How many times have you heard, “you have a beautiful practice swing.” We have all known someone that makes a wonderful relaxed practice swing only to look like a wild man when they actually go to hit the golf ball.
The example I have for you is not so drastic an example just mentioned but they’re out there. I’ve taken a practice swing video and a real shot video and put them on top of each other so you could see if there were differences in the positions. Yes there were differences and the differences would effect any ones ball flight and consistency.
I think the big difference is that in your practice swing you’re not focused on hitting the ball a specific distance. You’re not as tempted to surge or pull with your body to accelerate the golf club. The push, surge or transfer of weight to your front foot will cause your golf club path to get steeper on your down swing. The push to your front foot will also make it more difficult to square the golf club up at impact because you have less room or time to operate in.
Many a golf swing has been ruined with an over emphasis of the transfer of weight forward on the down swing. It’s not a slide or thrust to the front foot, it’s a turn or clearing motion of the hips with the sensation being the left cheek of your fanny is heading toward your right heel. (I explain further in the video below).
I went to see Chi Chi Rodriguez do a golf clinic because Paul Haun Jr., (famous trick shot artist that helped me improve my show) said to go see Chi Chi if you get a chance. If nothing else you’ll steal some great jokes, and I did!
Not expecting it, I took away something even better than the great joke. A golfer from the gallery asked, “Well Chi Chi, when do you transfer your weight on the down swing?” To my surprise Chi Chi said, “there is no transfer of weight on the down swing.” The crowd let out one of those OOHHHHH like a missed putt. That shows how much misinformation is out there that has been ingrained in the minds of so many golfers. Here’s another one, “keep your head down!”
Chic Chi went on to say that the golf swing is a rotary motion around a single axis which is the base of the spine. Chi Chi was right on target and take it for Gospel. Why? Because it’s not often a Cuban agrees with a Porto Rican! Cubans make better Rum too!
Yes there is a transfer of weight or balance by virtue of the upper body tilt, not the lower body shifting. In fact, with the proper turn on the back swing, you will feel as if you’re loaded on your left heel but a scale will make a liar out of us because your weight will be on your back foot. Just like a baseball player throwing a ball from center field to home plate, he tilts back not slide back to throw the ball.
I like to describe a golf drill as medication. You need to take your medication as prescribed for maximum results. You have a rash and the Doctor gives you some ointment, you take about half of it and the rash is so improved you stop. What happens? You got it, the rash comes back even stronger with resistance to the medication built up.
The Doctor says one pill every four hours. I say, “do the drill every time nobody’s looking.” It is the number of PROPER repetitions that bring results with a golf drill.
I dedicated an entire section of our lesson action manual, (only available to yearly members) on doing a drill properly because I consider it vital to your golf improvement or reprogramming. Yes you have to brain wash yourself, your mind, your physical movement to perform what is probably an uncomfortable movement or lets say unnatural to you.
Take heart because the new movement will eventually take hold, (if you perform the drill properly), and become second nature with time. However, remember that you are never cured, only in remission! The past swing fault will always rear it’s ugly head now and again so refer back to your drill work to put the swing fault back in its proper place.
One very important point about golf drills. One must fully understand the purpose of the drill. The example below is of the two o’clock drill. The purpose of this drill is to give your arms a head start on the down swing path to the golf ball so that the front shoulder, the leading arm and golf club shaft all line up perfectly at impact.
Sergio Garcia says his Dad would tell him to feel as though he were pulling down on a chain to start the downswing. He said a chain, not a piece of string. The chain gives the impression that it is something heavy and you need to pull hard! Also, as you pull down on the chain your front shoulder should go upward not towards the target!
David Love III said his Dad told him to pound a stake in the ground. He didn’t say tap into the ground. He said pound it! The moral to the story is pull hard and straight down not towards the golf ball!!!!!!
In summary, your front shoulder must either weight for the arms to start the down swing or move in an upward direction not towards the ball or target line. The transfer of weight to the front foot on the downswing has been over emphasized to such a point that so many golfers have their front shoulder well past the ball on the down swing prohibited the golf club face my squaring up at impact.
Below is a video that explains it all. If you’re not sure whether your shoulder is “off sides” or in front of the golf ball at impact, send a short video of your swing to firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE initial analysis. No obligation.
Many golfers search for lag in the their down swing.
Lag is NOT essential for great golf. As you will see in the video Rocco Mediate as very little lag in his downswing and yet he plays fantastic golf. He also smokes really good Cigars. Rocky Patel Decades. Don’t say anything but he might be getting some real Cubans from Jimenez but don’t say anything please.
Lag is actually called “angular acceleration.” The greater the angle the faster one must move to keep up. This is found in marching a column left or right. Maybe you’ve seen ice skaters spinning in a circle and the last skater has to hustle to catch up to the circle of skaters.
How about a race track for runners where you see staggered starting points because the outside runner would be covering a longer circumference unless you move them forward.
In order to produce lag in the golf swing one must have a separation of the arms FROM the body on the down swing. Because the arms are as if they were on the outside lane of the track above, they must have a head start because they have more real estate to cover. Yes yes I know about the connected theory. It works for some folks like Rocco.
Your chest and upper body have such a short distance to reach the finish line which is impact with the ball, that the arms need a considerable head start with the longer golf clubs like the driver and not as much with the short irons.
Watch this video of a very kind student Ed Schneck that allowed me to use his excellent example of lag in his down swing that he was not even trying to produce.
You have to have one of two elements to change a golf swing position in my opinion. The ability to nag a swing fault into submission or have an uncanny talent to focus on the task at hand and ignore the results for now meaning the golf ball flight.
I’ve presented you a very uncommon occurrence of an athlete that can make changes in an instant. I’ve been teaching golf since 1970 and I can attest that finding that special someone that can make a change and put it to use quickly is very rare or I would not present this example on our Blog.
I guess that means that the rest of us belong to the “I’ve got to nag the swing fault to death”group. More importantly, you need to isolate the swing fault and do the drill for that specific swing fault slowly, diligently and with purpose and concentration. Drill drill drill and forget it! Once you get to the golf course forget the drill and let it take over. If your doesn’t perform as you hoped you just haven’t done the drills enough or improperly.
With our lesson membership one can video themselves doing the drill and e-mail it to us for analysis. It is just as important for us to receive a video of a golfer doing the drill as it is their full swing. Golf drills are a form of medication and you must take as prescribed by your golf doctor to be effective. You can see the details of our membership at https://quickfixgolf.com/golf-lessons/group-golf-lessons-richmond-virginia/
I Met Rocco Mediate and Became a Big Fan Instantly!
Rocco was chipping along side my friend Gene Sauers while at the Champions Tour and I yelled out to him, “what are you smoking?” Rocco said, “are you a cigar guy?” Is there a Cuban that is NOT a cigar guy?
Rocco immediately invited me over for a smoke and handed me two Rocky Patel Decades and they were just my type of cigar. I like what he said. “I’m only going to give you two cigars because I don’t like you.” I love it! I’m so sick of political correctness. I told Rocco one of my best jokes and we laughed while we lit up our cigars.
One thing for our students to get out of this is that Rocco’s golf swing matches his personality. Long and flowing and never rushed. Your golf swing should match your personality or make-up. You can work on golf swing positions all you want but if your tempo, balance and over all balance isn’t what it should be you’re toast.
Great tempo and balance will over come many swing faults. Take a look at the analysis I just did of Rocco’s golf swing. I’ll be sending more from the Champions Tour shortly.
Hit one good drive on 18 and you’re ready to forget the entire day and look forward to your next round of golf when you will finally have your golf swing all under control. Good luck! You will never have your golf swing under control for long. That is the beauty of the game of golf.
One thing you can do to increase your chances of enjoying more good golf shots than bad, is by incorporating proper practice habits. Practicing the right things the right way will produce results. Persistence needs to be in any successful practice recipe.
One of our fine lesson members Kevin Hood showed all the above mentioned traits after years of disappointment with his golf swing. Kevin was a very good baseball player and a pull hitter which I believe added to his frustration. Pull hitters in baseball need to clear their chest first on the forward swing which is poison for the golf swing. I often tell baseball players to feel as if you’re hitting to the opposite field and get the bat out in front of you before you turn your body. Much easier said than done because many of our past baseball playing students had played baseball for a long time. Their swing habits are well ingrained from years of baseball.
Take a look at this video of Kevin’s golf swing before and after. Incredible improvement for someone that was about to hang himself in frustration. This example demonstrates how one must push forward no matter what the difficulty until you get it. Sometimes it just takes a light to go on when you least expect it. Winners never quit and quitters never win! Here’s the video.
Well I think the back hand tennis swing is very much like the golf swing. I’m going to prove it to you with the video below of a tennis pro in New York, Chris Porte. Chris sent us a video of his back hand questioning whether I thought the two swings had any similarity. Here’s his email: (Please see the followup email he sent after the analysis below)
Hi Bobby, we emailed back and forth some time ago; I coach tennis in NY City. I just watched your video on letting the arms swing while keeping the shoulders turned-you used Garcia. It reminded me of the my handed backhand where I let the arm swing freely AWAY from me-the body followed. Is that fair to say? Chris
I’ve been hammering away at all my kind and patient student members about how the arms work independent of the body on the down swing. Also on how you MUST be behind the golf ball not on top of it. (Golfers build their golf swing on top of the golf ball because some idiot told them to keep their head down and not move it.)
If you are right handed it is your left shoulder you want to line up with the golf ball not your head at address and at the moment of impact. Yes with the shorter golf clubs the ball moves back in the stance which gives the appearance as if the shoulder is past the ball but it’s not! The shorter golf clubs, (8,9,pw,gw,etc.) are built with shaft lean forward to accommodate the steeper angle of attack. The shorter golf clubs have a steeper lie angle or are more upright. (pictured below)
The golf club is swinging from your front shoulder not your head! Getting your front arm, and club shaft all in straight line at impact, is the challenge. Take a look at the picture at impact.
In order to accomplish any of these positions above you MUST get comfortable with having your head positioned well behind the golf ball at address or allow it to glide with the swing motion back and forth but NOT up and down! Take your pick. Either method will work.
Here’s the video I sent to Chris.
Here’s Chris comments after the video.
Hi Bobby, Thanks for doing the analysis! I’ve forwarded it to golf and tennis buddies and everyone enjoyed it with even some “aha, that makes sense” I’ve looked at virtually all the top instructors’ videos and you really are among the very best, if not THE best.
I’m 57 and playing on a torn meniscus (only very part time coaching and volunteer work) but grew up on lawn tennis at the old US Open Club in Forest Hills-I’m still a member; many open championships won over 4 decades, rankings, credentials, but here’s the thing-started with a weak Continental grip when I was five, which encouraged underspin slice but had good coaching a few years later and developed the stroke you see-it can be done!
Anyway, thanks again, of course show it to your students, and if you are in New York please do call on me-would love to have you as my guest at Forest Hills. ps Bob Dylan performing in our antique stadium in July.
Now please pay attention because those of you that have been taking lessons with me in the past have heard me hammer this concept again and again. What have I been saying?
Here’ how some of the BEST players in the world describe their down swing.
Tiger Woods, “I feel like my arms are dropping out of the sky in front of my chest.”
Al Geiberger, “I feel like I’m ringing a bell.”
Davis Love III, “My Dad taught me to pound a stake in the ground.”
Ben Hogan, “I feel like I’m pulling and arrow out of the quiver.”
Jack Nicklaus, “I feel like I have to get the club to the ball before the buttons of my shirt get there.”
Now here’s Sergio Garcia saying, “My Father told me to feel like pulling a chain down with both hands.”
So many golfers buy in to the drive with the legs, transfer your weight to your front foot etc. etc. All causing nothing but frustration because of the added motion of the body sending the golf club off path, not to mention killing your lag or as the engineers put it, “angular acceleration”.
Here’s a picture of Sergio from the article in Golf Digest February 2016. The complete article is on page 16. He also adds that “it’s important to NOT be in a hurry to get down to the ball.” Another thing you will notice form the article is that Sergio is actually flat footed at impact. It reminds of the drill Butch was doing with Tiger years ago back when Tiger was dominating. Hmmmmmm?
Butch had Tiger hit four iron punch shots while maintaining his right foot on the instep at the finish. Why? To slow the hips down! Butch probably knew Tiger’s left knee was not going to stand up to such abuse emanating from the hips.
If you don’t get to the proper tilt at the top of the back swing you can pull down all you want and it won’t work! You’ll be screaming obscenities at the Cuban when it ain’t my fault. You need to practice this in front of a mirror and now that there’s snow outside there’s no better time to drill this move into submission. Slowly and deliberately in front of a full length mirror.
Step 2: Work on getting the arms started first on the downswing. I suggest not pulling so hard or in a hurry. Feel your arms move slowly with your body staying perfectly still. Sure when you hit a golf ball your body will move but for the purpose of the drill, just move only your arms and get your arms to move independent of your body. (Oh yea, forget that connected baloney you read about in magazines or seen on TV)
I love the golf off-season! Maybe because I love to practice golf. Why? Because practicing properly makes golf more enjoyable. Playing golf poorly is NO fun! If you play golf five or six times a year that’s OK. It’s a day out for you. Enjoy the day, your friends and don’t get aggravated because you are most likely NOT going to play a decent round of golf.
For the true golfer, (those that have been bitten seriously by the bug) a crummy day on the golf course is agony and frustrating for the golfer and for those around them. Golf can be so frustrating! You must accept that as part of the beauty of the game and keep your frustration to yourself and be determined to make a well planned effort to improve.
That’s why I love the golf off-season. This opens an opportunity to target specific areas of your golf game for improvement without the pressure of having to perform on the golf course. Only play when you’re ready to put your new skills to the test. I like to tell students, “you’re putting the car in the garage to do a valve job so you can’t drive it for now, (stay off the golf course). Maybe I should add that you can still play golf on those nice days that surprise us during the winter that’s OK. But, do not expect miracles or a finished product from your off-season work. Expect the car to sputter a little until the value job is done.
What do you need to do and what do you need in tools to improve?
You need a full length mirror– Just like a ballet dancer you need to see yourself doing your dance step, (golf swing drill). You need to perform the drills slowly with vigilance in the mirror to make sure you are performing the drill properly. I’d rather do three (3) drills properly than twenty (20) wrong. Junk in junk out! In our Lesson Action Manual, (sorry only available to members) there is an entire section dedicated to practicing a drill properly. Mucho Importante!For members go to https://quickfixgolf.com and look for the Members tab upper right. Login and then go to the Golf Action Manual tab and click on that to get to the manual. See pages 22 through 25.
This will sound basis but you need someone you can trust to evaluate where you are in the process and critique how you’re practicing. With today’s technology you can take a “selfie” of yourself dong the drill, email it out to me for immediate feedback BEFORE you head to far down the wrong road potentially causing more bad habits than the ones you have now. I use the V1 system which you can download on your computer for FREE at https://quickfixgolf.com/golf-lessons/golf-lessons-retrieval/ (bottom of the page) or down load for about $2.99 the cell phone version which is quite convenient.
You either need a few decent days to test your drills on the range or a range that is covered and sometimes heated in your area. Most towns have one. Video your drill work at the range as well. You can view the video later at home, compare it to older videos and email it off to your coach if they offer such a service, (we allow unlimited videos analyzed with our yearly membership).
I try to stay away from teaching tools or gimmicks. They generally end up in the garage collecting dust. Quite frankly touring pros generally don’t use them either. Too cumbersome to carry around with you from town to town on the road. I get annoyed at pros that suggest you should purchase a swing plane tool for $299 when they themselves use an old broken shaft and a water bottle! Notice this picture of Vijay Signh doing just that.
Keep a golf club handy by the sofa – You’re watching TV? No reason why you can’t pick up the golf club and work on your grip during a commercial. I get up and do a short drill taking care not to pop someone on the head. Not necessarily a full length or full swing drill. I take the opportunity to “NAG” the movement I am trying to re-program into submission. It’s the number of PROPER reps you log that will make the difference. You most likely will NOT get to the range often enough so you have to take advantage of practice at home. Setting up a net and mat at home in the garage is great if you can do it. If you don’t have a net you can get some very soft foam golf balls at Walmart.