LONG DRIVE EXPERT & CHAMPION
"Hello golf nuts, I am Monte Scheinblum former World Long drive champion and Nationwide Tour player. If you are sick of complicated check lists you have to follow, cliches that don't work and swing fads that make you hit it 300 yards today and 300 feet tomorrow, I am your man. I understand how to cut through all of the technical terms and break it down to a few simple elements to follow. My philosophy is good posture, balance, tempo, and one swing thought.
I have won numerous long drive titles. In 1992 I won the nationals (now Remax) and world long drive championships. I was also twice runner up in the nationals. I have had some high finishes on the Nationwide Tour as well...a 5th being the best.
I've played with some of the biggest names on tour, and will be sharing some of those stories with you from time to time here at ISUCKATGOLF.NET. Hope you enjoy my column and take some of my advice to the practice tee to improve you game. I'm a no-nonsense guy, a little crazy at times, and I'll think we'll have some fun while improving your game.
Like the other fine pros here at ISUCKATGOLF I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the golf swing, the guys on tour or whatever you'd like. Hope you enjoy my column and I look forward to hearing from you and helping you improve your golf game!"
INSTRUCTIONAL ARTICLES BY MONTE:
How Far You Really Hit Your Shots? (Honestly!)
Handset and Release Drill (video)
INSIDE THE ROPES TRUE STORIES & ASSORTED RANTS
Range Guru's (Bad advice)
PAST QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
3 Questions On Hitting Longer Drives: (Longer driver?, Swing hard?, Swing thought?)
Clubface shutting to much & over-swinging
Poor Weight Shift (leaving weight on back foot)
What is your longest drive, what shaft did you use, what Driver, and more.
Proper Plane and Release and Losing The Shanks
Keep Your Head Down. Good or Bad advice?
INSTRUCTIONAL ARTICLES BY MONTE
(IMO, the most important thing in this article is the last sentence.)
Is the following the way to win the Remax World Long Drive Championship? Not by a long shot.
Is it the way the most golfers can achieve their maximum average distance of drives while not sacrificing driving accuracy or score? ABSOLUTELY!
I am sorry, but it is this long driver's opinion that every "swing system" ever devised will not make you hit the ball farther or play better. No system is going to work for more than a very small percentage of people...if it actually works for anyone at all. You know how I know? I tried most of them.
There is also no such thing as adding 30 yards instantly by the change of equipment or change of swing from one day to the next. If you are an experienced golfer and you take advantage of everything you can, you might be able to add 10-15 yards over several months. The very few exceptions not withstanding.
If you are an inexperienced golfer, distance improvement can be much greater, but it still takes time. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES IN GOLF. Any one that tries to sell you that, might as well throw in some beach front property in Florida and part of the Brooklyn Bridge. Improvement in golf is small and it takes hundreds or even thousands of repetitions for it to become part of your muscle memory. Anything else is just a band aid that ends up being a bad habit.
Experienced or inexperienced, the object of making changes in your golf game is not about shooting one low round tomorrow or hitting one 300 yard drive. It is about your handicap being lower 6 months from now and all of your drives having the best combo of distance and accuracy.
So here are some things that will make you longer and better 6 months from now. Don't try to do everything at once. One step at a time. If you don't understand something or disagree ...immediately disregard it.
1. A driver that fits you-To get maximum yardage from a driver, you must have the proper loft and shaft flex.
2. Increase your flexibility- Stretching every morning before you go play for 15-30 minutes (I do), will add more yardage to your game than weight lifting or equipment changes. Lower back, hamstrings and shoulders/rotator cuffs are the ones I concentrate on.
3. Rotational exercises-Any kind of motion that will help you increase how well your torso rotates. I take a small (ladies size) 6 lb. medicine ball and swing it like a golf club while engaging the core muscles in my stomach. The smaller the ball, the better. I don't like the use of weighted clubs. It ruins your feel and can cause tears in your wrists, elbows and shoulders.
4. Balance-You can swing as hard as you want as long as it is in balance. This "swing easy" nonsense is just a band aid to avoid being in balance and having good rhythm.
5. Proper rhythm-If you allow the club to set at the top of your swing, you will be able to generate more speed coming into the ball. That does not mean a really slow back swing. There is nothing worse for club head speed than a deathly slow back swing that ends in a quick transition at the top. The speed of your back swing only needs to be slow enough for the club to set. Think of the 1-2 count of a grandfather clock pendulum.
6. Constant, medium grip pressure-You don't want it too light or you won't be able to help but increase it during the swing. You definitely don't want to death grip it.
7. A proper release-Here is where a lot of people have been misinformed. Everyone knows that throwing or casting the club makes you lose power and speed. A large section of the golf public has been brainwashed into believing that adding lag on the way down or delaying the release increases speed and distance. WRONG! I understand what the physics but lagging the club artificially doesn't work. This method has worked for an extremely small percentage of golfers, but the vast majority have been ruined by this. If you increase lag on the way down (delay the release), you bury it to the inside (get stuck underneath the plane) and the club face is also open. A strong grip is a band aid for this as you are still stuck under the plane with an open club face. If you combat this with a stronger grip, you are now flipping at it with even more force and going to hit it even farther left when you flip it to avoid the block to the right.
In addition, adding unnatural lag narrows your arc, which reduces club head speed (because it fights centrifugal force) and increases spin because the angle is steeper. Sorry to get technical, but way too many people have been sold this bill of goods. A proper release is a constant rotation of the club face from the top of the swing all the way to the finish. Some people will be afraid this causes a hook. Actually, starting the release too late is what causes the big hooks, as a flip is necessary at the bottom to avoid a block when the face is open. Proper lower body and shoulder rotation will keep a proper release from going left. I know ...a lot of info and none of it is necessary to know. I just needed to go into techno babble to inform those who have been told to over lag the club.
Jack Nicklaus said you can't release the club too early. Need I say more?
To sum up the above mess, the release should start as soon as the down swing starts in sync with the turn of the body. Watch the video:
8. Use centrifugal force (CF) to your advantage-If it's good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for you. If you take a bucket of water and spin around, CF is what pushes the water to the bottom of the bucket and keeps it from flying out. CF will speed the club up and get your arms to full extension if you don't counteract it. Examples of counteracting CF: adding lag, burying the club to the inside, swinging inside/out, throwing/casting the club, diving at it with your head, "swinging easy," or grabbing it with your hands and pulling it into your body. CF will also help you square the club if you don't counteract it.
9. Don't try to increase your arc on the back swing-You want to keep the width of your arc constant. Another way of saying keeping your hands the same distance from your chest that they are at address. "Low and slow" or trying too hard to get full extension going back will get the club behind you and pull your head down. Numbers 4-8 on this list go out the window when that happens.
10. Last, but not least, know what "completing your back swing" means-"Complete your back swing," "low and slow," and forced lagging of the club are in a dead heat for things people try to hit it farther and end up ruining their game. Golfers trying to "complete their back swing" almost 100% of the time end up making a back swing that is way too long. It ends up being a huge arm swing after their shoulder turn is finished and once your arm swing takes over for your shoulder turn...turn out the lights.
Put a shaft across your chest touching your shoulders and hold it there with both hands. Turn you shoulders as far as they will go. Then without moving, grip the club normally and extend your hands away from your body to where they would be after taking a back swing. That is a full back swing for you individually and anything longer than that is bad. More than 90% of all golfers aren't flexible enough to take it to parallel. Almost 100% strive for parallel. Exactly 100% of all golfers who are trying to "complete their back swing" go well past their maximum shoulder turn with their arms.
If someone tells you your swing is too long and you respond, "I am trying to complete my back swing." Guess what?
I have eight letters for you. JB Holmes. One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, with the shortest back swing...and not to be rude, but none of you are as flexible, hit as many balls or as talented as Fred Couples, Bubba Watson or John Daly, so don't take the club back that far. Some of you may drink as much as Daly, but that doesn't count.
You might think this is semantics, but it isn't. Golf is not about forcing yourself to do what is right. It is about avoiding things that are wrong and allowing what is right to happen automatically.
I’d say about 90% of all amateur golfers would improve their game if they had a better understanding of how far they hit the ball.
I literally hear several times a week people saying they are 300 hitters.
Unless you are one of the top 10 drivers on the PGA Tour or a professional long driver, you are not a 300 hitter. When you are down hill, down wind, at 5000 feet elevation, hit a cart path and a dog picks up your ball and runs 40 yards toward the green and your drive ends up 301 yards…you are not a 300 hitter.
Just like in baseball if you go 1-3 in a game, you are not a .333 hitter when your average for the season is .232.
I am saying this to make fun of all of you a little, but more to help you shoot lower. Most people make club selections to the green as if they are going to hit their best shot. That is why every sand trap short of all the greens are torn up at the end of the day and the sand over the green is almost perfect. It also doesn't’t help that everyone is either afraid to hit it just over the green…or doesn't’t want their best shot to end up over the green. If you can get over these two things, you will shoot lower.
Let’s take a typical 5-iron for a 15 handicap. Most will tell you they hit that club about 175 and end up in the front fringe or sand all day long because they actually hit “most” of their 5-irons about 165.
The key word is “most.”
The distance you hit your irons is neither how far the best one goes, nor the average. It is how far most of them go. How far most of them go and the average sounds the same but it can be quite different.
So go to the driving range, pick an iron in the middle like a 5 or a 6 and hit 40 or 50 of them and track how far “most” of them go. The far ones and the short ones are like the East German Judge, they get thrown out for bias.
Then adjust the rest of the bag using that measurement as a base point…unless you want to take the time to do it for the whole bag. That is better, but most people don’t have enough practice time to do the whole bag.
Gaps between clubs are usually greater the shorter the clubs get. In other words, the gap between your pitching wedge and 9-iron might be 10 yards and the gap between your 4 and 5-irons might only be 7 or 8.
It is OK to over club when there is trouble short and it is OK to under club when the trouble is long. If there is trouble short and long…we fall back on the “most.”
This is a big one that a lot of people have problems with. It is less about fixing this problem and more about listening to what this problem is telling you.
Losing your spine angle can cause a variety of problems, but to fix it, you have to figure what is causing the spine angle change.
First, I want to make you feel better. Tiger loses his spine angle on almost every driver he hits. The times when he is hitting it well, it changes very little, when it changes a lot, he hits those “let go of the club” blocks into the next fairway and diving hooks into the left trees.
There are two main ways to lose the spine angle. A dive and a loss of “tush line.” A dive is what Tiger does and to see if you have this problem, put your finger on the end of your nose on a video from behind and down the line. If your nose moves out or down toward the ball, that is not good. If it happens a little, it’s nothing to worry about, so don’t go out and ruin your swing by trying to keep you head still.
To see if you are losing the tush line, you need a vertical line (same camera angle as above) like an imaginary wall your behind is up against and your body pulls away from that line during the swing. This is also known as standing up or pulling out of it…not to be confused with keeping your head down.
This post is just about educating you about something that is wrong…and losing your spine angle is like a fever. There is very little you can do for a fever, but it shows you are sick. If you can figure out why you are sick, you might be able to do something.
Now, here are a few examples of how these two things happen…and nowhere near a comprehensive list.
If you take the club away low and slow trying to get too much extension, this will most likely pull your head to the ball and you have lost your spine angle.
If you hold the lag too long on the way down, you are not allowing centrifugal force to extend your arms, you will not be able to reach the ball with your current posture and you will have to dive slightly to get the club to the ball.
If you try and set your hands too high at the top of your back swing trying to “increase your arc,” that will pull you out of you posture and as you straighten at the waist, you will lose you tush line.
If you get scared that you might hit the ball fat, your grip pressure increase and you pull your hands into your body on the downswing…that is going to be a right chicken wing and your lower body will lunge toward the ball to get the club to it. Again, loss of tush line.
Bad posture at address can cause both a loss of tush line or a dive.
Again, not nearly a comprehensive list and I invite all readers to add any they can think of.
As hard as it is to believe for a long drive champion, I had many instances of Tour level putting. If you don’t believe that, having played with guys like Stan Utley and Frank Lickliter, I have witnessed consistent Tour level putting first hand. I have found what the three most important elements are and none of them are mechanical.
1. Reading the green
1. Green reading is a skill that anyone can develop. Not all people can read greens at a world class level, but all can be competent. Here are a few simple thoughts and this is nowhere near a comprehensive list.
Plumb bobbing is a waste of time unless you already know which way the putt breaks and it doesn’t work on putts that break more than a few inches. If you line up the putter shaft even a fraction of an inch to the side of your eye, it can give you the opposite break.
The best way to decide where a short putt breaks is to find the low side of the hole and everything will break there. If you stand about 5 feet away, the more you can see of the inside of the hole, the more on the low side of the hole you are.
On long putts, you always need to know what is going to happen the last 5 feet of the putt, because that is when the ball will be slowing down and taking all of the break.
EDITED: Sometimes I don’t remember everything. A reader reminded me that your feet are great at measuring the slopes and contours on the greens as you walk. I do this often, especially on the days my eyes are lying to me. When the slope, not matter how subtle, bends and contort your feet, they feel it and give you an idea of what the slope holds for you.
2. Confidence is the most important factor in putting. A 5 handicap with a strange stroke, on a hot putting streak and believing he is going to make every putt, will beat a PGA Tour player who is questioning his great stroke…every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Believe it. Frank Lickliter has one of the best strokes on the PGA Tour (even though he recently lost his card), but I watched him lose to a 5 with a right hand slap.
Look at some of the old timers and the nasty wristy stokes some of them had. I know the greens are different, but the point is that being confident is way more important than how good your mechanics are.
3. Perception is part of confidence, but I will give it it’s own section. If you perceive that you like your putter, you are going to make more putts. If your perception is you are going to hit a solid putt and it will go in or it won’t…you will make MANY, MANY more putts.
People perceive they have some control over whether or not they can make a putt go in. Sorry folks, from outside of 18 inches, once you read the putt properly, you have no control over making a putt other than just hitting a solid putt…so that is what you need to do.
Imperfections in the green no matter how perfect they are, will make good putts bounce out of the hole. People who try too hard to make the putt end up steering it and not hitting it solid…especially on short putts.
Which brings me to my next point. Speed versus line. I ask people once they have read the putt and lined up, what % to they pay attention to speed and what % do they pay attention to line. I get all sorts of answers and almost all of them are wrong.
Once you have read the putt and lined up…line is all taken care of and 0% of your thinking goes toward it. You need to pay 100% attention to hitting the putt solid and the correct speed to make the putt on the line you are aiming.
Someone asked me about lag putting. I don’t like to adjust how hard I hit putts, so I adjust speed with length of back swing. Some people like to change the width of their stance to the length of putt to help them adjust the length of stroke. Guess what? both of those things are great if they work and terrible if they don’t. Putting is extremely individual and whatever works, do it. It all goes back to confidence. If you are confident you are going to make putts if you site lines form the movie Caddyshack to yourself…you are going to make more putts if you do that. Putting is not about perfecting a stroke, it’s about a mental and physical approach that will give you the best chance of hitting a putt solid and believing it will go in.
PAST QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
You mention as your number one thing to do to hit longer drives is to get the right driver for your swing. How do I know what is right for me?
First option is to be fit for a driver by a specialist. If you don't want to go that route, the best way to fit yourself is to check your ego at the door. Most people have drivers that are too stiff and not enough loft. Tiger uses a 10* loft driver so don't be afraid to go high. More loft=more accuracy. As far as shaft goes, feel is way more important than what flex the shaft says on it. Industry standards are not equal. So a stiff in brand A, might be the same as a regular in brand B. Go to demo days or a golf superstore and test the driver out before you buy it. Feel is what matters most. Also, get a driver that looks good to you. Nothing creates more anxiety and bad shots than a driver that just doesn't look right when you setup to it.
I have a few friends that can hit it a mile. One hits these towering rainbow shots and the other hits almost line drives that just roll forever. How do you know if you should be buying a driver to hit it lower with roll or high for more carry. Which way do most long hitters lean?
Everybody is different. I was a high ball hitter and went for carry ...others went for the low BB's. The worst thing you can do is adjust your swing to change your natural ball flight. It might be something as simple as a change in ball position, but never change your swing to change to a ball fight that you think might add distance. As far as driver purchase, feel is most important. If it feels good you are more likely to make a free swing and the freer you swing, the more speed you generate and the farther the ball goes.
Thanks for taking my questions…I have 3:
1. Will a longer Driver than standard help you hit it farther?
It can, but only under special circumstances. Just like most things in golf it is individual. It also has nothing to do with how far you hit the ball. I have seen long hitters go to a 48" and get shorter. I have seen seniors who hit it 180 yards go to a 48" and gain 10-15 yards.
2. In your video you look like you’re swing as hard as you can, almost immediately from the top of the back swing. If you want to hit it really long do you need to pour it on immediately from the top?
That is an excellent way you have put it. Often people waste all of their energy in the back swing and never set the club. Balance is also very important.
3. What do you normally think about when you know you have to bust one? Swing thought I mean.
Basically what was said in question #2. Be in balance and let the club set. As I wrote in one of my blog articles, this "swing easy" mantra is all a bunch of non-sense. Some of Tiger's straightest drives are when he tries to really kill it. As long as you are in balance and let the club set at the top, you can swing as hard as you want and still be in control.
I'm the longest hitter of our group. When I'm in the groove I can go as hard as I want after the ball. My swing is similar to your teaching of releasing the club as it comes down. At impact the club is spinning shut HARD. It hurts the wrist if I try to hold it from shutting.
I use the weakest grip possible. It showed up last year but went away. Now its back.
The only club I don't hook is the wedge. What do you think?
You are probably not going to like the answer, as you think you will feel powerless, but your swing is too long and is is throwing off the timing of your swing. That is why wedge doesn't hook as it is a shorter swing and your release is working better with that length swing.
That is a huge misconception, that to hit the ball farther, you need a longer swing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As soon as your shoulder turn stops, that is the end of your back swing,
If it feels powerless when you first shorten it, that is a false sense you are getting. Watch how short JB Holmes takes it.
Thank you for taking my question. On my drives and some fairway woods I am not"finishing"and all my weight is on my right foot and hence, very little distance. I know I am doing it, others see it and try to help me shift my weight from right to left but it continues and drives me crazy. What drills do you recommend to end this malady? I am 61, 5' 8", 170lb, reasonably good health, use mature flex Taylor Made woods. Thank You in advance.
Andrew, this is a great question. There are dozens of cliches out there that are thrown around and they end up ruining all of us because they ruin our perception.
"Keep your head down, low and slow and swing inside/out," are three of these cliches that are either misunderstood, or just plain wrong.
The ones that cause what you are doing are, "stay behind the ball and don't slide." What that causes is the hang back that you are suffering from.
Here is the way it is supposed to work. To start your downswing, the lower body should drive toward the target while the upper body stays behind the ball. That creates a tilt at impact that every single player on the PGA Tour has (Guys at the Remax Long Drive have even more of this tilt). Most will feel like the left hip is driving toward the target (if you are right handed).
Now here is where we get into not understanding the cliche. Many will immediately say I just told you to slide. I did not. By definition. if your body is turning, it is not a slide. The way your cure a slide is to rotate better, not stop driving the lower body toward the target.
I hope this video and drill helps!:
What was the farthest drive you ever hit and what ball were you using to hit it? What make club? Flex? Can you give me an idea of your swing speed? Lastly, what do you think of when you really want to crush one?
At altitude I hit one 463 yards and 407 yards at sea level.
Both shots were with clubs that are no longer available:
I once reached 150 MPH one one machine, but I don't know how accurate it was.
When I really want to kill one, I think of good tempo and allowing the club to set...and balance.
...and my shaft was made special for me and was off the charts XXXXXXX !
I just got turned on to your blog and videos. Great, common sense stuff. I got a bout of the shanks a few months ago, and got over them when I stole about 20 minutes of Dean Reinmuth's time. Once I focused on centrifugal force it went away and I hit the ball better than ever.
They came back yesterday. When I exaggerate not sliding my hips through impact but turning them it gets better, but I know any exaggeration in movement impedes the natural swing.
How the heck do my hands get out of position (not having seen my swing of course)?
Hundreds of people have gotten rid of El Hozel by just understanding the feel of proper plane and release...as one or both of these being way off is what causes this "disease." Watching and doing this drill has had almost 100% success rate of getting rid of them permanently.
Is it ok to tell my son to let his head move naturally during the golf swing while keeping his eyes focused on the ball? I do not want tell him to keep his head down and all the stuff that destroys his natural swing. Want to keep it simple without killing his natural ability. Thanks Much.
"Keep your head down" is the most over used cliche and it is also very wrong. All of the fixes it is used for are not only caused by something else, keeping your head down will make most of those issues worse. You are correct in not telling your son that.
At this point in his development, he will more likely find his best swing without much interference. Helping him with his setup is all you really want touch. If he becomes a great player in the near future, small swing flaws can be cleaned up much easier once he has better control of his body movements.
Need a no bullshit answer how to increase speed through gym training (read too many different stuff on net).I play nearly scratch so need to keep my swing tight .
There is one very important thing in club head speed. Having enough room for your arms to swing so they don't have to slow down...and can in fact speed up. Don't stand too close to the ball and that you bend at the waist/hips to give yourself enough room through impact.
As far as work outs go...
INSIDE THE ROPES WITH MONTE SCHEINBLUM:
25 years ago there was a clash of the Titans. A virtual “Celebrity Death Match” of golf.
It was Phil Mickelson and Harry Rudolph (another great junior player from San Diego who had a similar success on the Nationwide Tour that I did) against Bob May (for those who don’t remember, he had a great struggle with Tiger at the 2000 PGA) and door #4…namely me.
We were teenagers. I was the oldest, but the least accomplished of the four which was not a disgrace as these were three of the greatest players in the history of junior golf in Southern California.
I will just say, Phil was acting like a punk and it started on the very first tee.
By the third or forth hole it was so bad, even his partner Harry was becoming annoyed.
We then began discussing a subject that was not golf related.
I won’t reveal the subject matter, but let’s just say it was something that is at the forefront of the minds of teenage boys and this time, Phil was the least accomplished.
Trying to fit into the discussion, Phil made…how do I put this…a faux pas. Well, the three of us sensed weakness and jumped on Phil without remorse and it continued through the turn. By this time, Phil was walking down the fairway by himself and was crying.
The funniest part, he was still lighting it up on the scorecard and despite some exceptional play from Mr. May and myself, we lost.
I did not see Phil after that for about 5 or 6 years.
The question begs, “Monte, why are you telling this story about Phil right after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer? That is kicking a man when he is down.”
That is exactly why I am telling this story and I need to add one more fact.
A few years ago, athletes of several sports were polled about which athlete in their own sport is the biggest jerk and most hated by his peers. To no ones surprise, Terrell Owens topped the list. It surprised many that Phil was around #6 and the only golfer who made it.
He has a nickname on the PGA Tour. FIGJAM. **** I’m Good, Just Ask Me.
Now on to my experience. Throughout the 90’s I lived at PGA West in La Quinta, where one of the rounds of the Bob Hope was played.
A few years after the junior golf incident I was hitting balls on the range because I was getting a sponsor exemption into the Bob Hope (it was later given to Mac O’Grady before the tournament started, but that is a story for another time) and here comes Phil walking right toward me.
He was the new star on The Tour and the darling of all the fans.
“Monte, how are you?”
“Good Phil, thanks.”
“Congratulations on winning the long drive championship, how’s the rest of your game doing? Hoping to see you out here soon.”
“Thank you, I am hoping to be out here soon too. Um, Phil, forgive me for saying so, but I am surprised you are talking to me after that day we all played together.”
“Nah, I was being a punk and I deserved it, good luck this week.”
I saw him a few more times after that and he went out of his way to say hello. It is the opinion of this golfer that Phil is a class act and many of his peers don’t like him because he does what he wants and doesn't’t care what other people think…and the fans love him second only to Tiger.
Good luck at The US Open Phil, but more importantly, good luck Amy on a quick and full recovery.
Several years ago, I used to live at PGA West where they have played the Skins game, The Bob Hope and Q-school.
I was playing the Palmer course one day and there was a film crew and several carts in the middle of the fourth fairway. I decided to go watch and found DL shooting an instructional video. I decided to listen along with 10 or 12 of my fellow members.
I won’t going into the specific technical nonsense he was spouting because I don’t want to expose you to what can only be considered the golf version of pornography. Needless to say, I disagreed with it, but I want to tell you what happened.
He spouted his nonsense, tried to implement it by hitting a shot to the green…dead 90 degree shank.
Take 2…same nonsense verbally, tried to swing that way…El Hozel about 4 feet from the first one.
Take 3…same nonsense into the camera…I would like to tell you he holed out door #3, but alas, it was another right turn special.
He slammed his club on the cart and it broke.
I would like to tell you what happened next, but I couldn’t contain my laughter and had to drive away.
Moral to the story. Why is much of the world trying to improve their golf game by listening to a guy who gives out info so bad, it gives himself the shanks?
You know who the range gurus are. There are mid handicappers, they watch The Golf Channel 4+ hours per day, subscribe to at least 4 major golf publications and spout more cliches than Brent Musberger.
…and they offer advice to golfers of all skill levels, including pros. Yes, these Madmen of the Mats will even approach golfers significantly better than them with unsolicited advice.
…all of the advice sounds good because many technical terms are used but the lesson is often worth less than the price that it cost. Here are some beauties…and if you are wondering why I don’t get involved and say something, it’s just not worth it because the poor student usually thinks they are getting good stuff and just thinks I am just rude.
1. I was on the range one day watching a guy give a lesson to a teenager. He massively shut the club at the top and had one of the most bowed left wrists I have ever seen. He shut the club so badly, all he could do was unwind the club open at impact and hit a 50 yard slice with woods and shanks with irons.
Range Guru #1, who I saw hitting balls and the only lesson he should be giving are how to pickup chicks in a leisure suit. He walks over to the kid and says…”the reason why you are slicing is the club is too open, so what you need to do is take a stronger grip and try and roll the club closed as you are taking it away.” then he grabbed the club at the top and really wrenched it shut. It was not pretty.
2. Range guru #2 implemented my favorite cliche in a manner that defies logic. A lady who was obviously a big time beginner, was topping every shot with every club. No shoulder turn, lifted her arms, made a massive head dive at the ball and did the old double chicken wing to top 7 out of 10, whiff 2 and actually get one airborne. This guy a few spots over who has that swing that I love to make fun of. All he did was lift his arms, drop them on the ball and pull the club slowly into that perfect reverse C finish and pose. AKA “The scratch finish.” You all know this guy. He is about a 12-15 handicap, hits it about 220 downwind, downhill, but he walks with his chest out cuz everyone tells him how beautiful his swing is. He walks over to this lady and tells her that she is not keeping her head down…and repeats this every time she whiffs or tops it. Which was about 43 times in the next 20 minutes.
3. This is one of my favorites. An older guy, with a dang solid move, is hitting balls. He was slightly over the top, but was hitting this consistent 10-15 yard cut…not close to a slice. Looked like he could be a high single, low double digit with a decent short game. Unsolicited, range guru #3 walks over to him and says, “you have a pretty good swing, but you know you come over the top and a draw goes much farther.” He then tells the guy to start his downswing by trying to hit himself in the right hip with his hands. I saw this old guy a few weeks later and he couldn’t get the ball in the air.
4. I am watching a guy who is about a 10 give a guy who is about a 25 a lesson. The 25 looked like he might have been a former pro athlete, because he was very coordinated and picked up movements very quickly. It was also obvious he hadn’t played long. Range guru #4 is throwing every cliche and technical term at this poor guy…and to his credit, he did about exactly what #4 was telling him and hitting pretty good shots. #4 then tells this guy to hit a draw at a target flag. The student hits a laser right at the target flag, it turned over a hair too much, hit the slope about 10 feet left of the flag and took a big kick to the left…and I quote…”when you work the ball, you only want it to curve about 2-3 yards, your shot hooked because you unwound your V-flexion too soon.”
Let me digress before I continue the story. A beginner hits a laser draw 10 feet from a flag…that is an awesome shot. You are only supposed to work the ball 2-3 yards? Were Ben Hogan and Moe Norman even that good?…and excuse my profanity, but WTF is V-flexion?
Well, that is how I approached the situation. I asked #4 what V-flexion was. He told me it was the “V” that is formed when you really make a small angle with the left arm and the shaft and it forms a “V.” That is where all power comes from.
So I said, “you mean lag?”
He said, “no, lag is when you really get those hips moving to start the downswing before the upper body and hands and the hands “lag” behind the turn of the lower body.
I laughed, walked away and told the beginner if he knew what was good for him, he wouldn’t listen to his buddy.
#4 told me I had a big mouth and would I like to put my money there.
The course where this range was is pretty difficult and has a set of tees that is in the 7500 yard vicinity.
I knew this guy was all talk and wouldn’t risk much money, so I took the opportunity to embarrass him. I said, “let’s play the back tees, I’ll give you a stroke a hole and the loser pays for the green fees of all three.”
By the fifth hole, he gave me the money for my green fee and left with his friend.
PS-I have been approached by one of these fellows more times than I can count. In my younger years, I used to curse them, call them idiots and asked them how much they wanted to play for. As I got older and became less hostile, I would politely say thank you, and that I had a tournament the next day and I didn’t like to work on anything new the day before hand. They were all at least smart enough to agree to that.
Now I just practice with Oakley sunglasses that play my i-pod wireless through and can pretend I don’t hear them.
The moral to the story: Neither a guru nor a listener to a guru, be.