The Weather Finally Breaks…

North Carolina has been exceptionally cold over the last couple of weeks. The “nice” days (meaning in the 50’s temperature-wise) have mainly been rainy. That doesn’t lead to enjoyable golf. That also means that I have not been doing much golfing lately and I think that’s not really that bad.

I posted in my last blog that I was seriously overthinking my swing, and that with some video reviews, I was able to pinpoint where I was having an issue. That actually led to another realization that I think is really starting to bring everything together for me. I noticed the big lateral shift I had, which was started by not planting the lead foot and staying behind the ball. This weekend I hit on something that has been helping my backswing which is helping me stay on a much better plane when I’m swinging. Still has a strange feel to it, but I think it’s starting to get me to where I need to be.

This week is bringing temperatures in the 70’s during the week, so as of the writing of this post, my plan is to take at least half a day off of work and walk the 3 blocks to the clubhouse and get some golf in. Part of the reason I moved to where I am is because the golf course is right close by! I have no excuse and the warmer weather will leave me with very little to do at work, so why not take advantage of it?

Stay tuned, as I will likely try to post some video of the adventure provided I don’t get teamed up with someone that is continually rushing me as I won’t have my normal playing partner with me.

Overthinking: The Easy Part Of Golf

I think you can tell by the title alone exactly what I’m going to say in this post!

I have been working on my swing relentlessly over the past few weeks. I have scrutinized everything about the takeaway, the backswing, the transition, impact…you name it, I’ve looked at it 10,000 times. The security cameras on my house get a workout since I go back and watch my swing every time I’m outside with a club in my hands because it seems like that would be an optimal situation. I won’t be making my best efforts on those swings because I won’t be aware of the cameras. Genius, right?

All that hard work has led to a single conclusion, though. I

I am SERIOUSLY overthinking it.

The golf swing isn’t as complicated as it sounds and not nearly as difficult as modern instruction makes it seem, I can promise you that much. I re-watched my 9 hole course vlog where I had played very quickly just to see how well I can do under the pressure of having to move a camera around and set up before each shot on a busy Saturday morning in the summer. I saw something when I reached hole 3 and the angle on my tee shot changed, because the tee box slopes down into a main road just behind where I was standing. It was there I noticed that my grip was MCS, my stance was *almost* MCS (could’ve use a touch more right side tilt) and the backswing was just about what I’ve been looking for. It would have been pretty much ideal if I was tilted a bit more. And then, BAM! I saw it.

If you slow the video down and watch my move from the top, the lateral shift is there, just EVERYTHING goes with it. Instead of stomping my foot down and dropping behind while my hips are shifting and starting to turn a bit, I take everything with me and have to maneuver myself out of the way to get the ball to go. I typically end up hitting a fade with the driver all day, likely because of how I am able to get myself just enough clearance with my OTT move that it doesn’t slice completely. Some shots are gentle fades, some are power fades, but nothing that is a complete slice. My irons are the opposite all that day too. The face to super closed at impact because I’m not behind the ball and it leads me to hitting a lot of draws and one big hook.

That is a breakthrough for me, I should think. I’ve now kind of identified that biggest troublemaker in my swing and I can really set myself to working on it.

I’ll admit that I don’t really do the exercises that DJ gives us in the MCS videos because I almost always have a club in my hand, but I will be making an effort to get myself an appropriately weighted kettlebell this weekend to really optimize my in-home practice and finally start getting that transition right!

Ah, the magic of YouTube and the .25 speed setting!

Cold In North Carolina?!

Yes, that title is correct. It is cold in North Carolina.

When I got up this morning it was a balmy 25 degrees outside, which is fairly cold for North Carolina. I’m born and raised in New Jersey, so the cold is not unknown to me. I actually do very well in the cold. The only thing is, it sucks to hit golf balls when it’s cold outside, so my practice yesterday was just some simple swings, making sure that I’m hitting all the points I should be and a little bit of putting practice on the carpet. Sure, the carpet doesn’t mimic Augusta National’s greens, but it does give me the opportunity to at least work on the putting stroke.

In my previous post I talked about E=MCS, MCS being the method of golf swing that I am currently working with. I consider DJ (the man behind MCS) to be my coach of sorts. I’ve yet to work out a Skype session with him, which I believe may be a good option just to start the Spring off right, but I have had him look at my golf swing via video on a few times to make sure that I’m headed in the right direction. This golf swing has something to it that just simplifies everything, making it very easy to repeat and maintain, which I love.

With that said, the cold means that my real practice is going to be held up a bit. I don’t mind practicing in the cold, I just feel that I don’t get accurate readings on my distances and since they’re changing (getting longer) from week to week, I’d like to get a good baseline and then worry about how much distance I lose in the cold. Might be a backwards way of doing it, but I think that is what’s best for my game right now. If I start pulling clubs based on what I’m getting at the driving range right now, without knowing where my limits are for a half, three-quarter, and full swing…then I’m not really doing myself any favors.

As soon as the weather warms up a few degrees and I start seeing 50+, then I will be jumping back out on the course and driving range to get some work in. 55 degrees is usually a good place to start, I think. For now, I will be working on some things to get my putting stroke a little more stable as well as working on my MCS to be sure that the engine is running smoothly early in the season. The weather down here can be crazy. It might be cold for a week or two straight and then suddenly it will be 70 degrees again. Thankfully, the winter is typically short, so I’m hoping that’s what I have to look forward to. Until then, it’s “a-putting we shall go”.

The Golf Swing: 3 Method Shoot-Out

It will become pretty apparent to anyone who reads my posts that I am no stranger to “stirring the pot”…rather, I enjoy the opportunity to really egg someone on enough to see what they really think. In recent months, my favorite subject has been the golf swing. In particular, the “Modern Method” versus the “Classic Method”. I will share with you the three methods that I took some time to try and see how they worked for me and share my final thoughts on what worked best and why I think that is. Keep in mind, this is my own opinion and your mileage may vary…but this is what I found to be best for me.

The reason why I mention this is because I spent a lot of time over the last 2+ years working with a couple of different “methods” and inadvertently pitted them against one another. I hadn’t initially planned to try things for as long as I did, it sort of happened that way. What happened was simple: I picked up the game of golf and found that I needed some instruction to better understand the mechanics and just couldn’t find the time or the will to part with the amount of money that local coaches were asking. I figured the next best thing would be to find something on the internet, because that’s just how we do things now. If we can’t find it cheap enough, we look on the internet.

I found Me and My Golf first, via YouTube. I signed up for their site and worked on their plan for just about 6 months. By then I wasn’t really happy with the progress and the constant need to try and find a new way to fix my swing. This site utilizes a simple strategy: teach the basics and then use their “Shot Fixer”, which is an interesting matrix that helps provide drills that help with the current swing issue that you have. I found that I was able to get rid of my swing problems, the only problem was that it required a ton of maintenance and a lot of drilling to make it.

That led me to the next internet coach: Top Speed Golf.

Their platform was rather interesting and, at the time, seemed rather tedious and time consuming. It was a lot of practice and working on things step by step and that made it feel like I wasn’t really getting much of anything done. I felt like some things were coming together but the way the program was progressing made it feel like it was far more complicated than it needs to be. They used a method that was like reading the alphabet from A to Z. You practiced step 1 the prescribed amount of times before moving to step 2 and so forth. The idea is sound, it just seems to take quite a long time to get through.

YouTube brought me to the last one via Mike Austin. DJ Watts of WaxGolf.com was where I ended up and I’ve been very happy with the results so far. This “method” was pretty straight forward and really spelled out what should be happening in a Classic Golf Swing. This was a great advancement for me and after a couple months of working on the movement passively, I was finally able to feel the “move” properly and the ball was doing exactly what I expected it do be doing.

I’ll go into a little more detail on this particular swing method because it is the one that I have stuck with and that has worked the best for me. I gravitated towards this once I read a little about DJ Watts, the man behind the method. at this point he is at 14+ years of swing research and he suffered from back issues, which I can sympathize with. I have mentioned that I herniated the L5 disk in my own back, leaving me walking on a cane and in pain for nearly two years. It took patience, a good Chiropractor, yoga and a caring woman to help me get everything working again. I still have some minor back issues, but I certainly didn’t want something fun and recreational like golf to create a much worse issue for me.

E=MCS (Mechanically Correct Swing) is the name of the program, and it seemed like the right match for me. After working with it a bit and experiencing a dramatic drop in the pressure and tension in my lower back, then soon after, seeing an increase in distance and accuracy as I crafted my swing…I was sold.

Let’s get to the bottom line here…is one better than the other?

First, I’d like to mention that while Me and My Golf and Top Speed Golf are taught by gentlemen that come from the more modern golf swing school of thought, they both have recently begun to share videos and drills that have included incorporating my classic swing elements into their teaching. Lifting the lead heel, utilizing the lower body to drive the swing and not doing the “release left” (vice versa for the left-handed among us) thing is bringing them more in line with the way the classic swing works. This is a good thing, I think, as the only person on the PGA Tour that is jumping into the air and not really risking much injury is Bubba Watson…everyone else is a back injury waiting to happen!

With that being said, I personally prefer how simply the E=MCS method was taught as well as how easy it is to maintain. You can work on your setup, pivot and “One Major Move” (which you will learn about when you get to the website) all without a club in your hands. If I am standing still, I am probably working on my pivot. My wife thinks I’m crazy to be trying to work on my golf swing while I’m standing next to her in a store, but it’s been helping my game, so I think I will keep doing it! Both Me and My Golf and Top Speed Golf are deserving of a look and will work for most everyone. My personal opinion is this: If you want to work on a simple golf swing that you can easily maintain and will make getting your distance and accuracy up…MCS is the way to go.

Stop by http://www.waxgolf.com and get into it!

2019 Golf Season

I have to say, 2019 is off the such a strange start.

In North Carolina, the weather is incredibly unpredictable in the Winter and this year is no exception. Today the high is 68 degrees, and there’s a light wind blowing. That’s perfect golfing weather in my book. I had planned to find my way to a golf course this weekend to play 18 holes…and then I find out that the high on Saturday and Sunday is 41 degrees and there is a chance of snow on both days! How is a man supposed to play golf in this weather?!

Today, however, I believe that I will make some time to hit the driving range and swing the club a few times and see how things are working so far.

I’ve made some major swing changes since picking the game up again and I have been working on a new swing for the last couple months. I will do a separate blog/vlog on the subject, but I have to admit now that I’m fairly surprised with how it’s been working out for me. I don’t buy into mumbo jumbo and hype, and there was not much of either surrounding this particular teacher and way of swinging. I did my research and even tried out a couple of other methods of learning (namely Me And My Golf as well as Top Speed Golf) before stumbling across this coach. I did six months on each of those aforementioned websites before finding and switching over to my current “coach” and I am happy I did…but that’s venturing to far into the blog/vlog territory, so let’s leave it at that for now and we will get back to that later.

The goal for this year is to get my swing together and work on my putting and short game to make sure that all the parts of my game are working correctly. I’m also going to work on getting my official handicap card so I can start working my way to having a low enough handicap to start trying to qualify for tournaments. I hope to find some time in the late Summer, early Autumn to play a few of the small local tournaments and see how things go. I also have a few tournaments that my company usually plays in that I’m sure we will place much better in if I can get my game in better shape. Sometimes it gets tough carrying the team!

Until the next time.

The Journey Begins

The beginning is a good place to start, I should think, and that’s precisely where we are going to begin this journey.

I welcome you all to The Joy of Putting and hope that you will find something of interest to keep you coming back.

The easiest way to begin would be to tell you why I’m evening starting this journey. That’s an easy one. It’s because I really do enjoy the game of golf and I want to play the best that I am capable of just for my enjoyment. There’s something to maximizing one’s skill at something in the pursuit of utmost enjoyment. Or more simply: The better I play, the more I want to play.

I do have some goals along the way, of course. No blog would be complete without a solid purpose that defines it. I do have the ultimate goal of trying (and hopefully succeeding) in qualifying for a Web.com Tour or a PGA Tour event at some point. I also want to play and win some local tournaments. I would love to find a way to play my way onto the Champions Tour later in life…and I think 18 more years of practice should give me plenty of time to prepare.

Still, I appreciate you taking the time to join me on the journey and look forward to really diving in!