Tough Love #2

This past week I started to receive our annual increase in emails – sure due to “golf season” officially starting with the Master’s, etc… With these emails I received a few that “bothered” me… to the say least… Scott (Renfrow) and Todd always say they “fire me” up, I will say “bother” me a little.

Basically, the emails were questioning our method, Moe’s Single Plane Swing – reading a little more into them, they were asking about why golfers don’t improve, or improve at a relatively slow pace if any improvement at all… An example of an email stated, “I have seen hundreds of swing methods, this is just another one of those that I cannot figure out and have seen very little improvement over the past few months…”

So……… Let’s talk… now that I’m FIRED UP as I have been told… let’s have one of those “fun” talks. In other words, hide the children (cover their ears.) – here we go…

I am SICK TO DEATH of all the junk (that is as tactful as I can write) that states you can get better at golf overnight…, 7 minutes to better golf, buy this driver and hit it 30 yards further, buy this “speed thing” and in 10 days hit it 20 yards further and straighter, miracle cure to fix the slice…… (think you get my point).

Let me give you a hint, I have spent thousands upon thousands of “7 minutes” and it wasn’t a miracle cure in 7 minutes that fixed my game – it was HARD WORK as Moe said. Moe used to say “HARD WORK” will fix anything – but more importantly WORKING CORRECTLY HARD will fix anything and make you a MUCH better player. If you think you can “miraculously” fix your swing overnight with one magic move, I am sorry, but you are greatly mistaken.

Please, give it a try if you like, you will be searching until you quit. Last year, 3,000,000 golfers started the game of golf…. yes 3,000,000…. 3,500,000 quit. 95% of those that quit, quit from frustration of not getting any better, or worse, they got worse and quit. Those that are quitting are those that think golf is a game of quick fixes…

Hint #1 – The golf swing is a learned and acquired process. It is not difficult if you do it right. In fact, many will call it “easy” if you learn by process – not guess work.

There is now written literature that states the following (by research): Only 10% of those that practice golf actually gets better from that practice, 40% of those that practice remain the same (do not get better or worse), and more alarming – 50% of those that practice actually get WORSE. Why is this?? What is going on with practice?? Are we wasting our time??

Let’s now break that down to 2 categories, the following:

Category #1 – the 10% – We will call these golfers the 10%ers… those are the one’s getting better when they practice (little better every time).

Category #2 – the 90% – We will call these golfers the 90%ers… those that are getting no better or worse when they practice.

Not let’s get into some “nuts and bolts” about getting better…. What do I have to do to get better? How do I become one of the 10%ers.

First – STICK WITH A METHOD: No matter what method you choose to swing the club, whether it be Moe’s Single Axis Swing, David Letterbetter’s swing, Hank Haney, Standing on Your Head and swinging (little laughter here…) – You need to stick with that method 100%, learn that method, study that method, treat that method as your guide to much better golf…

Obviously, we believe the Moe Norman Single Plane Swing is by far the easiest, least complicated, most easily repeatable, easiest on the body, etc… swing there is, but again, no matter which method you choose – do NOT mix methods. You notice here, I am not telling anyone they have to use Moe’s swing – that is absolutely a 100% personal decision (for many I have seen, almost as much as choosing a religion…) – but when you to decide on or study and learn a particular swing – you CAN NOT and MUST NOT mix methods.

Let me give you an example – (I have seen this personally last week): You decide to swing the club in single axis – you work on your grip, set up, etc… and decide the 36+ inches from your feet line to the ball with your driver at set up is too much for you… so you set up about 30 inches from the ball… Guess what – this is perfect example of MIXING METHODS. You CAN NOT swing the driver in an effective, consistent, powerful, etc… manner in the single axis swing that closes to the ball – NO WAY!!! You are standing conventional distance and trying to swing in a single axis fashion – NOT GOING TO WORK. By mixing methods you are a 90%er… not mixing methods – you are now on your way to a 10%er.

Second – Always, always, always (think maybe you get my point) PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE!

What does that mean… practicing with a purpose is not “wasting” your time when you practice, having a very distinct plan when you practice… Pretty easy question before you practice next time – as you are walking to the practice tee/green, etc… ask yourself – What do I want to accomplish out here today? What do I want to start/continue to fix? Be VERY VERY specific. Meaning – for example – I want to try and hit it straight… is NOT a plan – It is a WISH.

I want to try and stop slicing is NOT a plan – It is a wish… A plan is “I want to fix my grip – fixing my grip will cause me to be able to get the club back on plane which will then allow me to hit it straighter”. A plan is “I want to work on getting the club in an on plane position in my backswing – this will allow me to get more leverage and thus hit it further with more accuracy”.

I think you get my point here… Develop practice around your plans – it only takes a couple of minutes… most of the time you can do it in the car on the way to your practice…

Side Note… Keep a journal or notepad of your practice sessions and what you wanted and did accomplish. You’ll be amazed how keeping notes will keep you on path…

Got a question for you – How many of you go to the grocery store without a list? When I go without a list, I seem to always come home with 50% of what I already have at home (didn’t need) and the other 50% seems to add up to nothing… 3 bags of potato chips, no meat, etc… Guess what is for dinner next week… we’ll have a bag of potato chips… Think you get my point here… Lists/Journals, etc… help you keep on track.

Side Note #2 – anytime – come to our academy and ask to see Todd’s and my journals… they number in the 100s…. you’ll see exactly what we are talking about…

Practicing with a Purpose is what the 10%ers do – Guessing and Wishing during practice is what the 90%ers do. The 10%ers are getting better, the 90%ers are hopefully at least getting a little aerobic exercise…

Third – HAVE CHECKPOINTS – When you practice – do you have checkpoints in your swing?

For example, when you set up over the ball – what are you looking at to check your grip, setup, stance, shoulders, etc… especially when you practice… you MUST have checkpoints. In fact, some of these checkpoints will carry over to on the course, and some will allow you to be “more comfortable” when you are in those nervous on course situations. Meaning – the better your checkpoints, the more you use your checkpoints in practice, the more confident and comfortable you will be when you “tee it up”.

Examples – (a couple).

Example #1 – What is your checkpoint between your set up and starting your backswing? Do you have one? Mine is glancing down to make sure the grip end of the club (but end) is pointing at my lead side (for me it is just above my lead hip and below my armpit) with every club (except my putter). I DO NOT pull the trigger unless the club is pointed to this position. Yes, 99% of the time this is an acquired habit – but I will also be honest, there has been times (when I am nervous, etc…) when I have caught myself “fudging” a little and the set up is too far back. Having the set up too far back for me leads to sliding through the shot, fat shots, miss hits, etc… An easy check that solves MANY problems.

Example #2 – What is your checkpoint for alignment when you are practicing? In other words, when you are practicing, how do you know you have proper alignment with our feet, shoulders, hips, etc… Is it a guessing game for you?? Or do you have a check system. I will tell you, every good player and EVER professional, EVERY time they are having a practice session to work on their swing, puts an alignment aid on the ground to check their alignment. It may be as simple as a golf club pointed at the target, a PVC pipe pointed at the target (hint, hint, hint alumni…), Ernie Els does not practice (when working on his swing) without his rolled up umbrella (typically) pointed at the target for alignment (if you doubt us, feel free to see all our V1 video of Ernie practicing – umbrella, umbrella, umbrella in them all…), even so far as Jack Nicklaus used to have a stripe painted from his practice area to the target so he could line up exactly…. now that is TRUE alignment.

That is only a couple of examples – but you must acquire CHECKPOINTS throughout your swing. Ways to check your grip, ways to check your setup, ways to check your alignment, ways to check your leverage angles, and on and on… Checkpoints allow you to determine what is good, what is bad, what needs work, what doesn’t – where to focus, etc…

Think about this… see if it sounds familiar… You have just gone through a 1 hour practice session on the range. You feel like you are hitting it pretty well… you didn’t use an alignment tool for practice. Now you step on the first tee. You line up according to the tee box, as straight as you can and hit it right into the trees. You playing partner says, “you looked like you were lined up there”. So the next tee, you think you need to close up a little to make up for your alignment – now, comes the slice…. or worse, tops… Guess what – tell me how effective your one-hour practice session was before the round??

90%ers have no checkpoints, the 10%ers have checkpoints, use them, understand them and check them often.

Last (For Now – I guess until my next “soap box” talk): You must have a REFERENCE. What do I mean by Reference – something that you can look at, listen to, maybe even “feel” that will help you in the process to a better golf swing. If you don’t have a reference, what are you trying to learn??

Let’s list some references:

  1. A lesson / school / camp – personal attention. This is obviously the best reference – someone telling you what to do, showing you what to do (and I will admit here 100% – if they are not showing you on VIDEO – in other words – filming your swing and comparing to a model – please go elsewhere. You are not getting your money’s worth). Your swing is MUCH more important than that to you and I can guarantee the $ you spent on the lesson/school, etc… well afforded you time on the video system. Please, please, please insist (and ask) for video instruction – I will GUARANTEE you an ENHANCED learning experience once you can see yourself.
  2. Some type of instructional material – Especially if you can not come to a lesson or school. As you have heard us say many, many times – a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video/DVD instructional piece is worth a 1,000,000 pictures. Our core instructional piece is our GGA TOTAL GAME OVERVIEW – What the Moe Norman Swing is All About. This was written by Todd and myself to help ALL our students with their long game, short game, on course, and as important – how to practice. This was written because of the lack of all other good single axis instructional material in the market. If you have others – great – I will personally guarantee this 100% – you will see no more detailed beginning instruction for Moe’s swing. If you know of any other, please let me know – would love to pass them on to everyone…

Chuck Hogan, sports psychologist, and professional golf instructor, once told me (and a room of instructors) – tell your students what they need. They will appreciate you for it.

Okay Mr. Hogan… Students – anyone wanting to learn Moe’s Swing – You need our Single Plane Solution DVD. This is your beginning Reference – this is where you START.  We are always happy to help you with our pictures on the web, talk on our forum, e-tips, etc… but these are only a VERY SMALL % compared to what is on our instructional material starting with the Single Plane Solution DVD

To be honest, (yes, still on my soap box) – if you think this is a “sales tactic” – fine…… if you don’t like it… sorry… will be more than happy to remove your email address from our database in order that you don’t get any more of these “sales tactics”. But, if you are serious about your game, and want to get better, and don’t have our basic instructional material…… Mr. Hogan – please tell my students to get it NOW.

If you want additional information – advanced instruction – that is where our 7 Principles of Golf Improvement comes in… Todd and I took over 1 year producing this Single Plane Swing Instructional Material – this is our method/process to your better golf. This is how you take your game to the next level. This is how you start/proceed/examine/process your game to a level you only “dreamed”. Remember, we believe it is not a guessing game, but rather a process to better golf… this is our process, and it WORKS. If you doubt this process – ask our 100s of alumni, etc… who are getting A LOT better. You can talk to them on our forum anytime. To see more about our 7 Principles of Golf Improvement.

Side Note: Do I think the price of the 7 principles is high compared to industry standard… absolutely!!! But so is the instructional content!!! To be honest, there is a reason it is priced at this standard…. it is not a quick fix… it is not for those who aren’t “serious” about their game, it is not for those who “maybe want to give it a try”. It will take you to the next level… Check it out for yourself – I GUARANTEE you will learn and see things you have never heard or seen about the single plane swing/ short game/ course management/ mental game, etc…

So when all is said and done… do you want to be a 10%er or a 90%er…. I know what I have spent my golfing career trying to do… let us help you… that is what we are here for.

(Last Side Note…): Scott and I (Tim) answer the phones during the day. In fact, basically from sun up to sun down, we are on the phones talking to our students/ single plane golfers…. Give us a CALL or email anytime. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us. Ask us anything about the swing, let us help you… want a good reference – CALL or EMAIL US!! And when we are in Florida, or during schools…. don’t hesitate to call then too…. you wonder why Scott always has an ear piece in…. he is very diligent about answering the phones, getting messages to me and Todd and helping you in any way he can… again – don’t hesitate to call anytime and call often.

Want to end with a quick story (ease off my soap box…)

This past week (actually yesterday), Geoff Shaw finished first in a large tournament at Gallardia Golf Course here in Edmond, OK. Many of you may remember Geoff from past emails – Geoff is one of my (Tim’s) students from Edmond. He is on the Edmond North High School team which has member’s that include Kevin Tway (Bob’s son) and others ranked very high in the US. Geoff came to me about 2 years ago, was having a hard time breaking 80 (mid-80s) and him and his father were very frustrated with a lot of instruction they had had. I began working with Geoff. He is ABSOLUTELY single axis – he is ABSOLUTELY a model of Moe’s swing – he works on it continuously, studies our instructional material often (studies and reviews our TGOV and asks questions about our 7 principles ALL the time) and is now beating all those that beat him in the past.

Yesterday, Geoff played 36 holes at Gallardia (home of the 2004 Senior PGA Tour Championship) and shot 69 – 70, for a two round total of 139 (5 under par). Moe Norman’s golf swing – Geoff (aka Mini Moe…. from the left side – Geoff is left handed) – is quickly on the way to being one of the top-rated high school golfers in the country. Already schools such as Duke, Arizona and others are making scholarship offers (Geoff is only a Junior)… if for one second you think Moe’s swing doesn’t work and isn’t on the way to being “part of the wave of the future” you are greatly mistaken….

Next time you are in OKC – at our academy, sure you will see Geoff hanging out in my office – ask him to hit a few for you… better than that, have Todd and Geoff face each other and give you a quick demo…. you’ll be amazed how easy it is…

Good Luck!! PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email us anytime!! Remember – ALWAYS PRACTICE WITH A PURPOSE

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