Monday, January 26, 2009

The Golf Setup - The Address

As we move through the address position section I want you to wrap your head around the idea that we are going to construct a building. The building is four to six feet tall and not very wide. Of course I am referring to the human body. The first place you would start is the foundation, so let’s talk about the feet first. Let’s see how far apart they are supposed to be and exactly where we place the weight once we get the feet planted.

The feet have to support the upper body and once the golf club, the arms, and the body get moving in the downswing there is a lot of force that the foundation has to support.

The feet have to be just slightly further apart than shoulder width. This distance is far enough apart to maintain a solid base.

Slightly More Than Shoulder Width

As the club begins to build up speed and the left hip makes the first move down the target line before it turns backward, the width of the stance will hold up just fine. If you have a tendency to lose your balance, your stance might be to narrow.

After impact the golf club swings back around your body and up towards your left shoulder. As the golf club comes to the end of the swing your weight has moved from the right side over to the left side. The width of your feet will accommodate this move. Your weight needs to be evenly distributed between your toes and heels.
From the feet we are going to move up the building to the knees. The knees have played a huge role in most sports- golf is no exception. The knees are going to come into play in two different parts of the golf swing.
The first part is the address position.

As you address the golf ball your knees will have a slight flex in them.

You are NOT going to “sit” on your knees and they are NOT locked straight.

For a long time instructors taught students to have the feeling you were “sitting” on a bar stool. I always believed we should have been teaching people to feel as though you were “leaning” back on a stool. The last thing you would ever want to do is sit in golf. Sitting will cause the golf club to swing too level to the ground in the downswing, and you will have a tendency to hit the ground behind the golf ball.

Before you start to “straighten” your knees to a “locked” position, which is just as wrong as sitting, let me give you a bit of advice. The knee position is what I refer to as “slightly” flexed. Because we are all different heights, I cannot give you an exact degree you should flex your knees- however; if you simply relax your knees, you will find the correct amount of bend on your own.

The second roll the knees play in the swing is when the golf club is in motion. As the golf club swings back, the single most important thing for you to remember is the RIGHT knee never ever moves from the original position. If you think of the two knee caps as head lights shining in front of you as you drive along a road, you might make some twists and turns but the headlights are always in front of you. As you start the backswing the right knee does not slide, bend or straighten out- it stays very quiet and solid during the entire backswing.

Both knees must remain flexed during the entire backswing and until impact.

The Hips

If your chin is in the correct position, and your spine is long (don't worry we'll talk about these shortly), and your knees are flexed the correct amount, the golf club will not sole correctly on the ground until you tilt or bend over from the hips. You do NOT want to bend at the waist. You ALWAYS want to bend from the hips. The difference is if you bend at the waist your spine will bend (not good).

If you bend at the hips you can maintain the spine angle and sole the club on the ground correctly.

If you do not bend at the hips, you will not be able to sole the golf club correctly.

When you bend over from the hips you have to make sure you do not straighten out or lock your knees. When you bend at the hips you have to pay close attention to making sure you do not bend at the bottom of the spine.

The hips play another role not related to their position.

Your hips must be parallel to the line of the ball flight at address.

If your hips are open at address you will have a tendency to open the hips too soon in the downswing. The clubface will be open at impact and the golf ball will start right. If your hips are closed at address the golf club will swing too much from the inside in the downswing and the golf ball will either start right or you will struggle with a quick hook left.

At address the hips are parallel to the ball flight line. As the golf club swings back down from the top, the first move from the top is for the left hip to move an inch or two parallel to the target line and then the left hip should begin to turn backwards out of the way so the golf club can swing back to the inside after impact.

When you arrive at the finish of the golf swing your belt and shoulders should be level to the ground. Your belt buckle will aim at the intended target and your hips are level to the ground.

The Shoulders

The shoulders play three major roles in the golf swing. The first two roles are static and the third is a moving role. In the address position the shoulders compliment the spine angle.
If the shoulders are opened up and back at address the spine angle will be in the correct position as long as the chin is up.

If the shoulders are rounded the spine will be bent over too much.

The second role the shoulders play is they must be parallel to your intended line you want the golf ball to travel on. When you look down your toes, knees, hips and shoulders must be in line with each other. Parallel means they have to be on the same line going to the left of where you want the golf ball to start. If the shoulders are aiming to the right of the target the golf club will start too much inside the correct path in the backswing. If they are aiming to the left of the target the golf club will start too much to the outside in the backswing. For the golf club to start back on the correct path the shoulders must be parallel from the start.

The shoulders play yet another role in the backswing. As the clubhead, shaft, hands, arms and (shoulders) start moving backwards, the right shoulder has to move out of the way to give the hands, arms and golf club a place to swing to at the top of the backswing. The right shoulder does not slide back. Instead – rotates around your body.

The shoulders play a huge role in distance and direction. The shoulders have to turn as much as possible in the backswing. Once your back is facing the target (this for the 30ish and under crowd) or as much of a turn as possible, you will be in position to swing the club down with maximum club head speed.

The Spine

The spine has taken on an all important part in the golf swing in the past 10 years. Not many words were written about the spine and its role in the golf swing until then.
If the spine stays long during the backswing, not rigid, you can make a much bigger turn.

If your spine is curved at address the shoulders will have a tendency to tilt and not turn. In the downswing the shoulders will have a tendency to turn on top of the golf ball instead of moving under. If the shoulders can move under, the golf club will stay on the path in the downswing (producing an inside to out swing). As the golf club swings back the right shoulder has to turn to allow the golf club to swing up, if the spine is too long the club will swing around too much and not up enough.

There is yet another role the spine plays in the golf swing. At the top of the backswing the spine supports the upper body, the golf club, the arms and most importantly the speed at which we swing the golf club. If the spine maintains its length in the backswing, you will be able to swing the arms at a greater speed in the downswing.

The golf club is at its maximum speed as it nears the golf ball and the spine is supporting the “frame of the golf swing” - your upper body. As the club head passes the impact zone the spine is at its most vulnerable position and from that point to the finish is when the spine is taking a real beating (physically).

Maintaining the correct spine angle will play a major role in club head speed and, the direction the club actually swings (swing path). The spine maintains the same angle from address to one foot past impact and it is critical that it starts from the correct position.

If you are in the correct posture at address no changes are necessary.

If you are standing too tall at address, bending at the hips will solve this problem. If you are bent over too much at the top of the spine or your shoulders are too curved, you will have to take a very serious look into changing your spine angle. Opening your shoulders and lifting your chin will be a great place to start.

The Chin

After you address the golf ball there is a check-list of things you need to go through to make sure you are ready to take off. I am not going to tell you the position of the chin is the most important- however, it ranks up there for sure. The chin controls what happens to the shoulders in the backswing.

If the chin is down in your chest at address, the shoulders will have a tendency to pop up in the backswing. The right shoulder will NOT turn out of the way to make room for the arms to swing around. If you continue to leave your chin down in your chest you might have some success with the shorter clubs, but the long clubs will be very difficult to hit. You can get away with the arms swinging up and down with the short clubs, you might not be so lucky with the longer clubs.

If you have a tendency to top your shots or hit thin, your chin might be up too much.

If the chin is down in your chest at address, the shoulders will have a tendency to pop up in the backswing. The right shoulder will NOT turn out of the way to make room for the arms to swing around. If you continue to leave your chin down in your chest you might have some success with the shorter clubs, but the long clubs will be very difficult to hit. You can get away with the arms swinging up and down with the short clubs, you might not be so lucky with the longer clubs.

If you have a tendency to top your shots or hit thin, your chin might be up too much.

So now you want to know how much you should lift your chin up. I have some advice that is not the answer of all answers, but it is a wonderful starting point.

Lift your chin up just enough to get your fist under your chin and touch your throat.

When you start experimenting with this new position you will want to start with a club you like to hit. You will know right away if the correction is going to help you or not. Give it a chance. If you top a lot of shots, you have lifted the chin up too much. The first few shots you might want to start with half a fist so you can ease into it. Keep in mind it is an extension of your spine. You might have to bend over at the hips another inch or two; this will compliment the chin position.

Bob Hope Classic - La Quinta, California

News Bulletin:

Pat Perez, a Phoenix, Arizona resident and ASU grad., won his first ever PGA Tour Victory at the Bob Hope Classic, putting up a 33 under par for the 5 day event.

Congratulations Pat

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Golf Grip

Grip Variations

There are multiple ways to grip a golf club. Although it sounds overwhelming, it truly is not. Once you begin to experiment you will eliminate four or five of them instantly. I will give you a guide to get you started on the right track.

Interlocking Grip

Overlapping Grip

For starters, if you have small hands and fingers, the interlocking grip will probably work best for you. It helps you wrap your fingers and palm around the grip handle.
On the other hand, if you have large hands, the overlapping grip will probably work best for you.
The above-mentioned grips are the proper way to hold a club- however there are three different ways you can apply them to the golf club.




You can grip the golf club in a weak position (no knuckles of the left hand showing), neutral (one knuckle of the left hand showing) or the strong position (2 or 3 knuckles of the left hand showing).

During your experimenting, if the golf ball has a tendency to curve to the right, you will want to move BOTH hands to the right (strong). When you move the hands make sure you do it slowly. If the golf ball has a tendency to curve to the left, you will want to move BOTH hands slowly to the left (weak). Now, if the golf ball is flying without a curve, you have the correct grip for you. DO NOT EXPERIMENT WITH ANY OTHER GRIP.

Grip Pressure

OK, you have found the correct grip for you. There is one last item we need to deal with. The amount of pressure you apply to the club plays a major role in how you swing the golf club. The tighter you grip the golf club the slower your arms will swing and the longer the clubface will take to release in the downswing (causing a slice). This is a good thing if you HOOK the golf ball. This will definitely stop the ball from curving from right to left. On the other hand if you have problems SLICING the golf ball this amount of grip pressure will make the ball slice more.

If you are struggling with slicing the golf ball, you will have to hold the golf club like you were holding a baby's hand. Gently, the lighter you grip the golf club the faster the club will swing and the quicker the club will release in the downswing. If you do not have any problems with the ball curving, you have found the correct amount of grip pressure.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 Sony Open

2009 Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii
News Bulletin:

Zach Johnson wins the 2009 Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii, shooting a 14 under for the tournament.

David Toms comes in 2nd, shooting a 13 under.

3balls Golf

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Golf Grip

Whoa Nellie, I must have had a brain burp. Here I've got everyone up on the tee box, ready to hit that little white ball down the middle of the fairway, and I forgot a very important golf setup. The Golf Grip. So, without further ado, let's get to it.

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The Golf Grip:

There are many different opinions on how to grip a golf club, but very few instructors tell you WHY you should grip the club a certain way. The reason that the grip is SO important is because it is the only part of your body that controls the clubface, your hands.

Gripping the Golf Club with the Left Hand:

We're going to start with the grip!

When you pick up a golf club your hands are the only part of your body that touches the club. For many years the hands (grip) have often been referred to as the steering wheel of the golf swing. I don't believe this could be more true. Gripping the golf club correctly makes playing this game a much better experience.

Gripping the golf club at first glance does not seem like a very difficult thing to do, however, it can take a lot of trial and error to figure out the correct grip for you. This is a very interesting aspect to the game of golf. Gripping the golf club is a VERY INDIVIDUAL thing for everyone that plays golf. There are no two grips alike.
During the time you spend experimenting on finding the correct grip for yourself, you will have to record in a journal what grip you were trying and the results of the shots you hit. You can only find what works for you through hitting golf balls. I can and will guide you, but ultimately, results on the golf course speak louder than me.
Here is a guide, on the way I have taught my students since I began teaching this game over 30 years ago. I haven't changed my theory of the grip in that time span, so I hope you can take this and learn from it.

Golf Grip Mechanics:

As you pick the golf club up in your left hand, the golf club goes across the left palm - from the base of the forefinger to the pad above the pinky. The more you grip the golf club in the fingers, the faster you can swing the golf club and the quicker the clubface will close (causing a hook or draw ball flight).

If you grip the golf club further up in the palm,

the slower the golf club will travel and the longer it takes for the clubface to close (causing a slice or a fade). If you are slicing the golf ball, you will want to move the grip more into the fingers (the base of the fingers), if you are hooking the golf ball, you will want to move the grip more into the palm area (higher up in the left hand).

Golf Grip - Effects on Ball Flight :

The grip does more to effect actual ball flight than anything else in the game. That's why we've started with the grip. It's the foundation of the swing, and a quick fix for those of you that have undesirable ball flight patterns.
Once you have placed the left hand on the golf club you can close your hand around the grip.

Golf Swing – Gripping the club with the Right Hand:

Golf Grip - How to Grip the Club with the Right Hand -

The left hand is in place and now you are going to place the right hand on the golf club. With your right hand on the side of your right leg, slowly bring it towards the bottom of the golf club. The right hand will be placed on the golf club more in the fingers than the palm. You will simply fold the right hand around the fingers of the left.

Golf Grip - Palms Must Face Each Other :

No matter which grip you choose, BOTH PALMS MUST ALWAYS FACE EACH OTHER .

It is not a difficult thing to do but it is mandatory, no grey area.

You have now GRIPPED the golf club. There is a good chance you have NOT gripped it properly for you, so you will have to experiment.

However, I have given you a great starting point. The placement of the hands on the golf club controls what the clubface will do during the golf swing and ultimately what the clubface will look like at impact.

A side note:
** Most golf clubs either have a "ladies" grip or a "men's" grip on the golf club. If you have small hands it is very important to make sure you have your clubs gripped with a ladies grip, it doesn't matter if you own men's clubs. If you have large hands you should have your clubs gripped with men's grips. There are a couple more options, if your hands are really small you can have "junior" grips placed on your clubs or if you have x-large hands or arthritis you can have "jumbo" grips placed on your clubs. The grip size also effects ball flight. Large grips tend to make a person fade the ball and small grips tend to make a person draw the ball.**

An article by: Bobby Eldridge on 12-03-2007

Bobby Eldridge is a teaching pro and one of the best we've ever seen. He has over 30 years experience teaching people to play better. No wonder he's taught the best of the best.

Next week, we'll talk about the seven different grip types. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Championship

Update - Mercedes-Benz Championship - Maui, Hawaii

Final Day

Geoff Ogilvy wins the Mercedes-Benz Championship in a wire to wire win, shooting a 5 under par on the last day, giving him a total of 24 under par for the tournament.

Anthony Kim and Davis Love III tied for 2nd place honors with a 18 under par total, 6 strokes back of the leader.

Congratulations - Geoff Ogilvy
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Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Golf Setup

Hello everyone and welcome to my Golf Setup blog. I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2009. I will try and give you some fundamentals of the Golfing game as we go along in this new year. I reside in Thailand and as we go along, I will share with you some of the places I play here.

Does your game need a little help? No matter how good a golfer a person is, we all can use a good tip now and then. Some of us more "now" than "then"! So browse through these free golf tips to find some great pointers:

The single most important - and frequently overlooked - full swing fundamental in golf is the setup position. Golfers striving to improve their scores must focus on fundamentals for success. The single most important and most overlooked full swing fundamental is the setup. The setup writes the script for the swing and all too often amateur and professional golfers struggle due to poor address positions. All great golfers and teachers are aware of the importance of the setup.
Here’s what some well known pros say about the setup:

Jack Nicklaus: "If you setup correctly, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing. If you setup to the ball poorly, you’ll hit a lousy shot even if you make the greatest swing in the world."
Tommy Armour: "Before they ever begin swinging, I can improve nine out of every ten typical amateur golfers."

So here's a step-by-step illustration of what makes a great golf setup. We start with...


At address your body (feet, knees, hips, forearms, shoulders and eyes) should be positioned parallel to the target line. When viewed from behind, a right-handed golfer will appear aimed slightly left of the target. This optical illusion is created because the ball is on the target line and the body is not.

The easiest way to conceptualize this is the image of a railroad track. The body is on the inside rail and the ball is on the outside rail. For right-handers, at 100 yards your body will appear aligned approximately 3 to 5 yards left, at 150 yards approximately 8 to 10 yards left and at 200 yards 12 to 15 yards left.

The feet should be shoulder width (outside of the shoulders to the inside of the heels) for the middle irons. The short iron stance will be two inches narrower and the stance for long irons and woods should be two inches wider. The target-side foot should be flared toward the target from 20 to 40 degrees to allow the body to rotate toward the target on the downswing. The back foot should be square (90 degrees to the target line) to slightly open to create the proper hip turn on the back swing. Your flexibility and body rotation speed determine the proper foot placement.

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Here's a problem the majority of novice golfers have. And here is a way to fix it:

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