Category Archives for "Videos: Lesson of the Week"

Lesson of the Week: John Shmerler-So Hard to Change a Pattern

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Here is a 3 handicapper with what would be considered a good swing but one he would like to change for the better. We have identified the issues, and they are stubborn to say the least. John tends to get the shaft flat at P3 and heading to P4 he always stuffs his right upper arm in close to his side, finishing the backswing with some right shoulder blade pull-back. This not only affects his sequence (the right shoulder pull-back actually initiates his downswing by leaning the upper body over the lower before the lower can get started) but keeps his right arm from getting into any kind of “pitch” position where the upper arm would be in front of the rib cage with the right elbow leading. It’s obvious that John has an excellent idea of what he would like to do, as shown by his spot-on slow-motion demonstration of his desired positions. After identifying the differences between his real swing and his demonstration, john does his best to stand the shaft up at P3, which would not seem to be the hardest thing to do. However, with a ball in front of the club for a full shot the best we could do was to go from 12 degrees flat off plane to 6 degrees, while the right arm still resisted getting wider and higher. The lesson ended on a positive note, but there is no denying the difficulty in changing baked in patterns when trying to hit a ball to a target with a full speed swing. In my opinion your “natural swing”, the one you don’t think about, doesn’t really have a “feel” to it; rather, it just “happens”. It’s like you don’t notice a body part unless it hurts. If you are aware of a swing flaw and can do it properly in a segmented (stop and go) drill, then you must be able to develop an awareness of how it feels when you do what you normally do. If you have nothing to compare your everyday move to, why would it change? The real “aha” moment is when you do what you always do and say “oh, I felt that”. Only then can you try to feel something different.

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Lesson of the Week: Will Levy- Stability and Perception of Swing Plane

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Will is mostly a baseball player whose grandfather would like him to learn how to play golf, and since he’s very good at baseball you might figure golf would come easier to him than most. As it turns out for whatever reason instead of swinging the club around him in the forward swing he always drops it way inside and swings exaggeratedly in to out with his legs driving out from under him to the right. This is exactly unlike a sidearm throwing motion or even a batting motion. Will is a strong but gangly kid who doesn’t control his body very well, so my focus with him is to stabilize his right leg in the backswing so that he has a brace to move forward from, and then to do anything to get him to swing more out and around to the left. The difficulty for the brain (anyone’s) is to process how a left miss (Will tends to hook the ball wildly more so than blocking it to the right due to his strong grip) can be rectified by swinging more left. As much as he swings in to out you can be sure he has the face closing rapidly by impact, so we must make sure his grip is weaker so that the face will be more open as the clubhead approaches the ball on a more proper path. His hips need to learn how to stay deeper as he aims his hip drive way more to the left, another item for the next lessons. Unfortunately, you can only do so much in an hour, but I think this is a good start.

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Lesson of the Week: Scott Wingrat- Laid Off Backswing Leads to Steepening Shaft

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Scott has a nice athletic move, but his flawed takeaway has the shaft extremely behind him at P2 and laid off at P3 and P4, which he can only fix by steepening the shaft in transition. As we have seen before, the tendency when the shaft tips steeper is for the lower body to try to help the shaft lay back later in the downswing by pushing out toward the ball. Scott had a good grasp of what was going on in our first lesson, but when he came back for the second we found that his takeaway had not changed much at all, another example of how difficult it is to execute a change no matter how simple it seems. Scott can correct this with practice as he shows in his stop and go, which gives him the time to think about and feel the takeaway keeping the shaft more on plane. His sequencing is good, and he demonstrates that when he does the backswing better he has a chance to shallow the club in transition, which, along with work toward keeping his hips deeper, will make him a more consistent ball striker.

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Lesson of the Week: Richard Kress- Shallowing the Shaft in Transition

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

I’ve known and worked with Richard for over 30 years, and the one thing we have never been able to conquer is his tendency to steepen the shaft in transition. In this video I go over the important elements of the swing that I believe lead to better shaft movement during the swing. Transition is the most complex part of the golf swing, and in order for Richard to get the club to flatten he is going to have to improve his pivot movement (stop getting more vertical in the downswing by adding pelvic tilt), achieve more width at the top (stop folding the right arm and focus more on extensor action), and work on actively moving the right upper arm and elbow inward while the left arm is being pulled by the body. I would expect Richard’s swing to get a bit shorter as the right arm bends less and the hands stay away from the head. He is now in his early 70’s and while he can still move athletically it is not really possible to maintain a full- length backswing without making multiple errors.

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Lesson of the Week: Justin Feldman: Getting Rid of Arm Lift

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Justin plays for the University of Maryland and is a member of my former club. He has struggled recently with his ball striking, especially with the driver, which is a real problem as Justin can fly the ball well over 300 yards. He has always kept the face somewhat closed in the takeaway with his right arm pinched, and when he gets to P3 he rolls his left arm up and bows his wrist, getting to the top with a quite vertical left arm that kicks out as the club flattens behind him. My goal with Justin has always been to free up his right arm by keeping space and flaring it more in the backswing, with the hope that he could then keep his left arm more down and under his chin with his left wrist retaining the same cup that it had at address. He feels more powerful when his swing is longer, so I must convince him that he can still hit it miles from a shorter, more efficient backswing. It is such an advantage to have the length he has in that he can tighten up his action to make it more consistent. Distance doesn’t mean much if you can’t locate the ball.

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Lesson of the Week: Ozzie Newsome-Overcoming Old Habits

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

I’ve been working with Ozzie on and off for years but haven’t seen him since 2015 until this month when I returned to Woodholme where he is a member. Most of Ozzie’s issues stem from the way he is built, 6’4” and 250 lbs. of muscle with emphasis on huge shoulders and almost no neck. Ozzie has long legs and fairly short arms, and thus feels like he needs to bend over quite a bit to get down to the ball at address. We are working on standing taller and closer to the ball with the hands higher (that keeps the chest more up), while trying to get his backswing not to get laid off at P3 and P4. I would like him to strengthen his grip and maintain the cup in the back of the left wrist throughout the backswing, and I want the clubhead not to lift so quickly in the takeaway. If he keeps the club outside his hands going back it invariably works sideways as it gets to the top, and from a laid off position he always steepens the shaft and pulls on the grip. Speaking of grips, we are trying to strengthen Ozzie’s so that when he bows his wrist at the top the face gets super shut and he hits it dead left, a nice incentive to keep that wrist cupped. He also need to focus on keeping his right-hand pressure points throughout the backswing and transition. If we can get the shaft more vertical at P3 and continue that to the top where he is more on plane I think his athletic ability will eventually allow him to flatten the shaft, which will give his lower body incentive to open quicker so that he can get his hands forward and achieve more extension through the impact area.

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Lesson of the Week: Joe Shull- Posture, Setup, Routine, and Takeaway

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Joe came to the lesson with a specific wish: he wanted to fix his backswing, which he knew was putting him into poor position at the top and making the downswing difficult to manage. I first suggest a less slumped posture with the hands a bit higher and looking at him face on I wanted both his weight and his hands more centered. Joe’s grip had gotten quite strong, but he couldn’t see it because his hands were so forward at address, and even more forward after squeezing the grip and forward pressing. Getting into this setup position is crucial for Joe to be able to get the club up on plane and the face less closed in the first part of the backswing, as he needs to maintain the bend in the back of his left wrist from address to the top of the swing. Joe’s overly closed clubface and low to the ground takeaway cause his right shoulder to eventually crunch up and get stuck at the top, and there is no way the right arm is going to work properly from there. We also go over a routine that will get him into the proper setup each time, an important item many players disregard even though the prospect of changing their swing for the better depends on it.

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Lesson of the Week: Paul Tibolla 2- Still Working on Right Arm Pullback in Transition

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Paul is a great example (he would rather not be) of an intractable swing issue grooved in for years into his neuromuscular pathways. Paul’s swing is notable for the pullback of his right shoulder in transition, and his upper right arm simply cannot advance far enough forward once the scapula is pulled back at the same moment he is starting his lower body forward. He has seen this over and over and knows what he would rather be doing, but the timing of his swing is dependent on the time it takes at the top for the right shoulder to feel fully turned. We have tried just about everything to change this pattern, and to his credit Paul has made some progress and hits the ball much better than he used to, although not nearly as good as he would like to. In this lesson I decide that we need to eliminate the part of the backswing that pulls the shoulder backwards by getting the lower body starting forward sooner. I had Paul visualize that his backswing ended at P3 (left arm parallel) and that he would “catch” his backswing while his hands and arms felt like they were still moving away from his head. If we can make this timing change (no easy task) then I believe it will be possible to keep the upper right arm in front of the chest and to flatten the shaft while the right elbow moves forward instead of down and back.

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Lesson of the Week: Michael Patz- First Lesson Ever

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Having done this job for as long as I have I’m usually the most experienced (and expensive) instructor wherever I am working, and thus do not get many beginners in my book or give anyone their first lesson ever, although I certainly don’t avoid the prospect. The general perception is that a beginner would start with a less accomplished teacher, and I have heard the statement more than a few times that “I am not good enough to take a lesson from you”. Of course, if you give that statement a bit of thought it makes no sense, but that’s the way most people feel. Michael did not feel that way and chose to take his first ever series of lessons with me, and this is a revealing video in that regard. Unless the student has never picked up a club or hit a ball before they already have built in tendencies as their mind and body tries to make sense of what it takes to propel the ball straight ahead, up in the air, with enough distance to play the course.

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Lesson of the Week: Andrew Kaye- Getting Started

By Wayne | Videos: Lesson of the Week

Andrew is a newly addicted golfer. He’s young and strong, and his athleticism shows in his high-level tennis. He is pretty much a weekend golfer but likes to get some ball hitting in during the week. He has committed to taking a lesson every week or two this year, and this is our first go-round. I enjoy these lessons, as I must make up my mind as to where I want to start and how much I want to go into in the first lesson. Some people want a bunch of information about what their swings are doing and what needs to be fixed, especially those who are experienced in the game and have been through the taking lessons process. Others have no idea how to get better other than to play and hit balls, haven’t taken any lessons, and once they decide to try to learn about what they are doing it is imperative that they get good information right off the bat.

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