Journey to the Worlds 2012 – Testing Golf Clubs, Competition Secrets
Journey to the Worlds 2012
Here’s another quick video of one of my training sessions as I prepare for the Worlds.
One of the keys to competing well is knowing your clubs. It’s the same whether it’s for the World Long Drive Championship or a weekend Nassau.
I’m fortunate to have John Greenwood helping me. Not only is he building my clubs, but he is customizing them to fit my swing. I have the added benefit of practicing with the use of his launch monitor. The launch monitor shows club head speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rates, and a host of other ball-flight information. That means I can really be scientific about the results. It’s not just guess work.
When I change equipment, it’s because there is an increase in performance. And we have the hard numbers to back that up. The new “No Brainer” from Steve Almo at Geek Golf improved my ball speed by 4 to 6 mph, which translates to 6 to 10 yards. That may not sound like much, but when you are competing at the extreme edge of distance, even a 1-yard improvement can make a huge difference. I won the WLDC by a mere 29 inches.
The other thing that is nice about having a launch monitor behind me when I am practicing is that I can experiment with different adjustments and then compare results – again without guesswork.
One of the adjustments I made was to move the ball back in my stance about an inch. The new No Brainer club head is a little heavier than the DotComThis club I used last year, and I think that is making the club come into the impact zone and release a little earlier. I do know that my results improved when I moved the ball back.
The second adjustment I made was my grip position on the club. I tried choking up an inch, then two inches from my normal grip position, and measured the results. I also tried moving my hands way to the end of the grip. What I found was that choking up an inch didn’t make a statistically significant difference in distance. But my dispersal pattern tightened – in other words, I hit the grid more often by choking up an inch. When I choked up two inches, there was a noticeable drop in ball speed.
On the other hand, when I put my hands all the way at the end of the grip, so that the butt end of the grip was almost inside my left palm, I had a 1 to 3 mph increase in swing speed and ball speed. But my dispersal pattern was terrible. I couldn’t hit the grid, and the misses were both left and right. So the trade-off in extra ball speed was not worth it in terms of number of balls hitting the grid. And since there is some element of luck involved in how the ball bounces out when it lands, I’d rather hit more balls in the grid and rely on a good bounce, than try to get an extra 1 to 4 yards at the cost of accuracy.
I’m just about done with driver club testing and configuration. John will build me a couple more drivers so that I have a practice club, as well as gamers I can take with me to the tee box. We’ll build one club with a lower loft for situations when I am hitting into the wind, and another club with a higher loft for times when I am hitting downwind.
So now my practice shifts away from club testing, and will focus on a combination of both technique work and simulated competition. I’ll be posting more updates as I go.
See you down the fairway!
PGA Professional and World Long Drive Champion
Journey to the Worlds 2012
Driver Distance Training Videos
PS – Please leave a comment, and forward this video along to your friends.
Your videos are SO informative, it’s just amazing to be able to contrast these with other golf instruction. I suppose it’s also due to the fact that you actually have to compete for a living, not like some of those other golf instructors out there!
Also may I add that no other golf coaching program I know of covers such a wide array of aspects of the game. Too mant just deal with the mechancis and technique but not much more.
I knew when I came across your program that I was heading down the right road just by the fact you were trying to address “root causes” from the outset, rather than ” Here is a quick tip or fix”. And your opening chapter on BALANCE in “The 5 keys to Distance” just set me down the right road. No golf instructor has ever taught me about balance….they merely mentioned it in passing, almost as if it was a given and assumed that we are all capable of executing the complex movement of a golf swing in perfect balance from the outset!
Thank you so much for all your excellent, insightful and easy to comprehend teaching – it sets you apart from the rest !! This video alone is just one more aspect of what makes your teaching method unique.
Keep up the good work and hope to be able to meet you one day, so I can personally thank you. Very best regards and good luck at Mesquite! I’m rooting for you!!
I had wanted to make quite a few comments when I initially bought the book/DVD and access to the basic membership about a year ago. I love so much of what you are doing, but most of all must comment on your incredible balance, and of course, you insistence to all your followers to “do nothing at the expense of balance”. I use that phrase on purpose because, as a Canadian (from Winnipeg – Go Jets Go!), I can recall as a kid listening to the great George Knudson, who also grew up in Winnipeg, state in his teachings, “Do nothing at the expense of balance:. My other Canadian icon of course, was Moe Norman, whose balance was equally superb, just in a different way. I really wish that in your DVD, and your RSS feeds, you would feature hi def slo-mo of your swing, with analysis and teachings. Your swing is amazing and you should be featuring it, and using it as a model, it’s that good. What do you say, my friend. Let’s get some hi def slo-mo of you in action. I replay your short intro swing that begins every segment of your DVD, but that gets really tiring. All the best in the upcoming competition, and no matter how it turns out, you’re a winner, a class act and and golfing gentleman in my book.
Thank you so much for your comments! Really appreciate the feedback. I’ll have to work on the Slo-Mo swing thing. It would be a good idea (not that my swing is perfect), as it would give me a chance to highlight certain parts of the swing and the body as they are in motion.
I’m so glad you recognize the importance of Balance in the swing. And in any athletic endeavor. Like many golfers I didn’t think about it much when I was learning how to swing faster in preparation for the Worlds … until I got myself OUT of balance and saw my swing go haywire.
I honestly don’t understand why more teaching professionals fail to address this fundamental issue. I estimate that 90% of all my students are not in good athletic balance in their set up. Most have their center of mass out over their toes. Understandable, since the lengths of the clubs forces us to bend over, moving the center of mass. But there is a right way and a wrong way to get into posture that sets you up on athletic balance.
Thanks also for your kind wishes at the Worlds. I’m hitting the ball well right now, and looking forward to competing!