I am very excited to join the team at MyPhillyGolf.com as the Teaching Professional. I am looking forward to contributing golf tips, videos and my thoughts on golf instruction, professional golf and golf in Philadelphia. It is an exciting time for golf in the Philadelphia area and no one covers it better than MyPhillyGolf.com.
How high should you tee your ball? High enough! How is that for an answer? All kidding aside, it will vary for different players, but generally speaking, you should tee your ball high enough so that when you hit the ball you are contacting the ball slightly above the sweet spot of the club. This will cause the ball to launch higher and will reduce some of the spin on the ball. This type of shot – High launch, low spin is the magic formula for longer tee shots.
A good guideline for tee height is to tee the ball high enough so the middle of the ball is at the top of the driver.
This is a good starting point for most players, but you need to take it a step further. You need to find out where you are hitting the ball on the face to find the optimum tee height for your swing. The best way to do this is to use a dry erase marker and cover the face of your driver. After you hit a few shots, you will notice where you are hitting the ball on the face. Ideally, you would want to hit the ball slightly above the center of the face to get the high launch – low spin shot.
If you have a driver with a black face, I have found that a neon colored dry erase marker shows up really well. If you have a grey or silver colored face a black dry erase marker will work great.
Check your tee height and where you are contacting the ball on the face and you could make a simple adjustment that could add some serious distance to your tee shots.
Watch the video below to see what a difference the proper tee height can make.
Impact is the moment of truth in the golf swing. Most amateurs struggle with their ball striking because they don’t have a solid impact position. Good ball strikers may have different set ups, grips, positions at the top of the swing and finish positions, but they are all solid at impact. What makes a good impact position? When striking an iron, the hands should be in front of the ball, the weight is shifting to the front foot (about 70%) and the hips are slightly open to the target (about 30 degrees). If you can improve your impact position, you will improve your ball striking.
Here is a video tip to help you with your impact position.
I have had an incredible month since my Trackman unit arrived at the beginning of May and I wanted to share a few success stories. I knew Trackman was incredible technology, and after using it for the past month I will admit that it is way better than I thought. To be able to accurately show students what they are doing at the moment of impact is unbelievably helpful. My thoughts on using Trackman are simple: I am going to make changes that are going to directly improve your contact and your ball flight. I have had more than a few cases where the student makes the change and improves in the very next swing. There are times when more than a few adjustments are necessary to improve ball flight but here are a few that have been quick and dramatic.
Story #1 Watch your tee height
A few weeks ago I worked with Justin Smith, a good collegiate player that was struggling a little bit with his swing. We worked on his irons for a little while and improved his contact and ball flight. We then looked at the driver and I put some dry erase marker on his driver face to see where he was contacting the ball. After 3 shots we looked at the numbers and 2 things were very clear: On average, he was launching the ball low and spinning it too much. We looked at the face and he was striking the ball below the center of the clubface. This will cause the ball to launch lower due to the curve of the driver face from top to bottom (also known as roll), and spin more due the vertical gear effect of a strike below the center of the face. We made a simple change of teeing the ball up about 1 inch and with the next 6 swings he gained almost 20 yards of carry distance and 17 yards of overall distance on average.
Story #2 Start slow to get the motion and then speed up
I have been working with Jesse Hord from the Cricket Club for a couple of months and we are working on getting rid of his over the top swing and outside – in swing path. We worked on starting slow to get the proper motion. Near the end of the lesson I put a few swings on Trackman and saw that his path was much better. In some cases his path was moving out to the right, which is a huge improvement considering how far left his path was when he started. After reviewing the shots, I noticed that the swing speed was still a little bit slow and gave Jesse a quick tip to speed his hands up through impact. I put the next swing on Trackman to see what the difference was and it was amazing. His clubhead speed went up 11 miles per hour and he carried it 40 yards longer than the average of his 4 previous shots and 25 yards longer than when he started the lesson.
Story #3 Why is the ball curving?
Kyle (who works at the Cricket Club) came up to the range to try out his new Titleist AP2 irons the other day – the same irons that I play. I wanted to see how he was hitting them and noticed that he was over-drawing every shot and they were finishing way to the left of the target. He noticed the Trackman and asked about it so I asked him to hit a few shots. He hit 5 balls and we looked at the numbers. He is a hockey player and generates a lot of clubhead speed, but his path is going too far out to the right. I showed him the numbers and explained that if he swings a little bit more to the left that his ball would curve less. It is tough for some people who hit the ball to the left to understand that they need to swing to the left. If you have Kyle’s shot pattern, you need to do just that to get the ball to curve less and finish closer to the target. His next 5 shots were recorded on Trackman and he cut his dispersion by 50%. His average shot was now 14.5 ft from the target compared to 31.3 ft. Easy game when you know exactly why your ball is doing what it is doing and what you have to do to fix it.
This is a simple question with an easy answer. Anyone that wants to improve their ball-striking could benefit from using Trackman. Does it mean that I use it with every single lesson? No, but it certainly is helpful to increase the student’s understanding of what they need to do with their swing to improve their numbers and their ball flight. I had a lesson with Nik the other day who is a total beginner. He is athletic (surfer, snowboarder, x-games type), but totally new to golf.
I put him on Trackman and the biggest thing that we looked at was his clubface. When he started the lesson he was hitting every shot to the right – in some cases over 100 ft. right of the target. We made a small tweak to his grip and worked on the tension in his hands and arms. He started the lesson with a face position that was 12-20 degrees open at impact. We discussed the relationship of the face to the starting position of the ball and worked on squaring the face at impact. By the end of the lesson his face position was only 2 to 4 degrees open and he hit a beautiful draw that we captured on Trackman that finished 4.5 ft right of the target. Well done Nik!!!
I am very excited to announce that my Trackman unit arrived from Denmark on Friday, May 4th. I will be testing everything today and will begin using TM with my lessons this week. There are so many ways that Trackman can help you with your game. Check out the Trackman section on my website for more information. If you want to improve your ability to control the flight of your golf ball and to start playing the best golf of your life, set up your Trackman lesson today!
Hats off to our Captain/Team Manager – Tiffany Cheung, for a great 4 years at Penn. She was the glue that held the team together. Great to have “The Beast” back with us as well. Congrats to the Penn Men’s team for their exciting victory at Galloway. Way to go guys – well done!!!
How do you know where your going if you don’t have a road map (or GPS)? The same is true for your golf game. Keeping your statistics is a must if you really want to find out where you need to improve. I have partnered with MyGolfGamePlan.com to help my students track their stats and to come up with a plan to really improve their game.
Click on the link on the left side of my site to go to their website and start tracking your stats. You can select me as your instructor and I will be sent updates every time you post a score. For only $10 per year you can see where you are losing shots and what you need to work on to improve your game once and for all.
I have talked to many players that don’t track their stats and don’t really understand their game. Some players routinely have 38 to 40 putts per round yet don’t spend any time on their putting. What if your up and down percentage was 10%? You might want to spend most of your time at the shortgame area.
Start tracking your stats and get your game on the road to lower scores.
I am excited to launch my new blog and to share my thoughts on teaching and coaching. Feel free to post comments and share your thoughts on what you see on my site. I am looking forward to helping my students reach their goals in 2012!
All my best,