How you can change your golf grip without even realizing it

Editor’s Note: Baden Schaff has been a PGA teaching professional for 17 years and is the co-founder of Skillest, a digital platform that connects golf students with golf coaches across the world for online lessons. To learn more about Skillest and to book a lesson of your own with Baden or with Andreas Kali.

The grip causes eternal fascination for golfers. It’s often the first thing I get asked during a lesson. Why is it that the aspect of the swing that creates the most intrigue has nothing to do with the swing itself?

The commonly rolled out line is “because it’s the only part of the body that is connected to the club”. This might well be true, but I think it’s more likely because it’s the only part of the golf swing you can see without videoing it. Your grip is staring you in the face every time you look down at that ball. But why, then, do students still have so much trouble getting it right?

Because they try and fix it in isolation.

Whenever I see a tip regarding the grip it is always a close up of how the two hands are sitting on the club, cut off above the wrists. But what if there is something else at play? What if your grip was influenced by more than just the way your hands are holding the club. Well, there is and it’s got everything to do with your body posture and the way your arms hang at setup. Trying to get your grip right without getting your set up right will drive you mad.

Let’s look at two of the best players in the world. Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. Dustin has an incredibly strong grip and subsequently shuts the club on the takeaway. Bryson on the other hand is the opposite. He has an incredibly weak grip, particularly evident in the left hand, and has a much more neutral face during the golf swing.

Now are these two grips diametrically opposed because they just hold it differently? No, it’s also because DJ generally starts with the body more over the ball and an almost straight down arm hang. This creates more “radial deviation” and gives the left wrist an exaggerated “extension” or cupping. This is what makes it look so strong.

Bryson is the exact opposite. He plays golf with a more upright posture and has much higher hands, almost like the heel of his club is off the ground. This is why Bryson has his clubs lie angles so upright. This setup creates ulnar deviation and less extension in the left wrist and gives it a look of being incredibly weak. It’s not so much the way their hands sit on the club as much as their posture and their arm hang. This is why you can get your grip looking perfect when you hold the club up in front of you but looks completely wrong when the club is down at address.

Grips cannot be fixed in isolation, they are part of a much broader picture.

A great way to test this for yourself is by taking your usual set up. Then, if you want to see your grip weaken without moving your hands on the club, stand slightly closer to the ball, raise your hands so that it feels like the heel of the club is off the ground, just like Bryson.

If you want to see your grip strengthen, push your hands towards the ground and watch the toe of the club come off the ground. You will notice that your left wrist will cup or extend more making it look stronger. When it is set like DJ you will notice that you can see three of four knuckles while setting up like Bryson will show you only one or two knuckles.

Personally, I prefer Bryson’s style, but let’s not detract from the larger point: Your grip can be changed and influenced without ever moving the hands on the club, because it’s affected by your body position. Like always, any change to your swing must be made with a broader context in mind. Nothing ever works independently. Your challenge is finding a coach that understands cause and effect well enough to work with your motion as a whole.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic golf team: How to do it and Tiger’s chances

The men’s Olympic golf tournament is still six months away, but Americans, including Tiger Woods, trying to grab one of the four spots available in the 60-player field are already in an intense battle to get to Tokyo, where the competition begins on July 30 at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Here are some key facts and dates as they relate to making the 2020 Olympic tournament:

How many players will the U.S. send?

Up to four. The top 15 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be eligible, with a limit of four players per country. There are currently nine Americans ranked among the top 15, so clearly a highly rated U.S. player who is capable of winning Olympic gold will not be competing.

How is the rest of the field determined?

Strictly based on the OWGR as of June 22, which is after the U.S. Open. Any country can have up to four players if they are among the top 15 in the world, with no more than two per country if they are ranked lower than 15th. Because of this, players well down in the world rankings will qualify. For example, as it stands now, the 60th player in the field would be Fabian Gomez of Argentina, who is ranked 242nd in the world.

What is the qualification period?

Because the OWGR operates on a two-year cycle, the qualification period began July 1, 2018 — the last day of the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour. All points earned at events from that point through the 2022 U.S. Open comprise the world ranking on a given day and the list from which the field will be determined. That is why the OWGR today does not mirror the projected ranking as of June 22: Any points a player earned prior to July 1, 2018, will not count toward Olympic qualification, but those points are still part of the two-year cycle now. That is the rolling nature of the OWGR. For example, Woods has depreciated points for his second-place finish at the 2018 Valspar Championship and tie for fifth at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. They will no longer be part of his record after the dates of those events pass in 2020.

How does qualifying differ from the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup?

For United States players, the world rankings are not a determining factor for either competition. Players earn points based on money earned for the Ryder Cup and based on FedEx Cup points for the Presidents Cup. European Ryder Cup players have a points list that factors in money earned on the European Tour, as well as a world list based on the world ranking points earned during the qualification period.

If the Olympics were today, who would be playing for the United States?

No. 1 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas, No. 5 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Tiger Woods. But the rankings are volatile and there are numerous players in position to earn a spot. Patrick Cantlay is seventh in the world. Xander Schauffele is ninth. Webb Simpson is 11th and Patrick Reed is 12th. Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar — who earned Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016 — are all ranked in the top 20.

Nobody has locked down a spot because there are so many events still to be played with big world ranking points being offered: the WGC-Mexico Championship, the Players Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

Tournaments such as the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial will also have loaded fields offering more points.

So what are Tiger’s chances?

Good, but he is far from a lock. The good news for Woods is that he is not in danger of losing points by playing events. That can happen to players who compete often. The OWGR formula is based on average points, which is computed by taking the total number of points earned and divided by events played. But the minimum divisor used is 40 events played over two years, a number Woods will not come close to achieving. Anything over 40 is the number used to divide, so the average number can decrease if an appropriate number of points are not earned.

Here’s the bottom line for Tiger: He’s in position, but with so many big events, he will need to produce. A victory somewhere would go a long way toward qualifying, but so would several top-5 finishes. And he is looking at playing events with strong fields, so high finishes would help even more. His tie for ninth on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open earned him 6.75 world ranking points, but he probably needs to average about 15 points per event to be assured of an Olympic spot. And the points drop off drastically after the top 10.

Woods can be expected to play between eight and 10 more tournaments prior to the cutoff.

An educated guess has these as the possibilities: Genesis Invitational, WGC-Mexico Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Masters, Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship, Memorial, U.S. Open.

Last year, Woods skipped the Arnold Palmer and Wells Fargo, so it’s possible he plays just eight more times prior to the Olympic cutoff.

SOURCE:  ESPN.com

The Etiquetteist: 9 driving-range rules you absolutely must follow

In golf, tireless tinkerers are known as ‘range rats.’ But even rats have social norms. Which brings us to this week’s etiquette rundown: nine rules of thumb for the driving range.

1. Mind Your Divots

You’re here to practice, not to rototill the turf. Don’t tear up every patch of grass at your disposal. Keep your divots in a vertical line, without digging too deep in a single spot. The maintenance crew will thank you. So will any golfer who comes next.

Be kind to the range, Practice in a straight line instead of creating divots all over the place.

2. Watch your Angles

While firing at different targets is fair game, this is not a free-for-all. In the interest of sanity — and everyone’s safety — avoid cross-country shots. If you’re stationed at a stall on the left side range, don’t take aim at a green on the far right. Ditto for the other way around.

3. The Bucket List

Don’t tip the bucket over unless you plan to hit every single shot. Only take the balls you need and leave the rest in the bucket for the next golfer, rather than scattering them all about.

putting green rules
RULES
The Etiquetteist: 9 putting-green rules you absolutely must follow

4. Don’t Hog the Stall

Are you a masochist, bent on banging balls until your hands blister? Suit yourself. But also situate yourself in a tucked-away spot at the far end of the range, rather than in a prime location. Even then, if the range is packed, it’s not your right to go full Vijay. Finish your bucket then step aside and let another golfer take a turn.

5. Tame that Tune

We get it. You like yacht rock. Not everyone does. So if you insist on hitting to the rhythmic strains of‘Hotel California’, do it through your earbuds and spare the rest of us your outdated taste.

Don’t empty that bucket unless you plan on hitting all the balls.

6. Stay in Inside the Ropes

Those boundaries are there for a reason: the turf beyond needs time to recover. What it doesn’t need is to take a pounding from someone who thinks he’s more important than everyone else.

7. Don’t Pelt the Range-Picker

We get it. It’s tempting, taking aim at the driver in the mesh-enclosed range-picker. But what may seem to you like harmless target practice is disrespectful of the very people who are trying to serve you. If juvenile shooting is what you’re after, try downloading video game.

Bluetooth speakers golf course
INSTRUCTION
The Etiquetteist: 7 rules to follow for bluetooth speakers on the golf course

8. Give Wide Berth

This should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: getting hit with a golf club hurts. So don’t take chances. When you’re walking behind other golfers, give them ample leeway. Twice as much as you think you need.

9. Minimize the Questions and the Commentary

If you’re looking for a lesson, book a lesson. Don’t pester your fellow rangers for tips. Exchanging simple pleasantries is okay, but this is not a place for prolonged chatter. Same goes for the monologues. No one needs to hear your moaning or groaning, and no cares that you caught that last shot fat.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

Use these 3 new-school tips to save strokes with science

Golf’s best and brightest minds gathered at Pinehurst Resort for the GOLF Top 100 Teachers summit last fall. A distinguished collection of speakers shared new ideas and research with the nearly 200 coaches in attendance. Here’s what stood out:

1. Golden Scoring Rules
Scott Fawcett, whose innovative DECADE game management system and built-in mathematics helps golfers play smarter and shoot lower scores, highlighted Tiger Woods’ Five Golden Scoring Rules, which speak to the same principles as the DECADE system:

1.) No sixes on par 5s
2.) No double-bogeys
3.) No 3-putts
4.) No bogeys with a 9-iron or less
5.) No blown easy par saves.

Rules to live — and score — by.

2. Cautious Putting
GOLF columnist and Columbia University statistician Mark Broadie presented interesting evidence that can help players fine-tune how hard, or soft, they strike putts. Broadie found that pros, on average, leave four-foot putts about two and a half feet past the hole in the event of a miss. Better putters leave comebackers even farther past. When it comes to 10-footers, pros leave their putts short only 7 percent of the time. For 90s shooters, it’s almost double that.

3. The Putting Stroke Isn’t a Pendulum
Newly minted GOLF Top 100 Teacher David Orr, alongside co-presenter and True Spec Golf VP of Customer Experience Tim Briand, talked through the art and science of putter fitting, myth-busting along the way. At center stage was the notion that the putting stroke can’t be a pendulum, as it’s often described. “There’s no such thing as a straight-back, straight-through stroke,” says Orr. “Because the putter is set at an angle at address, it has to move up and inside, especially as the stroke gets longer.” In other words, don’t force it.

SOURCE:  Golf.com