I am writing as I sit in the airport in Chicago, going home from a two 3 day schools. We saw over 20 students in the schools, some alumni, many new.
Reason I chose this topic was because of some of the same teaching “experiences” I have dealt with in the past few schools (Virginia, Chicago…)
I want to talk about a student we had in our last school. To be honest, pretty “typical” student. Meaning, the issues I want to talk about are very common among many of our students and sure for many of you, will hit some “hot spots”…
Little background – this student is a 55 year old golfer, 25 handicap, has been working with the single axis (Moe Norman) system for a few years now, and decided he needed some “hands on” / direct help from us. So he made the trip to Chicago to attend our 3 day school.
In the first day of the school we found the following –
1. His shoulders were open at set up due to an open (feet) stance. Causing his lead arm to be lower than his trail arm at set up, causing his club to be outside the plane in the backswing, causing a steep over the top move toward the ball.
2. His grip was strong (rotated to far to the right (right hander)). Causing him to have to “hold on” to club at impact (not release) or he would hook / hood the face of the club. He was losing significant distance and “solid” impact because of his lack of proper release.
3. His hands were behind the ball at impact. He was “cupping / casting” prior to impact, causing excess loft on the club at impact, fat shots, thin shots, and very inconsistent ball striking.
4. He could not “separate” the lead hip and lead shoulder in the downswing. Meaning they started at the same time at the start of the downswing, causing an excess over the top move.
5. His clubs did not fit. He had a very nice set of new Taylormade irons, but they were too upright. When he hit shots, the heel of the irons dug into the ground and the club face turned over. In other words, even if he was able to make a good “move” on plane toward the ball, when his club made impact with the ground (divot) it was going to twist to the left (heel hitting first) and the ball would / will fly left of the target. Not to mention the added side spin on the shot due to the club head turning at impact.
There were a few other “minor” issues, but these were we wanted to work on at the school. (To be honest, probably too much to cover in a few days, but giving him some information, him taking notes, over time he should be able to get through them.)
But here is the interesting point….. the reason I am writing this etip.
I actually feel sorry for this student – not because of the issues he is dealing with, but rather, because ALL of these issues could have been solved / fixed without him coming to our school. And if he still decided to attend our school, we would be working in things that would be taking his game to places he has only dreamed……
Let me explain…. I’ll break down the same points above and talk about them…
1. Shoulders open due to improper stance, etc….
I would bet, more than 75% of our students are dealing with set up issues when the first come to our schools. Actually, it is probably higher than that. The “silly” point is, this is one of the easiest things to fix WITHOUT us in person. We have created a training tool – Alignment and Ball Position Trainer (ABT) to help you with alignment, ball position, feet position, club head position at set up, squaring the face, etc…. and it is really pretty simple.
Couple of points… 1st – it is actually pretty hard to mess up your set up / alignment when you are using the ABT. 2nd – We (Todd and myself) use it EVERYTIME we practice…. just to make sure.
2. Strong grip – causing him to have MANY compensations in his swing…. Not releasing the club, “holding on” at impact, (back issues due to excess stress on his back), etc.. etc…
Again – he really didn’t need us to help him with the changes. After explaining to him what a good grip is, I put a training grip club in his hands and had him hit a few shots. ½ shots, ¾ shots, full shots, etc.. etc… Had him feel what impact felt like with his hands properly on the club.
Training grip made him keep his hands on the club correct. Even if it felt awkward, “weird”, “funny”, etc.. he had a molded grip to keep his hands on the club correct.
3. Hands behind the ball at impact. I asked him how many times he worked on chipping? Didn’t even have to be around the putting green. Could chip while on the range.. working on keeping a firm lead wrist through impact, hands ahead of the club head through impact, hitting down through the shot, etc…
His answer was “Not very often”… (I could tell).
So we talked about chipping, how it was related to the full swing (hands leading through impact), how it would lead to more solid impact, more back spin at impact, better ball flight, etc.. etc…
4. Separating the lead hip and lead shoulder in the downswing.
You have heard (read) me talk about this in the past. You must start your downswing with your lead knee and hip before your lead shoulder starts. This separation / order will allow the club to “drop” on plane in the downswing. Without this separation it is VERY HARD if not impossible to get the club on the proper plane.
And , this issue isn’t most can’t do this, but rather they have never done it. We call it “activation”. In other words, most are currently not flexible enough to have this “separation”. But, with a little work, a little flexibility work, you can do it. I have NEVER had a student that couldn’t perform enough separation to get the club on plane…..
We produced a video on this very topic (and others critical to a proper single plane swing):
It is a MUST for EVERYONE who is having issues getting the club on the proper single axis plane.
5. Improperly fit clubs.
To be honest, this might be the issue that bothers me the most. Reason, no matter how hard he works on his swing, no matter how many changes he makes toward a good single axis swing, no matter how much he paid for the clubs (they weren’t cheap…), he wasn’t going to be able to hit solid / “clean” shots with these clubs. As he gets closer and closer to a good on plane swing, the clubs are going to feel worse and worse…. And more often then not, he’ll never make all the changes he needs in his swing, because the clubs won’t “feel right” at impact.
Purchasing product from a “Box Store”, from a pro that doesn’t know how to fit for the single axis swing, or from anywhere that the clubs are not fit to YOUR single axis swing is a mistake that will “cost” you a lot more than the $ of the clubs. There is basically no way to hit a shot like you want with a good single axis swing with an improperly fit club.
And, we fit for FREE!!! You can get your fittings on line at:
Plus, if you decided to purchase product through us, I GUARANTEE it is fit to your single axis swing – NO EXCUSES IN THE BAG!!
Did we enjoy meeting / teaching this student – ABSOLUTELY.
Were these points common to most of the students we see – ABSOLUTEY (more common than you can imagine).
Could have this student fixed many of these issues without seeing us in person – ABSOLUTELY.
I know many of you are thinking – but I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know if my grip is good or not, if my set up is good or not, if my take away is correct, etc…
We have solved that for you. And it is VERY easy.
It is called the Internet Golf Academy.
You film your swing (couple of swings) and email it to us. We review your swing, email you your swing (and Moe as comparison) back to you with suggested changes, fixes, drills, etc.. Don’t be scared by the “technical” sound…. It is actually very easy and Scott (Renfrow) is an expert in the area – he can help you with ANY issue you might have.
You can see details at:
Again – never think we don’t want to see your “bright, shiny faces” at our schools. We love teaching, love teaching Moe’s swing, and most of all, love seeing the changes our students make to improve their games.
But – it always amazes me how many of the issues we work on with our students that could have been solved with a little “homework”…..