Learn How to Achieve the Ben Hogan Waggle

By JORDAN FULLER

As a student of golf for over 25 years, I have seen hundreds of golfers in pursuit of the perfect swing.

If there’s one thing my experience has taught me, it is that there are a few common roadblocks that inhibit most golfers from reaching their potential. A perfect example of this is the “static address” – the idea that you must be motionless while standing over the ball before you start your swing.

Professional golfers have proven that the dynamic address, or “waggle”, can result in cleaner impacts resulting in superior range and accuracy. This tutorial will help you understand the motion of the waggle and how to use it to optimize your golf game.

Introducing The “Waggle”

There have been several golfers on the PGA Tour who have employed the waggle: Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner, and one of the greats of the game, Ben Hogan. It is used while approaching and addressing the ball before the backswing begins, and is designed to help you visualize your backswing, resulting in a more fluid motion.

Should You Use The Waggle?

The waggle is a simple tool designed to help golfers of any experience level improve their drives, fairway play or short game. You should try the waggle if you:

Are too rigid over the ball before your swing begins

Have trouble bending your knees at address or lock your arms during your swing

Rotate at the hips during your swing

Do not finish your backswing at the same point every time you swing

If you are unsure whether or not you meet these criteria, try recording yourself with a camera the next time you’re at the driving range. If you cannot reliably predict where your next shot will land, you might try the waggle to help improve your consistency.

How To Waggle

The waggle is an easy motion designed to relax you and take your mind off of your swing, so don’t overthink it.

There are two criteria for a successful waggle:

Keep shifting your weight from foot to foot at regular intervals

Keep the club head in motion, practicing the initial part of your backswing

Follow the step-by-step instructions below, and you will be waggling like a pro in no time.

Step 1: Address the Ball

The waggle is a dynamic golf stance which will have you moving from the moment you address your ball to the moment you hit it. Begin by addressing your ball with your current golf stance.

Step 2: Be Dynamic

Once you are properly set up in address, begin shifting your weight from foot to foot while keeping your head, torso, arms and feet in the same positions.

If your club head is moving with respect to your ball during this step, you are moving too much.

Do not shift your entire weight from foot to foot – imagine splitting it 80/20 as you shift your weight from one direction to the other. The purpose of this is to get you accustomed to the weight shift in your backswing, and to create a rhythm prior to your swing.

Pro Tip:

Some golfers like to lift their feet while waggling. This isn’t necessary, but it may help you feel more comfortable. Try out both options (lifting your feet or keeping them planted) and see which works best for you.

The best way to visualize this movement is to think of tennis players receiving a serve. Before a serve, you will see them swaying from side to side to cover as much ground as possible. You do not need to sway in this fashion, but you do want to create a rhythm.

Step 3: Practice Your Backswing

Once you have created a rhythm for your backswing, pull the head of the club back approximately a quarter of the way into your backswing using only your wrists.

If you are right-handed, this motion should occur while you are shifting your weight to your right foot. The reverse is applicable for lefties. The club head should never reach higher than your knees during this step. An ideal waggle will keep the club head off of the ground at all times, so make sure that you begin and end each waggle before or above your ball.

Pro Tip:

If you are unsure whether or not you are doing this right, pay attention to the index finger on your dominant hand. The first knuckle (the knuckle you knock on doors with) should be directly over the ball at all times, even while you are drawing back the club head.

If your index finger’s knuckle is not hovering over the ball, you are using your arms instead of your wrists to lift the club. This will result in inconsistent backswings and inaccurate shots.

Step 4: Imagine Your Backswing

Once you have mastered the steps above, use each lifting motion to imagine where your club will go when you begin your backswing. If the motion is inconsistent or you feel that one waggle was more powerful than others, do not be afraid to step back and try again from the beginning.

The point of the waggle is to relax your body prior to each and every shot, increasing your consistency regardless of your swing’s technical ability.

Step 5: The Final Address

By this step you should:

Be shifting your weight from foot to foot at regular intervals

Be lifting your club head, practicing your backswing

Have regular waggle intervals in preparation for your shot

Once you are comfortable in this stance, have picked out your target and are satisfied with the beginning of your backswing, momentarily address your ball one final time by placing the club just behind it, resting on the ground. As soon as your club touches the ground, initiate your backswing and strike the ball.

In Summary: The Waggle

I hope you have enjoyed reading this tutorial on the waggle. I have found that it is an incredible tool for beginners since the entire golfing world is constantly pushing the idea of “the perfect swing”.

Look at the pros on the PGA TOUR today and tell me which swings are identical. I think it’s better to find a swing style that fits your needs. The waggle is a great tool for relaxing even the tensest golfers to help them build consistency, distance and accuracy into their game with a very minor change to their stance. Try out the steps outlined above and see if it helps you with your game!

Note: Jordan Fuller is a golf advocate who loves to teach beginners on the weekend. Passionate about everything golf, it is after seeing beginners always make the same mistakes that he decided to create an universal source of knowledge on golf, called Golf Influence.

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Head Still…or Maybe Not

“Keep your head down. Keep your head still” are perhaps the most often heard bits of swing advice to recreational golfers from their playing partners. The trouble is, both admonishments are wrong and attempting to keep the head still especially with the chin firmly pressed downward can result in poor ball contact, a loss of distance and control.

The “head down” problem is a function of the setup position but easily fixed by correctly addressing the ball with the chin up and the derriere pushed out slightly so your weight is balanced and you’re in an athletic position…think of a shortstop preparing for the crack of the bat.

The “head still” is a little harder to fix since if the head does move, how much is OK and how much is not? Teaching professionals will tell you that the head moving slightly (maybe 2 inches?) towards the right on the backswing is correct. On the downswing the head moves back to the starting point and when the club actually hits the ball the head is moving slightly back to the right again which is described as “staying behind the ball.”

The amount of head movement and in what sequence is difficult to learn even with the help of an instructor but now there is some new technology called the PowerPlane to give you the feedback you need.

PowerPlane is simple to use, just attach the hat clip above your left ear (assuming a right handed swing), place the sensor on the clip (it’s magnetic) and set up to a ball with the PowerPlane unit parallel to the line of the shot.

If your head is out of position at address or if it goes too far in either direction during the swing the unit beeps.

We tested it and it works actually showing two of the testers they were set up too far forward at address meaning they effectively were positioning themselves for a reverse pivot. It also quickly showed there was a lot of movement on the downswing by the single digit handicap tester, sending him back to the pro shop for more range balls.

We like that the PowerPlane was equally good if you are having problems with head movement during you putting stroke or when chipping. The sound of the beep is particularly telltale for the lookup before impact either with a putter or wedge.

Negatives: Some may feel the price of $189 is a little expensive.

Recommendation: If you have conquered the problems caused by keeping your head down toward your chest and need help for fat and thin shots plus want more distance from better contact the PowerPlane can go a long way to solving the problem. For additional technical information and to purchase visit PowerPlaneGolf.net. Included in the purchase price is free shipping and a PowerPlane hat and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

Three New Year’s Resolutions

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My track record for keeping New Year’s resolutions is abysmal. Each year I faithfully promise but sometimes mine don’t even make it to January 2nd.

A number of years ago I resolved to play more often, even if it was only a few twilight holes and to take my wife and children for a family experience that can’t be beat. However, problems arose even before the snow was off the ground when I bought a new company and soon was spending 12 hours most days in the office, many times seven days a week.

Unfortunately for our golf games without taking decisive changes old habits return with the warm weather so each new season soon tends to look similar to the previous one.

However, here are three resolutions for 2017 you can keep and they come with an added bonus. With a little determination they will change your game forever. After all one of golf’s oldest maxims is the better you score the more fun you have.

Resolution #1 Learn how to chip and putt – You’ve heard it before, to score well you must play well within 100 yards of the green so not being proficient at those little shots is just wasting strokes. On the green start with a putter that fits you and fits your stroke. It should be the correct length so your bend at the waist allows your arms hang relatively straight and the putter head should have lots of forgiveness since we don’t hit the ball in the center of face as regularly as we would like. The second tip concerns chip shots. Use a less lofted club to get the ball on the ground and rolling as quickly as possible. My observation is the poorer the player the more likely he will be using a lofted wedge when a 9-iron or even a 7-iron would produce better results more easily. Plus, if the collar is fairly smooth, a putter is likely to the best choice.

Resolution #2 Take enough club – There is absolutely no question the single biggest mistake recreational players make hitting into a green is not using enough club. Golf course architects know this of course which is why if they want to make a hole really tough they put sand or water in front. Still not convinced? The last round you played how many times was your ball past the pin or even pin high? Was there even one? The corollary to this point is, just because in 1999 you hit a 7-iron 150 yards downhill downwind to a concrete-like green doesn’t mean that’s your 150-yard club. Be realistic as Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Clint Eastwood) said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Resolution #3 Get a driver fitting – The height of ridiculousness is spending $400 or more on a driver without knowing if it’s the one best suited for your particular swing. Most days a driver is hit only fourteen times and hopefully always in the fairway but let me give you an example. My last session with a master fitter at the local Club Champion location found I could raise my smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) from an average of 1.45 to 1.50 by changing drivers. That may not sound like much but the effect was immediate. Roughly ten yards more off the tee which means one full club less into the green. I don’t know about you but I’m more accurate with an 8-iron than with a 7-iron. The cost isn’t prohibitive either, at Club Champion a driver fitting is $150.

So give these three resolutions for 2017 some consideration. They are easy to keep and will change your game forever.

Gifts for Golfers Part I

There lots of gift guides for golfers but this year rather than the usual approach we thought it would be neat to show our list of items that the writer and a few of his friends that were consulted would like to have.

Our thought process was simple…heck, if we like them, other people will as well, so here is the first installment of gift ideas. Hopefully my family will read this and know just what’s on my wish list.

71tbxrjicwl-320x480Palmer’s Memories

A Life Well Played: My Stories by Arnold Palmer is 258 pages of anecdotes, stories and life insights by The King. Some you’ve heard before and some you haven’t but each is written in the straightforward honesty that characterized the man. Golfers and non-golfers have been enlistees in Arnie’s Army since the 1950s and this book is a fitting closure to a life well played. Online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $16.96 or in local book stores.

 

powerplane-_cmf_160727_300x145For Your Swing

One swing fault most of us struggle with at times is holding the head relatively steady so the swing can rotate around the proper axis. If you don’t know what that means or if from occasionally you slip into letting the head slip—move excessively from side to side–the PowerPlane can help. A bar laying on the ground senses head movement from a transmitter attached to your cap and signals whenever your head moves too much. More information and to buy go to powerplanegolf.net. The price is $189.

Comfortable Performance Shoes nbg1005bk-002-300x200

New Balance Golf Men’s Minimus NGB1005 are built like running shoes, are lightweight and have a waterproof upper. Support for the foot is great, comfortable and the last promotes staying on balance throughout the swing. Minimus weighs 8.6 oz. and there’s a choice of White/Blue, Grey/Green, Grey/Orange and Black for $119.95 at NewBalance.com.

hoofer_12_black_charcoal_red-copy-300x290Easy to Carry

The Ping Hoofer is at the top of the list for carry bags and makes a perfect gift. It weighs only five pounds including the bag stand but has more than enough pockets to stow away all your gear with a full length apparel pocket. There are even special slip in pockets for a range finder and water bottle plus a cart-strap channel if used on a buggy. Comes with a rain hood for $215. To purchase or find more information go to PingGolf.com.

TGA Expands Into Clubs

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Joshua Jacobs is on a mission and the mission is to introduce children to golf. For a dozen years he and his company TGA Premier Junior Golf have been doing just that with a franchise business model tailor made for PGA Professionals and others interested in growing the game. The success of TGA has led to the introduction of their own line of clubs just right for youngsters beginning the game.

“Since 2003 TGA has become a leading expert on introductory and recreational junior golf instruction,” said TGA CEO, Jacobs. “By experiencing firsthand how juniors learn, swing and react to equipment, we have developed junior clubs that kids will find esthetically pleasing and well performing, which will further expand our expertise and credibility among our golf consumers.”

They didn’t create the clubs on their own but called on the background and knowledge of industry veteran Ross Kvinge of Plus One Sports who has experience with several top-of-the-line manufacturers. He is also the owner of a TGA franchise giving him additional insight into what children need and can best use.

The clubs themselves are designed expressly to make them easy to hit the ball giving juniors the satisfaction of seeing results they can feel good about. The driver for example has a very large clubhead and clubface to easily make contact and yet lightweight for young swings. Irons have weight moved from the hosel, where it doesn’t help performance, to the topline of the face to make a larger sweet spot.

From putter to driver TGA’s equipment uses technology that allows beginning and experienced junior golfers to excel.

Boxed sets have a choice of seven color coded sizes based the child’s height with right and left handed options for both boys and girls. Parents will like the price as well. Sets of three to six clubs with a stand bag and headcovers range from $89.99 to $149.99.

Also in the good news department, TGA will be offering a trade up program for families to keep their children fitted properly.

Additional information may be found playTGA.com.

Better Turn–Better Swing

Stand around the first tee on any given Saturday morning and several things are obvious. For the purposes of this article the one that concerns us is the lack of turn most males (and a lot of females) have in their backswing. If the idea is to pivot without swaying so your back is towards the target while not collapsing your arms, most of us haven’t got it.

MISIG in use horizontalAsk any instructor. With a proper backswing hitting the ball effectively becomes more than likely…without it, luck enters into the result a lot more than we want.

So with that all in mind I agreed to test the MSIG device which I first saw at the PGA Merchandise Show last January. Most of us, including myself, could be more flexible. And since flexibility is a requisite to a proper swing if we want to improve, get more distance, achieve more consistency and walk off with the pretty girl we have to do something.

Enter the MISIG from the fertile mind of inventor Bernie Fay who was looking for a way of stretching and strengthening his shoulders to offset the aches and pains of aging so he could enjoy playing golf more. After trial and error he came up with a simple device that he found not only helps to “limber up” prior to a round but since the device almost “forces” the MISIG shaft into the proper position, repetition goes a long way to teaching a correct backswing plane.MISIG product

Out of the box the MISIG is easy to assemble then just wrap the Velcro closure cuff around the lead arm above the elbow, grab the sliding grip with the trailing hand and make a backswing. What I felt immediately was a tremendous stretching of the back muscles and lead forearm but something else just as important. When I turned my shoulders 90 degrees the MISIG shaft was exactly on plane, i.e., pointing parallel to the target line.

I am now using the MISIG as part of my exercise program and though I can’t say it’s increased by drives by 30 yards I can make a much freer turn.

MISIG, which stands for “Most Important Stretch In Golf,” retails for $79.99 online at feelthestretch.com. It comes with three stretch cords (light, medium, strong), the shaft with sliding grip and arm cuff.

And, oh yeah…I lied about the pretty girl.

Images courtesy of the manufacturer

The Right Putter

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Everyone knows if it “looks good” that’s about as far as you need to go finding the right putter. Oh sure, shaft length depends on how much you bend from the waist and how your arms hang but that’s about it.

Well, that’s not only wrong but finding the correct putter takes a lot more analysis by taking into account the loft at address and impact, the amount of rotation in the stroke, alignment and several other factors. The idea is to find a putter that best matches your natural stroke.

A good way to say it is, match the putter to your stroke not change your stroke to match the putter.

A recent visit to Club Champion, the national chain of fitting centers proved this beyond any doubt. I met with Jesse Smith, a master fitter in the Orlando Club Champion location and he put me through a session that changed the way I think about both my putting stroke and the putter I use.

First, Smith had me hit seven 10 foot putts with my current putter, a 35 inch modern-style blade—4 degrees loft, 45 degrees of toe hang, one shaft width of offset and regular size grip. Then we experimented with several different putters changing shape, grip and other specs and settled on one of the same length and offset but a face balanced mid-mallet with only 2.5 degrees loft and a medium diameter oversize grip.

It made a huge difference. No longer did a feel as though I was “fighting” my stroke. Everything having just seemed simpler from aiming to distance control.

Coincidentally, among the three dozen or so previously-loved flat sticks in my garage was a face balanced mallet of the right length so all it needed was to be bent to 2.5-degrees and have the larger grip installed to be put in play. Happily I can report my putting has improved. Essentially three-putts are a thing of the past and there’s a lot more confidence on those ones in the “throw-up zone.”

After the session, which costs $100, Smith anClubChampion_logoswered some questions about the process and how he fits golfers with a putter that allows them to use their natural stroke.

ET: Generally describe the process of putter fitting – the machine that you use and what are the things you look for?

Smith: “Club champion utilizes the technology of Science and Motion PuttLab (SAM for short) to go through the putter fitting process. We start with the customer’s existing putter and take measurements of loft, lie, and length. Then the customer is run through the Science and Motion software, and a detailed report is generated based on the individuals putting mechanics and stroke. We look at many different parameters of the individuals putting stroke with emphasis on face at impact, both static and effective loft, lie angle, consistencies of rotation and timing, and club path. While selecting a putter for an individual the amount of toe-hang, weight, length, loft and lie, as well as swing weight are considerations based on the report the Science and Motion PuttLab generates.”

ET: Which of the factors is the most important?

Smith: “While all aspects of the customers putting stroke are a factor, putter face angle at impact is paramount, which accounts for 83% of overall ball direction.”

ET: You said typically your recommendations are for face balanced putters, why?

Smith: “While recommendations vary greatly as far as toe hang with each client, it seems that most individuals could benefit from reduced rotation of the putter face, which face balanced putters promote. Adding to that, most faced balanced putters are mallets, or have a fair amount of perimeter weight, which are most forgiving on off center hits, and all golfer can benefit from that.”

ET: Same question but concerning the amount of offset?

Smith: “Offset is there on a putter to help an individual aim correctly to what their own mind perceives as straight or on target. Depending on what the natural tendency is of each individual, the amount of offset can be increased or decreased based on putter head design depending on where they are consistently aiming the putter face at setup.”

ET: What is the significance of putter loft? Putter length? Grip size?

Smith: “With putter loft, there are actually two lofts on the putter face, Static loft and Effective loft. Static loft is the loft of the putter at address, and effective loft is the loft on the face at impact (often referred to dynamic loft). Golfers typically increase or decrease the amount of loft on the face by the time the putter face arrives to the ball, making the loft on the face at impact a crucial component of achieving the necessary effective loft on the face at impact. If a player sees a lot of ball skidding or inconsistencies in distance control, loft may be the culprit. Having the correct effective loft on the putter at impact will make for a truer, more consistent roll of the golf ball. Loft can also affect the way a putter sets up for an individual. Important to note as well is that too much loft and the putter can appear closed at address and too little loft and the putter can appear open.”

“Putter length is crucial to having the best chance of making your most consistent putting stroke. It has been shown that a golfer will putt on a more consistent path when putting down their peripheral vision line. Having the right length putter simply positions the golfer’s eyes over or slightly inside of the golf ball at the address position, giving the best opportunity for a consistent stroke. Too long or too short of a putter, can cause issues in path and consistency of the putting stroke. Furthermore, having the right length putter is critical for insuring centered face contact.”

Smith continued, “Choosing the proper grip size is also important as it is based on consistency of putter head rotation, and putter face at impact. If a grip is too small for an individual, they will have a tendency to release the putter face at impact excessively which can lead to a closed position at impact. Conversely, if a putter grip is too large, it can lead to leaving the putter face in an open position at impact. It is important to note that many customers react to weight, toe hang, and rotational properties different than others, which is to say that while people may not react the same to every changing parameter, SAM provides us an extremely solid guideline to make many crucial adjustments for a customer to putt to their fullest potential.”

So take Smith’s advice, match your putter to your stroke not the other way around.

Improve for Less Than The Cost of a New Driver

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There’s no question golf is a lot of fun but it’s equally true the game is even more fun when we score better. Aside from receiving the “Master of the Obvious” award this simple statement reveals a deeper truth.

Golfers know if they hit the ball better they could score lower but most don’t know very much about the golf swing. Oh, they think they do as in, “head down, left arm straight, swing slow” but not only are many common ideas wrong, they may actually work against having a good swing. An example is playing with clubs that don’t suit their ability which generally means shafts that are too stiff and club heads with a microscopic sweet sport meant for touring pros.

And, on top of everything else, golfers add the “sin” of not getting instruction from a PGA Professional so in effect they are making a difficult game even more difficult. Golf is frustrating enough so why make it more frustrating on purpose?

One advantage of modern instruction is the ready availability of computer swing analysis and club fitting software in use by professionals from national top 50 teachers to the instructors at the local municipal course.

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Kay McMahon

To get a feeling about the its use for teaching and club fitting, we asked two respected PGA Professionals their views. The first was David Moore, the Director of Golf at Walt Disney World’s three courses outside Orlando, Fla. and the second was Kay McMahon, a member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Pro Hall of Fame and a PGA Professional based in Lenox, Mass.

Kicking off the discussion we posed, does computer swing analysis help low handicap players more than higher handicap players?

McMahon responded: “Computer swing analysis could and should be a must for all players – new to low handicap players. The visual feedback is extraordinary for two reasons. First for the lower handicap player – the perception of what one is doing versus the reality check of what one is really doing is an eye opening experience. Perception and reality don’t always meet. Secondly, for all levels of players, the before and after pictures can be dramatic and remarkably shows and proves that changes are and can being made.”

Moore said, “Computer swing analysis will help all golfers with the exception of beginners. Beginners can look at a good golf swing to understand what they are to work on. Once a golfer understands the fundamentals of the golf swing, seeing their golf swing can only help them understand the golf swing AND with modern technology we can put up the perfect swing, against their golf swing to show the golfer where they should be. Listening to an instructor is good however when a person see’s their own swing it really helps to understand their golf swing much better and to see what they need to work.

Then we asked: Should average players (10+ handicap) wait until after a series of lessons before doing a club fitting?

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David Moore

Moore: “To proper fit a person for custom golf clubs the most important factor is to have the golf swing consistent. Ideally a golf swing that reproduces will give the fitter a better idea of what the golfer needs. Shaft flex and the lie of the golf club are the 2 most important factors in club fitting. If a golf club is not properly fit for lie and it is 1 degree off – it could vary the flight of the golf ball up to 10 yards. The more serious of a player you are custom fit golf clubs are the way to go. As for the higher handicap that feels they cannot improve or do not want to improve, can certainly get club fitted, however will be limited to what a fitter can do. Normally the higher handicaps tend to be hitting the wrong shaft flex. A fitter will be able to identify this and certainly help the golfer with the correct recommended shaft flex.

McMahon: “Clubfitting and lessons should go hand in hand. One of the best examples, would be if I gave you a pair of shoes that were either too big or too small, you have not lost your ability to walk, but you most certainly would change how you walked. Clubs, as well as lessons, can make a difference.

She continued, “My best advice for the average player would be to take lessons asking for the golf professional’s advice. The overall general factors of length, shaft flex and weight, grip size, and club head design need to be a consideration. Having the right clubs, can most definitely alter, either by improving or detracting from one’s swing and desired ball flight. Clubfitting can be a simple matter of changing a grip size to a comprehensive computer generated clubfitting session and will vary on the individual’s goals and needs.”

The idea of getting help, professional computer-based analysis, is not new nor is it expensive—a entire series of lessons can be much less than the cost of a new driver—and combined with clubs matched to your swing means better shots, lower scores and more fun.

Gary Player – “Don’t Choke”

51ukXZ9AMvLTo a golfer, other than “shank,” “choke” is the most detested word in the English language. It’s that terrible state of mind that robs players of their touch, their swing and seemingly their mental prowess.

Nine time major champion Gary Player knows about all the possible ways a golfer can “mess up” and in the second edition of Don’t Choke: A Champion’s Guide to Winning Under Pressure he offers his advice of how to cope and indeed win in competitive situations in golf, business and life in general.

Younger persons may only have a vague idea of the peripatetic Player and what they do know coming mostly from his appearances promoting his ideas on what to eat and staying in shape.

But 50 years ago he was one of the “Big Three” competing against and beating fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Both have great respect for Player competitiveness and success with Palmer being quoted saying, “Gary is one of the greatest competitors who ever played the game.”

Chapters describe his experiences and thinking while winning his majors on the regular Tour plus his nine majors on the Senior/Champions Tour. Most revealing are his accounts of how he controlled his emotions or at least attempted to control them. Player then goes further, taking what he learned in the pressure cooker of championship golf and applying it to his personal life. Additionally the application of these principles in business helped Player in his very successful golf course design company plus several other endeavors.

Player is enthusiastic, intense and some say even a little over the top in person and those characteristics certainly come across in his book as he promotes his philosophy of physical fitness, nutrition and life. Sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella, author of the classic Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect, wrote the forward citing Player’s insights as vital to winning as a super-hot putter.

However, perhaps the important thing to take away from reading Don’t Choke is no matter how well you control yourself and play the shots it’s still good to remember it’s possible someone can still beat you. The real challenge is not to beat yourself.

Don’t Choke — A Champion’s Guide to Winning Under Pressure

By Gary Player with a foreword by Dr. Bob Rotella

Skyhorse Publishing hardcover, also available as an ebook

Price: $22.99

Golf is Simple

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Golf is simple…really. Not easy certainly but simple and LPGA Teaching &Club Professional Hall of Fame instructor Kay McMahon figured that out one day when she realized her traditional way of teaching wasn’t cutting it.

The message she and a lot of other instructors were passing on seemed to be even at the amateur level, golf was complex, complicated…maybe even beyond most of us struggling to learn.

Kay McMahon LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Hall of Fame

Kay McMahon LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Hall of Fame

McMahon saw this clearly was the case and after her years teaching golfers from rank beginners to accomplished players also saw clearly a different approach was required.

After a lot of thought and applying insights from her competitive experience the result was a new simpler teaching method she named Golf 8.5 and as anyone who has had the experience of working with McMahon will tell you, it’s spot on.

Golf 8.5 deals with the swing simplistically and unquestionably best of all, demystifies the endless list of things most people think they have to do in the less than two seconds a swing takes.

McMahon’s company, eduKaytion Golf in Lennox, Mass. at the Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort, teaches Golf 8.5 in schools, seminars and private lessons. Director of Operations Eloise Trainor, whose golf credentials include starting the FUTURES Tour (now the LPGA Symetra Tour), and McMahon make an effective team getting the word out.

Once the basics are understood there are really only 4 things to do before and 4.5 things during the swing, hence Golf 8.5. For example after holding and aiming the club and feet take the club back thinking of a “Y” formed by the shoulders, arms, hands and shaft. When the club is waist high make an “L” by bending the right elbow and continue turning until the shaft is over the right shoulder.

McMahon & Trainor teaching Golf 8.5

McMahon & Trainor teaching Golf 8.5

Simple to describe and simple to do. Of course there’s a lot more to McMahon’s teaching but her personality encourages students without talking down to them and makes a lesson seem like time well spent on the road to playing this greatest of all games.

We asked McMahon to share her thinking concerning some of the issues surrounding today’s golf instruction and her philosophy of making golf simple. Significantly, McMahon believes making golf instruction less complicated is a key in attracting and keeping players and growing the game.

ERT: What’s the biggest problem learning an effective golf swing?

KM: There are so many fragmented “tips”, videos, isolated TV comments, and “professional or not” opinions on the golf swing that the average person ends up trying to do those 1001 things in 1.2 seconds and thus confusion reigns. Those tips are fragments that never give the complete picture. Then people go out, whack golf balls trying all of the various theories without much understanding of what is going on. And people practice swinging way too fast in an attempt to get more distance. Not effective practice at all because they have nothing to practice.

The focus tends to be on the golf ball with the most common piece of advice: “Keep your head down or your eye on the ball!”

ERT: How does Golf 8.5 address that problem?

KM: Golf 8.5 is simple. It’s about the club, not the ball. We first teach from a point of understanding, meaning the first step is to understand ball flight. Then more importantly how the club is used to affect ball flight. The focus tends to be on the golf ball which is not moving. We focus on the club because the club is the thing that is moving.

Understanding where the club has to be, how to keep the club square, and then how to do it in only 4.5 steps.

To change or to have an effective swing, practicing in parts and in slow motion, increases the learning stage rapidly. A person can change a swing in 7-10 days by taking the speed out and later putting it back in. Looking at the club head is first knowing where the club is and where it is square.

Using Golf 8.5 people know what and how to practice.

ERT: Why is Golf 8.5 different from traditional teaching methods?

KM: Our message…Golf is simple. Golf 8.5 proves it.

Traditional teaching methods make it complicated for the average person. It becomes difficult to understand. Little tidbits of information never get connected and/or are misunderstood.

Golf 8.5 breaks it down into only 4 things to do before the swing and only 4.5 things to do in the swing. When the first three things of the 4 pre-swing are done in the right order, then the fourth thing posture, happens automatically. Traditionally posture is taught first with people feeling uncomfortable and looking like pretzels. In Golf 8.5 posture happens automatically. Therefore, we do not have to teach it–it happens!

The 4.5 things in the swing of Golf 8.5 are 4 and 1/2 positions encompass or result in all those 1001 things that are taught. In Golf 8.5, a person only has to do or think about 4 and 1/2 things.

Golf 8.5 creates a whole picture of the swing from the putter to the driver which is the same, gets rid of all the clutter in the 6-inch attic, and keeps it simple and extremely doable.

ERT: Is the Golf 8.5 method just for girls and women?

KM: Are you kidding? Is golf for men only? Golf 8.5 is for everyone from 3 to 103, from novice to experienced, men, women and children of all ages. Golf 8.5 is simple, easy to learn, and produces high results in a short amount of time. We want to grow the game not limit it.

Golf 8.5 can do that because it is simple and gets results. When people play better, they will want to play and play more. The industry is talking about all kinds of ways to grow the game except teaching. Traditional teaching methods have hinder growing the game.

We are want to revolutionize teaching methods by simplifying how it is taught.

We are talking about changing teaching methods and developing quality simplified education as the biggest way to grow the game.