Frogger resident pro Kris Moe has some great videos on YouTube, both part of the Frogger Golf offerings and his own golf schools/instruction.
In the video below Kris shows us how we can use gravity to our advantage to help with the golf swing.
First, gravity can help us “drop” the club and hands down properly through the impact zone. This motion is crucial and helps us generate club-head speed, power, and thus distance.
Second, by using a weight we get the feel for our natural instinct to clear the body and hips. If a weight is coming down toward us we are naturally inclined to “get out of the way.” Getting the hips to release and getting the body out of the way for the swing is important. Doing so can help us release the club on the proper line. Improper lines produce slices and hooks. Getting the hips and body out of the way also helps us generate even more speed and thus more distance.
The gravity drill is simple and very effective. It can be done with or without a weight and can help get the proper feel for the downswing, even moments before you hit your first tee shot.
We can learn some great techniques from links golf. Golf in Scotland is played on the ground for the most part, especially with regards to the short game. The ground is so hard and smooth that putting from even 50 yards from the green is not unusual. Unlike golf on the typically soft courses in the USA, links golf seldom involves high lofted wedges. 60 degree lob wedges may only be used in very limited situations like getting out of pot bunkers.
Amateur golfers almost always grab the lob wedge when around the greens chipping or pitching. The extra loft can be more of a detriment than an advantage though. More loft means less control of distance and less margin for error. Amateurs need a bigger error margin! We are not Phil Mickelson and trying to be is like punching a ticket to bogey-land.
Whenever possible we should choose a lower lofted club around the greens. Sure there will be times where a high lofted club is the only option, like having to carry a bunker and stop the ball on a short-sided pin. But in most other situations it is a better choice to pick a lower lofted club and try to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. It is not uncommon to use mid-irons or even long irons with a putting stroke to get the ball airborne for a very short distance and then rolling after that.
Rule of Thirds
A great rule to use when deciding what club to hit and what distance to carry the ball is the rule of thirds. The best chips will be airborne for 1/3 of the distance, and roll the other 2/3 of the way. The intention is for the ball to be rolling like a putt when it gets to the hole.
We always want to hit the hero shot, but typically hero shots do not work out very well. The safest and most accurate way to get the ball closer to the hole in the short game is to loft down and get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
We feel that our training aids are very useful, help players improve their games, and are very reasonably priced.
Our $19.95 Swing Hero aid helps golfers eliminate the “death grip” and actually increase distance by helping the player grip the club in a more relaxed fashion. The unit can also be used to help golfers manipulate their grips to promote draws, fades, or eliminate that pesky slice.
Our $29.95 Arc Angel putting training aid is easy to setup, and provides great feedback and help for golfers who would like to get their putter traveling on a better swing path.
If you have a little bigger budget, around $39,970 more, you could check out the Gears system. At around $40,000 you can have a “golf MRI” which shows in 3D every aspect of your golf swing, club positions, ball flight, and body positions like spine angle and much more.
You decide: Shave strokes off of your game for $19-30, or $40,000!
Did you know that CNN has a whole area full of golf video tips and instruction. Yes, CNN. Not sure how I stumbled upon that, but it is there and there is some great material which can be helpful for your game.
On great video there features a younger Rickie Fowler. Fowler had a great 2014 in the majors, with the lowest aggregate score of any player in the world. He has shined lately in the majors and most think it is only a matter of time before he claims one.
At some point in a round, or a tournament, a tough situation will present itself. You have nearly no green to work with and/or may have to carry a hazard like a bunker and stop the shot on a dime. There’s only one shot which can work in that situation, and it can be very difficult. We are talking about the “flop” shot. In the flop shot, the highest lofted club is used (preferably a lob wedge). The blade is opened up and a steep, full swing is used to pop the ball straight up in the air. Rickie Folwer is very good at this tough shot and talks us through it in this piece dating back to 2012.
It must be nice to have Phil Mickelson giving you advice on your golf game. Case in point was a discussion Phil had with President Obama. Obama had been struggling with his sand play. Mickelson gave him some tips to help him improve and apparently they worked well.
The tips? Phil’s bunker play tip came with two focus points.
First, when in the sand keep the body weight forward. If the body weight is level, the ball will not drive into and through the sand properly.
Second, put the ball forward in the stance. By doing so, this allows the shot to come out high and soft. The club hits behind the ball, taking out sand along with the ball. If the ball is not far enough forward, bad shots like blades or simply hitting the shot way too far can happen.
Did the advice work? Obama was thrilled to tell Phil that his advice made a big difference in his bunker play.
The big question then is, does Phil have any advice on foreign policy?
Golfers often struggle with moving their heads or “looking up too soon” when putting. If the head is moving there are all sorts of “bad” things which can happen to the putt. The contact on the club face is likely to be off-center. The swing path is likely to be outside-in (club traveling across the ball from outside the target line to inside), and distance control is likely to be compromised.
One great drill to help keep the head down and eyes on the ball through the stroke is the penny drill. Put a penny (or other coin) on the practice green heads up and put the ball on top of it. When putting you cannot move your head or eyes away from the ball spot until you’ve actually read the date on the penny.
Another side benefit to this drill is making sure that the penny stays in place and that the putter does not hit it. If the penny stays that means the putter is not bottoming out on the ground, which would result in many other problems.
In the video below from the 1999 U.S. Open, watch how long Payne Stewart kept his head down on the winning putt.
Golf swings are as unique as fingerprints. What works for one golfer may not work for others.
There are however, crucial points during the swing which are common and should have the same basic qualities in order for the shot to succeed. Obviously the point of impact is the most important moment in time and how the club gets there or where it goes after that moment is slightly less important. In fact, the farther the swing is from the ball, the less important the club position becomes. With that in mind, the most crucial zone of the swing is the immediate area just before impact and just after. If you were to imagine the swing superimposed on a clock, that area would be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In the video below, Frogger pro Kris Moe explains this area and shows techniques and drills focusing on this key hitting zone. Known as the “core” swing, Kris shows us a drill which focuses on that crucial area. We can even practice hitting shots with the core swing as shown at the end of the piece.
Once the core swing is nailed down, much of the rest of the swing will fall into place much easier. Bad things like “flipping” the club (using the wrists to manipulate the club rather than the arms and shoulders) will disappear.
Give the core swing some time the next time you are on the practice range.
The need for speed, or perhaps the need for less speed. How much speed should our putts have anyway? Some golfers prefer to “die” their putts in the hole. Those types of putts will drop if the ball catches any part of the hole. Other golfers prefer to hit the back of the cup with their putts, a more aggressive and solid approach. Renowned short game expert Dave Pelz says the best putts are at a speed which would end up around 11 inches past the hole, if they were to miss.
Is There a “Right” Speed?
Realistically the speed a putt “should” be is part player personality, but a larger part situational. Here are some scenarios:
When considering dying a putt at the hole, logic would tell us that this is a good approach for fast putts or downhill putts. We certainly don’t want to “pound” a fast/downhill putt for if it misses, we will be left with a very long return putt.
Conversely we don’t want to high slow or uphill putts lightly. Light putts in uphill/slow situations will probably die before getting to the hole. And as a wise man once said, 90% of all short putts don’t go in.
Putting speed is also directly related to the amount of break in the putt. For example, a medium pace putt on a green may break six feet. When struck harder one may still hole the putt, but the break may only be three feet. When struck softer, the putt may break nine feet.
Can we come to a conclusion on speed? When considering the miss we certainly can. The best putting speed is one which adapts to the current situation and leaves a tap-in return putt if missed.
Here’s a great drill to help you gain some power and leverage in your swing. Frogger pro Kris Moe demonstrates the “battering ram” drill. If you were trying to break down a door with a stick or a golf club, you wouldn’t “flip” your wrists to do it. You would not use just your arms either. You’d use a combination of your body and arms to achieve the full amount of power. The same applies to the golf swing.
Once again, you don’t get power or speed in the golf swing from flipping your wrists. Power is not achieved by only arm action either. The combination of the upper body turn with the release of the arms will result in optimal power and speed, which equals more distance.
With the British Open going on this week it would be fun to talk links golf for our Friday Fun subject. The term “links” refers to the location of the golf course. Links courses are typically buffers between the ocean and the mainland in Scotland. The course “links” the land and the sea.
Because of the wind and weather and location of links courses, the ground is typically very hard. Links courses play quite differently than courses in the USA as a result of the hardness of the course. In the USA golfers “fly” their shots onto the putting surface where the ball will leave a pitch mark, and stop a relatively close distance from where it landed. But in links golf the ground, even the green, is so hard that this type of shot results in the ball bouncing hard and traveling far over the green.
The proper approach shots in links golf are shots which hit quite a distance short of the putting surface and bounce/roll to their final position. Because of this, combined with wind, links golf is often played “low.” Low flying shots and running shots are the primary shots played. Not many high wedges are played on true links courses and lob wedges are practically obsolete.
Tee shots are also subject to the hard ground. It is crucial to play the tee shot in such a way that the contours and bounces are factored in.
So then next time you play some golf, try some links shots. Rather than hitting high wedges from 50-100 yards, try hitting a punch 8-iron or something which bounces short of the green and bounds up. Of course this must be done on a course which does offer that shot as an option.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend and the final rounds of the Open Championship. Be sure to watch how the pros play some of their “links” style shots and try to emulate them the next time you are on the course.