Monday, December 16, 2013

New TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver

TaylorMade has just introduced their latest driver.  It's called JetSpeed.  Imagine holding an F-16 plane on the end of a stick.  That's what it's like swinging the new JetSpeed.  It is the only driver on the market that has the speed pocket, which became popular with the Rocketballz fairway woods and rescues.  This new driver promotes faster ball speeds because of the technology.  Faster ball speeds=longer drives.  The head is big, the face is hot, and the shaft is long and light.  What a recipe!  This driver was designed to impart lower spin on the ball, especially when you hit the ball low on the face, compared to other drivers on the market.  What does this mean?  You may need to play a higher loft than you are used to playing to maximize you distance.  The idea is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible and to keep the backspin low, so when the ball hits the ground it runs like crazy.  For more information on this driver, check out potential golf.

Killer #5

Killer #5 Poor Sequence
Sequence is defined by when things happen and in what order.  The downswing sequence is where most golfers get it all wrong.  When a pro swings a club to the top of his swing and starts the move toward the ball, the downswing is initiated by the lower body moving first and toward the target, then the upper body unwinds, then the arms are pulled, followed by the club moving last.  This creates power and a whipping effect.  The average golfer gets to the top of their swing and their thought is to try and get the club on the ball as fast as possible.  The average golfer will start the downswing with a violent move with the club and hands starting the downswing, which causes the chest to open too early and for the legs to stall out and not be able to move forward as they should.  As a result, the average golfer gets to impact with their weight back and handle back while using a casting motion that slows down the club and causes great inconsistency.  It is just like a wheel on a tire.  The axle should move first, which moves the wheel, which subsequently moves the tire.  The tire is the last thing to move because it’s on the outside of the circle.  The club should work the same way.  You must get your body (axle) started first in order to get the club to fall into place and move properly and at maximum speed.  A good drill for this would be to take a back swing and pause at the top.  Then let your left knee and left hip move toward the target a few inches, while maintaining the club at the top.  Once you get the sense of the legs starting the downswing, try and let the rest of the chain reaction happen.  If done properly, you will feel the club swinging through the ball at a very high pace all on its own.  I call this effortless power!!  Give it a try.

Killer #4

Killer #4 Handle back at impact
Having the handle back at impact will cause you to hit fat and thin shots and to lose power and distance.  When the handle is back at impact it is typically caused from having your weight back, casting the club, excessive grip pressure, or bad timing.  Ever heard me say this before?  Again, all of these swing killers are intertwined.  When the handle is back at impact the golfer typically over uses the right hand in a scooping motion and the left arm chicken wings through impact.  The weight is also on the back foot too much which makes the casting motion worse.  The fix for getting the handle in front of the ball at impact is to work on your weight transfer, grip pressure,  sequence(which I will discuss next), and hand placement.  Trying to hit very easy, low shots is a good drill.  Also, hitting balls off of a down slope is a great drill.  You can also lay an alignment rod about 6 inches behind the ball when you are practicing to give you the sense of trying to bottom out your swing in front of it.  A towel can also be used instead of an alignment rod.  Fold the towel so it sits about half of an inch above the turf and about 6 inches behind the ball.  Try hitting shots and missing the towel on your approach to the ball.  

Killer #3

Killer #3 Hitting off of your back foot
Making contact with the ball while the majority of your weight is on your back foot is a killer.  Most golfers intuitively stay on their back foot to hit because they are trying to lift or scoop the ball into the air.  Ever heard of letting the club do the work?  Golfers also shift too much weight to their back foot in the back swing because they think that they need to get behind the ball or this will somehow give them more power or a bigger turn.  It does neither.  Once the majority of your weight gets behind the ball and on your back foot, the problem is that you don’t have enough time to get it back on your front foot by the time you make contact with the ball.  It takes about half of a second for most golfers from the top of their swing to contact.  That is not enough time for most of us to shift back to the left.  The fix for this would be to work on your weight transfer.  Start out without a ball or club and simply pretend you have a club in your hands.  Start your swing from a 50/50 weight distribution on each foot.  Try and simply turn your body staying fairly centered and not swaying to the right.  Just by turning you have loaded a little more weight on your back foot without being too far behind the ball.  When you start your downswing try and initiate it with the legs and hips, then the chest and arms last.  This will enable you to get onto your front foot earlier and have the proper weight transfer throughout your swing.  

Killer #2

Killer #2 Gripping the club in the palm of the left hand
There is probably not one PGA Tour or LPGA Tour professional that grips the club way up into the palm of their left hand (for right handed players).  They don’t grip it this way because they know they can’t hinge the wrists properly if they do.  Gripping in the palm takes away from range of motion in the wrists, causes the golfer to grip more tightly, and cast the club.  Ever heard me say this before?  All these killers are intertwined.  If your golf gloves tend to get worn on the meaty part of your left hand, then that is a good sign of a poor hand placement on the club.  The reason it gets worn out is because the grip of the club is sliding or moving around in your swing and the casting motion and excessive grip pressure play a role as well.  The fix for this will be to change the way your left hand is placed on the club.  A good drill for this is the way Adam Scott takes his grip.  When he is about to hit a shot he lets his left arm hang limp on his side the takes his grip while his left arm is on his side.  This allows the hand to be placed on the grip more towards the fingers of the left hand.  Give it a try.
If your glove looks like this one, it's time for a change.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Killers to the golf swing/Killer #1

There are 5 killers that I see almost every day on the range.  Eliminating these things is the kick start to better golf.  Here they are in no particular order:

1)     Excessive grip pressure (squeezing the club too hard)
2)     Gripping the club too much in the palm of the left hand
3)      Hitting off your back foot
4)      Handle back at impact (backwards shaft lean)
5)      Poor sequence of club and body (kinematic sequence)

I will be talking about each one of these topics in my next few posts with pictures and ways to improve each one.  

Killer #1 Excessive grip pressure 
Gripping the club too tightly can cause a loss of club head speed, a loss of range of motion, a lack of proper wrist action, casting the club, a loss of power, and fat and thin shots.  Most golfers grip the club too tightly because of an improper grip and to gain extra control of the club.  When you grip the club too tightly, you hinder the club’s potential to move at a high speed.  When you grip tightly, the tension goes all the way up your arms into your shoulders and back.  When the body is tight it can’t move.  When pressure is added early in the downswing the result is a club head that is cast at the ball.  Ever heard the term lag?  Casting is the opposite of lag.  Tight grip pressure also causes the club head to arrive at the ball too early with the hands behind the ball at impact, resulting in fat and thin shots that are not hit solidly.  All of the swing killers are all related.  They must all be eliminated to play at your best.  A good drill to combat the tight pressure would be to make some practice swings holding the club as light as humanly possible without it coming out of your hands.  Another good drill is to place the left hand on the club as you normally would and then just put your right thumb and forefinger on the bottom of the grip almost as if you were trying to hold your right ear lobe.  Make some swings with both of these drill without a ball to get the sense of a much lighter grip pressure.