I enjoy this time of year for a number of reasons. The main one is that I have the opportunity to do research on those topics which I will utilize in my golf instruction business throughout the year. I am constantly looking for information that will make me a better teacher and you a better student and player. If I am better at what I do then you will have have a greater opportunity to achieve your golf goals.
This blog topic is inspired by my friend and client, Bob Perkins. Bob is an avid golfer and downhill skier who is passionate about his performance. A few weeks ago Bob started a conversation with me about the consumption of water and how he was going to drink more water in 2015 than he had in the past. Bob talked about the value of this and the more I thought about it I determined that it was a topic in need of some research and something that should be shared with my students and blog followers. I have decided that this would be a wonderful resolution for the New Year and something that few of you have ever done in earnest.
For those of you that I know personally I am not asking you to be Gary Player and do 1,000 sit-ups a day. Gary once told me that he does this every day so that he knows that he does 365,000 of them each year. I know you all to well to ask for that type of commitment. However, I am going to offer you the opportunity to be healthier and you can do it sitting down without ever breaking a sweat.
Here is the plan. Beginning today get on a scale and get an accurate bodyweight and provide yourself a quick overview of how you feel, both mentally and physically. Then for the remainder of the month I want you to make a conscience effort to drink water each and everyday. You will divide your body weight in half and then drink an ounce of water per pound everyday until February 1, 2015. You see I am only asking for 1/12 of a New Years Resolution. So if you weigh 180 lbs. you will drink 90 ounces of water everyday. It is that simple.
If you prefer you can drink cold water as it provides a brief shock to your metabolism, raising it by about 30 percent so that over the course of a day your body will burn about 100 more calories. It may sound like a lot of water but it can be done.
Drinking water is essential to your health. “Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group. Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, agrees: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” he says. When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise and in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Here are the reasons to insure that your daily intake of water is sufficient:
- Drinking water assists in the maintenance of the balance of body fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
- Water assists in the control of caloric intake. For years those who diet drank heavy amounts of water. Water intake in place of higher caloric beverages can certainly help you. Foods with high water content tend to help you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
- Water will energize muscles, Cells that do not maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer which is why you should always drink plenty of water on the golf course.
- Drinking fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
- The amount of water in your body helps to maintain healthy looking skin. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss.
- Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. The kidneys ability to cleanse your body of toxins will continue as long as your intake of fluids is sufficient. With the proper intake of water your urine will be light in color and free of odor. People who drink to little water are thought to be at a higher risk for kidney stones.
- Eating more fruit and vegetables is another wonderful source of water and fluid intake. Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
- Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
- Cartilage in the joint consists of 65 – 80% water. This vital fluid in tendons, ligaments, and muscles serve very important functions in cushioning and lubricating joints and tissues, and staying elastic.
These are the reasons that I asked you to only obligate yourself for one month. I know that you will feel so good after only a month that you will want to do this for the remainder of the year and in years to come. I am doing this and will be happy to report my results in February to you. Feel free to share your comments as well.
I have held off completing this portion of the blog as I just completed a trip to Omaha, Nebraska with fellow instructors/friends to work with the renowned short game instructor/coach, James Sieckmann. James works with players on all the professional tours and has wonderful information in the short game and putting arena to share. I validated some information and learned some things that I will write about in the months to come.
In putting like much of the game of golf the set-up to the ball which includes the pre-shot routine are paramount to success. It is important to put yourself in the same position each time you make a stroke in order to create a greater probability of success.
When we are preparing to get into our set-up position to putt you have completed your read of the putt and decided on your AimLine. My preference is to do the following:
- Set the putter face on the ground behind the ball and insure that it is aimed at your AimPoint. The ball is in the correct position relative to the “sweetspot” on the putter face and that it is properly soled
- Place your hands on the grip and assume your balanced position so that your posture is stable and you have the proper stance width in a balanced position. Insure that the ball position relative to your front leg as well as the distance from the ball to your toe line is consistent. You want your eyes to be over the ball or slightly inside it (See the pictures below)
In the image above Rory McIlroy has his putter face aimed correctly, eyes over the ball with attention paid to the distance from his toeline to the ball. This is a position that Rory would want to repeat each time.
When practicing your putting it is important to do so on a regular basis and to create a putting practice routine that is includes all aspects of putting. My routine has the four elements in it that can be interchanged from one session to the next. When I go out to practice I always begin in this manner:
- I will practice my set-up routine with alignment rods to insure that my ball positions as mentioned above are correct and that my posture is balanced over the ball. I want to feel stable and anchored.
- Standing on various slopes I will take my digital level and feel the slope under my feet and then measure the percentage of slope with the level to verify that the percentage of slope incorrect. I use this number in my AimPoint green reading to determine the AimLine of each putt.
- I will read various putts from 3’to 40′ and then stroke them on the appropriate AimLine so that I may work on getting the ball started on line and rolling the proper distance.
- I may work on some putting drills and then play some putting games so that I have to compete against myself. When I do this I only use one ball and get only one opportunity to perform. In this manner it is similar to what happens on the golf course.
I have decided toe expand this to Part Four which will include my Putting Games. Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss any of this.
In my last blog I talked about getting a putter that is custom fitted to you and how to practice getting your ball to roll on the intended line. Here is this blog I will discuss two more factors:
1) How the ball’s position on a slope will effect it’s roll
2) Rolling the ball a specified distance
The Position of a Ball on a Slope In putting we always have two objectives to reach. We want the ball to roll a specified distance and in a certain direction. To better understand how to control your distance you need to know how its’ position on the green in relationship to the flag will have an effect on how it rolls. Your putts can roll in one of three directions or in a combination of these:
- up a slope (ball will roll slower and have less break as it rolls against gravity)
- down a slope (ball will roll faster and have more break due to gravity)
- across a slope (ball will again roll faster and have more break due to gravity)
A downhill putt will certainly have more break to it than an uphill putt
As an AimPoint Certified Instructor I have been privileged to proprietary information that is utilized by the best players in the world. We have learned that there are multiple factors that have an effect on the amount of break in a putt. They are:
- The speed of the green’s surface (commonly referred to as Stimp)
- As the distance that the ball rolls increases so will the amount of break
- The position of the ball to the uphill slope of the green will increase or decrease the amount of break
What have we learned from the AimPoint Green Reading method is that you always want to keep your ball in a position that will allow for an uphill putt with a slight right to left break if you are a right-handed putter and a left to right break for a left-handed putter. The ball resting slightly above your feet is an easier putt for you than the ball below your feet.
Once you have determined the amount slope that you have and your golf ball’s angle to the slope you now have to control the velocity of the golf ball as it rolls. This will be accomplished by controlling the amount of stroke taken and the speed of the stroke. I often work with a metronome in order to have my students make the stroke in the same time regardless of the length of a putt. My experience has shown me that better putters have a a pattern of 72-77 bpm (beats per minute) from their takeaway to impact. I will have them putt various length putts to the metronome bpm that works best for them. Whether it is a 10 foot putt or a 40 foot putt I want to establish the same bpm pattern (tempo). In this manner we establish a rhythm that will assist them in controlling distance. To further control distance you will need a stroke pattern that you can execute is a consistent manner. What works well for my students is a ratio of a backstroke that is longer than the through stroke. I often put three beads on my Elevated Aimlines to help facilitate this motion. In the picture below Luke Donald has a through stroke that is slightly shorter than his backstroke. Luke Donald working on his stroke with an Elevated AimLine and a mirror
In Part Three I will discuss a proper pre-shot routine that is repeatable and a practice routine that is designed to work all on aspects of putting. I will share some of my 12 putting drills which will improve your putting performance.
As an instructor I have been certified in the AimPoint Green Reading methods and teach more putting hours than the average instructor. In my experience with thousands of hours perched on a putting green I have come to some valid conclusions about golfers and their inability to putt well. The majority of golfers that I watch on the putting green will practice by throwing three balls down on to the green and start rolling them randomly at a hole. This practice method is wonderful for killing time but does nothing to improve your putting. Putting is a combination of many factors that are intertwined and there is no one area that should be ignored. Most golfers that I see who do not putt well do so because they cannot start the ball on a proper line to the hole and they cannot roll the ball the specified distance. In this first part of a three part series on putting I will discuss the first two factors. Putting well is a combination of these six factors:
- A putter that is custom-fitted to you
- Creating a stroke pattern that starts the ball on line
- Being able to roll the ball a specified distance
- Understanding slope and the ball’s position on that slope will effect the roll of the putt
- A proper pre-shot routine that is repeatable
- A practice routine that is designed to work all on aspects of putting
Custom Putter Fitting
A putter should be fitted to the individual and not bought off the shelf. A putter that is custom fitted will have the proper length, lie angle and the correct amount of loft on the face of the putter. You should choose a design that allows you to aim it properly and the overall weight of the putter should fit your stroke. You have two choices in putter heads. One is a blade and the other a mallet. Your stroke will be better suited to one or another.
The putter heads pictured above are from Edel Putters who custom fit all their putters. Certain putter heads are more likely to assist your ability to aim the putter head more precisely. The two mallet heads pictured on the left are designed for a stroke with less arc whereas the four blades pictured to the right are designed for a stroke with more arc.
Starting the ball on the intended line
In order to improve your putting you must be able to start your ball rolling on the intended line. To do this I never practice my putting without an Elevated Aimline which is pictured below.
The Elevated Aimline consists of two 14″ needles connected with 40′ of elastic string. I place one needle on the Aimline behind the ball and another on the Aimline accounting for the correct amount of break. As an example if I have two feet of break from right to left I would place the end of the Aimline 24″ to t he right of the hole. I stroke putts insuring that the ball begins rolling under the string line. When practicing with the Aimline I will do so with uphill, downhill and sidehill putts. I practice these putting on these various slopes from these distances:
- Under five feet
- 6′ to 10′
- 10′ to 20′
- Beyond 20 feet
In Part two I will discuss how to roll a ball a specified distance and how the ball reacts to rolling across a slope.
Having watched the United States Open the past two weeks at Pinehurst I decided to dedicate this blog to green speed, what it is and how it is measured. In recent years golf courses have utilized green speed as a badge of honor that I am not certain is good for the game. Private club members throughout the land will often boast of how fast their greens roll even though many of them cannot control the speed of their putts when playing these billiard table like surfaces.
The speed of a green is measured in what is commonly referred to as as Stimp. The higher the number the faster the green speed. A very acceptable Stimp would be 9 to 10. To put it in perspective the greens at Augusta National during Masters Week usually roll at a 13 as do the greens at the U.S. Open. The number itself is derived through the usage of the Stimpmeter. The usage of the Stimp should be a consideration when setting the cup position into the green. When the Stimp is rolling at a high number hole placement needs to be cut on a grade of slope that is lower (2%-2.5%). Cups should never be cut on grades above 4%. If they are the ball could roll up to the cup and then roll backwards towards the player.
What Is A Stimpmeter? The Stimpmeter is a device manufactured by the USGA that allows a person to measure and place a numerical figure on the speed of a putting surface. It is a helpful management tool for the golf course superintendent but it is not intended for course comparisons.
“The Stimpmeter is an extruded aluminum bar, 36 inches long, with a V-shaped groove extending along its entire length. It has a precisely milled ball-release notch 30″ from the tapered end (the end that rests on the ground). The underside of the tapered end is milled away to reduce bounce as a rolling ball makes contact with the green.”
A ball rolling down the groove has a slight over-spin, which is consistent and does not adversely effect the measurements. The ball-release notch is designed so that a ball will always be released and start to roll when the Stimpmeter is raised to an angle of approximately 20 degrees. This feature ensures that the velocity of the ball will be consistent when it reaches the tapered end.
How is the Stimpmeter used?Begin by selecting a level area on the green, approximately 10 feet by 10 feet. Insert a tee in the green, near the edge of the area selected, to serve as a starting point. Holding the Stimpmeter by the notched end, rest the tapered end on the ground beside the tee and aim it in the direction you intend to roll the ball. Put the ball in the notch and slowly raise the end until the ball starts to roll down the groove. Once the ball starts to roll, hold the Stimpmeter steady until the ball reaches the putting surface. Repeat the same procedure with two more balls keeping the tapered end on the same spot.
- All three balls should come to rest within an 8-inch span. (Should they be farther apart than that, the Stimpmeter may have moved too much during the series, the balls may be damaged or of inferior quality, or unusual conditions may exist. In any event, a pattern larger than 8 inches is of dubious accuracy, and the three-roll series should be repeated.)
- Assuming the balls stop within the prescribed 8- inch limit, insert a second tee in the green at their average stopping point. The distance between the two tees is the length of the first series of rolls.
- Repeat the above process using the second tee as a starting point and the first tee as an aiming point. (In other words, roll a series of three balls along the same line, but in the opposite direction.)
- Measure the two distances – for the first series and the second series – and calculate their average. Record this as the speed of the green.
- Note: Should the difference in length between the first and second series be greater than 18 inches, the accuracy of the resulting average may be questionable. The area selected for the test may not have been sufficiently level – or sufficiently representative of the green – in which case it is advisable to select another area and repeat the test. Sometimes a green may be so severely undulating or sloping that a level area is simply not available (which the data record should indicate).
Who invented the Stimpmeter?
Golfer Edward S. Stimpson, Sr. designed the Stimpmeter in 1935. The Massachussettts state amateur champion and Harvard golf team captain was a spectator at the 1935 United States Open at Oakmont near Pittsburgh, where the winning score was 299 (+11). After witnessing a putt by a top professional (Gene Sarazen) roll off a green, Stimpson was convinced the greens were unreasonably fast, but wondered how he could prove it. He developed a device, made of wood, now known as the Stimpmeter, which is an angled track that releases a ball at a known velocity so that the distance it rolls on a green’s surface can be measured. There have been three Stimpeters used since it was first invented and they are pictured below.
If properly used it can be a wonderful tool. The correct usage is for the green supertintendent to use it as a tool to insure that there is a consistent speed to the greens throughout the golf course. What has happened in recent years is that many clubs have developed a thought process that a green with a very high Stimp is a sign of excellence. This thought process has been further enhanced by the USGA as they do this in their national championships which was in evidence at Pinehurst for the past two weeks. When determining the speed of a green the first consideration should be the percentage of slope that exists in the greens. When you have a high percentage of slope the speed of the green needs to be on the slower side in order to remain fair. Remember that a high stimp will always create more break than a slower rolling stimp. A 20 foot putt rolling across a 3% slope with a Stimp of 9 will have break of 33 inches. The same putt rolling across a Stimp of 13 will have 56 inches of break.
by John D. Hobbins, Greenside Golf Academy
If you find yourself in a greenside bunker, there are a variety of clubs you could choose to get your ball out. The key here is knowing which one to use, and you could choose any of your wedges including the pitching wedge. The distance from the ball to the landing area will be a factor.
Other factors include:
- the lie of the golf ball
- the texture of the sand
- the amount of roll you want after the ball lands
- the height necessary to clear the lip of the bunker
Once you select the club, you’ll need to determine how much backswing and through swing are necessary. These two elements will help you control the distance.
Bunker shots are one of the few in golf that don’t necessitate club-ball contact. To find the correct ball position relative to your feet, determine the low point in in your swing. Your ball position should be 2″-4″ forward of this low point. You can find the low point in your swing during your practice sessions.
As you execute your forward swing motion, strike the sand at the low point. The energy absorbed by the sand will lift the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.
The distance you want the ball to go is a huge factor in the club choice you’ll need to make. For example, longer bunker shots require more carry and a club with lower loft is recommended: The pitching wedge would be used for the longest shot and the lob wedge for the shortest shot.
An important characteristic of every wedge is the amount of bounce on the sole of the club. Bounce is simply the angle on the bottom sole of the club from the back edge to the leading edge. Wedge manufacturers offer heel and toe grinds for greater playability
I tend to use more bounce on new sand that appears fluffy (high bounce) and less bounce on a tighter and more compact sand (low bounce).
I utilize four wedges in my short game:
- Pitching Wedge with 46 degrees of loft
- Gap Wedge with 51 degrees of loft and 6 degrees of bounce
- Sand wedge with 56 degrees of loft and 12 degrees of bounce
- Lob Wedge with 60 degrees of loft and 8 degrees of bounce
A proper set-up will help you achieve the desired result (see my April 3 blog post).
An example of a great bunker player to study
I have followed and filmed PGA Tour Professional Tom Pernice Jr. for years. Tom is recognized as having one of the best bunker games on any professional tour and he’s a phenomenal short game player.
His coach/instructor is James Sieckmann — known as “Sieck” to his friends — who is in my opinion the best short game coach/instructor on the planet. I have been to Omaha and worked with “Sieck” and will do so again. [As an aside, I would like to say that the nicest people in America live in Omaha, Nebraska].
In the video below, Tom Pernice Jr. discusses how he plays various clubs. Keep in mind that Tom has made his bunker game one of the best on tour. Watch closely and follow Tom’s advice and your bunker shots will improve.
In the next blog posting I’ll talk about how to play these shots and what you should consider when making decisions on which shot to play.
Should you care to share this with your friends feel free to do so, and encourage them to subscribe to the Greenside Academy Blog. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let me know.
by John D. Hobbins, Greenside Golf Academy
It is over and it all happened too quickly for me. It was Thursday and then it was Sunday. There was no “Tiger” lurking this week and Phil failed to make the cut. The grounds of Augusta National were pristine as usual. Every television cable was buried and every green hot dog wrapper properly disposed of. There is not a greater production of golf for both drama and viewing.
What did not happen
As Masters go Sunday afternoon did not follow the script. The movement on the leaderboard failed to produce the drama that we have come to expect. Overall the course was the victor as it played very difficult and did not permit any significant moves as it has in the past. The greens were putting at a Stimp of 13 and the flags were fortified by their positions on those treacherous slopes. They remained safe from attack.
How difficult was the course this year?
Of the 49 players making the cut only 7 were able to break par. Jordan Spieth, at 20 years of age was winning the Masters through the first seven holes on Sunday afternoon. Bubba Watson, a champion here in 2012 won the last eleven holes and staked himself to a second green jacket with a three shot victory .
While Bubba finished at 8 under par second place was shared by Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. On a personal note I was pleased that neither were victorious. Had either of them won, the USGA would be busy this week creating a ban on a left hand low putting for right-handed players. I favor the lead arm low in putting for stability with the stroke. Whew!!! That was a close one. Both players should be on their respective Ryder Cup teams this fall.
Notable players who failed to survive the 36 hole cut at 4 over par:
- Phil Mickelson
- Sergio Garcia
- Webb Simpson
- Dustin Johnson
- Harris English
- Patrick Reed
- Angel Cabrera
- Keegan Bradley
The most disappointing finish on Friday was that of Australian, Marc Leishman. Leishman opened the day with four straight birdies that got him to 6 under par and a share of the lead after 22 holes of play. Over the next 14 holes he played poorly as he finished at 5 over par and missed the cut. Who says it is an easy game?
On a positive note it appears that:
- Swing changes that Rickie Fowler made in the off season are taking effect and expect good play from him for the remainder of the year. I expect him to make the Ryder Cup team along with his friend, Bubba Watson. This would be an interesting pairing
- The long hitting English born Australian citizen Oliver Goss was the low amateur which bodes well for the future of Australian golf. This was the first of many appearances at Augusta National
- Eight past champions made the cut at Augusta including Champions Tour players, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Larry Mize
- Of the last 12 championships at Augusta six of them have been won by players who are left-handed
- My favorite memory of the week, 50 year old fun loving Miguel Angel Jimenez completes his Masters with a total of 4 under par and in 4th place. This finish insure that “The Mechanic” will compete at Augusta in 2015. Miguel who has an affinity for wine, women and cigars proves that you can have fun while playing golf. This should restore your faith in all of humanity.
My pick, Jason Day made the cut and finished at plus 2.
Next week I’ll continue Part Two of my bunker shots series. If you like what you see encourage your friends to visit and register for my weekly blog.
by John D. Hobbins
For me the season of golf is officially underway as it is “Masters Week”. There isn’t a tournament on earth that has the impact this one does.
After a brutally long and frigid winter here in the Northeast we eagerly await this week. Augusta National, which was built on the grounds of a nursery, will be in full bloom and attract millions of viewers from around the world who are not golfers. This event officially began in 1934 when the club was founded by the infamous career amateur player, Bobby Jones.
Limited Number of Commercials
Jim Nantz and the talented crew from CBS will telecast this tourney. The Masters only broadcasts a few minutes of commercial time each hour and carefully chooses who the advertisers will be. This is exceptional, as it doesn’t take place during any other telecast throughout the season. The announcers will dress appropriately and will honor golf on these hallowed grounds. Should they say something that the Masters Committee deems inappropriate, they will not be asked to announce again as was the case with Jack Whitaker in 1966 and Gary McCord in 1996.
The “Champions Dinner”
2013 Masters winner Adam Scott will act as host, serving Moreton Bay Bug lobster from Australia
Each Masters Champion is invited to the Champions Dinner each year. The dinner is hosted on the Tuesday night by the current champion who decides on the fare for the menu and picks up the check. This year, Adam Scott will serve a Moreton Bay Bug, a flat-headed lobster. 32 past champions are expected to attend, including Tiger Woods.
The Par 3 Contest allows the players’ children to caddy for them and the Par 3 Champion has yet to win the coveted Masters title. On site, the food prices are kept low: most sandwiches cost between $1.50 and $3.00 and snacks are $1.00. Not your typical New York City pricing that I am accustomed to.
Bobby Jones, founder of the Augusta National Golf Club in 1934
A Bit of Background
Between 1934 and 1938, the event was known as the Augusta National Invitational. In 1939, Clifford Roberts coined the name, Masters. Each hole of Augusta National is named after a tree or bush. The tournament features one of the smaller fields of the year: there will be 96 participants for 2014. Six of these players will be amateurs. Tickets to the Masters are not for sale on the general public and are by invitation only. If you are a season ticket holder you reserve the right to be so for a lifetime.
The Green Jacket
The Masters Champion is eligible to play in the Masters each year. They are also given a green jacket that may only be worn by members, and is stored in their locker. Only three professional golfers are members of the Augusta National Golf Club. Can you name them? The Champion has dinner with the Chairman of the club on Sunday night after his victory. The Masters is the only major event hosted by the same club each year. Augusta National is only open six months a year, November through April.
The Back Nine
It has been often stated that the tournament begins on the back nine on Sunday afternoon. This is true as high drama will unfold on that nine holes. Since Holes 13 and 15 are Par 5 holes that are reachable in two shots and are potential holes for three or seven. They are the ultimate risk/reward holes in a major golf competition. In most cases each year, the names atop the leaderboard on Thursday are not those that appearing by late Sunday afternoon.
In 1986, Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket with six birdies and one eagle in his last ten holes.
You can follow the action at: http://bit.ly/OsgG1b and via mobile apps.
My choice for the 2014 Masters Champion: Jason Day.
by John D. Hobbins
Much of our success in greenside bunker play depends upon how we set up to the ball. Using images of Tom Pernice Jr, I’ll point out how the set-up in the address position can have an effect on the results of your shot.
We’ll look at this address from two different angles, so I can point out specifics on how you can improve your bunker play.
You’ll notice in this front view (above) that Tom does a number of things that the average player does not, which are:
• Distance between his feet is greater than his shoulder width
• Distribution of his weight is greater on his left side, generated by the pressure he’s put on his left leg quadricep
• Golf club handle is even within the inside of his left leg
• Feet are flared adding stability
• Outside of his left shoulder is aligned with outside of the left knee
• The club face is open to the target line. This places the heel in front of the toe
• The heel being in front of the toe at address is important — this allows the heel to enter the sand at impact. It’s a heel digging motion of the club head. Tom says he learned this from his close friend Seve Ballesteros.
• There is a good flex in the knees that lowers the center of gravity, adding stability to the set-up position (notice the angle between the knee and the hip)
• The handle of the club is held low. This — along with the club face being open — positions the heel of the club in front of the toe
• Many tour players will change the lie angle of their lob wedge (which Tom is using here as it’s a short distance play) so that it’s 2 degrees to 3 degrees flatter than the other clubs lie angle
This set-up position allows for an up-and-down swing motion of the golf club with an angle of descent that can send the ball out softly on a cushion of sand. Work with this information and watch how your bunker play improves
Review this video a few times and then work on your Miguel Cabrera power hitting move for the golf swing. I assure you that you will be pleased with what you see.