Archive for the ‘impact’ Category

How to Pronate!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Pronating is a word I think invented by Ben Hogan.  It’s the act of keeping your left wrist flat or even at unnatural negative angle while swinging through the ball.

I’ve tried countless times to add pronation to my golf swing in my 20+ years of golfing life but always gave up because I couldn’t really do it.

Well today while practicing, I “naturally” achieved it while trying to hit my short irons dead straight at the target.

Instead of “pronating” what I did is to feel like the hands and the clubhead become near vertical at impact while the clubhead lags behind the hands.  Incredibly, when I did this, my short iron shots started going dead straight.

I slowed down that action and right before impact, I could see my left hand was “pronated”.   I started using this type of action on all my shots and guess what, I am hitting the ball straighter than ever.

I guess it took me 20 years to realize what pronation is but it’s not the result I think, it’s how you get there.  For me, that meant feeling like my hands and clubhead were near vertical at impact.   This seems like an action that will break your left wrist more than anything but go try it next time you are on the range, your shots will start shooting out like bullets!

Anyways, just wanted to share with you what I’ve learned today at practice, I finally figured out how to pronate and hit my short irons dead straight.

How Much Divot Should You Take? [Advanced Golf]

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

This whole month I am guilty of practicing only on mats at the range.  Usually that’s no biggie but sometimes it can make you think you are hitting the ball awfully well but you might actually “not” be.

I did hit up the grass tees couple times lately at the range and notice something funny, I was taking rather large divots.  Although I hit the ball good, making big and thick divots can make you hit “fliers”, ball with too much overspin and goes farther than you expected.

So, the question is, how much divot should you take?

It’s always good to take the less divot as possible, especially if you hit the ball long like me.  For most long hitters, hitting a flier can become a big problem as your error (of hitting fliers/too much divot) literally multiplies.

Also, divots should be as shallow as possible.  Plus, by taking shallow divots, you are putting less strain on your hands, which also allows you to achieve higher swing speeds.

Bryon Nelson used to take huge divots that looked literally like a dollar bill.  Of course, his divots were also “thin” as dollar bill.

My point here is that you want to make the shallowest, smallest divot possible because when you do that, it means you are getting more of the clubface onto the ball.

For long irons and woods off the fairway, you probably don’t even need any divot because your swing arc becomes shallow.

For middle to short irons off the fairway, a nice shallow divot starting “after” the ball is struck, would be ideal.

What to do if you keep hitting big divots that are thickalicious?

Most likely if you are making big-a** divots, there can be several reasons.

First, your golf clubs might be not probably fitted.  If your taller or shorter than average AND you use standard-size golf clubs, you are probably gonna dig that toe or heel end of the clubhead into the ground at impact, throwing off your shot and also cause bigger divots.   This is number one mistake I see among amateurs, they buy $2000 golf clubs and forget to custom-fit it to their body by getting longer shafts or cutting them to fit.  Also, there’s the loft and lie angles of the clubhead you NEED to adjust.   These things can all be done correctly if you ask your golf shop before ordering them.  Don’t get lazy.

If you don’t custom-fit your clubs, that’s like buying medium size T-shirts and giving it to your super tall/skinny daughter and super short/fat son who needs to wear 2XXL.

Second, if you are making big divots, examine what they look like.   For example, today I noticed that my divots were actually “aligned” about 15 yards left of my target, meaning my clubhead was closed at impact.   The real cause of this closed clubface was because I didn’t rotate my clubhead and body enough to the right on my backswing.

I fixed it by making sure to “turn and rotate” my clubhead and body starting from address.   Voila, I started making very, very thin and shallow divots again, the ones I am used to when I shoot under par.

Playing in the Wind Tip – Hit It Slightly Thin Intentionally

Also, one more tip, when you are playing in the wind, actually try hitting the ball a bit thin.  What this does is keeps your ball flight down and puts less backspin on your ball, which makes your shot less vulnerable to the wind.

You can practice these slightly “thin” shots by really keeping your upper body “UP” throughout the swing.  Plus, these can come in reaaaaal handy out of those fairway bunkers, allowing you to easily hit the green when you have a decent lie.

Well, I just told you what kind of divots you should be making out there (and some wind-play secrets), don’t forget to subscribe!

P.S. I am actually in the process of writing my new golf book, “How to Lower Your Golf Scores”, if you want a free review copy, let me know at the comments line!

My New Golf Swing – The Weak Grip/Flat Plane Golf Swing!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Well, I have finally built a new golf swing after tinkering and experimenting with different grips and swing planes.  This new golf swing is probably perfect for golfers who are similar build to mine (I am 5′ 9″ 190lbs with modest muscles in my upper body and rather muscular lower body) or you can try it if it works for you too.

Another quirk I have is that I have flat foot, meaning that if I try to swing like non-flat footed people, I simply can’t but I have found using a super, weak grip and a super, flat swing plane, I can hit the ball after ball consistently toward my target and also have a great control over my ball trajectory and distance.

So, here it goes for those of you who want to try a golf swing that I’ve created.

The Grip

grip-1

The grip starts with my left hand.  The left hand grip is actually simply neutral.  Just hang your left hand down the shaft naturally, back of your left hand facing the target.

grip-2

You should see about 2 knuckles, the V formed by your thumb and index finger pointing to your chin or right shoulder.  I use the standard left hand grip but the right hand grip is where we make the weak grip. (and the secret sauce behind my swing)

grip-3

For the right hand, you will place your right hand grip “well weak”, meaning the V formed by the thumb and index finger should point to your left shoulder or slightly beyond.

This mechanism allows me to really prevent turning my right hand over after impact.  Rather, I can fully release my right hand at impact, thereby applying extra power to my overall swing speed yet be able to control the golf ball with super accuracy.

I find that traditional golf instruction only teaches the “wrong” way, where the right hand is vulnerable to turn the club over the quickly.  Why not set your right hand so it can never turn over so fast?  That’s my secret.

grip-4

Here’s the finished netural left/weak right grip.  Ben Hogan used something similar to this, I’ve exaggerated my weak right hand grip more because I hit the ball better that way.

When done right, both your arms should be straight instead of traditional golf instruction where your right elbow is slightly tucked into your body.

I find that you can feel more unison between your hands and arms when using this grip.

Address/Setup

address-1

At address, you should stand as tall as possible (like you are standing) and simply bend your knees a bit.  The shoulders here are “square” and “parallel” to your target line while the arms may be slightly open due to the super, weak right hand grip.

address-2

From the front, you should see that the hands are slightly ahead of the golf clubhead and you should “feel” the triangle formed by your shoulders, arms, and hands.  This is the most pivotal part, you need to feel that “triangle”, that is what you turn on the backswing and downswing. (or turning your body)

Backswing

backswing-1

For the backswing, you will simply turn your “triangle” formed at address in-plane.  You do not need to consciously cock your hands, they should naturally cock as the result of your body movement.  Also, you only need to go as far as your shoulders will turn about 90-100 degrees for control, there’s no need to swing to parallel, that’s only a made-up guideline, there’s no reason why you should swing so far, especially when you consider your elbow angles will go out of control and you will have to re-adjust to compensate on the downswing.   Also note, I am turning on a single axis of my upper body, that’s all I need to do.

backswing-2

For the backswing, you will need to imagine a plane formed by your shoulders and the ball and try to turn your “triangle” along that plane.  When you do that, you get what you see above.

I’ve intentionally also left out the takeaway, I believe golfers should not focus on the takeaway because it’s only result of the process of getting to the top of the backswing and it will hurt your rhythm if you try to manipulate the takeaway.  Rather, think of the backswing as one action from address to the backswing.

All throughout my swing, my hands feel “super” light, tension in your hands will kill your golf swing.  It might “look” like I am holding the club hard but in reality, I am holding it light as I can through my swing, even on my downswing.

Transition – The Hip Slide & Turn

downswing-1

Transition is the most important part of your backswing because if you don’t start the downswing with the hips, you will come over the shot, hitting a slice or a pull hook.

From the top of the backswing, I feel like simply “bumping” my hips back to the target, which starts a chain reaction of events like the shoulders, arms, and hands being pulled down to this position.  My hands still feel super light and I feel like I am ready to punch someone out.

downswing-2

Because of the super weak grip we’ve implemented here, you can really swing through as hard as you can from here without worry about hooking the ball.

Also, in this part of the swing, I “still” feel the triangle formed earlier at address.  (You should be able to feel the unison of your shoulders, arms, and hands throughout the golf swing.)

Impact!

impact-1

You shouldn’t really practice impact since it’s also result of process but at impact, this is what it should feel like, the hands still ahead of the club.

impact-2

Follow-Through

followthrough-1

After impact, you should really “feel” the triangle formed at address turning.  The result is that both of your arms are extended fully.

followthrough-2

And as you can see here, the clubhead should be in this position, meaning you are swinging inside-out.  Also note, the spine angle has been maintained.

My hand still feel super “light” though.  If you body (triangle) does the work, your hands will feel light.

The Finish

finish-1

After follow-through, feel free to let your body come up so you don’t hurt your back.  Although I have seen some golf instruction that teach you to maintain spine angle even through finish, I disagree for longer golfing life.

There’s absolutely no reason for you to maintain spine angle AFTER your follow-through because that will only hurt your back.

Notice how straight my right arm is, this means I’ve extended my right arm as fully as possible through impact and follow-through, this mean full-power and accuracy too.

finish-2

Players like Annika Sorenstam does this well, even turning their heads at impact.

finish-3

At the end of your finish, your boday should be balancing nicely on your left foot.  I’ve actually “exaggerated” my right arm to be straight but you can actually relax at this point.

finish-4

See how my body is very upright?  This is really great for hitting thousands of golf balls on the range and never hurt your back.  I believe the best and simple golf swing is also the one that doesn’t harm your back.  With this finish position, I can literally hit 300 golf balls per day without any lower back problems.

Another important thing you can check at the finish is to check how “stable” your right hand grip is.

Another reason why I changed my right hand grip to be super weak is because at finish, my right hand grip still feels super “stable”, whereas a my old neutral right hand grip was slightly “shaky” at best.

Of course, all these swing tips might not help you because you are probably not built like me.  I am just demonstrating what has worked for me and a lot of stuff I’ve implemented are those I’ve learned through golf books, instructors, and finally customizing them to my body.

Remember, there IS no perfect golf swing, the perfect golf swing is the one you can hit the ball consistently and easily without breaking your lower back.

I just hope you don’t be scared to try new grips, swing planes, just because your golf instructor tells you otherwise.

Too many golf instructors teach you one golf swing, which is completely wrong and won’t work on everyone.

I’ve found my golf swing and should be refining it soon.  And yes, definitely take it for a test drive next year at some mini-tour events.

Happy golfing, and remember, practice makes perfect.

P.S. I should have a video of this new swing soon, see my last video just before I found my new golf swing, which is pretty much the same thing.

Here’s some practice swings:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Swing Tip – How To Start the Downswing with Your Lower Body!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Today I hit the ball fairly, radically rad and great.  I’ve probably never hit the ball so crisp.  Another point is that now I can actually control the trajectory of my golf ball better.

To be able to do all those, you will need to learn how to start your downswing with your lower body.  This is one of the crucial golf swing movements you will need to learn if you want to hit the ball super crisp.

What is “super crisp”?

That’s when you smack that golf ball right in the sweetspot of your golf club and you can “feel” the solidarity of your hit.  It feels so good, I can probably say it’s better than sex.

Besides that, you ball flight won’t be affected as much by wind or anything for that matter and for people watching this super crisp hit from the side, you will certainly hear a nice “swoosh” sound as the golf ball takes off straight to its apex and looks as if it drops straight down, lifelessly.

Sounds like something you want to learn?

Well, I’ve got the secret for you, you need to be able to hit the golf ball from the inside-out and to do that, really, you need to learn how to start the downswing with your lower body as Ben Hogan said about a thousand times in his book Five Lessons (very good book by the way, most of my golfing theory comes straight from that book.)

How to “feel” your lower body starting the downswing?

To feel your lower body starting the downswing, here’s a simple exercise I actually do.

First, swing your golf club to the top slowly.  After you reach the top of the backswing, pause slightly.  Then, start the downswing by rotating your lower body(and also a bit of weight transfer to the left foot), specifically the hips to your left and let your shoulder, arms, and hands follow that rotation, all in that order with the lower body always leading the downswing.

I know it sounds slightly confusing but go grab a golf club and try it.

Now, keep rotating those hips and the rest of your upper body *SLOWLY* until you reach the point where your golf clubhead is about waist height.  Your hands and the golf club should form a 90 degree angle, this is called “LAG”.  If not, make sure there’s 90 degree angle.  This should happen naturally if you lead your downswing with your hips.  If you didn’t, ultimately you won’t have the “LAG” and that means you broke something in the process.  Do this until you can get it right.

Now when your golf clubhead is at about waist height, you no longer need to lead the downswing with the hips because it will probably impossible as your upper body starts catching up near impact.  At this point try to feel that “ALL” of your lower body (hips) AND the upper body and turning simultaneously together and SWINGING OUT towards the right field. (Like I told you here on swinging the golf club inside-out.)

When you do this right, you should feel some kind of “torque” on the golf club as you downswing.  This is caused by your lower body starting/leading the downswing.

Do all the above steps until you can get all the parts I outlined right and you get a good feel for it.  Start with a slow swing then steadily increase the speed of your golf swing.

Keep practicing until you can record in your muscle memory.

Now, don’t think about anything and just hit the golf ball normally.  Your muscle memory should “automatically” start your downswing with your lower body.  If your body doesn’t keep practicing in slow motion after each ball hit on the driving range until you “get” it.

Once you master this method of starting your downswing with your lower body, you should be able to hit the ball straighter, further, and also be able to control the ball better.

The greatest part about swinging like this is that once you master it, you can hit the ball as hard as you want AND your ball will go even straighter/longer.

Of course, this is something I learned from Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons.  He doesn’t outline every step but I have added some exercises that can help you feel what he’s trying to teach in his book.

After I started doing this instinctively through practice, I began to realize how much better I can fade/draw the ball while I could also control the trajectory better.

There, I just told you the secret to hitting that golf ball like a pro, now go practice.

Btw, my golfing career is coming along now, I am hitting the ball better than ever, my putting is superb with my new method of using mostly hands.  (I will have a blog post on how to putt like a pro soon.)

Good luck on improving your swing and don’t give up after 100 swing, try at least 10,000 more swings. :)

benhogan

(Image Credit) – Click to Enlarge – Watch carefully how Ben Hogan leads his downswing with his lower body and look at that big LAG he’s generating!

Golf Tips – How to Swing That Golf Ball From Inside Out!

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Oops, I have been sorta out of golf world last couple months.  Btw, I have a pretty good view of the 3rd hole of the President’s Cup from my 12th floor apartment which is nice.  I’ve noticed that everyone pretty much follows Tiger.  Any groups before and after Tiger had noticeably less people following.

Onto golf tips for today…

In golf, one of the best ways to swing a golf club is to swing from the inside out.  This also means that you will strike the inside half of the ball, not the outside.

Why do you need to swing inside out?

You can still score good if you swing outside-in but that’s not the most efficient way of hitting a golf ball.  The way our human bodies are created and the angle at which we hit the golf ball, you will hit the golf ball straighter and farther if you “swing” from inside-out.

Also, another benefit from swinging inside-out is that you will be able to control the ball better whether you want to hit a fade or draw.  Naturally, you will be able to hit a slight draw with added distance and a fade if you open the clubface a bit.

Who swings inside out?

Practically all top pro golfers in the world swing inside out including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or practically 99% of PGA Tour pros.   Of course, you never want to exaggerate this action either, which will cause you to hit the golf ball to the right.  Or in golfing terms, block it out to the right.   (For example, Greg Norman used to hit too much inside-out, causing wild blocks under pressure.)

When someone (such as a Tour pro) swings inside out, you can tell by both of his/her arms stretching fully (or fully extended) about a foot after impact.  This usually guarantees that you swung inside-out.

How to Swing Inside Out

To swing the golf club inside-out, you will really need to focus on swinging about 20-50 yards right of your target.

And yes, this will go completely against your natural instincts, which is try to swing towards the target.  By the way, even when you swing towards the target, you are in essence swinging a bit inside-out, just so you know.  But what I am preaching here is that you actually want to swing 20-50 yards right of your actual target to really achieve a “true” inside-out swing.  Now, there’s a range of about 20-50 yards since every club would be slightly different.  For example, hitting a sand wedge, 50 yards right of your target would suffice.  Likewise, 50 yards right of your target would work for something like a 3-wood.

If you are already a chronic slicer, you will have to work much harder, probably even change your backswing to swing inside-out.  If you do suffer from banana slices, do not worry as I will tell you how to fix that too.

For chronic slicers to swing inside out, (and those of you who simply cannot swing inside out) you will want to focus on getting your backswing on the “inside”, around your body more.  Most likely, you might be trying to swing “too vertical”.  Remember, golf requires you to swing “diagonally” and “around” your body.

There are some pros like Jim Furyk who literally “defies” law of physics with a super vertical backswing but heck, that’s Jim Furyk, there’s not many people in this world who can swing like him.

*Note  – If you have been playing golf more than 10 years with your super-vertical backswing, you might actually be okay to keep that so long as you swing inside-out on the downswing. (that’s something for veterans)

On the other hand, if you swing flat (around your body) and you are hitting that banana slice, you are probably just not swinging inside-out when you hit the golf ball.  Again, you will want to focus on hitting slightly right of your target.

As Harvey Penick says in his book Little Red Book, “Swing to the right field.”   Sorta like baseball, you want to swing towards the right field.

For left-handers, that’s opposite what I’ve said here.  (Everything opposite for left-handers.)

How to Check if you are swinging Inside Out

It’s very easy to check if you are swinging inside out, you don’t even need a camera.  (Actually, it’s harder to tell with a camera)

Make sure you have a wet towel in hand.

First, clean your clubs with a golf cleaning tool and your wet towel.  Make sure to completely dry your golf club face, otherwise the golf ball will not leave an imprint after you hit the ball.

Second, hit the ball.

Third, check your clubface.  If the golf ball leaves an imprint on the inside part of your clubface (near the hosel), then you have most likely hit the ball from inside-out.  If the imprint is on the outside of the clubface (near the toe), then you have most likely hit the ball from outside-in.

I probably do this like everytime I practice, that is to check my clubface to see where I am hitting the ball.  (You can also check out this little golf LED gadget I made that you make for like 5 bucks.  Here’s another golf gadget that can help you tell swing plane too.)

Advanced Players: You can even keep checking to see how “consistently” you hit the ball by checking the regularity of your ball imprints on the clubface.  For example, if you looked at Vijay Singh’s golf clubs, you will find that his “sweetspot” probably has worn out on the exact pin-point spot.

Another tip I can give you to hit the ball inside-out is to keep your head down during the downswing and “behind” the ball.  This will ensure that you hit the ball from inside-out.

For advanced players, you can also try to keep your spine angle consistent through the downswing, which will also help you hit the ball more accurately and from the inside out.

Well, those are the tips I gave you on hitting the ball inside-out.  As always, don’t over do it.  But most of you probably will have trouble doing it so…

P.S. I am starting to get my golf game around, as always.  I am hitting the ball super consistently, one of those secrets (even though I hit like 100 balls a month now) is that I swing inside-out.  Also, I don’t really clutter my mind with too many thoughts.   What’s probably more important than swinging inside out is to “adapt” your golf swing so you can hit consistent shots whether that’s a fade or a draw.  Why am I telling you how to hit the ball from inside out?  Well, if you do have time to waste and you want to get better in the long term, you will probably want to learn how to do that.  If you are just a weekend warrior and you never want to get better, ignore everything I said here, just keep playin’)

Happy golfin’~

Swing Secrets Revealed – After Impact Positions of Top Tour Pros

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Justin Leonard

After impact positions of various different pro tour players will look very similar.  On this post, I will simply let you guess what they did right by looking at them.

The answer (or the secret) is in the pictures.  It’s been there for last 100 years or so.

Mickey Wright

Ben Hogan

Adam Baddeley

Phil Mickelson

Sergio Garcia in Slow Motion and Black and White

Sergio Garcia