Friday, February 25, 2022

Imagine Muny

So many “firsts” for me at this historic golf course.  Muny was the first 18 hole golf course I played (1968), my first golf lesson (1969) and my first tournament I competed was the Austin City Junior Championship (1969).  My high school team practiced and played there daily in the early 1970’s.  In fact, I still have friends to this day I met as a junior golfer at Muny!  The bottom line is Muny provided me the opportunity to fall in love with this game in which I made a career of being a PGA golf professional.  I loved the original design and hope Muny will be saved and restored for future generations.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Student Juan Martinez Correcting “Over the Top”

This is one of my students, Juan Martinez, working on correcting his “over the top” downswing.  In this picture note how the divots are all headed outside to in causing slices to the right.

We performed a series of drills utilizing a hula hoop and alignment rods.  The majority of the drills did not involve striking a golf ball but focus was on developing the correct feel for an on plane golf swing.

Once he performed the drills and he felt he had the correct feel in his mind we brought the ball back into the equation.  We used the training aid for a few swings to make sure he stayed on plane.

In the following photo note the divots are much straighter.  With a short iron he was hitting it solid and straight!  It’s still a work in progress but with more practice he will see better results with all of his clubs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Stay Connected for More Consistent Shots

      This drill can help you if you tend to over swing on the backswing or allow the elbows to separate either in the backswing or finish (chicken wing).   Secure a towel under your arms and keep it in place while you hit balls.  I recommend starting with a short iron and making half swings.  As you progress you can make full swings.  In general this will make your backswing feel more compact and help you rotate your torso better to the finish.  My mantra for this drill is “rotate and hinge the wrists, then rotate to target and re-hinge the wrists”.

Find the Low Point of your Iron Swing

This drill, which is performed in a bunker, will help you find the low point of your iron swing. Start by drawing a line in the sand.  I press the rake handle into the sand and it makes a perfect line.  Make a few half swings with your right hand only.  Grip down so the club isn’t too heavy and set up with the right hand slightly in front of the ball.  The goal is to strike the sand slightly in front of the line and maintain the wrist angle you had at address.  The next step is to repeat this action with the left hand only.  Set up with the left hand slightly in front of the ball.  The goal is to strike the sand slightly in front of the line and maintain wrist angle you had at address.  Now repeat the same motion and set up with both hands on the club.  If you are inconsistent in sticking the sand in front of the line you may need to make the swing smaller until you have success.  The last step is to place a ball on the front edge of the line and strike the ball with both hands on the club.  Your divot should be in front of the line if you struck the ball first!  

This bunker is a combination green side bunker and fairway bunker so I could hit 100 yard shots while performing this drill.  If you only have a greenside  bunker to practice this, then you wouldn’t hit a ball.  Also keep the swings smaller so you don’t excavate all the sand out of the bunker.  

When you return to the practice tee you should now be able to strike the ball first, then take a divot.  

Improve your Angle of Attack for Solid Iron Shots

The goal in any iron swing is to strike the ball then the turf.  This is accomplished with a descending angle of attack.  If you tend to hit behind the ball or hit the ball thin, this is a perfect drill to help you learn to strike the ball first.  Use a 9 iron and place a towel 5” behind the ball.  Make a half backswing and let the left hand lead the club to impact.  At the finish, your left arm and club should be in alignment.  If you hit the towel before the ball, your left hand wasn’t leading, in other words your low point was behind the ball.  When you perform this drill successfully the contact will feel great and the ball will fly straight to the target.

Friday, July 30, 2021

No More Shanks!

This is a great drill if you tend to strike the ball too close to the hosel causing the ball to go to the right or worse…the shank.  My student, Chase E. is demonstrating with a sand wedge.  Place two balls about 1” apart and set up to the ball farthest away.  The goal is to hit the inside ball as you swing.  The adjustment needed to accomplish this is your hands need to stay closer to your body on the downswing.  You will feel like you are hitting the inside ball slightly toward the toe of the club which is far away from the hosel.  If you do this you won’t hit the outside ball and your shot will be straight and solid.  It may take you a few swings to accomplish this challenge so I recommend placing your golf bag near the outside ball to act as a blockade so you won’t take half the golfers on the tee line out if both balls are struck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Eliminate Baseball Arms in your Golf Swing and Hit More Home Runs!

If your arms have the shape of a baseball player (at bat) at the top of your backswing or they resemble the shape of “home plate” after impact you are more than likely hitting lots of foul balls on the course.  I would simply say you are losing your arm structure in your golf swing.  Proper arm structure can be explained easily.  For a right handed golfer, on the backswing, the left arm remains comfortably extended and the right arm folds with the elbow pointed downward.  At impact, the left arm is still extended and the right arm remains folded and under the left.  After impact, the left arm begins to fold and the right arm extends toward the target.

The following is a great drill which will help you feel proper arm structure and you can perform this drill at home and on the practice tee.  Take your set up and place a book between your hands with the binder facing away from you.  Allow your arms to hang freely from your shoulders.  Now take a backswing and stop when your left arm is parallel to the ground.  At this point the left arm is extended and the right arm folded.  The book binder will be facing up to the sky.  This indicates you have not rolled your hands which would cause the club face to be either open or closed.

Now swing your arms to the impact position.  This position is much different than the set up position.  These are three key differences between the the set up and impact position:

A.  The left hand is more forward and the right arm more tucked to the side.

B.  The hips are open or facing the target and the shoulders are square to slightly open.

C.  The right knee is moving toward the left knee and the right foot is positioned more on the tip toe and the heel is released from the ground.

D.  There is more weight on the left leg than the right.

Now swing past impact to a position in which the right arm is parallel to the ground.  At this point the right arm is extended toward the target and the left arm is beginning to fold.  The book binder is again facing up to the sky just as in the backswing.  This indicates there has not been an opening or closing of the club face.  There will be more weight on the left leg and the right foot will be almost entirely on the tip toe.

Practice this motion many times pausing at the pictured key positions.  Now try it with a short iron in your hands.  Place your hands on the club just as you did the book and try the same motion.  You may have to grip down on the shaft so the club doesn’t feel so heavy.

After a few practice swings you may grip the club normally.  If you are at the practice tee now it’s time to hit a few balls.  I recommend hitting the ball from a tee and you should clip the ball from the tee with no divot.

After working on these drills you should have much better arm structure and hit the ball solid and straight.  The next step is to add a little wrist hinge on both sides of the swing while maintaining the same arm structure.

As you progress to a bigger swing you should have more home runs and not as many foul balls!