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Congratulations - Justin Rose!

The Golfing Machine - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Congratulations Justin Rose!

Sunday June 16th, 2013 – Justin Rose's final round of golf, in the U.S. Open at Merion came to a close. It culminated with a drive on No. 18 landing near the famous Ben Hogan plaque and a beautiful 4-iron shot that skirted just past the hole. From that position just on the fringe he chipped to within an inch and putted for a par 4. As his fellow Briton and playing partner Luke Donald finished his round Mr. Rose was holding back tears of joy. Joy that he later would state was because his deceased Father would be proud.

Pride? A word not often used in Professional golf any longer. Pride - a state which I seldom view our current PGA Tour players as possessing. Pride - an emotion which I shared with Mr. Rose. As he spoke during his interview he was extremely gracious, polite, humble and proud of his accomplishment. Mr. Rose told the people of Philadelphia that, even as a Briton, he was treated well during his week in Philly.  He referenced that although the crowed rooted for their favorite son - Phil Mickelson, they also appreciated his effort throughout the day.

During his interview  Mr. Rose looked skyward he gave thanks to his father on our Father’s Day, the man who introduced him to golf, the one who taught him pride, the one who taught his son that golf was a journey and that he should respect the sport and those around it.

Mr. Rose listened and learned from his Father and, from my vantage being a golfer for 40 years and a Professional for 30 years, Mr. Rose makes me proud to be a golfer!

The Struggle for Consistency

The Golfing Machine - Monday, February 25, 2013

The struggle for consistency!

During my 30 years as a Golfing Machine Instructor one glaring problem continues to affect golfers - they seldom align themselves the same way twice in a row and then they complain that they lack consistency.

When a chef constantly changes ingredients he cannot expect his food to have a consistent flavor, if a painter constantly changes his color palette he cannot expect to have the same tones or colors. When a golfer constantly changes his alignments he cannot expect consistent results.

The current fad in golf is to purchase two colored sticks and place them on the ground parallel to each other. This idea in principle is good; but what are the golfers’ alignments to these sticks? How is he aligning his hands to the clubface? Is he aligning the clubface properly to the target line? Is he aligning his grip properly to the clubface? How is he aligning his arms to the club and to each other? These questions are atypical for most golfers or their instructors. Most of them are simply looking at the outcome – ball flight and then reacting to it. However, ball flight is only one factor of the equation and it does not always give you useable feedback. If you only rely on ball flight then you will always be a slave to it if you understand the components which create ball flight then you will master your game

Since most golfers overlook these alignments and their golf professionals do not know how to assist their students with these alignments then the struggle for consistency will continue. Remember if you continue to change the ingredients then the outcome will always be different. If you want to be more a more consistent golfer then go see an Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine who can assist you with learning how to align yourself properly so you can begin to get a consistent result.

Play Bandon!

The Golfing Machine - Friday, September 14, 2012

Play Bandon!

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you love golf, if you love a challenge, if you want a golf experience that is beyond compare, go to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN you should go. My recommendation: Do not put it off until ‘someday,’ but go as soon as possible and play Bandon.

Resort owner Mr. Mike Keizer has done everything right. The golf courses are a challenge for any level. Although the courses look friendly and open they can be very fickle and devious. Leave your ego at home and bring an extra order of patience; not patience for slow play, but patience for yourself because most golfers have a difficult time hitting exact spots on the golf course. Sometimes you need to be surgically precise or else your golf ball follows the law of gravity, and then you can be in a disastrous predicament where ordinary skills are not enough to extricate yourself from impending doom – and a double bogey or worse is quickly earned.

These four golf courses: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and Old MacDonald are individually unique. Each with its own personality and flavor, I enjoyed all of them. Each requires a different skill set to play them well. If you are looking for a leisurely round or a walk in the park these are not the courses to play. They are demanding and every shot must be planned, this is not a grip it and rip it facility. The beauty of these golf courses is unsurpassed however, it can be distracting standing on a bluff overlooking the untamed Pacific Ocean or seeing the Oregon coast range of mountains blanketed in low silvery fog. Don’t forget you are here to play golf so refocus your attention, listen carefully to your caddie and make the best stroke you can.

Caddie? Take a caddie! There are many reasons to take a caddie at the quadrillo of courses at Bandon, the least of the reasons is you won’t get lost. Lost! Yes, there are a few tee complexes that have multiple tees for multiple holes and as you stand on one you see multiple greens. It’s a good idea to know which one is your target. Plus, the caddies know these courses and their idiosyncrasies intimately. For example, I was looking a putt which I thought broke two feet left only to discuss it with my caddie to find it actually broke three feet right. I saved a few strokes there. Plus many of the demanding tee shots must be placed accurately between bunkers or to a specific side of the fairway so as not to roll into the hazard. Again for the love of the game, to assure proper direction and choice of clubs, take a caddie – it is the best money ever spent.

Lastly, but assuredly not least, the accommodations are immaculate and practical. You can wear your soft spiked shoes anywhere at Bandon. Before your round in the morning breakfast is great and the dinner meals are as good as any fine restaurant in the world. Mr. Keizer knows how to treat his guests and I felt like I was his personal friend and that he himself had invited me to play. Everyone on the Bandon staff is courteous, kind, compassionate and at your service.

My experience was extraordinary and beyond my expectation. I will return to Bandon!

Are we creating Golfers or Athletes?

The Golfing Machine - Thursday, August 02, 2012

When we were young many of us played various sports including football, baseball and basketball. Some of us participated in track and field – running races, pole vaulting or high jumping among other activities. Because we had a broad base of athletic interests we were given the moniker ATHLETES. This moniker meant that we participated in many sports but we did not limit our interest to just one. Athlete is defined from the World English Dictionary (on line).

Athlete: (please notice the plurals used below).

  1. A person trained to compete in sports or exercises involving physical strength, speed or endurance
  2. A person who has a natural aptitude for physical activities
  3. Chiefly (Brit) a competitor in track and field events.

Some of us, however, preferred one sport and enjoyed it more than the others. We became GOLFERS.

Now to my dismay – during a golf lesson - throwing a disc, jumping rope, tossing a medicine ball and running around a golf course are considered athletic endeavors and therefore, golf professionals are creating athletes, but not golfers. The workout craze on Tour has created the perception that stronger is better; is there any statistical evidence or studies that state a high correlation between physical strength and increased golf performance, as in lower scores? Let me pose this question: Do you think other coaches, for example: baseball, basketball, track and soccer coaches have their participants play golf to get ready for their competitions? I doubt it. Why? Because they know the skills are not the same, and each of these sports require individualized competencies to become an efficient performer.

Golf instructors have lost their way in the muck created with the hope of producing more powerful athletes. This belief is forcing golf professionals to push their students toward exercising. My question is how many golf professionals from the 30K in the PGA take time to exercise? During a seminar I gave a few years ago I asked the 40 or so PGA Professionals in the room how many hit balls on a regular basis, which we defined as three or more times a week or more. The answer was one! All of these Golf Professionals had at their disposal a driving range, golf course and putting green within yards of their offices, yet they could not muster the motivation to practice. Now, these same professionals are demanding their students exercise! How is a student who has two children, a job, a mortgage, a wife, etc. making time for exercise? I guess he could give up his golf lesson time and focus on his exercise routine.

Golf professionals look at golf egocentrically, meaning that it is the only thing in life worthwhile. That thought is, however, far from the truth, most people must decide on how to juggle their limited free time between many competing factions.

I believe that we should educate GOLFERS who understand and master their golf motions from basic chipping to pitching and full motions. We should be educating GOLFERS who are competent in getting themselves around a golf course in the fewest strokes possible.

Golf is unique, it has different movements and requires different skill sets in order to become competent. These skills, which are mandatory for the trip from tee to green, are not transferable to other sports. Golf skills are as different from other sports as the skills of soccer goalie are from a catcher in baseball.

Golf is a sport of a lifetime; if you want to increase your competence and skill in golf over your lifespan, please see an Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine, who will direct you how to become more competent and a better golfer over time.

Look Who is Talking!

The Golfing Machine - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Many of today’s celebrity golf instructors brag about having met or given advice to Mr. Jack Nicklaus, Mr. Tom Watson, or even Mr. Tiger Woods. They speak about their great golf swings and why they function as they do. They get a lot of press when speaking about their trade. Some have gone so far as to write books about Mr. Ben Hogan – as if they actually knew him or had a personal relationship with him. These instructors want you to know their opinion of why he was great.

Now on the flip side, one celebrity instructor has taken upon himself to not only write a book about the great Mr. Ben Hogan but to include in his book a portion where he condescendingly criticizes Homer Kelley.

“We are not machines McLean states and can’t be simply programmed to make great golf swings every time.” Although, McLean thinks of himself as intellectual he is unaware that Cognitive Psychologist analogize the human brain as “wetwear” instead of hardware or software giving credit that the brain is flexible and programmable. McLean states later in the same chapter that he believes in “breaking the swing down into its building blocks which are manageable for my students.” Ironically, this is similar to Mr. Kelley’s Three Zones: Body, Arms and Hands in Chapter 9.

Why Jim McLean felt strongly to not only bash Mr. Kelley but also to criticism him for reading about Ben Hogan and Sam Snead who at the time Mr. Kelley was writing about golf were at the top of their games? There is a double standard McLean can publish a book about Ben Hogan to increase his cash flow; but Mr. Kelley was criticized for simply reading about Mr. Hogan and actually chastised for not having “seen him hit balls”.

Mr. Kelley was curious about golf and golfers and so having a scientific mind he explored all books at this disposal during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In his library he had books authored by Ben Hogan and Sam Snead along with many others, they were considered highly proficient in their skill levels and therefore sought after as experts in their fields. No wonder Mr. Kelley read their books.

No one has chastised Jim McLean for reading The Golfing Machine (TGM) or going to see Mr. Kelley. McLean no doubt has taken a few concepts from TGM to add to his repertoire of teaching information including his well know plane cone; which he draws a line from the hosel through the students waist and another from the hosel just above the students shoulder. These two lines are similar to Mr. Kelley’s Elbow Plane (10-6-A) and the Squared Shoulder Plane 10-6-C. He would not want to burden his reader by referencing Mr. Kelley’s book so he simply left it out.

McLean in his book takes a shot at Mr. Kelley’s golf equipment calling them “old golf irons and beat-up woods;” adding that “it was a strange collection of clubs in a tattered old bag.” These clubs are currently right behind me as I write this let me tell you exactly what he owned: Wilson Haig Ultra Power irons (2 – Pitching Wedge with True Temper Pro-Fit stiff with Walter Hagen’s name on them). The woods are First Flight persimmon (1, 3 and 4 with Shot Master stiff shafts by True Temper). I am looking at his all leather bag which is rectangular and has a pull cart attached to it. He also owned a full complement of putters one of which was given to him by Don Shaw, GSED his best friend and for whom caddied 60 rounds. These clubs may seem odd to McLean who may have changed club as often as he changed his socks; as a player was given equipment for free by major manufacturers; but Mr. Kelley’s passion was for how to swing the club properly, because when he was introduced to golf little was known about the geometry of  golf.

Thanks to Mr. Kelley who paved the way for people like McLean to earn millions of dollars using his information and allowed McLean and others to visit ask questions and kept their payment to a minimum if he charged at all. I for one was on the receiving end of Mr. Kelley’s generosity when it came to sharing his time. I am and will always be forever grateful to him for his time and the book which changed the lives of teaching professionals everywhere. My father taught me to give credit where credit is due, and all the credit for my teaching acumen goes to Mr. Kelley and his irreplaceable work – The Golfing Machine.

Called on to the Carpet!

The Golfing Machine - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Jim McLean claims credit for discovery, but called to the carpet

By Joe Daniels, MS, PGA,GSED

In a recent article produced by the Jim McLean golf information factory he is quoted as being responsible for detecting that the clubface is more important than the clubhead in determining the direction of a golf shot. McLean states that he was one of the first golf instructors to declare that Face Angle was far more important than Club Path in determining Launch Direction. TrackMan, a launch monitor, has since then proven McLean´s theory right. McLean is taking credit for this find when in 1969’s first edition of The Golfing Machine, the book’s author, Mr. Homer Kelley, states: “The direction of the ball will always be square (90 degrees sic) to the leading edge of the Clubface at separation…”

Now we know that McLean visited Mr. Kelley because he stated so in his book about Mr. Hogan. Therefore, logic states that Mr. Kelley led McLean on a journey of mental discovery, which McLean has chosen to forget so he can take credit for and put himself in the limelight of being an intellectual in the field of golf.

Considering McLean’s disrespect for Mr. Kelley which is evident in his book on Mr. Hogan I do not believe him to be a threat to anyone’s intellect. This is evident with the facts of the X factor, the teaching philosophy he popularized, or is it now the Y factor? Is he running out of alphabetical letters to create any more articles or a theoretical concepts?

Yes, Jim some of us watch and listen and give due respect to those who came before us. Mr. Kelley in 1969 stated how the ball reacted off the clubface, yet you are now taking credit for finding this phenomenon. Shame, shame, shame!