Archive for the ‘A+Featured Swing Tips’ Category

Getting Your Swing Plane on Track!

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

After struggling with my swing, especially my driver for months, I’ve finally managed to get my long drive shot back.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t duffing my driver or anything but for the last couple months, I couldn’t hit the driver as long as I used to near 300+ yards and with an effortless swing.

There was something “missing” with my golf swing and for last couple months, I’ve never missed a practice session on a daily basis.

Anyways, I did figure out exactly that yesterday, and boy it was one of the best days in my life!

So, let me just tell you what happened.

First, I got to the range and hit about 150 golf balls. Something just felt weird that day and I couldn’t hit the ball like I wanted to. It felt like my rhythm was gone and all the stuff I have been doing went to pieces.

I felt a but frustrated so I hit another 100 golf balls. Of course, even after hitting so many balls in one day, my swing didn’t feel 100% right.

Finally, I gave up and headed to the short game practice area so I can practice some chipping and pitching.

On the practice green, my chipping had become a lot better over the months and I was able to hit many great chip shots within inches of the cup.

Here’s where it ticked me though, while I was trying to practice these impossible flop shots over the bunker with literally just 5 feet of green to work with, I found a swing that would allow me to hit the ball perfectly and effortlessly. TWICE, I hit the pin and many times, I was able to hit this new flop shot I was working on within inches of the cup.

As I was working on the flop shot, my instincts took over and my swing felt like it was on a “track”.

Right after that, I kept thinking to myself, “what if I use this same swing on my full shots”?

Immediately, I bought another 50 golf balls and headed back to range. My stomach was growling really loud at this point but I was too sure that this new “swing” I found while hitting a flop shot is it.

So, I tried my flop shot swing on the range, and guess what! My swing felt like I was on a “track” and I hit the ball really great, especially with driver, where I can “feel” the solidarity and just rocketed off the sweetspot.

This feeling of ball “sweetness” was what I had been looking for the last 3-4 months.

The big question, “how did you do it”?

So here’s what I did for the flop shot, I just took my regular chip shot and extended it.

The flop shot actually isn’t much more than opening your clubface and using your regular golf swing. There’s a more “riskier” of using your wrists only but I don’t recommend that route as it’s inconsistent and I know this because that’s how I started hitting flop shots 20 years ago.

Here’s exactly how it felt to me:

At address, I simply start my whole body, including my tummy, upperbody (where triangle formed by your shoulders, arms, and hands move together) by “rotating” against my body’s axis slightly inside the target line.

Once my whole body (tummy + upperbod) started rotating slightly inside the target line about 2-3 feet), my body felt like it was on a “track”. I just keep the momentum of that initial rotation going and it “felt” like I was swinging “on-plane” without even trying.

After that, the downswing was easy too, just coming back in the same plane.

You know those big white circle swing-plane trainers? Yup, it felt like my swing was on that without even trying.

I think the “secret” recipe here is that I kept everything more simpler. I just made sure I started my swing with my whole body on the right “track” (which is slightly inside the target line, which is exactly where your swing plane travels) and let the momentum do the rest.

Anyways, I am not giving you tips here, I am just telling you what worked for me but you are free to try it and tell me about it if it worked well for you to.

I know, my swing thoughts/theories change by daily basis but if this new method works time and time (which I highly believe I have finally found it!), I will make sure to take a video next time and show you what I mean.

Well, gotta go hit more balls, enough talkin’, let’s do more golfin’!

How to Swing “Effortlessly” with Rhythm!

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Yesterday, I showed you how to practice with less balls (and with quality), well today, let me show you how to swing “effortlessly” with great rhythm, something that happened to me by accident.

While trying to take it slow and really focus on every practice ball I hit, one of the things I used to do suddenly hit me.   (I know, it’s slowly coming back, hitting the golf ball pure.)

When I used to hit the ball really well, I remember being able to hit every club in my golf bag effortlessly, even the driver.

Essentially, when I used to hit the ball effortlessly, I could hit thousands of balls continuously without rest.

Well, I suddenly remembered that all I did was think of an “effortless” rhythm.

I started applying an “effortless” rhythm and immediately I began to start hitting the ball pretty darn good, straight and actually longer than ever (because I was hitting the ball squarely on the sweetspot time after time).

If  you watch pros on TV, you know how “effortless” they swing.  Simply copy their rhythm and I bet you will hit the ball better.

The only way you will be able to learn the “effortless” rhythm is by seeing it in your mind and practicing it on the practice tee.

So, let me show you exactly what I mean with bunch of great golf swings that I would call “effortless” on YouTube:

Take a look at Fred Couple’s driver shot on (the first one) on this video:

That would be an “ideal” rhythm where you can clearly see Freddie isn’t trying to hit the ball hard (although he does) but has a great “effortless” rhythm.

Here’s Tiger’s iron swing back in 2005:

I like the rhythm on this one, that’s what you should be trying to look at, trying to grasp the “rhythm”.

Also check out Jack Nicklaus’s iron shot rhythm on this one:

A bit fast but the rhythm is “effortless”, you can see how smooth Jack’s transition is from the top to the downswing, that’s what you want.

Also check out Greg Norman’s short iron shot from his prime:

Greg Norman’s wedge shots are a thing of beauty, especially his rhythm, looks so “effortless”.

These are just the “best” examples I could find of many golf pros that looks “effortless”.

Watch these videos over and over and try them the next time you are on the course or the practice range.

Happy golfin’~

How To Practice “Right” on the Range with Less Practice Balls!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

If you asked me how to practice “right” on the range with less practice balls, you could probably start learning by hitting 1 golf ball over and over as I showed you couple years back.

Seriously though, that’s only going to get  you far enough to get good at hitting a trick shot and even more seriously, let me tell you how to practice “right” on the range with less practice balls.

First of all, something interesting happened to me today.  I hit up the grass range today and started making some horrendous, humongous divots.   I’ve actually been doing this for awhile now, all through this year and especially on the golf course.

Before when I used to strike the ball pure, I barely even made any divots nor did I feel nothing else but the clubhead hitting smack in the square of the golf ball, nothing else, perhaps few hairs of grass.

Anyways, I’ve been sorta mindlessly banging balls on the range for quite awhile.  Of course, hitting a lot of balls can help to you a certain extent but after you reach a certain level, you need to focus on “quality”, not “quantity”.

I’ve just realized that even me, myself, I love hitting a jumbo bucket every time I go out on the range (135 balls) but today because I also had a dinner appointment to make, I hit a regular (90 balls) bucket.

Because I had limited number of golf balls, I had to make the most of each ball.

So, this is how I hit every golf ball since I could only hit 90 balls today:
(also “how to practice with quality”)

1. Visualize the flight of your ball.

2. Make two practice swings thinking about what you are working on such as I want to not “dip” my whole body on the backswing.

3. Align, get comfortable, hit the ball.

4. Analyze your results.  If you hit it perfectly straight and at your target, pat yourself on the back.  If you didn’t, make a mental note of what you did wrong such as big divot, banana slice, duck hook, etc…etc…

5. Repeat from 1 to 4 for about 5 to 10 balls and if you are doing something wrong , you should see a pattern here.   Really take a long pause and try to analyze what you did wrong, you should be able to find it.

For me, that pattern was that I was making these huge divots plus it hurt my hands because my clubhead digged so much into the ground.

So, I stopped after 10 golf balls and analyzed what the heck was I doing.   I went through my “check list” of things that can go wrong.

Usually, fat shots mean that I didn’t do a proper takeaway, perhaps not rotating my clubhead to the right enough.  But the thing was, I was doing that properly, I’ve been really focusing on my takeaway for the last whole week!

So, then I thought it was perhaps my follow-through, I tried couple different follow-throughs (such as swinging a bit more inside-out) but still same result.

Next, I tried changing my backswing a bit flatter, perhaps I was swinging too vertically?

I kept making HUGE divots.   Then, it hit me!  While I was trying to change my backswing to be a bit flatter, I noticed that on my backswing, I would dip my shoulders about 3-4 inches so I can get into position, or at least it felt naturally comfortable for me to do that.

I have absolutely no idea how I started dipping my shoulders (or the whole upper body) that much.  I think perhaps because I haven’t took a video of myself lately.  (which I despise to do so, I think video should be only reflection of your results, you shouldn’t use video to fix your swing although I have been guilty of doing that most of my life.  Trust me, video drives you nuts!)

Finally, I started getting my backswing in the correct motion of rotation without dipping.  Immediately, I noticed that I no longer made those weird, thick divots but very shallow ones and none for my longer irons.

Later today, I was up at my parent’s house and went into the swimming pool to also practice the correct motion.

It’s actually a really good exercise to really feel the correct backswing.  Or if you can imagine yourself standing in a pool with just your chin touching the top of the water, then try to make a backswing with your whole body turn without getting your nose wet.

I know, I was crazy and I actually just did this about 100 times in my parent’s pool and I think I’ve got the correct motion going.

I’ve actually never had this problem of dipping my shoulders on the backswing but I believe while I took couple years from golf, somehow my body picked up some bad golf moves.

Anyways, tomorrow will be a huge day to really get my golf swing together, I feel like I am almost there, back where when I was shooting 4 or 5 under par.   Well, it’s always work in progress.

And yeah, don’t forget the next time you go out on the range, buy less balls, I bet you will try harder on every shot.

P.S.  One more tip, if you are hitting your ball wayward and simply cannot figure out what the heck you are doing wrong, try doing a “slow-motion” swing very, very, very slowly. (without hitting a ball of course)

Shoulder Alignment…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Yup, today was one of those days I kept hitting the ball with a slight fade. Actually, it start a bit left of where I aimed and landed on the target or missed slightly right. I’ve been doing this for like last 3 months and wanted to really “fix” the issue.

So, I know I “align” my shoulders “parallel” to my target but just out of curiosity, decided to actually put a club on it.

And wow, my shoulders were about 10 degrees open, explaining my slightly left-to-right shots.

I had been doing this for months and this can cause many havoc like perfect shots that leak to the right or even duck hooks if you try to really square the clubface.

Anyways, align you shoulders to parallel to your target.

You can do this simply by placing a club on your shoulders after you take your address.

You might be surprised too, at where your shoulders are.

They should be “parallel” to your target line.

Now, I can actually hit the golf ball right on target, especially with the longer clubs. My problem now is that I am drawing the ball a bit too much as I am still trying to get used to the new shoulder alignment.

Keep hittin’ that ball and no matter what people tell you, you can do it, that’s the will you will need out there on the course. :)

Are You Being Too Anal?

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Yup, golf can become a bit too “anal”.  Even myself, I used to record my own swing like on everyday basis, trying to achieve a certain, magical swing plane that could get me to hit the ball consistently.

Even as of last couple weeks, I have been guilty of that, trying to swing on a magical plane while my inner-self told me to swing naturally.

A lot of times, golf can be harder because you try to be too logical and grasp a concrete theory.  But in the end, the truth is that golf has no standards, no real boundaries to abide by, those are really all set by human beings like you and me.

Of course, certain rules of human anatomy will be correct but in many instances, the golf swing that brings you the best results (not best looks) is the one you want to find.

Today, I am happy to announce that I’ve really found my swing, actually I’ve re-found what I used to do before.

For some reason, couple weeks ago, I became a bit fanatic with swing plane, trying to force myself to swing in a certain swing plane, just like Ben Hogan said, to imagine a pane of glass.   Sadly, that did work for most of my clubs except some days I hit the ball really good and some days, it was like I had no feel for my swing.

Yesterday was such a day.  I was hitting the ball so straight and long for the whole week before then I go practice at another practice range in another city, everything falls apart.  My golf swing felt literally like a mass of concrete that just started hardening.

Anyways, today I gave up everything about golf swing planes and try to really “free” myself.  Regardless of my swing plane, I told myself to make a backswing in which I used all my body together and one that felt strong.

All the sudden, I found my golf swing.

So, here’s the swing keys I reverse-engineered by making my body do what it really wanted:

1. First, my takeaway was different.  Before, I used to try to really “guide” (and force) my club onto my imaginary swing plane.   Now, I just turn my whole body to the right as if I was shaking hands with someone on the right.  This is actually how I swung many years before, I just happen to realize time again that it’s the “natural” way to swing.

From there, all I did was turn my shoulders and voila, everything else fell in place.

I used to do a practice drill, I even did a blog post on this.  I don’t know I keep forgetting, perhaps because I have been a bit too long away from golf.

Anyways, problem solved.  I am started to really shape my shots the way I want to.

The real secret to finding your own swing is to really try to let your natural instincts take over and just let it go.

I was so frustrated with last night’s practice that today I just let it go, let my body lead my golf swing.  The result was that I was able to actually find the “correct” and “natural” way for my body to swing.

I have to emphasize that it was correct and natural for me because everyone has different “natural” tendencies that could work to your advantage.

How to achieve this kind of wonderment?

It’s not that hard.  Just keep trying different moves.  When a certain move gives you better results, try to “reverse-engineer” what you are doing without really trying.   That’s the key.  When you let your body become the leader of your brain and body, you will ultimately learn that the best golf swing is already somewhere inside yourself, you just need to be patient and listen.

Well, I know I am being a bit abstract about all this but I hope you try it.  Next time you are having a tough time hitting the ball the way you want to, try just letting it go and see what your body does best.

Anyways, I am playing another round of golf tomorrow, wish me luck to break 75 for the first time this year.

Yup, I practiced today too!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Yup, today I practiced too!  I think I am getting better as I get more “hawk-eye” stare-downs by retired, old folks who want to get better at golf.

For instance, this 60-year old guy kept staring down at my swing while I practiced.  Although I don’t usually notice because I have my music on my iPod all the way up, I do notice that more people are being more attentive of how I am swinging.

No, I am not boasting about my golf skills, I am just saying, I am getting better.

Anyways, today was a lot better than yesterday.   I know, I know, I get better everyday.  I used to tell my dad and mom how I found the “secret” to golf like everyday, now you get to actually experience that as one of my readers.  That’s actually one of the secrets, that you try so freakin’ hard.

If my blog posts ain’t proof that I am getting better, you are not in the right mind.

Anyways, here’s the golf tips for today.

Body, body, and more body swing.  That’s all I’ve got.  I hit these “amazing” 225 yard 2-iron shots straight at my target today, it was ridiculously straight and went on an angle like a rocketship going at 45 degrees from impact.

Anyways, it was good, I really focused on using my whole body to swing and that is all I needed to do.

Sorry, my blog posts are getting a bit redundant but I can’t tell you how many times you need to swing with your body, not with you hands.

That’s all for today folks, I will update you this weekend what I shoot, my best record for this year so far is a 79, pretty damn horrible by my standards but that might be good for most of you. :)

P.S. With me managing my own web business and trying to play/practice golf, and also write this blog, it can become a crazy havoc of mess.   Hey, but my golf swing is gettin’ reaaal good!

P.S.2. Putting tip – I had a great putting practice today, one of the keys was to make sure to “lower” your hands a bit so they are “in-plane” with your forearms  and the club.  I putt like crazy GOOD!

Really Hitting the Ball with Your Body!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Today marks my 60th day of golfing everyday.  Whether I hit 135 golf balls on the range or played 18th holes, I haven’t missed a single day of golf for the last two months.

Yes, if you want to improve as bad as I want to, you will have to play golf everyday.  That is surely one way to improve.

Of course, today I had one of those days when my ball was just hitting the sweetspot of my clubface every time.  In fact, I hit it so many times so pure that after hitting 20 balls, my clubface would leave an imprint of exactly where the ball hit.

What was different today than any other day was that I was beginning to become more “aware” of my body as a whole and simply began swinging with my “whole body”.

I know, I know, it’s so simple but next time you are on the range, see if you can feel yourself swinging with your “whole body”, even on your takeaway, backswing, downswing, and the finish.

When you can do that, you have taken a lot of club manipulations (by your hands) out of the equation.

But it does take you a long time before you “finally” get it, swinging with your “whole body”.  Even me, I didn’t hit many balls or practice often and took me 2 months to “get it back”.

Think of golf as an art.  Each stroke you make will make a difference but it will be many strokes before your art becomes masterful.    Don’t try to become so good overnight because you simply can’t.

Try to work on 2 or 3 things at a time and try different things until you find something that works for you.

Positions and swing plane is great to work on except if you ain’t flushing the golf ball on target and on the sweetspot, you might as well go fishing for a bit.

The point is, you need to make theory and your swing work together.  Golf is really hard because there’s no right answer nor right golf swing for everyone and everyone has a different swing.

You just need to find one that gives you consistent results and the one that lets you hit the golf ball on the sweetspot of your golf club.

Other than that, you just need to have a good grip and swing on-plane.

Anyways, keep practicin’ and make sure you take your time and think, visualize the results you want.  Also analyze what you did wrong after a round and work on your weaknesses.

That’s all I am doin’, just trying to get the little things worked out so I can hit the ball closer to the hole.

Good luck!

P.S. I had some personal emergencies today and couldn’t play golf but just practiced.  Well, I will try to get a round in tomorrow hopefully…

How Hard is Pro Golf?

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Recently, Jerry Rice gave up after a set of 92-82 and 83-76 at the Nationwide Tour:

Rice had shot 92-82 in the first two rounds of the event. He began his quest for a pro golfing card last month when he shot 83-76 and missed the cut at an event in California.

How hard is golf?

Trust me, Jerry Rice would have to keep playing a lot more competitive rounds to see if he can make it.  I think Jerry Rice can make it, if he tries really hard for another 10 years but I don’t think it’s going to happen over just couple Nationwide events.

A lot of people may not realize how hard professional golf is but trust me, I’ve been in the pro golf gutter most of my life, the stakes are a lot higher than any amateur tournament and even higher, if golf is the only thing you know how to do to make a living.

On the other hand, Babe Zaharias was a women’s olympic star who decided to take similar route as Jerry Rice, except she exceeded everyone’s expectations by winning the U.S. Women’s open eventually.

I guess it all boils down to how determined you are no matter how badly you fall.  Yes, I have shot a ton of 96s in my life at golf tournaments because I simply couldn’t handle the pressure but if you keep playing, you get used to it and start scoring better eventually.

I just got back from my practice today, here’s a couple swing thoughts I was working on:

1. Making sure to cock my hands more “upwards” because I tend to lay off my clubface at the top.

2. Downswing felt automatic once I got the backswing done correctly.

3. Also, don’t forget to “finish” your backswing before your downswing, otherwise it will lead to a mess of events and club manipulation.

By the way, some of these thoughts my help you might not, I am just writing them down on this blog so I can remember it and go back to it if I start losing it.  But it may help you greatly, try them.

Never be afraid to try new moves.  If they don’t work, just fall back on your old moves.

I tried some new swing theories I had today and they didn’t work, so I simply fell back to my swing thoughts from the day before.

Alignment and Body Swing Ready at Address!

Monday, May 17th, 2010

So, I will be honest.

I played 3 rounds this year, first time playing golf in 2 years.  (I hit a lot of balls here and there but never played much, maybe 1 round a year)

The first time out, I played a pretty tough course (6900 yard from blues, 72.5 slope rating) in my flip flops!  Yes, I shot 85 in my flip flops but my foot hurt bad real bad.

Second time out the next week, I broke 80 by shooting a 79.   It was an easy course though but still, I am slowly coming back.

Last saturday I shot another 79, 1-over 37 on front and 6-over 42 on the back.  I hit like every fairway, hit the driver great but missed like 75% of my  approach shots from the fairway.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, I haven’t worn golf shoes on the course yet, I wore my “slippery-on-the-grass” skateboard sneakers the last two times I shot 79s.  So next time I want to see what I shoot with golf shoes on.  (I did this on purpose to improve my balance and indeed, my balance has been improving well, I will have a blog post about that too.)

Worst of all, my short game was good on the front nine (where I had kick-in givemes) but on the back nine, I left myself like 5-footers all the time and I missed like ALL of them.

Anyways, I have yet to break par this year but I am pretty satisfied with where my game is going.  It shouldn’t be too long though so long as I keep playing.

One of the players that I played with the other day, on the 18th hole, hit it dead straight but his aim was toward the trees on the right.  Of course, he hit the trees.

I told him he hit the ball super straight but he was aimed like 40-yards right of the fairway.

A lot of times in golf, alignment and aim is everything.

If you are even aligned 10-yards slightly left or right, that can make  your natural instincts take over and try to manipulate the club so your golf ball goes toward the target.

Now, if this manipulations works well, you are fine but a lot of times, you will get bunch of duck hooks or banana slices in these situations. (Or, you hit it dead straight towards where you are aimed.)

If you want to be a great player, you might want to think about putting a club down between your ball and stance “parallel” to your target when you practice.

I know, it’s cumbersome but this simple act of alignment and aim can make you hit 14 out of 14 fairways or 0 out of 14 fairways.

The other day I hit 13 out of 14 fairways, that’s after I fixed my alignment and aim.

If you ever get a chance to watch the PGA tour guys practice on the tee, you will notice that a lot of them will put a club down during practice.   It’s not really a secret but yes, it’s like cheating in golf.    You should always put a club down parallel to your golf ball if you have never done it before.  I bet you, you are either aiming way left or right of your target.

Alignment is like 90% of making the golf ball where you want it to go.

On another note, during today’s practice, I realized another cool image (swing thought) that helped me make a more consistent swing.

That is to really “feel” your whole body being “together” at address before you start that swing.   What this does is gets you ready for the actual swing and by the time you start swinging, you move everything together, your hands, arms, shoulders, and belly in sync.

Anyways, my next goal is to break 75 next weekend.   Don’t shoot me for  that.  Even for me, after a 2 year layoff from golf play, it takes me about 5-6 rounds before I can break par again.

But I am getting there, I feel like I want to really push myself hard so I can make the PGA Tour next couple years.  First I will have to shoot up some lower numbers though like 65, 66, and whatnot.

Wish me luck!  And oh yeah, you can always find me practicing at Cypress Golf course in Colma or San Bruno range if you are in the bay area.

P.S. One more tip, how to really force yourself to hit great driver shots, use a hundred dollar bill as a tee.

Tips for Improving the Follow Through of Your Golf Swing!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

(This was my follow through couple years back, one of the best ways to improve your follow through is to imagine the swing plane (as I have drawn the yellow line, and try swinging your body in sync with it.)

Today, I was at the range and had one of those “ah ha” moments.  Because I haven’t really played much golf up until recently around end of last year, I had failed to follow through correctly.

But, today I figured it out and got my swing back.

Here’s what I realized and some tips for improving your golf swing’s follow through.

Like I was telling you the other day you want to use images as swing thoughts, I want you to do the same except “vision” your hands, arms, and body following through toward your target.

When you do this correctly, your body should automatically turn to your left side and come up.  If your body doesn’t come up, that means you are probably not following through correctly.

After the follow through, you should arrive at a nice finish with most of your weight on the left foot for a full swing.

Also, one more thing, you want to feel “free” while doing this.  When you really free yourself of any tension during the follow-through, you will feel like you are actually swinging in an imaginary track formed by your swing plane.  This is because you are swinging correctly, with your body, and you are feeling the centripetal force pushing your arms, hands, and the golf club outwards towards the target.

If you can achieve this feeling, you will inevitably hit the ball more solid and consistently as I did today.

Well, that’s all for today folks, have a great weekend and I will tell you all about my round tomorrow.

P.S. Oh yeah, my chipping is awesome now, I kept it simple now getting everything within a foot!  If you haven’t practiced your short game (even though I haven’t wrote much on it lately), YOU SHOULD!!!