Working on the perfect swing for 2019

December 31, 2019- Well, with 8-hours left in 2019, I finally found the swing that was my goal for the year. It is not perfect but close enough.

2020 should be fun finally. Instead of losing a dozen balls OB per round, I might actually score well.

Happy New Year everyone.

December 27, 2019- This was the day. I finally “broke on through to the other side” and realized

(Bonus tip: Use a damn tee when you hit irons on the range. If you are working on something new, the second you hit a fat shot, your range session is over. Your brain will kick into safe mode and it is impossible to learn a new move.)

December 11, 2019- Huge day: These mechanical awkward drills I have been ingraining for weeks, below, finally transformed into an athletic move. Last night, with indoor swings, I suddenly felt the power generated by crouching to the ground and turning the body.

That mental image and feel translated on the range. Today, I smacked it like Joaquín Niemann or Viktor Hovland (video above).

December 8, 2019- I am finally getting great body turn and balance by freezing the right elbow to the ribs forcing me to turn the body. Feel like you are clamping the right upper arm to the chest and don’t let it move.

You will have to flex the knees to reach the ball. Compared to early-release flipping, you will be lower to the ground by not releasing the upper arm. You have to get low and dig for it.

December 3, 2019- This is what a 51-yo with a 121-mph clubhead speed looks like. All that hard work to get a tighter right upper arm is generating faster torso turn.

November 27, 2019- Working on a zero gravity falling feel to start the transition. I stop, drop, and roll. AJGA winner Maxwell Moldovan gave me the idea. I have tried it before after watching Viktor Hovland and Tiger.

November 11, 2019- If golf were a judged sport like bodybuilding or skating, I might win some awards.

  • Ball is 6” left of normal as a drill to make me shift to left
  • Stronger grip
  • Flatter left arm in the backswing plane
  • Neutral wrists: no flexion
  • Momentum to left side as club is still going back to the top, to help keep center of gravity in downswing
  • Then, I sway or turn the hips toward target onto a posted-up left leg

October 21, 2019- I am breaking down and isolating the elite movements of Cam Champ, Brooks Koepka, etc. The right elbow goes forward as the right hand supinates. They also tilt over at the waist at the some time. Then, the hips slide and turn.

I also figured out a great drill to get your short wedges going back on plane.

October 11, 2019- I made a nice breakthrough in the putting stroke, and then the same mental image worked in the full swing too. I am thinking about turning the left shoulder upward to make the downswing. It is letting me get effortless weight transfer and smacking it.

September 24, 2019- Working on feeling as if I am throwing my heavy torso down to the ground to get body turn and weight transfer.

September 9, 2019- Working on violently turning down using shoulders only as hands lag.

September 5, 2019- After a big breakthrough in the backswing, where I fold the right arm and get into the slot properly, the downswing is happening much more easily. Note how my right arm is lower than the left at impact, and my back is not leaning back toward the camera after impact. This means my shoulders are on plane and I am posting to the left side.

August 29, 2019- Watch the hips turn as the right foot stays planted, indicated good balance. My shoulders come down in the proper plan. My hands are ahead of the ball at impact. In other words, I am not flipping!

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August 19, 2019- by Steven E. Greer, MD

Lil-ole me hits a Titleist T-MB driving iron

August 19, 2019- by Steven E. Greer, MD

Well, it only took me five-months, and about $5,000 in lessons from the finest teachers and rounds of golf, to finally understand what I was doing wrong. I was afraid to release the flexion in my right elbow in the downswing. This caused my spine to tilt badly to the right in the process, throwing off the delicate balance of the stacked gears of the shoulders and hips.

In March, Ryan Crysler with the Harmon school spotted this after 3D analysis. He gave me a tricep-pump drill (see video), where I flex the right tricep, or extend the elbow. But I had too many other things wrong, so this drill alone did not feel right. I abandoned it.

Fast-forward to July when I started to get some learning from Warren Bottke, the man who taught Brooks Koepka, etc. He confirmed my suspicion about how the hips should feel like they are slide toward the target to get posted up on the left leg. He also taught me to push down with the right arm, straightening it, like a piston rod pushing down.

Then, it hit me. Both drills are doing the same thing. They are getting the right elbow to release in the transition and straighten through impact. That is the secret to the modern swing, like Koepka’s (Ryan and the Harmons coach Koepka now).

August 4, 2019- It is not easy to see, but look at the two images at the top of the swing. On the bottom row, my left shoulder is closer to the ground. My mouth is covered by the shoulder more. My spine-axis is tilted over more and my left knee is flexed more. Note how the head stays at the same height, whereas it lifts up in the top row.

At the bottom of the swing, at impact, my right shoulder is close to mirroring the above. It is covering my mouth as my head stays down. That right shoulder is closer to the ground in the bottom row. Look at the post-impact photos. My spine-axis stays down much more in the bottom row.

I think most people have a tendency to lift up in the downswing. A big gap develops between the right shoulder and chin. This is what the phrase “coming out of it” means.

There are many ways to teach this stable head and spine, with a symmetric back-and-forth shoulder turn. Jack Grout held Nicklaus’ head still by grabbing his hair. Warren Bottke talks about pumping the shoulders up and down, with the arms acting more like pistons rather than swaying back and forth. I have personally invented this feel of trying to dip the left shoulder to the ground in the backswing, then bumping my right shoulder into my chin at impact as I stare at the divot in the dirt. But it really boils down to “keep your head down”, which has been advised by golf teachers for hundreds of years.

Why is this important? Doing the above creates a more consistent club pathway to the ball. It also creates more club lag and acceleration at impact, or less flipping.

August 3, 2019- Working on the piston move and keeping my right shoulder down to my chin through impact. Just as the left shoulder covers my mouth at the top of the swing, I want the right shoulder to do the same at the bottom of the swing. A good swing is symmetrical, back and forth.

July 25, 2019- Getting the hands ahead of the ball at impact like never before

July 13, 2019- best 9-iron ever

June 29, 2019- Good News: these are some of the best swings of my life. Then, I played the course and started well. I reached the first hole, a Par 5, with a 240-yard 5-wood, etc.

Bad News: That snap hook came back even though I broke the swing down into segments with pauses. Bizarre.

June 22, 2019- Good progress

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June 21, 2019- Holy cow. Warren Bottke saved my game. Per yesterday’s post, I was giving it up. I was at my wits’ end.

I worked on the transition today by visualizing sliding the hips left toward the target (not visualizing twisting them). It feels as if you are incorrectly swaying, but the hips turn and you post up to the left leg nicely.

I had discovered this on my own a long time ago (see here and here) but forgot about it as I had so many other things wrong.

Look at my right leg at impact. Does it remind you of anyone? It is like Brooks Koepka.

After just one session with Warren, I have, for the first time in 35-years, a comfortable backswing and a comfortable transition.

Now, I need a lot of practice.

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June 20, 2019- Well, I had an essay all drafted called “And that Concludes The Golf Project”, explaining why I quit the game. It was not an impulsive decision. I was becoming miserable from my game, losing more than a dozen balls per round due to snap hooks. I told all of my teachers, and they were encouraging me to not quit.

But I was at me wits’ end. I could not find any golf instructors that suited my needs. Going to expensive famous teachers, like the Harmons, is good only for elite players who can afford them. One must have a frequent instruction to improve.

But, right as I swore off the game, a PGA professional gave me a couple of names. I chose Warren Bottke, the head instructor at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, because he had taught Brooks Koepka from age 10 to 18.

I had my first lesson today. I told him that I expected it to be a waste of time, apologized in advance, and that I just wanted to go over general philosophies. We were on the exact same page, which was encouraging.

I told Warren that the first thing I needed was a comfortable natural backswing. I can get the backswing to look like Tiger in photos, but the dirty secret has been that it has never felt natural. I was a fraud.

Sure enough, my wrists were all wrong in the takeaway. He got me radially deviating sooner in the takeaway. That let me take it to the slot at the top of the swing in a fluid fashion. In the second photo from the left, that position is so much better. Fixing this alone was worth the cost of the session.

Also, in the swings from the last month, below, you see that I have experimented with a flying right elbow. I do not think that I need that.

Stay tuned. There is a 10% chance I come out of retirement. That is up from 0%.

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June 12, 2019- I had a breakthrough today. It struck me that the judo moves to throw an opponent are similar to what the hips do in golf to throw the club. It worked for me, at least. I am placing my concentration on this pelvis leverage and letting the arms to passively act like a whip.

May 30, 2019- Above, this could be my best swing ever.

The experimenting with a Matt Wolff or Jim Furyk backswing (i.e. a flying right elbow and wrists that do not rotate) helped me realize that I naturally swing better when the hands are high and the club crosses the line at the top. If I try to force a lower hand position with crimped tight right elbow, I cannot swing down properly. I lose a lot of speed.

What it feels like I am doing is this:

  1. Using light grip to turn by twisting the torso as the arms are passive. Nicklaus has been right all these years.
  2. When my left shoulder hits the chin, knowing I have made a maximum body turn, I flex the right arm to get the club higher
  3. I lock onto the ball with my eyes
  4. I think about dropping the right shoulder on plane

I seem to need this big backswing to keep my body parts in sync and to get the right elbow catapult.

May 29, 2019- Working powerful acceleration from a short backswing

May 26, 2019- Trying to take it to the course with my first 18-hole round in a long time. May 18, 2019- I added the left heel lift and hyper-big-backswing to cause a flying right elbow. It finally gave me that 170-mph ball speed and 280-yard carry I knew I could achieve. But I really made these changes to force myself to turn the right elbow and shoulders properly. Distance is just a nice added surprise.

My smash factor now exceeds 1.5. The sound of a drive is like a PGA “smack”

I would like for my legs to be more involved. I am working on feeling like I am squatting to flatten the left heel.

May 10, 2019

May 5, 2019- Major breakthrough: I finally did on the range what I have only been able to do indoors to date, which is to turn the body and keep the feet planted. I am doing this but letting my body fall onto flexed legs, then whipping the hips around.

April 28, 2019- Figuring out how to get the lower body to turn.

April 27, 2019- I am so close that I can taste it. I have gone back to the range for two-a-days. I damn near made the swing of my goals today. I was thinking about the body turning symmetrically both back and down.

Update April 20, 2019

Update April 17, 2019- Best clubhead speed ever fr me at 112 mph and 270-yard carry. 8-iron at 91-mph and 167 is above PGA average.

Update April 16, 2019- Trying a full swing for the first time using the ulnar deviation mental image. I got 110-mph clubhead speed and it felt effortless, like Freddie Couples.

Update April 14, 2019- Working on making the downswing more of a crunch sit-up move to keep right upper arm tight against torso. I am also use ulnar deviation. Update April 8, 2019- Above, working on getting right elbow and hands in elite advanced position by keeping right elbow flexed until the last second before impact, then extending the elbow to push the hands down the line.

Update April 4, 2019- I figured it out!!!!!!

Update April 2, 2019- Well, I have tried to get my legs involved before, but I had too many problems with my shoulders, torso and hips being out of sync. So, I could never get this to work. Now that I am straightened out and my hands are coming down in the proper plane, I can get some success pushing off.

Update March 30, 2019- Gett’in good

Update March 23, 2019- After getting instruction from Butch Harmon’s Floridian school, I have made some major changes. My old swing, below, never felt comfortable. I was contorting my back horribly. My hands were way off plane. My shoulders and hips were out of sync fighting one another.

My new swing coach, who also helps Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, etc. is modeling my swing to be more like Rahm’s (see above).

I also learned how most of the pros do finesse wedges. It is not like a normal swing at all. You keep a frozen lower body and let the clubhead release past the wrists so the bounce hits the dirt rather than the sharp edge of the wedge (see above). This prevents chunks.

Update February 7, 2019- I have made great progress this week, but I knew my right elbow was still too far behind, hanging back to my side pocket, instead getting out in front of the belly and clearing the body. I had a session with Brian Unk today and he placed a teaching stick across my front belt loops. That worked great. Look at these results.

For me, the feeling needed to fix this was to bend at the waist more in the downswing You will see my head dip as I over-do it a bit.

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Updated February 5, 2019- I have figured out the key to getting this proper hand path in the downswing with a flat shaft plane. As you drop the hands, you need to be twisting the arms so that the right elbow goes down and the right palm face up. This generates the flat shaft and awesome body turn.

In the video above, my elbow is int he same extreme position that only the likes of Tony Finau can achieve. I can win the US Open with this swing solution.

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Update January 30, 2019- The big development took place this week when I discovered the make-or-break moment of the swing, which occurs over the first 12-inches in movement of the right shoulder, hands, and elbow. They should all go straight downward. However, we all want to swing those units forward toward the ball too soon. I discuss it more here.

In the video above, watch how I do this little one-foot or so pump drill. I am feeling the right elbow dip to the waistline. It prepares my brain for the full swing.

The video below compares and contrasts my two swings, before and after realizing this epiphany.

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January 1, 2019- by Steven E. Greer, MD

The Golf Project is entering new territory. We are going where no man has gone before, so to speak, in the sense that not many swing coaches have discovered these concepts.

In the video, you see the swing I want to take to the real course later this month. The huge backswing is actually an accidental byproduct of hand work that I have developed. I am leaving my wrists frozen until the shoulders cannot turn any more. Then, I pronate the left and supinate the right wrists. That gets the club way past horizontal like John Daly.

I don’t think even John Daly realizes how he does it. It is this 90-degree wrist twist.

Most swing coaches talk about flexing the left wrist. That is not the right move, in my opinion. It works for the best players, but they would be better off pronating the left wrist. Ryan Armour, Sergio Garcia, and perhaps Ben Hogan are some players that come to mind who do what I prescribe.

I doubt that the extra-long backswing helps with clubhead speed. What it does do is force me to have a proper tempo. I am channeling Freddy Couples.

On the downswing, I am focusing on a slow effortless transition rather than rushing to hit it as hard as I can. I try to keep the wrists frozen again, as in the backswing, until the shoulders can no longer turn. Then, I think about throwing the club 100-yards. My forearm releases.

For major changes in the swing, start it indoors with air swings as you film. Don’t attempt them on the range. You will fail.

This entry was posted in Backswing, Downswing, Essays and Philosophy, The Full Swing, Transition. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Working on the perfect swing for 2019

  1. Jason Carbone says:

    (Regarding May 30, 2019 video)

    So many good things in that driver swing! Nice work.

    Jason Carbone
    Director of Instruction
    Baltusrol Golf Club

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