Jack Nicklaus: Every other sport is played from the ground up. Watch a baseball pitcher: On the windup, he moves his lower body first, then his arm; on the forward motion, he leads again with the lower body, the arm trailing. Look at my transition, starting down. My left heel gets fully planted, and my left knee moves toward the target, yet my clubhead has barely changed position. That's swinging from the ground up.
Jim Flick: A lot of people have misinterpreted Jack's swing, believing he drove his legs to power the ball. I asked Jack how much his first teacher, Jack Grout, worked with him on leg action. He said zero. They focused on his feet. So think footwork, not leg drive.
But my friend Charlie, an avid student of Ben Hogan's swing, notes that Hogan himself said repeatedly in his book, Five Lessons, that the left hip starts the downswing. I checked the source, and Charlie's right. But then I found this video on You Tube, in which Ben says it's the lower body.
All I know is, you don't want to start the downswing with the upper body, especially not the right shoulder, which many higher-handicappers (and some lower-handicappers) do. That causes your swing path to come from outside the target line and causes you to restrict your release (otherwise you'll hit pulls and pull-hooks). The result is often a weak slice or a low-left line drive.
So start the downswing with your lower body and let your upper body follow. This will allow you to swing the club into the ball on an inside path so you can release the club fully for a powerful strike without fear of hooking. That's exactly what Hogan did. Check his swing below. I hope this weekend you hit at least half as many fairways and greens as Hogan did.
Here's Ron: The problem with any one exercise is that, sooner or later, you get tired of doing it. The only thing that should be "routine" about a good workout routine is that it's well balanced. You should be switching up exercises and movement patterns as often as you can.
Instead of performing only one exercise to strengthen and lengthen a particular muscle group, it's smart to have two or three different ways to hit that same area. For instance, many of you probably work on your core muscles by doing planks or leg lifts or torso raises on an incline bench. (Let's hope you are not doing crunches or sit-ups or anything that violently compresses your vertebrae.) But instead of doing just one core exercise, it's a good idea to alternate between two or three from workout to workout--not
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So, what is the more important scoring club . . . the driver or the putter? An argument can be made for each. Fortunately for Webb, they are both an asset. Last week we discussed Keegan Bradley's break-through win at the PGA Championship, becoming the first player to win a major anchoring a long putter into his body. This week we'll discuss Webb's driver swing (see his swing here, filmed at the U.S. Open). Webb has all of the components of a powerful driver swing.
Here are his keys from address to finish. To help maximize your personal power potential, evaluate your swing in these key areas:
Webb's setup allows him to create an "ascending" angle of attack through impact . . . a wide stance, the ball positioned closer to his left foot, and his spine tilted away from the target (right shoulder lower than left). To hit the ball your farthest, you must swing up through impact. He also has a strongish left-hand grip, which typically leads to distance.
Webb has a wide takeaway, keeping his left arm fully extended to the top of his swing. His left arm looks similar to Ernie Els'. He has made a huge upper-body coil over a braced lower body. He also allows his head to move a few inches to the right. I haven't done the study, but in my observations, players that drive the ball farthest seem to move their heads the most off the ball. Restricting head movement in an iron swing can be a good thing, but it typically limits speed with a driver.
This is a huge key to Webb's speed. As he begins his downswing, Webb increases the "lag" in his swing. Some teachers refer to this as "down cocking." Lag is the angle between your left arm and the shaft. At some point in your swing, the two will make a straight line. To produce
OK, what to do? Here are 10 tips from PGA Master professional Rick Martino, who teaches at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. Note that Martino cites possibly the greatest match player of all time, Walter Hagen, who won five PGA Championships at match play. I hope these tips elevate your game this weekend and help turn your club championship into a fun and successful event.
1. Play the course, not your opponent. While you certainly want to be aware of how your opponent is playing and how the match stands, it's important to avoid the trap of getting swept up in the emotion of the match. It's a waste of energy and focus to personalize the competition.
2. Always play first. Whenever possible, play first, because if you hit a good shot, it will increase the pressure on your opponent and possibly force him or her to hit a poor shot. Walter Hagen (below), who won five PGA Championships at match play, would often start a game by hitting a 3-wood from the tee. While he might leave himself a slightly longer approach shot, he knew that by playing first to the green he might get an edge over his opponent.
3. Get the ball into the hole first. Again, this is a way of increasing the pressure on your opponent. You shouldn't rush your putt by any means, but do putt out if possible.
4. Always assume the worst. This might be the most important rule of match play. There's nothing that sets you back quicker than assuming you have a hole won, only to see your opponent pull off a miracle shot or sink an impossible putt. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be optimistic--far from it. But you should always temper your optimism with a healthy dose of reality.
5. Take it one shot at a time. Just as in medal play, you have to try very hard to play one shot at a time. Don't dwell on the past, since you can't do anything about what has already happened. When the time comes to play, concentrate on the shot at-hand and only the shot at-hand.
6. Play to your par. Now, depending on your handicap, par is the score you figure you need to shoot in order to win a hole. For higher-handicappers, "par" might be a bogey or even a
Here's Ron: A colleague of mine at Golf Digest just asked me about the now-infamous "P90x" training program you've probably seen advertised on TV. The program certainly has merit for sculpting bodies, and I would never dissuade anyone from trying it. However, my biggest problem with it for the average person is that it can be too much too soon. The amount of time and effort it takes to complete one session of P90x, or any elite-level program, can actually put you on a road to burnout. You might stick with it for a week, or two, or even a month, but it's extremely difficult to stay motivated to complete the workouts for a long period of time. Especially when your energy level can fluctuate so much from one hour to the next.
I'm not picking on P90x. I feel this way about any exercise program that sets goals that are attainable in the short term, but unrealistic in the long term. Earlier this year, I got on a roll where I was running a 5K every day. But about three weeks into it, I was so sick of running, it almost caused me to stop working out altogether. Remember, you want exercise to become a daily part of your life, but not take over your life. Think about that diet you tried a few years back. You know the one. It had you eating smaller meals, skipping that bagel you love every
1. The full swing:
I spoke with Jim McLean last night to get some insight into what he and Keegan Bradley have been working on. They first started working together three years ago while Keegan was playing on the Hooters Tour, and they began to make some major changes then. Keegan's tendency was to take the club too far around his body and then lift the club across the line. His hips would also "twist" or "reverse" in his backswing, meaning his left hip would get closer to the target while his upper body moved too far off the ball. Essentially, Keegan's left hip and left shoulder would get too far from each other at the top of his swing.
Keegan Bradley now is stacked at the top of his swing, so he can better time his release. (Photos by Dom Furore (left) and J.D. Cuban)
Jim said he wanted Keegan to get his lower half and upper half more "stacked" on top of each other, essentially the opposite of what Stack and Tilt promotes. They got Keegan to get his hips to turn less and move more laterally in the backswing, actually loading more weight onto the right side, while managing to get his lower center and upper center more on top of each other. This also encouraged the club to go back on a more neutral path. With better backswing body movements, timing in the downswing became far easier. Jim said he thought it was one year's worth of changes, but Keegan won three weeks later. As evidenced by Sunday's final round, Keegan sets his own timeline to success, and it is on a much faster pace than any of us thought.
Since then, Jim says he has taught more "golf thinking" and how to play golf and taught less about the golf swing. Lots of chipping, pitching, and all the scoring shots. Early last year on the Nationwide Tour, Keegan came to Jim and stated he really felt he was a better player than the results showed. Jim felt Keegan was playing to make cuts and challenged him by saying, "You have to show me something, get a lead, I don't care if it's the first nine holes of the tournament, if you're that good it shouldn't be that hard to do." Keegan went on to to shoot a low score of 61 and secured his card with a 14th place finish on the Nationwide Tour money list.
This year, McLean was with Keegan when he won the Byron Nelson in Dallas, as well as this week in Atlanta, where they had two good days of preparation on Tuesday and Wednesday. Jim had a conversation with Keegan's caddie, Steven Hale, that proved to be well timed. He
There's a tip for you in all of this: Stay tall through impact.
First, here's Secret Handshake's version of Skee-Lo's song I Wish, courtesy of my 20-year-old daughter: Click here. Then try using the following thoughts in your swing. Use the lyrics of the song as a reminder: "Wish I was a little bit taller..."
Start at address in a nice and relaxed posture, knees slightly flexed, chin up, bending at the hips, your arms hanging straight down. Then as you swing, try to maintain that general feeling
Whether or not you believe in global warming, one thing is for certain: New York City is suffering from the highest temperatures since the summer of 1977. So is Chicago. And Minneapolis. This past week, more than 15 states experienced heat indexes of more than 105 degrees. Yes, much of the country is experiencing a heat wave of unprecedented proportions. Here is one scary ABC News report. And at the same time, much of the country will be out playing golf. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 318 Americans die every year of heat-related illnesses. Most of these deaths could be avoided if people better understood the dangers. So how do you protect yourself from heat stroke and heat exhaustion? And how do you make sure your golf game doesn't suffer? Well, here are some great tips from the Texas Heart Institute that you should follow today, tomorrow and throughout the summer as you hit the fairways in 90+ degree temperatures. Good luck and stay cool (or at least hydrated)! And remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
How much water should I drink during exercise?
(Editor's note: Yes, golf counts as exercise, especially if you're walking and carrying your clubs.)
Exercising vigorously in hot and humid weather can be challenging and even dangerous. But you can safely exercise in hot weather if you take the proper precautions. One of the most important things to do is stay hydrated and decrease your exercise intensity on very hot days. Keeping your body hydrated during exercise helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance.
Feeling thirsty is not the best indicator of your body's water needs, because thirst occurs after your body is already dehydrated. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied even before your body's water supply is fully replaced. This means that during workouts, you should drink water even if you do not feel thirsty.
The amount of water your body needs to stay hydrated depends on your body weight, body temperature, and the type of exercise you are doing. If you are dehydrated after an exercise session, it will take time to replenish the body's water. Drink several glasses of water spaced out throughout the day. You are usually well hydrated if you pass a good amount of very light yellow or clear urine a couple of times before going to bed.
For workouts of less than 1-1/2 hours, you should
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water 1 to 2 hours before you exercise.
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool water or a sports drink 15 minutes before you exercise.
--Drink about 5 ounces (150 mL) of cool water every 10 minutes during exercise.
--Have about 34 ounces (1 L) of cool water on hand per hour.
--Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water or a sports drink just after exercise.
Other Pointers and Recommendations:
--Wear loose-fitting clothing that will allow air to circulate but protect you from the sun.
--Avoid direct exposure to the sun. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
--Do not take salt tablets. Salt tablets make dehydration worse because they drain the water from your body.
--Drink cool water rather than cold water, because the body absorbs cool water faster.
--Do not drink juices or sodas during exercise, because these drinks contain more than 10 percent carbohydrates (sugar) and are not absorbed well during exercise.
--It is okay to drink sports drinks because they usually contain less than 8 percent carbohydrates, but these can lead to too many calories if you drink too much of them.
When it comes to workouts lasting less that 1-1/2 hours, there is no difference between drinking sports drinks and cool water to stay hydrated. Sports drinks do replenish the salt and minerals lost through sweating, although a healthy diet is usually adequate for this.
A final editor's note: Stay away from alcoholic beverages, even beer. Alcohol actually dehydrates you. You're just asking for trouble. In the heat, nothing is better for you than sports drinks in moderation and pure, clean cool water.
Editor's Note: Contributing Editor Pete McDaniel collaborated with Tiger Woods on instruction articles for Golf Digest for 14 years.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Tiger Woods' first swing of the opening round might have provided an augury of his rusty, out-of-control game and the kind of rollercoaster ride the former world No. 1 has done his best to downplay this year. Aiming a fairway wood down the right side of the dogleg left, Woods launched a perfectly straight shot that came to rest a few feet from the first cut of rough.
On the surface, it appeared that he pulled off the shot just as planned, leaving him a short iron to the green -- which he hit to 15 feet before converting the birdie putt, incidentally. However, he had set up to draw the ball (intending to swing along the feet line of a slightly closed stance), failed to release the club through impact and left the ball hanging out to the right. That same swing flaw caused him to trash a three-under start with more right-hold-on-fear-the-left swings than a cross-eyed Republican over the tortuous final four holes of the Atlanta Athletic Club.
(Related: A closer look at how Tiger's swing has changed)
For the record, Woods played that stretch in five-over, including a pair of double bogeys of the bailout variety.