Practice Notes to Self on the Backswing – Think Frisbee

wrist, arms, shoulders, and hips turning in sequence with a frisbee

wrist, arms, shoulders, and hips turning in sequence with a frisbee

Did some front yard practicing today with my at-home practice station. Took out my SKLZ target netting, a fairly huge contraption but easy to set up (don’t worry I don’t use real golf balls – i use the perforated plastic ones instead), and tried out my new grips and tried to focus on some backswing drills that work on the CASH principle of trying to move/turn the clubhead (in other words – the wrists) first, then the arms then the shoulders and then the hips.

I did a few swings slow motion but it was hard to think it through on a normal swing and I started to get all jumbled.

Then I remembered a thought I had after reading something online – about the swing really being all about the left arm.  If you use the left arm to move the club instead of your right arm – you’ll have a better chance of guiding the club correctly.

That’s the thing with golf – it’s such a game of opposites – swing down to get the ball up, focus on calming your mind instead of getting all pumped up, work on being more humble instead of brandishing your ego.  When it comes to the swing – I’m figuring out it’s about using your non-dominate arm instead of getting power and control from your right arm (if you’re right handed).

frisbee3So I had a little Eureka moment.  When i tried to focus on that – I came up with the thought of trying to throw a frisbee with my left hand.  I was playing with the idea that the backswing and the swing all together is more like a left-handed backhand in tennis.  I read that in one of the blogs or a magazine.  And I always heard that the swing altogether is like trying to skip a stone across a pond or similar to a pitcher throwing a baseball.  But the latter images made me focus on my right hand and action with my right wrist arm and shoulders. But when I tried to emulate throwing a frisbee with my left hand I sorta kinda really got the sensation of having to keep that left arm extended, turning my wrists at the right times and leading with my hips as I tried to shift from back to front. It was palatable and replicable and natural even if awkward.

I also got the feeling that I could also emulate the sensation of trying to hit a nail with a hammer – something you hear many pros talk about when talking about the precise nature of getting the sequence for power right…the idea that you delay the striking of the hammer until just before you hit the nail much like you need to delay the club head from swinging forward until it comes back down below your hips. The whipping sensation came about naturally when I tried to swing like I was throwing a frisbee – because the speed of the frisbee comes from delaying the flicking of the wrist until the last moment.

Anywho – the ‘throwing of the frisbee with my left hand’ seems to work conceptually for me much more so then trying to think clubhead, arms, shoulders, hips.

So my practice session was useful in that regard.  Now I’ll have to see if that sensation remains after a few more practices.  But after several weeks of feeling like I haven’t started making improvements on anything except putting, this is a glimmer of hope.

That’s golf for ya’.  Just when you start to get discouraged, she throws you a bone and you’re right back in it like its the first day. Hazzah!!

frisbee motions similar to golf swing

frisbee motions similar to golf swing

Backswing Basics – CASH into a good sequence

So I’m back into focusing on my game.  I played 9 holes a couple weeks back and although it wasn’t a great round I did notice that the one area I did well in was my putting – which is the one area I’ve been focusing on since the beginning of the year.  I can’t beat myself up too much because work’s been a grind and I haven’t been able to focus or practice much but I need to double down and re-look at my goals for this year.  But it felt great having such a grooved routine that I didn’t have to even think about for my putting.  I never 3-putted and I guess that counts for something.

I’m almost done with my batch of lessons – my very first batch of lessons from an instructor EVER! – and I have to admit that the greatest benefit from this is that I swing all the way around in one full motion now – instead of decelerating or stopping short.  My instructor’s been good with giving me mental thoughts and I’ve changed out my grips (per his advice) for the first time ever.  Who knew? (common phrase for me it seems) but grips are like running shoes – you have to replace them every so often even if you don’t play with them – they dry out from use and/or age.  At a minimum you should wash them often to get the grit off.

So now I have a new set of Golf Prides’ that are a smidge wider than my older grips on my new/used set of Titliest DC9’s.

And now I have a confidence that if I focus on a particular area of my game, I will see improvement over time – so I’m gonna focus on my irons. 3-9.

Recently I read a GratefulG blog about the many resources available to us die-hards and I decided to take advantage of online videos and such to research how to practice my backswing where I have a lot of trouble sequencing club movement and staying on plane.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that the real sequence evolves from thinking purely about the left arm’s movement and to think: clubhead, then arms, then shoulders, then hips when it comes to what rotates in what order. The acronym is CASH.  Move the clubhead to 730pm on the clock face, then move the arms to 9 oclock, then turn the shoulders until the left shoulder is under your chin/chest over your right foot, and lastly turn your hips until your back faces the target.  Also, I’m learning that the backswing is not where you get power – it’s just the set-up to get into position – like pulling the bow back before you release the arrow.  Once I got the CASH thing in my head, I saw it every where – on TV, in magazines and in a ton of online videos so this is a fundamental that I need to groove into a routine.

Anyway, that’s where I am for now.  I haven’t written in a while but I’m gonna try and get back in the saddle for that as well.

My Pittsburgh Steelers are playing tonight – whoo hoo! life is good.  I love my new grips – they feel great.  I shoulda done that a long time ago.

SVG-out

Backswing_CASH

Review: The Links at Spanish Bay

Thanks GiM, I was recently in the area for some whale watching in Moss Landing. Have yet to play any of these but they’re a short 90 min drive from San Jose/Silicon Valley so I will keep these in mind. Re blogging so I can dial up the info easier when that day comes. Photos are fantastic n majestic per usual. Happy golf thoughts all around!

Golf Is Mental


Course Design: 8/10
Fun/Playability: 7/10
Course Conditions: 8/10
Service: 9.5/10
Value: 7/10


The Links at Spanish Bay is located in Pebble Beach, California, and is part of the trifecta of Pebble Beach Resorts’ golf courses along the Monterey Peninsula coast, which also includes Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach Golf Links. I’ve had the chance to play Spanish Bay twice now, the most recent time was during our 2015 winter road trip, two days after our wedding.

Spanish Bay is located a 5-10 minute drive down the road from Pebble Beach Golf Links along scenic 17-mile Drive. If booking a stay with Pebble Beach Resorts, staying at The Inn at Spanish Bay provides a slightly more affordable option than staying at the Pebble Beach Lodge. There are also several great restaurants, a lobby lounge with a cozy fireplace, a pool, gym, and tennis courts on site. If you’re…

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Maiden victory for Merritt

A good recap and inspiring story. That’s the thing about golf – you just never know but it really can be anyone’s game on any given day. Hazzah!

Golf as we know it

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Troy Merritt. Ever heard of him? Not many people have but he defied the odds this week and took on and defeated an elite field to win his maiden PGA Tour event with ease.

merrittwinnersbag-847-patricksmithAfter missing five cuts in a row, Merritt was an outsider (to be generous) and never looked like contending after the first two rounds with an opening round of 70 and a second round of 68 put him on four under-par and out of the running. After tweaking his hand position on the club at address, the results soon started to show. A course record 61 on Saturday saw him smash his way through the field and put himself at the top of the leaderboard.

Merritt always looked in control on the final day as he knocked in birdie putts at five and seven pushing himself further away from the field. The only man who made…

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Things to do Near Pebble Beach

If you’re ever coming out to northern Cali near Carmel or Monterey Bay you should check out Moss Landing and get great seafood grub at Phil’s Fishmarket. It’s seat yourself but worth the trip and the wait. Then go do some whale watching. It’s a good thing and life affirming …. Just like golf!!! Fore!!

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Which Putter is Best For You

Good short tips on putter selection

The Grateful Golfer

Using the proper putter is key to scoring low in golf! Many amateurs believe that the style of putter head is the key factor when selecting a putter. Of course, looks and feel are very important, however it is not the key point when putter shopping.

Basically, there are two types of putters. A face-balance putter and a toe-balanced putter. Each club is designed to help the golfer make solid contact on the ball to ensure the truest roll towards the hole.

When deciding which putter is best for your game, it is important to determine your natural swing plane with making contact with the ball. Does your putter head follow that square-square-square line; the inside-square-inside path; or the inside-square-square path? It is important to understand which of the putter head paths is most natural for you before deciding the type of putter you may need.

Once you have determined your putter path…

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