Things continue to go well on the range. Today I was simply shocked at how long (for me) I was hitting the ball, and at times I just to had to laugh, I couldn’t believe it.
I’ve got two 3 woods and I’ve been trying to decide which to keep in the bag. I though today might be a fun day do that test. I must say I’ve also been tempted by the distance claims from TaylorMade golf for the Rocketballz line. The two 3 woods are an Adams 15 degree superfast from 2 years ago, and a nike VR pro from last year at 13 degrees. The Adams has an X-Stiff shaft, while the Nike has Porject X 6.0.
Amazingly the both had similar launch angles, with the Nike actually launching slightly higher. How was the distance? Normally, the range I go to has a high fence that starts at about the 240 yard line. My typical 3 wood would carry just short of that and hit the fence on one bounce, or maybe reach the start of the fence. Today, I had a number of shots that struck the middle of the fence, normally a place reserved for my driver. I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced 3 woods that solid.
I credit the work I’ve put in this winter on my fundamentals. Namely I’ve been working with the Powerchute to improve my timing, sequencing, and fitness. I can’t say enough about it.
Interestingly I’ve been considering getting fit for new clubs. Not sure I need to do that for my 3 wood. I did manage to find a winner, the Nike VR Pro 13 degree outperformed the Adams and I’m happy to say that it’s going to take its rightful place in my bag. In addition, I was hitting all my irons incredibly solid. It was a phenomenal practice session and I hope things continue well.
The warm winter provided something we don’t get to see often in the northeast, year round golf in decent conditions. I’ve spoken with golfers who did not stop playing at all this winter. Although I took a break from playing, I spent a lot of time working on fundamentals, golf fitness and putting. All indications are that it’s going to be a great season and I’m looking to get into the low single digits, 5 or below.
My range sessions have shown me that the things I’ve worked on this “off-season”, are beginning to pay off. Ball striking feels great, and I love the ball flight I’m getting. I’m launching my irons super high without getting any ballooning. And my drives feel incredible. A lot of it has to do with the work that I put in using the Powerchute. It’s not just a training aid, it’s a real golf fitness tool, and it’s become the main training aid I use. It has really solidified my swing fundamentals and it’s been incredibly exciting.
What kinds of things you have done this off-season to get ready, and how are they paying off for you?
For the past month I’ve worked with a swing trainer called the Powerchute. I’ve given it an extensive test and the results are in.
What is the Powerchute?
It’s a swing training aid that aims to increase clubhead speed and lag, and improve timing and lag. In addition it strengthens the fast twitch muscles.
You attach the powerchute to your club and it becomes a small sail, that uses the wind created by your swing as the resistance you swing against. I was skeptical at first. I watched the videos on the website and Jack Nicklaus using it and I was still skeptical. It wasn’t until I took my first few swings with the powerchute, and then without it, that the wow factor hit me.
The first swing after you take the powerchute off your club is an amazing. The club feels lighter. The backswing feels normal, and then you start your downswing. My first swing without the Powerchute was so fast that it threw me almost off balance.
After using the Powerchute for a few months now, my old weakness: driving, has turned into a strength. Working with the powerchute daily has really helped with that trouble spot for me. I find that I’ve developed much better sequencing, even better lag, but more importantly I am able to use that lag properly. The resitance from the Powerchute has forced me to use my body and my hands properly to finish the swing correctly.
Over the last few months, the Powerchute has become my favorite swing trainer. I really enjoy heading down to the basement, where I have my golf practice area setup, to make some Powerchute swings. I feel that not only am I practicing solid fundamentals, but I am developing good golf fitness, and in the right muscles.
I can honestly say that the more I use the Powerchute, the more I want to use it. I’ve found new uses for it to help my game overall. It really is the only swing trainer I use now.
Now, to the fitness part of the powerchute. I’ve been told that the Powerchute, strengthens the fast twitch muscles that you use in the golf swing. These are the muscles needed to generate speed and power. The Powerchute achieves this by providing a plyometric workout. What are plyometrics? The following is from Wikipedia.
“Plyometrics (also known as “plyos”) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric exercises may also be referred to as explosive exercises.”
The golf swing is all about controlled explosive power. It requires finesse, touch, feel, and power. Plyometric training is a perfect fit for golf. A friend of mine trains using Kettle Bells to achieve this, and he happens to be a director of golf so I know that those are great exercies for golf.
I do find that the Powerchute provides a plyometric workout and a very good one at that. The faster you can swing with the powerchute, the more resistance you create, and the more you work out those fast twitch muscles.
At first I found I struggled when I switched from Powerchute swings, to iron swings. They felt too fast. Over the past few months everything that’s gone into the driver has also gone in to improve my iron play.
The Powerchute has been amazing to work with. I was so skeptical at first, but it has improved my power with all clubs, my balance, and my fitness. I have zero hesitations about recommending it. It is worth every penny. Check it out at: http://www.powerchutegolf.com/
There’s a new video that now comes with the Taly Mindset. The opening credits, certainly set the stage.
The Taly Mindset is a device that challenges conventional thinking in golf. It was invented by an engineer who loved the game of golf and wanted to play better. You can read my full review here. The device is now used by many touring pros and teaching pros across the country. One of the most famous teachers who routinely uses the Mindset to teach is Lynn Blake.
The DVD is a big improvement over what used to come with the Mindset. Although the pamphlet the came with it before gave some indication as to how it should be used, it really was not detailed enough and left questions unanswered. It left it up to the golfer through trial and error to figure out what to actually do and how to do it.
The new DVD answers the questions that every golfer needs answered when using the Taly Mindset. If you can understand the thought that went into the development of the Taly Mindset then you can learn to use it effectively. And it will change the way you approach golf.
I found the DVD gave me new insights to really understand how to use the mindset. There is a lot more to it than the pamphlet covers the DVD is an excellent complement to the device.
The new DVD comes with purchases of the Taly Mindset for $89.99 or can be ordered from the Taly Store for $49.99. If you have a a Taly Mindset, I highly recommend the video. Taly Williams is offering a discount to Taly Mindset owners. They can use the coupon code “MYDVD” when checking out at the Taly Store.
If you’ve played golf with me in the past month you would have known that my ball striking has put me in a bit of a slump. My distance control was off, and my shots were coming up short.
In a few minutes the Tour Striker brought my ball striking back. An hour and half and two buckets of balls later, I’m feeling much better about my ball striking. The difference is dramatic.
Sadly, before this session I was having trouble hitting my 8 iron 150 yards. It was extremely frustrating. This afternoon, my 8 iron was a much more respectable 165-170 average carry, with several carrying 175-180. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
I knew I was on the right track when I started to hit what some low bullets with the Tour Striker. These bullets went no higher than about 30 feet, but they carried about 200 yards. The Tour Striker pro that I use is the equivalent of an 8 iron, so that’s some serious contact. In an earlier conversation I had with Martin Chuck, the inventor of the Tour Striker, he assured me that when I’m hitting those low bullets, it means I’m very close to excellent contact, just millimeters away from perfection. He’s right.
Shortly after the those low bullets, with a minor adjustment I began to hit them high, super high and solid, and they just carried forever. It felt so good after this past month of less than perfect ball striking.
I saw this post earlier today and I couldn’t help thinking how much it relates to golf and the way we approach it.
So often, we set high expectations for ourselves, especially when we’ve been working hard on a particular aspect of our game, like chipping, putting, or driving. Then when things don’t go as planned we stop having fun.
The problem is that this way of approaching the game, makes it harder to perform well. It gets in the way. Or rather, our expectations get in the way.
I want to make a distinction between this and confidence. You can have confidence without expectations getting in the way. Confidence is a great thing to have. In fact it’s what we want to develop in our game. We want to have confidence that we can hit the shot we’ve committed to hitting. But I think the greatest confidence comes from knowing that you’ll be all right even if things don’t go as planned.
Watching tournaments on tv you’ll often hear players who are playing well talking about the way they felt during the round. They knew that even if they missed some shots, that they’d be able to get up and down. This kept them in the moment.
You’ll see the opposite from players who are playing poorly. Every bad shot is an arrow through the heart of their confidence. Every bad shot makes them more miserable. Frustration sets in and bad shots begin to pile up.
It’s not easy to play without expectations. But I’ve found a few techniques that help.
1) Focus on this shot right now. Forget about what happened on the last shot, or the last hole, or the front nine.
2) Make a conscious realization that if the shot doesn’t go as planned, you’ll still be ok. Golf isn’t life or death. It’s a game. It’s a maddening game, but it’s just a game. Learning to let go of the outcome is incredibly powerful for many reasons.
The mission has begun…and it got off to a rocky start. The day’s practice was off. Ever felt like you’d never played golf before, it was sort of like that. My irons were solid, my driver felt like a foreign implement in my hand.
It was frustrating, but I did get my initial launch monitor spin rates. They ranged from 2400, to 4200, but most of them were right around 2800. Like I said, it was a weird day of practice.
I was pretty frustrated so I did some more work in the evening and figured some things out. It came down to some basics, posture, take away, and clearing the hips. Correcting these 3 made a huge difference and let me get through the shots more efficiently.
Looking forward to taking these corrections out for a spin tomorrow.
One of the weakest areas of my game has been my driver. I’ve always been very good with my irons. A steep swing allows me to create crisp iron shots with a descending blow. Unfortunately, this steep swing, really makes driving the ball difficult. I tend to generate a lot of back spin which hurts my accuracy and length. As a result I’ve been fitted into driver combinations that are meant to really reduce spin.
My recent fittings have shown my spin to be in roughly between 2800 on good swings, and 3200 on my poor swings. My mission is to get this down to a paltry 2200. A Bridgestone Ball Fitting made some recommendations based on my numbers: 105-107 Swing speed, launch 11.8. It recommended 2200 rpm as my ideal backspin to optimize carry and total distance. This means I need to reduce my backspin roughly 1000 rpm give or take a few.
First things first, I need to confirm my current spin rate. I’ve started to make some changes but I think it’s important to get an accurate assessment of where I stand. I’m sure this won’t be an easy mission, but I think it will be one well worth the effort.
If you want to add some pressure to your putting practice to make it feel a bit more like what you’ll feel on the golf course then try this game.
The game is split into two halves, your front nine and your back nine. On your front 9, each putt is like you’ve hit the in regulation. Every putt made is a birdie, every putt missed leaves a par putt (you must putt in, 3 putting does count as a bogey).
On your back nine, these are your greens missed in regulation. Every putt is for par. Miss and your next putt is for bogey.
So, on the front nine, you want to get as quickly and as far under par as you can. Be sure to mix in 3 shorter putts (4-6 ft), 3 medium putts (6 – 12ft) and 3 longer putts (more than 12 feet) in each nine.
You’ll find after you finish the front nine and start the back, the pressure really starts to mount as you try to remain under par. Give it a shot, and tell me what you think. I’ve found it to be an awesome way to practice.
I had a very interesting experience on the range yesterday and had a revelation as I was practicing.
I’ve tried a lot of different things to maintain a good tempo, but a quick thought came into my head that made for a really good swing thought. ”Lazy Explosion”.
It may sound a bit funny, but it really worked for me. The feeling that resulted was one where the swing felt slow, especially the downswing, but the ball just EXPLODED off the club face and flew very far consistently. When I was doing it right, I never felt rushed and it felt like power built up in a very subtle way. Of course I still fought my tendency to swing hard, but this idea of a lazy explosion really cut through that most of the time. I was compressing the ball way more than usual and it felt like it stuck on the clubhead for a split second, before blasting off into space. Even though my irons are very stiff, with shafts designed for a lower ball flight, the ball flew higher, farther than I’m used to, with no balooning.
Obviously the swing itself wasn’t slow, but it felt that way. In fact it felt like I had a lot of time between the top of the swing and the start of my downswing and the resulting shots were really exciting to watch.