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Weightless Takeaway and Back Swing


Your first move in your golf swing, after taking your setup, grip and aiming yourself towards where you want the golf ball to go, is your takeaway.

You take the club away from the ball into the backswing to build energy and power that you release into the golf ball at the impact zone, and to get the head and face of the club moving in the right direction when you make contact with the golf ball.

If you feel the weight of the golf club when you start back at the beginning of your backswing, you are probably doing something a little “off kilter” that will figure into your swing equation when you start back toward the golf ball.

I know because I do it myself.

Try to feel a “weightless feeling” in terms of the club as you start away from the ball. This is the beginning of the backswing. If you initiate your swing with a light feeling it will most likely carry over into the rest of the swing.

If you are “weightless” during your takeaway and backswing, you are using your large muscles and core muscles from the very beginning, and using the golf club in balance according to the way it is supposed to be used.

The design of the golf club also contributes to giving you the best feeling throughout your swing. If you feel weightless you are using the golf club properly, using gravity as a positive constructive force instead of fighting gravity, which gives a forced feeling of heaviness.

Simply, the more weight or heavier you feel when you swing the golf club, the more problems you are likely to encounter when you attempt to get the golf ball moving into the air and toward your target.

New Golf Season 2018-Practice

The new golf season 2018 is on our doorstep. Today is March 4, 2018. We had over a foot of snow on March 2nd and the temperature today is about 32 degrees with a stiff wind blowing.

I had cut my practice nets down because the rain before the snow froze and there was about a ton of snow caught on the nets. So Yesterday I rehung the nets after a hard pull out of the snow and today I decided to it balls again.

The sun was bright even though the ground was wet and muddy and the temperature was no conducive to practicing my golf swing. But what the hell its march and I wanted to practice.

I turned on my SkyTrak launch monitor and connected to my iPhone and went to work. i have been practicing hard since the season ended last November and at times have been able to get my driver club head speed up to 96 and ball speed near 140.

A far cry from the old days when I averaged 116 mph with ball speeds in the 160’s and 170’s. Of course I was 20 years younger and have undergone battles with cancer, knee surgeries, torn cartilages, infections and other surgeries and ailments.

Seems like its been 10 years of a downhill energy spiral, although last year 2017, was a relatively good year knock on wood and all sorts of other things to keep the blues way.

So today in the old and sunny weather surrounded by piles of now I managed to get my club speed to about 85 with ball speed about 131. Not too bad I thought for the conditions and by condition.

I have been experimenting with different shafts. I can still swing a stiff shaft but always need a higher kick point due to the fact that I have a fast hard release of the club head and have strong powerful wrists and hands. Swings with a regular lighter longer shaft have produced better numbers and more distance.

Funny thing about practicing. One day last week when it was a little warmer I hit about 80 balls with a driver and was caught in the 85 to 90 mph comfort zone. Then I decided to call on my adrenaline and try to pump myself up to a “game day” frame of mind. The result of the experiment into a raised level of concentration and awareness was 96 mph with balls speeds of a little over 140.

I guess animated practice is more productive than steady level practice, at least in the context of trying to increase distance, clubbed speed, and ball speed. Although I have played my best golf score-wise when I play in a state of steady level headed clear headed detached concentration.

I am hitting the ball pretty straight on a consistent basis, but I am also starting to become aware of a slight tweak in my downswing move that increases my numbers pretty dramatically. The only problem is that the ball goes way right of my usual direction, which is a slight draw of little fad when I want to hit a fade.

As I sit here the 2018 golf season is right on our doorstep. My SkyTrak launch monitor has afforded me hours of really productive practice during this off season. I will continue to work hard and am looking forward to playing some good golf this season.

Let the games begin!

Golf Training Aids

Golf training aids. The first thing you have to realize is that the people who come up with these things are in business to make money.

Once you understand this, you can understand that no training aid in the world will give you any lasting improvement regarding your golf swing. You can achieve temporary results, no matter how many repetitions you do.

Reality says that once you get on to the golf course you will do what you do naturally, no matter how good you feel about your training aid. Sooner than later your natural authentic golf swing will surface.

There is no substitute for good practice; practice that incorporates a solid understanding of grip, setup, and takeaway fundamentals. Solid fundamentals yield solid golf shots. Solid fundamentals as applied to your own, unique, individual, authentic idea of what in reality powers your golf swing.

You cannot do what you cannot do. No matter how hard you try. Your move is your move. Your golf swing is your golf swing. No training aid in the world can teach you this, it is only yours to discover through understanding a few things about your own golf swing framework.

Strength golf training aids are great. Build up your golfing muscles. It takes strength to swing a golf club. Even a little improvement in strengthening golfing muscles will yield good results.

Practice rhythm and timing which becomes a good tempo. Learn to release the club head at and through impact.

Understand your alignment as you set up to your golf shot. Pay attention to where your shoulders and hips are aiming. Then take the golf club away from the ball parallel to your set up lines at address.

Then go ahead and swing!


Playing Real Golf

Playing Real Golf

playing real golf
Playing Real Golf
Keys to teaching the golf swing
Ball Flight All That Matters

Played Shore Gate Golf Course down near Cape May New Jersey today, 11/12/2017. Played the white tees at about 6700 yards, 45 degrees, cart paths only, course was wet and played long.

What I shot is not important. What is important is that I was playing real golf.  I played one ball, and tried to grind it out as if I was playing in a championship. Counted every shot, penalties, no take overs, putted everything into the hole.

The numbers themselves are not important; they are what they are. What is important is that I write down on the scorecard every score for every hole. This brings the reality of what you shoot into focus. It brings the abstraction into the what is in the here and now.

Playing golf this way may not be a championship, but the mindset becomes the same. I put my head into a tournament situation and played every shot as if it meant something. I played the ball down, played like I had to shoot a score. I felt as if I was playing tournament golf, playing real golf.

We as PGA professionals make so many concessions on an everyday basis, as regards rules and trying to get patrons to enjoy the game, that is is becoming vitally important to me personally to revisit the true roots of the game, the true spirit of the game, and to play golf the way it was meant to be played.

I need this experience of playing golf the way it was meant to be played to replenish my sense of duty to the golfers who I meet on an everyday basis, whether members, guests, tournament players, or green fees. Playing real golf, no matter where it is, can only enhance my experience as a golf professional, and can only make me better as a player and a better professional.

It was a struggle today, but it felt good. I may not have a US Open game anymore, but calling myself out and putting that pressure on myself every time I go out on the course to play is worth the effort. Since golf is 99 percent in your head anyway, why not play in my own reality. Make the entire picture a tournament picture. I am playing real golf.

Every round I play from here on in will be a tournament round. Every shot I hit on the course will be a tournament shot. I have to learn to play real golf again. It is very important to me to do this. I have to revisit that sense of goodness, well-being, and continuity that comes from playing one ball into the hole.

No more practice for me. Just grinding it out as if every shot I play is in the US Open. No one else has to know what I am trying to accomplish. All that matters is that I am pitted against myself as I experience a round of golf and as I experience the golf course.


First Great Golf Shot


I still remember the first time I made real good solid contact in the middle of the club face, one of those times when the ball just jumps off the face and flies straight high and true with no effort. I was playing a course in Auburn with my two brothers, Mike and Lou. They must have still been in high school and living at home, since we were all together on a summer morning. It was early morning the sun was warm there was dew on the grass and very few people were on the golf course. I played with a set of my father’s old irons, some kind of very thin blades with brown steel shafts of some sort. They were the lightest clubs I ever felt in my hands. I still have them here in the house.

I could not have been more than six or seven years old when I hit this first great golf shot, or somewhere in that neighborhood age wise. We were walking down the first fairway. I remember going over to the right side probably in the rough and taking out the old 4 iron from the set. I remember setting up to the ball, taking the club back on the backswing, then letting the club head release through the hitting area. I saw the dew on the grass splatter and I can still see the divot flying straight in front of me as I looked up and saw the results of my first perfect contact. The sun was off to the left a little and brightened the flight of the ball as I watched it sail high and straight, then descend onto the green. I can still see the ball mark on the wet surface as the ball landed, and the ball as it spun backward on the short grass. I can still see it and I can still feel it. Here it is probably over 50 years later, and it is all finally starting to make a little sense to me. 

Golf Lesson Goals

Golf Teacher Goals

My goal here is to relate the information and experience I have gained in the golf business over the past thirty years to help make those who visit better golfers, better shot-makers, and to enhance their enjoyment of the game. Golf truly is the “game of a lifetime.”

I use both high tech teaching equipment and observation. Watching your golf ball flight in regards to what you are doing in your golf swing is the key to any good golf lesson.

By watching and listening to great golfers, and sitting behind the counter watching countless thousands of golfers tee off on the first tee and hit balls on the range, I have developed a great eye and ear for technique or lack of technique in any golf swing. Being able to see and decipher each individual golf  swing as it relates to itself is the key component to any great teacher of the game.

High tech equipment is great, but only for the student who requires it. Most of us just want some simple, common sense help with our golf games.

I started using video in my lessons as an instructional tool back in the early 1990’s. I have used many video systems that have evolved into taking video with an iPhone using the V1 system. I take and analyze video seamlessly in real time with no interruptions, right at the site of the lesson. It is a quick accurate system that gives, you the student, instantaneous feedback before you have a chance to forget the feel and results of the shots that we have on video. Video training has also helped me as a player, as it is always a new experience seeing yourself in real time on the screen. Pictures do not lie.

I just this week (4/23/2017) purchased a SkyTrak Golf Launch Monitor Unit. Its a great piece of equipment. I will probably  only use it for myself but I view it as a very worthwhile investment in my career as a golf teacher and a golf professional; and as a proficient player. The SkyTrak has much the same interface as the old GolfAchiever, only much more refined.

Over the years I have also used the GolfAchiever golf swing analyzer and launch monitor, the Ernest Golf ES12 monitor, as well as my iPhone video camera and iPhone swing analyzing devices and software. I have hit countless thousands of golf balls using this swing analyzers. But one thing I have found is that most golfers want to get better, but do not necessarily have a need for high tech teaching tools or high priced swing aids that just add to the confusion.

If somebody, a golf teacher for example, would have offered lessons and told me 40 years ago when I first started to golf seriously, (and it is ok to take it seriously because I figure everyone’s goal is to play better, to do this you have to have a little interest) that there is one golf swing move to practice that will incorporate and nurture all other moves into a cohesive pattern that would produce good to great consistent golf shots, I would probably have been skeptical at best and figured there was no easy way to make this move called the golf swing. That is why I spent the last 30 to 35 years as a teacher, player, and observer while playing and giving lessons, trying to figure out how to hit consistent golf shots. And again, I never ran across anybody or any body of work as far as golf swing instruction that would lead me down the path to what I call good golf and good to great golf shots, consistently. Anything that is understandable, coherent, and to the point.

I took my first golf lesson and only golf lesson from Mike Pedersen, a world renowned teacher at PGA National in Florida. I learned about my golf swing, and I learned how great golf teachers teach.

I have heard it said that “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.” Taking a golf lesson or two from a qualified golf teacher that speaks to you in common sense language can improve your game and the quality of your shot-making, thereby improving your scores.