Archive for December, 2010

The Next Generation DVD with Sean Foley – A Review

December 29th, 2010

The Next Generation with Sean Foley

The Next Generation with Sean Foley is one of the latest DVD’s to hit the market place.  I believe it is Sean Foley’s first DVD and it was produced by Project 10 Productions.

My goal is provide an objective and accurate review of the DVD on the information contained within from the perspective of a golf coach.  Now, this may not be the intended audience and some of the information I’m sure was simplified for that reason. I hope you will find it fair but it’s my opinion so take it for what it’s worth.

The DVD is broken down in many small parts called Lessons and Drills.  The graphics and music before the actual instruction began was very appealing. It certainly put me in the mood to listen to what was going to be said. The introduction worked quite well with Sean thanking his tour players (surprising Tiger Woods wasn’t mentioned in the list) and acknowledging the golf professionals that have helped shape his system where he combines his experiences, physics, geometry, bio-mechanics and psychology. In typical Sean Foley nature, prepare to hear some big words like ballistic movements and innervation of the muscle. I hope you enjoy it.

Lesson 1 – Ball Flight

This starts out with a quick discussion of what makes the ball do what it does when the club and ball collide. He correctly states that, historically, golf professionals (in the USA) were taught the face controlled the curve of the ball. He then goes on to say that “the ball starts generally at a 90 degree angle to where the face is pointed.”  This is inaccurate for all shots except straight ones. Probably just a simplification for his intended audience.  He goes into a discussion of how path comes in it. “For a perfectly straight shot we are just swinging around our body in the circle or arc.” I thought we did this on virtually all full shots.  He then expands a little more and makes some generalizations that are accurate but no real information on how to do it until he makes a major mistake.  This mistake should have been noticed in editing.  Either the person editing it doesn’t know ball flight or someone just wasn’t listening. Here’s the quote “….and as far as the fade goes, the clubface is going to be closed to the circle at impact and I’m swinging out to in on the arc.” This clearly describes a pull hook. I’m sure Sean meant to say closed to the target but a mistake like that should never have made it out the door.  Will the golfers watching pick up on that? Good question. I can say as a teacher, I’m not the only one that did.

Lesson #2 – The Reaction Position

Sean talks about set-up of the body in this section.   Here again, a major error is made when discussing pelvis tilt.  He shows a set up and discusses the age old advice of feeling like you are going to sit on a stool or sticking your but out or arching the lumbar spine.  He says this about that old advice, paraphrasing “it puts the golfer into a posterior tilt turning on the lower back and shutting off the core.”Posterior and Anterior Tilts

You can clearly see from the picture to the right that shows the different pelvic tilts that he is referring to Anterior Tilt. As he rotates out of his anterior tilt into his posterior tilt that he calls anterior tilt (Whoops) he says, “I want to see my belt buckle work into the golf ball a little bit.”  While he is doing the motion, his belt buckle is working away from the golf ball.  These types of mistakes should be caught in editing. I don’t really understand what is going on.  The information if given correctly would be some really good information but the fact that the words he uses are actually opposite of the correct descriptions, the information loses it value to someone that actually would know.  The question again being, would the intended audience notice the mistake?

Drill for Lesson #2 – Balance

Here he gives two drills to help golfers with their balance. I thought this part was very well done and drills that I have used in the past.

Lesson #3 – The Takeaway

Ok, so here’s where differences of opinion really come in. I don’t necessarily feel the need to get into a discussion about what take away is proper.  Sean prescribes an earlier wrist set to get the club feeling light soon.  He also stated that he wants the shaft to be more vertical and point inside the target line. This will also help the club feel lighter.

Drill for Lesson 3 – The Stick and The Towel

This drill is used to help show the golfer where the butt end of the club is pointing during the take away when the club is hinged. Sean wants to see the butt end of the club to point between the ball and the right foot. Strangely enough he mentions that this procedure helps ensure the club staying on plane through the start. I don’t know why. I never heard that an “on plane” position being between the feet and the target. Strange. He mentions that the club shaft will come out during the downswing but no details. In the Towel drill, Sean recommends placing a towel across the chest and under each upper arm.  The pressure applied by the upper arm into the torso should keep the towel in place during the takeaway.  I think both these drills can be useful but don’t really see how they ensure the sequenced take away he mentions where it goes club, arms, torso then hips.

Lesson #4 – Top of the Swing

Here he talks about his preference for a stable head and a shoulder turn that will allow the golfer to maintain his spine inclination in the backswing. Basically, just attaching the takeaway to the body tilt and keeping the connection and ground forces. He sure seems to talk about ground forces alot. A topic I would like to learn more about.

Drill Lesson #4 – The Glove Drill

Basically, an extension of the towel drill by placing a glove under the right upperarm and keeping it connected to the right side of the torso.  He recommends hitting balls and it shouldn’t come out.

Lesson #5 – The Downswing

Here Sean talks about stepping on the left foot to initiate the downswing. Then the knee moves toward the target and everything else takes care of itself.  Seems a little generalized for my liking.  I don’t know many golfers that can make those first moves and let the rest take of care of itself successfully. Some more explanation would be nice but I think it is coming in later segments.

Drill for Lesson #5 – The Step Drill and Left Heel Drill

Two Classic drills. One has feet together and a step about half way back in the backswing to feel the linear. The Left Heel drill is simply lifting the left heel off the ground and placing back into the ground to initiate the downswing.

Lesson #6 – Impact

Starts off rough. States that ball flight never lies. It surely does relative to the impact conditions of face and path. He rightly mentions that contact position on the club face has a role to play but doesn’t tie that in with a better explanation of gear effect and how it shows up on the flight of the ball.  Then he mentions that you have hit down to make the ball go up. Nice idea but not accurate. We may want the player to hit down on an iron shot but many people hit up on the iron and make the ball go into the air.  Surely, not the best way but a poor choice of words by Sean.  Little talk about compression that I would explain differently but I can see where he is going with it. Do the non teachers?

Drill for Lesson #6 – Low Point, Impact Bag

Once again, very typical drills when looking at this from a teachers perspective.

Lesson #7 – Exit Strategy

Check out this quote, “As in the rest of the swing, we are trying to get the club to swing on the arc or perpendicular to it, which is in a circle that’s working around us.”  What does this mean? When do we swing perpendicular to the arc? Where was that? I must have missed that section. I’m not really sure what that means. Please leave a comment if you can help me out.  There are just a bunch of things in this section that don’t seem to sound right. Here’s another. “…..which is going to allow us to hit it straighter and is going to prepare that we’re not going to get into overuse injury and end up having to go to rehab.” What? Where did this come from? If I don’t do this right, I’m going to end up in rehab. Come again.

Drill for #7 – The Knockdown, Gary Player Drill

Knockdown Drill – Sounded great. Nice drill. A little more detail for the players on right hand angle which he hasn’t yet explained would be nice but I know what he’s talking about. Gary Player Drill – Is the basic follow the shot drill. He likes it a little more than I do but sounded great.

Bonus Drills – Cadence, One Foot, Left Arm Only, Right Arm Only, Downhill Drill, Sequence, How to Practice, The Driver, Chipping Set Up, Left Hand only Chipping, Wedge System, The Flop, Utility Chip, Path Drill for Putting, and Speed Drill for Putting.

Toward the end of the DVD Sean adds some bonus drills that I listed above.  I think Sean does a nice job with these drills except for a couple things that stood out.

When Sean demonstrates the right arm only swing he mentions that it should still stay close the body but not once does it stay close to his body. Why is that?  I wonder if this drill should include the glove drill he mentioned early?  Just an observation. Makes me wonder is all.

Chipping -  “helping it into the ground”? Just a little misspoken phrase.

Golfers in Background? At one point, Sean is discussing something and the camera pans up to show us a group of golfers teeing off on another hole in the background. Quickly, the camera pans back down. It made it look like a whoops, where did those golfers come from.

At the very end, he has 3 of his Tour Players talk about their experience with Sean. I thought this was quite enjoyable. Maybe a little self serving but he sure has earned it.

I think it is safe to say that there has been either a major mistake in editing or a major mistake in preparation.  The DVD does have some very good information in it.  This is certainly not meant to be a bash on Sean Foley. I wholeheartedly  believe that these are mistakes of human nature. The issue I have is this is a production for resale. I’ve made plenty of mistakes on YouTube videos or video interviews and have no issue saying yep I’ll fix that next time. But those are free. This is almost a $50 investment. For that, I would expect that mistakes like I’ve mentioned above should be rectified.  I can’t help having the feeling that this project was poorly prepared for with not enough time for retakes and proper editing. As a teacher, I think it has good information intent except for the blatant inaccuracies. A production piece from arguably the fastest rising teacher in the world right now should not contain these mistakes. I wonder if the golfing public will even notice them.

I’m sure people reading this will have an opinion. Please feel free to share it in the comment section and pass it along to your friends and colleagues by using the social media buttons at the top and bottom of the post.

John Graham Interview on Gotham Golf Blog

December 27th, 2010

John Graham Interview

John Graham’s Interview with Ralph Perez of the Gotham Golf Blog. Click on the Picture above to go to the video. This is basically an introduction to me, my history and my internet presence.

Hope you enjoy. Pass it on.

Junior Golf – Passion is Key

December 26th, 2010

Junior Golf - Passion

Passion. A word that has so many different definitions. Dictionary.com uses this definition below as there first.:

–noun

1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

You can see the definition by Jack Nicklaus in the picture above.  While I agree with this statement, I don’t know if everyone would be able to relate to it.  The ability to do the things that you enjoy as a means of providing a livelihood for your family is a rare one indeed.

Passion for me is the thing or things that you can’t stop thinking or talking about. How many girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s have been upset because all we talk about is golf, what happened at the range today, what happened on the course or how the lesson went. I used to tell my players that I can guarantee you somewhere there is someone getting up at 5am to go practice or workout or something to improve their golf.  If you aren’t, you’ll most likely get passed by.  Now, this doesn’t mean that if you do get up at 5am and work on your game that you will be a successful professional.  There is more to golf as a job than just hard work and ‘passion’.

Think back to the times when you have had passion or seen true passion.  It is quite obvious when it’s there.  Use this to help determine those that have it and those who don’t.  Like anyone that gets hooked on golf, I remember vividly the time when I couldn’t wait to get up and get to the golf course. The thought of hitting that ball as solid and as true as could be was a powerful draw for me. No question about it. I was a range rat. I just loved it.  Still do.  I know as a coach of a college team, having players that loved the game was very important.  There was no amount of practice I could give them that would stop them from doing more practice on their own.  These are the types of players you want on your team.  Teach them how to practice and you are on your way.  We would spend entire weekend playing, practicing and talking about golf. Very special indeed.

So, is their a way to develop passion in our junior golfers? We’ve probably all heard that golf is in a state of decline or very nearly even.  More people are leaving the game than are entering it. Why?  I’m sure we can come up with any number of reasons; time, cost, or competition from other sports just to name a few.  As teachers, what should we be doing with junior golf to start growing the number of kids that have a passion for the game.  First we have to answer this question. For juniors, does passion come after a junior becomes good at something or is passion the piece that produces a junior that is good at something?  Personally, I think it is the latter.

I think coaches can play an integral role in developing passion.  Make learning the game fun. Make it exciting. Make it memorable.  These are the things that a successful junior golf program must have.  This is the training ground for developing passion. As coaches, we need to display passion in our approach. If you put developing passion in the skill set you are trying to develop, I bet you might do things a little differently.  I know I have been guilty of not displaying passion in a way that makes it contagious. You know what I mean.  You’ve been around people that have the ability to draw you in fully into what they are doing.  It is this kind of passion that we want to display to our juniors. It is this passion we as coaches should be trying to produce in our junior golfers.

Play golf with your juniors. Practice golf with them. Create a team atmosphere. Maybe you can create a special logo or sticker they can put on the bottom of their bag to pull them into your passion so you can share it with them.  People want to be a part of something special. I think this is especially true for juniors. Use your ability to create the passion and let the passion create the golfers of tomorrow.

As always, please consider sharing this post by clicking on one of the social media buttons and pass it on to your friends.

I will continue to share my passion with all of you and hope you will share your passion with others as well.

Junior Golf – 4 Reasons Junior Should Play the Correct Tee

December 21st, 2010

Junior Golf Tee MarkersJunior Golf is one of those things that I love to think about. How can I improve on it? How can I learn more about it? What fields do I need to research?  Who should I talk with to learn more?  As 2011 quickly approaches, like many of you, I look back on 2010 and look ahead to 2011.

I recently have been in contact with Neil Plimmer. Neil is a Coach from England and has a passion for junior golf that I have never seen the likes of before. I used to think that I had a passion for working with juniors. I can tell you this. The juniors that have access to Mr Plimmer will have an experience like no other when learning the game of golf.

About a week or so ago, Neil sent me a chart for how to correctly set-up a golf course for a junior golfer depending on the length of the Driver strike. I thought I would share it with all of you because it is just brilliant.(click on the image to view larger)

Junior Golf Tee Assignments

1)  I think it is so important that juniors get an appreciation for par right away.  The lengths presented by Neil are designed to allow for pars just like for the adults.  It helps show juniors at a young age that this is a game of score and that score is based around achievable distances to holes.

2)  It helps with the understanding that golf should be played at a particular pace.  When juniors are playing the correct tee, they should be able to play the course in the same amount of time or less than the adults.  It’s amazing how more supportive the members and paying public are of junior golf when they play at a reasonable pace.

3)  It also get’s them used to birdies and the mental preparation of playing golf while under par.  How many of us get to 3 or 4 under in a round and just freeze up as we try to get it in the house.  The more I can get juniors to be comfortable with the self imposed mental pressure that score puts on them, the better they’ll be able to handle it later on.  Also, when was the last time you saw a 10 year old at 4 under say let me just get in. No way. They are going for 6 under. That’s the behavior I want to encourage.

4)  Lastly, I think the correct tee shows junior golfers that the majority of shots in golf are short shots.  If they are using the correct tee length, they will hit many short game shots and putts. I think this is critical. Nothing bothers me more than watching a good junior hit 5 long shots to get to the hole then hit fewer chips and putts than it took to get there. That is not how golf should be learned in my opinion. Junior’s are smart. They will quickly see the benefit of practicing their short game and putting when playing the correct tee.  I think this understanding is the most important reason why junior’s should play the correct tee length. It is also the reason why I recommend that they play the same tee until they can shoot under par from it regularly.  Then I know, they have skills in all the area’s and then we add length to see where the weaknesses are.

The big question for me is, when should the junior change tee lengths? Should the junior change based on distance hit or skill level presented at tee he is playing? Once again, I think it should be skill level. For years, I’ve told my juniors that they should play the most forward tee until they are able to shoot under par for that tee.  Hopefully, the course has been thoughtful enough to place additional tee markers in the fairway for the junior players.  Many times, the kids will resist because they want to play the ‘real’ hole like mom or dad.  Surely, I think this is ok at times but for the majority of time, I strongly encourage them to play the correct tee for their length and skill level.

I don’t have enough data or history with my juniors to support my assumption but I think that shooting under par as an early junior will contribute to comfort needed to do it as an advanced junior, college player and beyond.  It will show them the importance of the short game and generate support in their growth by learning to play quickly.  I will keep you posted as the data comes in and remember to have your juniors play from the correct length.  Thanks again to Neil Plimmer for all his help and please leave your thoughts about when juniors should switch tees.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with your friends by forwarding it to them or clicking on one the social media buttons at the top or bottom of the post. Thanks for reading.

JG

Golf Swing – Dynamic Pivots

December 17th, 2010

Golf Pivot Double Pendulum ModelI’m sure most of you know that I visit a bunch of the online swing instruction forums to engage in conversation about golf and the golf swing.  I’m also sure that many of you know that I try to learn as many different things about patten development as I can.

Recently, I have seen a bunch of talk about how centered pivots are non dynamic and don’t produce enough power to play golf into the future. I thought I would take this time to share my opinion on this topic.

Let’s start with a definition of dynamic:

dy·nam·ic

/daɪˈnæmɪk/ Show Spelled[dahy-nam-ik]

–adjective Also, dy·nam·i·cal.

1. pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic: the dynamic president of the firm.

I think this seems to be a fair definition and the one that I will use for this post.  As it relates to the golf swing, a dynamic pivot is when that creates nice energy and moves vigorously.  Some systems of pattern development have been considered to be build around non dynamic centered pivots.  Some of these system are MORAD, TGM and Stack and Tilt.

I don’t really understand why these systems are all lumped together and always would create a non dynamic pivot. Doesn’t the golfer have a role to play in whether or not a pivot is dynamic.  Often times, there is a reference made to Jamie Sadlowski and how he doesn’t use any of these systems to hit it 400 yards.  I remember watching a video that I haven’t yet found on YouTube explaining that the reason Jamie hits it so far is that he can simply turn more and turn faster than ‘normal’ people. It isn’t anything special with his swing.  Granted, many long drive competitors have similar swings and that doesn’t really surprise me in that they should be focused on its main goal. Speed and ball flight for distance.

Here’s a video from Dan Carraher that shows what I think is a very dynamic pivot.

I’m pretty sure that this particular student is working under the Stack and Tilt system for pattern development.

Can anyone out there tell me that this pivot does not look dynamic as defined above?

I would be surprised if there were.  Every system of pattern development including the ‘no pattern’ system will have students that have dynamic pivots and those without.

I don’t believe the blue print of any system disallows the possibility of dynamic pivots.  That would be just as closed minded as saying that these systems teach everyone to do the same thing.

As soon as people and their abilities become part of the equation, dynamism is going to be a possibility regardless of the chosen system for pattern development.

If you enjoy this post or previous posts, please consider sharing by clicking on one of the social media buttons located at the top or bottom of the post.  If you’re not a social media user, please consider forwarding this to other people you think might enjoy this or other posts.

JG