U.S. Open Qualifier

The month of May has been eventful. I decided to play in the US Open qualifier at Hidden Valley Country Club. I practiced hard and played often to prepare for the event. Well, the course got the best of me. Triple cut and rolled greens were a bit more treacherous than I anticipated. I had a couple of holes I would have liked to have taken back. That being said, I hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation (78%) and I hit 10 of 14 fairways (72%). My ball striking was pretty darn good. I just needed to make more putts. I can't wait for next year!

Golf tip:

When practicing at a driving range, be sure not to turn into "machine gun mike." Sometimes we fall into this pattern of hitting a dozen balls in less than a minute. Slow it down! Try to replicate what happens on the golf course. Take a step back, breathe, find your target, prepare yourself mentally, and physically. Take a practice swing. Then set up to the ball and execute. This will more closely resemble what happens on a the golf course. If you don't have a pre-shot routine, the practice tee is a great place to establish one. Once you start approaching every shot the same way, you will start to hit better shots each time.

Good Luck out there!


Spring is here Salt Lake City!

It's been a while... but I'm back! And for any of you who stumble upon my blog looking for golf lessons here in Utah, I am offering a spring special to get you back into the swing of things. For your "first golf lesson" back this 2013 season, I'll only charge $40 (That's 33% off). This special will last only till April 30th, so be sure to schedule with me before I run out of slots.

I leave you with a golf tip.

One of the most important things about playing golf well is to think your way around the golf course. I have seen more amateurs rack up the strokes because they don't think to strategize their approach to the course. It is so important to play to your strengths, so plan accordingly when you play. "Going for it" is an extremely dangerous term, that I use jokingly.

Sometimes playing for a bogey is the right play. Tiger happened to do it on his final hole of the World Golf Championship this year at Doral. All he needed was a triple bogey to win it, and he laid up on a par 4 because his second shot was in a bad position in the rough. He hit it to 110 yards away from the cup, which happens to be a very comfortable shot for Tiger. He then hit is sand wedge and took another 2 strokes to close it out.

If most high handicappers would play like that on the course, they would make more pars and bogeys and eliminate those double and triple bogeys. Breaking 90 would be a breeze.

To break 80, you need to take your medicine and play the safe shot.

To break 70, you can't put yourself in that position in the first place.

Think your way around the course and your scores will lower. Play a practice round with me to learn more! See you on the practice tee!


Other ways to get better at golf

I suppose, if you don't have time to practice golf, you could work on harnessing the force.

If you are having trouble with the force and regular practice isn't helping your game, give me call, and we can get some golf lessons scheduled.

Weston Maughan @ 801-215-9326


Owning Your Swing

Owning your swing is pretty much the search for the holy grail. We know it doesn't really exist but for some reason we still think it is actually obtainable. But if there ever was a golfer that "owned his swing," it would have to be Ben Hogan. I'd classify Moe Norman as well, but I don't have any pictures of his swing so that will have to wait till another day.

In the image below, I will indicate one of the main factors why Ben Hogan was always in control of his swing. Take a real good look at his elbows. The trained eye will notice that his right elbow is actually in front of his torso. His hips are not aggressively whipping through impact, in fact they are very much in sync with his lower body. His flat right foot on the ground was a way for him to still have an active lower body, but to limit its aggressive turn to not allow his lower body to get ahead of the swing. Ben Hogan's swing symbolized control, and the fact his elbows (and as a result, his arms) stayed in front of his chest through the entire swing demonstrates why. This technique is optimal for control and balance. Ben was not considered a powerful hitter, but he had plenty to get by. But what differentiated him from the rest was his accuracy.

Ben Hogan was so accurate because his arms stayed in front of the body and his legs stayed just quiet enough to let his arms stay in front. You can see his lower body is active, but not overly active, because his right foot is still flat on the ground. Most amateurs today have fast hips that have already fired through at this point, and the indicator would be that the right foot would already be on its toes at this point. A quick lower body can be the key to more distance, but it is also the key for a huge slice or a snap hook. Quick hips get you stuck. Getting stuck is when your lower body fires through too quick and your right elbow slides to your right side, rather than staying in from of your body as Ben Hogan demonstrates in the picture. When your right elbow slides behind the swing, your hands result in being late and can not come through impact at a square position. From a stuck position, you have to over rotate your release to catch up at impact, and it often results in a snap hook.

Hogan was accurate because his swing embodied the essence of balance and control. This picture reveals a quiet lower body and a swing that always maintains the arms out in front of his chest. It is impossible for Hogan to ever get "stuck" when he swung like he did. The lower body plays a huge role in the swing, and controlling it will grant you more accuracy.

If you focus on keeping your right elbow down through the back swing and the down swing, and maintaining a quiet lower body to avoid getting stuck, your accuracy will improve drastically.

It is true, and science has proven it, that an increase in the "X factor" can generate more distance. But a 300 yard drive in the wrong direction never looked as good as a 270 yard drive right down the middle.


Manufacturer's Warning!

It is true that the newest release of golf clubs have the potential to hit the ball further. Regardless of manufacturer, all irons classified as "game improvement" have one feature that is allowing this, and it has nothing to do with technology. One would think that space age technology might allow this, but the USGA put a halt to it when they classified and restricted MOI on all golf clubs. The technology that was used was referred to as the "trampoline effect." All new irons and woods push those limits, therefore making this feature obsolete. The only thing they are left to do is alter loft. That's right, a simple feature adjustment and it makes a particular set "THE LONGEST IRONS IN GOLF!!"

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to golf and my irons have the lofts from sets made in the 60's. In some cases, they are even weaker then those old sets by about a degree. The traditional PW degree back then was 49*.

The new improvement set lofts have gradually gotten stronger in the search to provide golfers with more distance. The PW of 2011 iron sets have an industry standard of 45* and there are even some at 44*. Below are the lofts to 3 new game improvement iron sets from 3 of the biggest manufacturers in golf.

As much as the manufacturer would like to claim their technology as the reason for more distance, the truth of the matter is they simply scratched off the 7 on the bottom and stamped an 8 there. Golf clubs are literally one club stronger now. If you ever wondered why that "new 7 iron" went as far as your 6 iron, it is because you were actually hitting a 6 iron.

I hit the ball pretty far. A little bit has to do with skill, but mostly because I was actually meant to be a viking warrior. (6'3'' 240 lbs.) I currently hit my 7 iron 180 yards. If I used the irons of today, that would actually be the yardage of my 8 iron. A 180 yard 8 iron is ridiculous.

The best advice I received from my golf teacher was, "if you need to hit it farther, just club up." That is why I have yet to pull the trigger on a new set of clubs. If I'm laying 160 yards from the pin and I usually hit my 9 iron 150 yards, I don't swing harder, I just grab my 8 iron.

Golf well.


The Brain... A mysterious hurdle.

I have recently been giving lessons and a I realized there was a constant between many of the students I have taught. Most, if not all, have fallen into the same bad habits conjured by one source, the brain. I marveled that the brain worked the same way amongst my students, despite there unrelated existence. Many of my students are intermediate to advanced, and their brain still works out the physics of golf the same wrong way. The students would detect an error and let their instinctive thoughts try and solve the problems. All most every time the solution they conjured up was opposite the solution needed to solve the problem.


Student has a neutral to strong grip and slices the ball.

Self medicated solution:

Take neutral grip and make it stronger.

Effects of erroneous logical solution:

The wrist action at impact is reduced, therefore reducing club head speed, resulting in a reduction of distance. The strong grip forces the student to restrict the release to hit a straight shot. If the student releases the wrists at impact a massive hook is the result. The student's brain then tells the student to continue to reduce wrist action therefore resulting in weaker shots.

The real cure:

More drills to maintain a correct wrist action with the neutral to strong grip.

The real result:

less slices, more distance and more control.

The Moral:

The moral of the story is "don't let your brain try and solve the problem, let a golf professional solve the problem, and you will see results. They know the swing inside and out and they can get you right on track in as little as 2 - 3 lessons.


World Golf Ranking

What is the world golf ranking, and how does it work?

How can Tiger Woods still be ranked 12th in the world and play as bad as he has been playing? Because of a unique equation that accounts for a PGA tour player's results in the last 2 years. It doesn't seem a fair equation. Why would what you do 2 years ago affect how you are ranked today? I personally don't know. I think the equation would be better suited if it was calculated for one year. This would in turn make the ranking system a little more volatile. But no one has complained about that before. Look at the college football rankings. Nothing is more exciting than jumping three spots in one week, or dropping 7 spots. The current format does add stability in a volatile game, but I find it hard to believe that Tiger Woods is ranked higher than Jason Day, who has recently out performed Tiger in every way. Tiger is ranked 12th and Jason is ranked 23rd. This ranking means more than a number on a sheet. This ranking can get you into major championships. I think it is time for a new equation that makes the game exciting, and rewards those who are playing great.