Canadian Fade - Play, Practice, Enjoy

Golf Tip Intervention

Have you been searching for the perfect swing?

Are you getting tired and frustrated of not seeing much improvement in your game?

Wondering if you are focusing on the wrong thing?  What is the "right" thing anyways?

Which one of the swings below is the "right" thing?

Canadian Fade Golf Academy - Golf Lessons London Ontario

The above picture is of seven different PGA Tour pros at the top of their backswings so obviously they must all be "right" because each of these swings belongs to a top player in the world.  This is what can make golf so confusing, all too often we get so focused on style and searching for that magic move that we lose sight of what is ultimately more important then having let's say a "parallel club shaft at the top" or a "flat lead wrist" or "keeping your head down".

What the above players all have in common is that they are freakishly good at hitting a golf ball solidly towards their intended target regardless of their chosen style on how to accomplish that task.

Make this the year that you get off the hamster wheel and start to make progress in improving your golf skill and lowering your scores instead of looking to perfect your swing.  Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying that anything goes here, technique still is an important piece in the puzzle.  I just want to get you thinking that it is not the only piece and it should not be your main focus every time you go to the practice range to hit a bucket of balls.Golf Lessons London Ontario

What I find more commonly with golfers who come to see me for help is a misunderstanding of concepts, they are not clear on what they should be trying to do with their golf swing, what makes a ball go where, what is happening when they hit the ball fat or thin.  This is the case more often then someone showing up with a swing that just has no possible way of ever working.  Furthermore if their swing is outside a range of acceptability is has usually gotten that way because of a misconception and the person has actually worked themselves into this position through improper practice and trying to do the wrong thing.

The guy in the picture on the right has 41 professional wins by the way, even though his style may look a whole lot closer to yours then Adam Scott's.

So, what should you do?

First off you need to make sure that you are very clear on what the game of golf is asking you to be good at.  What are the primary skills involved in been a good golfer.  Then once you have this information you need to know how good are you at golf's most important skills and then you need to know how to go about improving your current level.  The best way to start is (here comes the sales pitch) with a Swing Evaluation Session.

If you are not familiar with a skill based approach to your improvement or if you are like most golfers very focused on your technique and style then this shift in thinking is going to be the game changer for you.  Focusing more on skill and less on style is going to free you up incredibly as you strive to reach your potential.  The biggest shift you are going to need to make is in how you approach your practice.  Golfers need to start looking at golf the way we would any other sport, more specifically the way our kids are involved in sports.  I know that when I register my children to play soccer I'm expecting a schedule that will be close to 1 game and 1 practice per week.  When my kids show up to practice the coach will be running drills designed to improve soccer's important skills, dribbling the ball, passing, shooting and there will also be some time spent on strategy, fitness and game simulation.  Does this sound even remotely close to the way you practice golf now?  Probably not.  Does this sound more familiar?  Head to the range, grab a bucket of balls and work on trying to hit it better, whatever that means and bouncing back and forth between tips hoping that something magically clicks.  If that sounds more like it not to worry, don't beat yourself too much you are not alone and it is not your fault.  The practice routine of hitting and hoping is how golfers have been trained to practice, unfortunately.

It doesn't have to be this way! (here comes sales pitch #2)

If you enjoy playing golf and feel as though you would increase your enjoyment if you could improve your current ability level then you owe it too yourself to take a look at joining one of our Peak Performance Programs.  Get involved in an improvement program that is designed more like most other sport's practice sessions and one that will show you how to make the mental shift needed to get on the right track to improving your golf game.  Put an end to the over analysis of every single movement of your swing or the bewilderment associated with not knowing what to do. 

The Peak Performance Programs are built around weekly team training sessions providing students with the right amount of individual attention within a group atmosphere to build, develop and improve skill.  Make this the year you finally take the necessary steps to increase your enjoyment of this great game.  For complete details and to register for upcoming Peak Performance Programs please click on the link below.

Informational Links:

Swing Evaluation Sessions

Peak Performance Program

Read More

New Year's Resolution - Stop Working On Your Swing!

That may sound like an odd resolution coming from a golf instructor, but let me explain.

Unfortunately most golfers go about trying to improve their golf game and lowering their scores through an ongoing search for improved technique and swing mechanics.   Setting off to the practice range to work on things such as making a "better takeaway", "keeping the head down", "getting the club parallel at the top" etc, etc ... only to find that they have flashes of brilliance during their practice but never really seeing those results carry over to the golf course or sink in long term. 

If you have fallen victim to this vicious cycle of trying to find the "magic move" not to worry, you are certainly not alone.  The problem with this approach is that not only does it leave you working on the wrong things but you are also working to improve in the wrong way.

Most instruction advice is focused solely on the technical aspects of the golf swing, mistaking the swing style of a top player for truths.  There are many myths floating around out there in the golf world and over the winter months I'll pass along some of my favourites and explain how you can avoid falling victim to them.

So, back to our resolution: "Stop Working on Your Golf Swing".  What should you be doing?  First off, most things that I see that would be labelled as swing faults with golfers stem from a misunderstanding of concepts.  You need to have a clear picture of what you should be trying to do and why, be able to distinguish between what is style and what is skill, knowledge of concepts will help you separate these two things.  Then to get to where you want to go you first need to know where you are.  This is where you can enlist the help of a coach or teacher.  Find someone who understands that there is more then one way to swing a golf club and knows how to measure your current skill level and how best to practice and train for long term results while allowing you to keep your particular style. 

Read More

Control Your Lowpoint

I get it, it's not a whole of fun chunking, topping and worm-burning your way down a fairway, in fact it is probably the quickest way to sap all of your enthusiasm for golf right out of your system. So, what can be done about it?  Well, all too often golfers go looking for solutions to this problem in the wrong place.  They go down the path of swing mechanics, thinking they must be making terrible swings in order to produce such soul crushing shots when in fact that is not the problem at all and trying to fix their swing only serves to pull their attention away from where the real problem lies.

Inconsistency of contact comes from a players inability to control the low point of their swing which is much more a product of lack of repetition in most cases then it is terrible mechanics. For example you can make an absolutely technically sound swing and still chunk, top or miss the ball all together, while on the flip side you can make a swing that is lacking sound swing mechanics but still hit the ball perfectly solid.  How can this be?  Simple the bad swing has the low point in the wrong place while the good swing nailed it.  In actual fact these should not even really be labeled as "good" or "bad" swings, we just have good and bad results. The swing that barely catches the top of the ball and sends it scuttling along the ground was in fact a "perfect swing" if catching the top of the ball was your intention.

Where do we want the low point to be?  Take a look at the picture to the right. I've put a green line arcing down towards the ball and then arcing back up, this line represents the desired path that your club should be taking into the ball in order to hit solid shots.  Notice how the low point of the arc is ahead of the golf ball, we want to be striking the ball prior to the low point of our swing arc.  We are not trying to scoop under the ball or lift it into the air, we should be brushing the ground at and slightly ahead (target side) of the ball.

In the video you'll see as the clubhead comes into impact that it continues to travel downward striking the ball then the carpet, notice in the couple of frames after impact how you can see the carpet bunch up (low point of the arc). Even as the clubhead travels downward the ball is going up in the air, this is a result of the loft on the clubface, not from me lifting or scooping the ball into the air.  This is a really important concept to understand.

The simplicity of this drill is what makes it so effective, it can be done anywhere and allows you to accumulate many repetitions in a short amount of time. I would recommend trying to do this everyday but only for a few minutes each time, the reps will stack up over the course of the winter. In order to gain good feedback when performing this drill I like to place something down a few inches behind the ball, in this example I have an index card placed 3 inches behind the ball.  Other effective things are string, tape, a towel really anything thin.  The purpose of the object behind the ball is for feedback, to let you know if you are hitting the ground too far back.  Depending on your current skill level start with index card (or whatever you have chosen to use) anywhere from 2 to 8 inches behind the ball and adjust the distance closer to the ball as you improve.  Aim for having about a 70% success rate, you don't what the card so close that you are always hitting it and you don't want it so far so that it is too easy. The 70% success rate is the "sweet spot".

In this example I am using a pitching wedge and just making half swings, I'm in my basement and the ceiling is not high enough to make a full swing but this does not make the training any less effective.  I'm using Almost Golf golf balls, (you can find them under my recommended training aids) but you can use ping pong balls, foam balls, plastic balls, no balls, the important piece is getting better at controlling your low point and having some feedback as to how good you are at doing it.

For beginners and high handicap players this skill in critical, improving this skill will positively impact your enjoyment of the game.  For the more accomplished player who is hitting the ball solid most of the time this is still a great drill because you never really can get too good at this.  This exercise will keep your ball striking sharp over the winter layoff and I have yet to have a golfer tell me that the biggest problem they are having is that they are hitting it too solid!


Read More