The new year is upon us and I haven’t blogged for awhile, so with winter really here this year in the Burg, I thought it might be time to put a few thoughts down and update what’s happening, since the last blog, about 2 month ago. The holidays were great as I went out to San Diego to see the grand kids and Christmas morning with 3 kids, ages 10, 8, and almost 3 is priceless. I finished off the golf season around the 9th of December and really never did much the rest of the year. Once the handicap season was over, I tried various experiments and none really amounted to much success. The weather has been normal you might say and it looks like winter golf will be at a minimum this year, when compared with last year when I had played 10 rounds before March 1. For me this is a good thing right now, because it is allowing some nagging injuries to hopefully heal up to 100%. I have been reading a lot over these last 2 months more than I usually do, which is a lot, and it is very difficult to read and write at the same time. What have I been reading ? Brain books baby brain books.
What I would like to write about today is watching golf on TV. There are a lot of people out there, golfers and non golfers alike, who don’t like to watch golf on TV, and really don’t understand why anybody would want to watch golf on TV. We golf tournament watchers have to defend why we watch this game that, according to the non watchers, is slow and boring and you can’t see where the ball is going, etc. etc. We, who watch golf, talk about the scenery and following the super stars who play the game. Here is one reason that I watch golf on TV, that you may find unique, but it may get non golfers to watch the sport. It is to see human ineptitude at it’s highest level. Let me explain. There are only 150 golfers that can play in a PGA tour event each week. That can also be the subject of another blog on why that is. Just think, if other sports only had 150 to 250 players at the highest level. There would only be 6 football teams in the NFL, 6 Baseball teams in MLB, 8 Hockey teams in the NHL and 12 basketball teams in the NBA. The quality of play would improve dramatically in all of those sports. There would only be 6 NFL quarterbacks. Every week would almost be like watching an all star game but they would be playing for real. You could say this about every Major league sport. Golf is considered a world sport but still only 150 people are allowed to play at the top level on the PGA tour. Despite such small numbers you see shots and mistakes that the average player makes everyday. It would be like Tom Brady throwing 3 consecutive passes to the referees. Not throwing interceptions, just throwing the ball to the refs. It would be like watching Bryce Harper strike out 27 straight times or dropping 3 straight routine fly balls. That is how bad some putts and chips and bunker shots are on the PGA tour. I do not know the reason for these horrible shots. People like to blame this on pressure but come on. I can see missing a 6 foot putt to win or tie a tournament but an 18 inch putt. Some full shots are really bad also. Drives going into people’s yards, irons missed way left or right and pitch shots in the middle of the fairway hit fat and go only 20 to 40 yards. Remember were talking about 150 people here, that are allowed to play. It’s not that tough, really, is it. The toughest thing in sports is hitting a baseball and getting a hit. Compare that to making an 18 inch putt. If you watch golf you will see an 18 to 24 inch putt missed in every round. You’ll see a green side bunker shot skulled over the green. I could go on and on and it doesn’t make any difference if it is the first round or the final round you will see ineptness at the highest level. So the next time someone bugs you about watching golf, tell them you don’t know what you’re missing.
The blog will be popping up more often now, with some more great insights on this goofy game and when I find the answer you will be the first to know.
Well, the summer has come to an end as we head into the first of September, and this has been a good summer, at least the second half, for my golf game. Early to mid June my handicap was at its high of 6.9, and now with the new revision, it is 4.2. I am not quite ready to go into detail, of how I was able to bring it down almost 3 strokes, but I am going to discuss one new aspect of my game, at the end of this blog.
Today, I want to discuss one general aspect of the golf swing. First, you must agree with this one statement. The golf swing is a very physical demanding athletic process. All you have to do is watch the swings of Dustin Johnson, Rory McElroy, Ricki Fowler, and Justin Thomas to believe this. For the average or even a low handicap golfer these swings are really physically impossible to repeat, unless you want to first spend a year at cross fit and then go and try to play golf. One of the main problems with the golf swing, is that you can get into positions of the swing by using your arms and legs, that look pretty good, but are really ineffective when it comes to providing power and accuracy. So what’s a golfer to do? The solution is to make sure you are making a full hip turn. What is a full hip turn? The hips should at least turn 45 degrees on the backswing. That is the minimum. If you can turn them more fine. Can you over turn your hips? No, as long as you obey one simple rule. You must make sure that your weight is on the right side at the top of the swing. As long as you do this, then your hips can turn as much as you can turn them. The more you turn your hips on the backswing the farther you will hit the ball and your accuracy will improve dramatically. It is the purest definition of completing your backswing. By turning your hips fully you will put much less stress on your back muscles and get a much fuller shoulder turn in a very natural way.
Getting back to my own golf game, a couple of blogs back, I mentioned that I am playing the with no swing thoughts, which is what I am still doing. It has really freed up my swing and has contributed to my scoring improvement. I play now with what I call swing feels. What’s the difference. Well according to our language experts, a thought is a mental process, and a feeling is a process of the heart. Now this may be getting a bit sentimental, as far as golf is concerned, but don’t knock it until you try it. My playing golf from the heart has made a huge difference. No more swing thoughts. No more low and slow, pause at the top, smooth transition, get wide, shut face or square, and nice and smooth. I’m feelin it man. Will see what the next month brings. Happy golfing
For the past 3 months of so, I have discussed the conflicting viewpoints of various aspects of the golf swing. Is there anything that practically all golf instructors agree upon. There are a few but not many. Before we get to today’s subject let me briefly delve into how my own golf game is coming along in the new season. SUCKS. Now on to today’s subject.
If you read any golf instruction or take a lesson, what can you expect will be a common under lying theme, no matter who you read or have direct contact. You must have a correct or good grip. Now there may be some differences in what constitutes a good grip but the good grip is a must. The address position or what you do before you swing is more important than the swing itself. However, there is one thing that all golf instruction seems to obsessed with, and that is square. I do not care who you read or watch on the internet, the one thing that is pounded into you mind is that your feet, hips and shoulders must be parallel and square to the target line. There is even the square to square method. I suppose the thinking here is, if everything is square, there is more of a chance to make square contact with the ball down the intended line. After all of that, the comment is made, that the hardest shot in golf is the straight shot, and you should play your tendency to curve the ball. If your shot pattern is left to right, then you should play down the left side of the fairway and let the shot curve back to the middle, which gives you a bigger margin of error to keep the ball in the fairway. You would reverse this of course, if your tendency is to hit the ball right to left. Now let’s think about this for a minute, and take it to the tee box. Here we are on the tee, and we are looking at a straight away fairway about 40 yards wide. If we are a left to right player and follow the plan we would aim 10 yards from the left side of the fairway, with the objective of curving ball back to the middle of the fairway. But do any of us curve the ball that consistently. We are only allowing ourselves 10 yards of error on the left side. How many times have players double crossed themselves and then pulled the shot or even pulled hook the shot into deeper trouble. If you aim right down the middle of the fairway you are allowing yourself 20 yards on either side to keep the ball in the short stuff. If curving the ball is the thing to do, which everybody seems to think so, then why should everything be square. Even though it seems that this is one point everybody agrees on, square, it still is a very confusing situation to someone who is trying to learn the game.
In the next post I am going to go review all 15 of the conflicting areas of golf instruction and give my opinion on what’s important, not important, and what you really need to do to hit that little ball.
I haven’t blogged for about 2 and a half weeks for various reasons. My grand kids were in town for a week and golf took a back seat for that week. But most of all just not a lot of progress made on finding the answer. The scores the last two weeks have been about the same with most in the mid 70’s and a couple of 80’s tossed in just to make sure that I know I haven’t found the answer. There has not been a lot of stimulus to write, but today I thought I would like to discuss a subject not directly related to golf, but with some of the things that I am doing right now, it may have more meaning, if by some flukey chance, these things turn out to be successful.
I would like to discuss our perceptions, or the way we perceive things. In some cases this could be about a particular subject. Let’s take the example of Obama Care. There is one side that feels this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The other perception is that Obama Care threatens the very existance of the American way. Each side argues passionately for their point of veiw and thinks the other sides perception is skewed or wrong. This ends up with neither side coming close to convincing the other side to change their mind. I can tell you that that there are two areas where our perceptions are definitely skewed or wrong. This is in the area of time and speed. Time is a constant. A second is a second, a minute is a minute, an hour is an hour and so on and so on. But in your feeble little mind 5 minutes can seem like an eternity, if you are waiting for someone or standing in line. On the other hand if you are engrossed in a book or a video game, an hour can fly by in the blink of an eye. We look up from the game or book and say, “Oh my God where did the time go, I’m going to be late for work”. The same thing can be said about speed. Most of us have to drive a little way through congested streets and neighborhoods to get to the freeway or interstate. When you first get on the interstate and get into the flow of traffic and hit the 55- 65 mph speed you really get that feeling that you are hip hopping right along. Before long however, as the traffic keeps moving you accelerate up to 75 and 80 mph and don’t even know it, because now that feels the same as when you were going 65. Then when you get off the interstate, maybe on a two lane highway, where the speed limit is 55, that will feel like you are just crawling. Even though the speed can be pretty much the same if will feel different depending on when and where you are doing that particular speed.
Now what does this have to do with golf. Your golf swing has these two components, time and speed. There is a certain amount of time you will have to take to make a golf swing. Your swing, and I am not talking about the amount of clubhead speed you can generate, will also have a certain speed. It will be your perception of the time and speed of your golf swing that will dictate how you make adjustments during a round of golf. My guess here, and I am dealing from my own experience, that these perceptions are wrong. I am not sure how they are wrong and they may not be wrong all time. I may have some conclusions on this in a later blog. Anyway, just food for thought, don’t let it give you indigestion. See you when I have something to write about again.