When faced with a “fried egg” lie in the bunker, in this video tip, we show you how to confidently escape on your first try.
Golfstruck – Better Golf, Right Now!
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When faced with a “fried egg” lie in the bunker, in this video tip, we show you how to confidently escape on your first try.
Golfstruck – Better Golf, Right Now!
There are two major misconceptions about greenside bunker play: a) focus on hitting 2″ behind the ball; and b) EXPLODE the ball out of the bunker. Both of these make the player swing way too hard when in a greenside bunker.
When you learn to splash the sand from beneath and beyond the ball out onto the green ( see video tip: Greenside Bunkers – Splash the Sand), you will be able to swing smoothly enough to “Rock the Baby.” In this video tip you will come to understand why the pros make this shot look so easy!
One of the most common misunderstandings about bunker play is the notion that we have to focus our attention on getting the club head to enter the sand about 2 inches behind the ball. In this video you will come to understand that the ball rides out of the bunker on the cushion of sand taken from beneath and beyond the ball – not the sand taken from behind the ball!
Golfstruck – Better Golf, Right Now!
When chipping – gaining the confidence to allow your clubhead to simply swing – instead of guiding it with tense hands, wrists and forearms comes from the simple feel of swinging a hammer. In this video you will learn to apply that feel to your chipping game.
In this video tip you will come to understand how to cock your wrists properly when chipping, so that you don’t add tension to your hands and forearms. In this manner, you will overcome your fear of hitting your chips too far when you cock your wrists.
Golfstruck – Better Golf, Right Now!
10 Jan 2012
It’s a new year and we are in for a most exciting and I believe a far different year of competition. We have a host of new winners, young tiger’s coming off their break-out year. We have another crop of qualifiers coming off the Nationwide Tour and out of Q-School. We have the return of a healthy Tiger. And we have a wave of confidence brewing from the top players on both the European and Asian tours. With the growth of the European and Asian tours as well as the introduction of the South American Tour, golf has truly become global.
With Luke Donald’s unprecedented, and NEVER to be repeated, winning of the money titles on both the US and the European tours and the year ending money now available from the Race to Dubai and the FEDEX Cup, players now, more than ever before, must carefully consider where they should be each week, and just as importantly, which weeks they can afford to take off. We are fast approaching the nature of an International Tour, much like that Greg Norman proposed several years ago!
This week’s Tournament of Champions was an excellent example. For the first time, several of the top 10 players who qualified for this prestigious event were conspicuously absent. They will open their season in Dubai!
Interestingly, perhaps the toughest decisions facing the players this year will be determining a) when to rest; and therefore b) which events on which tours to play. They all know they need rest weeks to rejuvenate – to reenergize, de-stress, enjoy family time, and re-humanize. Yet, as a player, I can tell you that when we have that winning feel, is one of the two times we are most reluctant to take time off. The other, as we saw this year during the Fall Series, is when they are hanging on by a thread to make the top 125 to earn exemption for the following year.
After all, we are not machines! We are merely imperfect machines with feelings, emotions, thoughts, needs and ever changing bio-rhythms. We feel different everyday based on sleep patterns, what we eat and how our game/life is going. We are psychological and yes, spiritual animals. We only have to give to this game what we have internalized. We simply cannot play well enough to win when we are bankrupt in any of the following categories: physical condition, mental preparation, emotional stability, spiritual acceptance, integrity, responsibility or determination – all of which come together to generate our ability to preserver.
It remains to be seen whether time and contrition have healed Tiger enough in all these categories to be fully back. Though he did win his own event at year end, I do believe that the biggest step in his healing came from Freddie Couples. Freddie, who has been down in his own personal life, knew, that for Tiger to come back he needed teammates rooting for him. He needed to BELONG to a cause bigger than himself. He got all that from Freddie’s early commitment to him and from Couple’s requirement of Tiger, that he return the favor by preparing his game, in competition, to be ready to help his teammates. He did! They won and Tiger got the fulfillment he so desperately needed. Was it enough? Time will tell. And though I’ve said many times that I didn’t think Tiger would be fully ready to win a Major until August, I wouldn’t bet against him. Hopefully he has learned one of life’s most important lessons – No man is an island!
I am often asked why players who win, can’t keep it going into the next week and the next. The game of golf is so demanding of every aspect of the human condition, at this level of competition, that to win requires every ounce of our entire being. Those professional athletes who have come from stellar careers, in other sports, to try their hand at golf. e.g. Ivan Lendl, Michael Jordan, Ken Harrelson, Wayne Gretsky, etc., all say golf is by far the toughest game they have ever played. And that, from a point of view of FOCUS, it is absolutely exhausting. Hence the need to rest and recoup after a win.
Ozzie’s Forecast – find your favorites below – and what will make the difference for them in 2012.:
So who will come out on top this year? Well, that’s the million $ question isn’t it. Each player, as I have closely observed, in slow motion – their swings and their play throughout the 2011 season, has things to work on and improve. Who is working the smartest? We really don’t, do we.
Last year, Luke Donald worked both hard and smart with instructor Pat Goss, his college coach from Northwestern, during the off-season. He skipped Hawaii because he wasn’t yet ready. He needed to internalize, with sufficient quality reps what he had changed/improved upon. When he did come out, he won the Match Play Championship – precisely the confirmation he needed to know he was on the right track. The rest of 2011 is history – well made! But, as I observed Luke’s tendency to miss both right and left throughout the year, and then up close and personal as he and Pat worked together at the Barclays for their run at the Fedex Cup (where they came up but one stroke shy of that final playoff between Hunter Mahan and eventual winner Bill Haas), they were collectively missing the one fatal flaw I see in Luke’s delivery – his loss of spine angle/shaft angle connection through the Region of Impact to Arrival. Since this is a seldom taught connection in the lexicon of golf instruction, I’m not all all sure they have picked up on it yet. It is my belief that when Luke finally masters this FEEL of connection in his delivery, given his mastery of the short game, that he will be the player to beat in every event he plays this year – provided he plays in far fewer tournaments than his torrid pace last year. Particularly now that he bass a second offspring in the playpen. Congrats pop!
Rory McIlroy has yet to master his emotions, which get in the way of his ability to focus properly and consistently throughout his round. Rory needs to build his routines so he can rely on them to carry him through shot after shot.
Lee Westwood, following his year ending victory marches, enters 2012 brimming with confidence. But the timing sensitive nature of his swing motion (severe change of head position) gives me pause to post him at # 1. Also his putting fundamentals are lacking, so he is still a streaky good putter. His “recoil” technique indicates tension in his hands, forearms and shoulders, which creates missed opportunities down the stretch when the tournament is on the line.
Martin Kaymer has yet to learn the controlled draw, which suggests a fundamental swing flaw, as well as insufficient understanding of swing motion. Unless or until he addresses this problem, I doubt we will ever see him again ranked #1.
Webb Simpson, coming off a stellar break-out year is also brimming with confidence. We’ve all heard the saying, “ignorance is bliss.” In Webb’s case, that certainly applies. Webb has a “timing” swing that he has learned to repeat. He is the modern day Freddie Couples. And nearly as easy to root for. But his disconnection of arms from body rotation during his backswing creates a tendency to become right sided during the course of his round – particularly down the stretch. His “correction” is to almost hyper extend his left arm throughout his swing to keep it in front of his right side through the hitting area. So his motion is not nearly as natural as say Adam Scott’s, and therefore less predictable. Also, Webb is a very streaky putter. When he learns the benefit of a pendulum speed stroke his putting consistency will be more like that of Keegan Bradley’s.
Adam Scott made great strides this year, particularly with Stevie Williams doing his thinking for him. I look for this tandem to have a good year. How smart they work and how motivated Scott really is, will determine their level of success. I would mark Adam for a Major win this year.
Sergio Garcia had back-to-back wins at season’s end. He seems to be settling in on the greens, though he still has a way to go, particularly with his confidence on the dance floor. His enthusiasm for the game is back, so look for Sergio to surface as a contender about Major time.
Vijay Singh ended the season injured and frustrated. He doesn’t take either well. I’m certain Vijay outworked everybody as soon as his body began letting him. He has tried nearly every putting gimmick known to man. If we could work together over just a couple of weeks on fundamentally sound putting technique, I have no doubt Vijay could become a Major factor yet again.
Gary Woodland picked up a World Cup victory when Kuchar picked him as a teammate this year. He is long, strong, straight and growing in confidence. He needs a lot of quality work with his short irons. I was encouraged as I watched him play more “knockdown” wedges in Tiger’s season ending event. A lot of quality reps during the early part of the year to master his distance feels from 125 years and in, will make a huge difference in his ability to knock down pins this year. As he produces many more and better birdie opportunities this year (putting form inside 15 from the straight uphill slice of pie around the cup) he will become a major contender each week.
Steve Stricker ended 2011 wil back ailments. If he can coax his body through a full year of good behavior, we can look for “strix” to contend – particularly in the US Open, which he wants badly.
Nick Watney has been dubbed perhaps the best of current USA players. But that “deer in the headlights” look he displays is indicative a loss of focus. Building a better pre-shot routine will help. By that I mean the full planning of his shot to account not only for distance and direction, but lie, wind, temperature, shot shape and trajectory so that he fully visualizes his entire ball flight, bounce and roll to where he intends to play his next shot from. then a precise rehearsal of the set-up, alignment and swing motion that WILL produce the pre-dertermined ball flight. And finally a performance routine that delivers what he has just visualized and rehearsed. It takes several months of work to perfect these routines. When he can claim his, I believe Nick does have the talent to live up to the title given him – best of the Americans.
Matt Kuchar – Mr. top ten. Matt has developed a swing motion that produces predictable ball flights. His flat swing limits his ability to escape from thick rough or produce controlled fades, but other that that he has no real weaknesses. So I think we will again see “Kuch” as a contender, but seldom a winner.
Phil Mickelson spent his whole 2011 campaign aligned closed to his target. At least until late summer when one day while watching Phil on TV, his swing coach, Butch Harmon noticed Phil’s alignment. Butch called Phil and told him what he saw. Phil promptly made the adjustment and came out the next day with guns blazing for a 64. Strange that Butch never picked that up while they are together on the practice tee. Phil has always had a tendency to be a little careless with his talent. Perhaps a battery of psychology tests and interviews would tell us why. The bottom line is this highly likable guy breaks the hearts of his fans far more often than his level of talent would indicate that he should. I’d be pleasantly surprised to see that change this year.
K.J. Choi with his victory in The Players Championship has taken his place among the top players in the game. This steady competitor needs only to improve his putting to contend more often. He has trouble with tension in his hands and forearms which cause him to lose connection to a fixed fulcrum from which to swing. If and when he conquers this one. look out!
Hunter Mahan needs to learn an entirely different chipping motion. One that puts his lower body in charge so he can remove the tension from his hands, arms and shoulders. Currently Hunter appears to be deathly afraid of wrist cock for fear of chunking or skulking his chips. Properly taught, he could master a better feel rather quickly and thereby begin to save pars from places he hadn’t planned on being. Even at the level of his talent, we all miss greens, so we’d better learn to chip well enough to save pars. by adding about three types of chip/pitch shots to his bag, Hunter would have the ammunition he needs to contend, even in the Majors.
Dustin Johnson is the modern day Bruce Leitzke. He doesn’t really like the game well enough to work at it. So he will be an under achiever at least until his attitude changes. If and when it does, Dustin needs a better approach to playing his short irons. Like Gary Woodland, he is not currently taking advantage of his superior length off the tee. He just doesn’t hit it close often enough from wedge distance. He is an average to good putter and can on occasion get the rock rolling. It is almost scary to think how good he could be if he had Oosthuizen’s wedge game. Perhaps he should call Louis for some pointers.
Louis Oosthuizen chose to play the American tour last year, with a few European events thrown in. I expect he will switch back after a rather unrewarding season in 2011. It is really his putting that left him struggling to contend. Louis needs a far better understanding and feel of motion of the putting motion that holds up in the heat of battle. It would only take a few weeks to turn Louis into one of the most consistently sound putters on tour. Just from his St Andrews victory we know he has the talent for putting. All he needs now is the technique to consistently bring forth that talent. As close as he hits it to the hole, this guy could be tough to beat week in and week out.
Ernie Els is striking the ball perhaps as well as he ever did. but his putter is letting him down big time. Following his miserable Sunday at Pebble Beach in 2010 when he could have walked away with the US Open nobody wanted, Ernie’s spirits dropped to an all-time low. On Sunday alone he missed enough 6 footers to have won the Open going away. That has been his plight for the past three years. I tried to get to him through his Agent, but that didn’t happen. Now he has left his agent. I believe to this day we could have created a win-win that might well have headed off that divorce. The bottom line is Els still needs the right help with his putting. The stuff he has been trying is not fundamentally sound, just bandaids! It would be nice to see the Big Easy make a comeback this year.
David Toms made a HUGE comeback this year. In addition, he won the Payne Stewart Award . It takes a good man to do both. For David, the real joy was the reaction of his teenage son to his rebirth on the links. Like so many players, David’s kids were too young to appreciate David’s wins when in his prime. Now David has to keep working hard, just to stay one step ahead of junior. We can look for another good year from Toms, though with so many young guns gaining confidence, it will get harder and harder for him to win.
Bubba Watson had a good year. His off-season putting practice from 10 feet and in got him off to a great start in 2011. But his putting cooled off during the long summer campaign as he started steering rather than stroking his putts. If Bubba can master the patience and focus required to ”groove” a fundamentally sound putting stroke, we would get to see him in the hunt far more often. He has perhaps the best pair of hands on tour right now. Nobody else can make the ball dance like he does. What an imagination! Bubba is really fun to watch.
Boo Weekley fell from grace this year. He totally lost his game. I’d like to see him make a comeback. Boo is good for golf. We’ll never forget the image of his horse/broom riding antics at Azinger’s Ryder Cup, as he single-handedly raised the spirits of an entire nation. Boo, I saw that over the top pull hook beginning to happen two years ago at the Duetche Bank Classic. I offered then to help you eliminate that shot from you bag. I’m offering again now. We need you back on tour!
Brandt Snedeker, 2007 Rookie of the Year and near Masters winner, got back on his game in 2011. One of the really nice guys on tour, it would be nice to see Brandt play with more confidence. One of the best putters out there, Brandt can “light in up” with a birdie barrage when he gets going. Let’s just reduce the number of “miss it quick” shots this year. Play with a better focus and with better routines to play more consistently at your level of talent.
Bill Haas has game! The shot of the year was his water born recovery on the 2nd hole of sudden death at East Lake to capture the crown and the Fedex Cup. there are no real weaknesses in his game. He plays on all cylinders. look for Bill to be among the final groups on Sunday on a regular basis. It’s really nice when good things happen to good people. What a treat for Bill and his dad, Jay to be together for the President’s Cup.
Keegan Bradley provided us a new hero to root for. What a great young man. He certainly has his head in the right place. No wonder he has become very popular with the press. He has a bright future in the game, even after his playing days are over. With Keegan’s growth in self-confidence, stemming from his comeback win from near disaster in the PGA Championship, he should enter all the majors this year with a great attitude. You have to believe you can win in order to win. And you have to know how to prepare to win. It appears Keegan has both ingredients in spades. Though he tends to get a little careless with his putting process from time to time. If he’s practicing smart, look for him as a top 10′er this year.
Stewart Cink has had two off year’s since winning Watson’s British Open at Turnberry. He needs to recommit his focus to playing well again. Hopefully these past two years have taught him that he can’t simply gloss over the basics. By getting back to the basics of grip, set-up, alignment and delivery in rhythm, I think Stewart can find his way back to the winner’s circle – if he starts practicing smart.
Charl Schwartzel won the Masters by simply birdieing the last four holes – a feat never before accomplished. This talented young man with a great swing is limited only by his attitude, both toward the game and the integrity of battle. I fear he may come up just a little short on both counts. Badgering officials until one gets a favorable ruling is not consistent with the integrity of competition. Tom Watson witnessed that type of behavior from Gary Player and called him on it. Charl could well learn from that experience.
Jason Day is that 24 year old who threatens to be the next great one. His big weakness is his short irons. Not only does he not hit it close often enough, he misses greens entirely. Like Camilo Villegas, Jason hits way too many full power shots with his short irons and wedges. He would do well to learn to play at 80 – 90% power from 150 yards and in. That way he could throw darts at the pins rather than moon balls that find craters in places he didn’t want to visit. Given the magic of his short game and his tendency to putt well, all Jason needs is to produce more birdie opportunities. Oh, and one more thing – with his driver he tends to let the handle get up too high at impact, which causes him to spray his drives. Like Luke Donald, when he learns to stay in his angles, they will both hit many more fairways.
Rickie Fowler had all the kids wearing Puma gear, even before his first win – on the european tour! This highly popular and very talented young tiger is about set to make his mark on tour. What would help his naturally fast tempo swing the most, I believe, is the lesson Tom Watson told me he learned from Sam Snead. When Watson found Snead watching him one day on the practice tee, he told Sam that he tried to practice right behind Sam whenever he could because watching Sam’s swing helped Tom to improve his rhythm. Sam’s response to Tom was – be sure to copy my rhythm, not my tempo. You have a faster tempo than I do. Tom said it took him nearly a year to figure out what Sam meant. Rickie gets in trouble, not because he has a naturally fast tempo, but rather when he rushes his rhythm. The proper rhythm, as Sam explained it to me is 1-2-3-1-2-3. With the 1-2 the full turn/coil completion of the backswing. The 3 is the Bobby Jones “magic move” from behind the ball to back up against it – while keeping your back to the target! The 1 is the delivery of power or the downbeat of the rhythm. The 2 is the turn/fire/ extension to target. And the 3 is the full balanced finish. When Rickie gets off his swing his rhythm tends to become 1-2-1-2. So come comes down all together rather than is sequence. Hence he loses his timing and therefore has accuracy problems caused by delivering his club head speed too early in the downswing. I believe the best way for Rickie to work on rhythm is with his wedge game and then to work up to his driver with the feel of lag he will get with his wedges. Or he could take dancing classes! The point is, when Rickie finds his rhythm, he can run off a string of birdies like no one else on tour! Why? He never plays scared! He’s really fun to watch. Let’s hope we find him in the winners circle soon.
Paul Casey is a strong player seemingly struggling to find a way to get the most from his talent. Paul needs to “groove” his motion, which I believe would take only a better understanding and feel of connections in his golf swing. Once discovered he then needs to work on his routines so he delivers his motion more consistently. Only then will he be able to relax enough to win again.
Aaron Baddeley is finally rounding into form after a long detour with the folly of Stack and Tilt. One of the best putters on tour, “Bads” needs simply to play the routine shots better – fairways and greens! At times he is his own worst enemy. We saw both sides of Bads in the President’s Cup. More work on the mental game will serve to better connect his focus to his swing motion – so he can play with that relaxed focus so important to success. He needs to learn how to practice SMART so he can play that way.
Jeff Overton is in danger of self destructing. He had a tough year, coming so close, but not cashing in on victory. Jeff has plenty of talent and enough shots in his bag to win, but that sliding left post is killing his accuracy and consistently. When Jeff learns to deliver down past a braced left post (i.e. quits rolling over onto the outside of his left ankle) we can look for him to compete at a very high level.He’s a good putter and has an imaginative short game. So he could be a consistent top ten-er!
Justin Rose is a mystery. He has one of the best swings on tour. He’s a good, though not great putter and is far better than average around the greens. So I can’t quite figure out why he is playing with so little confidence. Justin made a charge at season’s end with his run at the Fedex Cup. If he is one of those who practices smart and often, we could see a break-out year for him.
Mark Wilson is a perfect example off a talented player who just flat out swings too hard! His tendency therefore is to deliver his swing speed too early in the downswing. To correct for this he tends to “tighten up” which causes him to guide or steer his shots when his timing gets off. Mark needs to work on a greater rate of acceleration from ball to target rather than maximum speed at impact. When he gets this feel of motion, he will finish more tournaments well.
Graeme McDowell became confused about his swing last year. Not sure which way to go with changes, he struggled. Near season’s end he was competitive once again. It remains to be seen whether he has found the holy grail. It would be nice to see him back at the top of his game.
Padrig Harrington seems to enjoy tinkering with his swing. Last year he never found consistency or reliability in his motion. Hopefully he has found a way to simplify from the 18 keys he was working on throughout the season. We all know you can’t think and swing at the same time.
Anthony Kim is on his way back from thumb surgery. But I’m not at all sure he has made the correct swing adjustments required to quit putting strain on that thumb, and on his accuracy! SAm Snead taught me how important is is to keep the swing control in the left hand both at the top of the backswing and from ball to target. A.K., it appears to me, allows his right side to take over through the hitting area. When he learns to keep his left hand in front of his right hand throughout the “region of impact to arrival” I think only then will we see him realize his full potential as a player.
Jason Dufner came really close a couple of times this year. Though you may not like his 17+ pre-swing waggles, he has found a way to FEEL his delivery. And he makes it work. Don’t sell this highly talented competitor short. Though his fundamentals could be yet improved, Jason has the “grit” it takes to compete at this level. Now that he is fully exempt and can plan his year, look for “Duff” to be in the hunt more often.
In this video tip you will learn a far more effective way to warm-up your putting stroke prior to your round – so you can make more putts.
In this video tip you will find a simpler and more reliable way to feel and control the distance and accuracy of those chip shots that have been giving you trouble.
In this video clip we stress the importance of rhythm in your golf swing. Believe it or not, the rhythm of your swing is established in the first few inches of your takeaway. When you can feel this flow of motion with the body and arms working in concert, together, tension free, as your swing begins, you WILL produce consistently better ball flights.
So many new golfers have been told to “keep your head down.” I’m here to tell you that is really bad advice! In this video clip you will come to understand why. And when you make the change to chin – up, you WILL play better golf!