Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The "No Backswing" Golf Swing in Golf Digest

I read an interesting article in Golf Digest about the "No Backswing" swing. It said that for higher handicaps, using a "No Backswing" approach would lower your score.

The premise was that since the backswing really doesn't add any value to the swing, but only gets you set up for a good downswing, then why not eliminate the back swing? They say to:
  1. set up to the ball like you normally would, with the proper distance from the ball, correct grip, etc....then...
  2. get at the position where your right elbow is bent, and the shaft of the club is at about 90 degrees to your straight left arm.
  3. Pump the left arm...basically raise the left arm a few inches and then..
  4. Hit the ball
Since a lot of beginners tend to sway away from the ball in the back swing, or do the dreaded reverse pivot, if they eliminate that back swing, they will eliminate those problems. In theory it sounds good.

I tried this at the range last weekend, and I actually did better at the "No Backswing" swing then I thought I would. However, I think this approach loses the rhythm and the back and forward swing creates.

After experimenting with this concept, I really think this "No Backswing" should be used as a drill rather than a swing that is used on the course.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

5 Steps to Fairway Bunkers

I saw a tip on the Golf Channel last night about fairway bunkers.

1) Ball a little back in your stance.
2) Little if no lower body movement...to help quiet lower body, point your toes inward
3) Take a smooth 3/4 swing
4) 1 extra club
5) Hit the ball first

If you follow these 5 steps...you'll hit the green every time from a fairway bunker!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Driver Issues

I am having serious issues with my driver. I went to Whirlwind last weekend and hit a ton of balls with my driver. Of course I still practiced my short game, but my driver has added a lot of strokes to my game lately because of penalty strokes.

Frustration began setting in after I wasn't able to cure my low-flying duck hook. The frustrating thing is that I KNOW what I'm doing wrong, I just can't consistently fix it. Sometimes when I try to fix it, I hit a high slice...but most of the time I continue to have the low hook.

There was a local golf teaching professional giving another guy a lesson about 50 yards away and I looked at him like a lost puppy but he didn't notice me. I wanted to run up to him, interrupt the lesson going on, and ask for a mercy lesson!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Golf Lesson with Dr. Joel

I had another great lesson with Joel from Kent Chase Golf Academy. It started out kind of rough...we found out the driving range closed right when I got there. So, luckily they have a short game area and we were able to hit chip shots and 100 yd approach shots.

Chipping:
This was a little confusing because Joel promotes bending the elbows on the back swing and forward swing, but I had been taught the chip was more like a putting stroke, where I usually keep my elbows at a fixed position.

Also, Joel wanted me to sweep the ball instead of having a steep angle of attack. I have always been taught to come in steeply at the ball in a chip shot. In fact, I have seen drills where you place a ball behind the one you're trying to hit to promote a steep descent.

He also told me to center the ball in my stance...again, I have been taught to have the ball a little back in my stance.

100 yd approach:
This part was great because I love approach shots. I love hitting the green more than anything else. A great drive is also nice, but something about hitting the green excites me even more.

Joel showed me this simple drill that really helps my approach shots. Take a practice swing and only remember 3 positions.
1) Take away - make sure the club head is in front of you (the hands). Butt of club should be pointing at your belt buckle.
2) Top of back swing - have some width, left arm fairly straight, right arm bent, shaft on plane (that's hard to see, but maybe if I make sure the butt of the club is pointing at the target line.)
3) Swing through to finish - finish can be many different levels, knockdown finish, controlled finish, or full finish (I'm sure there's more). Practice this finish on the practice swing and copy it on the full swing.

Performing these three positions during my practice swing helped a lot. Also, Joel pointed out that my right ankle rolls on my back swing, so to fix that, I placed a club parallel to the target line with the club head by my right foot. I place my foot on it and it keeps my weight on the inside of my right foot instead of the outside.

By the end of the practice I was hitting a lot of 100 yd, 80 yd, and 60 yd shots into the green. Now if I can just nail my driver to put me at those distances...and in the fairway!

Getting back into it

The weather here is cooling down, although last week it has still been in the 90's. Believe me, 90's feel A LOT cooler than 110!!! Plus it is cooling down at night.

So, I have been getting back into golf....the heat was killing my motivation. I have gone the past 2-3 weekends to a course that is a little off the beaten path called Whirlwind. It is a Troon managed course and has a great practice facility. It costs $20 to practice, but you get unlimited balls and they have a great short game area.