January 2018 - Page 2 of 2 - Golfing Well

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How an Empty Box Improved My Swing

When I first started playing golf my swing was amazing—at least I thought so. The problems in my game came from the wrong clubs, the wrong golf balls and the wrong tees—essentially, all of the equipment in my bag. Once I started replacing my generic equipment with better-designed alternatives, I soon realized that those elements would only get me so far—I needed to examine my swing.

When you really think about the game of golf, the physics involved are completely awe-inspiring: a human being whacks a slightly less than two-inch ball several hundred yards across varying terrain, landing that ball inside a hole less than five inches in diameter. Many times in as few as three strokes. How is this possible? Golfing technology has played a large part in shaving strokes off the game, but ultimately the answer is the golfer’s swing.

The perfect golf swing takes advantage of the science mixed up in how a golf ball travels through the air. When the ball takes flight, several things have to happen to create a great shot: the ball has to have spin, trajectory, and speed—and all in the proper amounts relative to the shot you are trying to make. In order to control spin, your swing has to deliver the correct club-head angle. In order to convey the proper trajectory, your swing has to address the ball at the proper position. In order to provide speed, your swing has to progress through the proper series of body motions. That’s a lot going on in just one swing!

As a beginner to the game of golf, I couldn’t afford to sink a lot of money into private lessons. As a result, I spent a lot of time working on my swing by trying methods and techniques I read about in popular golf magazines. Most of these techniques utilized well-crafted graphics with a lot of arrows and talk about a “C”-shaped swing. While this was helpful in allowing me to visualize what my swing should look like, it did little to give me a practical application of that information. I spent time videotaping myself, standing in front of mirrors—not to mention hours watching professionals play on television.

But I still couldn’t find that perfect swing.

The biggest problem I had was that I had an idea of a perfect swing, but I wasn’t addressing the specifics behind what was wrong with mine. Over time, I realized that I didn’t have a terrible swing; I just had a good swing with a tendency to fade. I was satisfied with the distance I was getting (speed), I could generally control the direction of the shot (trajectory), but I had a real problem with my shot sliding to the right on me as I played off the tee.

The most common swing problem in the history of golf is the slice—an unintended movement of the ball (for a right-handed player) from left to right while the ball is in the air. As I played, my fade would progress to a slice in direct response to my building frustration. When I found out a slice is common to most golfers, it didn’t make me feel better, it made me even more frustrated—I didn’t want to be average, even in my errors!

The best part about having a swing marred by a tendency to slice is that a slice is correctable—apparently, golfers who tend to hook (unintentionally moving the ball right to left while in the air) have a much harder time correcting their swings. With a little research, I found hundreds and hundreds of products designed to assist me in straightening out my little problem. But as I said before, I didn’t want to spend the money! Lucky for me, I did have a spare empty box lid from a box of golf balls.

There are many factors involved for creating a slice, but the physics come down to the ball spinning on the wrong axis while in the air. Draw a black line around the exact center of a golf ball, and point that line at a target. If the ball spins forward exactly on a center axis, it will fly in a path directly towards the target without shifting in flight. If the ball spins even slightly off that axis—spinning slightly to the right or left, it will curve in the air. This is because the dimples in the ball create a shift in pressure around the ball, similar to the way a pitcher uses the seams to create a curve ball in baseball. The ball may begin traveling in a straight line, but if it is spinning to the right, it will ultimately move in that direction. So, the problem lies in controlling the ball’s spin. And what controls spin? The angle of the club-head when it strikes the ball.

Problem solved! But not quite. The reason my club-head wasn’t striking the ball correctly could be attributed to several possible errors—closing or opening the clubface, getting ahead or behind my hips in the late stage of my swing, an improper grip on the shaft, etc. But you address these same issues for nearly every other swing problem! I was back to square one! Only this time I was armed with the right information. I knew that my problem was spin.

I reviewed the video tape of my body in motion and I paid particular attention to the details of my swing: grip fine, hips fine, clubface open fine, follow through—not fine. It seemed I had an abnormality in my follow through. I went back to the articles I had read on correcting swings and I found a great piece of advice that ended up costing me absolutely nothing. The article encouraged me to place the lid from a box of golf balls on end about eighteen inches in front of my stance. Using tees, I secured it to the ground so that it stood up without assistance, pointing in a line towards my target. I addressed the ball with the lid to my left, and as I finished my stroke, I had to avoid hitting the box lid. Voila! No slice!

I now make it a habit of using my little trick before every round to remind myself of the correct follow through for my swing. It’s not a fancy fix, but it works, and it didn’t cost me anything for my troubles. It took a lot of analysis to make it happen, but I’m now a much happier golfer. I still slice from time to time, but at least I now know why, and what I can work on for the future. It turns out my equipment was fine, I just hadn’t really understood the owner’s manual.

Golf Swing Trainer – What Is It?

Golf swing trainer is a term you might think of for a training aid that works on your golf swing. I’ve come up with a new definition for a golf swing trainer. It happens to be what I do for a living.

I won’t take up this whole article talking about myself, but I do want you to think of a golf swing trainer in a different light after reading this.

You see…I’ve watched and read about the millions of golfers who are in search of the “silver bullet”. The “magic pill” that will give them the perfect swing and the game they dream of. Well…it’s not out there! I hate to ruin the party, but there is no such thing.

There is hope!

I have spent the better part of 10 years studying the golf swing. And over 25 years in the field of fitness and exercise physiology. I have combined my two passions into the label of golf swing trainer.

It came to me one day when I was working with one of my personal golf clients. We were talking about his swing faults and I was prescribing golf stretches and exercises to eliminate the swing fault.

After just 4 sessions…his swing fault was gone! Completely! He was thrilled to say the least. He told me he had taken private golf lessons with 4 different golf teaching pros and couldn’t correct his golf swing fault.

When he explained it to me…it was obvious. It was a physical limitation that was not allowing his body to perform the prescribed technique all these teaching pros had told him he needed to do.

I was as thrilled as he was and now here I am. A golf swing trainer implementing golf exercises and stretches to eliminate golf swing faults. It’s the most effective way to permanently eliminate swing faults with minimal or now change in technique. The swing just falls into place when the body can perform at optimal strength and flexibility levels.

You heard it here first. Now I am quite confident you will hear more professionals in my field of expertise use it.

A golf swing trainer should have superior knowledge of the golf swing from a mechanical standpoint and physical standpoint. If one or the other is missing, then this individual isn’t a qualified professional that should be working on your golf swing.

So next time you hear this phrase…think of improving your body…not taking more lessons, buying the latest, greatest gimmicky training aid, or hitting more balls.

Golf Swing Trainer!

Golf Swing Problem And How To Fix It

Having a golf swing problem and not being able to correct it is the norm these days. Millions of golfers every year walk off the course in frustration. They all have a golf swing problem and have tried to fix it the “traditional way”.

What I mean…is going to an instructor who can very easily point out what the golfer is doing, but cannot necessarily get to the root of the problem. So many times the instructor will tell the golfer “he’s coming over the top” and that’s why he’s slicing the ball.

Or maybe he’s got the “chicken wing” in his follow through. But what does all that mean if you can’t get to what’s the cause and effect of that golf swing problem?

I’m here to tell you that many golf swing problems are caused by your body’s inability to perform optimal golf swing mechanics. Let me say that again. Your body is the culprit. If you don’t take a look at what the ‘physical’ issue is, you can take all the lessons you want and you will continue to have the same golf swing problem.

Let me give you a specific example.

You have a hard time staying “in your posture” during your golf swing. You’ve taken many lessons and your golf instructor keeps telling you “your coming out of your swing”. But what good is that if you don’t know why this is happening?

I’ll give you one (of many) reasons why this could be happening!

Your hamstrings (the back of your upper leg) are too tight AND week! This is a fact with the majority of golfers, especially the senior golfers.

Golf posture requires a bending at the hips, which puts a strain on the hamstrings and low back. If your hamstrings are tight, they will send a message to your brain saying “I can’t hold this, get me out of this uncomfortable position”.

Does that make sense?

The other message your hamstrings might send is “I’m not strong enough to hold this position, I’m going bail out of this position”.

This is a very common cause of “coming out of your golf swing”.

But if you are not aware this is the cause, you will continue to take lessons and hear the same thing over and over again. You could have saved hundreds of dollars in lessons, just by stretching and strengthening your hamstrings specific to your golf posture.

This is just one of many examples of how your body is what’s causing the golf swing problem.

Once you take the approach that your body dictates your ability to swing correctly, you will be on your way to the best golf of your life. You will soon not have to worry about a golf swing problem anymore.

Golf Swing Help With A Different Approach

Golf swing help is a thought in most amateur golfers minds on a daily basis. The never-ending search for a quick fix to your golf swing. I receive emails every day reading how golfers have tried “everything” and still haven’t improved. They have reached a state of desperation in their golf game.

Does this sound like you?

Unless you have 8 hours a day to work on your golf swing like the pros have, you will not be able to achieve that ultimate goal of consistent performance. The golf swing technique of today has become so complicated, that golfers are “paralyzed by over-analysis”.

I’ve heard some great analogies lately!

How about walking? Would we think of every biomechanical movement in every joint of our body when we walk? I don’t think so. If that happened, we’d have a lot of frustrated, immobile people out there.

The same thing holds true with golf. Having a basic understanding of how to hit the ball to your chosen target is critical, but after that, you shouldn’t have to think of 30 different things to swing the club to make this happen.

The end goal in golf is to get your ball to a target as accurately as you can, and then get it in the hole. With that being said, why are so many golfers not improving? The answer and solution are quite easy.

It’s what I say more than a dozen times every day to golfers. “It’s your body that swings the club, not the other way around”.

Your swing is only as good as your current ‘physical’ capabilities. Don’t you think that makes sense? I mean…if your body is tight (inflexible), do you think you’ll be able to make a nice full backswing with minimal tension? No way! That’s a physical impossibility.

The ONLY way to be able to achieve optimal swing mechanics with minimal effort is to improve your body’s ability to reach these physical points in the golf swing consistenly. Whether it’s a 90 degree shoulder turn, or hips slightly open with your head stationary behind the ball at impact.

It makes total sense to break down the swing fault you are currently dealing with and look at the physical requirement needed from your body. The more involved I get with improving golf performance, the more interested I’m getting in the biomechanics of the golf swing and how to improve them with the physical approach (both strength and flexibility).

I’ve seen dramatic results from members of my websites and customers of my golf improvement products, which tells me this is the way to improve your golf swing the quickest. I’ve had golfers literally tell me they wish they would have taken this approach 20 years ago!

Why not end the frustration once and for all and take a look at the ‘source’ of your swing fault?

With this approach, the last thing on your mind will be golf swing help.

Golf Swing Aids Aren’t Effective If…

Golf swing aids are rampant! Every golfer has dozens of them gathering dust in their garages or closets. How many wives have threatened a “clearing out” of these contraptions? If you are feeling me…keep reading.

Have you purchased golf swing aids only to use them once or twice and not see improvement? Isn’t this an everyday occurrence for golfers? I see and hear this all the time, and yet golfers will continue to spend hundreds of dollars by the ‘latest/greatest’ gimmick.

I don’t know if they (golfers) think they will find the “one” training aid that will change their game forever; or they are just trying to take the easy way out?

Either way, the main reason most golf swing aids don’t help is because you are not working on what’s causing your swing faults. You! Your machine (body) dictates your outcome! There’s no way around it!

What your body is capable of in that moment is the result you’ll get.

How many times have you wished you could make a bigger backswing but can’t? How often do you walk off the course with a sore back? How many times did you have a good front nine only to blow up on the back nine and shoot your normal score?

The above results were because of the “physical” issues within your body. Until you realize this and take a different approach to your golf improvement program, you’ll be a frustrated golfer for a long time.

In my opinion, there are a couple of golf swing aids that are effective when you incorporate them with your new golf training program. One is the medicus. This is a fantastic golf swing aid that gives you instant feedback. Swing it too fast or out of plane and the shaft breaks at the hinge.

Another golf swing aid I like is the weighted golf club. I swing mine everyday and boy does it loosen me up and strengthen my golf swing muscles.

Other than the above golf swing aids, there are dozens and dozens of ones that are a total waste of money. Save your money and work on you! The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll stop buying the latest, greatest golf swing aids.

The Secret to Effortless Distance With Your Golf Swing

Many times when you hear people talking about getting the most distance out of their drives or irons, you probably hear the word timing used as they talk about how to achieve this. Or, when you watch the professionals play (especially in person) the distance they achieve seems to come so effortlessly and smooth.

Although a discussion of the entire golf swing isn’t within the scope of this article, let’s talk about the timing. Timing is a word that is often bantered about when discussing the golf swing and more precisely achieving maximum distance; but timing of what? And how do I achieve it?

In a nutshell, when is comes to getting the most efficient distance out of your golf shot, the timing element is the timing of the release of the stored energy that has amassed during the process of your golf swing.

Again, for the purposes of this article, let’s fast forward just a bit to the point where you are at the top of your golf swing. At this point, if all has gone well, your left arm will straight. The relationship between the club and your wrists will be 90 degrees (wrists will be cocked). Your hips will have rotated approximately 45 degrees away from their original address position, while your shoulders have rotated more toward a 90 degree posture. Essentially, you are in somewhat of a ‘coiled’ position at the top of your backswing.

At this position, you have accumulated your stored energy. Except additional energy that will be stored and released rapidly as your shaft flexes and un-flexes, this is what you have to work with.

Now that you have all this energy stored up, how and when to release it is on of us golfers greatest conundrum. This power that you now possess is but a fleeting thing, and one must apply it at the proper moment in order to achieve the desired results.

Unfortunately, from this position at the top of the backswing is where the vast amount of golfers goes wrong; and that is the first movement they make back toward the ball is with the hands and arms. If you do this, a vast amount of your stored energy has now been released and not available to be applied to the golf ball. When you do this, you lose the angle created between your wrists and your club. You lose the angle that you have created between your shoulder and your hips. In essence, (among other things) you have begun uncoiling way to early.

Among other things, in its simplest form, this type of action is generally called swinging or releasing from the top or casting the club. Aside from grossly leaking energy from your swing this will cause and outside in swing path, and more often than not produce some severity of slice.

But, let’s stay strictly within the confines of energy and timing. If, from the top of your swing, you begin the ascent of your golf swing toward the impact zone from the ground up and maintain the aforementioned angles we discussed much longer, you’ll be well on your way to applying the energy of your swing at the proper moment (not to mention your swing path will be much more desirable).

From the top of your swing, the weight beginning to transfer from your back instep toward your front foot is what initiates the downswing. Not your hands, not your shoulders, not a spinning motion with your hips. As your weigh begins to move toward your front side, your hips will follow by beginning to release (uncoil) from the angle they had attained at the top of the swing. As the hips begin to uncoil and continue to follow the weight shift your shoulders and arms will naturally follow. Note that I said naturally. You shouldn’t be consciously firing your arms and shoulders to catch up. If you do, once again, you have just spent more of your stored energy.

As the weight shifts, the hips follow with rotation and the shoulders and arms now begin to follow suit, your wrists should still be in a ‘cocked’ position in relationship to the club. In other words, this angle is still maintained.

As your left hip clears, this imparts a tremendous amount of pressure for your upper body to catch up. And catch up it will in a big way. With you hips cleared and your belly beginning to point down the target line, you shoulders will follow through the hitting zone and finally your arms and hands will be naturally force to release in a dramatic fashion through the impact zone. As all this happens the shaft of your club will have a pretty fair amount of flex imparted on it. This is easily discernable if you look at a slow motion or still photo view of the club coming into the impact zone.

It is at this point, with the shaft flexed that the right hand begins to release (and eventually pronate) that is the culmination of releasing all this stored energy upon the golf ball with the proper timing.

In a sense, the release of the energy which entails the hips following the initiated weight shift, followed by the upper body responding to the hips uncoiling, that then begins to lead the arms and hands down the target line and through the hitting zone until finally the hands can no longer remain ‘cocked’ and they release the club naturally as a result of rapidly catching up to the rest of what the body has done.

In summary it is the arms and hands that complete the release of your stored energy NOT initiate it from the top of your swing. As you begin to bring this concept together it may actually feel to you as though your arms and hand are ‘trailing’ the rest of your swing. And in sense they are… they are waiting for the precise timing. And the great thing is, is that the physics of this will all take place quite naturally once you begin to refine the mechanics of your golf swing with your teaching professional. And with some practice you’ll soon be able to let the natural forces and physics of a good golf swing apply the proper timing to the golf ball in a smooth and effortless… longer distance manner.