Stretching/Warming Up: Breathing Techniques for Golf

Breathing Techniques for Golf

Anxiety can be defined as an adaptive response associated with tension and uncertainty of facing a new situation or unpleasant experience that causes worry and can affect sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Furthermore, the fear resulting from anxiety can become extreme, debilitating and totally paralyzing. The ability to stay relaxed is crucial for success in any sport. 

Maybe that’s especially true with golf, for most of us at least. 

breathing techniques for golf

On the golf course, there are countless potential distractions that allow the opportunity to develop anxiety and lose focus. In fact, coupled with unrealistic expectations, many amateur players fall apart during a round of golf. Players can develop the ability to control their emotions before every shot. While many players experience anxiety before the opening drive or a crucial putt down the stretch, the goal is for players to avoid anxiety and cope with relaxation techniques. Staying relaxed will not guarantee success, however, it is a physical and mental state that offers a greater likelihood of success. 

Successful athletes believe they will achieve success. The ability to relax in a stressful situation is a valuable coping skill on and off the golf course. Research suggests relaxation strategies to be effective and necessary for achieving performance excellence.

The following breathing techniques are designed for participants to learn and experience muscle mind relaxation strategies. Experience the different techniques and find the most beneficial technique to reach a state of relaxation in the body and mind.

Sighing with Exhalation

Sighing with exhalation begins with each individual inhaling slowly and then holding their breath for 10 seconds. Allow the tension to build and then exhale through the mouth.  Athletes should feel tension leave the body and learn to relax with this breathing technique.

Rhythmic Breathing

Rhythmic breathing occurs with each individual inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four and then pausing for a count of four before repeating the sequence.

1:2 Ratio

The 1:2 ratio is a variation of rhythmic breathing. Individuals take a deep, full breath and then exhale slowly. Inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of eight. The next breath should be slightly longer, inhale to a count of five and exhale to a count of 10. Then inhale to a count of six and exhale to a count of 12 and so on. 

5-to-1 Count

A 5-to-1 count is another form of rhythmic breathing. Athletes begin by visualizing the number 5 and take a slow, deep breath with full exhale. Next, visualize the number four, and repeat the breathing cycle. Between each number athletes should focus on becoming more relaxed. Complete the cycle going down to the number one. 

Concentration Breathing

Concentration breathing is the last breathing exercise. Athletes specifically focus on the rhythm of each breath. Each inhale and exhale is specifically designed to think about relaxing and the next inhale or exhale. The idea is to remove any distracting thoughts and only on breathing rhythm.

So, go on and experiment with the different breathing techniques and determine which may be the most beneficial relaxation breathing exercise.

The ability to relax will help reduce anxiety and increase performance.

Stretching/Warming Up: Is Running Good Golf Training?

Is Running Good Golf Training?

The thought of running to increase golf performance is a controversial topic. While running leads to aches and pains after a run, many feel it potentially leads to significant injuries later in life. Scientific studies are available to support and negate the benefits of running.

running for golf training

Many professional players have utilized running in their training program.  In fact, Justin Leonard trained and finished a marathon in Dallas, Texas. Nick Faldo used jogging to stay in shape, and Tiger Woods routinely starts his day with a 3 -mile speed run or 7-mile endurance run.

The following golf fitness tips show the potential benefits of how running can improve your golf game:

Endurance

The average golf course is approximately 5 miles in length. The majority of recreational players use a cart when they play golf.   Many competitive players are required to walk when they participate in a tournament. A player participating in a 4 day tournament must navigate 20 miles of terrain in addition to any hills and difficult weather conditions. While playing a round of golf does not require the same amount of endurance as a marathon, it golf does require mental and physical endurance to play at a high level. 

Endurance allows you to finish a round mentally sharp while still hitting solid golf shots. A running routine will help you finish mentally and physically stronger. For example, develop a training program where you run 3 miles four times a week. It should only take around 25 minutes and you will be amazed how fresh you feel at the conclusion of your round.

Mental Edge

Bear Bryant, Alabama’s legendary football coach, once said, “I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.”

Every athlete tries to develop a mental edge in an attempt to reach their peak performance. Running, or any other training program, can help a player feel invincible. A difficult training program might help a player build confidence and rely on that experience in a pressure situation. Suddenly a 5-foot putt might not seem so difficult when they pushed past barriers in training. A difficult training program will build mental toughness. 

In addition to the physical benefits, research indicates runner’s euphoria is a psychological benefit created from running. While the time and intensity required to reach a running high varies between individuals, it relieves stress and creates a happier and more relaxed individual.

Physical Fitness

Running is one of the most efficient exercises to lose weight. Combined with a healthy diet, you should definitely notice a leaner appearance and improved feel. Running is one of the best aerobic exercises for your heart and lungs. Research indicates the health benefits of running are tremendous, which include boosting your immune system and decreasing the risk of heart attack. 

Fitness sets the ceiling in golf. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to think a player in better physical condition has more potential for improvement. Better conditioned players are less susceptible to injury and physically able to implement improvements to their golf swing. 

Final Thoughts

The majority of today’s golf professionals believe physical fitness an essential part of their golf preparation. While it is an individual preference whether a player chooses running as a method to improve their game, players should at least utilize some form of training program.

Some individuals may feel there are other golf fitness tips and better strength and flexibility programs for their specific health needs. However, running will help you become a better golfer. How can improving your overall health not be beneficial for your everyday life, let alone your golf game?

 

Players Versus Game-Improvement Golf Clubs

Golf Terminology: Players Versus Game-Improvement Golf Clubs

Players-Game-Improvement-Clubs-1

Golf Terminology: Players Versus Game-Improvement Golf Clubs

How much you play and practice the game of golf will influence what type of equipment you may choose to put in your bag, whether it be players or game-improvement golf clubs. 

A combination of lots of practice and play, understanding your game and the science behind it all figure into deciding what to choose — or when to switch.

Game-Improvement

If you play only occasionally or find that you need a little help with your shot making, you may elect to use game-improvement clubs.

I’ll define these as having the following features and benefits:

The driver and fairway woods will always have graphite shafts, usually with a little extra torque to allow you to feel and flex the shaft and help launch the ball higher. The clubheads also may have some extra loft. To help limit the tendency to slice the ball, the face angles may be a touch closed.

The irons usually will have a slightly larger clubhead from heel to toe versus a players’ club. They will have a somewhat wider sole with some bounce to help the club glide through the turf. The wide sole also creates a lower center of gravity (CG) in the head that tends to help get the ball up in the air.

Game-improvement irons always will have extra perimeter weighting, usually with additional heel-toe weighting. (Although, some game-improvement clubs may be designed like a hollow iron, similar to a hybrid head.) The conspicuous deep-cavity perimeter weighting acts to increase the moment of inertia (MOI).

A club with a higher MOI will resist rotating about its axis. This is very helpful when, in those rare instances, you miss-hit the ball off the heel or toe portion of the clubface. Since the head is designed with a higher MOI, your shot will not wander as far off-line.

Finally, game-improvement irons usually are designed with additional hosel offset. This helps place the hands ahead of the leading edge of the club head to aid the golfer in hitting down on the ball — which helps get the ball up.

Players

Let’s now take a look at what a players club has to offer. These clubs tend to be for golfers that play the game substantially more, and at a higher skill level, than the average golfer. Golf professionals and lower-handicap players are the target market.

Their clubs will have these features and benefits:

The driver and fairway woods almost always are built with graphite shafts. The shafts will be designed with stiffer tips and lower torque, so the clubs may be swung with greater speed and accuracy. The clubface angles will tend to be square to open versus the game-improvement woods. This open face helps the stronger golfer swing more freely without fear of duck hooking a shot.

The players irons also have a shorter head length from heel to toe. The soles are generally narrower and blade-like with much less weight concentrated toward the bottom of the club when compared to a game-improvement iron.

Since the better player is much more adept at striking the ball on the sweet spot of the club face, he actually prefers an iron with a lower MOI. He also wants the low-torque steel shafts in his irons. All of these features allow the skilled golfer to manipulate the clubface and hit a variety of shots, from soft high fades to boring low draws.

The players club may have a little bounce, but the sole usually has a radius camber that performs the task of digging less into the turf. Skilled players already tend to hit down on the ball, so the hosel offset is usually far less than is seen on a game-improvement iron.

In years past, players irons generally were what we called “flat back.” That meant that the back of the head had no cavity of any kind. The head may have had only a slight muscle back or small sole flange. (It is interesting to note that early Scottish irons had “mussel” backs due to the shape of the bivalve mollusks the Scots ate. Years later it was changed to “muscle” to denote a powerful club design.)

Over the years skilled golfers noticed how much easier a cavity design was to hit and they began asking for this feature on some of their clubs. Nowadays, a players club, more often than not, may come with a slight cavity to make the game somewhat easier for even the best players.

Switching clubs rarely easy, Ask Rory

How-To Guides: Switching Golf Clubs Rarely Easy, Ask Rory

Switching clubs rarely easy, Ask Rory

How-To Guides: Switching Golf Clubs Rarely Easy, Ask Rory

When Even the Pro Golfers Change Equipment

When Rory McIlroy signed his deal to represent Nike Golf much was made — and is certainly be said after this weekend — about the adjustments he would have to make as he transitioned into Nike clubs.

Would he still be as good a golfer as he was before the switch? Did he do it just for the money? Since it has been reported that he signed a 10-year, $200 million deal, I have to assume that money played at least some part in the change. Although it didn’t stop him from bending a Nike 9 iron in apparent frustration last year at the US Open.  

Still, Nike clubs have always performed well for Tiger Woods and the rest of the Nike roster, so McIlroy should know that his less-than-stellar 2013 may be at least partially his fault.

The fact is that professional PGA Tour players are a lot like you and I. They come to rely on their equipment and have certain favorite clubs. Even if their new clubs are made perfectly to fit all their specs, the player still may not feel entirely comfortable.

And these professional golfers are exponentially more sensitive to their sticks — from shaft frequency, head shape, face angle and sound to the difficult to quantify “feel.”

But they are still like most golfers — always looking for something slightly better. Or in the case of the top pros, willing to take a chance for a big contract.

I have been fitting and making equipment for some of the top players in the world for more than 30 years, and I can tell you one thing: It is always a surprise what comments you get from the players.

“I love the new driver,” they’ve said, even though you know the composite shaft that was put in is different from the old one.

“I don’t like the look of the new putter,” I’ve heard, even though it was crafted to exactly match the previous stick.

“The leading edge needs to be softened more,” I’ve been told, even though the measured radius is rolled more than a tournament-winning previous set of irons.

“These feel light,” it’s been said, when you know the clubheads were ground to weight and swing weighted perfectly with shafts. Shafts that were sorted and weighed exactly to his specs.

In every case I’d make some adjustment to be sure that when he went into battle, the player knew his clubs were perfect for him.

Psychologically fitted?

Maybe you could say that. Sometimes you just can not get it right for the player. I worked with one Hall of Famer
in years past that was and still is one of the nicest gentleman you would ever hope to meet. Yet after multiple attempts at making clubs for him, he was never really satisfied.

Conversely, I have had another top, major winning pro that saw a set of irons that I was working on for someone else and immediately took a liking to them. He used them for many years on the PGA Tour.

Other golfers are perfectly satisfied with their clubs, as long as you annually check their loft and lie and maybe put on a new set of grips — although this example is rare.

Two legends of the game, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus, had certain little things that had to be done to their drivers.

Ben Hogan during his historic 1950 US Open. Hogan won on a three-way 18-hole playoff.

At the Ben Hogan Golf Company, Hogan always insisted on having a small brass “shaft tip locking screw” installed in the through-bore tip of his steel driver shaft. This went back to his days at MacGregor Golf in the 1940s to the early 1950s when glue was not quite what it should have been (before epoxy was invented). The screw helped keep the shaft from coming out of the wooden head. Even years after epoxy was perfectly suitable to install a shaft, Hogan still wanted that little screw.

He said that it made the club feel better balanced. I know that when we made his driver, we always had to factor in that small screw to hit the swing weight he wanted.

Jack Nicklaus also had started with MacGregor early in his career, and his first professional driver had a butt weight of lead in the grip end of the shaft. This was a common way for mass-produced clubs in the 1960s to be counterbalanced and swing weighted with persimmon wood heads that were slightly too heavy.

Jack Nicklaus in 1976 at Glen Abbey Golf Club, the site of more than one of his Canadian Open losses.

We would never do this for professional Tour players, but Nicklaus’ favorite club was built that way — and he continues with this method of butt weighting even today.

So, in a way, even the supposedly most-rational weekend golfer can be compared to an all-time great.

 

Golf Basics: The Grip

How-To Guides: The Golf Grip

Golf Basics: The Grip

How-To Guides: Golf Basics: The Grip

Golf’s fundamentals begin with your grip

Any good player will tell you, the start of a new season is a time for refocusing on fundamentals. Be it a low-handicap amateur, a PGA teaching professional or a touring pro playing for millions week in and week out — they all will focus on the basics when coming back from a long layoff.

Posture, alignment, tempo, ball position. Fundamentals are the foundation upon which your swing is built, and if they’re not solid, you won’t be either.

Perhaps the most important of these fundamentals is the grip. The hands are the only point of contact between you and the club; they control everything. It’s also not impossible to play quality golf with a strange grip.

Paul Azinger is fond of telling the story of how Nick Faldo describes him as having a “homemade grip with a hatchet swing.” And Azinger won a PGA Championship. But you’re certainly increasing your degree of difficulty if you don’t take the time to learn a fundamentally sound way to hold the club.

Thankfully, it’s also a comparatively easy thing to get right. The biggest mistake most amateurs make with their grip is holding the club too much in the palm of their left hands, as if it were a baseball bat. Baseball is a fine game, and a sport I love dearly, but the baseball swing is an act of controlled violence, a heavy chunk of maple or ash wielded with brute force. Golf clubs are lighter, more precise. The golf swing an act of tempo, rhythm, and control.

That’s a responsibility you want to give to the finer motor controls of the fingers.

Start by aligning the butt-end of the club along your glove hand on the bottom third of your pinkie finger, below the knuckle but above the palm. This will set up everything else about the grip. If you have the club positioned well in your pinkie, there’s no way to end up with a palmy, baseball-style grip.

Close your hand comfortably around the club. If you take your stance and address a ball from this position, you should see roughly one and a half to two knuckles on the top of your glove hand, with the “V” formed by the line between your thumb and forefinger pointing towards your right shoulder (left shoulder for lefties). 

If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably want to rotate your glove hand a little more so that you see somewhere between two and a half and three knuckles. This is referred to as a “strong” grip, helping you close your clubface at impact and produce a left-to-right (or right-to-left for southpaws) drawing ball flight that results in more distance.

Lower handicappers will generally stay with a neutral grip, or in some cases go with a one-knuckle or “less-weak” grip to help produce a fading left-to-right (right-to-left for southpaws) ball flight for more control.

Once you’ve got your glove hand situated well on the club, place your non-glove hand on the club, making sure to once again keep the club running along your fingers and out of the palm. Your non-glove thumb should wrap comfortably over your glove-hand thumb, the “V’s” between thumb and forefinger running parallel to each other and, again, pointing at your right shoulder (left shoulder for lefties).

Your non-glove pinkie finger can connect with the glove hand in a number of ways. I prefer what’s called the “interlocking” grip (See Tiger Woods above.), where the index finger of the glove hand and the pinkie finger of the non-glove hand wrap around each other, firmly connecting the hands in a unified hold. Both Woods and Jack Nicklaus use the interlocking grip.

There is also the “10-finger” or “baseball-style” grip, in which the hands aren’t connected at all, with each finger resting consecutively along the club.

The most popular grip, however, is the “overlapping” or “Vardon” grip, named after British golf legend Harry Vardon, who popularized it. Here the pinkie on the non-glove hand rests on top of the glove-hand index finger. Most players prefer this grip because it allows for a feeling of unity with the hands, but still keeps the glove hand in charge and allowing for crisper contact at impact. 

There is no wrong choice when it comes to deciding between each of these styles, however. Go with whichever option feels the most comfortable and gives you the most control of your golf ball.

Finally, perhaps the most important part of having a good grip is maintaining light-grip pressure. You want to be able to hold the club securely, but keep your hands loose and free-flowing in order to avoid tension. Tension in your hands will lead to tension throughout your golf swing, sapping your clubhead speed, destroying your tempo and inevitably sending your ball far off-target.

Relax your hands and it will relax every other part of your game, allowing you to play your best.

A fundamentally sound grip is an easy thing to overlook, but it is the root cause of countless other problems in the golf swing.

Take the time at the beginning of a season to ensure that your grip and other fundamentals are rock-solid, and you can dive into the summer fully ready to play your best and attack the course.

 

Golfing …Against the Wind

Approach/2nd Shot: Golfing …Against the Wind

Golfing …Against the Wind

Approach/2nd Shot: Golfing …Against the Wind

Playing in the wind is a skill all golfers need in order to be successful.

This is especially true in the Midwest and Southwest, where the flat terrain makes for many a windswept afternoon on the links. The ability to control your golf ball in all conditions separates the good players from bad, the great players from the merely average.

Rather than letting yourself be frustrated by a day of less than ideal conditions, a player is best served by embracing the challenge the course offers, making the most of the opportunity to improve.

Tiger Woods, in his amateur days, was once found by a reporter standing on an empty driving range, hitting balls in a torrential downpour with howling winds. When asked why he was outside fighting the elements, Woods responded that working when no one else is working was the only way to get better than everyone else. Every round, every shot is an opportunity to learn, work and improve.

However, there are some basics to playing in heavy winds that will make your life a little easier. First and foremost, accept what you can and cannot do. Standing 250 yards away with a 30 mph headwind blasting you in the face? Unless you have the kind of Herculean strength most players can only dream of, you’re probably not reaching that green.

PLAY SMART, MANAGE YOUR GAME, AND ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE COURSE BEFORE YOU AND LAY UP TO YOUR FAVORITE POSITION.

Along these same lines, it’s important to accept that bad breaks will happen. A gust of wind may kick up just as you tee off that knocks your ball down 20 yards short of the green and into the pond guarding it. Or the wind could power it 30 yards past the green and into the woods. These things will happen, and you cannot control them. All you can control is the way you react to them.

If you can keep your cool while your competitors are losing theirs, and realize that everyone will be subject to the same or similar lousy luck, you have a powerful advantage. That’s because your decision-making will not be influenced by frustration or panic, but by the course management plan established at the start of your day.

This segues nicely into my next point: have a plan.

Especially if you’re playing a course you’re familiar with, think about the general direction the wind is blowing and plot out the path you want to take through the golf course. Decide where you want each shot to end up in an ideal world and, more importantly, the places you can afford to miss and still recover. Rare is the golf hole that requires a player to hit an absolutely perfect shot, but every hole has at least one place your ball cannot go without resulting in a round-destroying number.

Especially in unfavorable conditions, it’s important to help understand your game, where your ball goes when you don’t make a perfect swing and how to make sure that when your shot isn’t perfect all is not lost.

If there is a big pond down the left side of a hole with the wind howling towards it, and you’re battling a snap-hook that seems destined to send your tee shot exploding towards a watery grave, think about how you can be smarter than the elements.

Can you hit an intentional fade to fight the wind’s will?

Do you have more confidence in your 3-wood or a long iron to hit the fairway?

Fight your ego and play to your strengths, and you’ll surprise yourself with how effectively you avoid double bogeys and worse.

Finally, play the ball a bit back in your stance, and swing with better tempo and more control. In part, this will help lower the trajectory of your ball flight, keeping it under the wind and allowing it to fly on a truer path. But more importantly, playing the ball back in your stance and swinging within yourself will result in crisper, more solid contact, which is the biggest thing you can do to play well in difficult conditions.

An off-center hit will halfheartedly drift along your general target line, wobbly and easily influenced by the whims of a buffeting wind. A center-face strike will fly with purpose and intent, much more resistant to elemental charms.

Sounds simple, right? Keep your cool, accept what you can and cannot do, and play within yourself. Master these three rules, and you’ll find success even when the elements are most against you. It’s easier said than done, but certainly not impossible — and something anyone can do with enough focus, mental toughness, calm and practice.

 

Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

Off The Tee: Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

UNITAS Gold

Off The Tee: Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

That’s the Holy Grail.

Everyone wants to hit the ball farther. You do. I do. Arnold Palmer does. Bubba Watson does. I’m not sure if John Daly does, but no one knows what Daly wants. Not Daly. Regardless, distance is the most potent weapon in golf.

The ability to drive the ball long and hit fairways presents such an extreme advantage for those who can do it best that the U.S. Golf Association and R&A have taken steps to limit the ever-increasing lengths players are driving the ball and keep classic courses from becoming irrelevant.

Maximizing your accurate distance improves every other part of your game, allowing for shorter approach shots, more greens hit and more concise putts for birdies and pars. You need to be hitting the ball farther to take your game to the next level.

The problem, of course, is that seeking that power is an almost surefire way to lose the distance you have. In a poetically Buddhist way, the more aggressively one seeks power, the harder it becomes to find. Adding usable distance is a matter of working smarter, not harder.

First and foremost, the easiest way to add effective, useful distance to your swing has nothing to do with your swing itself. Optimizing your equipment for your unique game and investing in the latest technology and customization allows you to maximize the potential you’ve already realized. There are very real correlations between dollars spent on equipment and the distance your golf ball goes.

Obviously, there are diminishing returns the higher up the technology ladder you climb. But the simple reality is that ensuring your equipment is specifically tailored to your game is the easiest, fastest and most surefire way to add distance to your game.

Arguably just as important as technology to lengthening your drives? Stop worrying about lengthening your drives.

Most people try to add yards by swinging harder. That effort results in tension, often in your hands and arms, that spreads throughout your whole body and saps your swing of clubhead speed. Not only that, it makes your swing less repeatable and makes you less likely to hit the ball flush, further diminishing your power and sending the ball careening towards the sticks.

The key is to relax, holding the club with less grip pressure and letting your hands release freely. Let the fast-twitch muscles in your hands and wrists react reflexively and without effort, and you’ll hit the ball solidly and with more clubhead speed, driving the ball farther.

Finally, if you’re determined to make some sort of swing change in search of longer drives, work on making a fuller, more efficient turn. The key is to improve your turn while maintaining a compact, efficient arm swing, keeping your body quiet and minimizing moving parts and wasted motion throughout your swing. Your backswing should be like a coiled up spring, waiting to explode all of its potential energy through the ball.

Again, this is a difficult thing to implement on your own. The best thing to do is find a PGA teaching professional you work well with, and work hard to make your game more fundamentally sound.

There are ultimately no real shortcuts to lower scores; work hard and intelligently, with guidance from a professional, and you will see the results trickle down to every aspect of your game.

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Eliminating Scorecard Fear; Plus the 2013 U.S. Open, Justin Rose and Yoda

One of our golf pro writers gives us a pep talk — an a healthy dose of sports psychoanalysis.

So how does fear relate to golf?  What is it about golf that makes us so scared? 

Most of us don’t even know that we are scared of something in golf. But we are. It’s happened to me. I’ve seen it in thousands of my students. We have what I call “Scorecard Fear.”

Scorecard Fear is when the fear of taking too many shots on a hole or ending up with a large overall score drives you to feel nervous, anxious, angry and frustrated.

You think too far in advance of your score. You play scared golf. You try to guide your ball instead of focusing on the target. 

In high school, I took golf a little too seriously and got mad when I didn’t do well. In college, I realized that I didn’t do well at times because I was scared. I was scared of how I played, what other people would see in me, and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I had Scorecard Fear. 

I let a dumb number on a piece of paper control how I played. I was too concerned with the outcome. 

You can’t control outcomes, only probabilities. 

What does that mean? It means that you don’t know how things will end up.  So, no need to focus on a perfect outcome.

Instead, do something to help the outcome. Give yourself a chance. 

The reason we have scorecard fear isn’t that we are embarrassed about a high number. It goes deeper. We believe that somehow the high number is a reflection on our character.  That we are not good enough. 

You can watch the Golf Channel, read Golf Digest and take lessons that focus strictly on lowering your score. But someday that learned skill may deteriorate. Eventually, you’re just not as good as you used to be. 

But you still have character. You still have your values. 

It doesn’t matter if you win any golf tournaments. It doesn’t matter if your score goes down. It doesn’t matter if you beat everyone in your group. It doesn’t matter if you have a bunch of trophies. It doesn’t matter if your swing is flawless. 

What matters is that you really enjoy doing something. What matters is who you are. What matters is your character. 

“As he prepared last week at Lake Nona for the 113th U.S. Open, Justin Rose did more than beat balls, work out and review his game plan for Merion. He watched a YouTube download of “The Empire Strikes Back.” The scene that sport psychologist Gio Valiante wanted Rose to absorb was Yoda’s famous discussion with Luke Skywalker. “I wanted him to know he was ready,” Valiante said Sunday from his home in Orlando. “That he was finally mature enough to come into his own.” — Golf Digest, June 2013

 

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Using the SKLZ Smash Bag

A golf pro uses a “Magic Black Bag” to teach proper impact position at the bottom of the swing.
We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

One of 2nd Swing’s golf pro swears by swing practice by whacking with what he calls “The Magic Black Bag.”

A few years ago, I had a lesson with a woman who was having trouble making proper contact with the ball. She’d hit behind it, she’d top it, but rarely did she make a good solid strike. So, I broke out my magic trick bag.

Actually, I broke out an impact bag. An impact bag is a footstool-size bag that can be filled with any soft object (a soft object that can take a wallop because you are going to swing a golf club at it).

Since I teach adjacent to a jail, I naturally use inmate raincoats to fill my impact bag, which is a SKLZ Smash Bag. The premise behind this teaching aid is to show my students the proper impact position at the bottom of the swing. For example, when using irons, I want to make sure that my students’ hands are in front of the club head when they make contact.

By making a normal swing into the impact bag, your swing automatically stops at the bottom when you hit the bag. From this position, we can look where your hands are in relation to the clubhead.

Let’s put in simpler terms:  You swing and the bag stops you. Then, you check out where you’re at.

Or better yet, get a teacher who knows what they’re doing to help you out. Back to the woman with the not-so-good contact. We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

Within one lesson, she realized her potential because of this “Magic Black Bag.” Now, I’m not saying that this will work magic for everyone. But, it would be worth a try if you have trouble making solid contact.