Improve Golf Swing! – 11 “Reasons Why Golf Lessons Fail”

In our efforts to improve golf swing performance we have all taken a professional lesson or two – or more! Some of us have even stopped counting!

The sessions are amazing!

A trained eye assesses our swing mechanics and patterns. We get instruction on how to instantly improve golf swing imperfections and flaws. Our swing becomes perfect!

If only this perfection would last.

It is a common finding that as quickly as the solution to improve golf swing performance arrives, it departs.

Why does this happen?

In his book, The Winning Touch in Golf, A Psychological Approach, author Peter G. Cranford, Ph.D. offers 11 reasons why professional instruction to improve golf swing performance often fails.

Cranford writes;

“Often a person with a golfing flaw will consult their pro and is straightened out. Later, when they try their new stroke on the course, it doesn’t seem to work. There are a number of reasons why golf lessons fail.

1. The player is concentrating so hard on the new form that they neglect to do the usual golf thinking that has to accompany the stroke. For instance, they may not consider the usual factors of the condition of the green, the putting problem, the distance to the green, or golf management. The answer to this is that the new golf stroke should be practiced until it has been “over-learned.” When this has come about, the mind will not be siphoned away from problems of over-all thinking. In the mean¬time, if you recognize the danger, it is possible to finesse the problem by attacking it serially. First work out the decisions of management, then tackle the execution of the shot.

2. The form is correct, but they have not learned the idiosyncrasies of that particular stroke. It may be that their ball rolls further or stops more quickly than before. They must acquire a new scale of touch. Incidentally, this is one phase of golf that has not received much treatment in instruction. The present attitude is that this is simply a matter of muscle memory, and learners are left to their own devices. In putting, chipping, trap shots, and approaches, “touch” is of the essence in golf. Since this touch varies with different methods of hitting shots, it should be practiced. And, since it is seldom that two shots are of the same length, golf practice without constant change in the length of the shot is inefficient. Such practice violates our rule that practice should duplicate playing conditions.

3. Poor luck is operating. They may be stroking better but scoring worse. They need to average more scores.

4. They have waited too long to try the stroke on the course, and has forgotten some of the instruction.

5. They tried the stroke without first warming up. When they learned the new form, they no doubt hit many shots. When they went on the course, the advantage of the warm-up was missing.

6. There was a loss of confidence when applying the shot. It would have been different if the pro had been along to give them assurance.

7. Something has occurred to create confusion in the golfer. Confusion generally comes about when instruction has not been completely absorbed, when some bit of instruction has emotional overtones, and particularly if a decision is hanging fire. The longer the indecision, the more confusion (and anxiety) is generated.

8. The golfer does not realize the vast number of shots required to put into effect a new method that a professional can teach in five minutes. Even a professional golfer would practice for months using a minor improvement in grip before they would dare try this change in important play.

9. While the golfer was under the professional’s tutelage, small mistakes were corrected continuously, but now the golfer tends to stray from the instructional beam. The learner should keep returning to the professional for further instruction as fast as they relapse, until all the remedial instruction has become part of the over-all pattern of the stroke.

There is also the problem of the “groove.”

A golfing friend who, when correcting his putting, occasionally made many consecutive good shots when his golfing environment was standardized. The same thing often occurs during a practice session. After hitting a number of balls toward a caddy, the problem of aiming disappears. The stance has only slight modifications. Often our feet sink slightly into the ground. The pro directly modifies other features of our swing. Altogether there is some apparent improvement which will not necessarily transfer to the course. One of our practice fairways has a slope, so that, in taking stances, the feet are slightly higher than the position of the ball. Learn to hit a straight drive on this fairway and it becomes a hook when you play from level tees.

10. The golfer has been fooled by “feel.” If a person has developed a slice, for instance, their pro corrects it by advising them to hit inside out. When they first begin to make the correction, the new stroke “feels funny.” It seems exaggerated and unnatural, but since the shot finally comes off well, they accept the method. The new stroke feels less and less awkward as time goes on, until it seems perfectly natural.

This is the danger point.

They are so accustomed to the need for the “feel” of swinging inside out that they try to recapture this sensation by further accentuating the inside-out arc. Lo and behold, an in-out feel that once changed a slice into a straight ball is turning the straight ball into a ducking hook. Similar overcompensation occurs in putting. Beware of being tricked by a “feel” after the shot is grooved.

11. The new stroke is working well, but some other department of their game may be off, or the improvement may not reveal itself in scores except over a longer period of time.”

These 11 tips help one better understand the reasons why, soon after professional instruction, we find our swing again defaulting to its old bad habits.

Use these valuable tips to better preserve your professional swing instruction and to improve golf swing performance.

Check back again for more posts and tips to improve golf swing performance and get more out of your professional golf instruction!

Golf Swing Feedback From Your Club!

To improve golf swing performance one must not only observe the swing pattern and trajectory of the golf ball but the club too.

Our golf clubs reveal valuable feedback about how we manage the swing factors that affect ball drive and control.

So what additional piece of information can the club provide about our swing and drive that of which the ball can not?

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King explains what we can learn from inspecting our clubs to improve our golf swing, drive and game.

King writes:

“The whole of my teaching is founded on the fact that every well-struck ball from the full tee-shot down to the approach putt is DRIVEN FORWARD. Let me repeat the operative word DRIVEN not flicked or slapped which is the manner of striking of ninety-nine per cent of golfers.

You do not, or you should not, flick that simple approach shot from, say, one hundred yards out. You drive it forward.

Driving the ball forward you blend power with control, keeping the club-face on the ball along the line for that vital fraction of time which ensures firm, accurate shot-making.

If you are already a good player you will notice in dry weather that a large splodge of paint becomes imprinted on the face of the lofted iron club after a firmly struck full shot. Now take a ball and place it against the face of the same marked club. The area of contact is only a fraction the size of the splodge of paint.

The splodge got on to the club-face because the ball, in being driven, had been spread across the metal by the speed and force of impact. It needs little imagination or knowledge of ballistics to realize that this ball had a better chance of holding its course and biting the green than a ball which had more quickly parted company with the club-face.”

Try this golf tip out next time you play. See what feedback you find to improve your golf swing. Sometimes the smallest clues offer the best information on how we can improve our golf swing performance – driving the ball greater distances, more accurately and with greater control!

The Aerodynamics Of The Golf Ball

Knowing about every single component of our golf game gives us an edge.

Ever consider the golf balls role in improving your golf game performance?

In his article below, Jack Moorehouse provides some insight into the golf balls evolution and function. His discussion of the golf balls evolution provides some interesting talking points for your next golf outing. Even better, his explanation of the golf balls function provides valuable information you can immediately apply to improve your golf swing performance and game – giving you that greater edge!

Every wonder why a golf ball has dimples?

It’s not a question that comes up a lot during golf lessons or group golf instructions sessions. But every once in a while, someone will ask about dimples.

Some golfers think they’re just for decoration. Well, they’re not.

There’s a practical reason why golf balls have dimples. It has to do with the aerodynamics of drag. Put simply, the dimples add spin to the ball, which helps it go farther. Thus, the length of your shot isn’t solely dependent on the golfer’s strength and mechanics.

Dimples also provide control. They enable golfers to hit draws and fades and stop balls dead on the green. If golfers couldn’t do this, they’d have to take a lot more golf lessons to achieve a low golf handicap.

Evolution of Ball Designs

The golf ball’s design has evolved over the years. At first, golfers used the “featherie”—a leather pouch filled with goose feathers. Then in the 1840s, they switched to a ball, made from the gum of the Malaysian Sapodilla tree.

Both balls had smooth surfaces because golfers believed a smooth sphere resulted in less drag. Less drag meant longer shots. But according to golf legend a professor at Saint Andrews University in Scotland discovered that a sphere goes farther when scored. This discovery led to a variety of golf ball surface designs chosen more or less by intuition. Eventually, golf settled on dimples because of its beneficial effects on drag.

Today, the modern golf ball has well over 300 dimples arranged in rows.

Drag On A Sphere

A sphere experiences two types of drag.

The first is drag due to friction. This only accounts for a small part of the drag experience, however.

The drag due to separation of flow behind the ball, known as pressure, provides the majority of drag on your ball. With laminar flow, separation is early. With turbulent flow, separation is delayed. The separation region with turbulent flow is smaller than with laminar flow. The smaller separation results in less pressure on the sphere.

The scoring causes the flow to change from laminar to turbulent. The turbulent flow has more energy than the laminar flow, so the flow stays attached longer, causing the ball to go farther. Obviously, hitting the ball farther can help your golf handicap.

Achieving The Same Affect

Dimples use another method to impact drag.

Physics measures this effect using something called a Reynolds number. It indicates when the flow transitions from a laminar to a turbulent state. As the Reynolds number increases, the ball’s drag increases. The average Reynolds number for a smooth sphere is much larger than the average Reynolds number experienced by a golf ball. In other words, the dimples cause the flow to remain longer on a golf ball, propelling it farther.

Lift is another aerodynamic force impacting the ball’s flight. Given the proper spin, a golf ball produces lift.

Dimples also help generate lift. By keeping the flow attached, the dimples help promote the change in flow described above.

If the ball is moving from left to right, the ball is spinning in the counter clockwise direction. The wake is then being deflected downward. This downward deflection of flow results in a lifting force being applied to the ball.

What does this mean for a golfer?

Dimples increase the golfer’s ability to control the ball and make it do what he or she wants.

In one of our golf tips newsletter we explain how to hit a draw. Dimples encourage the drawing action. Without them, it would be extremely difficult to make the ball curve the way you want it to, no matter how much you practiced or how many golf lessons you took. Thus, your golf handicap could suffer.

So when someone asks why a golf ball has dimples, you’ll have the answer. They provide better control and help add length to a shot.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction .

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How To Break 80

Roll It Like A Pro

Need to improve golf swing performance on the green? Here is some excellent skill development advice in the below article by Jack Moorehouse.

Golf is a great game. But it’s harder than it looks.

To be good at golf, you must master not only the big things but also the little things. Take roll in putting.

Roll isn’t the most important factor in putting. That’s why most golf lessons on putting cover other topics, like speed and line. But roll is still a factor in putting and can prevent you from sinking putts. So if you want to become a great putter—and chop strokes off your golf handicap in the process—learn to generate good roll.

The key to generating good roll is releasing the putterhead through impact. We’ve talked about release in our written golf tips. Usually, it’s when discussing the full swing. But release is also important in putting. If you watch the pros closely on TV, you’ll see a lack of stiffness in the left wrist at the moment of impact, if they’re putting right-handed (right wrist, if you’re putting right-handed). That slight angle indicates they’ve released the putterhead correctly.

Factors Affecting Release

When we say release in our golf tips or golf lessons, what we’re really talking about is letting the putterhead go so the club swings past your hands. This isn’t always easy to do. But when you do it correctly, the putterhead is free to flow into a fully natural follow-through. That generates good roll.

In a conventional putting approach, three things affect release—grip, setup, and correct wrist action. Using a conventional reverse overlap grip, works best when it comes to achieving good release. This grip encourages you to let the putterhead flow through impact. Just make sure you don’t grip the club too tightly, which prevents you from releasing the putterhead altogether. Other grips don’t permit this kind of release. Because the left hand is stiff at impact, a cross-handed stroke is not conducive to letting the putterhead release.

Your setup also affects your release. The proper setup has your arms hanging down naturally, your left elbow close to your side (if you’re putting right-handed), and the putterhead flat on the ground or with the toe slightly elevated. This setup allows you to swing the putter straight back and through. In a poor setup, the heel of the putter is off the ground. The left wrist is arched. Or, the elbow is well away from the side. A poor setup “blocks” the putterface open through impact, resulting in misses to the right.

Left Wrist Is The Key

Correct wrist is the third and final factor affecting release. Contrary to what some people think, a stiff left wrist isn’t good when putting. It reduces putterhead control, turns your grip into a left-hand dominant affair, and encourages a stiff, jerky stroke, instead of nice free-flowing one. None of these, as I’ve said in my golf lessons many times, is conducive to achieving good roll on the ball. More importantly, a stiff left wrist delofts the putterface driving the ball into the ground just after contact.

A putter, if you recall from my golf tips newsletter, has three to six degrees of loft. Using the proper release, on the other hand, encourages you to hit the ball at the bottom of your stroke with the putterhead moving level, then up, generating good roll on a putt.

Too Much Release

Of course, you can become too wristy in your stroke. That in turn hampers your stroke as much as maintaining a stiff left wrist—maybe more. Allowing the putterhead to release through impact using just the right amount of wrist action promotes square contact and optimum launch conditions.

Roll is critical to good putting. Three things affect roll when putting—grip, setup, and wrist action. If you grip the club lightly, set up to the putt correctly, and allow your left wrist to move freely, you’ll release the putterhead properly. You’ll also put good roll on the ball. Golfers who achieve good roll when putting will sink more putts than those who don’t, regardless of their golf handicaps.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction .

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How To Break 80

Loss of Swing Plane? Faulty Clubface Angle at Impact? Use Posture to Improve Golf Swing Performance and Be Head and Neck Above the Rest!

As we discussed before in the post, Improve Golf Swing – Improve Golf Swing! – Every Golfer’s Mantra!, restoring and optimizing posture can improve golf swing performance.

A large component of golf swing performance is dictated by our ability to fully rotate. There exists a direct causal link between our capacity to rotate our body and our ability to produce greater swing power, swing speed and swing mechanics.

Paul Chek writes in his book, The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual – Whole in One Golf Conditioning, that, “to golf at full potential, the golfer must possess the ability to rotate almost every joint in the body to its functional capacity” and to improve golf swing performance one “must be able to rotate efficiently and explosively, repeatedly!”

That’s all well and good but, at what joint, does one start with to improve golf swing performance and mechanics? There are many joints involved in producing a golf swing pattern. I always like to start at the top, so, today’s post will quickly explore just one impact the head and neck have on golf swing mechanics.

Improve Golf Swing Mechanics – The Head and Neck and Keeping your Eyes on the Ball

The golf ball itself is small. It’s certainly smaller than balls used in other sports like basketball, softball, and baseball. Understanding this one can appreciate the old expression “you need to see the ball to hit the ball”.

The ability to maintain target acquisition (keeping your eye on the ball) throughout the golf swing is limited by the necks rotational capacity. Poor posture will produce improper length/tension relationships among the muscles comprising the neck complex and result in less than optimal rotational capacity.

Wow, that sounds interesting, but really, what does that mean to the golfer?

Let’s keep it simple. In his book Paul Chek does a terrific job of explaining to a golfer that, “if you are restricted in neck rotation, you most likely have to take your eyes off the ball momentarily during the back swing. This may result in loss of swing plane and/or faulty clubface angle at impact”.

Loss of Swing Plane?
Faulty Clubface Angle at Impact?

Golfer’s cringe when they hear these terms describe their golf swing mechanics and swing patterns.

These two mechanical defects will certainly ruin your golf game. Each could be attributed to postural deviations of the head and neck. If these are affecting your golf game improving the postural alignment of the head and neck may be the answer. Check back to view our posts on postural exercises for the head, neck and entire body to improve golf swing performance!

A Golf Lesson on Plane Angles Shifts (Part I)

Article By Jack Moorehouse

This is the first part of a two-part article discussing the role of plane angle shifts. This week we discuss the four different plane angles in your swing. Next week we’ll discuss plane angel shift models. Every golfer no matter what his golf handicap must transition from the backswing to the downswing at the top of his swing. If you’ve read my golf tips newsletter or attended any of my golf instruction sessions, you know how important this is. Mess up here and you’re done for. Put another way, making a smooth transition at the top of the swing is one key to a great swing. It’s often the difference between belting a bomb right down the middle of the fairway and shanking a pop up off to the side of the tee box. Different players use different methods to make the transition. PGA pro Craig Parry uses one type of shift and Jim Furyk, also a PGA pro, uses a different one. Both methods work. But each requires compensations that can be difficult to make consistently. Each also requires good timing. Parry and Furyk have mastered the plane angle shift that fits their swings. If you’re going to develop a swing that’s helps you chop strokes off your golf handicap, you must do the same. But first we need to discuss the role of plane angles in your swing.

Four Plane Angles In Your Swing

Basically, four plane angles exist—the clubshaft plane, the right elbow plane, the squared shoulder plane, and the turning shoulder plane. These four plane angles show where the clubshaft can go in your swing and determines the actions the shaft must take on the way down to the ball. The four plane angles are described below: The clubshaft plane is the most common plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn up the clubshaft through the beltline at address. This line shows how the club moves from nine o’clock to three o’clock, or from setup to waist high in the backswing and downswing. The right elbow plane is a second plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s right hosel through the left elbow. This line shows how the clubshaft should work from belt high to chest high in the backswing and forward swing. This angle is slightly more upright than the clubshaft plane. The square shoulder plane is the most critical plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s hosel to the midpoint of the right deltoid for a right-handed golfer. This line shows how the clubshaft works for most players from chest high to the top of the swing during the backswing. The turning shoulder plane is the upper most plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s hosel through the top of the right deltoid as the club reaches the top. From here, the club should drop to the elbow then to the original shaft plane and on to impact. Most players need to shift planes to execute a smooth transition from backswing to downswing. Some players use one shift to make the transition. Others use two or three shifts. In our golf lessons and written golf tips, we like to refer to the different ways to make the transitions as models. So there’s the single shift model, the double shift model, and so on. All shift models require some sort of “compensation” to ensure a smooth transition to delivery. Making compensations is where golfers get in trouble.

No Shift Model

In addition to the different shift models discussed above, there’s the no shift approach. Players adopting this model make no plane shift when make the transition to delivery. They maintain the original plane angle established at address throughout their swing. This approach is both efficient and repeatable. But it doesn’t generate as much clubhead speed and distance as the shift models do. Knowing your swing and working within its limitations is the key to controlling your clubshaft and its transition to delivery. Once you understand what type of transition or shift best suits your swing and abilities, you’re on your way to developing a powerful, repeatable swing that will help you cut strokes from your golf handicap. But before you can master the mechanics of a shift model, you need to understand how it works. Next week we’ll discuss the different plane angle shift models.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book, How To Break 80 and Shoot Like the Pros!. He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction.

Get Fit And Go Low

This article below, authored by Jack Moorehouse, is a perfect follow up to yesterday’s post Improve Golf Swing – Improve Golf Swing! – Every Golfer’s Mantra! It’s a great read!

Today’s professional golfers are better than ever. They’re also fitter than ever. Look at players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They’re in great shape. Annika Sorenstam also was in great shape when she played. Good players know that as their fitness level increases, their play improves—all things being equal. They also know that improvements in strength, flexibility, and endurance are often the difference in lowering your golf handicap two, three, or even four strokes. Unfortunately, many weekend golfers can’t hit the gym as often as they’d like. They’re too pressed for time. If they’re not ferrying the kids around, they’re doing home improvement projects. Or, they’re completing a work report a colleague needed yesterday. These activities place a huge demand on their time, making it hard to find the time to exercise. But even if you’re short on time you can improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance with a little forethought and good planning.

Limber Up and Loosen Up

New golfers realize very quickly that the golf swing requires movements that they don’t normally make. Ingraining these motions is among the biggest problems weekend golfers face, especially if they have sedentary jobs. Golf lessons and golf tips don’t do much good if a golfer’s body isn’t pliable. Stretching is a good way to make you pliable. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it can be built into your daily routine. You can do simple stretches at work or before you start a round. The key is using the time you have wisely. For example, if you’re taking a golf cart during your round, loosen your shoulders and back with this exercise: Stand next to the canopy post, your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the post with both hands, keeping your arms fully extended and pull away from the post. Hold that position for one long breadth, and then repeat facing the opposite direction. Do this exercise while your playing partners hit their drives. Stretch also while changing in the clubhouse as well.

Strength And Flexibility

To lower your golf handicap, it helps to improve both your strength and flexibility. Improving these two things can help greatly in your quest to go low. But you don’t have to start pumping iron for two or three hours a day to increase your strength. Instead, buy some basic fitness equipment to use at home. Then when you’re home, look for opportunities to use them, like between commercials of a basketball game or your favorite TV show. For example, an inflatable stretch ball ($20 to $60 in most sporting goods stores) is a good low-tech piece of exercise equipment. The stretch ball provides you the added benefit of maintaining your balance while performing different exercises. Also, you can grab a five-pound dumbbell or whatever is handy, and do sit-ups using the ball. Extended your arms with the weight while doing the sit up. This exercise improves the strength and flexibility of your shoulders, arms, and abdomen.

Develop A Plan

If you’ve read my golf tips newsletter, you know I recommend using a pre-shot routine to insure consistency. Consistency should also be a key component of your fitness regimen. If you really want to start chopping strokes off your game, develop a fitness routine with help from either a trainer or your own research and stick to it religiously. It will work wonders for your game. One final tip: Try to incorporate compound exercises in your program. They work on two or more parts of your body at the same time. Here’s an example of one: Lie flat on the floor, grab one arm, and pull it across your body. Now rotate your hips so your belly button is pointing in the opposite direction of the extended arm. Bend your legs at the same time so your knees are touching the ground. Hold this position without lifting your shoulders for several seconds. Relax and repeat. You can even do this exercise in bed before getting up. The key to benefiting from any exercise program is consistency. But you must exercise regularly. If you can get to a health club, that’s great. Do it. If you can’t get to a club regularly, develop an exercise program that you can do at home when the opportunity occurs. It can be yoga, Pilates, or whatever, just as long as it focuses on increasing your strength and flexibility. The better shape you’re in, the easier it is to chop strokes off your golf handicap.

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How To Break 80

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