Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pre-School Golf Field Trips

Golf Courses can benefit by hosting a local Pre-School to a field trip at their facility. They can be an important part in introducing golf and a course to kids 4-5 years of age, orientating their parents to a facility and thus benefiting the game.

Two Rivers Golf Club, Dakota Dunes, SD schedules two field trip days with the local “Little Scholars Pre-School.” Their school has 4 classes with each making a 1 to 1.5 hour visit, two classes attend per day. Teachers and parents volunteer to assist our staff in all aspects for the 60 total students. 

Each trip begins with an enthusiastic welcome and a caravan cart tour of the golf course. The tour stops at a tee, a green and a bunker to show off the grass and sand. There is a lot to "show off" to these young juniors, such as wildlife, trees and friendly patrons. For most students, this is their first exposure to a golf course and a cart ride is always fun.

The tour ends at the practice area where we present putting, chipping and the full swing with our US Kids 39” demo clubs. 

Each student has the opportunity to make their 1st putt, their 1st chip and their 1st full swing with a ball. Safety and Fun are the priority as well as each student given a chance to experience these three aspects of the game. The smiles are priceless.

We conclude with snack time in the food and beverage area. We thank everyone and present each student a score card, pencil and logo golf ball.  The volunteer parents typically have a lot of questions about golf, the facility, rates and services. It is an invaluable marketing opportunity.

This program is one of our strategies to grow our Junior TEAM golf program and to involve more families at our facility. It is working despite the competition from other activities like baseball, soccer, basketball, etc... Golf has a lot to offer and we find it helpful to expose it at this age.

We believe this can be a long term solution to grow our club and also envision it as a model for other facilities to benefit the game.  

We encourage all facilities to consider and try this program. It’s proving to be successful at Two Rivers and the smiles are priceless!

All for a better game,

Friday, February 12, 2016

Replace the Whole Club 3" Forward on the Grass

Replacing the whole club 3" forward (target side) of the ball on the grass is an effective technique for solid ball striking. This applies to full and short swings alike. 

Start with the whole club centered on your body at address. The ball should be just ahead of the face. See picture:

This procedure can be used for all level lies and regular shots, full swings or short swings. 

Then swing the club back and replace the whole club 3" forward or target side of the ball.. 

The motion produces an arc on the back swing and one on the forward swing. The latter is forward of the other. And preferably in the same direction. 

The club displays part of the radius of each arc. One ahead of the other. The following illustrates the two arcs with the club as the radius for each.

The following pictures display this illustration in motion. 

Two more:

The examples are numerous and are all a result of the club's swinging properties. The phrase "replacing the whole club" is just different language that produces the same result as swinging.

Here are some additional images. 

These are full swing examples but the technique is also very effective on chipping and pitching. Maybe even easier than the full swing due to speed. It especially helps the player who thins and chunks shots. The strike is very solid.

I encourage to you experiment with it. There is evidence of it in skilled player's swings and it could be your means to improve your own game.

Start with it around the greens, chipping and pitching. Be sure you are concerned with the "whole club" aspect. The club head only is a recipe for poor shots. 

Then carry it into your full swing practice. If you've learned and can execute this motion of the whole club then put it into play. Enjoy.

All for a better game,

Credit for this technique and it's language should all go to Manuel de la Torre. World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame 2005. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Golf Swing: Body Response

What does Body Response mean in golf?

It is an alternative approach to the body's role during a golf swing. It is the effect the moving club causes to the body rather than the conscious control of the body action or any restriction during the swing. 

We respond like this in our daily lives but do not think much about it. 

For example, you toss a ball and your body does all sorts of things including your back heel coming up. All without any conscious control of the body action. 

You simply tossed the ball with your arm and everything else responded. 

Unfortunately this is different than the typical approach to making a golf swing. 

Most players try controlling their body action instead of controlling their club action while they play or practice. 

Remember, the club strikes the ball not you. 

Do you see the difference? 

Have you fallen victim and struggled with trying to perform all the body actions, in an order during the short duration of the golf swing?

I have. And you might be familiar with this funny but painfully true cartoon:

Manuel says in Learning Golf with Manuel written by John Hayes "you don't use the body to swing the club; it simply responds to your intent to use your arms to produce the forward swing."

Allowing your body to respond is a liberating approach to perform a golf swing and enjoy the game. 

It is effective and relative to the individual.  Golfers, as individuals, all have different body types and abilities. By responding, each player can benefit from the body action that fits that player. No two respond alike but their clubs can move similarly. 

Manuel demonstrated body response in an interesting way in an instructional seminar:

He asked a student to stand, turn his back and not allow him to push him off balance as he pushed on his back. Each time Manuel pushed, the student resisted and lost his balance.

Next, Manuel reversed the roles. The student pushed on Manuel's back and had a different result. Instead of resisting he responded to the push and simply bent over at the waist. The student wasn't able to push him off balance and we all learned "that's body response."

He transitioned this example into golf with the following quote:
"When the club requires you to go, you go."
So, as you initiate the back swing with your hands, you go and as you initiate the forward swing with the arms, you go.

This can easily carry into your game if you conceive the motion of the club and the action of the body as all one. Synchronized motion, 
"The back foot is the key to keeping the body and club synchronized."
Just like the ball toss example above, the back heel should be allowed to come up during the forward swing. Not in a forced way but in a direct response. It is the body's normal way.

As a player recently stated: "it seems so much simpler than bump hips  drop hands turn etc..."  The reply, yes, yes it is.

The list of body action directions is endless but thankfully it can be as simple as this player has discovered. Responsive action eliminates the need for conscious body control of a swing that lasts less than a second. 

Another example is the hips. Manuel has noted they do three things,  "they slide, tilt and turn." And as Manuel asks in Hayes' book, "Do the hips tilt more with during the swing with the Driver or with the swing of the sand iron?" Obviously, they would tilt more with the more vertical swing of the sand iron and turn more with the more horizontal swing of the driver. "Now you will need to be pretty smart to figure out the percentage difference in sliding, tilting and turning of the hips for all the different clubs," Only body response can manage these differences, they can not be consciously controlled.

The irony is that the more you respond the more your body will appear to be doing all the things you thought should be done consciously, including the hips. 

You see it all the time in juniors, like the one above, who swing and respond to the motion. It's pleasure to watch, the unity of motion and appearance of effortless power. It can be that simple. It's the normal way in our daily lives and it can be that way in our game too. 

All for a better game,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Composite of Two Circular Motions

Webster's Definition:
  • : shaped like a circle or part of a circlemoving or going around in a circle

For this article, we'll focus on the club head, it's route and resulting shapes or forms. All as a result of the swinging motion; back and forth. 

These illustrations are from Manuel de la Torre's book: "Understanding the Golf Swing" with his swing being displayed. 

They are a on-plane view of the swing; meaning the camera lense is parallel to the plane of the swing. 

He describes the swing as "a composite of two circular motions....The circle that corresponds to the forward swing is forward of the circle that corresponds to the backswing."

The following is a radar produced near on-plane image from a GEARS golf advertisement. 

The yellow shade is the backswing the orange is forward until impact and the green forward past impact. 

The evidence is ample and clear. The composite of the two motions are circular with one forward of the other. This is especially found amongst skilled players.  

Players who use a casting motion will not create the two circular motions. Their circular shapes of the club head will overlap. 

So, to think of it as a single circle, or one with a fixed center is incorrect. 

The swing finds it's own center and is dynamic; it goes forward with the motion of the club. 

It is also incorrect to think that either is a perfect circle or on a perfect plane throughout, though they can be close. 

Perfect is not realistic due to speed, body response and the human condition.

With that said, the focus for any golfer should be on the motion and the direction of the club. 

The motion is simple; swing the club head back with the hands and the whole club forward with the arms. 

This will create the composite of two circular motions. 

With one circle forward of the other the directions can still be the same. And knowing the motion is circular is helpful for applying the direction. 

By "seeing" an arc and swinging the club back and forth upon it is an excellent technique to help control your ball flight. 

By consideration of this concept and applying the motion and direction, you can have a purposeful effect on your ball striking and it's flight. 

To conclude, the club head, it's route and resulting shapes or forms are circular. But it's two not one. A composite of the swinging motion; one back and one forth. 

All for a better game,