Club-buying tips. Avoid Rory McIlroy’s Equipment Problems

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Changing Golf Clubs? Learn from Rory McIlroy. (by Eddie Shackleford) Thinking about trading in your golf clubs for newer models? You might want to think twice before you make any major changes in equipment. Although the latest and greatest clubs on the market promise longer drives, a smoother swing and targeted aim, switching sticks can sometimes have a negative effect on your golf game. Just ask Rory McIlroy. After signing a major endorsement deal, Rory McIlroy switched from his trusty Titleists to a new set of Nike golf clubs. He made the switch at the tail end of the offseason, giving him limited time to break in his new clubs. The result? A less than stellar performance at some of the season’s opening PGA tournaments. He denied any equipment problems in the press, but the scorecard doesn’t lie. McIlroy saw big success in the 2012 golf season. He won the PGA championship by an astounding eight strokes and climbed to the No.2 spot in the World Golf Rankings. So it seems that the only thing that has really changed between this year and last year, is the golf clubs. We’ll see how his new clubs perform at this year’s Masters Tournament, and if he’ll be the next winner to host the Masters Champions Dinner . We can all learn from Rory McIlroy’s experience. If you are thinking about changing golf clubs, consider a few things before you make a big investment: Do your homework. 
Don’t walk into a golf store without doing a little research first. Sure, golf pros and sales people can be helpful, but it’s good to hear from other people who have purchased the same clubs. Read online reviews, or ask fellow golfers for club recommendations. Beware of the Brand Consider switching clubs, but staying within the same brand. If you are still playing pretty decent, and just want upgraded equipment, buying a newer model of the same brand of clubs is a good option. This will minimize any major changes in your swing. Swing before you buy a couple practice swings in the store won’t give you a true read. Ask to take the clubs out to the driving range. Hit a few balls with each club. You might find that the driver swings great, but the irons aren’t connecting as well.  In that case, you can always buy a single new club instead of a full set. Most golfers change out drivers and putters pretty regularly without seeing any major impact in their game. Purchase, Practice, Practice If you a buy a new set of clubs, take them for a test drive before you book a tee time. You don’t want to use a new set of clubs in a high stakes tournament without getting some good practice sessions in first. Start with the driving range, and then follow with a casual 18 holes. Most importantly, give yourself a little time to adjust – but not too much. Once you make the switch, set a deadline for the transition. It will take a few rounds to get used to the clubs. But if after a month or two you start to notice your scores getting higher – take a mulligan and try again! Eddie Shackleford is a Senior Editor at Cable.tv and writes about all entertainment related content. He put this infographic together on the last Master’s winners and the dinner they chose: http://www.cable.tv/masters-champions-dinner/ ************************ Craig’s note:  I bought new clubs last summer that are NOT big name, big advertising, big marketing. I am extremely happy to report that I am playing fantastic with them and have been very surprised at their performance.   I will be telling you more about this as I conclude my testing but so far, I am totally convinced that you DO NOT need to spend big money for great clubs.  I also learned from taking a tour of the manufacturing plant that most all clubheads from all the companies come from the same place overseas…  You can pay more for big name marketing, endorsements, and TV ads…or you can keep that money in your pocket and score lower…. tell you more later! Greens and fairways, Craig Read more »

How to get real improvement in your golf game – part 2

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In case you missed part 1, you can go read it here:  improve your golf game – part 1 ****************** Now to continue on with the story… My first drive is perfect. I can’t ask for more.  What do I do? Instantly after watching my ball land right where I want it to and as I walk towards it, I am reminding myself of what made that happen, namely, my plan I told you about in part 1. I followed my plan to the letter. I did exactly what I said I would. I got the result I wanted. I felt totally empowered. I told myself that I got it now. I replayed that shot over and over in mind as I walked to the ball. I talked to my unconscious mind and thanking it for pulling the “280 yard straight shot” file from the filing cabinet in my mind.  I told it that I wanted that again and again…all day.   I went over an over in mind what went right. I filled my thoughts with “this is how I play” and “this is how I drive the ball.” Etc. And…I’m smiling all the way as I keep walking to the ball. I get up to my second shot and it’s about 70 yards to the pin. Great, no problem. I know what to do here as well.  I know that my sand wedge will go 70 yards at about a 3/4 backswing.  I figure that out a couple years ago when I took a bucket of balls down to the schoolyard while the kids were out and I placed a rag at 30, 50, and 70 yards out and then hit while only observing how far back I take my backswing.  You really only have to do this once and it pays off for years. Now, the problem for me wasn’t my distance on approach shots. The problem was hitting the darn thing straight.  Standing over the ball, I re-committed my entire mind and energy to what I had been working the last 2 days…square and point. I took a look at the pin and used that target to draw an imaginary line to my ball.  I squared my body up to that target line.  I went through my preshot routine like religious monk in prayer.  I NEVER LOOKED AT THE TARGET AGAIN.  I didn’t have to! Yes, I know, this goes contrary to popular golf advice for score improvement.  Everyone says to be “target oriented” and so do I. But, you see, at my level of play and for 90% or more of all recreational golfers JUST PICKING A TARGET AND FOCUSING ON IT ISN’T ENOUGH.  We need to have an intermediate, simple instruction between the target and our swing that bridges that gap. That “bridge” is the 12-18 inches of imaginary target line from the ball to the target.The simple instruction I give to my unconscious mind is to “square the club face at the point of impact and point it (or “follow it” if you like that better) down the target line” I hit to about 10 yards from the pin, I lip out my putt and tap in for an easy par. My son, on the other hand, is in big trouble having hit his shot into the lateral hazard. He pulls out a bogey and I can see the sweat starting to bead on his forehead as says “nice hole Dad” to me…and we go to the next hole. I end up following my plan to near perfection.  I end up the day with NO DOUBLE bogeys and 1 birdie.  I shoot a 79 playing strictly by the rules of golf and I win the bet.  I’m very excited! I’ve got my game back!!! Woohoo!!! My son owes me 12 hours of labor. What do you think I should have him do for me?  🙂 Car washes? Clean my clubs? Clean my house and toilets!, Yes, that’s it…hahaa. I don’t rub any of it in with him. At the end of the round, I’m a good sport and I put my arm around him and remind him of some great shots he made. We go out to beer and pizza afterward and have a good laugh about the round and the funny things we said and did that day.  We love golf. We love the camaraderie that goes with the game. We love the competition whether it’s with someone else or with just ourselves to beat our personal best. We love the outdoors and we love the game itself. I go to bed that night in total gratitude… The next day, in the car on the ride home, I ask my son what his plan was for fixing what went wrong with his game.  […] Read more »

Fix the Golf Swing Yips – part 2

1. TRUST YOUR SWING YET DEVELOP A “YIP-PROOF STROKE.”  It has become a cliché to trust your swing.  However, most swingsters do not deeply trust what they have.  They have omnipresent little doubts and always seem to be tweaking something.  These patterns eventually lead to flinches and freezes.  The bowling great Billy Welu advised, “Trust is a must or your game is a bust.”  Think right now:  what does it really mean to totally trust your swing?  Take your time and specifically answer this question to your satisfaction.  Your answers are important.  They provide a foundation for not only implicitly trusting your swing, but deeply believing in yourself again. During this time, you might want to take a series of lessons from a trusted teaching pro who understands your predicament.  At the very least, these lessons will confirm some essentials about your swing.  Feeling solid with your fundamentals can go a long way to resisting the yips.  Your pro may find a couple things to alter.  You may also learn some new shots.  Remind yourself that these mechanical emphases are the building blocks to a trustworthy and repeatable swing. As you rediscover the essentials of the full swing you then have to honor them.  Whether they may be a full takeaway, powerful coil, hands set on top, smooth transition, purposeful tempo, or a powerful release, reacquaint yourself with your core swing.  Then create one (AND ONLY ONE!) swing cue which encapsulates your core swing.  During a round emphasize this one swing cue from the first tee shot.  Trust that this cue encompasses everything.  Stop thinking about everything else and throw yourself into this one swing cue. Believe your core swing will be quite good enough.  Build on your strengths.  As you reinforce your swing it becomes more consistent.  This is good in itself and it helps prevent the yips. HOWEVER, you also need to develop a backup swing for when the yips seep into your game.  I call this a “yip-proof swing” (YPS).  This swing won’t look as nice and the ball won’t go as far, but it will hold up under the stress of the yips. Typically, this YPS is shorter and has less moving parts than your full swing.  Such a swing relies more on your larger muscle groups instead of the smaller (and more susceptible) muscle groups of the arms.  Develop an abbreviated three-quarter, punch, or knockdown swing which can be used in a pinch.  Have your hands lead during the downswing and purposefully accelerate through these shots. You will discover that such a swing is easy…and even mindless…to execute.  And that’s the point. Employ this yip-proof swing when you feel queazy and need to survive a shot.  Punch, swipe, or even bunt the ball down the fairway.  This is not giving up.  Rather, it is a positive response to the yips. So rely on your full swing until you feel the onset of the yips.  In such situations, automatically and unemotionally shift to your yip-proof swing.  Don’t think nor fret.  Just do it.  Succeeding with your YPS will distance yourself from yipping.  Many times you can return to your regular swing in a hole or two.  Even if you have to stay with the YPS, recognize that this a victory in that you have successfully coped with the yips.  And each time you cope with the yips you weaken them and empower yourself. Think of these two types of swings as different performance “gears.”  Like a race car, you automatically shift between these two swing gears depending on the situation. B. SWING RELATIVELY EASY YET OCCASIONALLY TAKE A RIP AT ONE.  Trusting your swing means tuning into your optimal rhythm.  A rhythmical swing is a repeatable swing.  It also holds up under stress.  Finally, smooth swing rhythm helps connect mind and body. What is the ONE point of your full swing from which your rhythm emanates?  Whether it is in the forward press, a long takeaway, complete turn, an uncoiling of the hips, starting down slowly, firing the rear hip and elbow simultaneously, or even posing on the followthrough, find one emphasis on which your rhythm depends.  Feel this and think this. Rhythmical swings which hold up throughout a round are grounded in swinging relatively easy.  At this level one is more apt to release the club and make consistent contact.  Such swings tend to be consistently performed.  Hence all rounds should be approached with swinging relatively easy.  Battling swingsters typically try to force and blast all swings during a round.  An important step to regaining overall control is to learn again how to swing relatively easy. How does one find this optimal swing zone?  In human performance there is an important distinction between optimal and maximal.  Not all full swings should be executed full-out.  I […] Read more »

Golf Swing Yips – part 1

SMOOTHING THE FULL SWING YIPS Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP You knew it had to happen.  For readers of my articles in these pages, you know that I have a special affinity for those poor souls afflicted with the yips.    The responses from “yipsters” and “chipsters” have been gratifying.  They have overcome their flinches and, as importantly, soothed their tormented psyches. Just about every day I receive emails from golfers throughout the world who experience some type of yips.  I wish you could read some of these heart-wrenching stories.  They have lost control of the fine motor skills necessary for playing solid golf.  It is like some kind of demon is in control of their bodies and minds.  They are embarrassed by their ineptness and frustrated with the inability to maintain control.  Beyond that, the yips have sapped the joy out of playing the game they love. From the systems we have created, golfers of all abilities have learned how to better accept, respond, and even overcome their putting and chipping yips.  However, there is still one variant which has never been formally addressed…until now.  It is the full swing yips.  You knew it had to happen! THE TANGLED WEB OF THE FULL SWING YIPS The full swing yips are a relatively rare form of this performance affliction.  They take on some very specific forms.  Some full swing yipsters (whom I call “swingsters”) are unable to take back the club.  They are literally frozen over the ball.  Other swingsters shutter during the takeaway.  Still others freeze at the top of the swing.  Others “hitch” (one of my swingster’s term) on the way down.  Finally, some uncontrollably flinch at impact, raising up as if they are afraid to hurt the ball. Each of the three major types of yips are unique and separate unto themselves.  I have very rarely seen golfers who have, say, the putting and pitching yips.  The full swing yips have quite distinct dynamics.  Whereas the putting and chipping yips are subtle and covert, the full swing yips are obvious and overt.  They are almost violent.  In teaching and playing pros’ circles, the full swing yips are that “dirty little secret” to which is rarely admitted, much less discussed and addressed. In a game where the full swing is the visual and symbolic hallmark of mechanical mastery, yipping is embarrassing.  Beyond the physical flinches, the mental and emotional responses become almost agonizing.  Swingsters constantly struggle and eventually become             ever-rationalizing, discouraged, and even dour.  Indeed, the full swing yips create a tangled web. The more swingsters try to combat them, the more these yips control through elusiveness.  At the other extreme, trying to ignore them hoping they will go away does not work either.  And of course, pressurized playing situations bring them out more dramatically.  Swingsters can sense that long before they reach the ball they will yip.  They become tunnel-visioned, short of breath, and experience queazy stomachs.  In a game where self-control is elementary, it is personally humiliating to have something else in charge. Like the other two forms of the yips, swingsters tend to be very intelligent and aware.  Their abilities to analyze and be sensitive can actually  work against them in that they frequently get in their own ways.  The yips develop and flourish in the overly analytical and sensitive.  Now, it offers little solace for those afflicted with the yips to tell their jesting partners, “I have the yips because I am much more cognizant and perceptive than you clods!”  However, just as a swingster’s intellect facilitates the yips, it also provides a pathway out of this morass.  (I used these big words here to titillate your intelligence!) BEFORE WE START… Okay, are you ready to work?  Are your really ready?  Are you totally committed to overcoming your yipping?  Answer these questions truthfully.  I have encountered some swingsters who say they are committed to change, but really aren’t.  It is as if their yips have become grudging friends…like a crazy old uncle.  They seem to be comfortable with their yips and actually fear giving them up for the unknown.  As the old saying goes, “The devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t know.”  Do you really want to change? Even though I have helped a couple hundred yipsters and scores of chipsters, I have only seen 32 swingsters.  However, some definite trends have emerged.  Here are a couple of important perspectives before we embark. (1) Believe the full swing yips can be overcome.  This process is usually long, nonlinear, and even illogical.  AND they can be conquered. (2) You have to let go of your pride, self-image, and old ego attachments of how you used to swing.  Accept that you will have to learn new ways of swinging and playing the game. (3) […] Read more »

How to Hit Straight Golf Shots

So, did you understand what I was trying to get across with the whole Square and Point discussion? Yes, I know a good swing will achieve this by itself and if you’ve got the time to learn one, great. But it really doesn’t matter what you do before you strike the ball (Look at Jim Furyk). What matters, in physics, is the point of impact and direction the club is going at that spot. The basic idea behind this is that you really only need your club to do 2 things to send a ball straight to your chosen spot. 1. Have the clubface square at impact 2. Have the end of the club follow along the target line until a release “point” where the club will then follow through naturally over your shoulder to a finish. How long the club follows along the target line until you let it release to a finish depends mostly on the club. For instance, when you use the driver, since the swing with the driver is the flattest (closest to horizontal), the point where you release the club to finish will be sooner than if you use a sand wedge. The wedges generally will have a more upright, vertical plane and so I find myself actually having the wedge and higher irons following all the way down the target line until, at one spot, it actually points at the target before releasing to a finish. The longer the club, the less likely it is to actually hit the spot where you are literally “pointing at the target”, however, it is still valuable for those longer clubs to start a little practice swing by first pointing at the target and then bringing the club back to “find” the right backswing. Why is this concept important or even worth considering for my game? Because if you are going to try and improve without spending hours on the range practicing every intricate move a teaching pro gives you over a period of time, then you need something SIMPLE that your unconscious can take, understand, and run with. If you try to do Mental practice  for the list of things you need to keep in mind while trying to achieve the perfect swing, your unconscious mind is likely to get confused and give up, just like you do when you hear too many things at once. Square and point is SIMPLE! Also, if you have an uncontrollable hook, you might find this concept helpful in straightening out some.  Pointing the club at the target more will make your swing a bit more vertical which will necessitate more of a fader’s path. Part of square and point is talked and written about when you see references to keeping the clubhead on line for the first couple feet after striking the ball. I totally agree but it’s only part of the story. Here is a question one of the members asked specifically about this: “ I do have a question on the square and point. Are you talking about squaring the club face to the target and then with your arms pointing the head of the club at the target (at which point the shaft is parallel to the ground) or are you talking about simply moving the club face ahead of the ball a couple of feet while maintaining its alignment to the target? That part was a bit hazy to me.  “ And here is my answer: “Square and point” means as you mention: “squaring the club face to the target and then with your arms pointing the head of the club at the target”. (with caveat in paragraph 2 above) Now, having said that, the way I use this concept, is to think about it during my practice swing. Mentally see a “freeze frame” of these 2 spots in your swing occurring. Direct your unconscious to accomplish these two positions with your club and the ball has to go straight since you understand the physics of it that necessitate that result if successful. The swing is really happening too fast to try to manipulate your hands to “square” the clubface. You just need to give a good message to your subconscious along these lines and over time and let IT accomplish that. Just like you ride a bike you don’t consciously think about all the muscle contractions necessary to balance and pedal and steer. Depending on the person, you can go so far as to focus your whole swing around this even while doing your regular swing, or you can subtely (sp?) let it sink into your unconscious over time and let it slowly become a part of your swing that you built using a good swing method taught to you by a pro or other instructional swing system. If you’ve ever seen a golfer swing the “Natural Golf” way, […] Read more »

How to draw the golf ball

Nick Bayley is the author of the highly successful “Draw” System which has been used by over 5000 golfers to hit the ball further, straighter and more consistently. And Nick was recently interviewed by The New Zealand Golf Gazette where he shared his secrets to fixing the dreaded golf slice. Golf Gazette: Hi Nick, and thanks a lot for agreeing to do this Interview. So let’s get straight into it. Why did you create a system to fix golfers slice and how long did it take to put together? Nick: The reason I created The “Draw” System was because one day I was surfing the web and I saw a statement that said “85% of golfers slice the ball.” Seeing that statement stopped me dead in my tracks and I decided right then and there to do something to help as many golfers as I could to fix this problem. Because being able to consistently draw the ball is easy, BUT it’s only easy if you’re shown how. Like anything, if you don’t know how to do it, or have never been shown then of course it’s hard or difficult. From the point of seeing that statement on the web it then took me 3 solid months to create and test what I believe is the best step-by-step “How to Fix Your Slice System” in the world. Golf Gazette: So what does a golfer need to do to hit consistent draws? Nick: From all my testing and research it has become very clear to me that all that is required to consistently draw the ball is the following three things. 1. A golfer needs setup for a draw, and 2. Swing from the inside while contacting the ball with a slightly closed clubface, and 3. Have equipment that encourages a draw. And although it’s possible for a golfer to draw the ball with only two out of these three things being correct, I’ve found that if a golfer wants to consistently draw the ball then they must combine all three perfectly. Golf Gazette: Clearly you think it’s so easy to fix a slice so why do so many golfers suffer from this problem? Nick: I believe the main reason is because most of golfers are only ever shown a fraction of what is needed to hit consistent draws. As I’ve said, a golfer needs to setup for a draw, swing from the inside while contacting the ball with a slightly closed clubface and have equipment that encourages a draw. And my system teaches each of these elements in great detail. In essence, my system is giving golfers the complete solution rather than just tips that may or may not help. Golf Gazette: Apart from the obvious advantage of hitting the ball straighter after fixing a slice is there any other advantages? Nick: I read some interesting research that Golf Digest did back in 1981 to find out the difference between a fade and a draw. They setup a driving machine to hit draw and fade shots and from their scientific tests they found that on average a draw goes 17 yards further than a fade shot. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a slice is going to go even less distance than a fade shot! From the golfers who have tried The “Draw” System this 17-yard increase in distance is conservative, very conservative. Because I’ve found that when a golfer changes from one who slices the ball to one who draws the ball they get a huge increase in confidence. And this huge increase in confidence combined with the change in ball flight from a fade/slice to a draw is gaining most golfers an extra 25-30 yards more distance! Golf Gazette: Your system has a pretty amazing guarantee but could you explain in more detail what exactly it is. Nick: Sure, I guarantee this system will fix any golfers slice in 90 days. If it doesn’t then the golfer can send it back and they’ll get their money back with no questions asked plus I’ll pay them an extra $35. That’s how confident I am that it works. And through my follow up with golfers who have tried this system I’ve found that it generally takes most golfers about 30 days to consistently draw the ball. But having said that, the other day I received an email from a customer in Palmerston North, New Zealand who had never, ever drawn or even hooked a ball in all his 7 years of playing golf. And just 10 days after getting my system and following the instructions I recommended he was drawing his shots 70% of the time. And this helped him to win a prize for longest drive, nearest the pin and lowest gross in the first competition he played […] Read more »

Golf swing fundamentals lesson

Note: this illustrated golf instruction is just one golf pro’s advice. You will find that you can hardly get any two golf teachers to agree on anything with regard to what the proper swing is let alone how best to teach it. The following illustrated golf swing lesson can be a good starting point in your quest to create a good swing or if you are more advanced, may help you make that little tweak that can help you get to the next level. If you want to check out a new highly rated total swing system, my top recommendation is Illustrated golf instruction for the basics of the swing by Joe Novak. Written for right handers. In the making of every golf shot, there are two parts. First – Assuming the proper position to the ball – This means: Proper placement of the club to the ball Correct grip or correct hand positions on the club Correct placement of feet Proper position of body Once this starting position is established, the second part of the golf shot consists of the actual stroke, that is, the actual swing of the club. To each of the above two parts, there are four distinct moves, and if these moves are followed in the step-by-step procedure in which they are going to be presented, there will be no difficulty in learning and acquiring a perfectly natural, efficient golf swing in very short order. Let’s learn the 8 moves (Double 4) that can create a perfect golf stroke. The First 4 Steps of the Position for the golf swing Step 1 instruction – Place the club behind the ball, using the left-hand only.(Illustrated below-D: strong left position, E: weak position) If there is any one thing that is important in a golf shot, it is the way in which the left hand works. As a matter of fact, it will be learned that the left hand action is the very crux of every golf shot. Actually, the left hand has a triple duty in a golf shot: creating or determining the position of the club will be in during the swing. keeping the club in the desired position. bringing the club into and through the ball The proper position of the left hand on the club is as follows: the hand is more or less on top of the shaft. When it is in the proper position, three knuckles of the left hand are in clear view when the player looks down at his hand and the left thumb is at a point more or less behind the shaft. Step 2 – Place feet in position The proper place to stand is in a position where the ball will be opposite the left heel. A line running from the ball to the inside part of the left heel will be at right angles to the line of the shot. The feet should be so placed that the toes of both feet are parallel to the line of the shot. This position is to be assumed on all shots and with all clubs. (editor’s note: many golf instruction professionals advocate this for the driver and then moving the ball back as you graduate to more lofted clubs.) The feet should never be wider apart than the width of the shoulders. In other words, always use a narrow, rather than wide stance because with the narrower stance it is easier to shift the weight to the right foot for the upswing and reshift it to the left foot for the downswing. golf grip fundamentals Step 3 – Complete grip by bringing the right hand to the club. When the right hand comes to the club it assumes a position on the club which is directly opposite the position of the left hand. Whereas the left hand is definitely on top of the club handle (illustrated far left), the right hand assumes a position more or less underneath the club. (editor’s note: this will help most beginning golfers avoid the typical slice, hookers might turn their hands more counterclockwise) When placing the hands on the club be certain that there is no tenseness or tight grip. Any sense of holding or gripping the club should be confined to the front part of each hand, to the first two fingers and thumb. The thumb of the left hand fits naturally into the hollow of the right hand palm and in a perfectly natural way the overlapping grip is created. See golf grip instruction page for more detail and tips Step 4 – Turn or flip the right heel out slightly In a normal foot position it is generally natural to stand with both toes turned out slightly (illustrated second from left). This fourth and final move is to […] Read more »