Monday, March 01, 2010

Thanks to everyone for your participation in the blog today. See everyone next week! Philip Nielson asks at 1:20: I have
become fascinated with golf. Am I very good, not yet. But I would love
to have a job as an instructor. What are the steps and who do I contact
to achieve my goal? How was your process of becoming an instructor? I
love the game and am intrigued in learning various concepts of the game. Philip, it's a long process. If you love the game and think you would like to teach I have a couple things to recommend. First, find out who the best and busiest teacher is in your area and ask him/her if you can watch a few golf lessons. Most teachers will try to help providing you stay out of the way. If you do this with several different instructors you will get an idea what it is all about.  If you want to continue you should go online and look at the PGA of America's program about becoming a member. While there are other organizations that will "teach" you how to teach, the PGA is still the best by far. Credibility is a big deal in this business and the PGA logo goes a long way in providing it. When it comes to learning about different philosophies, theories, approaches, etc., you can find everything online. Start by researching the Top 100 teachers and their ideas, it will take you a long way. Lance asks at 12:54: I seem
to have difficulty getting warmed-up and loose prior to my lessons or a
practice session. When I play, I have a hard time loosening up during
my warm-up session prior to playing.
What warm-up routine(s) do you recommend for when you first get to
the driving range prior to a lesson or practice session? How at all
does this differ from the warm-up session prior to playing? I went over the basic idea of warm-up earlier in this blog today. I would also add that start your stretching from your neck and work down to your lower leg. This is an excellent way to make sure you don't miss anything along the way. It is also a great idea to make practice swings from both the right and left sides. This helps you stretch both sides of your upper body equally and can prevent an imbalance in your body. Ryan asks at 12:50: What is a
good drill thats help you get to your left side, but, with out sliding
your hips and/or getting the upper body ahead of the ball? I have discussed the step drill in this blog before and while I am not a big fan of drills in general, this one seems particularly effective. Start with your normal address position, move your front foot next to your back foot. Start the swing and before you reach the top step with your front foot towards the target. This will help you feel the proper sequence of motion without getting your upper body in front of the ball. JJ asks at 12:45: Brady....
I think one of the posts last week talked about eye dominance. I am
left handed and left eye dominant. Last year I noticed I was missing
longer putts way left. I started picking out a mark 3 feet in front of
the ball to aim at and that helped, but I'm sure there is something
better I can do?? Does this affect the full swing much? You can aim a bit more right when putting from long range. This will help you see the line much better and improve not only your direction but your distance control as well. It can have an effect on your full swing. I went over the differences in detail last week. You can check those out on the previous blog but I would always recommend sending in your swing so I can have a look and give you some specific advice. Jan lernfelt asks at 12:20: Working
on my fundamentals during the winter and had a little video-session. I
hit the ball solid but there are two things that keep nagging me and I
don't know how to fix them. First, as I get past the half-swing, my head does this little tilt,
no matter how hard I try to get it still.. it's difficult to see from
this angle but it's almost like I get a little reverse pivot motion
without the C-look of my spine.. minor thing but it annoys me... the
other thing is worse.. no matter how hard I try I change plane when I
get to the top of the backswing.. I think my backswing is great but at
the top I kinda "shift" and goes above plane causing me to come down on
the ball from the outside (even if it's only by a little).. Any
thoughts on this? You mentioned the tilt with your head, which is normal, but I am more concerned with the fact that your head move out over the ball during the backswing. This is significant because your arms and club will follow the momentum of your head as you begin the downswing, causing the slight shift in your plane that you mention. Most tour players change the vertical position of their head during the swing and not the horizontal. In other words, going down and up isn't as big a deal as going out and in. The fall of your head over the ball during your backswing is the cause of your plane shift making it the priority in improving your ball striking. I agree that your backswing looks good when it comes to your hands, arms and club positions. Getting your head to "feel" like it is moving back away from the ball is the best way to begin improving your issue. As a result, your weigh will move back into the right heel a bit more than it currently is forcing your arms and turn to be more "deep" at the top of the swing. This will encourage the club to start down on a more shallow plane than you are currently swinging on.  Here is a picture of AK dropping down and not falling over.  Akdrop Ben asks at 12:10: First,
congrats to your student Ben Fox making the cut. I know he probably
wanted more out of the weekend but he aquited himself well. Second,
I've sent you a few videos, one on the range, to jog your memory 80's
swing with a Nicklaus finish, backs a little bent on the follow
through. After considering my current game and coming up with goals,
I'd like to be scratch. Currently I fluctuate between 2.5 and 3.5. I
play lots of courses and always play the tips. They are usually in the
72-74 course and 125-140 slope range and I'm not that consistent. Avg
round is 79 with the range from 72-87. So its kind all over the map.
Looking at the stats though, I hit 50 percent of the fairways/greens
and have 34 putts. Don't seem to get up and down all that often. Less
than a 3rd of the time. I think I need work on the short game and
putting, but I know thats a factor of where I miss and where I am on
the green so would you think I need to spend more time on the chipping
and putting or correcting my swing and getting that more consistent? I
feel like I'm pretty creative with shots around the green and can pull
off some pretty good shots but I can't seem to do the simple standard
chip very well, or a standard bunker shot. I know thats a lot I just
thought you would need some background for analysis. Thanks for the kind words about Ben. It was a good week, could have been better but that's what learning is all about.  I think you are right on about the basic shots around the green. Hitting the spectacular shot around the green is fun and can impress your friends but the fact is it doesn't happen very often in a round of golf and won't significantly improve your score. It is the basic shot you must be fantastic at if you want to improve your up and down percentage. Let me give you an example. Anthony Kim grew up in my neck of the woods and I watched him play a great deal of golf as a kid. One of the things about AK is that he could hit any shot you put in front of him but, the easy shots were ridiculously good. If he was just off the edge of the green with a good lie you expected him to either make it or have it almost go in. Ben on the other hand can also hit the amazing shots around the green, but it is the simple shots that he needs to be more consistent with. This is true of professionals and low single digit players such as yourself. To get to the next level of being scratch you need your up and down percentage from the sand to be above 50% and from off the green to be around 60%. Part of this is missing in better, easier places and part is working on the basic shots. If you have the opportunity to go to a tour even, Champions, PGA, Nationwide, or LPGA you will see a huge difference in their ability to get the ball up and down vs yours. Improving your swing is fun, challenging, and can help your ability to score in obvious ways. Getting your short game to the level it needs to be should be your priority. Taylor asks at 12:05: I have
trouble before I am warm, the first 30-40 balls I hit, I leave the
clubface open, I think. I hit everything right, not much slice mostly
push, but once I am warm and I get out on the course, everything goes
straight. Am I doing something wrong? Is this typical? Make sure you are doing a good job of warming up before you hit balls. Get your blood flowing, stretch, and make some swings with two clubs before you hit any balls at all. When you begin your ball striking, hit some easy shots with a 7 iron about half as far as normal. These should be full swings not at full speed to help you feel the timing and movement you need as you pick up the pace. Since squaring up the face is an issue for you, I would concentrate on that as you hit these easy shots. With this warm up routine in place you should start the round ready to go. Read past installments of Ask the Top 100 LIVE

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