equally impressive was Brian Harman's clean round of -5, given that Harman isn't considered a long hitter.

Likewise, Dustin Johnson didn't play particularly well but also managed a -4 round, as did Si Woo Kim. And Jhonattan Vegas posted a -5 while Marc Leishman topped the field with -6.

At the other end of the scale, Brooks Koepka (+5) and Jordan Spieth (+2) were among the day's strugglers. And defending champ Justin Thomas got it to -2 and fell back to +1 before getting it back to -2 for the day.

None of these players are out of it. The Plantation Course is known for giving up low scores and even Brooks could get himself right back in this thing with a low round today. But it will be interesting to see how quickly these guys can knock off the rust when the view is so distracting.

I'm so glad the game is afoot once again, especially since it means several hours watching Hawaiian scenery. It's cold around here!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Nancy Lopez on Using a Chipper (Video)

No, I'm not crazy. While most of you may never use a chipper, there's still some useful info in this video. Take a quick watch -- it's short.



Take note of the description of Nancy's chipper. Basically it's a putter with 7-iron loft. This is useful info because this is a club specifically designed for players who struggle with chipping. That means that, if you struggle with chipping, your 7-iron is a good choice for general chipping from just off the green.

Let's start with that and see what we can come up with.

First of all, you can use your putting grip, normal ball position and normal putting motion with your 7-iron. Personally I find that this works better with a slightly open stance than when I putt normally because, when I use my putting grip with an iron, I naturally take the club back a bit more to the inside. The open stance makes it easier to swing my iron down my intended line. You may find that a square or even a closed stance works best for you. Experiment a little to find out.

Next, I mentioned using your normal ball position for putting. That works best if the ball is sitting on top of the grass. If it's sitting down slightly, move the ball back in your stance just a little. You don't want to hit the ground first.

Finally, you have two options for how you actually contact the ball. You can set up with the sole of the club flat on the ground -- you'll need to move the ball a bit farther away from you than when you putt normally -- or you can set the club slightly up on the toe, which will allow you to place the ball at its normal distance from you when putting. Again, experiment with this a little. I find that the "toed" position works better with my putting grip and the soled position works better with my normal chipping grip.

There is no reason to keep struggling with your chipping this year. You have lots of options because you can use any club that feels good to you, all the way up to your hybrids and driver. The key is to take a technique you feel comfortable with -- putting fills the bill for most people -- and adapt it to another club in your bag. Just follow the steps in this post as a guide for experimenting, and I'm sure you'll find something tailor-made for you.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

John Webster on Practice with a Mirror (Video)

Instructor John Webster gave this lesson on GC about a month ago. It's about what to look for when using a mirror for indoor practice.



You can get the details from the video, but John mentions three important things that you should look for:
  • Your head doesn't have to stay motionless, but it should maintain the same level throughout your swing.
  • Along the same lines, you want your spine angle to stay consistent as you swing back and through. Changing your spine angle tends to raise and lower your head.
  • Finally, you want to maintain the triangle formed by your arms and shoulders -- which really means that your hands should be over your higher shoulder at the top of both your backswing and your finish.
And perhaps this will help you if you're having trouble maintaining your spine angle and head level: As a general rule, you don't straighten up your spine and lift your head UNLESS you're straightening your knees first. So if you have trouble with your levels, check that you're keeping a slight bend in at least one of your knees throughout your turn. At the extremes of your turn, one knee will tend to straighten at least a little as you brace your trailing knee on the backswing or "post up" your lead knee at impact.

If you can develop a better posture with John's mirror tips, your game will probably be noticeably better this spring.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Kicks Off with Prime Time Golf

The new year starts off with prime time golf -- at least it is here in the Southeastern US -- from Maui, Hawaii.

Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas

Sentry Insurance is the new host of the Tournament of Champions. The host course remains the same as in years past -- the Plantation Course at Kapalua. And the defending champion is Justin Thomas, this event having kicked off his amazing streak through 2017.

While a number of players have skipped this event in the past, the vast majority of last season's winners plan to tee it up this time -- 34 total, matching the most competitors in the past 15 years. (That sounds really impressive but there have been 34 players three other times.) I think that's all but three of those who qualified. Obviously this event means more to the younger players coming up!

It seems to me that Rickie Fowler may be the biggest story this week, simply because he's been playing so well and is coming off the Hero World Challenge win. Justin parlayed last year's win here into a blockbuster season that included his first major, and there's little doubt that Rickie would like to see the same thing happen to him. But the Kapalua course lends itself to low scores so he'll have his work cut out for him.

As I said, we get prime time golf to start the new year. The Sentry Tournament of Champions airs on GC starting at 5pm ET on Thursday with the Pre Game Show, then moving on to "official" coverage at 6pm ET. It's nice to get past the replay events of the last two weeks and see some NEW golf!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Tomorrow we get back to work. Today... WE PARTY!

Happy 2018!