Archive for the ‘Swing Secrets’ Category

I found my SWING!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

You know, you have one of those days when you find your swing, every swing feels effortless, you can hit every shot at the target.  Today was such a day for me, let me share you some insights what I tried to do today.

For one, I haven’t hit balls all week due to me playing with new gadgets such as my new Canon 7D DSLR.

I felt really fresh heading out to the range and even felt a little out of it since it’s been so long (like 3 days) without hitting golf balls.

Last time I was at the range, I remember hitting a lot of balls and trying to hard.

There was a time when I used to swing effortlessly and shoot under par every time I played.  Well, today I tried that.

Instead of trying to “perfect” my swing mechanics (and btw, there is no such thing as perfection in golf, pros have only tried to set some guidelines but that is really all, guidelines, no swing guru can tell you how to swing perfectly in reality.), today I simply tried to develop a swing that was more effortless, like how I used to hit the ball.

When you try to swing effortlessly, a great thing happens, you can literally hit ball after ball and you never get tired.

Anyways, this is what it felt like:

First, I relaxed my hands throughout my swing.  This allowed me to naturally get into the right positions during the swing without tension creeping in.

Second, I felt like my backswing was like holding a basketball and simply turning to the right. (on my plane created by my spine angle)

I really felt like I was swinging a basketball and not a golf club, meaning it felt like I was using my body.

Third, I simply try to hit the ball as solid as I can without trying to do too much.

When I did these things, something wonderful happened, that is I felt like my head and body was no longer restricted.    I didn’t look up but immediately after I hit the ball after impact, I felt like I was coming up on the shot but it felt so “right” and “comfortable”.

Before, I was all trying to keep my spine angle consistent.  And you know what happens when you do that, you might hit the ball good but you are putting awful lot of pressure to your lower back plus when you are tired, you tend to slap at the ball with your hands.(especially under pressure)

Instead, I put the pressure off my lower back by simply standing up more after impact.

Let’s just put it this way, I had the best ball striking day this year.  I hit 2 jumbo buckets today and I feel like I didn’t even hit balls.

This could help you, perhaps you want to try less next time you practice and let natural instincts take over.

I will have a video soon, I know this will look much better than my last swing video so hopefully tomorrow!

I use Ben Hogan’s Grip!

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

hogan's-grip

Because I tend to hook a lot, I’ve recently switched my grip from normal (where both Vs point to your right armpit) to a slightly different one where the right hand “V” points to your neck as seen above. (This is the one Ben Hogan used back in the day because he was a wild hooker.)

This would be considered slightly “weak” grip as it will promote more of a fade shot but I’ve had some good results with it so I am sticking with it for now.

Btw, your grip will dictate your swing so if you have a weak grip, you might hit the ball better with a flatter swing whereas with a strong grip, you hit the ball better with an upright swing.

For example, Freddy Couples has one of the strongest grips on Tour, he has a very upright swing.  I can’t think of anyone using a “weak” grip, perhaps Vijay Singh?

Well grip is your life for a golf swing, without the right grip for your swing, you can’t hit the ball good.

So practice your grip daily, 10 minutes a day, hold an invisible golf club or hold one while you watch TV.

Grip, is everything.

I am getting that new Canon 7D camera soon so hopefully I will have some better shots of golf basics starting next week, happy golfin’!

Feeling of “Light Hands” at the Top of Your Backswing!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

One fo the best swing thoughts that have worked for me regardless of how I am swinging over the years is “lights hands” at the top of your backswing.

Having “light hands” at the top of your backswing can help you do one very important thing right.  By having your hands light at the top of your backswing, you will easily be able to start the downswing with your lower body instead of jerking it with the hands or the arms.   You will probably have more clubhead speed too because your arms  are not inhibited by your hands being too “tight”.

Being too “tight” with your hands is one of the worst things you can do in golf although that might be the right way to swing a baseball bat.

So next time, try this simple tip, feel as if your hands are barely holding the golf club at the top of your backswing.  All the things I’ve been mentioning about swinging with your body, the hip slide/turn and starting the swing with the lower body, this simple tip will help you accomplish that.

How to Learn and Master the Hip Slide and Turn!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Last time I mentioned how you must start your downswing with your lower body in order to hit the golf ball from the inside out.

Well, one of the ways to mastering your downswing with a lower body start is to master the “hip slide” and turn.

First, watch this video as Ben Hogan himself shows you how to do this:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Let me re-cap what Hogan is trying to teach you here.

Try doing this as an exercise for mastering the hip slide and turn.

First, get to the top of the backswing like Hogan is doing here:

topofbackswing

Then from there, initiate your downswing by turning and sliding your hips towards the target and the rest of your body such as shoulders and arms, should simply follow the action of your lower body.  Really “feel” the pulling of the upper body by the lower body when you do this.  And also try to do it in a “smooth” and fluid motion, jerkiness won’t help at all.

Another thought, try to really imagine your club coming from the inside-out angle, this will help you to promote an inside-out swing, something we want in an ideal golf swing.

Now, after you get to the point where your clubhead reaches about the hip level, you can start releasing your upper body and the club somewhat towards the right of your target.

hip-slide

After you try this in slow motion couple times, go ahead and try hitting a golf ball in full speed.  Now, this is the most important part of mastering the hip turn and the slide, learn how to “time” your upper body release just like when you throw a baseball pitch.  With proper timing of your release after the hip turn and slide, you will be able to hit the ball accurately towards your target.

Another good exercise is to try different timings such as try releasing your upper body a bit early for right-to-left shots (draws) and a bit late for left-to-right shots (fade).

FYI, Ben Hogan used to release a bit late so he can hit slight fades as his nemesis was hitting bad hooks earlier in his career.

You can also vary how “far” your slide your hips forward to control the flight.  A word of caution when you do this, you need to still keep your body in balance and the easiest way to do this is to keep your upper body “up” while” you swing.

Swing Tip – How to Swing with Your Body!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Last time I mentioned how you should be starting your downswing with the lower body.  Well, the next step is to learning to swing with your body.

To do this, when you swing, you want to feel like every part of your body is moving “together”.

For example, when I swing my best, I feel that my belly button, legs, shoulders, arms, and hands are all moving together.  This will feel together but in reality, your upper body will always be moving faster because they are on the most outer side of your centrifugal force.

There’s a very simple exercise you can do with a ball, perhaps a basketball or a medicine ball. (or even a basket)

Simply hold a basketball and turn the basketball to the right using your body, meaning your belly, shoulders, arms, and hands.  You should be able to turn the basketball using the large muscles in your body.  Your hands actually do nothing in the process except hold the ball.

Then turn the ball to the left using your body.

This is actually a great exercise also to build golf muscles if you use a medicine ball or a ball with some weight to it.  (I used to use a bowling ball to do this too.)

Here’s some screenshots of how to do it right:
(Please don’t mind my outfit, this is my daily casual wear while I blog at home so…)

swing-body-1

(At address)

swing-body-2

(Turn to the right, if you use your body to turn to the right, both of your hands would be facing 90 degrees away from your starting position.  Now, this is crucial that you get it right.  If you don’t do it right, you are not using your body to turn so hence beats the point of this exercise.)

swing-body-3

(Turn back to the left like you are shaking hands with someone on the left.)

Doing this exercise 10 minutes daily can help you swing the golf club more with your body.  The “feel” of this exercise is exactly how you should swing the golf club with your body, not with your hands or arms only.

By the way, you don’t have to do a full swing with this exercise, just focus on the body turn and really feeling BOTH of your shoulders turning.  A lot of hackers and amateurs don’t turn BOTH of their shoulder, causing all kinds of havoc like banana slices and hooks.  Plus, you LOSE a lot of your power if you don’t turn both of your shoulders.

Also try to really feel that your “belly button” is controlling the turn of your body.  When you use heavier weight, that will also help build the correct abdominal golf muscles.

And lastly but not least, GO SLOW, the point of this exercise is to use your body, if you go fast, you will inevitably end up using your arms or hands, something we don’t want in our golf swings.

Also if you don’t have a ball to do it, you can use an imaginary ball.  Perhaps you are at work and you want to practice swinging with your body.  :)

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’~

Tom Watson’s Explanation on the Secret to Consistent Golf Swing!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Well, I might have analyzed hundreds of golf swings in my life but perhaps Tom Watson’s explanation on secret to a consistent golf swing will help you more with his simple wisdom, “keep your spine angle consisten and turn around it.”

And this has everything to do with keeping your clubhead and body parts on-plane.  The golf swing plane only exists as a result of this spine angle.

I think this advice will help you more because it’s so simple and it’s coming from Tom Watson.

Watch the video and learn! :)

Weekend Warriors – How to Hit the Ball More Consistently!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Most of us don’t have the time that it takes to perfect a golf swing nor maintain it.  For those weekend warriors, here’s couple swing tips that have actually worked for me:

  • Don’t fight your swing, whether you hit a draw or fade on that day, just play that shot.
  • Keep your swing smooth but make sure your followthrough is longer than your backswing.  This makes sure you accelerate through the golf ball without over-swinging.  This is probably the best tip for keeping your ball flight consistent even if you hardly practice.
  • Keeping your ball flight consistent, whether that’s a slice or hook,  comes first.  If you can hit the ball with a consistent ball flight, you don’t have to hit the ball straight and still score good.  I’ve seen hundreds of scratch golfers who have bad swings but they have consistent ball flights.
  • Don’t ever try to “correct” your swing, just go with the flow and work with your flawed swing.  Again, consistency rules over straight shots.  Even pro golfers don’t try to hit the ball straight.  Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couple hit fades all through major championships, you should pick a side too.
  • Practice more short game and putting, that’s where your advantage is or even Tiger’s for that matter, not in the 300+ yard driver.  Although it’d be good to hit it 300+ yards off the tee, that’s the last thing that’s gonna help you score near par.

I’ve been playing golf for over 20+ years now and more I realize that perfecting your golf swing has more to do with scoring bad  than trying to work with what you already have.

Even me, I have less time to practice than before since I have to run my online publishing business.   I score better when I try to find ways to keep my swing more consistent by doing less.

Less is more, especially in golf.  No matter how many personal golf lessons you get, it’s probably worthless if you change your swing everytime you go out on the golf course.  Stop tinkering and start playing golf.

Here’s a simple exercise if you tend to end up in vicious cycle of trying to fix your swing.

1. Don’t practice on the range anymore.

2. Don’t try to fix your swing on the golf course.

3. Keep playing more golf and try to work on your golf strategy to fit your ball flight.

4. keep doing 1 to 3 until your ball flight is consistent and you have find a working golf course strategy.

5. If you must, fix your swing once every 3 months.

Happy golfing!

How to Swing Better by Not Being Perfect!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Sometimes, perfection can be the root of all evil things in a golf swing.  A lot of times when I was playing competitively on a daily basis, I would try to perfect my golf swing by banging 10 buckets of balls.  I would have probably done better if I just relaxed more and focused more on my short game and putting.

Golf is a game that requires great mental focus, it’s a not a game where the best golf swing mechanics win tournaments.  Rather, golfers with ability to turn the golf course into their friend wins as evidenced by Y.E. Yang’s win over Tiger last weekend.

That said, I hit balls for the first time in about 3 months yesterday and boy, I hit the ball really, really good.

Here’s something I tried to do yesterday:

  • I tried to not be perfect, simply relax my hands and let my body do the work.
  • My swing though consisted of “keep it smooth” like Fred Couples.
  • Worked on specific shots that would help me on the golf course like fading the ball (which is my strength) and odd shots that could get me out of trouble.

In all, yesterday’s practice at the driving range might have helped me whole lot more than me simply banging a lot of balls mindlessly one after another.

The key to great golf is keeping your golf swing consistent.   The only way an average golfer who rarely practices to keep their golf swing consistent is to keep their swing thoughts simple.

Golf has so many parts to master but unless you are a professional golfer with all the time in the world, you are not going to master it.

Forget “fixing” your swing and try simply “scoring” with your current golf swing.  Whatever your bad shots are, a nasty hook or banana slice, you can still “score” well by adjusting to your weaknesses and using them as strengths.

I’ve seen it a gazillion times where a golfer with a really weird swing will win over a golfer who has a perfect swing.  Most of the time, the golfer with a really weird swing has an incredible short game and a knack for putting since he/she is hitting the ball all over the place.  The golfer with perfect swing usually never performs under pressure because he/she simply does not know how to deal with trouble under pressure.

Anyways, I will be heading over to the course more often before this summer ends and looks like they got the tent set up at Harding Park for the President’s Cup 2009 this year. (I have an incredible view of the 12th hole at Harding Park from my 12th floor apartment!)