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Posts Tagged ‘Instruction’

Chips and Putts

-  Congratulations to “Roar-y” McIlroy on his win at Quail Hollow in Charlotte!  That was the kind of finish I think we all love to see.  A terrific talent, I have his swing sequence on power point (and a few others).   As I turn 50 this summer, I doubt I can get his full turn in, but his move to the ball is spectacular.

-  Update on Hogan instruction and my progress.  I am going out most days at lunch and either hitting balls, chipping, or playing nine.  Marked improvement since my “epiphany” last post.  My key swing thought is Hogan’s shoulder to chin key.  You may recall he stated in his book that it got so that he would wear out the left shoulder of his golf shirts.  When I am doing that, I am really striking the ball.  I am finally getting a turn in that means something.  I was having real issues with my 3 wood, but since the swing key I have been killing it.  I am letting the swing happen and it feels great!

-  Trying out a new ball.  Srixon Z-STAR.  I was previously using the Pro V1x.  The Srixon ball feels markedly softer, yet it is at least as long as the Pro V1x  and even seems a bit longer…it may be the swing improvement though.  It seems to spin more, I get more zip on short wedge shots (100 yards and in) than my Pro V1x.  Srixon’s website has the following to say about the Z-STAR:

  • Contains a large, varying stiffness core (Energetic Gradient Growth Core Technology), providing high ball speed and low spin off the driver, resulting in longer drives
  • The Z-STAR’s enhanced Powershear® dimple technology keeps ball flight straight and long even in windy conditions
  • Iron impacts feel soft and pure, providing a tour-proven response
  • Players wanting more spin on approach shots will benefit from the Z-STAR’s thin, soft urethane cover

I concur with the soft feel, wind play, and more spin.  The length may be attributable to a better swing, but maybe not.  The price is right, about $10 less a dozen than Pro V1x has convinced me to switch.  Uh oh, just got a notice that Andy Giles, the pro at Bide-A-Wee (number 1 Muni in Virginia!), is sponsoring the Bridgestone people in a couple of weeks for “ball fittings.”   More later on that!

-  The Players this week.  Chris’ prediction – “Young gun” week again…Mickelson…another second…Tiger…favorite on the Golf Channel…wild card in my book until he fixes “getting stuck.”

-  We all love weddings, don’t we?  I missed playing golf this past weekend because I traveled with my wife and daughter to a wedding Saturday in Pennsylvania.  OK…I took some “executive time” Friday afternoon to make up for it (and shot 75 – thanks Mr. Hogan).  We are friends of the bride and her parents, the lovely girl she is, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the extended family, the groom, and his family.  It seems, that on that day like on the golf course, I met some terrific people.  Lots of baseball coaches, tennis players, and guys who just want to hit a golf ball better.  Funny how in a conversation with athletes these days, no matter their age and no matter the venue, the talk eventually moves toward golf.  It is a common theme these days.  Like “how ’bout those Bears” in times past.  Our best to AJ – the Groom and Jill-Bean – the Bride…what a wonderful adventure you have before you.  AJ, I think you need a lesson on the course…1 a side in a $5 nassau sounds about right.

Hogan Part Deux

I have read Hogan’s FIVE LESSONS twice now.  I still find brilliance in his analysis and descriptions and marvel at the drawings and their clarity.  I can visualize almost all of what he is saying, but it is so difficult to translate some of it to the golf course – or even the driving range.  After reading it the first time and writing about it here, I began applying his instruction.  I saw some immediate improvement.  In fact, two weeks into practicing I shot a round of 74 (with a double bogey – not a lot in the book about the short game).  Excited as I was about this, I knew it was but one round.  I have been here before…remember, I often rebound from brilliance to buffoonery.  My pattern has not changed.

I found particular help with his instruction on the grip, the elbows, shoulder to the chin, and the mindset that the hips are the engine and if set up correctly all else will follow.  I find particularly distracting the section on wrist supination.  If the idea is to “trap the ball” with the iron face on the way down, then I got it.  But the discussion is confusing – and obviously confusing to many others.  I googled this concept and found endless discussions on it.  My takeaway from this additional research is that if all else is as he describes, then supination will occur.  That part of the swing happens too fast to try and manipulate the wrists; doing so will only cause unspeakable anomalies that further confuse.  They did me.

Hogan mentions subtle adjustments to his foundational instruction based on physical makeup.  Of course, not all of us are the same and so, we may require a slightly or subtly different set up or position of fingers or…well you get the picture.  Dangerous area is this!  Offer me the opportunity to subtly adjust and I will!  Too much thinking!

So, I have begun to backslide into my pattern of overburdening myself with techniques and tips.  Let’s look at Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, review “The Little Red Book,” power point some professional swing sequences, etc… I need to focus.  FOCUS.  But, that’s not easy. 

All this seems to be, in the final analysis, an endeavor to control my swing.  So much so, as Hogan would tell you that I hope to create a repeatable swing that will serve me well under pressure.  But how do you “control” it?  Epiphany – as I write this – epiphany!  Perhaps, like much in golf, to control the swing is to let it go.  Perhaps it’s not really about control per se, but about setting the conditions in your swing habits that allow for consistency when you let it go.  Now that I think of it, Hogan seems to say that to us in his pages.   Build the basics so you can then TRUST the swing.  Perhaps control is born of fear.  Fear of hitting the ball in an unintended way.  When, in the end, if I use my brain to visualize and then just swing, I might like the result.  But, I have to have the basics first.  Reintroduction to Mr. Hogan…and my local pro?

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