ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tiger and Friends on Hitting a Wedge (Video)

Tiger, Rory, DJ, J-Day and Rahmbo are talking about how to play a wedge shot. Wanna listen in?

The interesting bits are that Tiger says he uses his hands a lot, not to flip the club but to control the face. He takes spin off by delofting the clubface and adds spin by holding the face open.

He also says he plays it "dead-armed" which he clarifies as "slowing his hands down." That's useful info -- quiet arm action and less hand action are pretty much the same to him.

Rory feels as if he is swinging to the left to get more spin and Tiger agrees. Swinging left for a righthander means you play a bit of a fade, which is adding more loft.

Beyond that, Jason jokes, DJ says nothing and Rahmbo -- as usual -- says they're thinking too much. We all know that he just likes to step up and hit the shot, right?

The point here (I guess) is that there is no one way to feel a wedge shot. But there does seem to be agreement that delofting lessens spin and adding loft adds spin... and to do either, you need to use your hands. That's something to take away from this video.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Club You Don't Even Swing? (Video)

Most of you won't need this but, if you know someone who used to play golf but can no longer swing a club, you might like to know about this. Rick Shiels posted this Friday -- it's a review of a club that can give you a 200-yard drive without even swinging it.

Actually, it can hit the ball a variety of distances and Rick runs it through its paces to see if it might actually work for someone physically incapable of swinging a club. It can also hit fades and draws, although it certainly won't do everything. It's definitely an interesting piece of specialized equipment.

With this club, a chipping club and a putter, it just might make golf an option again for those incapacitated golfers who miss the game.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Some Different Game Formats to Try (Video)

In this video Golf Monthly's Neil Tappin and Jezz Ellwood suggest some new game formats to try if you're getting a bit bored with the same old thing. And no, we aren't talking about simple alternate shot or Stableford!

The first one, Yellow Ball, sounds like fun to me. If you like to have the pressure moving from one player to another during the round, that one may do the trick!

And the String Game is an interesting approach to handicapping.

This video might give you some new ideas for fun out on the course, especially if some of you aren't playing particularly well that day.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A 100-Year-Old Golf Ball Lesson (Video)

Yes, I found another Rick Shiels video that I love. Rick found an unused 1920 Spalding KroFlite golf ball on eBay for £50, took it out and compared it to a Pro V1, then cut it open to see how it looked. Here's a good opportunity to learn a little about how golf balls have changed over the last century.

Just a couple of observations:
  • I suspect that the effect of the wind that Rick noticed was also partially due to the core being a bit off-center. We take balanced golf balls for granted these days but the technology to make them -- and make them consistently -- is still a relatively recent innovation. Notice how the ball wanders when he's putting at the beginning. That ball isn't tracking the same each time!
  • The ball is softer in part because it was designed for use with woods and (at that time) irons that often didn't have very deep (if any) grooves. But age probably has something to do with it as well. Bear in mind that manufacturers were experimenting with all kinds of materials in the early part of the 20th Century. Do you see the dark spots in the core when Rick cuts it open? Those are either impurities or (more likely) air bubbles, although I don't know if that's a manufacturing flaw or just age causing a breakdown in the core material.
Modern golf balls are a wonder, folks. Hopefully this video gives you an appreciation for just how good even the cheapest 2020 balls are.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Forget Golf -- Let's Talk SPACE TRAVEL!

Just a reminder that the SpaceX/NASA manned mission to the Space Station is supposed to go off today at 2pm ET. And you've got a lot of options to watch it.

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley has an article with a listing of all the ways you can watch the launch, and there will likely be even more as various news outlets will want to cover this historic mission. But here, from that article, is one of the links that will probably be the most widely available around the planet -- the official NASA stream on
You'll be able to watch the SpaceX launch live here and on's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). But NASA's webcast won't be the only game in town. 
Veteran NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will be in the pilots' chairs for this first-ever commercial manned space launch (that's them in the photo above). And if you haven't kept up with the amazing story of how SpaceX and NASA got to this point, here's a CNN article that will give you most of the basics to get you up-to-speed.

This is going to be so cool!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to Pick the Right Shaft Flex (Video)

Here are a couple of the guys from 2nd Swing Golf with some tips to help you pick the right shaft flex for your clubs.

Just to mention a few things I found interesting:
  • There is no real standard for what makes a "regular" or "stiff" flex. Every company makes their clubs a bit differently.
  • A good place to start is to ask what club you generally use for a 150-yard shot. The video gives you some ideas for understanding what that tells you about your shaft.
  • There are a lot of things about your shaft that can only be figured out at a fitting. But that doesn't mean you can't figure out roughly what shaft flex you need... and if you just get the flex close, you're going to help your game a lot.
This is a particularly good video for those of you wondering if you can help your game by getting new clubs. If the flex of your current clubs is wrong for you, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 Phil/Tiger Rematch

Winner: Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning 1up

Around the wider world of golf: Jin Young Ko played Sung Hyun Park in the Hyundai Card Super Match. The match finished in a tie, which seems a bit anticlimactic to me, but they did generate a lot of money for COVID-19 charities.

Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods

Take two superstars like Phil and Tiger and put them in a match play event -- especially since Phil beat Tiger the last time they did so -- and throw in two Hall of Fame NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as their partners.

Break the 18-hole event in half -- the front nine as fourballs, the back nine as alternate shot. Throw in some wet weather.

Then let them play for $10million dollars for COVID-19 charities, and give viewers a chance to add money as the event progresses.

That was the idea behind The Match: Champions for Charity... and it appears it was a success. As you can see from the photo above, the fans eventually doubled the original charity amount.

And I'm not sure that total includes the 300,000 meals that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson pledged on one of the challenges.

For those of you who missed it, here's the quick version: Tiger and Peyton went 3up in the first six holes, but Phil and Tom made it a game on the back nine. It came down to the final hole, with Tiger and Peyton winning 1up.

Of course, this makes Tiger and Phil even in one-on-one match play. You know they'll have to have a tiebreaker, right? We'll have to wait and see when that happens. In the meantime, Tiger can gloat a bit over getting another one over on Phil... and on picking up another Limerick Summary.
With Peyton and Tiger and Tom
And Phil teeing up, it was on!
Their charity play
Was the win of the day…
But now Tiger is tied one-and-one.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Match 2 Is Today!

A reminder so you don't miss the Tiger/Phil rematch today, officially named The Match: Champions for Charity.

Tiger, Ernie Johnson of TNT and Phil

It's Tiger and Peyton Manning versus Phil and Tom Brady, playing at the Medalist Club in Florida. According to Golfweek:
The first nine holes of the match will be in a four-ball format followed by a modified alternate shot format on the back nine in which each golfer will tee off then each team will play alternate shot from the selected drive.
Not being mentioned as much but equally interesting to me is that Justin Thomas will be doing the on-course commentary. And he told Scott Van Pelt on ESPN's SportsCenter that he would indeed be talking trash with them as the round progresses. Given that he knows all but Peyton pretty well, this should be a very entertaining part of the match and I give TNT props for coming up with it.

According to CBS Sports, the full team will include Brian Anderson, Charles Barkley, Trevor Immelman, Justin Thomas and Amanda Balionis. They also say that the event will be broadcast on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, plus (if you can't get it on one of those channels) you can watch it for free on fuboTV. There's a link for that in the CBS article as well.

The TNT broadcast starts at 3pm ET today. Don't miss it!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dave Pelz on Wedge Ball Position (Video)

I remember seeing the GC show this short clip is from, but this bit is all we need today. Let's talk about ball position when playing a wedge shot. There are two things we want to learn from this clip.

The first thing to learn is how to determine ball position. (This is actually a useful thing to know when playing full shots as well.)

When you position your ball for a shot, you typically use the middle of your stance as your starting point. Please note that when Pelz puts his ball in the middle of his stance, he measures halfway between his heels, not his toes. When he fans his lead foot open, a ball in the middle of his stance actually appears to be more than halfway back.

So if you want to position your ball halfway in your stance, measure that position between your heels and not your toes. (And be aware that if you play the ball off your lead toe when you hit a drive, it's actually teed a bit in front of your stance. Interesting, eh?)

The second -- and perhaps more interesting -- point is that Pelz always positions the ball in the middle of his stance for a wedge shot. This is exactly opposite of what his prize pupil, Phil Mickelson, does!

Phil moves the ball forward to hit it higher while Pelz opens his stance and clubface instead. Pelz's reasoning is sound; the consistent position ensures more consistent contact -- no fat shots.

But while the Pelz reasoning is sound, that doesn't mean it's the best for you. Phil's way does require more practice and could result in more fat shots but, since we can be sure Pelz has explained that, clearly Phil is more comfortable with his own method.

So this gives you a new tool in your short game arsenal. If you've been using one way of positioning and aren't having the success you want, give the other method a try and see which one gives you better results more consistently. Golf is an individual game, after all, and you should learn to play the way that lets you score best.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Mike Malaska on the Secret to Getting Better (Video)

I'm glad Mike Malaska did this short video on the basics of golf. Watch and learn!

Make sure you understand this: You don't flip your hands. All you have to do is learn to point the clubface where you want it -- no flipping! -- and then you just swing your arms in the direction you want.

And here's the simplest truth of them all: You point the clubface using your hands. If you can point the clubface where you want it pointed, then you can control the ball.

Yes, it really is that simple. Watch and learn.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Jeff Simonds on Playing in the Wind (Video)

Simonds was Director of Golf at Bandon Dunes when this video was made. (I think he's Director of Resort Operations now.) In this short video he gives advice on driving in the wind.

This sounds almost Tom Watson-like. Simonds recommends leaving the tee height and ball position the same when playing in wind, in order to avoid changing how your club comes into the impact zone.

Instead, he recommends slowing down your tempo and swing speed a little while gripping down on the shaft slightly (maybe a half-inch). This is to reduce the amount of ballspin you get so the ball doesn't balloon up into the wind. He also suggests widening your stance if necessary to keep your balance.

This is a much simpler approach than most instructors suggest. But it sure sounds like a good idea if you're playing a links-style course.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Playing with Only Irons (Video)

This is an unexpectedly informative video. Rick Shiels is playing a few holes using only irons -- 4- thru 9-irons, three wedges and a putter. This is a very expensive set of Pings that are designed for forgiveness and distance.

Why do I say this video is unexpectedly informative? Because it gives you a diverse amount of info -- about how the finish can help or harm the durability of your clubs, how playing with just irons can help your strategy and creativity, and how clubs designed for forgiveness can have unexpected effects on your shots.

Of course Rick also reviews these Ping G710s as well. But as much as he likes them, at over $1800 for the set he doesn't seem quite sold on them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Will More Clubs Help Your Score? (Video)

I've used several Rick Shiels videos lately because he's been doing some interesting experiments to see how your equipment affects your score... and this one is the wildest of all. Rick has put 33 clubs in his bag, eliminating the possibility that he'll ever be between clubs. In addition, he added a chipper and a left-handed club for special shots. Will he shoot lower when he has more choices?

Let's admit it right now -- 33 clubs is overkill. He had eight wedges, for Pete's sake! But I think a case can be made for carrying a left-handed club (right-handed for you lefties) in case you get caught in a tough situation -- that is, assuming you learn how to hit the ball well enough from the "other" side to make it worthwhile.

But it also seems pretty clear that you need a serious strategy adjustment to use that many clubs. Too much choice can be worse than not enough because when you don't have the right club, I think it's still easier to commit to the shot with your "best guess" than when you have too many "correct" choices.

BTW, in case you're interested, the highest number of clubs used in an official event -- that is, before the max was set at 14 -- was 32 in 1935. And Lawson Little won the US and British Amateurs of 1934 and ’35 with nearly 30 clubs in his bag. The USGA and the R&A finally set the limit at 14 in 1936. You can read the history of such overstocked golf bags at this link.

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Limerick Summary: 2020 KLPGA Championship

Winner: Hyun Kyung Park

Around the wider world of golf: The team of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson beat Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff when Rory won a closest-to-the-pin playoff with a wedge from 125 yards to win the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins match; and Connor Syme won the Royal Portrush leg of the BMW Indoor Invitational on the ET.

Hyun Kyung Park with KLPGA Championship trophy

Hey, after two months we've got an actual Limerick Summary!

You can all thank IceCat (as I do) for this week's verse. He dropped me a comment on yesterday's post, reminding me that the KLPGA Championship had been held this past week at the Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, South Korea. For those of you who are interested, he also sent me this link to the original 150-minute live stream -- but dubbed in English -- that is now on YouTube:

The short version is that Park overcame a three-shot deficit at the start of the day with a final round 67 to win by one. She posted 17-under for the four-day event to snag her first KLPGA victory.

It may be her first win but it's not a fluke. I understand she had already entered the Top100 in the world with five Top6 finishes. This win isn't really a surprise after that kind of play.

Although the photo shows her with the trophy and no face mask, bear in mind that this event did use them. There were no fans in attendance, and during play the caddies wore masks while the players didn't have to. But I have seen photos of her receiving the trophy and, while in the presence of the presenters, Park was wearing a mask.

It seems the Korean Tours aren't completely comfortable yet, however. The Korea's Men's Open has been cancelled and there will be no other KPLGA event for two weeks. We'll have to see how things play out going forward.

But in the meantime, I can at least award a shiny new Limerick Summary to a deserving winner who wouldn't have gotten one under normal playing circumstances. Congratulation on your win, Hyun Kyung, and enjoy this bright spot in a rough sports environment!
Though Hyun Kyung Park’s fans couldn’t come,
In four rounds she got the job done.
Despite COVID fears
And a lack of loud cheers,
Her first win portends more to come.
The photo came from this page at

Sunday, May 17, 2020

How Important Are Expensive Clubs? (Video)

This is an interesting video, made in March. Instructors Rick Shiels and Matt Fryer play nine holes of scramble and try to beat par... but they're doing it with a cheap set of clubs and balls. They've never used the set before; they bought them on the way to the course and paid only £200 (that's roughly $242). How did they do?

I think this is a very informative video. I'm not saying you shouldn't get good clubs and have them fitted if you want to play your best. Still, Rick and Matt clearly demonstrate that expensive equipment may not be as important as most of us think.

But regardless of how much you spend for your clubs, I think I'd steer clear of emoji golf balls.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

One Club VS 14 Clubs (Video)

This is just a fun video: Club pro Rick Shiels (from the Rick Shiels Golf Youtube channel) uses one club (a 7-iron) to take on amateur John Robins (from the Bad Golf Youtube channel) and his full set of 14 clubs. This was shot back in February, and the two men played a 9-hole match. Robins had a 23 handicap at the time but the two played actual shots. It's an interesting match.

When Shiels sums up the match at the end, the results may not really come as a surprise to any of you... but it's rare that you actually see it demonstrated so well.

Friday, May 15, 2020

SkySports's New "Rory Reel" (Video)

SkySports put this out about a week ago. It's a trio of collected tips from Rory.

The tips are on hitting a stinger and a fade, and how to warm up on the range (not in that order). It's only five minutes long, but it's still fun to see how the current World #1 hits some of his most useful shots.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mike Malaska on Squaring the Clubface (Video)

In this video Mike Malaska clearly explains what a square clubface looks like during your swing. For you lefties out there, this describes your LEFT hand and the clubface.

Combine what you learn in this video with Malaska's walk back drill and your golf swing should improve quite a lot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Make Your Equipment Last Longer (Video)

If you don't like spending a fortune on new equipment all the time, this video may be for you. It has a lot of tips on how to make your equipment last longer -- not just clubs but also grips, gloves, balls and shoes.

Granted, some of the tips may seem a bit obsessive to many of you. But if you have a particularly favorite piece of equipment that you just can't bear to replace, you might find a jewel in these tips.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tom Stickney on Eliminating the Big Miss

Tom Stickney's article has some extremely useful info on how to tune your driver and adjust your swing to minimize how badly you mis-hit the ball.

Finding your best driver loft

Just as an example, here's a simple cue to help you find the correct loft for your driver.
As we know, ego plays a big part in the lofts most people use, as everyone wants to use a loft that is lower than all your buddies.
However, what we’ve found out is that your launch conditions are vital to making sure you have the right loft. If you tend to hit the ball high on the face, you can use lower loft, but if you hit the ball lower on the face, you will need more loft. Many drivers are adjustable, so be sure to experiment with this technology.
Why? This is due to the vertical gear effect on the driver— high face impacts add dynamic loft to the driver and the low face impacts reduce dynamic loft.
That's just one of the tips you'll find in this article. Definitely worth a look.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Ged Walters on Finding the Fairway (Video)

Ged has several tips to help you hit more fairways. Take a listen and you might find something useful you never considered before.

One tip I'd like to point out (that many players forget) is that you don't have to stand inside the tee box when you hit your drive. The ball has to be inside the box, but the rules say nothing about your feet. If you stand outside the tee box, that gives you some more places to tee up your ball.

And among those extra places just might be one that lets you get your drives in the fairway more often.

Like I said, take a listen and maybe you'll find a useful tip you never considered before.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Katie Rule's Fairway Wood Tips (Video)

Golf Monthly says these are "women's tips" but most men need help with fairway woods too. This supershort video has setup advice, a drill and an equipment tip.

Here are the tips, but Katie's demonstrations make them much clearer.
  • Ball position: Place the ball a full ball width back of your lead toe.
  • Drill: Place a strip of paper one ball width behind the ball and try to sweep the paper away with the ball at impact.
  • Equipment: If you have problems getting the ball up, try some fairway woods with different lofts. You may simply be using a club with too much loft for your swing.
Simple things to be sure -- but it's usually the simple things that give us the most trouble, isn't it?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Mike Malaska on Using Your Hands (Video)

People think using your hands will mess up your golf swing, but that's wrong. I'll explain what causes the problem after the video, but first listen to Mike Malaska explain how hand and wrist action creates clubhead speed.

Alright, I said I'd explain why hand and wrist action doesn't mess up your swing. The reason is really simple.
The problem isn't hand action. It's using hand action at the wrong time in your swing... and using your hands at the correct time isn't difficult to learn.
Too many people use their hands and wrists when their hands are at the top of their backswing. That's called casting -- like casting with a fishing rod -- and it means you're flinging the head of the club in the opposite direction that you want the ball to go. It means you're making a motion as if you were throwing a ball overhand, like a baseball pitcher. That's wrong.

You want to use your hands and wrists when they're down near the ball when it's sitting on the ground. Think of a softball pitcher throwing the ball underhanded. That's where you want to use your hands and wrists during your golf swing, and it feels very similar to that underhanded pitching motion.

Note that Mike recommends you start practicing this motion without trying to make a hip or shoulder turn; you just use your hands and arms to hit the ball, without trying to kill it. This is also a good use for the L-to-L drill (this link is for the most recent post I did with videos of the drill) because it's only waist to waist high... and that means you CAN'T cast the club from the top! It's a painless way to learn the correct feel of this move, and it's something you can do in the backyard with just a tee stuck in the ground as a target instead of a ball.

This may be the closest thing to a magic move that weekend golfers will ever find. Try it, please!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Mike Malaska's Walk Back Drill (Video)

This is one of the coolest Mike Malaska videos I've come across. This drill teaches you an easy way to create hip turn by moving away from the ball!

This is a video you'll probably need to watch several times to get it all. Simply put, Malaska says all the scientific research teaches us what happens in a golf swing but can't show us the correct way to make it happen.

Hip turn is a good example of this. You don't have to try to rotate your hips to make them rotate, as this drill demonstrates. You'll recognize the terminology -- push your hips straight back to create hip turn -- because a lot of instructors use it, but Mike is the first instructor I've seen with a drill to actually teach this movement.

The real irony is that it's easier to point your belly button toward the target using this motion -- at least, it is for me. It also eliminates a lot of excess side-to-side motion, which should improve how consistently you can hit the ball.

I really think spending some time studying this video can help your game. I know I'm going to study this approach.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Davis Love's Rhythm Drill (Video)

We're not talking about Davis Love III but his dad, the late Davis Love Jr. Instructor Jim Sowerwine demonstrates a drill he learned from Davis's dad to help players find what their swing feels like before they hit the course.

Simple enough.
  • Take a mid-iron (Jim uses a 6-iron as an example) and make a normal swing with it. Note the distance.
  • Make another full swing with that club but try to hit the ball only 100 yards. This will be harder.
  • Keep making full swings while hitting the ball different distances up to your normal distance. These "distance jumps" can be 10 to 20 yards or so.
  • Once you reach your normal distance, continue to make your normal swing but try to hit the ball about 10 yards further. You'll have to swing very hard and will probably be out of control.
  • Repeat the drill, going all the way back to 100 yards and then back out to your normal distance + 10 yards.
The idea here is to get a handle on how your swing feels that day. It will help you get a feel for what level of effort gives you your best rhythm and balance before you take to the course.

Feel can be an illusive thing. Any drill that helps you find your rhythm for the day might be worth a try.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The European Tour Goes Virtual

What else can I say? This is just SOOO cool!

With the various tours looking for ways to get golf back to the masses, the European Tour came up with a way to play virtual events. The BMW Indoor Invitational will play five 18-hole events using Trackman course simulators so the players can compete from their homes. The winners of each event will win $10k for their selected charities to help fight COVID-19.

A Trackman simulator

The "field" consists of five players -- Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Joost Luiten and Mike Lorenzo Vera. And the events will be played (simmed?) on five well-known courses:
  • May 9: St. Andrews (Old Course)
  • May 16: Royal Portrush
  • May 23: Golfclub München Eichenried
  • May 30: Real Club Valderrama
  • June 6: Wentworth
The European Tour will be broadcasting the event on their social channels, but you can also go to the official site at this link. This should be one of the more interesting sporting experiments to be attempted during this pandemic.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Mark It Down -- Sunday, May 17 (Video)

That's the date for the first official live golf broadcast since folks started taking the pandemic seriously. If you missed it, here's the Morning Drive announcement from Monday morning.

You can get all the details at this link -- and there's a lot of info there -- but here are the main things you need to know:
  • The TaylorMade Driving Relief event will raise money and awareness for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, two organizations helping to lead COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • This will be a two-man team match play event, with Rory and DJ playing against Rickie and Matt Wolff.
  • Sponsors Farmers Insurance and UnitedHealth Group are spearheading this $3million event, and a number of charities will benefit from it. Viewers will be able to contribute as well.
  • The event will be held at Seminole Golf Club, which may be the most famous venue that most golf fans have never seen. The fact that Seminole will finally be seen on TV as a tournament host has some folks more excited than the golf itself.
  • And you can see it on Sunday, May 17, with live coverage airing from 2-6pm ET on NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports and other PGA TOUR global media partners.
Those are the high points of the announcement, but check that link for all the details. This is going to be a pretty big charity event, and it might even be the first live sports event since the national shutdown. Could be historic!

Monday, May 4, 2020

GOLFTEC's Magic Move... and Flexibility (Video)

Golf Digest published an article about this concept back in September 2019, and this is the companion video that Nick Clearwater made to better illustrate the concepts. It's about what GOLFTEC calls "the magic move" (spoiler alert: it's shoulder turn) but I saw something else in this video that stood out to me. First though, here's the video:

You may have noticed that Nick says, contrary to popular belief, the ability to make a full shoulder turn is NOT a matter of flexibility. And if you watch the video, you'll learn a number of things you can do to get a better shoulder turn without doing a bunch of flexibility exercises.

But here's the deal: Near the end of the video Nick compares a typical pro swing to a typical amateur swing, both of which he has recorded during this video. However, if you pay attention to the numbers that show each swing's hip and shoulder turns in degrees, you'll see that the difference between the two swings is created almost entirely by the lack of hip turn in the amateur swing. Let me put that another way, just in case I'm not being clear:
If you subtract the amateur hip turn in degrees from the pro hip turn, you'll find that it's almost exactly the same difference as the pro shoulder turn minus the amateur shoulder turn. In other words, both pro and amateur have turned their shoulders the same amount, and the two shoulder turns would be identical if their hip turns matched.
So it sounds to me as if hip turn is actually the Magic Move in the golf swing, and maybe you should focus a bit more on your hip turn and a bit less on shoulder turn. Just saying...

And just for the record, it's been eight Mondays without a Limerick Summary. *sigh*

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Phil Mickelson on Shaping Iron Shots (Video)

We're going to focus on just a few seconds of this short video from Phil on how to shape iron shots. But first, watch the whole thing -- it's only four minutes long:

Now I have no doubt that many of you will get a lot from this video, but I want to focus on those of you who feel lost when it comes to shaping shots. Let's face it -- it's all well and good to talk about altering setup and changing face angles and such when you've got good control of your swing to begin with. Those players feel they can make such small changes.

But what about those of you who struggle just to get your ball in play? What if you'd be happy just to get your slice to calm down just a little so it would land in the fairway? Or for those with the other problem, suppose you'd just like to lessen that hook a bit?

Let's skip to the 2:05 mark and pay attention. Phil is talking about something he calls the "rounded hook." Don't worry about that for now; we're after something more basic than one specific shot here.

To play this shot, Phil says he wants to get a curve without adding hand or forearm action. He wants to use big muscles to create a curve. Why, you may ask? Because big muscles are easier to control.

His key is his lead elbow. Pay close attention here!
  • If his lead elbow floats away from his ribs, meaning that his lead arm is straight from shoulder to wrist as he moves into his finish, the clubface will tend to stay open.
  • If his lead elbow stays close (even against ) his ribs, meaning that his lead arm is dramatically bent as he hits the ball and moves into his finish, the clubface will tend to close.
You don't have to change anything else in your swing to get this result. Here's why:
When your lead elbow stays straight, your trailing hand can't catch up to your lead hand and go through impact together. Instead, your trail hand stays behind your lead hand and keeps the clubface from squaring up. But when your lead elbow bends, it effectively slows your lead hand down so your trail hand can catch up after all and the clubface closes more easily.
But there's more to it than that. You see...
  • When your lead elbow stays straight and moves away from your ribs, that slows down your body turn and makes your trail elbow stay closer to your body. As a result, your lead elbow gets even closer to the target than it was at setup. And...
  • When your lead elbow bends and stays closer to your ribs, it speeds up your body turn and allows your trail elbow to move away from your side and closer to the target. In doing so, it gets almost even with your lead elbow.
So where BOTH your elbows are at impact has a huge effect on whether the ball slices or hooks.
  • If your lead elbow drifts away from your ribs and the gap between your lead and trail elbows is large, the ball tends to slice. Specifically, a big gap makes a slice and a smaller gap makes a fade.
  • But if your trail elbow is close to your ribs and the gap between your lead and trail elbows is small, the ball tends to hook. Specifically, a small gap makes a straight ball or a draw, and if the gap is virtually nonexistent then the ball hooks.
I hope that gives you some idea of how you can start to change your shot shape without making a major change to your swing. Just by paying attention to where your elbows are when you make your regular swing can change the shape of your shots by making a lot of things happen automatically.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Strategy at the Belfry (Video)

If there's a place where you need strategy, it's the Belfry. So Golf Monthly went to four-time ET winner Matt Wallace, whose home club just happens to be the Belfry, and filmed some of his strategy tips for taming this legendary Ryder Cup venue. Enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2020

A Lesson with Lee Trevino (Video)

This is a golf clinic Trevino gave a year ago at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. It's hard to go wrong with a lesson from the Merry Mex. Enjoy!