The Future of Golf- Part Two

simulator

In my blog yesterday I really focused on the stars of golf and how they mould and shape the future of golf at the top level.  Another area that I am also interested in as a golf coach is the grass roots.  How is the future of golf going to change for those golfers, golf clubs and coaches who are involved on a recreational level as opposed to Tour players.

Sadly since the economic downturn in 2008 golf has not been as accessible to the general masses, for some it has been side lined as a luxury that is no longer  in their remit.  But on the other hand golf has also become elusive for those business men that do have the finances but are finding they are needing to work longer and harder to keep things going.  A leisurely eighteen hole round with a beer at the club house is becoming increasingly difficult to pack into our already rammed schedules.

big golf hole

I have heard of lots of suggestions being passed around in the ether, bigger holes, shorter courses, a move towards the virtual side of golf with simulators and such like.  It is very hard as a Coach who has been inspired by the traditional game to accept these diluted versions of the original, however like everything we have to move with the times and reinvent ourselves just like the queen of reinvention herself Madonna!!

Elements of some of the changes suggested have indeed been part of a coaches repartee for some time now, I have an indoor studio with a net and a projector that shows fabulous greens and this for myself is a valuable all weather teaching aid.  9 hole playing lessons are popular amongst my clients and it provides just long enough for us to really make progress without pushing too far.  Making the hole bigger is maybe just a push to far for my traditionalist head!

I am not sure how fast golf is going to unfold over the next ten years or so, I can certainly see the need for an alternative to keep the influx of new blood coming.  All I can say is that I am excited to be a part of the next stage of the golf journey…

 

The Future Of Golf

 

bubba

During the Christmas period I watched a documentary about the future of golf, which I found quite thought provoking.  The programme made some interesting points about the transition period golf is currently in.

As a professional golfer and coach I have naturally followed golf and enjoyed the golf game since I was a young boy, however in that relatively short time I have seen golf morph into something very different to what it once was.

Seve

My original drive to get into golf was stirred by an encounter with the fantastic Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, dark and brooding he had an electricity around him that made everyone stop and stare.  As a young man I looked at him in awe, ‘please may I have your autograph Mr Ballesteros’ I muttered as he strode towards the practice ground. He snatched my pen and paper, signed and thrust them back at me!  I’m not sure I made much of an impression on Seve but he certainly left his mark on me.

Seve’s great friend Bill Elliot sums it up perfectly in his article in the Guardian in 2009

‘ He played golf like we all did, spraying the ball hither and thither, but, unlike us, he then recovered brilliantly. We loved him for his vulnerability. He brought a passion to golf that it never had before and has not enjoyed since. He made this stuffy old game seem sexy and exciting, so that men yearned to be him and women simply wanted to be with him.’

Seve’s passion and magnetism certainly increased my involvement within the game, however it was still a game that was elusive and impenetrable to certain groups and individuals.  Golf found it hard to shift its stuffy, elitist reputation.

yuppie

 

Golf really came into its own and shifted people’s perceptions as we launched headfirst into the eighties with its yuppie boom and capitalism.  People who had previously dismissed golf as an “old man’s game,” a time-wasting, anaerobic, non-athletic activity suddenly invaded the courses and ranges.

Suddenly golf clothing became de rigour, Ralph Lauren and other designers made a fortune capitalizing on the increased interest in golfing attire.  Golf became a status symbol. Golf started to provide a relaxing alternative to the stressful city jobs and money making schemes of the week.  It also began to take over as the place to make your business deals.

Women executives would routinely treat clients to golf outings, and several petitioned the courts when they were denied equal status and favorable tee times by male-dominated country clubs.

Golf was dominated at this time by Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Seve Ballesteros to name but a few, all the fabulous legends of the seventies and eighties who brought a finesse and gentlemanly elegance to the game. Only for the game to be completely turned on its head by one young man….

Tiger

Then came the 1990’s the Tiger era, another huge influence on my golf career and probably every other golfer in the country!  Tiger became an overnight sensation, the youngest golfer to ever win a Masters championship leading to him reaching world number one in 1997 .  He became globally recognised and he became the face of many well-known brands such as Nike, Titleist, Amex, and Tag Heuer to name a few. Woods held the title of world’s number one for the best part of ten years, he also dominated the world of golf till around 2009 when personal issues and injury began to effect his ranking.

Now we come to a time were Tigers future in golf is uncertain, after many surgeries on his back there is no timescale for his return to golf.  However with golf going hand in hand with Tiger for so long and owing a lot to the athlete in terms of exposure to the wider public, many have doubted the future of the game.

I think that golf has pushed its way through and risen triumphantly into a new period where young, passionate, driven men like Speith, McIlroy, Fowler, and Day inspire and lead the new generation of golf. These players are all in their twenties and provide a new thrill to the game. No longer is there a predictability like in the Tiger era, where if Tiger entered a tournament the mind set was that all other competitors where playing for second place.  The game has just taken interesting to another level for me.  I also love to see such fabulous, goal focused young men who are great role models not only to the young hopefuls trying to make it in the game, but also young boys like my son who will grow up aspiring to be just like them.  

If you want more easy to understand and informative tips especially on hitting the ball further then “How to crush the ball 20 yards further” is available NOW in the kindle store to download.

You can read the book on kindle by clicking >>>>HERE<<<<

You can also check out my Youtube Channel and subscribe for FREE by clicking>>>>HERE<<<<

Rickie’s Magic Golf Swing

What you can learn from Rickie Fowler – The Swing that won the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship


Rickie 1Rickie sets up to the ball in perfect posture, bent forward from the hips keeping his spine nice and straight and flexed at the knees. His arms are hanging freely down from his shoulders and away from his legs. Rickie’s set up is very athletic and dynamic and the other thing I really like here is how the clubhead is hovering just above the ground, this helps to reduce the tension in the hands, arms and shoulders which is key for longer distance. His body alignment is perfectly square with the feet, knees, hips, arms and shoulders all parallel to the target line.


Rickie 2As Rickie moves the club into the take away, notice how he does this in a one piece fashion, this is where the shoulders, arms, hands and club move away from the ball together. Hovering the club at the address promotes this and this really glues the rest of Rickie’s golf swing together. This is one thing that Rickie and his coach, Butch Harmon, have worked hard on. Rickie used to take the club away from the ball very closed and outside the target line and this forced Rickie to re route the club in the downswing which forced him to attack the ball too much from the inside causing a lot of inconsistency in his golf.

Rickie 3This is a perfect check point of the backswing – When the club reaches parallel to the ground it should also be parallel to the target line. Notice how the toe of the club points up towards the sky – this is a square clubface. Rickie’s old position when reaching this point would see the clubface in a very closed position with the clubface pointing more down towards the ground and the shaft of the club would be pointing left of target line.

Rickie 4Rickie shows a great example of an on plane golf swing. This is when on reaching the midway point of the backswing, the shaft of the club is pointing directly down at the target line.

Rickie 5At the top of the backswimg Rickie has fully turned his upper body over a very balanced and stable lower body. Notice how Rickie has let his right leg straighten a little which is perfectly fine as this allows the hips to rotate in the backswing which is so important as this works hand in hand with the upper body rotation. If you try to keep the right knee to flexed it will block your rotation in the backswing causing all kinds of inconsistencies.  Another thing I like about the top of Rickie’s backswing is how the clubface matches up to the left arm, this shows that the clubface is once again square to the arc of the swing.

Rickie 6Rickie starts his downswing perfectly with the weight transferring across from his right side to his left. This is achieved by the knees and hips moving across towards the target. Notice how Rickie keeps his back facing the target for as long as possible as this keeps the club moving down on plane.

Rickie 7Rickie is still unwinding from the ground up and is delaying the upper body from opening up to early. The swing is on plane, the shaft of the club once again points at the target line. This leads to a great swing path through the hitting zone and a lot of power.

Rickie 8The club is arcing in towards the golf ball really well, the body is still unwinding via the hips and legs and this chain reaction creates a lot of speed in the upper body which produces a ton of clubhead speed and therefore explosive distance.

Rickie 9Through impact Rickie’s arms are fully extended which releases the club in a free wheeling motion through the ball, this is something that should naturally happen. A lot of golfers I see collapse there arms through impact which robs them of clubhead speed and therefore distance.

Rickie 11Perfectly balanced in his finish position, this is a good trait among all the good players on tour these days and something that many amateurs could learn from.

If you want more easy to understand and informative tips especially on hitting the ball further then “How to crush the ball 20 yards further” is available NOW in the kindle store to download.

You can read the book on kindle by clicking >>>>HERE<<<<

You can also check out my Youtube Channel and subscribe for FREE by clicking >>>>HERE<<<<

Simple Changes – Huge Improvements

 

 

Today I had a  client in for a lesson who had been struggling with his game for a couple of months. He had been putting off the lesson for a couple of reasons, one of which was the weather, I must admit it has not been to warm recently..

Within 5 minutes we had him hitting the ball so solid he said “I wish I had come to see you sooner. I have been struggling on for a few weeks now, trying to adjust things myself, but just could not put my finger on it”.

Let’s look at the improvements that we made.

Nev 1

THE PROBLEM

As we look at the photo above we can see that my client was over reaching for the golf ball (left photo). His hands were to far away from his legs and this was encouraging his weight to be to much on his toes at the address. The ball position was to far forward in his stance (right photo) causing him to hit the ground before the ball, heavy contact and very little distance.  As he made his backswing the natural tendency was to lift his body up out of his posture. He did this to move his weight into the center’s of his feet to enable the body to turn in some kind of balance. With all this movement in the backswing the downswing resembled the same, with his body dropping down towards the ball in an aid to get back to his original set up position. The outcome of all of this was very weak strikes lacking distance.

THE IMPROVEMENTS

Nev 2 (2)

We worked on a posture drill to get him standing closer to the ball. This allowed for the arms to hang down freely from the shoulders and the weight was nicely balanced in the feet 50/50. We also moved the ball back a fraction in the stance so that the angle of attack would be a lot more consistent and this would improve the consistency in the strike. Now as he made his swing the body stayed in shape as he turned his body in the backswing and forward swing. There was no lifting and dropping of the body during the swing and the nett result – much better contact on the ball and full distance was regained in a matter of minutes.

From Your Friends at Mark Wood Golf Academy

PS. Come down and tee it up to make some magic moments of your own. Check our website at 

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

 

 

 

Golf Quiz

Golf Quiz

So how good is your Golf Knowledge, try this quiz from www.paulsquiz.com

  1. What is the name of the Amateur golfer who set the 1998 British Open golf tournament alight and has since gone to obscurity?
  2. Which golfer is known as the Walrus?
  3. Which course is the traditional home of the Masters?
  4. What is the name of the resort in Southern California that is generally recognised as the American Golf capital, due to the high number of golf courses and year round sun-shine?
  5. what is the maximum amount of time allowed to look for a lost ball?
  6. In 1967 which golfer made the first televised hole in one?
  7. Who won his only British open Golf Championship at Royal St Georges, Sandwich in 1985?
  8. Over how many holes is the British Open Golf tournament contested?
  9. Who did Nick Faldo sensationally beat to win his third Masters?
  10. In August 1996 who made his surprising debut as a pro in the Czech Open
  11. Which South African won the British Open in 1949, 1950, 1952 and 1957?
  12. Which trophy is played for by women golfers from the United States in competition with Britain and Ireland?
  13. Which US golfer had 11 successive tournament wins in 1945?
  14. Which US president’s home was alongside the course on which the US Masters is played?
  15. Who captained the European team to victory in the 1995 Ryder Cup?
  16. Who headed the European Order of Merit between 1971 and 1974?
  17. Who is nicknamed ‘The Great White Shark’?
  18. Who is ‘The Golden Bear’?
  19. Who opposed the US in the Ryder Cup between 1973 and 1977?
  20. Who was involved with John Daley in the 1995 British Open play-off?
  21. Who was the first Englishman to win the US Open after World War II?
  22. Who was the first German to win the German Open?
  23. Who was the first non-American post-war winner of the US Masters?
  24. Who won the English Amateur Championship in 1975 aged 18?
  25. Who won the US Masters in 1986 for a record sixth time?

ANSWERS POSTED TOMORROW.

From Your Friends at Mark Wood Golf Academy

PS. Come down and tee it up to make some magic moments of your own. Check our website at 

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

 

Great Improvements Made

Gab 1

Had a client of mine pop in for a lesson today and we made some tremendous upgrades to her swing. The key thing we focused on was improving her body turn/pivot.

As you can see in the above image (left picture) the swing before we made any changes. The hip turn was poor and as a result the swing had got long with a cupped left wrist which caused a very open clubface.

The main focus was incredibly simple; we focused on letting the right leg straighten a little in the backswing (right picture above). This in turn naturally shortened the golf swing as the core was more engaged.  This also made it easier to get the left wrist in a much flatter position at the top of the backswing. Having the left wrist set better in the backswing ensured a square clubface which made it so much easier through impact which resulted in soft baby draws!!

Gab 2

The left picture above shows that the club was over plane in the downswing, this was a direct result all stemming from a poor body pivot which lead to a long swing with an open clubface. This makes it hard to control the accuracy of the golf shots and also lacks power and distance was being lost.

The right picture above shows the swing being on plane and in balance with a square clubface. Once again the swing thought was very simple, just let your right leg straighten a little in the backswing and hay presto we upgraded the left wrist position, clubface position and downswing plane which all lead to much greater accuracy and powerful iron shots.

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

Improve Your Chipping Around The Greens

IMPROVE YOUR TOUCH AROUND THE GREEN

A lot of golfers struggle when it comes to the close shots around the greens, this is an area that will improve your scores significantly if you become very good at chipping.

In this video tip PGA Golf Coach Mark Wood talks about the importance of distance control when chipping and how you can go about improving it.

If you practise this you will become a better chipper of the golf ball.

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

HOW TO STOP THINNING YOUR WEDGES

HOW TO STOP THINNING YOUR WEDGES

It is so frustrating after you have hit a couple of reasonable shots on a par 4 or par 5 and are left with a nice 70 yard pitch into the green and then it happens, you skull it right across the back of the green!!

On minute you are looking to finish the hole off in a tour pro like fashion and the next minute you are searching for your ball in the long grass….

Lets stop this pain and watch the video as PGA Golf Coach Mark Wood explains the main common reasons as to why you might be thinning your wedge shots and how to fix it instantly.

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

HOW DANNY WILLETT DOES IT

This is it, the final tournament of 2015 on the European Tour. Danny Willett is just 1613 points behind current leader Rory McIIroy and a good finish from either player this week will more than likely be crowned European Number 1. They do need a good finish though as there are a handful of players that could do the business if they both missed the cut.

The thing I like about Willett is his ability to work around his limitations given his physical condition. Willett has a long term injury that affects the amount of hip rotation he can produce. The team that surrounds Danny Willett have worked hard to help him develop a technique to work to so that the injury does not affect how he plays and scores around the golf course.

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

Danny Willett Swing Sequence

 

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Mark Wood

PGA Advanced Professional
UK’s No1 Golf Coach

The Best Golf Lessons in Sussex and Kent

Common Shanking Fault

Common Shanking Fault

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This is a common thing I see when golfers come to me for help with the shank.

In the backswing they take the club too much on the inside, this is sometimes down to an over active shoulder turn in the early part of the take – away or just a miss use of the wrists in the early start back of the swing. Both of which get the hands and club too far behind them by the time their hands have reached just about hip high in the backswing.

As they make the move into the forward swing the tendency is for the club to move too far out in front of them because of the poor move in the backswing. This leads to a steep out to in swing path and more often than not aligns the hosel of the club to the ball resulting in a shank.

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

 

THE CURE

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As you make your take – away make a conscious effort to keep your shoulders quiet and have the feeling that you stand the club up much more vertically. This will lead to the butt of the club pointing at the target line and the golf club will be in balance and on plane.

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

www.markwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

 

The thought I would like you to have as you make your forward swing is to have a feeling of holding your right shoulder back as this will keep the club on plane. This will lead to a great swing path through the ball leading to a much more solid strike from the center of the clubface.

Mark Wood is the worlds leading expert in curing a shank.