Today’s post was going to be related to custom fitting. But THEN I saw a Golf.com article with David Orr – Flatstick Academy – demonstrating the Chopsticks Putting Drill. You need to see this one today! – and so here is the link…
David showed this drill to me and others at a Flatstick training a few years ago. It is simple, inexpensive – two alignment sticks and two rubber bands – and the most effective drill I use with golfers for many putting issues.
Many golfers “suffer” from a concept and myth called The Accelerating Putting Stroke. Short backstroke, long follow through. Maximum putter speed past impact. It is a major reason a lot of golfers cannot create great Speed Control in their putting. When I have them get the feel of a more CONNECTED putting stroke using the Chopsticks Drill, everyone immediately gets it – and they are on the road to an improved stroke and better speed control. In addition, sometimes issues like pushed and pulled putts immediately improve when golfers create a more connected stroke.
So as David said in the article – super smooth! – give Chopsticks A Try!
About a month ago I changed putters, to a Cleveland Huntington Beach 10. I love this putter, and I am making more putts! I bought a Grip Master leather putter grip to install on the putter – I have always wanted one of these. But while waiting for it to come, I installed my “old faithful” Winn Tour Pistol grip – and the lineup of the flat side of the grip looked ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. For now, I am going to stick with the Winn!
Whenever I see a golfer, one of the first things I look at is the putter grip – has it been installed correctly? Not twisted one way or another – so that the face can be open or closed at address? There are many ways to install a putter grip correctly – using lasers, or by eyeball are examples. My personal favorite is illustrated in the picture in this post – here is what I do…
I put the putter in my vice, and “zero” out the digital gauge that I have sitting on top of the vice surface.
I adjust the putter face so that I get as close as possible to a “90 degree” reading with the digital gauge on the face.
Then I install the grip, and visually look down the flat surface to see if it as a start looks to be installed correctly.
I then put the little flat plate in the picture on top of the flat surface of the grip – at different locations along the length – and visually see of the grip is installed correctly.
THEN I take the putter out of the vice. And EVERY 10 MINUTES, for at least 30 minutes, I look at the lineup of the grip again and make small tiny adjustments as needed. Sometimes putter grips can move a little right after they are installed – and I correct for this.
I also prefer – if at all possible – that the golfer is with me when I install his or her putter grip. So that they can see for themselves if the grip is put on perfectly.
So What Does This Mean For YOU? Here are some simple thoughts and suggestions.
First, the next time you get a chance – look at how your putter grip is installed on your putter! Look down the flat side, and see – is it square, or twisted one way or another? And is this the way you want it to be an expect it to be?
If you get a new putter grip installed, do not assume it will be installed perfectly. Be there when it is installed if at all possible, and be sure it looks right to YOUR Eye. It is YOUR Putter!!
Let’s talk today about the choice for YOUR Trusty Sand Wedge! However, before we start – enjoy this link about the History Of The Sand Wedge.
Rory McIlroy had a pretty good weekend at the Tour Championship! I think it is instructive to look at his iron set makeup. He plays Taylormade P730 irons – 6 iron loft 31 degrees and pitching wedge loft 47 degrees. And his wedge lofts are 52, 56, and 60 degrees. Pretty good gapping across his set of irons and wedges.
So he carries a 56 degree wedge – which I am pretty sure is his club of choice for most of his sand shots. As I do weekly searches of “What’s In The Bag” for Tour winners, the majority of their wedge club setups have two characteristics:
The wedge loft gapping is almost always no more than 6 degrees between wedges, and most often 4 to 5 degrees.
Most play with a 56 degree wedge – which again I assume is a normal sand wedge for them.
Many OEM iron sets these days are sold with 26, 25, and even 24 loft 6 irons – compared to the 30 degree lofts the tour pros play. If you play with stronger lofted clubs, you have to “pay the piper somewhere.” And most often this is in loft gapping between your irons, and the loft choices you have for your wedges. I have seen some sets of irons that will have 54 degree loft “sand wedges” because the gap wedge lofts are 48 or even 47 degrees.
So what’s an informed golfer to do? – one who wants to have a great short game and particularly a great sand game?
First, know the lofts of ALL of your irons – not just the 6 iron or 7 iron you might be tested with.
MAKE SURE that the club you are using as your Sand Wedge is designed to help you create great results. One that has enough loft to get the ball in the air, and the right type of bounce to allow it to perform well in the sand. Most often – a 56 degree sand wedge.
This may mean – yes – that the loft gapping in your wedges is not optimum. But playing with a sand wedge that is right for your game has to be a priority – for you to score well.
MY Sand Wedge? – the 56 degree Miura K-Grind 2.0 wedge shown in the picture above – it is an AWESOME weapon in the sand!
It has been 3 months now since my prostate surgery, and (thanks Diane!) I had a wonderful 70th birthday party this past weekend. BUT I also had a really good golf “kick in the teeth” this past week.
This past Tuesday, I played for the 2nd time since my surgery. I wanted to walk 9 holes, and ride 9 holes. After about 7 holes I started to get really tired, and by the 10th and 11th holes I pretty much could not hit any good golf shots. So I stopped playing for the day.
This Was A Really Great Result!! Because now I know I messed up by not doing a lot of exercising the month before playing again.
I am not ready to play below my potential. SO – here are a few things I did this past week – and the past few weeks…
First I started walking daily, and I joined Planet Fitness this past week. And I started eating a more healthy diet.
In the past month, I decided it was time for a putter change (I have played with the same putter for about 7 years). I used some of the knowledge I have learned from my friend Bruce Rearick and his putter fitting process to find a putter that is a good match for my inside-to-outside putting stroke. And I did find a great one – the Cleveland Golf Huntington Beach 10 Mallet putter. Scott Sikorski, head of custom fitting at Srixon / Cleveland Golf XXIO (a good friend) helped me get this putter – and I love it!
I also decided it was time to put a new 56 degree sand wedge in my bag – and so I am now playing with the Miura K-Grind 2.0 Wedge. I bought this wedge particularly to use for my sand game (which is improving, but the new wedge will help).
Finally, I am continuing each day to work to get the swing speed I lost as a result of my surgery (it will happen!).
HOW ABOUT YOU!! Setbacks do not have to be permanent. Learn from them, and find ways to take YOUR golf game to new levels – and Shoot Lower Scores!
Every morning I do a guided Headspace meditation for 10 minutes – and the topic for the present sessions has been Generosity. To others – but I think also to myself.
For the last month, I have been preparing to start to play golf again (after my May 13 prostate removal surgery). This has included efforts to get my driver swing speed back – before surgery it was about 95 mph, a month ago it was 78 mph (ouch!), and yesterday it was 85 mph (little by little!!). I also do daily stretching exercises, practice to improve my short game technique, and a lot of inquisitive putting practice (more on that later).
I view all of this practice as a way of being generous to myself – because I see the possibilities of scoring as well or better than I did before the surgery.
All of you I bet can find your own personal ways to be generous to YOUR golf games. But one of the BEST ways we can all do this is to play the tees that fit our games – Tee It Forward! My friend and deep thinker Dave Tutelman two days ago sent me a web site article he just wrote aboutbeing more generous to his golf game. Here is the link…
A few things that struck me in reading this article – one that may surprise you!!
A simple formula – Your Tee It Forward Course Distance = 36 Times Your 5 Iron CARRY Distance – is an easy way for you to estimate the golf course link that will work well for your game. For me – I expect my 5 iron carry distance is about 165 yards – course length about 5,900 yards – about what I normally play.
I loved reading about the joy that Dave writes about because he plays courses that are suited for his golf game!
But what about the Average Lady Golfer? Well, most golf courses that I know of are not really set up to suit their games. Ladies who hit their 5 irons about 100 yards – using the Tee It Forward Formula – should be playing course lengths of about 3,600 yards. Most courses I know of do not have total yardages less than 5,000 yards. What an opportunity to Grow Golf For Women – have course set ups of say 3,500, 4,000, and 4,500 yards – Just One Golfer’s Opinion!!
So Golfers – Be Generous to yourselves – find ways to keep optimizing your golfing potential. If you really like the challenge of playing courses a lot longer Tee It Forward distances – go for it. But those of you looking for a great way to keep enhancing your love for golf and to shoot lower scores – Tee It Forward!!
“Hey Dad – can you build Madux some golf clubs for his birthday?” Madux Wright is 9 years old, pretty athletic, and left handed. I COULD just buy him some junior clubs, but building them specifically for him and his size is what a custom fitting expert grandfather should do.
The picture above shows MY driver (44 inches long), and the driver, 7 iron, and putter I built for him. Custom heads, shafts, and grips. My driver is about 8 inches shorter than his.
Here are some of the specifics of how I approached this “grandson build.”
Madux has a wrist-to-floor measurement of 25 inches. I consulted with good friend Dan Connolly – who developed the True Length Technology process for determining club length. He created a build length chart for someone with a 25 inch wrist-to-floor measurement. I built his clubs using the 26 inch chart. (By the way, my wrist-to-floor measurement is 36 inches….)
I used very soft flex shafts for the driver and 7 iron.
The swing weights and MOI values for the clubs are really really light. But Dan suggested to not worry about swingweight for these clubs, not really a fitting parameter for a very young golfer. Length wins.
Ultimately I will build two more irons for Madux – a pitching wedge and sand wedge – and a 22 degree hybrid. His irons will be a bit unique because I am using the Wishon Sterling Single-Length iron heads. A great way for him to groove consistency for how he will swing his irons.
And finally, junior sized grips.
We went to Top Golf in Atlanta this past Saturday so he could start learning to love his clubs. Check out this Madux 7 Iron Swing Video – the club sets up beautifully for him. The same for his driver. He looks comfortable swinging the club, and he created a lot of satisfying results. A good start for him!
So now for the proud grandpa custom fitter to finish the rest of his clubs. Length – Length – Length!
When you hit the center of the driver face, you will optimize your Driver Smash Factor – optimize ball speed – and help to maximize driving distance. But – can there be MORE value to center face contact?
Recently I completed an on-line Trackman University training course – and learned and reinforced my knowledge of some important custom fitting basics.
Driver faces have a bulge or face curvature to make use of what is called the GEAR EFFECT. The relationship between driver face bulge and gear effect is described clearly in a Dave Tutelman web site article – At This Link. The driver face bulge compensates for the gear effect for off-center driver face contact.
Now it gets more fun! It is actually possible to create a straight driver shot with an off-center contact. How this can happen is described in these two videos – Gear Effect, Spin Axis II, and Straight Shot. As an example – if you have an outside-to-inside club face and face open to the path, you can potentially create a straight shot (or at least less shot curvature) if your contact is on the toe of the golf club.
But now – how about these combinations….
Outside-to-inside path, face open to path, contact on heel – BIGGER Slice, BIGGER Miss.
Inside-to-outside path, face closed to path, contact on toe – BIGGER Hook, BIGGER Miss.
So the gear effect and driver design can for some shots help compensate for slices and hooks – but can also sometimes enhance slices and hooks. You might – on the driving range or on the golf course – look at where you make contact on the face and compare that to the ball flight you created.
All in all – playing with a custom fit driver that helps you create More Consistent Center Face Contact is the way to go!
You are on the 12th hole and playing and scoring great. You have high levels of expectation for your final score. You have a 2-1/2 foot putt for birdie – and you miss it. BANG – EVERYTHING CHANGES. You Dummy. And there goes your great round up in smoke.
My friend, Dr. Noa Kageyama – The Bulletproof Musician – wrote one of his best ever posts this week, a must read. Here is the link to the post…
All I can say is, if you are looking to play better and more enjoyable golf – read this post and the links. There is information in it for golfers, for coaches, for parents.
Here are a few things you can do on the golf course to apply the principles discussed in Noa’s post…
Perhaps start where the golf drama is the highest – on the putting green. Experiment with Accepting Every Putting Result No Matter What It Is. Then after you putt, rate your degree of acceptance on a 1 to 10 scale – 1 is very low acceptance, 10 is very high acceptance.
If you start seeing value to your game in Accepting Putting Results – take it to your Entire Game. Have an objective of Accepting Every Result. And then after the shot Rate The Shot.
Compare how you play without Self Compassion to how you play when you Accept All Or Many Of Your Results. You might like the change!!
If you did not read my June 2019 Newsletter (published June 15) – here is The Link. It includes some great Trackman University videos, a Brad Faxon putting drill worth using in your practice, and some discussion on “Variability and Compensations” in your golf game.
And finally it is Good To Be Back! My prostate removal surgery went very well and so has the recovery. I appreciate the good wishes and prayers from many of you. Now I am ready to get back to true custom club fitting, putting instruction and coaching, and creating great web site content to help golfers Shoot Lower Scores!
Well I promised to be back today. My computer repair was successful (whew!!), we had a GREAT golf trip – BUT some other great things happened that have kept me REALLY busy for the last two days. Exciting stuff!! Rather than sharing the details today, I would rather talk about them in my next Podcast. And I will have some other important things to share in that podcast too.
So Stay Tuned to my next Podcast – Episode 128 – on Wednesday May 8!!
On Monday April 14, my wife Diane and I returned from our bucket-list France River Cruise Trip. I was excited to get “back at it” – to create a new podcast episode, finish building some clubs, do a new custom fitting. And then…
I knew I had some problems with my iMac computer – the one I use to produce podcasts. Well – the hard drive was corrupted. It has been at a repair shop for a week – luckily, I had a great backup of the machine – but still, no new podcast.
The combination of pushing to get “back at it” and getting blasted with pollen here in Oak Ridge put me in bed with the worst case of broncitis I have had in years. 3 days of nothing but bed rest.
And finally – our annual 6 day golf trip starts tomorrow April 24. So no play, no practice ahead of the trip for about 2 weeks. Not the best way to build confidence!
I realized that all of this was leading me to a personal RESET – just stepping back and relaxing, accepting where I am – so that I can Come Back Stronger.! The golf this coming week – it will be what it will be – and who knows, maybe being in a more “not caring” mode will help me produce some great results.
So my next post will be on Wednesday May 1 – most likely not a podcast, but I will be back!
ALSO!! – Tuesday April 30– the day after I return from my golf trip – I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Mizuno Demo Day and also this year a Centennial Golf Academy Open House! Come with lots of your golfing friends from noon to about 7 pm (the Demo Day times are from 2 pm to 6 pm) – and I will give you a personal tour of my Custom Fitting and Putting Instruction Facility at Centennial. I would love to meet you then!!