By Golf Pro Graham Castanheiro
Greetings, it is my pleasure to have this opportunity to share some of my thoughts and coaching methodology. The following information encompasses much of what we will work on during our coaching programs. The goals of my programs are to facilitate learning through understanding, practice, and coaching. It is my privilege to have been afforded this opportunity to work with you.
The game of golf is indeed many games in one, power, touch or finesse. All that this wonderful game embodies cannot be learned and mastered in a lifetime, but it is fun trying. Basic skills are attainable once you are equipped with the correct knowledge and you are coached to reinforce desirable habits. The following are FORGET-ME-NOTS concerning the specific shots we will be working on during the lessons.
GENERAL STANDARDS TO ACHIEVE
In the game of golf if we can remember to enjoy the experience we will become relaxed and allow our talent to shine. However, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. As in any sport take the time to go through a physical warm up to prepare the body and the mind for the game ahead.
READY – SET – GO
READY: Phase I of ready is when we are standing behind the ball in what we call the THINK ZONE, analysis of the shot at hand, lie of the ball, distance to target or landing area, wind direction and intensity, elevation, strategy etc. which leads to a committed decision as to the club and shot to hit.
In Phase II we are starting to work on our feel by visualizing the shot, creating a practice move based on feel, oily and slippery, smooth.etc. Breathing is perhaps the best mechanism to induce this heightened visual athletic state.
SET: Moving into the play zone to address the ball and we are aware of the target, yet glancing at the ball as we address it, after a few waggles and a quieting the mind we swing.
GO: A pure athletic movement, heightened kinesthetic awareness of rhythm, timing, balance, the sound and the feel of impact reverberates and echoes in the body as the eyes soak in the flight of the ball.
Ball Position: Ball is positioned 2″ off the sternum or on a direct line two inches off the front heel.
Clubface Position: Square to the target, heel of the club resting on the ground.
Stance/Posture: Comfortable, athletic, relaxed, joints stacked with a slight bend from the hips/waist, flex knees. The feet are comfortably apart depending on the size of shot required to play.
Alignment: Parallel to the target line, remember we aim our bodyline slightly left of the target line, for a right-handed golfer.
Weight Distribution: Your weight should feel evenly balanced on the inside of your legs with slight pressure toward the insteps. Remember we want to rotate into a braced back leg hell and transition into a posting up front leg heel. Maintain balance and posture throughout the swing.
Hand Position: The Grip of the club rests in the fingers of the hand with the thumbs pointing down the shaft. The V’s of the thumbs point off toward the back shoulder. Look for two and half knuckles of the top hand. Remember to seal the web between your thumb and forefinger. Finally, release tension and maintain a constant grip pressure based on the lie the ball is in.
Swing: Golfers use ground force energy via pressure from the feet to transfer power to the core. The legs and hips are the catalysts to produce the swinging action of the arms. The hands grip and feel the club and allow the arms to swing. Tension in any part of the body reduces the ability to generate maximum club head speed. .
Impact position: At impact the hands have a forward lean or tilt ahead of the ball and clubface. At this point the hips have cleared while the spine angle is maintained and chest is covering the ball.
The finish: At the finish hold your balance with the weight completely on the front leg, belt buckle facing the target, knees together, body/spine angle maintained. Be certain to extend your arms during follow through phase before folding arms into the finish.
Attitude: Maintaining perspective will allow golfers to deal and cope with the variety of experiences on the course. Ultimately, we have to be resilient and have a good bounce back ability. Allow yourself to be swept up into a positive spiral of happy emotions which athletes term, playing in the zone. Visualize the shot and then fully commit to the swing.
By understanding these areas of the golf swing completely along with practice and coaching, you will enjoy your game and time on the course. Your scores will go down and you will have more personal satisfaction.
Practice with a purpose, have fun, and as Mr. Hogan once said “the secrets in the dirt.”