It’s Night and Day After Lesson from Chuck

Well I have gone on and on about my lesson with Chuck and how awesome it went and that the key point was that I had ZERO shoulder turn (believe it the one on the right is at the top of my old backswing) and since I started doing the 185 slow motion swings working on sliding the right scapula back I wanted to take a quick video in the backyard just to see if there is any actual progress. Now I am sure there are other things to work (left leg) but when I do the 185 swings I have only been working on shoulder turn. So here it is the before Chuck lesson and after. Remember this is just a quick swing in the back with no warm up. I am very excited with what I see here and can’t wait for the next step. I think tomorrow I will concentrate more on the left leg…

Todays swing is on the left and before is on the right
Todays swing is on the left and before is on the right

Day 4 Progress Report – Golf Biomechanics and the Rotary Swing

Long day, I’m beat, but feel like I made great progess. After working on my swing with the camera for hours, I went to go hit some golf balls outside to see what was going on there. I hit it very straight, but not on the trajectory I’d like. It was a little floaty and not struck as solid, but you can’t expect anything different after such invasive surgery on a golf swing. I’d realistically expect to have ups and downs for the next month or so, but I’ll keep my playing light and just stay the course. It will be easier to stick with the changes when I’m not hung up on watching the ball flight, which makes this work perfect for you guys stuck up north in the cold. I promise we’ll have drills and videos coming up soon.

On a total positive note, I hit 126 mph twice today near the end of my range session. Again, I’m tired from a long day and my brain is pretty much “mush” right now, so I consider this great progress. My high on Monday was 123 mph I think and I only did that once, so this is a nice boost. My average was up a bit, right around 123, so that’s getting closer to my goal of 125 mph. This goal might be tough given how extensive the changes are, but I’ll keep trying. Overall, I consider today a great success and I learned a lot of new “feelings” in my swing that are heading me in the right direction.

All Torque’d Up…

Still working here guys. I gave Alison a call for a little guidance on something and she has helped jog my memory on some things. First of all, a good backswing is so torque’d up that it would be impossible to hold that position at the top, or even get there in slow motion. I had lost some of that torque and she gave me something to work on during my takeaway that, along with some extension going back that I felt I was lacking, created a much better position at the top.

The capture from the left is from today and the middle pic is from yesterday. Of course, on the far right that’s “Big Daddy”, or Tiger Woods. You might notice some similarities that were absent yesterday. I looked like a goober at the top of my swing yesterday, but knew I could fix it with some more time. Today’s position is much more torque’d up, in fact, I couldn’t even get to this position in slow motion, I am forced to “swing” to this position with momentum and couldn’t hold it if I wanted to. The more I alter my biomechanics, the more it seems that Tiger is the only person using his body to maximum efficiency. Is that really a surprise?

“300 Workout” Continues….

I’ve made some more progress from yesterday where I was actually pretty happy with the changes that showed up on film in such a short time. Today, I got even better results after my workout this morning. I notice that at certain levels of time, say after maybe every 60-80 swings I really catch on to something new and give it some focus as I continue. Here’s a screen capture from today on the left vs. yesterday on the right:

In this image, you can see I’ve gotten my wrist into a much better position. Doing the drill yesterday helped me get comfortable with a lot of things so that I could catch some more detailed things like this, but it came at a slight cost because I didn’t post on the left leg as well. That’s why it’s important for me to stick with the core drills for 3,000 reps without getting off on too far of a tangent because my body hasn’t “memorized” the work from the day before, it needs more repetition. So, after I stopped and looked at this for a minute I realized that I needed to keep focusing on rotation as well, but am still much happier with this position coming down into impact, it’s much more powerful with less effort.

It is nice when hard work on your golf swing produces visible results!
It is nice when hard work on your golf swing produces visible results!

The 185 Workout

 

Well I tried it. I strutted into Gold’s gym at 0530 this morning with my 7 iron in hand and went up to the yoga room, which is has wall to wall mirrors, and proceeded at my attempt to make it through Chuck’s 300 slow motion golf swings. I was only able to make it through 185 swings but man it was a great “golf swing” workout.

 

Since my lesson with Chuck I have one goal and that is to properly learn to rotate my shoulders and core on the backswing by sliding my right scapula back to flatten out my back at the top. It took more than the ten minutes it took Chuck before my brain started to realize what my body was trying to do. It was about the 75th swing before I was able to finally “feel” the move that I was trying to achieve but once I did it was awesome.

 

Around the 100th swing I was so loose and comfortable with the move that I integrated the training into slow motion full swings. I was tucked in the corner of the room so that I was in front of a mirror face on and down the line…it was perfect. By the time I reached my last swing I was free flowing and my body movements felt very natural and like Chuck and Hayes I couldn’t even feel my arms as they were whipping through to the finish. However when I was finished my lower back muscle, not sure if it is the lower lat or external oblique, along with my left glute were on fire…not in pain but burning…the kind of burn you feel when you lift weights. I had never felt these muscles really in my swing before.

 

I was only able to get through 185 swings because with the mirrors I was really able to focus on my setup and at first I had to REALLY concentrate on it. Having the mirrors face on and down the line allowed me to really set up correctly. Right off the bat I noticed I was too close to the ball and I was not letting my arms hang straight down and I was able to fix this and a few other smaller things but it chewed up some time.

 

Overall I thought this was a great workout and I think that I found a way to cure the winter blues when it is too cold to play. In doing this I honestly walked out feeling like I just went to the range!!!

“300 Workout” – Best Golf Lesson I’ve Ever Given Myself

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie “300” but those guys were put through a grueling workout to get themselves into the phenomenal physical conditioning they were in to play the part of the Spartans. A couple men’s health magazines put together some workouts called the “300 Challenge”. I’ve kind of done the same thing, but for a very different purpose. Everyone has likely heard that it takes 3,000-5,000 repetitions to develop a habit. That’s a LOT of repetitions, and especially when it comes to learning movements in the golf swing. But, I’ve committed myself to making changes in my golf swing for longevity purposes and to enjoy pain free golf for years to come.

Many of you have watched Alison Thietje’s presentation videos on her website and there is a ton of great information on there, some of which is what I’m working on with my “300 Workout” I started today. In an effort to engrain some changes in to the biomechanics of my golf swing, I decided to do 300 slow motion golf swings in front of a mirror focusing on the changes that I’m making in my swing and this morning was the first “workout”. It was more challenging than I originally thought but incredibly insightful in the end and probably the most productive time I’ve ever spent working on my golf swing. Below I’ve chronicled this first workout so you can see what it was like.

9:30 am – Takes about 5 minutes to do 20 swings, the first 40 were sort of just feeling things out
9:47 am – By rep 60, I started feeling like my brain new what I what I was trying to do, things started clicking
9:54 am – By rep 80, I felt like I could really start to add speed to what I was doing
10:00 am – Rep 100 – Feeling very confident as my swing is looking and feeling like what I want it to
10:06 am – Rep 120 – Takeaway move really feeling good here, starting to focus on left side as well on downswing now.
10:13 am – Rep 140 – Noticing fatigue, arms and shoulders have never felt this soft and relaxed, really feeling left side pulling motion, starting to sweat, it’s a workout now, taking a 5 minute break to stretch and relax my brain.
10:21 am – Rep 160 – Do I even have arms and shoulders now? Club coming through effortlessly, completely core driven and club is ripping through w/ serious speed and zero effort as I’ve started to add a little more speed to my drills.
10:26 am – Rep 180 – Mixing fast and slow now, started getting a little sloppy and losing the feeling of using my core properly.
10:31 am – Rep 200 – Really feeling core now, shoulders super relaxed.
10:36 am – Rep 220 – Back to going super slow again, focusing on takeaway and left side on downswing. My setp feels very comfortable now.
10:41 am – Rep 240 – Tired, sweaty, taking a break. Wondering to myself how many people are actually going to do this? Hayes maybe…. 😉
10:47 am – Rep 260 – Starting to totally feel different muscles powering my downswing and complete separation from my shoulders and core.
10:53 am – Rep 280 – My golf swing feels like it’s from another planet. Completely controlled by the right and left side of my core, I don’t have arms, checking in the mirror to ensure they are still there.
11:00 am – Rep 300 – Don’t have arms but they sure are moving fast. Whew, I’m done!

It took an hour and a half to complete 300 swings like this, about the same time it takes to hit a large bucket of balls on the range, but this was way more productive in the long run. It’s certainly not a short term, quick fix, but in the end my joints are going to thank me – in fact, they already are!

I once watched Tiger Woods practicing at Isleworth here in Windermere where he lives and I saw him do the same takeaway drill for 45 minutes, non-stop, without ever hitting a ball. If you think about that, it’s amazing. He was intensely focused on a drill while a hole pile of brand new Nike One Platinum’s lay at his feet just begging to be hit. I never thought I could do just a drill for an hour and a half, but I just did and I learned a ton about the muscles that I want to actually fire in my downswing. I’m 10% of the way there!

To check my progress, I went downstairs immediately afterward and hit a few balls on film to see if anything stuck, here’s the sequence:

 

I’m very happy with a few things that I can already see as a result of my work this morning. One, I’m much happier with the coil and position of my left knee going back. I have a tedency to let it go back a bit far and get loose and sloppy. I’m extremely happy with my downswing progress, not perfect, but definite progress. My left leg is completely posted up on, not by using leg, using my core in the downswing! Because of this impact position, I’m getting a great release where the club is ripping through due to centrifugal force and nothing else.

Filming my swing helped me see what I need to focus on again tomorrow when I do another “300 Workout”, but I’m very pleased that swing has progressed already and can’t wait to see what happens when I hit 3,000 reps!

Day 2 Progress – Rotary Swing 2.0

A lot more work poured into my swing today, I’m beat, mentally and physically. It’s tiring working so hard on changing a golf swing and rewards often come in only small doses. Today’s rewards were small, nice straight ball flight, decent speed and I’m getting closer to some positions that I wish to achieve, but I still have a long way to go.

In the sequence below from today, I’m still trying to get comfortable with my setup, which looks fairly poor here looking at my spine. The top of my swing has gotten loose and a little disconnected and I’m more rotated early in the downswing than I would like. Sheesh! I’m not sure I saw much that I like, except the ball flight was still good. I’m so focused on my balance at address and during my backswing that it’s tough to do the other things I want, but I’ll keep plugging away!

Clubhead Speed Prediction

Is it too early in the race to make a prediction? Given how far out they start calling the President victory, I think this will be ok. After my work over the past couple days with Alison, my own work on the range and some more in the studio tonight, I have made a prediction in my average and peak driver clubhead speed today. I know, it seems a bit premature, but I am THAT confident in what I’m doing that I’m going to call the horse now.

  • Within 1 month
    – Avg CHS will be up from 115 mph to 120 mph ( I did that one today already but want to maintain it)
    – Peak CHS will go from a previous high of 129 mph to 131 mph
  • Within 2 months
    -Avg CHS will go to 124 mph
    – Peak CHS will reach 135 mph
  • Within 6 months
    – Avg CHS will hover around 125 mph, possibly higher, up to 127 mph
    – Peak will be 137 mph

Those are big numbers and fun to think about. It’s close to where I was last year when I could warm up at 124 mph and a “bad” slow swing was 118 mph. Using RS2.0 I’m training my muscles to fire in a different sequence and it will take time for my brain to learn what I’m trying to tell it to do, but I think these numbers are very achievable, so we will see!

Just for fun (and some subliminal motivation!), I plugged the numbers into OptimalFlight to see what 125 mph of clubhead speed with a solid strike and my current launch conditions would do.

125 mph of clubhead speed will give me 183 mph of ball speed!
125 mph of clubhead speed will give me 183 mph of ball speed!
318 yards of carry and 346 total yards with roll on average! I’ll take it. I may have to have Nakashima build me a 7.5 degree driver!

120 mph average clubhead speed

Last year when I did the “Bomb Your Driver” research with McChicken from the forum, I spent 3 months hitting nothing but drivers. By the end, we had discovered the perfect driver shafts, heads and launch conditions and I could regularly hit 330-340 yard bombs. After a while, I decided it would be helpful if I learned to hit an iron again, although I really wasn’t hitting anything longer than a wedge into the green most of the time! Anyway, during this process, my clubhead speed slipped – a lot. I went from my first driver “warm-up” swing of the day being 124-125 mph to 110-112 mph. I was still hitting it very solid and could work the ball, but it still hurts knowing I’m leaving that much left in the tank. Enter Rotary Swing 2.0…

When I was swinging in the 120’s, it was putting a lot of stress on my knee and hip. This would cause me to back it down or only be able to comfortably play a few days. Since making a setup change over the weekend, my first swing of the day today was 122 mph without me trying to get to 122 mph. I had hit 7 irons for about 2 hours before this, so I was already worn out to boot. My average CHS for the first four swings was 120 mph as shown in the video below and I felt like I had the same control as I did at 112 mph. I packed up my stuff right then and there and headed out to the course to play a few quick holes, the results spoke for themselves. On the 3rd hole at Sugarloaf Mountain, a 458 yard par 4, I hit a driver, 9 iron to a middle pin from the back of the tee box, this was in the vicinity of 313 yards off the tee and was absolutely effortless and pure as it gets. The 4th hole I hit my hybrid 10 yards longer than normal off the tee, and with less effort. I know it will take a few weeks for these changes to settle in before I can really maximize their potential and I wouldn’t be surprise if I crack the 130 mph mark within the next couple months beating my previous high this past winter of 129 mph. Lookout McChicken – I’m coming for you!

Day 1 Progress Report – RS2 Swing Changes

Tiger Woods took 2 years to feel fully comfortable with his swing changes under Hank Haney and Tiger works much more on his swing than I do, so I’m going to keep that in mind as I make these changes. In all, I have a dozen or so changes I’d like to make and I’m guessing each one will take me 2-3 weeks to feel comfortable given the amount of time I currently alot to practice, so this could potentially take 9 months. That’s an awful long time and certainly not how I would teach a student unless he was seriously committed or needed to be committed seriously to a loony bin.

I am going to look at this as earning my bachelor’s degree in biomechanics, so it’s as much for education as it is for anything else. I’ll be discussing these changes here in some detail as I progress, but will be reserving the really good stuff and the explanation for the changes for the Member’s Vault members. Without further ado, let’s look at today’s swing sequence after a couple hours on the range this morning:

You can click the image for a larger view. In frame 1, I have a made a slight adjustment to my setup, anyone guess what it is? Overall, I’m pretty happy with my setup from face on and will only likely change one more thing from this view. Again, I’m primarily focusing on setup changes right now and have a swing thought or two that I’m trying to feel in my actual swing. Changing my setup is enough to leave the brain confused, so I’m trying not to overdo it. In frame 3, I’m really trying to make some changes here and in frame 4. My tendency is to over drive too hard with the right side. This gets me into the position I’m in in frame 5 where I’ve delofted the club a bit too much (this is a 7 iron) and my hands are a bit too far out in front of the ball at impact. Part of my interest in making these changes is to alter this impact position so that my hands can actually slow down and release the club a bit more. I’m actually losing clubhead speed here because I haven’t had time to fully release the club.

In the end, a lot of what I’m working on is simply a matter of rotation, but biomechanically correct rotation. After a couple hours of work on the range with the 7 iron, I picked up the driver and my first swing was 122 mph, that’s a fairly high first swing for me, I’m normally in the mid teens range, and it felt pretty comfortable. I can feel how I can power my swing with even more of the big muscles than I do already, which is going to allow my to swing faster with less work while actually protecting my muscles and joints rather than putting them at greater risk for injury.

Lesson Learned…I am a Mental Midget….

Well my journey to greatness hit a little bump in the road yesterday. I had my first poor round in a couple weeks…shot 86 (gave myself a bogey on the last hole because we didn’t finish too dark). Thing is I really did not hit the ball bad but the biggest disappointment was that I allowed myself to mentally get totally taken out of my game. I started out rough on the front nine and with 2 dubs and a trip and quickly found myself 7 over after four holes. I managed not to let that get to me and played the next 5 holes at 1 under to make the turn with a 42, not great but proud of turning it around.

This is where it got ugly. I parred 10 & 11 and then we hit it…a 3 group backup on #12 which is a long 442 par 4.  So we joined the twosome that was in front of us and this is where the wheels feel off. I am not going to get into making a bunch of excuses here b/c there are no excuses in my book but I allowed the situation we found ourselves in to totally pull me out of the game mentally. I was walking up to the ball not using my routine and not caring or thinking about shots. I had fallen into the “I rather be anywhere but here” mentality and as such proceeded to go bogey, trip, trip, bogey before I finally smacked myself in the face and woke up. Once I pulled my head out of my butt I went birdie, par, and then picked up on 18 b/c it was dark, cold, and the idiots in front of us where taking there sweet ole time.

I took a couple of penalties on the day but my biggest disappointment was how I let the elements that I could not control pull me out of my game and affect the only element that I can control and that is my mental game. It was a great learning lesson that I learned today and I think just as important as any swing lesson I will ever have…and not one I will soon forget.

Many ways, but only one biomechanically correct way to swing the club

In my estimation, I’d say there are atleast 8 valid, complete golf swing models out there that someone could take from beginning to end and successfully strike a golf ball. But there is only one way to biomechanically use the body as it was designed to function. Of course, my preference is for my students to learn the Rotary Swing because it is FAR simpler to learn and easy to perform on a consistent basis with minimal upkeep. And, as I’ve now been informed by biomechanics experts, it’s the only swing model they have found that is biomechanically correct. That being said, there are things that can be refinded to help protect the joints and use the large muscles even more than I already teach to my students. Today I’m going to talk about one of those “Rotary Swing 2.0” modifications.

The setup is something where you can see a million different tour pros do it a million different ways and be completely functional. However, there is only one way for your joints to line up and for the human body to perfectly balanced. Being perfectly balanced allows the golfer to perform other movements correctly and with less effort, so this is a critical component to the swing as you can imagine. Now, don’t get to caught up in all the details just yet, I’m only going to be talking about one piece of the setup in this post and will be explaining the rest in far greater detail with videos in the Member’s Vault.

Examine the photo below:

Rotary Swing 2.0 Setup Angles and Joint Alignments
Rotary Swing 2.0 Setup Angles and Joint Alignments
In this photo, I want you to specifically look at the green line. This green line is eminating from the center of my right ankle and working vertically at 90 degrees. The back of my right knee is also setting on this line. This alignment allows me to balance through the center of my ankles which is exactly how the human body was designed to be in perfect balance. Typically, the golf swing has been taught to have the weight more towards the balls of the feet or center of the foot in a “ready” position. The catch here is that if your natural fully balanced position was in the middle of your foot, that’s where your ankles would be, but they’re not, they’re near the heel. In setting up this way, you’ll notice that the center of my hip is now behind my ankle, represented by the red line. This is not only balanced but allows me to fight the tremendous centrifugal forces of the downwing by moving my center of gravity away from the ball. But for now, just study the ankle and the knee and check your setup with a camera or mirror. If you feel the weight going straight through the middle of your ankles and feel “anchored” to the ground, you’re in a biomechanically balanced setup that will allow you to generate more force with less effort.

Everything is Ship Shape

and just in time for the end of the season.  I belong to a group of golfers known as the ‘snow bound’.  Few options exist for us.

  • Escape to the sunny south.  Difficult without means, and timing is often everything.  If you can only escape for a week, the middle of January is a horrible time as there’s simply too much winter left to deal with when you come back.  However, closer to springtime also brings higher airfare.  Decisions, decisions.
  • Join a winter league with an indoor sim.  It’s still swinging clubs, hitting balls, and drinking beer.  It’s often the only time some of us will hit 350 yard drives (with the sim distance boost on), but divots are frowned upon and you quickly get used to sweeping your shots – which could be tough to recover from come springtime.
  • Chip balls in the living room or hit balls in the garage.  All the functionality of a sim without the fancy screen.  Plus, ricocheting balls damage your own stuff.  Divots are DEFINATELY frowned upon (unless your significant other was eyeing up new carpet anyway).
  • Do drills.  Like plyometrics, they can be done in confined spaces, because if you try full swings with clubs you end up like this guy: Drills in small space
  • Do nothing.  Surprisingly, this one takes the most commitment.  It takes guys a few tries to get going, often falling off the wagon to putt a few balls, but with other interests like hockey, sledding, and ice fishing, you can get the hang of it pretty easily.  For those who are having real trouble, playing Tiger Woods on your Playstation can often get you well on your way to doing nothing for your game, while playing a golf game.  It’s almost poetic.

Believe it or not, winter is also a fantastic time to tinker with your clubs.  Or more accurately, tinker with my clubs.  It’s the slowest part of the season, and most companies at least have some catalogues coming out in the new year to whet my appetite with new and innovative designs.  This is about the time I start to get bored and think about pulling apart my gamer set and assembling something new.  I generally consider the heads that did well last year along with the hottest shaft – this year would be the Wishon 560MC iron with FST KB Tour shafts, but I hear Tom Wishon has already spilled the beans on a low-offset version of his industry-leading game improvement 770CFE irons – the first thin-face design iron on the market.  People have been asking for this iron in a lowered offset version for quite some time, and it seems that Tom is going to oblige.  Word on the Wishon forum is that they’ll be the 870’s – I can’t wait, and already have my KB Tour’s ready to go.  The popular iron grip this year seemed to be the Golf Pride DD2.  I haven’t tried them myself, but I see them everywhere.  I’ve held them, but didn’t play them (preferring Sharpro half cord grips for my gloveless hands).  So for now, I’ll wait for spring, and get my order in on the first boat from China.

As for my winter plans, I’ll be lucky to get a couple weeks at the end of March.  I’m sure I’ll have some sort of clubs in my bag by then – I’ve always got a few designs I want to hit lying around!

Tiger Woods Rotary Hitter Release – Throwing the Right Hand

Tiger Woods swing through impact is the absolute ideal model for the Rotary Hitter. No one demonstrates a better free-wheeling throwing motion of the right hand and clubhead than Tiger. In this swing sequence, you can see how, like a Rotary Swinger, the clubhead works left after impact, but does so because of the release of the clubhead, not just the body like the Swinger.
Tiger Woods right hand release through impact.
Tiger Woods right hand release through impact.
In this sequence, you can see how Tiger is “throwing his right hand” like I discuss in the Rotary Hitter Right Arm Throwing Motion Video. But here’s the point I want to emphasize. He’s not throwing his right hand and arm with a lot of tension, it’s a free-wheeling release that was setup by the motion of his lower body. I have seen several students who are making the transition to a Rotary Hitter and ONLY hitting with their right arm right from the top of the swing. This will create a lot of tension in the swing and require the arms to have to move very fast in order to have any power. We still want an “effortless” golf swing as a Rotary Hitter, and that includes how that right hand feels through impact. In order for the hands to release like this and get the clubhead to not get shoved down the line or worse, out to the right, the hands must be soft and be allowed to release, basically a crossover motion. Keep those arms soft and throw IN SEQUENCE for a great Rotary Hitter golf swing.