Well, it appears Tiger is listening and read my post last week 😉 As I told everyone last year when Tiger first started working with Sean Foley, his misses were going to be very specific and I described in my last post how he could fix them. Watching him at the 2012 Pebble Beach Pro-Am today, it’s clear he’s going the route of trying to change his release which was really the one of the least desirable options.
Right now, Tiger is setting way left and trying to cut everything back to the right by delaying the release of his hands. Now, it’s possible he’s hitting everything left to right because that ball flight fits Pebble well. But I suspect he’s trying to fix his miss rather than just try and change his release for one tournament, but we’ll never know. In any case, setting up at the left rough and then hitting cuts, which has lead to quite a few wipes that go nowhere (240 yard 3 wood off the tee earlier in the day) is quite a big compromise that will come with consequences.
As I mentioned, the weak wipe that spins a ton and floats up and to the right is going to happen, but worse, is when he doesn’t hold off his release enough or he actually does release the club properly that ball is over everyone’s head in the gallery left. One other side note to mention that is exasperating this issue is Woods has way too much shaft lean now at impact. A part from giving him an angle of attack that tends to be too steep, having his hands that far ahead at impact leaves the face open. While it will help him hold the face open enough to hit a cut, when not timed properly, he’s going to come down steep and wipe it short and right.
I find it interesting the changes Tiger Woods is making with Sean Foley and that he doesn’t seem to understand that he will continue to pull shots, especially with the driver if he keeps going down this road. Tiger has a great release of the club that works perfectly with the square shoulders he’s had for a long time at impact. It is the very same release I advocate with RST. However, combine that release of the club with an upper torso that is rotating through impact to an open position, and guess what you get? It’s not rocket science. The two don’t mix.
Tiger can either set up closed to the target which is a band-aid fix or stop rotating his torso through impact which is WAY more preferable. The only thing your spine hates more than compression is rotation. And the amount of force Tiger is placing on his spine requires tremendous core strength to decelerate his fast rotating torso and protect his spine. His hip will also receive more stress as he is now trying to rotate faster on that joint rather than decelerate and stabilize his pelvis at impact.
The other option is that he alters his release to more of a “hold-on” through impact to prevent the club face shutting down. This will cost him a great deal of speed and efficiency in his swing, requiring him to rotate even faster with his upper torso to get reasonable club head speed, thus placing more load on his spine and hip. As you can, it’s a never ending spiral. The less he releases the club, the faster he has to rotate, and the faster he rotates the less he can release the club.
Out of these three options, none are desirable. He’s best off stopping the rotation of the torso through impact and allowing the club to release properly. Perhaps he will figure this out before he spends another season “in the wilderness”.
Hey guys, summer is sadly on the other side of the hill now for most of you as we near mid-August and I’ve been getting a lot of emails about what the heck I’m doing this summer and where’s the Christina Project? Don’t worry, it will be up and running soon, but you can blame the delay on me. I decided to spend my summer doing things I missed, hiking, climbing, biking, snowboarding, etc. in the mountains of Colorado. It’s been a major refresher for me and allowed me to charge my batteries for a very busy upcoming winter as we plan to do more clinics than we ever have as demand has exceeded the number of clinics I’ve done in the past.
With regards to demand, I want to personally thank you, the members, for referring so many of your friends to the Rotary Swing. In the past year, the website membership has more than doubled and demand for the Rotary Swing Tour swing model both online and in person lessons and clinics has been incredible, so thanks!
This winter will be a big one for those following RST as we continue to unveil more of the research we’ve done with TaylorMade Performance Labs and do new research to show you exactly how to build the safest and most efficient golf swing possible. But not before I sneak in one more mountain bike race! For those who have asked, that’s primarily what I have been doing this summer. I got my first downhill mountain bike 7 weeks ago and won my first downhill race today at Keystone. Obviously, to get a win after riding for only 7 weeks means that I’ve been riding – A LOT! And that’s where most of my time has gone. I decided that I wanted to do this, fell in love with it and am riding 3-4 days per week in the mountains. Here’s a pic of me on the podium from my race today (PS if you want to see video of me riding, go here: mountain bike videos):
Taking a break from golf has been very healthy for me and I look forward to coming back to Florida in October and starting up full swing again!
For those who haven’t checked out our first podcast episode (find it on iTunes here), here is one segment of it where Chuck takes us through a full swing analysis of Rickie Fowler by comparing his moves with Tiger’s.
Rickie is one of the most talented young players on tour with 2 top ten finishes in 7 events already this year. Watching this swing analysis video will help you learn
-what Rickie Fowler’s “trademark” move is likely to be
-how Rickie is similar to Sergio Garcia
-a key move Rickie makes that you had better avoid or risk tearing up your knee!
After watching this swing analysis, be sure to check out the rest of our podcast where you’ll learn about putter fitting, “getting in the box”, some potentially harmful advice from Jack Nicklaus and insights into Chuck’s new book The RST Instructor Certification Manual – Level 1.
If you enjoyed this video, you should get a FREE Membership to our golf instruction website by clicking here. Your FREE Membership will get you started with over 2 hours of our 20+ hours of videos.
First off, allow me to say that I have a great deal of respect for Hank Haney’s ideas around swing plane. The idea of parallel planes is an original idea in my opinion that I had not heard before Haney, so I give him credit with the idea. That being said, his idea that he doesn’t care what the body does and he only cares about the club should now be shown for what it is – the complete wrong way to train an amateur golfer.
When working with tour pros the job is quite easy. They all already move their bodies so well, that you can focus more on the movements of the club. Amateurs on the other hand, move their body like Barkley. Barkley is SO club focused and focused on hitting the ball that he’ll NEVER get past his hitch with the way Haney is training him.
Honestly, we’ve dealt with swings like this a lot, Barkley’s steepening of the shaft move is far from uncommon in amateur golf. Charles’ is more severe than most, but it’s all related to the same thing. He needs to put his mind in rotating his left oblique to clear his hips on the downswing. That’s it. He needs to go through the exact same drills that we use during our lessons each day and during our clinics.
Take a quick look at his old swings and guess what he does – ROTATE. Now, his hips stop turning and he’s focused on hitting the ball. Haney has actually made his problem WORSE by only focusing on the club. Six months later and he’s still in the exact same boat with a problem that we could fix in a week.
Learn to move the muscles correctly, rotate the body and stop worrying about the club (for now) and Barkley would be fixed in 6 days, not 6 months – guaranteed.
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!
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.
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.
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.