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  • A Lesson to Learn From...
    by Andrew Rice on August 3, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I recently gave an old friend a lesson. Having not taught him for a few years I had an inkling as to what to expect, but things came together so well I thought the information might be beneficial to more than just one student.This is why looking at still frames of an athletic motion can be deceiving. There are six different images/videos here that we will go through in a specific order. To get the most out of this post please make sure you go through this it slowly. Be sure you comprehend each image before moving to the next… (The original/before is always on the right in all of the images/videos)Image 1:Notice how these two images appear to be somewhat similar. I think many of us would give them both a thumbs up! They might be somewhat similar, but the outcomes are very different due to the unseen forces being applied to the club. Do not be deceived! Image 2:The player at the top of the backswing. The yellow line indicates where the sweet spot is relative to the feet and the golf ball. Notice that in the ‘after’ version the club head is significantly further to the inside than the original. This is shown by the distance between the line and the golf ball. Image 3:At approximately lead arm parallel to the ground notice how the golfer has had to force the club head to lay down on the before side. This is indicated by the difference in gap between the yellow and blue lines. Not much difference here, but the force the player is exerting on the club is very different here. Image 4:This is where the difference starts to show. On the right side you’ll notice that the excessive, yet necessary, lay down force has bled over and now has the club head in a position where the path will be too far out to the right, strike quality will be compromised and the player is dealing with blocks and hooks. Notice how the gap between blue and red line on the left is greater on the left side. That’s due to the fact that the golfer is free to rotate instead of having to force the club head to the inside in the downswing. Who wouldn’t want to turn hard and fire in the downswing?Image 5:The original downswing! With this move the golfer gets the club head too far to the inside coming into the golf ball and will struggle with blocks, hooks and poor quality strikes. Success with this downswing is very much timing reliant.Image 6:The objective for the downswing! With this move the golfer will deliver the club with a more neutral path, will hit down on the ball appropriately and be far less reliant on timing coming into impact. A happy golfer and coach.So how did we get it done? With a short-ish backswing the club head needed to be in a better position at the top of the backswing as the player had very little time to calibrate and position the club head for a proper delivery. Our goal was to improve the position at the top of the backswing in order to make the downswing free-er so the golfer could rotate hard left through impact. A good recipe for crisp strikes coupled with improved accuracy.The results here were as intended - a more neutral path and better attack angle for straighter and properly struck shots. Please don’t ever judge a golf swing by one picture.

  • Build a Better Backswing
    by Andrew Rice on June 29, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    If you watch any golf on TV you’ll notice that there certainly doesn’t seem to be one backswing that is universal to all Tour players. Their backswings range from long to short, laid off to across the line and fast to slow. The million dollar question is which one will work best for you and your game. Watch this video to start to understand your options…Length of BackswingDon’t be overly anxious to shorten your backswing. If the arms are collapsing or the hands are letting go then by all means work towards making the necessary upgrades.Longer backswings should almost have an across the line look, while shorter backswings simply must have the clubhead more behind them with a laid off look.Amount of TimeIdeally the amount of time taken once the club starts the motion away from the ball is right around 1 second. 0.75 seconds up to the top and 0.25 seconds for the downswing.Try the rapid fire drill to gain a sense of the appropriate amount of time as the vast majority of golfers take too much time and actually swing too slowly.The rolling start drill gets the club moving as it kicks the motion off.Clubface Position Open face golfers will typically have a difficult time hitting low shots and generating enough compression. The clubface is almost always open in the early downswing and this leads to flipping through impact to get the clubface around.Closed face golfers will struggle to get their long irons in the air. Compression is fine and the ball goes far enough, but getting an appropriate trajectory is a challenge. Get the clubface vertical in the early part of the backswing. Have the intent to hit the ball really high in practice.Ponder a few of these ideas, try a few of the drills and I hope that a few of these ideas help you to enjoy your next round of golf that much more. Cheers!

  • Get That Body Moving!
    by Andrew Rice on June 1, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    If you want the ball to get going you’ve got to get your body moving. For far too long the golf instruction community has restricted the pivot, but the advent of quality statistics and a deeper understanding of what truly matters in golf has opened our eyes to the value of distance. I get it - we’re all getting older. Me too! We must wage the battle against slower and smaller golf swings on a daily basis. This video in my “3 Keys Series” will help…If you’re a seasoned veteran or someone that’s new to the game, these keys will help you hit the ball with more authority:Allow the lead heel to get up off the ground in the backswing and free up the lower body.Get your belt buckle pointing away from the target as much as you physically can in the backswing.Feel the lead shoulder stretch away from the target so that you can really feel the tension and torque in your body as you wind up.I would encourage everybody to start doing this at home with out a club and in front of a mirror. You most likely know what it should look like, but we all need to get a feel for the right look. A mirror will help! From my own experience in working to incorporate these elements into my golf swing it will take some time as you get more comfortable with the bigger pivot, but the gains far outweigh the discomfort.Stay patient and never give up trying to get better! Sam Snead

  • Take Swing Changes to the Course
    by Andrew Rice on May 3, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    If I had a dollar for each time a golfer has said, “I’m great on the range, but I just can’t take it to the course” I’d be a wealthy man! I believe there are multiple reasons for this quandary many find themselves in. Firstly, most golfers don’t know how to practice in order to simulate an on-course environment and secondly it’s because when most golfers work on technical changes they don’t know how to go about assimilating the new moves into a full speed swing. Today we are going to address this important topic: How to take ownership of swing upgrades. Watch…A few key points:Use a 7 or an 8 ironUse an alignment aidIncorporate multiple rehearsals between each shot (get the FEEL!)Level 1Technical, slow , tedious and deliberateBall on a teeFeel the positionsIncorporate pauses in the motionLots of rehearsalSoft, tapping little shotsLevel 2Blend in rhythmSlow motion without any pausesBall on starts a tee and then we get it on the groundLots of rehearsal between each shotShots will not go very farLevel 3Start off at about 3/4 speedBall on the groundSlowly build up to 100% speedContinue to make rehearsals between each shotKeep in mind that objective of any technical swing work is to upgrade the mechanics while still operating at full, or perhaps even, faster speed. It’s also important to note that this method of practice only addresses the technical side. There is so much more required in order to take it to the course and that’s why I often talk about…SWING, SKILL & SHOT. Thanks for tuning in and please share with a friend who you know would benefit!

  • TrackMan: Definitive Answers at Impact and Beyond
    by Andrew Rice on March 26, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    trackman 4 Here is some interesting, albeit older, data mined by TrackMan from the PGA and LPGA Tours….(Please note that these are all averages)PGA Tour - Each club in the bag hits the ball the same average height– 30 yards.LPGA Tour - Each club in the bag hits the ball the same average height – 25 yards.My take away here is that slower club speeds will typically always hit the ball at lower peak heights than players with higher club speeds. My findings using TrackMan over the years have also shown me that slower player typically need to deliver more loft at impact, they need less shaft lean and they need to hit down less than their higher speed counterparts.In conditions that eliminated any roll, an average PGA Tour player would hit a driver and a 5-wood 500 yards; a driver and a 7- iron 441 yards; and a driver and a PW 405 yards.In conditions that eliminated any roll, an average LPGA Tour player would hit a driver and a 5-wood 405 yards; a driver and a 7- iron 361 yards; and a driver and a PW 327 yards.I’m not sure about you, but those are some hefty differences. Far too many courses I play have the ladies tees way too far back! I find that in general, both men and women play golf courses that are too long for them. An interesting exercise is to multiply the distance you CARRY a 5 iron by 36 - that’s the maximum length golf course you should be playing.The carry distance gaps between irons for PGA Tour players are typically greater from club to club than they are for LPGA Tour players.This indicates that higher speed golfers have an easier time spotting a distance difference between each club. It’s amazing how many ladies say they hit all their irons the same distance! You don’t, it’s just quite often difficult to determine much of a difference. As overall club speeds get slower the player should ideally carry fewer clubs so as to be able to establish differences between clubs and reduce overlap. Tony Finau using Trackman at Ping HQ Some useful General information:Shot direction is primarily determined by a combination of face angle, club path and impact location.The ball launches primarily in the direction of the club face - approximately 75-85% on full shots.For putting, shot accuracy is determined primarily by the face angle - the softer the hit (as in chipping and putting) the greater the effect of clubface. In putting the face accounts for 95+% of where the ball goes.Face angle (largely) determines the launch direction while shot curvature/shape is mostly determined by the club path relative to the face angle. Think of it this way: when a ball is struck with a descending blow, i.e. ball first, ground second, the attack angle is down, yet the ball goes up. The ball goes up due to the angle/loft of the face!The initial ball direction falls between the club face angle and club path yet it greatly favors the face angle.The further apart the club face and club path diverge from each other (basically - point in different directions) the more the ball's spin axis tilts and the more curvature exists on the shot.There isn’t really ever side spin - it is merely back spin on a tilted axis and the more the axis tilts, the more the ball flight curves.The average male golfer swings a driver somewhere between 82 and 88 mph.A carry distance of 100 yards for ladies is typically equivalent to a carry distance of 130 yards for men; 200 yards for ladies is equivalent to 250 yards for men.A par four of 350 yards for ladies is typically equivalent to a par four of 430 yards for the men.The most important factor in increasing carry distance is clubhead speed. With the driver, for every 1 mph you add to your swing speed you stand to gain around 2.75 yards.An increase of 1” in the length of a club will typically only increase the clubhead speed by 1 mph.The quality of the hit is very important as it relays clubhead speed into ball speed. Smash factor is calculated by dividing the ball speed by the clubhead speed. A smash factor of 1.5 is most often only attainable with the driver.The ball spends 1/2000th of a second on the clubface. That means it would take a scratch handicap golfer almost 28 rounds of even par golf to have the ball be on the clubface for one second!I have been privileged to have access to TrackMan in my teaching for almost 10 years now. I can unequivocally say that it has helped become a better teacher and coach. Yes, it’s a costly piece of equipment, but one that has paid dividends time and time again for me. There is no possible way I would be where I am today without this little orange box!

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