PGA Professional, Mark Krause
PGA Professional, Mark Krause
Stop trying to hit the ball. It is not moving, and as long as you stay bent over contact is inevitable. You should be trying to make a motion with your torso that puts yours arms into motion moving back from your target line and then through on your target line. You swing a putter at a target, you swing a baseball bat at the field, a tennis racquet is moving in a direction where you want the ball to go. So why should you not try to make a motion that gets your arms and club moving where you want the ball to go? This is a total reversal of thoughts for most golfers. If you are trying to swing down you are pulling the club with the handle leading. Just like baseball if the handle is leading the flight of the ball will be left to right for the right handed batter and golfer. Try to stay in your posture and swing where you want the ball to go. Good Luck.
How to be more consistent. It all starts with the proper grip and posture. If you analyze the postures and grips of most tour players you will see a couple things most of them do. The right hand grip is turned much more to the left than most amateurs. Second they stand much closer to the ball so that their arms are hanging instead of reaching outward. Lastly, their feet are much closer to each other than most amateurs. Doing these things allows all parts of your body to be less stretched which equates to being more relaxed. You need to be in a posture that allows your torso to put your arms into motion. Not a posture where the hands and arms initiate your backswing. Bottom line, if any of these three things are wrong in your setup you will be consistent in hitting crappy shots.
The backswing and how to create power. The purpose of the backswing is to create stretch in your lower back and right leg and hip area. To do this you need to create a weight shift. This is done by keeping your left arm straight while moving your left shoulder under your chin while keeping your right leg flexed and allowing your wrists to cock the clubhead upward. If done properly the stretch you created in your torso will make the forward motion more of a reaction instead of forced action. The next lesson will cover the forward motion.
The Forward swing. First remember that it is not about trying to hit the ball. If this is your thought, all the proper techniques you did in the backswing will be for naught. If you started with the proper grip and posture and then initiated the backswing by turning your shoulders to move your arms while keeping your left arm straight and your right leg flexed you are now ready to allow your body to initiate the forward swing. The forward swing in baseball, tennis and golf are all done the same way. Meaning, you allow the right side of your body to initiate a turning motion towards the target which in turn will move your arms. The biggest mistake golfers make on the forward swing is to initiate the motion by pulling the club with the hands and arms. The arms should be following the motion of the body to create a full and balanced finish with the front of your body facing the target and your right foot lifted and pivoted so all your weight is on your left foot. Next week I will talk about the role of your arms and hands in the golf swing.
What role do your arms and hands play in the golf swing? Your arms and hands are the reactionary portion of your body that creates or destroys clubhead speed. In other words, the tighter, stiffer your arms and hands are the harder it is to swing fast.
To prove this, grip the club real tight and tighten the muscles in your arms. Now try and move the club fast. It can’t happen. What every golfer needs to do, is to have a lose grip with their arms dangling to a straight position when they bend over and take a setup. At the completion of the backswing your left arm should be straight while your right arm is flexed with the right elbow pointing down towards the ground. As you initiate your forward swing by turning your right side towards the target, your arms will be pulled by this body turn. Just as in baseball and tennis as your arms near the impact position the forearms will be rolling over each other as your wrists are uncocking. Allowing the forearms and wrists to respond to this forward body motion will create your maximum clubhead speed and the ball will now curve right to left. Next week I will about how you can have a better chance of two putts or less per hole.
How to have the best chance of having two putts or less on every hole. You first must ask yourself what are you concentrating on when putting: how hard to hit it or the direction. Nobody misses many putts by being way left or right of their target. Golfers more times than not, three putt because their first putt was way long or short of the hole. Once your putter is placed behind the ball, you have aimed it, now it is time to create the proper speed in your arms to have the ball travel the proper distance. Once again, as in the full swing, the shoulders moving creates the arm movement. For now, I suggest that before you hit your putt, you take a couple of practice swings staring at the hole while you try to create the proper arm speed that you feel is needed to have the ball roll the distance your eyes are seeing. Next week I will talk the key to hitting a draw.
How to hit a draw. If you are taking the proper grip and posture as I have previously talked about you now have a good chance of making the motion that will create a draw. The motion itself is no different than swinging a bat or tennis racquet. You move your body in a way to get your weight on your right leg at the completion of the backswing so that your right side of your body will initiate the body turn to allow you to move your weight to your left leg on the forward swing. If your body is doing this, then all you have to do is allow your forearms to cross over one another in the impact zone. Use the club as a bat once and make a baseball swing. Notice what part of your body initiates the forward motion and then notice what your arms then do to create maximum bat/club speed. Next weeks lesson will be on the driver.
The driver should be the easiest club in the bag to hit. Why? Because it is sitting on a tee and the clubhead is the biggest of all clubs. The biggest mistakes I see golfers make is in the setup. They do not position the ball far enough forward. Not playing the ball off your left toe causes most golfers to put more of their weight on the front leg instead of the back leg which then causes them to make a much steeper swing plain that they should have. The goal at the completion of the backswing is to have more weight on your back leg with that back leg still being flexed. With this position you can then feel that your forward motion will be swinging the club on a shallower swing plain which means that your arms and club can now swing on a path towards the target instead of downward at the ball.
Lets take the first one: keeping your head down, Have you ever seen a baseball player, tennis player or someone on tv stare at the contact point after contact. How can you turn your shoulders let alone your body with your eyes glued to the ground. How can you maximize clubhead speed in the impact zone if your body can not turn due to your eyes being glued to the ground.
The proper term is “keep your eyes on the ball” so that your torso can turn through the hitting zone to have a complete follow through. How many of you complain to yourself that you do not have a good follow through. This is the primary reason why you do not. Anybody that says to you keep your head down and I will watch the ball for you is trying to help but giving you the worst advice possible.
Left arm straight, the first question you should ask yourself is for how long? I see many friends teaching friends saying keep your left arm straight but never saying for how long. Does a baseball player when swinging a bat keep their left arm straight after impact? In golf, of course the left arm is straight in you setup. So should the right arm since both arms should be hanging straight down. In the back swing the left arm should stay relatively straight in the backswing as your right arm folds and your right elbow folds downward. Centrifugal force should straighten both arms in the downswing, and at impact and thereafter the right arm straightens and rolls over the left arm through impact into the follow through before both arms bend and come to rest on your left shoulder.
Bend your knees to put the club on the ground and reach out my arms so my belly is not in the way. One of the biggest faults we see in golfers is their posture. The posture dictates your swing plane and potential weight shift. Most golfers setup by taking their grip then approaching the ball bending their knees and planting their feet before putting the club on the ground. The proper setup is starting with the underside of your upper arms resting on your chest, then bending in the waist, turning your head to aim, then bending enough to put the club behind the ball. The last part of your body you plant is your feet. When your setup is complete your arms should be hanging from your shoulders with your hands above your toes not outside them. A person’s belly or chest is not in the way if your shoulders turn first moving your arms. Doing this your arms are always in front of you instead of crossing over your chest or belly.
Keeping your right elbow close to your body promotes loss of distance, a reverse weight shift and a slice. This move causes either a very flat short backswing or a flying elbow by the completion of the back swing with a short swing arc and a clubface that is either very open or closed depending on their swing plane. This move also causes your right leg to straighten pushing your weight to your front foot. The way to avoid keeping the right elbow close to the body is by turning the shoulders to move the arms in the start of the backswing instead of the right hand pulling the club away from the ball. Doing this will also allow your right leg to stay flexed which then allows your weight to move into your right side.
Hit down to make the ball go up. This is the major cause of slicing. Why hit down, the club has loft on it. When you swing a bat or a tennis racquet, do you swing them at the ball or the target??? If you swing at the ball how do you give the ball direction??? Don’t you swing the tool at the target with the ball getting in the way of a motion that is forward and at the target?? If you are hitting down you are pulling the club with the left arm and hand. This means that the handle is way ahead of the clubhead at impact. If you entered the hitting zone swinging a bat with the handle way ahead at impact which field would you hit the ball to. Of course right field. Since you bent over to put the club on the ground, if you maintain that waist bend until impact won’t the club return to the ground? Yes, and the club has loft on it, so the ball will get in the air. The goal then is to have the face of the club moving towards the target then left of the target, since your body is turning, to hit the ball straight. The harder you try to get the club under the ball the more vertical the club is traveling so it is very easy to hit it fat or top the ball due to the club traveling to much up and down instead of forward.
The baseball and golf swing are very similar!! Of all professional athletes baseball players play the best golf. This is because the body motion of both swings are very similar. In both swings the head has to stay steady, the shoulders move the arms in both directions and the arms crossover one another in both directions. Neither one is a wrist motion. The motion originates from the sternum to the shoulders to the arms and then to the wrists. In other words, the trunk of the body should be moving the arms instead of the arms trying to move the body. Don’t get me wrong, the wrists play an important role in the swing but they have to rotate due to the body moving them. The wrist and arms can move on to many different plains, so, to have a consistent swing plain the body has to be moving the arms.
Can you swing the club straight back from your target? Only for a short distance, about 8 inches. Since your arms are connected to your shoulders and your shoulders do not move totally perpendicular to the ground, how can your arms do this?
So, good posture with a bend in the waist to start with. Turn the shoulders to move the arms and club on the backswing while maintaining the same waist bend that you had in your setup. Allow your body to start the forward swing by turning to the left. This motion will pull your arms forward. As you are turning your body to the left, allow your forearms to crossover one another releasing your wrists. Continue your body turn by allow your head to turn and follow the ball in flight. This will give you a full finish with maximum clubhead speed.
Presented by: Mark Krause
Muskego Lakes CC, 414-425-6500, Lesson fee of $60 per hour
Left hand first making sure the grip is under the pad of the left hand. Have them hold the club up with the arm parallel to the ground then take off the thumb and first two fingers. The club should be able to stay in place due to the pad supporting the club. Right hand, bring the right arm down from hanging above the left arm covering the thumb of the left hand with the palm of the right hand, making sure the left thumb is between the two pads of the right hand. Then move the baby finger of the right hand over the index finger of the left hand. All other fingers must be on the golf club. Now everybody do this three times at least while we go around checking to make sure you understand and can do it. When looking down at your grip you should not see any part of your left thumb.
GOAL WHEN THE CLUB IS BEHIND THE BALL
Most important is to allow your head to turn when it wants too without your neck and head moving up, down, left or right in relation to your feet and the ground. Your balance comes from your inner ear. To stay in balance and have the club return to the ground, you can not move your head out of the position you put it in when you completed your setup at any time during the swing.
When swinging, you never try and hit the ball. As long as you stay bent over with your head remaining in its original position the club will return to its starting point, making contact inevitable.
You are trying to make a shoulder turn that allows your arms and the club you are holding to move away from the target and around your right hip on the backswing and a shoulder turn in the other directions that allows the club you are holding to move around your forward leg.
As long as you stay bent over in your setup posture till just past contact the ball will get in the air due to the loft on the club.
A ball can only go in the direction you want it to go if the club you are swinging is moving in that direction. Not up and down. When you putt you move your shoulders to move your arms in the direction you want the ball to travel. So it must be with all other clubs.
WORST THINGS TO DO
HEAD DOWN, the proper term is eyes on the ball allowing your head to turn so your body can turn. But the head can not move up or down, left or right of the position it is in before you swing.
LEFT ARM STRAIGHT, only in the setup and until contact. Just like baseball it must bend and fold after contact.
TEACHERS THINGS TO WATCH FOR
IN SWING THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN THE FIRST LESSON
THE MOTION for chip shots (25 yards away or less) not pitch shots (more than 25 yards from the pin).
WHAT CLUB TO USE IN WHAT SITUATIONS
To score well you need to have a good short game. This means that your normal chip shot is within 20 feet of the hole all the time. It should take no more than 3 shots ( 1 chip and 2 putts) to get the ball in the hole.
Is all about not moving any parts of your body other than your shoulders and arms while staying bent over during the whole motion so you can control your distance.
SETUP. Feet close together, arms hanging from your shoulder sockets, eyes over the ball and both arms hanging down straight is what you want in your setup.
MOTION, a penelum type motion with your shoulders moving your arms and the putter. At no time shoulder the wrists be bending in any way. This will cause the putter head angle to change at impact, resulting in both loss of direction and distance. When done with the stroke you should be watching the putt roll from a bent over position, not standing up straight.
HOW TO READ GREENS
TO ANALYZE AFTER THE STROKE HAS BEEN MADE
TRYING TO KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, INSTEAD OF YOUR EYES ON THE BALL. I can not tell you how many times I have heard the excuse “I looked up”. Have you ever seen a Professional on TV staring at the ground when he was finished with the swing? “NO”. If you do not let your head turn to keep your eyes on the ball, you greatly restrict the turn of your body and pull on muscles that should be free to move.
Fixing any, if not all these faults will help to lower your score. Good Luck