I intend to bring together a group of students, united in the goal of lasting improvement through structured method building. The curriculum will be built, through the first year, from the introductory section (Pg.XXIII): My Best Advice For Method Building. The first week of each month there will be a Driven Golfer Academy (DGA) newsletter delivered to your email. It will further outline the specific topic of that month, other areas of instruction and topics from the golf world in general. Also, I will provide insight and answer member questions generated through the member Q & A tab. Members can provide video and receive personalized instruction. Through the course of the next year we will build a library of information that can be utilized in the future and will create a platform that we can expand upon in the coming years. Other ideas, like Podcasts and on-sight clinics are in the future as well. My goal is to bring my students together, as Driven Golfers, and build a network where we enjoy golfing success, not only on a personal level, but as a group as a whole.
By joining the Driven Golfer Academy (DGA), you have my pledge to be thorough in our discussion of method building. I want my members to be proud of their association and happy to recommend what we have to their friends. I guarantee we can be successful, as a group, and bring our games to the highest level ever.
I imagine golfers read about “the Secret to the Game” in hopes of skipping past the years of discovery and moving straight to golfi ng excellence. I completely understand that emotion. In fact, I made that my mission when I chose to make professional golf instruction my life’s work. I hope to assist my students design THEIR MOST DIRECT PATH TO SCRATCH GOLF.
With that in mind, I’m going to offer a group of suggestions, in advance of the lessons presented in this book. I want you to enter this book with a frame of mind that is open to discuss and consider different standpoints. These ideas are simple in presentation but derive from many years of teaching and witnessing top-level golf. Perhaps one of these can become your truth or “secret.”
1) Good Grip– You hope to create a good golf swing and a tendency for the clubface to return to impact consistently. It is well worth your time to create a comfortable grip, that allows you to swing freely without worry of extreme curvature of your golf ball. It is simply not worth your time to try to accommodate a poor grip, as you will likely waste time and effort chasing daily swing feels that won’t provide any lasting results. It is not really a matter of “interlock or overlap,” but of adopting positions that make you swing the club well.
2) Steady Head– I believe players benefi t most from ATTEMPTING to keep their head still. Some of the greatest ball strikers ever have used the FEELING of a steady head to form a connection with the golf ball and keep their swing in tune. Many of my students have found that a focus on a steady head can quickly provide a better feeling of timing. I realize that pictures and video show slight movements, turns or dips of our head during the swing. Realizing that the ball is stationary and may or may not be sitting cleanly on the ground or on a level lie, do you think you will have a better chance of solid contact by attempting to stay connected with the ball, or by allowing or trying to move up, down or away from the ball?
3) Full Left Shoulder Movement– So many shots are ruined by moving the club with a snatch of the hands. Whether it is a full swing or a tricky pitch shot, feeling your left shoulder participate in the swing will create width and timing. This shoulder moving fully will give us a patient feeling and the confidence to allow our swing to run its course. The old school advice to “finish your backswing” when under pressure, speaks directly to this idea.
4) Perfect Aim– Mentioned several times in this book, many of the other things involved with method building depend upon correct aim.
5) Affirmative Pre-Shot Routine– Body language speaks loudly, as it is normally easy to guess what kind of round a player is having by the way he carries himself. When playing golf shots, you will be much more consistent after forming a solid pre-shot routine. You are building your zone, a kind of force fi eld pressure cannot penetrate. How do basketball players make free throws, with the game on the line and 20,000 people screaming? They trust their routine and diminish the importance of the situation. Please don’t underestimate the importance of this fundamental and incorporate it into your practice sessions.
6) Diverse Short Game– We know that you will likely face turmoil in every round you play. You need an “insurance policy” to hold your round together on those days when you are not striking the ball as you normally do. To be a successful tournament golfer, the ability to score well on your bad day is vital. Also, quality golf courses provide a test that says you will only be given a limited number of chances at birdie and you MUST capitalize on those chances. It will be your versatility with your wedges that allow you to compete at any level.
7) Understanding Of Release– ALL great players can feel the club approaching impact and the progress of the clubhead through and after striking the ball. This “release” must match your grip and swing. Once you build your grip and swing, the payoff is control of the face and path that produces dependable shot pattern. Many players chase intricate release patterns that involve a lot of wrist movement and clubface rotation. I ask my players to focus on accuracy above all else, because I know distance will come as a result of solid impact and square path.
8) Clean Mechanics– Your golf bag is filled with clubs where no two are the same. They are all different in length and loft. If your mechanics are good, you need only to make a good swing to play a good shot with any club. Poor mechanics will limit the clubs you will play well. Also, poor mechanics will wound your golf swing and take away that relaxed, comfortable swing we all hope to play with.
9) Limit Forearm Rotation– Any type of arm rotation introduced into your backswing will have to be corrected later in your downswing. Adding rotating arms to your swinging body is dangerous. Inconsistent strikes and extreme curvature are guaranteed. At address, your clubface is pointing at the target. Develop a feeling that it maintains that position, rather than immediately giving that position away to begin the swing. See it like hitting a tree with an axe. Hold and swing a square clubface, with a minimum of forearm rotation. Driving, putting and short wedges will be greatly enhanced, along with the other areas of your game.
10) Swing Information– I believe knowledge is power. It is a part of player development to become a student of the game. Just be sure to have criteria. If you hear or read a piece of advice, ask yourself this question: after telling me HOW, did this advice tell me WHY? If it tells me why and it makes sense, then consider it thoroughly. Is it obvious that many great players follow this advice? Also, BE CAREFUL OF ADVICE THAT IS NOT ACCURACY BASED. There is no higher concern than accuracy. There is a great deal of advice, concerning golf swing technique, that holds no component of target recognition. In my 30+ years of teaching, I have witnessed MANY players diminish their ability to improve, by chasing ideas that ignore the target.
11) Great Attitude / Optimism– There will be so many obstacles, so many chances to fail, that our attitude will be the backbone needed to continue down our path to success. The ability to happily go about our business is invaluable, especially when things are NOT going the way we had hoped. Character is developed by acceptance of every situation golf can present and the way you learn from each experience. Optimism for the coming shot, or the eventual result of the match, is the lifeblood of a round of golf. Being a constant voice of support and kindness keeps us mentally engaged and willing to compete.
12) Be a Pleasure to Play Golf With– There are few compliments more valuable as being the person “everyone wants to play golf with.” Show your playing partners that you hope everyone in your group plays well today. Be kind and supportive, no matter how your game is going. No one likes to play with the player who sings the blues or goes silent when they are not playing well. Also, players can feel when there is someone in the group who wants to see others fail. The “toxic” player quickly loses playing partners, no matter how good they are. No one should have to suffer your poor attitude or mood swings. You will certainly play better golf, once you lighten your mood and open your eyes to the gift of golf with friends.