Archive for the ‘Swing Secrets’ Category

Back to Basics, Getting your Shoulders and Elbows Aligned!

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Today I started hitting balls at the range and totally lost it.  I was hitting a 50-yard sand wedge but couldn’t hit it at the target.

No matter what I tried, my swing just felt out of it and literally hooked or sliced my sand wedge 15-30 yards CONSISTENTLY!

But no worries, this has happened to me more than I can remember and it does happen to even the best golfers in the world.

After doing that for about 30 minutes, I finally realized what I was doing wrong, my shoulder alignment was off (it was way open) and my elbows were open too.

These two things had radical effect on my backswing as I couldn’t “feel” my usual, correct backswing, or at least the swing I was comfortable with.

As soon as I consciously started aligning my shoulders square to the target and making sure my right elbow is a bit bent, I started hitting the golf ball miraculously well.

In golf, these small mistakes can be costly, especially if you are playing on the golf course.

One more note about your elbow alignment.  If your elbows are aligned square and parallel to your target line, your right elbow should be bent a bit naturally.  Otherwise, your elbows are a bit open and this can cause havoc, make you hit hooks and slices but never straight.

So, just another reminder that in golf, basics is everything.  Like I said yesterday, alignment is where it happens.

I remember countless days of practicing on the range, except I was aligned way right.  Now, I did this for months and by the time I realized I had been aiming 30 yards right of  target, I had developed this swing that pulls the ball in order to correct it.

When that happens, it takes me just as long to correct it.

Nowadays, I make sure to put a club down when I practice, at least in the beginning so I know I am aimed correctly.

It’s nearly impossible to develop a good, consistent swing if you don’t aim first.  It’s like shooting a gun but you aim 30 yards left of your target then try to move your hands 30 yards right, right before shooting it.

Anyways, if you ever fall into a blackhole like I did where you cannot find your swing, go back to the basics, start with alignment, mostly like that is the reason.

Transition from Top of the Backswing to Downswing!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Today I realized another importance of transition from top of the backswing to downswing.

You see, I am the type of golfer who nearly pauses at the top then precede to the downswing.

Well, I’ve tinkered back and forth between pausing and not pausing but today I naturally began to transition from the top of my backswing to downswing.

Actually most pro golfers do start their downswing just before their arms reach top of their backswing.   I just didn’t feel comfortable with it until today.

I have been really working hard lately on the transition, that specifically of my arms and hands “going for a ride” while my hips move weight back to my left side and turn.  I’ve also been working on creating a good “lag”.  This is because I have a tendency to slap at the ball with my hands at the last minute, causing very errant wild hooks.  This has probably cost me many tournaments.

I remember being on the 18th hole of an AJGA tournament when I was 16 years old, all I had to do was par the last hole to finish up in the Top 5.   Well, I proceeded to hit 3 nasty drives OB left, then switched to a 2-iron and finished with a score of 10 to fall completely off the leaderboard.

That was 15 years ago and I still remember being bummed out because up to that point I was couple under par.

These little things can ruin your round, that is why I have been working hard on the lag because it helps you to completely break your habit of using your hands near impact.

Anyways, to help that lag of mine, I found that simply starting your downswing a bit early with your hips does the job, creating enough torque between your lower body and the arms/hands, pretty much shutting any chance of wild hooks.

I know I went into detail here but this could potentially help those of you in similar situation.

UPDATE: Never mind, stop trying to pause or even trying to start your downswing before, just realized the day after that it doesn’t really matter all that much, it’s more important to maintain a good rhythm and the rest will happen naturally.

The #1 Rule in Golf and Transition!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Do you know the #1 rule in golf?

If you don’t let me tell you, it’s called “aiming”.

For example, take your rifle/shotgun/whatever and try shooting at something.

Now, if you miss your target, what did you do wrong?

Mostly likely aim.

Aim is #1 rule in golf.

If you have perfect aim, you can develop a perfect swing.

That’s it for today, make sure you are aimed correctly by lining up a club parallel to your target line like I do it everyday.

Once you get the hang of it, you can aim freely as you like but it’s a good idea to keep your aim and swing in check by doing so as often as you can.

Transition?

Transition happens when you use your lower body, specifically your hips to start your downswing, which simply just means to let your arms and hands “go for a ride” while your lower body brings it to impact.

When you do this really well, it almost feels like your hands are lagging behind you, and don’t forget to watch your golf ball going straight at the target.

Reverse Engineering Your Golf Swing!

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Today I tried something weird, different, or whatever it was, it was really good.

For those of you who follow Ben Hogan’s transition, you know how his weight transfers well to his left while he has a perfect 90 degrees (or more) formed between his arms and the clubhead.

Well, try to get into that position then instead of swinging through do the exact opposite, just turn your body back to the right.

There you go, there’s your perfect backswing.

Just sayin’, sometimes if you can’t make it happen, reverse engineer it.

The Importance of Elbows in a Golf Swing!

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Today, while hitting about 300 balls at the range, I began to realize that my elbows were a large part of the golf swing.

For some reason I can’t explain, I started hitting the ball really great when I felt like my elbows were in sync.

Well after tinkering a bit, I came to an answer, the elbows play a big part in your golf swing. Even Ben Hogan was once quoted saying that he used his elbows as part of his swing thought. (By the way, that swing thought was imagining a dot on both elbows and making it point up at the sky on both backswing and followthrough, you can read about that in the book, The Man Behind Mystique, perhaps the best book with a ton of still photographs of Hogan. I used to read it like everyday when I was in high school.)

What do the elbows do?

Actually they don’t do much, it’s not what you do with them but how elbows act in relation to rest of your golf swing.

In layman’s terms, you want to keep the elbows the focus of your golf swing. When your elbows are in sync, you move your body in sync. When your elbows are in sync, you can turn through the golf ball without any manipulation in your hands.

So how to do this?

After a bit of practice, I found that the “length” between your elbows must be constant throughout your golf swing.

Try it next time you are on the range, try to keep the length between your elbows constant. And feel like there’s a string attached between your elbows and keep them taut the same.

After you get the feel for your elbows being in sync, you don’t want to think about it. What I do is at address, make sure to feel the elbows together and parallel to my target. Once I get that feeling at address, my body instinctively try to keep my elbows in sync throughout my swing.

This motion of keeping elbows in sync has done some wonders for my golf game, especially my driver because it makes you swing in the correct swing path.

Well, another great day for my golf game. I will be heading over to South Korea a bit next week (not for golf) but will be back soon!

P.S. A great way to really understand what’s going on here is to actually open up your latest cover of Golf Digest and see some still photographs of a PGA golf pro and watch their elbows, you will see what I mean.

Playing with Fire!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Okay, the reason why today’s post is called “Playing with Fire” because today’s practice session literally felt like that.

For the first time in my life, I could “feel” my hands and clubhead “lagging” behind my lower body and I could sorta control it.

What happened?

Well, you know the other day I told you to have more fun and showed you my new trick shot? It turns out to hit that trick shot, my body had to do some intuitive moves, that of really starting the downswing with the lower body and making sure the clubhead never “releases”.

Oddly, I tried that same move on my full shots and boom, I felt like playing with fire, or that thing Ben Hogan doing in his still photos, lagging the crap out of his arms and hands before impact.

Anyways, here’s the swing thoughts that made it happen:

#1. Feel like at downswing, your right elbow touches the tip of your right hip. When you do this, you HAVE to start your downswing with your lower body.

#2. I am usually a bad cocker, I mean I don’t usually cock my wrists all the way on my backswing. Well, today I made sure I cocked all the way BEFORE starting the downswing, this helped me because now I can cock all the way and on the way down, just turn my body without worrying about releasing the club.

#3. On the way down, DON’T consciously try to release your right hand, do the opposite. What this will do is make you turn through more with your elbows and body instead of breaking down and breaking your right hand.

This should help you scratch golfers and single-digit handicappers. But don’t try it if you still can’t break 80. Nothing personal, just sayin’ this blog is about “advanced” golf.

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 Does the Correct Downswing and Follow-Through Feel Like?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

There’s nothing better than knowing exactly how to “feel” the downswing or the follow-through.  Most golfers end up manipulating the crap out of their downswing and follow-through (even myself at times) that they have no chance of hitting the golf ball squarely on the center of the clubface.

So, how does the correct downswing and follow-through feel like?

There should be absolutely no manipulations of your hands, shoulders, stomach, thighs, and legs.

You should feel like there’s a central core that moves everything.  Think of it this way, imagine your hand holds 5 yoyos and at the top of your backswing, each of the yoyos represent your hands, shoulders, stomach, thighs, and legs.   Now, since the 5 yoyos are attached to a string, how will you move your body so that you can swing the 5 yoyos through while keeping the string taut?

The only way you can do that is by swinging with your body or having a “feel” that there’s a central core (somewhere inside your chest like the middle of your chest) swinging the 5 yoyos.

In other words, in a correct downswing, there’s absolutely no “tension” if any of your body parts that are controlled by your central core.

There’s a lot of golf teachings out there that teach you to swing “inside-out”.  Now, this isn’t something you can do by manipulating your body, it’s only result of going through the correct golfing motions.

*Note – Swinging inside-out has more to do with the rhythm of your swing than mechanics.  I will have more on this later.

So, stop trying to much when you are following through, and let your hands, shoulders, stomach, thighs, and legs turn naturally through the shot.

One swing thought I use often to let this natural process happen is to simply think of transferring my body weight to my left foot (while keeping everything else passive). What this does is get me in the correct downswing motion with the lower body while preventing manipulation of my upper body.

I know, sometimes the golf swing is a lot simpler than you think, just think “transfer weight and turn your whole body onto your left foot” and let everything else follow.   This also means you can/should “feel” that your hands are light while doing so. Keeping your hands light will keep your shoulders, stomach, thighs, and legs light and prevent them from manipulating your downswing and follow-through.

Well, if you get confused, just remember my last paragraph I’ve outlined in bold and make sure you try it next time you are on the range or the golf course.

How to Swing With Your Body!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

For those of you who want to really learn to swing with your body, you will want to read the rest of this blog post.

To really swing with your body, there’s one exercise I do and let me tell you how to do that exercise.

First, I want you to setup with a golf club (any will do) and take your address as if you are going to swing a real ball.

Second, I want you to grip it with both of your hands like you would normally then take your left hand off there while leaving your right hand on the golf club.

Third, I want you to use your body to move your shoulders, arms, hands, and the golf club to the top of your swing very, very slowly.  Let me emphasize again that you want to do this as slowly as possible and feel all your big muscles like the torso and the core of your body doing the turning of the backswing.

Also when you use your body to get to the top of the swing, I want you to really “feel” your body “turning”.

Can  you feel it yet?

If you can feel it, that’s how you swing a golf club with your body.

For the downswing, it’s the same thing, you use your body to control the downswing.

Why is this so important?

Because when you swing the golf club with your body, you will be able to swing the same way time and time and also be able to hit the ball longer, straighter, and effortlessly.

Also if you tend to take a lot of time from golf like I have been, it simply makes sense to have a golf swing that’s easy to repeat and uses your body as control point.

Anyways, I’ve been using this new swing (that I’ve forgotten) lately and hitting like every fairway, flawless iron shots that “nip” the grass just right.

Try it, really, and I bet it will help you feel what the correct golf swing motion is like.

How to Swing Without Using Your Hands!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

In golf, using your hands on the downswing too much or manipulating them can be one of the worst things you can do. In fact, that’s what 99% of golfers actually do, uncock their hands first from the top and then wonder why they didn’t hit the ball far enough nor straight.

Today, I realized something about my golf swing, something I used to do, that is to swing without using your hands.

How to swing without using your hands?

It’s easy, don’t use your hands on the downswing.

What I do is actually think of my hips turn instead. From the top of your backswing, all you really need to do is think about your lower body “clearing” or in simple words, turning towards your target. The rest of your body should follow and you shouldn’t need to “consciously” think of your hands at all.

So, next time you head out to the range, don’t swing with your hands, it can only hurt you.