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.”
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.