Think…PLAY!

If you watch professional golf on TV you’ve probably heard a post round interview with a tour player who talks about “thinking” his way around the golf course.  You’ve also probably heard someone talk about letting go and just “playing.”  To play great golf, there has to be a balance of the two.  Let’s examine thinking and playing and how they work together in a round of golf.

THINK (Compute, Decide, Weigh Options)

Here’s a list of things that I would think about in a round of golf before I hit a shot.

How far am I from the hole?

What kind of lie do I have?

Where’s the wind coming from?  How strong is the wind?

What kind of shot should I hit?

What club should I hit?

Where is my target?  The flag?  20 feet left?  The front edge of the green?

All of these things add up to a final answer that gives you the best chance to succeed with the shot you are about to hit.  Sometimes laying up on a par 5 is the best decision.  Sometimes going for it on a par 5 is the best decision.  Whatever you decide, it’s time to PLAY!

PLAY (Execute, Perform, Go)

Playing a golf shot takes all of the thinking that you have done and puts it on stage.  Once the computations are made, you must accept the possible outcomes and execute the shot.  I sometimes tell players to think like an adult, and play like a kid.  Junior golfers are often fearless, and don’t worry about the possibility of a bad shot.

They just let it go.

This is a great mindset to have, but it doesn’t mean you should shoot at every flag, or make bad decisions.  You can make a “reckless” golf swing at a “safe” target 30 feet left of the flag.  That’s how I define playing golf.

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Tour Striker – Rhythm and Timing Drill

This simple drill is a great way to “swing” the club(s) in rhythm with the correct alignments. I do this drill during a round when I have a few moments between shots. Give this parallel club trick a try and I bet you start hitting your irons a little more crisply with better timing.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Tour Striker Impact Drill Thanks To Ben Doyle And Guest, Dan Gallivan

This is a great drill I learned from Ben Doyle. He uses a shadow to help people understand where the ball line is and how the hands need to pass the shadow and vertical plane (yellow dowel rod) of the ball in order to strike the ball solidly and take a divot post impact.

Special thanks to my student, Dan Gallivan, for participating in this video. He worked really hard on improving his impact alignments and had the courage to change.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Stop Shanking Once And For All! It’s Up To You!

Shanking…Yeah, I said it. It’s an eight letter word. To those afraid of the “horizontals” many of you are looking down the wrong path for the fix. Starting looking at your hands. Your hands are responsible for some massive about of the sensory preceptors in your entire body. I guess I could Google the number, but you’ll have to trust me on this one. So, why do your friends not stand to the right of you? You have “Sweet Spot Confusion.” What is that? This is when your hands can’t tell the difference between the center of gravity of the club head and the center of gravity of the hosel. How does this confusion occur? Well, the club rotates when we swing it. The Sweet spot is looking at a point above the horizon and generally toward our target. As we swing that spot rotates clockwise during the backswing and counter-clockwise during the downswing. The sticky part; imagine you were the size of a pinhead and you were standing on the sweetspot. During the backswing, the club would rotate and the hosel would obstruct your view of the ball. This is where the confusion occurs. The hosel takes on the same feel of mass as the sweet spot and thus you don’t know how to redirect the club effectively.

Sure, I could say you are standing to close to the ball, but watch the video. You’ll see that is not the case if you know where the club is during your swing.

No more Shankapotomos….

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Why We Don’t And Shouldn’t Set Up At “Impact”

Here’s another subject I get asked about all the time, “Martin, why shouldn’t I just set up in the “impact” position?” There are a lot of dynamics that go into impact and artificially setting up in this “position” doesn’t guarantee that you’ll return there.

The video will help you understand how the arms “swing” onto the body during the backswing. This motion, compresses the arms (specifically the left arm, supported by the right arm) against the body. The body then aides in the delivery of the compressed arms.

I think the common mistake with golfers trying to have a forward leaning shaft  and a divot left of the would be that they lose this compression too soon, or feel as though the swing goes down the target line. Our body is basically a hub or axle. Everything must go around us in a circular fashion. Even our divot don’t do straight; they make a left turn after the ball is gone.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Shanking?? Oh My…

Shanking can be a very frustrating and embarrassing event. It certainly doesn’t help your score and I can’t think of a time, except perhaps escaping from trees, where its low squirty  shape is actually welcomed.

This video talks about “Sweet Spot Confusion” and how the club can feel as though it has many “sweet spots.” Please let me know if you have any questions.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

JB Holmes – Tour Striker Lesson In Perspective

I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked, “Martin, you invented the Tour Striker, and it makes sense for the irons, but how do we apply that principle to the driver?”

It is pretty easy to understand applying shaft lean when the ball is centered in our stance and resting on the ground. I know most of you have figured that out. Perhaps you can’t do it yet, but you are on the right path.

Here are some insights on how to use Tour Striker fundamentals when hitting your driver:

The photo above is an overview of the long hitting, JB Holmes, from the PGA Tour. Everyone knows that when JB steps up to the ball, the ball starts to shiver and knows it is about to be squashed! The picture tells a great story and it is pretty hard to argue. The red line is there to indicate an extension of the club shaft while the green line is there to indicate an extension of the outside edge or the left arm. In the top photo, you can see that the club shaft hasn’t even come close to catching up to the plane of the left arm and the ball is already on a trip longer than most of us will take this Holiday season.

Oh, and to add another element of interest to this picture, JB hits slightly UP on the ball a couple of degrees. Hitting up on the ball has its benefits if done correctly and JB clearly does it correctly. The Tour average, incase you care, is about 1 degree DOWNWARD.

Ok, so why am I telling you all this? The shaded area between the lines shows you the difference between shaft and plane of the left arm at impact. Now to bend your mind a little more, take a look at the “before” picture (left) or address picture:

Click on the photo to watch JB in action

Yes, you see the green and red lines like in the top picture, but did you notice how the green line is now  IN FRONT of the red line in the impact photo? It really shows you how much lag JB retains into the impact area. That red line (club shaft) is trying to catch the green line (outside plane of the left arm) sooooo badly, and while doing so absolutely CRUSHES a golf ball on the way!

This is unbridled, free wheeling, FORWARD SHAFT LEAN in its best example. No holding on here people. This motion is going to wrap him into a committed finish every time.

So, Tour Strikers out there, here is an example of how you can deliver the leaning shaft to the ball while the ball is on a tee.  You could say, “Martin, that shaft isn’t leaning!” I’d say it sure is in relation to the lead arm! While it is trying to pass it by, it clearly hasn’t.

That folks is Tour Striker 101

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Which Athlete Plays Better Golf?

I hope the guy on the left can putt!

Some people say golf is merely a game and that athleticism plays only a small part. I say golf is a sport and the better athletes will win the great majority of the time. Which of these two world-class athletes would make the best golfer? Hmmm.

There is a lot that goes into becoming a fine golfer. The best players comprise a blend of physical and mental gifts. If the athletes above had zero golf background and if I had to pick one of these guys to become an elite player, I would most definitely take the guy on the right! Why? It is pretty obvious. This fellow has the raw horse power to move the club quickly. From that “talent point,” it’s my job as the coach to teach him the finer elements of the swing, shot selection, decision-making, etc. With dedication from both coach and student, a fine golfer is born.

The reason for this Blog post is to get you thinking about your physical condition and the way you want to train your body. The fellow on the right is NOT running miles and miles at slow pace in an “aerobic” state. He’s the type of fellow that does quick burst exercise and gets into an anaerobic state during his workouts. His efforts tear down the muscle fibers so they build themselves back up to be bigger and stronger. All the swings of a 90-shooter are completed in less than two minutes of time.  Burning the miles on the treadmill might get your pants to fit you a little better, but it won’t do much to help you with your club control and distance off the tee.

If you find yourself in Phoenix, Arizona, I invite you to join us at one of our Fitness Boot Camps at The Raven Golf Club – Phoenix. The Boot Camps take place every Saturday beginning in January, 2012. This style of workout is great for golf and fun too. The movements “release” energy unlike simply lifting weights and best of all it is at your own pace.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

“En Guard”

 

En Guard

The picture of “Zorro” the legendary sword fighter is a great mental image to take to the course. While most country clubs wouldn’t let you past the gate in this Halloween outfit the “Zorro” technique will help you set your preshot routine in action and score better on the course. Here’s how and why!

En Guard! Challenge the target: prior to hitting a shot, stand on the target line a few steps behind the ball. Raise your club (sword) to the target and sight the ball with the club to the optimal target for the shot at hand. This may not be the flag if it is in a “sucker” location. Raising the “sword” inspires two things; one, stop talking, focus and start your routine and second, draw in a precise target where you want the ball to end up.

Every great player has a physical queue that sets their preshot routine into motion. Arnold Palmer tugged on his waist band. Mark O’Meara adjusted the velcro on his glove. I’m suggesting that you raise your sword to do battle and conquer the target!

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Mind Games

If you’ve been around golf blogs or message boards in the past couple of years you may have come across this picture.  You may have even had it emailed from one of your weekend foursome with a message saying, “Hey this reminded me of you so I had to send it!”

If this picture does remind you of yourself then take a deep breath, relax, and know that you’re not alone with the endless carousel of swing thoughts.  Golf instruction or “tips” are readily available through magazines, books, TV, blogs, and every corner of social media on the internet.  This isn’t a bad thing but it can make things difficult for weekend warrior to sort out, and can lead to cluttered minds and bad results on the golf course.

Our job as JRG/TSGA  instructors is to work with you to develop a plan for improvement.  Often times this involves a series of drills or a progression of changes that leads to our ultimate goal of lowering your golf scores.  We prescribe the most important change first, and continue giving you the most important pieces along the way.

One thing I like to do is have my students hit 15 balls in sets of 5.  If there’s a drill we are working on, hit the first 5 doing the drill.  The next 5 can integrate the feel of the drill into the full swing, and the final 5 use the same feel but go through the full pre-shot routine just like you’re hitting a shot on the course.  One or two thoughts, one or two feels, and hit the shot.

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.