First Workout and Today’s Lesson

Today I had my first workout with Andrea Doddato, and she really kicked my butt!  We focused on a ton of core exercises, which in the end added up to about 150 reps of just core workouts.  It was rough, especially since I haven’t worked out in so long.  It’s exactly what I need though.  In the next few workouts with her we are going to be focusing on improving core strength and getting more flexibility in my lower body.  I have good flexibility in my upper body, but I have very limited flexibility in my hamstrings, thighs, and hip flexors.  Stabilizing those ares will really help me throughout the golf swing as my lower body likes to turn to much.  I lose a lot of power because I don’t get any resistance between my upper and lower halfs because my hips turn so much and it also is hard to get behind the ball on the backswing.

Todays lesson with Chuck was almost an extension of Andrea’s workout.  We focused on using my core throughout the entire swing, which will give me a little more power and shorten up my swing for more control.  It was tough to bring to the course, but I still hit some good shots here and there.  Over time I will get more comfortable with it and should see some good results.

How I Will Get There

This is what I will be going through to get myself to the PGA Tour.

1) All around golf training – This includes swing mechanics, short game, putting, so on and so forth.  The majority of this will be done at Windermere Country Club in Orlando and all will be done with Chuck.

2) Mental Game – The majority of this will be done with Chuck or through books he asks me to read.  Most of it will be intertwined with lessons on the range and on the course.

3) Physical Training – I will be working with Andrea Doddato at the Cardio Club in Orlando.  I will be working with her 2 days a week and we will set up a schedule where I can work out on my own time.  Her training method is very golf specific.

4) Tournament Experience and Progression – Seeing as my ultimate goal is to play in the most competitive tournaments in the world, I will need to get tournament experience under my belt.  In the next few months I will begin to enter Moonlight Tour events locally just to get my feet wet.  As I improve I will progress into the Hooter’s Tour, hopefully playing in their Winter Series in 2007.  From there we will see how it goes.

5) Equipment – To play good golf, you have to be comfortable with your equipment and have it fitted to YOU.  I will be working hard to get into all the right equipment for me.

Finally, I want to tell you where, in my general golf game, I believe I need to improve.

1) Tempo/Athleticism/Dynamicism – From being overly mechanical and having some swing faults I lack athleticism in my swing.  This is something I need to conquer or my whole game will suffer.

2) Swing Path – My path has improved since seeing Chuck, but it’s still not where I want it to be.  I still bring the club inside and have the tendency to get very steep on the way down.  Chuck teaches the majority of his students the One Plane or Rotary Swing, but with my body makeup and build, I am more suited for a more upright swing.  We are going for more of a “hybrid” of the one and two plane swings.  I am not that concerned with where I am at the top of my swing, but I don’t want the club getting inside my hands on the way back.  This has been a real problem for me for quite some time, and while it has improved, it needs to get better.

3) Short game – My chipping is just OK these days.  I can hit the basic shots, but when confronted with different lies and types of shots I struggle.  Improvement in this area will come more from playing everyday than from sitting on the chipping green.  My putting has improved tremendously over the past few months.  I have a smoother stroke than I used to and my distance control is getting better.  There’s always room for improvement though.

4) Distance – I have never been a long player, but since becoming so mechanical I have lost some major distance.  I used to carry my driver in the 265-270 range and a normal 5 iron was 190.  For the past year I am lucky if I get a driver to carry more than 240 yards and a 5 iron more than 175 – 180.  Hopefully through physical training and swing improvements I can gain some distance.  I simply won’t be able to compete on 7400 yard courses hitting the ball 240 off the tee.

5) Mental Game – This is where I truely struggle.  Not necessarily that I get mad at myself, which I do, but that’s not that biggest problem.  I have so much running through my head that it’s hard to make good swings and get the ball in the hole.  This is something Chuck and I will be working on very hard everyday.

Hello World!

Hey guys, I’m Pat McLamb.  I’m 21 years old from Fairfax, VA.  Where should I start?  I began playing golf in April of 2004 at the age of 19, solely because my girlfriend played and I thought it was approproate that I be able to beat her.  She’s the #1 golfer at Mercer University, so I had my hands full.  Literally from the first terrible shot I hit, I was hooked, I didn’t even need a solid one to bring me back.  Before Chuck I had never had any real training besides the knowledge my dad could give me or that I could read in magazines and hear on the golf channel.  As you well know, reading magazines and listening to the TV isn’t the best place to go if you really want to improve.  The first round I played I shot 94.  Within six months I was in the low eighties with the occasional high seventies thrown in there.  And then came the downfall of my game.  I became so mechanical that I quickly started to struggle.  This is something that Chuck and I are working on and something I will probably be working on my whole career. 

In September of 2005 I decided to leave the 4 year college I was at (Virginia Tech) to pursue a career in golf at the Professional Golfers Career College in Orlando, FL.  At this time I admit being a Pro Golfer was always a pipe dream, but I never really thought I could do it, so I allowed myself to think I was going to be a Club Pro or something of that nature. 

Four things helped my decide that I was going to try and make it as a professional:

First – The overwhelming support of my family, especially my dad.  He is the one person who never had any doubts that I could do this as long as I put in the work.  He’s supporting me through the entire process and I am thankful for that.

Second – The support of my Girlfriend, Alex.  She is behind me every step of the way.  Not only that, she keeps me very grounded and is very matter-of-fact about the chances I knowingly have of becoming pro, which I love.  I need someone to keep me grounded.  Also, without her I am not sure I would even be golfing today.

Third – The time and effort Chuck is putting into this process.  Knowing Chuck like I do, I know that if he didn’t believe this was possible, he wouldn’t be doing it.  It will be taking up a lot of his time.  Also, I know that he will be very straightforward with me, telling me if I am slacking off or trying to hard.  I look forward to working with him for quite a while.

Fourth – The most important of them all, my extreme desire to make this my career.  That’s what it comes down to guys, you can have all the resources in the world, but if you don’t want to be a professional, then you won’t become a professional.  All I can see myself doing for a living is playing golf.  I always want to be on the course, on the range, on the putting green getting better.  I want to go out and kick everyone’s butt in tournaments.  I don’t care about fame, and money isn’t that big of a deal to me either, I just want to win tournaments and smack that little ball around the course in as few strokes as I can. 

At the moment, I know I am not very good, if I went out to a mini-tour event I would get beat into the ground.  With training I believe I can get better everyday and work my way up in the golf ranks.  I realize this could take years, and even then that it might not really happen.  That’s all part of the process though.  I plan on keeping all of you updated on my progress over the next few years and hope you enjoy reading about my experience.  Thanks for reading guys.Š

Pat’s Quest for the Tour

We’ve all hit that perfect shot or played that career round where everything felt so easy and wondered, “What if?” What if I had an instructor to help build my swing and a physical trainer to help build my body? What if I had the time and the resources to put into practicing and playing full time? What if I had the perfect equipment setup for my swing? What if?

While you may not have the opportunity to ever “give it a go,” you can atleast live vicariously through one of my students, Patrick McLamb. Pat is a 21 year old 10 handicap who has only been playing golf 2 years. I’ve been working with Pat for a few months a few times per month and recently he has decided to go through the rigors of trying to make it as a professional golfer. Over the coming months, you will be able to follow Pat’s progress, trials and triumphs, all online at Videos of his swing and lessons will be posted so you can see what he’s working on and watch as he improves and gets one step closer to achieving his dreams of one day playing on the PGA Tour.

The most important shot in golf is…

…Well, there are some options here:

-The Putt.  We all know you drive for show, but putt for dough.  Dave Pelz says that the 50-50 line for a putt is somewhere around six feet out.  And even a three-footer isn’t automatic.  So, if a putt is longer than three feet, success looks like leaving it inside a 3-foot radius circle.  Hmmmn.  

But, there’s the drive:

-In a moment of rare clarity I muttered something once that “It’s hard to scream with the Eagles and chirp with the Birdies when you’re in the woods scratching with the squirrels looking for your tee ball.”   I think I was taking stock of Chigger bites after attempting to find Robin Hood, err…tee balls all day. 

-Of course, there’s the approach.  But, it turns out the pros miss a third of those on average.  Nonetheless, it’s hard to make Birdie putts from the bunker.

-It can’t be a sand shot…how many of those can one have in a round?  Ok, how many SHOULD one have in a round.  More than four? 

-Which leads to my candidate: The Chip.

I had a good round the other day on a tough tract in the rain and the wind and on purely saturated ground.  Greens were still fast, though.  Hit only 5 greens and shot an 80.  Six out of eight chips were gimmes.  27 putts.  It literally made the round.  75% is the number I see for Tour Pros on those shots.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had 75% success on chips before…but, I could get used to it in a hurry. 

In fact, I’ve been a dreadful chipper of the ball for years.  So much so that I talked Chuck into using me for the guinea pig at the Williamsburg Clinic.  It’s slowly gotten better.  But, last Saturday was the breakthrough…or at least a welcomed spike in performance. 

The approach was simple: “See the shot, make sure to turn.  (as opposed to wristing it)”  I wouldn’t chip it until I ‘saw’ it.  The two I missed were because the ball reacted differently than I thought it would, but the ball and flight were right where I wanted them.  That’s golf.  I made notes in case I run into those shots again. 

One of Chuck’s videos talks about a “no-brainer chip.”  I never had one of those until last Saturday.  Literally “No-brain.”  See it, Chip it…score.  Just like putting.

Driver Swing

Progress sometimes comes slowly and with the driver it can be brutal. While I’ve been hitting the ball well with the big dog, I’ve certainly missed quite a few shots as well. Any little flaw in your swing that isn’t compensated for is shown in “High Def” when you miss with this club. A seven iron blocked 5 yards right ends up in the trees 20 yards right when the ball is moving at 160 mph, so things have to be pretty solid to hit the driver consistently well. While my changes from last week are becoming much more comfortable, I’ve added one thing to them that is specific to this club.

My driver swing tends to get a little long at the top and I will get across the line at the top when this happens. Today I worked on getting a little more square at the top. I setup with my shoulders and clubface square at address but my feet closed, so I don’t get too overly concerned if I’m slightly across the line at the top. If I set up with my feet square, my shaft points more down the target line, but I feel more stable with my feet slightly closed with the driver. Many rotary swingers had a similar setup with the driver including Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. Numerous other modern day tour pros do as well, such as Charles Howell III. Here is a video clip from today’s practice session.


When working on swing changes like this, my dynamics are often the first thing to go and you can see that here. My body is a little static at the top of my swing and that forces me to use my arms. This usually isn’t a problem for me when I’m not thinking about anything, so I don’t sweat it. Overall, my position at the top is a bit better and progress is progress.

Progress Comes in Small Doses…

Making changes in your golf swing can be very challenging experience. It can also be very rewarding when done correctly. As I’ve been working over this past week to get back to the Rotary Swing that I teach from the Hank Haney – Tiger Woods model, I’ve made awesome progress. Awesome in that I’ve achieved my small goals and can visibly see the differences in my swing.

My small goals for the week were to improve my impact position and as a result, lower my ball flight. While I’m not doing it perfectly every time, when I do what I’m working on correctly my shots fly on a perfectly flat trajectory. My wedges are the lowest they’ve ever been and have a very stable flight that won’t be affected by the wind. This is exactly what I’m looking for.

The second piece is actually seeing those changes on camera. More often than not, when making a swing change we can do something that feels incredibly different, yet, looks exactly the same. Making visible changes in the golf swing requires that things often feel radically different. The visible changes I wanted to see can be seen below:

professional golfer

The changes visible in this sequence taken today show that my swing is shorter, more round and less across the line at the the top. These things have gotten the shaft going right through my right forearm in the downswing as I talked about in a recent instructional video on the Member’s Vault. Before, it was coming down steep, above the forearm. At impact, my body is open to the target line and the shaft and my right forearm are in alignment. I’m very happy to have seen such progress in four days of practice.

The second visible change you can see is below where I have put them side by side. At impact, my tendency is to let my head move laterally during the downswing and end up with the club coming in too late and I get jammed up “waiting” on the club. You can see now that my head has stayed back and I’m in a much better position in the picture on the left from today. The picture on the right taken earlier in the week shows how I’ve moved laterally toward the target with my head putting me in the weaker position. All in all, it was a great practice week with all the progress that can be reasonably expected in such a short period of time. I expect it to take me about 3 weeks to get comfortable with these changes before they will run on automatic.

professional golfer impact

Looks Like Tigger – Hits Like Winnie the Pooh

tiger woods addressThe dynamics of the golf swing are infrequently talked about in most golf lessons and few instructors even understand them, but at the end of the day, they are THE single most important defining factor in the golf swing. You can take any golfer and get them to eventually move the club through decent positions, but getting them to hit the ball properly requires excellent dynamics from start to finish. It is the dynamics of the golf swing that give it effortless power and repeatability. It is also great dynamics that make up for less than ideal positions throughout the swing. In this latest Member’s Vault video, you can watch as I discuss some of the dynamics in three professional golfer’s swings, including Tiger Woods. The included article also demonstrates how I match Tiger’s swing positions from face on very well but obviously don’t hit it like Tiger, I hit it more like Winnie the Pooh. Ok, I don’t hit it bad, but I’m certainly not Tiger Woods even though my swing may look a lot like his.

Best Ball Tournament

My very eclectic team played in an annual charity “Best Ball” tournament last Friday.  This is a highlight of the golf year as it’s always a lot of fun.  Last year we came in third place out of 36 teams.  This year, we were going to win. 

Tropical Storm Ernesto had been through the area a week before and left us with almost a foot of rain.  This course, which is one of the few Bermuda tracts up this way was long and waterlogged.  And, as seems to be the case more and more up this way, the greens were not good at all.  Summer seems to tear up the Bent greens with fungus. 

The team drove beautifully all day, but the approach shots were not up to snuff.  Inevitably the balls were coming up short.  I’d put the ball back a bit, but it didn’t seem to help. 

In retrospect, what I should have done was try to “Shallow” out the swing into more of a sweep.  What I ended up doing was taking enormous Ian Woosnan-sized doormat divots while watching ballon balls settle on the front apron.  Very discouraging.  Tee balls on par 3’s were fine.  It was out of that wet, long bermuda fairway that was giving me and the team fits. 

  Nonetheless, the team made a fair jag of birdies.  The hardest part of a Super Ball tournament is that they last forever.  At the five-hour mark, after an early wake up and a long drive, the team just lost all its energy.  We could feel it and commented on it, but energy bars didn’t seem to fix the issue. 

  So we limped home with only one birdie on the last five holes.  62, which tied for third, two strokes off the lead.  Of course, we “Lost on the Card” as they say when you lose a tie-breaker.  It was a quiet drive home.  I thought the others were stewing until I looked around and saw they were all asleep.  Beers on the deck finished the afternoon.  All in all, a good day.  “Two lousy putts” was a common refrain. 

  But, we’ll get ’em next year.  You can put that in the book!

Project X Shafts vs. Tour Concepts

I’ve always been a high ball, high spin player. For a while now, I’ve been looking for shafts to help bring my ball flight down and reduce spin. After hitting a set of Adrian Wadey’s Bridgestone J33’s with Project X’s that felt like telephone poles, I was sold. The ball flight was so much more consistent and flat than my Titleist 681’s with S300 shafts. The only problem was that Adrian had no idea what flex his shafts were and there was no frequency machine around to test them. I ordered some 6.5’s and decided to give them a try.

project x shafttour concept shaft

After getting back home from the Utah Open qualifier, I put in an old set of irons, some TourStage Z101’s with Tour Concept X100 shafts. These were DRAMATICALLY better than the S300’s, so I kept them in and tested them against a 7 iron 681 with the Project X shaft I installed in it as a test. The test club came to a D3 swing weight and frequencied at 7.5 on the Rifle scale, or a soft X-flex. I took both seven irons out and after a warm up, was hitting my Z101 about 172 yards to a practice green at our course. I then pulled out the Project X and was pretty bummed with what happened next.

I hit the first shot very solid and it actually ballooned on me, starting on a nice lower trajectory and then climbing high and falling out of the sky 10 yards short of where I was just hitting the TC shaft. I just considered it a fluke and hit some more. Each shot flew higher and shorter with MORE spin than the Tour Concept X100. The TC shaft frequencied slightly stiffer at about 8.2, or just over half a flex stiffer, and that likely had some influence, but overall, I was dissappointed with this first go around. I’ll have to keep digging to see if I can the specs on Adrian’s clubs. Note, the loft angle of each club was identical at 31*.