Posts Tagged ‘birdies’

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.

AT&T National Winner – Tiger Woods!

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Last year, Anthony Kim showed on exceptional performance at the AT&T National, winning with ease.

This year, Anthony Kim comes really close, playing with Tiger Woods in the final group of the final round.

Notables include Hunter Mahan, who shot an incredible 62 today to finish before the final groups at 12 under.

As I did predicted during the 3rd round of the AT&T National, this tournament really came down to Tiger Woods and Anthony Kim.  And I did say Tiger probably will have an edge over the last finishing holes, where he did make birdies to gain lead in the tournament.

My prediction for AT&T National earlier today also became true, as Tiger had an edge over the last couple holes of “pressure” golf.  I think Anthony Kim has come a long ways, especially during the 9-month period that Tiger was going through his knee surgery but I think he still has a long ways to go before beating Tiger head-to-head.

Of course, don’t forget Hunter Mahan, he’s been shooting awfully low scores at many tournaments.  I think every time I turn on my TV, Hunter Mahan is shooting a 62 or 63.  I am sure he will win many tournaments.

One thing is for sure, Tiger Woods is certainly back after winning 3 tournaments already this year.  It will be harder to beat him as Tiger plays more tournaments and I think he’s still not 100%, something seriously to worry about for other PGA Tour players.

I am sure Anthony Kim will beat Tiger Woods in stroke play one day though.  When that day comes, Tiger will have a good challenger to compete with.

Overall, I think everyone did a great job here, there’s a lot of veterans who are at the AT&T National this week, something I haven’t seen before.  Interesting to note that people were applauding for a war hero who was on his wheelchair as the final group walked up the 18th hole.

Congrats to Tiger Woods on his comeback 2009 and winning the 2009 AT&T National!

tiger-woods

AT&T National Winner Sunday!

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Wow, what a fun Sunday this is as Tiger Woods and Anthony Kim are TIED for the lead at 10 under par each for the tournament as of 12:36PM PST right now.  AND Hunter Mahan just birdies to get to 10 under, making three people tied for the lead.

It’s interesting my 2 predictions from yesterday came out to be true with Tiger and Anthony in the final group.

Who will be the winner today?

It’s hard to tell as Anthony Kim is the defending champion, except he won last year when Tiger was going through knee surgery.

If Anthony Kim wins this year, he can prove that it was not fluke last year, that he can win even if Tiger is playing.

This is a crucial moment for Anthony Kim as if he can out-duel Tiger today, he will be able to keep doing it again in the future.

Of course, I think Anthony Kim can actually play  good under pressure as he can, the young 24 year old has won numerous tournaments and I have been a fan ever since he’s win last year.  It was exciting to watch a young pro golfer get better and better, winning tournaments and entertaining people like me while Tiger was gone.

My final prediction?

Well, it’s hard to make a final prediction but I think Tiger might have an edge possibly over the last couple holes when the pressure is the hardest.

We will have to see but my final prediction is Tiger -14 and Anthony -13 .

2009 Masters Winner Angel Cabrera and Re-cap of Masters 2009!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

angel

Today, Angel Cabrera beat top-notch PGA Tour players like Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell to win the 2009 Masters at age of 39.  When I first heard about Cabrera about 10 years ago, I saw him playing on the European Tour on Golf Channel.  Of course, Angel was always winning tournaments.  A native Argentinian, it was always fun to see one single gifted South American beating all the European tour players in European Tour.

That was almost 10 years ago and I guess Angel Cabrera will play in America from time to time including this year’s Masters.  Angel Cabrera is probably the player who deserved to win this year’s Masters in the playoff.

For the record, Angel Cabrera has won a major on U.S. soil before, the 2007 U.S. Open, one of the most coveted majors on one of the hardest golf courses in the world, Oakmont Country Club.  In contrast, Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry both never have won majors.

Although they all finished with same scores, it was clear to me that Angel was the only player who had “dealt” with the final moments of pressure.  After the fact that he’s 2nd shot on the 1st playoff hole rickashaded short of the green, Cabrera was unfazed and made an easy par with a great pitch shot.

Of course, things could “easily” have different if Cabrera missed his putt but he didn’t, he “knew” how to deal with the press.

On the other hand, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell might have come close but nothing close to Cabrera’s mental strengths.

Clearly, Kenny Perry had a meltdown on the last two holes, making bogeys.  (and yes, Tiger and Phil sorta did the same thing.)  It was unbelievable to some viewers because Kenny Perry was making birdies and had a 2-shot lead coming into the 17th hole.

I noticed that around the 15th hole, as Kenny Perry was approaching the final holes of his last round, he seemed to play more cautiously and noted here on Twitter:

#Masters Kenny Perry is playing too cautiously, it’s gonna cost him in the last 3 holes, betcha bogeys.

And after bogey on 17th, here’s my tweet:

#Masters Kenny Perry falling apart, I foresee him not winning, no offense kenny lovers.

At that point, he should have been more confident but I KNEW he was “worried” in his mind, his body language and the way he played clearly showed that Kenny Perry was suddenly worried about his lead.

What I said before his meltdown:

#Masters PRESSURE is ON at the last 2 holes, MELTDOWN for players who can’t handle the Master’s last-2-hole-pressure!

I have read tons of golf psychology books in my lifetime and that’s what you don’t ever want to do on the golf course at the last stages of the tournament, worry about your lead or even “think” about your score.  (You can read about this from Rob Rotella’s book, “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect”, very good book on golf psychology.  I read it when it came out 10+ years ago.)

This is simply what I “see” in a player when watching tournament golf, derived from junior, amateur, and pro golf tournament experience.  I am sure some of you scratch golfers will agree.

Did Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell have a Meltdown in the Playoffs?

You betcha, no player should really win with a par in a playoff unless the other players experience meltdowns.   Kenny Perry’s confidence disappeared on the 15th hole when he started playing cautiously, he’s mind told him that he’s not going to win.  Chad Campbell hit his bunker shot mediocre, (even though he holed a bunker shot in the same day!  He is a good bunker player.) and missed a short putt for par. (shorter than Cabrera’s par putt)

These are signs of weaknesses in Perry and Campbell’s mental states, it’s not good for the playoff holes.

Don’t get me wrong, Perry and Campbell still have won many, many PGA Tournaments, they will beat 99.9% of the world population in golf including me probably 365 days out of 365 days in the year.  But what they lacked is experience and “mental” state required for winning Major championships.

A good example of that is Tiger Woods.  We have seen numerous times Tiger seemed to “will” his way into winning majors.  Of course, Tiger is human too, he can’t win all the majors.  I think today Tiger and Phil actually fed off each other during the whole round, Phil shooting an unbelievable 6 under 30 on the front while Tiger made every short to medium putt until the last two holes.

The reason why Tiger and Phil failed is they were playing too aggressive.  Tiger pulled a driver out on the last hole, when he had been using 3-wood all day long.  They were both trying to beat each other too much in the end, when they should have simply played their own games in crucial moments of pressure.  This ultimately ended up in Tiger/Phil meltdown at the end although it did helped them go WAY under during the round.

The last 3 holes of golf has always proven to be either extremely detrimental or explosively helpful for golfers including me.  I can recall countless times when I “birdied” the last 3 holes to win OR I made a 10 on the last hole that costed me the trophy.

The last 3 holes of golf always “test” your true mental strengths and in today’s case, Tiger, Phil, and Kenny all FAILED although Chad finished pretty good until the playoffs.

Another thing to note, heck, I was rooting for Tiger but the world doesn’t end if he doesn’t win.  Golf is simply not about winning, it’s what you do with the results.

Who knows, Chad Campbell is still young and I am sure he will win Masters one day.  Kenny Perry has made a living from the PGA Tour, makes more money than 99.9% of the population.  I don’t see anything wrong with that other than people should be able to get a better perspective of reality.

Perhaps, Phil, Tiger, Chad, and Kenny all wanted to win so badly that it affected their game.  On the other hand, Angel Cabrera played horribly in the beginning of the round, sorta disappeared from the spotlight, and slowly creeped up on the leaders.  This might have helped him rally to win the playoff.

Mental Tip for the Day

In my competitive tournament experience, I have learned that if you “slowly” play better in the round and start hitting the fairways/sinking putts nearing the end of the round, that always results in better scores and top mental state.

This tip you can take with you.  The next time you double-bogey your first hole, just remember golf isn’t finished until you hit your ball in the hole at the 18th.

Both Phil and Tiger started playing lights out from the beginning, their adrenalin was running so high, it was inevitably hard to control near the end of the round.  It’s like you got a 350 horsepower car that might not stop if you go too fast.

Even Kenny Perry was “leading” the tournament from hole 1 to 18th hole but he started “bogeying” everything starting on the 17th hole, not good.

Your mental state in golf is critical to your success in golf.  Your perfect swing is never going to help you hit the ball in the fairway if your mind’s somewhere else under pressure.  I can recall countless times when I had been shooting under par consistently before a tournament, only to “lose” my swing suddenly in competition.  (maybe that’s why I am not on the PGA Tour…yet.)

How to achieve the mental state required to play under pressure?

As a player, I have played good at various times too, those times I usually felt like I was “home” or simply “relaxed”.

Here’s some tips on how to feel “relaxed” during your round:

  • To feel relaxed, you need to make sure to “visualize” your outcome during the round and don’t be too “aggressive” on holes that you don’t have to.
  • Develop and hit your “bread-and-butter” shots.  Sometimes, I even hit a low-screaming knock-down shot with my 3-iron on short par 4s and my playing partners are like, “did you miss that?”.  No, i can hit that low screamer at my target 9 out of 10 times, even under pressure.
  • If you start playing bad on the course, take at least couple days off golf.  Those mental pictures  you keep putting in your head will end up in vicious cycle of bad rounds thereafter.  You need to get those out of your system.  If I were Phil, Tiger, Kenny, or Chad, I would take at least a week off golf before I even “touch” a club.  Trust me, your golf memories are EVERYTHING in golf.
  • When you practice, make sure you hit perfect shots, meaning take every step of your pre-shot routine to ensure 100% quality in your shot.  Don’t just bang balls one after another, that’s worse than just sitting on your couch.  It’s ALL about your mental memories of your previous “good” shots.
  • Especially for shorter shots like short game and putting, practice with 5 to 10 balls.  Don’t dump your golf balls and bang away.  Treat each shot like it’s REAL.  If you hit a bad chip shot and it comes up 20 feet short of the pin, CLEAR your balls and start over so you don’t SEE or REMEMBER your bad shots.
  • Keep tricking your brain on a consistent daily-basis that you only hit “perfect” shots.

Well, that was a long post that included my thorough analysis of the top golfers at today’s Masters from a pro golfer and my “mental” tips on your golf game.  You won’t get this from the announcers on TV (because it’s not their job), subscribe to my blog and please leave any other tips in the comments line or @progolferdigest that might be helpful to other golfers.

Congratulations to Angel Cabrera from ProGolferDigest.com and keep up your great “major” works:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode



Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera Leading Masters 2009!

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

kennyperry

Wow, what an exciting 3rd round it was at the 2009 Masters.  While Tiger Woods barely finished with 4 under par, Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry “killed” the field with numerous birdies and great shots.
(You can see live twittering that went on over here @progolferdigest.)

Chad Campbell had been leading the the first 2 rounds, double bogey and bogey during the last couple holes cost Chad the lead.  It’s still too early to tell if Chad Campbell can win but my honest opinion is that he “lacks” major championship experience, especially at Augusta, where even former world’s number one player Greg Norman had failed to win a single Masters.  (While he came close to winning a bunch of times, only to fail on Sunday.)

Likewise, tomorrow will be exciting day for the golfing world as we will get to either watch Kenny Perry or Angel Cabrera MELT DOWN!  (Am I being evil?  Yes, I am free to my own predictions but don’t mind me, winning isn’t EVERYTHING.  Whoever finishes tomorrow at the Masters will be still racking up a lot of cash home.)

Here’s my biased predictions (from a pro golfer) for tomorrow:

Based on history of Masters, I don’t think either Kenny Perry nor Angel Cabrera will win.  Of course, I could be wrong but my favorites this year are Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, or Jim Furyk.

I have seen countless tournaments and it’s actually an advantage if you get to tee off early; couple shots back from the leader.  Unless Perry and Cabrera plays “lights out” golf tomorrow, they are going to have a hard time dealing with all the pressure and other great players of the world, right in front of them, hopefully making birdies.

Perfect swing aren’t everything but you can see my detailed analysis of Kenny Perry’s swing and Chad Campbell’s swing. (You will see WHY Chad’s swing can become instable at times, proven today near the end of the round.)

Anyways, I will be live twittering all day tomorrow for the Sunday finale, follow me on Twitter @progolferdigest.

Winner of Northen Trust Open 2009 Is….

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Phil Mickelson wins the Northern Trust Open 2009!

Congrats and although my prediction was off, Fred Couples did come real close to winning, only if he had hit a good iron shot on the last hole.

It was an exciting finish to say the least though as Phil birdied the 2 of the last 3 holes to come back, after making bunch of bogies and no birdies until that point.

Fred Couples, on the other hand, gave a good run at age of 49 and a half, about to head to the Champion’s Tour.

Steve Stricker, who finished couple holes early, came up short by bogeying the last hole, he could have easily won this tournament.

Anyways, no more golf until next weekend.  I am gonna go hit balls in the rain now. :)

Make sure to check out my swing analysis of Phil Mickelson’s swing and Fred Couple driver’s swing here.

Danny Lee Interview after winning U.S. Amateur!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Here’s an excerpt of Danny Lee’s interview after his 2008 U.S. Amateur win:

Danny Lee, 18, of New Zealand, became the youngest winner in U.S. Amateur Championship history Sunday when he outlasted Drew Kittleson of Scottsdale, Ariz., 5 and 4, in their scheduled 36-hole final match at Pinehurst No. 2.

CRAIG SMITH [Moderator]: I’m going to just say, congratulations U.S. Amateur Champion. You were the equivalent of 11-under par. What a show.

DANNY LEE: Well, I played well. I played really, really well today. That’s all I can say.

CRAIG SMITH: Tell me, you said yesterday it was a dream.

DANNY LEE: Yeah.

Q.: Tell me about the dream and the week. I want to hear you talk.

DANNY LEE: This is my, like what should I say? This tournament, this is my third year trying this U.S. Amateur and I think I never felt — I tried the tournament three times and I never felt like — I don’t know what to say — I’m just so excited I don’t know what else to say right now. I have no idea.

CRAIG SMITH: That’s okay.

Q.: Given the tournament that you just won, have you ever played any, can you play any better than how you performed today?

DANNY LEE: Yeah. I mean, you know, I think I played incredibly well today and I don’t think I can play better than this, I think I played perfect golf. I’m really happy with myself and how I played.

Q.: He cut it to two when he chipped in on eight, or seven. What were your thoughts then and then you proceeded it make two birdies in a row or three birdies in a row?

DANNY LEE: No, I wasn’t really surprised, I knew that it’s going to come back some time and on some hole. And I knew he was a good player, because he made it into the finals here. He’s a good player.

I was expecting to get that, to have that happen, and since after he made that chip in, I was thinking like, I got to play well and I need to just keep focused on my game and just try and make birdies from there.

Q.: Did you watch Michael Campbell win the U.S. Open here on television?

DANNY LEE: Yes, I did.

Q.: What was your reaction when he won the U.S. Open here and what is your relationship with him?

DANNY LEE: Actually, we’re just the same New Zealanders, and we won at the same golf course, which is really nice. And that’s about it, I think.

Q.: Do you remember when he got back home after winning the U.S. Open?

DANNY LEE: No, actually not. No. Sorry.

Q.: Can you talk about the putt to win the match. And just kind of what your thoughts were when you saw that go in?

DANNY LEE: Yeah, it was an easy putt, just a little left-to-right break, you know. Uphill. Just aim at the left edge, hit it firm. I knew that it was going to go in.

CRAIG SMITH: I guess there’s a follow-up question here about your putting. You said it was good all week, today it seemed to be uncanny. If that’s an easy putt, talk about your putting just a little bit.

DANNY LEE: Oh, actually, I putted really well. I don’t know why. Maybe because of the practice that I’ve done. I think that’s what makes me putt really well, actually.

CRAIG SMITH: Do you think when you get over a putt that you’re going to make every one?

DANNY LEE: Yeah, like when 15 foot away from the hole, I still have a feeling that it’s going to drop. I was really comfortable out there.

Q.: Did you read your own putts this week? Who read them?

DANNY LEE: Actually, we both read them and it was, we were discussing about like some holes it’s breaking like opposite way, so I was listening to Boss and we were really discussing about those lies and we read it together.

CRAIG SMITH: How about just for the record we put your caddie’s name on the record. Your caddie’s name is.

DANNY LEE: Bob. And I don’t know his last name. Sorry.

CRAIG SMITH: We’ll just call him Bob.

Q.: Have you been in touch with your parents at all?

DANNY LEE: Just cell phone call every night. That’s about it.

Q.: Were they following along?

DANNY LEE: Yeah, actually they do.

CRAIG SMITH: Tell them Uncle Rambo, how he was doing with the texting.

DANNY LEE: Oh, yeah, actually my uncle called them or texted to them how I did that day or Danny hit it in the bunker and he shanked it from there, something like that.

(Laughter.)

via golfbusinesswire

Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Monday, August 25th, 2008
Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Danny Lee becomes the youngest U.S. Amateur champion in history of golf as he beat Drew Kittleson in style 5 and 4.  He also becomes the very first Korean-born golfer to win the U.S. Amateur.  That means Danny Lee is also the very first pure-breed Asian Asian person to win the U.S. Amateur.

UPDATE: Oops, Danny Lee ISN’t the very first Asian person.  Actually Tiger Woods is the very first Asian.  BTW, Tiger isn’t really black at all, he’s more Thai than anything else.

With Korean ladies taking over the leaderboard in LPGA, Danny Lee is also another one of those players starting the act of taking the PGA Tour along with the young PGA star, Anthony Kim.

Pinehurst, N.C. — Danny Lee became the U.S. Amateur’s youngest champion, supplanting Tiger Woods by holding off Drew Kittleson 5 and 4.

Lee, 18 years and one month old, frittered away most of a six-hole lead before regaining control with consecutive birdies midway through his second trip around Pinehurst’s No. 2 course. He capped his 11th consecutive day of competitive golf by sinking a 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th.

Lee is six months and 29 days younger than Woods was when he won the first of his three Amateurs in 1994.

The victory gives Lee exemptions into the U.S. and British opens, a probable invitation to The Masters and a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur as long as he remains an amateur.

via theglobeandmail

Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia battle it out at the Barclays FedEx Cup Playoff!

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Vijay Singh wins the FedEx Cup at Barclays by beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

He does it in style by making two consecutive birdies at hole 18 and 17 while Sergio Garcia makes one birdie but comes up short on number 17 with an errant drive and errant lay-up shot while Vijay is on the green in two.

I think it was a great finish by both players although I would have loved it if Sergio Garcia came through.

Unfortunately, Sergio Garcia seemed to have got the worst of luck this year, losing almost every tournament that he should have won.

Congratulations to both Vijay and Sergio, you guys both deserve some loud round of applause.

Danny Lee and Drew Kittleson at the Finals of 2008 U.S. Amateur!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I enjoyed watching the two youngsters, Danny Lee and Drew Kittleson battle out their semi-final match-play rounds at the 2008 U.S. Amateur today.

It will be an exciting finish tomorrow as we will see who wins the 2008 U.S. Amateur.  For the record, if Danny Lee wins, he will become the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Amateur.

Overall, I am impressed how well these 18 year olds can play and the winner will probably play the PGA Tour.

My vote goes to Danny Lee this week since he is the #1 ranked amateur in the world currently.

But you never know as the U.S. Amateur is match play and couple birdies can make up a lot.