Retieft Goosen has one of the best rhythms in golf. Here’s Retief at setup.
At backswing, Retief is right on-plane. Now, there’s 2 types of planes that 99% of tour pros use.
One plane is the plane formed by the ball to the middle of the shoulder sockets (the top red line) and the other one is the plane formed by the ball to the belly. (the bottom red line)
Retief here uses the 2nd type of plane, which is what David Leadbetter promotes whereas Butch Harmon does the other.
The impotant thing is to keep your plane within the two different types of plane. Anything higher or lower will make your swing a lot harder to keep up and cause back problems.
Jack Nicklaus probably breaks this swing plane rule but that explains why he needed a ceramic hip replacement.
At the top of the backswing, Retief has a beautiful triangle. His club is pointing slight to the right of parallel meaning he will probably hit from inside-out and a slight draw. This can become a problem for Retief if his club starts pointing more right and cause blocks to the right under pressure.
At downswing, Retief is actually a little too “steep”. This can again cause blocks to the right. But Retief manages to get back on plane right before impact:
As you can see, Retief is coming in a little too much inside-out. His shoulders are still inside-out. He might hit a good 15 yard draw on this drive but again, this type of too much inside-out action will cause blocks to the right.
However, it’s always better to error on the inside-out plane than outside-in plane since you do hit the ball more accurately this way.
After impact, Retieft shows he hit the ball perfectly as his club and right arm are in plane with the ball.
This is the secret. No matter how bad your backswing is, if you can end up in this position, you will hit the ball very very good like Retief Goosen.
Well, I was just browsing through Youtube today and found this great video of Adam Scott’s knockdown shot.
If you fast foward to the last part where Butch Harmon is standing, that’s how you should hit a knockdown shot.
Really try to play over and over to hear the crisp sound of the ball being hit. If you listen very carefully, he made almost no divot on the knockdown shot and only the ball. When you hit the knockdown shot correctly, you should be able to hear the “knock” sound. It’s the sound that’s made when you “almost” hit it a little thin.
Next time you go on the range, try to see if you can make that “thud” or “knock” sound, that is the secret to great knockdown shots with minimal backspin and drop and hop action.
There has been a lot of discussions on the internet about how to play the knockdown shot. I did go over it in brief detail couple months ago but here it is again.
A knockdown shot is nothing but a mini version of your full swing.
There are variety of knockdown shots too. Depending on what kind of lie you have and what kind of results you are trying to achieve, there’s about a hundred ways to play the shot.
But for 99% of golfers and 99% of situations, you play the knockdown shot for the following reasons:
1. You are between clubs. Let’s say you hit your 5-iron 185 yards and you hit your 6-iron 150 yards. You got a 160 yard shot, you can hit a knockdown shot here.
2. It’s windy. Whether that wind is against/with you or a cross-wind, by hitting a knockdown shot, you can keep the flight of the golf ball 20-40% lower than your normal shots and not get affected by the wind. That means you don’t have to worry about how the wind will affect the shot as much.
3. You need to hit it lower than usual to avoid high hanging trees and also put lots of backspin. If you hit a knockdown shot, usually you will get a lower ball flight and get a nice hop and stop action on the ball.
Again, here’s the simplest and the most effective way to hit the knockdown shot that I personally learned from Butch Harmon:
1. Put the ball near center or slightly forward of center of your stance.
2. Swing easy, anywhere between 1/2 to 3/4 swing.
3. On the downswing, feel like you are “trapping” the ball with your body. Now, this “feeling” might take a lot of practice to achieve.
4. Try to contact the ball first, not the turf. Better yet, don’t hit the turf at all. Hitting the turf only makes the ball lose backspin. If you look at Tiger in practice (not in competition), you will see him take zero turf on every one of his ‘good’ knockdowns. If you are awed by tour pros hitting really low sand wedges and they ‘hop and drop’, this is how they do it.
This may be the most important in knockdowns since the less you hit the ground (or take a divot), the more ‘hop and drop’ backspin you will get PLUS your ball will fly a lot lower since you are not hitting down on the ball. The only way to achieve this is to really hit the ball from 0 degree angle, meaning you don’t want to hit down or up on the ball.
Now this method is great since you will be able to use your knockdowns “everywhere” once you get good.
I tend to favor it even if it’s not windy and I don’t need to hit it under a tree since you don’t have to do a full swing and stay in control of your ball flight.
Look at Tiger and he’s doing that.
Next time, I will take a video to show you exactly what I mean. These days, I don’t have much time for golf practice. I hope that changes soon and maybe I will have to try out for PGA again soon.
John Daly is probably one of my favorite golfers of all time. His swing is somethin’ If you read his book, “Grip It and Rip It”, you will find that he does a lot of things that you don’t expect him to.
For example, John Daly does have one of the longest swings ever BUT he does has one of the best rhythms in golf. You don’t realize how great his rhythm is because all you are focusing on is his long swing and his distance. But look at his swing carefully and you will see a little Freddy Couples in him.
I used to try to copy his swing during one of my golf years and was pretty successful at it. I remember when I would read his book over and over again until couple pages decided to take lives of its own and take off somewhere in my bedroom…
Anyways, check it out. You should also read his book from couple years ago where he writes about his life but we will get to that so…
P.S. The weirdest thing is that I live in San Francisco right next to John Daly Blvd., right next to Daly City! It must be a coincidence that he’s among my favorites. I mean, of all the places you can live in, I am living next to John Daly Blvd and Daly City?!? John should really move here.
Yes, you can get a lesson withat Rio Secco, Henderson, Nevada, which is about 20 minute drive from theairport. Although slighltly costly, you can get a lesson with Butch, former teacher of Tigerand currentforPhilly Mickelson.
As a former pro golfer playing in various mini-tour tournaments and other stints as a Pro golfer, I’d like to share what I have learned from other Pro golfers and famous teachers such as Tiger’s old coach, Butch Harmon who was my last golf coach.
Why am I not on the PGA Tour yet?
Well, I broke my finger and I ran out of funding and money to keep going as a pro and dove into the corporate world, wasting my youth and energy to make a living. My finger injury lasted almost 2+ years before I could play normal golf again.
Now, I am on my own at least, making money with blogs. My next goal is to make enough money so I can support my pro-tour challenge. I am currently getting ready to play some mini-tour events and Nationwide Tour Monday Qualifyings for 2012. I know it’s going to take me couple years to get to the PGA, but I thought I’d make a blog and tell you about my journeys there.
I will be doing swing analysis of pro golfers and also critiquing my own golf swing. By simply reading my golf analysis, you will learn everything I have learned from various pro golfers and teachers.
Why don’t you become a teaching professional?
Well, I don’t want to end up as a golf teacher. My goal has been always to “play” competitive golf and nothing else. Heck, I do teach golf right here, on my blog. That’s the least I can do to give back the 19 years of golf experience that I have.
My tips are genuine, from an actual mini-tour golfer, and Top 10 ’97 High School Californian golfer (or at least I was 10th in all California in high school), me, Max Lee. Your golf swing will improve more because my tips are personal and they work!
Here’s the updated version where I hit the ball again while its in mid-air:
What’s your handicap?
Well, I haven’t had that much time to play lately since I have to make a living in front of my PC but I will shoot anywhere near par whenever I go out. (+1-3 handicap…) My lowest score is a 64 so far, which isn’t great by pro tour standards but yes, I will take most people’s money when we bet for skins. My goal is to shoot 4-6 under consistently on any course I play, which is something most pro tours can do.
“Max, I had been studying Hogan’s swing on my own for the last few years. But not until I came across your website did I put all the pieces together. Thank you so much for giving back. I am hitting the ball straight with plenty of power and enjoying ever minute of golf. J.G.”
Thanks, J.G., that means everything to me, I will keep working harder and try to give you guys the best golf tips in the world.
I have a question?
Do you have a question on how to hit a certain golf shot or perhaps your golf swing?
Shoot me an e-mail at pro [at] progolferdigest.com and I will answer your question on my blog.
Also, if you want free swing analysis, upload your swing on YouTube and send me the link! (I will do a complete analysis on my blog too.)
I also write a tech blog over at Zedomax.com, so check that out too!