A Personal Cue That My Putting Stroke Is Working

Every golfer has cues that help them determine if their stroke is working as expected. For the different clubs – different cues; for me I have something in my putting stroke that is a must have to know that I am putting well. My cue is very specific and something that I can actually feel, especially during my warm up routine.

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How Wide is Your Golf Stance?

Last fall, I was fortunate to take part in a golf clinic given by PGA Tour Canada for serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces. During my time on the range, several Pros commented on how narrow my stance was and how I was losing power and distance because I had very little body movement.

Take a look at my stance before the lesson.

Now take a look at my stance at the beginning of the year. I slowed this video down by 2x.

Do you see any difference? It may not look like much of a change, but the lower video has my stance widened by about 6 inches! That is very dramatic and I am still getting used to the difference. Interestingly, I am hitting the ball a bit further, however my accuracy is not quite at its normal level. It is still very early in the season and I only have 8 games under my belt since I started golfing on the first of May.

My new stance looks and feels better. My balance is more consistent through the entire swing. However, always the analyst, I slowed everything down to take a look at my whole swing mechanics. For the most part I was fairly happy and I cannot really complain since it is so early in the season. But….I guess there is always a but…. there are two things I did notice that I need to fix.

First, my left arm bends too much as I draw the club back. Just above waist height, my arm starts to bend. This is not good! There are two reasons for this (in my mind) flexibility and the second error I noticed. My transition at the top of the swing is too quick. I need to slow down the movement of bringing the club back to bringing it forward. If I can manage to conquer these two things in the next month or so, my GAF (golf attitude factor) will only improve.

What do you think of my analysis of my swing? I really what to know what you think!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Weight Distribution in Your Golf Swing

Weight distribution is very important to a consistent golf swing. Through the years, I have experimented with all different aspects of weight distribution. Recently, I widened my stance because of a tip from a PGA Tour Canada golfing professional. This small adjustment  increased my power and conversely increased my distance off the tee. Additionally, by widening my stance, the issue of weight distribution re-emerged.

Balance during a golf swing is very important. With proper balance, a player can consistently reproduce the same swing. And consistency is a core fundamental skill required to shoot low scores. After several hours at the driving range, I have determined that the proper weight distribution for my swing occurs when:

  • my knees are over my toes
  • my shoulders are over my knees
  • the inside of my feet are even with my shoulders
  • my arms hang straight down and are about 2 inches forward of my body
  • before my swing, my weight feels centered at the front part of my arches or ankles
  • Finally, during my swing, my weight is transferred from the instep of my back foot to the instep of my front foot

This may all sound familiar and it is. By standing as outlined above, I feel like my body is in a natural stance. When in this position, I hit consistently and hit the ball further off the tee. Also, if I am not in this position, I notice it immediately when I swing the club. Sometimes I fall forward, backward and even sideways if my weight distribution is off.

This is a great drill to help determine the proper feel of your weight distribution during your golf swing.

A good video explaining weight distribution created by a good set up. Their explanation is simple to understand and easy to duplicate.

Finally, Jim McLean talks about keeping your weight distributed on the inside of your arches during your golf swing.

Weight distribution is very important to a consistent golf swing. By controlling your weight distribution, you will lower your score and improve your over all consistency off the tee.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

How Wide Should Your Golf Stance Be?

How wide is your stance in golf? This is a great question for all golfers regardless of their skill level. This important question has rattled around in my head for about a month.

After analyzing my swing (for the first time on video), it was very clear that I had absolutely no lower body movement; I mean none. Additionally, this year I struggled with consistency off the tee, this dramatically increased my frustration while playing my favorite sport . When I mentioned this to my friend Kirk, he said that I have always swung the club this way! Needless to say, I was completely surprised! I maintained a 4 handicap for 10 years and this year it dropped to 2.8! I cannot seem to lower my handicap any further, mostly because of my limited distance and inconsistent play off the tee. Well, now I have my next project as I continue to strive towards being a scratch golfer.

While at the PGA Tour Canada Golf Clinic at Wildfire Invitational this past Wednesday, a young pro noticed my stance woes immediately. He recommended that I widen my stance about two inches with each foot! As I moved my feet out, it felt like I was doing the splits. However, after hitting about 20 balls on the range that day, my new stance started to feel more comfortable.

Curious about my new found knowledge, I started to research the proper distance and location of my feet in my stance. To my surprise, I found that everyone had an opinion and very few were exactly the same. So here is what I found that was consistent among most articles:

  • Everyone’s stance will adjust according to their physical stature. Being short, tall, stout, thin, or average will have a direct impact on the width of your stance.
  • The shoulder width rule (your feet shoulder width apart) is an okay guideline, but flexibility will definitely impact your foot position. The more flexible, the wider your stance.
  • “Basically, what you need to do is find neutral joint alignment.  In other words, find where the center of your ankles, center of your knees, and center of your hips stack up over each other.”
  • “Consequently, the most efficient width of stance should be no wider than shoulder width for most full swing shots, including your driver.  With this width you will more likely maintain a dominant rotary force.  This will lead to greater club head speed and better dynamic stability.”

Here are a couple of videos  that help explain the advantage of a proper stance and how to figure out what is best for you.

After widening my stance, I have suddenly found 10-20 yards off the tee. I am more consistent when hitting my driver just by moving my feet a couple of inches farther apart. Not to suggest this is an easy fix, I still have to hit the range to determine the exact position of my feet, where the ball should be placed in my stance for all my clubs, and build confidence to swing through the ball! I am excited about my new project and will keep you posted as things progress!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

PGA Tour Canada Golf Clinic for the Canadian Armed Forces

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Earlier this week, I had the honor of attending a golf clinic hosted by the PGA Tour Canada for the Canadian Military. Only a day before they were to compete, eight young golfing phenoms spent 1.5 hours sharing their considerable knowledge with Canadian soldiers. For the fifth time this year, the PGA Tour Canada hosted serving members to teach them how to putt, chip and drive a golf ball. It was a day to remember for most of us golfing enthusiasts!

PGA of Canada Military Golf Clinic

The Wildfire Golf Club is currently hosting a PGA Tour Canada event. Prior to the start on Thursday, Devin Daniels, Wills Smith, Drew Evans, Steve Carney, Adam Cornelson, Greg Machtaler, Peter Campbell and Daniel McCarthy stopped preparing for their professional event to help golfing wannabees improve their game!

Our 1.5 hours was broken into three 30 minute segments. Each segment consisted of putting, iron play and driving. Two of the pros, Drew Evans and Peter Campbell shared their expertise on the putting green. The rest was spread throughout the driving range. The most exciting aspect of the entire event was the close and personal attention each pro gave the player.

I was fortunate to have Drew Evans provide some putting tips. As he watched me putt, he indicated that I had a very good putting stroke. He emphasized the importance of keeping my triangle while putting. When I asked about my view of following through twice as far as the back swing, he indicated that it was a good drill for mid to high handicap players, but for lower handicappers, a smoother even putting stroke is preferred. Lastly, he suggested that I move my hands out from my body about 2 inches to keep my shoulders, wrists and putter head in a straight line…man did that make a positive difference! Thanks Drew I appreciate the help. Here are some other tips by Drew and Peter.

My next station was the driving range. I started with my 7 iron and both Adam Cornelson and Steve Carney liked what I was doing. My follow through was excellent and my contact consistent. The only thing they suggested was that I slow my back swing down to produce a smoother tempo throughout the entire swing. This will have to happen at the range as changing my tempo with my 7 iron will be difficult. I was encouraged to hear that my 7 iron was in pretty good shape.

Moving on to my driver was a slightly different story. I hit my driver 240 yards straight, 7 times out of 10. Of course, being a golfing freak, I asked how to gain 20 more yards. Drew Evans looked at my swing and told me what I already knew…no power was generated from the lower part of my body. To date I have been unable to correct this problem. Drew suggested I widen my stance. At first it felt very uncomfortable, but the results were unmistakable. I immediately gained some distance on my driver with the same consistency.

After hitting about 20 drives, Devin Daniels approached me and suggested I should slow my back swing down. He noticed that when I was trying to hit the ball hard, everything sped up and became out of sync. Additionally, he reminded me that less is more. Something I have said over and over. Swinging at 80% strength is the key to have the ball go farther! Of course it worked and now I have two things to work on at the range.

The entire day was incredible. Everyone who attended the golf clinic was very impressed by the Wildfire Golf Club, the pros knowledge and infinite patience while answering questions and the PGA Tour Canada for continuing to host the Canadian Military! After talking to the PGA Tour Canada staff, I found out that there are opportunities to caddy next year and I think I am going to give it a go!

Thank you PGA Tour Canada for continuing to support the Canadian Armed Forces!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!