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.

To Improve Tempo – Listen for the Click

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Visualize the scene at the beginning of Tin Cup when Renee Russo shows up for a lesson from Roy McAvoy, played by Kevin Costner, a down and out professional at a down and out driving range.

The multiple devices Russo put on looked like something from the Marquis de Sade’s closet and though perhaps a little overdone for dramatic effect, it did get the idea across beautifully.

Golfers will try just about anything to get better. Unfortunately very few devices or swing aids are worth the investment especially over the long term. A bewildering array have come and gone making a sure testament to the ingenuity of golfers.Swingclick1

Now, having said all that, buy a Swingclick. It’s simple. It works.

Swingclick helps correct a problem shared by the great majority of golfers, namely not swinging with the proper tempo. They swing out of sync, never “setting the club on top” which robs clubhead speed, contributes to off center hits, glancing impact and a host of other shot-making disasters including the most common of all…the dreaded slice.

Swingclick shows you how to fix your tempo. It’s simply a weight on a slide that straps to the left forearm. Swing back to the top, wait for the click of the weight hitting the end of the slide then swing down through the ball listening for a second click at impact and on to the follow through for a third click.

When you begin using Swingclick you will probably hear the first click after the start of the downswing revealing you rushed the transition from backswing to downswing plus if the second click comes before the clubhead hits the ball you’ve released too early.

As I said, simple.

Used prior a round it helps smooth out your swing and strike the ball more solidly plus it’s ideal should you want to practice on the course.

Swingclick received industry kudos at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show and a number of teaching professionals are already having their students “strap it on.” Find more information at swingclickgolf.com where it can be purchased for $29.95 and it is also available on amazon.com.

DST-Hitting it Pure

DSTCompressor_400x300At last January’s PGA Merchandise Show I came across a booth with a huge banner manned by Englishman Bertie Cordle. The banner showed a golfer striking what anyone would have to say was a perfect iron shot.

On display were wedges and irons but not normal wedges and irons. Each had a pronounced curvature to the shaft so naturally I asked what it was all about. Cordle’s explanation made tremendous sense.

To hit it pure, we know irons must be struck with a descending blow having the hands ahead of the clubhead. But as with a lot of things, golfers often find this is one of those easy-to-say-hard-to-do moves that we struggle to master. Our swings produce poor hits maybe because the club is not on plane but usually because our hands are behind the ball.

Aside from the speed of our swings, that poor club-ball contact is undoubtedly the biggest difference between the typical amateur and the touring professionals and the probably the biggest reason we don’t score up to our potential.

CompressorClubsCordle, a teaching professional who understands all of this, figured out to train amateurs to make proper and impact…i.e., hit it pure, he needed an easy to use and understand training aid. Thus, after a lot of trial and error, the Compressor clubs were born from his company DST Golf.

There are two, an 8-iron and a wedge (each $100), with curved shafts so to hit it properly the swing must be on plane, the weight shifted to the left (for right-handers) and the hands ahead of the ball at impact. In other words, the entire package for producing better iron shots. You are instructed to replicate the impact position of hands ahead of the ball at address and there’s an alignment line on the hosel to help.

Cordle explained in an email…”here are a few things to bear in mind when using the 8 iron compressor for the first time. Due to the curvature of the shaft it is not unusual for players to hit it fat for the first few shots. If this happens you will be forced to get more weight onto your lead foot prior to impact. Secondly don’t be surprised to see a draw flight path or a pull. If you do see this ball flight, the compressor is encouraging you to hold your hands off for longer through pact. So you have a flatter lead wrist. Essentially, the club requires that you swing the club face square or minutely open to the target line for 15cm longer than a conventional club. It forces you to feel how to control the club face through impact.”

The DST Compressor Wedge uses the same principle but where the wedge really pays for itself is teaching how to hit pitches and chips. It is amazing to watch someone who has been hitting it fat or blading the ball over the green–typical wrist-flipper moves–all of a sudden see the ball go towards the hole with a nice trajectory and actually spin to a stop.

After a series of practice range sessions with both clubs I can report simply they work. Improvement wasn’t instantaneous but after a couple of range sessions I figured what it took to swing for a much more powerful on-line blow and my iron game really improved.

Now if I could just putt.