Setting Goals for Improving your Golf Game

The weather is beginning to cool off and a season shift is a good time to set goals for changing your behavior. As the chaos of summer fades away, and the temperatures become more tolerable, we hope you're finding extra time to spend on the driving range or golf course. But how efficiently are you playing and practicing? Today we would like to revisit something written by our friend and fellow golfer, David Geier. Spend a few minutes with David as he explains the importance of setting specific, time sensitive goals for your golf game. Then let us know what specific goal you're setting for your golf development this fall. For additional instructional information visit our website store or YouTube channel. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

By: David Geier, Certified Integral Golf Coach
SMART Goals move us towards a preferred future, usually based on a vision of where we see ourselves going. In the movie Caddy Shack, Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) tells Danny the caddy, “Danny, see your future, be your future, make you future.”
"See your future. Be your future. Make your future."
However, it’s interesting to note that roughly 90% of America’s population set no written goals for their lives or in their improvement in the game of golf.  10% create of the population has written goals, but only 3% set goals with time frames. Which category would you fall into? The 90%, 10% or the 3%? Start being a three-percenter, You’ll achieve more of your goals and they will keep you on course for the short term as well as the long term.

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A Guide To Outfitting For A Beginning Gravity Golfer

Picking up a new sport or getting back into one is no easy task. Whether you’re trying tennis or snow skiing, you have to consider purchasing equipment, properly training, and how this new sport fits into your time and monetary budgets. Golf is no exception. While being a sport that you can carry through many stages of your life, golf has one of the longest and most expensive lists of equipment – especially when you get into training aids and practice times. To make things easier for the beginning golfer, we’ve created a guide to get you started.

Clubs - Irons

Acquiring a set of golf clubs may be the most expensive and daunting process of your setup – until you get to the actual practice. But with a little research and knowledge of what to look for, it doesn’t have to be scary. For your first set of clubs, unless you are just dying to spend your money, it’s not a bad idea to look for a used set.  There are plenty of people who spend a ton of money on nice clubs only to use them a few times before they give up and sell them on Craigslist or at a consignment sports store – let their loss be your gain. We recommend that you start by looking for a set of forged irons. For more information on the difference between forged and cast irons you can check out this article from, but we prefer forged because they are more pliable if you find that you need to change the lie angle on your irons. Some good brands to check out are Ping, Titleist and Mizuno – they all make excellent forged irons.
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The Benefits of One-Handed Golf Drills

Since the new U.S. Open champion, Martin Kaymer, was shown on the Golf Channel practicing one-handed drills – and because we at Gravity Golf use them as a fundamental exercise, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss them in further detail.
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US Open Champion Martin Kaymer Teaches Us the Importance of the Takeaway

If you went to sleep last night with sweet dreams of finding yourself in Martin Kaymer’s Adidas golf shoes, you’re not the only one. Any man or woman who’s ever picked up a golf club and hit even a decent shot, knows the fantasy of having a gallery cheer you to victory at a major championship. And eight strokes ahead of your nearest competitor? That would make it even sweeter.
a photo of Martin Kaymer playing golf
Photo from GolfDigest of Martin Kaymer.

In reality, most of us will never know the hallowed victory of slipping on the Master’s Jacket or pressing our lips to a U.S. Open Trophy, but that doesn’t mean that a better, more consistent golf swing is out of reach. You can take the perfected techniques of a standout player like Martin Kaymer and apply them to your own golf swing – making you a more competitive player among your friends and club members.

One particular facet of Kaymer’s swing that is so important to his performance is “the heave.” The heave, more commonly know as “the takeaway,” is possibly the most influential movement in the entire golf swing, and it takes place in the first microseconds of the back swing. This is the moment in which you set the timing for the pace of your swing, and the only time that you want to engage muscle tension in your upper body.

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The Effect of Balance in the Golf Swing

It is widely accepted that balance is essential in all sports, especially golf, but how well do you understand the details of balance and how to apply it? What is balance beyond your ability to stay upright, and what does it feel like in the golf swing? Most golfers who have played for years will tell you that balance is the key to the perfect, effortless swing.

Let us take a deeper look at balance and how to understand its effect on your swing. In any sport that involves rotary motion, an athletes' arms and legs influence balance as they move around the body. In golf the primary limbs in motion that have the most impact on your balance are the arms. The average human arm is roughly 5.3% of total body weight, meaning that your arms comprise over 10% of your body weight. So now imagine the weight of your arms, combined with the weight of the golf club, swinging around your body. This is similar in effect to the motion of holding a child by the hands and swinging them around in a circle; the faster you turn, the farther you have to lean back to counter balance the weight of the child. If you do not spin fast enough, the weight of the child will pull you forward and "off-balance." If you lean too far back, your own weight will pull you "off-balance." The complete motion becomes a delicate dance of counter balance and speed. The faster you spin in relation to how far you lean back, the farther you can move from your original center of gravity.

swinging a child demonstrates the counter-fall

The same can be said for the golf swing. We initially begin to throw ourselves off-balance in the back-swing, and then attempt to counter-act that motion through the down-swing and follow through. To the untrained body, this action often comes in the form of engaging tension in the arms in an attempt to shorten the distance between our body and the club head. This is our fatal error, almost inevitably applying the wrong amount of tension, and coming through the down-swing with the club head either above or below the proper impact point with the ball. Not to mention the decreased club-head-speed that is a direct result of that tension.

Imagine you could use the same principles of balancing a swinging child in your golf swing.  You can achieve this simply by moving your body deeper into the counter-fall, in relation to how fast you are moving through the down-swing. Instead of fighting nature with tension in your upper body, you can relax your upper body, and allow your lower body and core to maintain balance with a deeper counter-fall and faster follow through. This is a more natural movement for your body, and therefore makes the down swing less labor intensive. When you counter-fall properly, you'll attain full extension and rotation through impact, resulting in increased club-head-speed and a longer drive. Who doesn't want that?

So the next time you go out to practice, give your body a chance to do what nature designed it to do. Trust in the speed of your rotation and the depth of your counter-fall to bring the club to the proper point of impact. The club is merely an extension of your arms, and just like with the swinging child, adding tension will only exhaust your muscles and make the fight for balance more difficult.

Below is a video from the Gravity Golf YouTube Channel explaining the counter-fall. For more tools to help you understand the counter-fall, visit the Gravity Golf Store.

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Understanding the “Yips” and How to Fix Them

The “yips” are a malady afflicting athletes in a number of sports.  To golfers, they are a condition where the hands “flinch” involuntarily just before the club comes into contact with the ball on a putt, chip, pitch shot, or even a tee shot.  The yips are generally considered by many to be a mental or nerve condition, but are, in reality, caused by poor mechanics.  They will certainly work their way into your psyche, but they occur because the brain senses a disconnect between the core of the body as a power source, and the hands.  When the brain detects “slack” between what should be the primary power source (the core) and the club-head, it will attempt, at the last instant before impact, to cover the slack spot with a muscular flinch (tightening) in the hands and wrists.  It feels like getting zapped with a “cattle prod,” and is a horrific feeling when you are trying to apply a soft touch to a putt or chip.  They afflict many players, amateurs and professionals as well, and have driven many great golfers from the game.  The inability to set the downswing into motion, such as you see in Charles Barkley, or an inability to start the backswing, as we have seen in pros like Hubert Green, Sergio Garcia, and Kevin Na, are forms of the yips.

The body has a certain degree of potential slack in many of its joints.  The slack allows independent movement between our parts, similar to the way couplers do for train cars.  In a full swing, the backswing is long enough to provide time during the downswing, for the turn of the body to remove the slack and smoothly engage the club-head.  In a putt, however, this is not the case.  With a putt, the backswing is so short, that there is insufficient time for the slack to be taken out before the putter head reaches the ball.  What the brain senses, is a lack of a power source in the downswing, and tightens the hands and wrists involuntarily, in order to cover the slack and provide an internal source for moving the club.  Two of the most undetected areas of potential slack, are in the spine, which has great flexibility, and between the thorax and the shoulders.  By assuming proper posture, pre-stretching the spine to its maximum length, and slightly turning the thorax within the shoulders in the direction of the putt, all the slack can be removed.  Once this occurs, power can be applied properly, and the impulse to “yip” the putt will go away.  There is great subtlety in doing this properly, but once you understand how to keep your putting and short shots “slack free,” you’ll quickly gain total control over one of golf’s most dreaded “diseases.”   
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Greetings to Gravity Golfers

Hopefully, everyone has the new year off to a good start.  If you live in the north, you should be here in sunny Florida.  Although this is the first week of February, we just went through our first real cold snap of the season.  Thankfully, it doesn’t last long here and we are back in the eighties this week. We're doing our best to enjoy it for everyone =).

Danny and I had a great school a couple of weeks ago.  It was a full school with eight players, including an excellent professional golfer from France named Jean Remesey, a two time winner of the French Open, who was an inspiration to the entire group.  Everyone made significant progress, including our one lovely lady, who is a former ballet dancer from North Carolina.

We spent a good deal of time doing three-mode-drills, where you hit one shot with the right arm, then one with the left arm, then one with both. Changing modes with every swing, stops the brain from compensating, and forces the player to identify perfect power application. Developing drills that cannot be faked (they require perfect technique for successful execution) has been one of our major goals for some time now. Three-mode drills are great for taking onto the golf course as well.  There is a wonderful short course here at Orange County National called the “Tooth,” that is a perfect place for testing this drill on “real” golf holes instead of the range.  Targets are far more “magnetic” on the course and tend to pull the player out of proper sequence easier than on the practice tee where he/she gets many chances.  If you want to really know what’s going on in your body, take the three-mode drill to the course, and you will get a genuine “eye opener” about power application.

In fact, we are going to start a tournament with some of our students called the “Check Your Ego At The Door Open,” where everyone has to play from a three-mode through the entire round - right-arm, left-arm, then both arms - then start the sequence over.  You have no idea how much fun this will be.  If you want to join us, just send an e-mail.  We will pick a date soon.

The PGA Demo Day kicked off the PGA Show again as it does every year.  Demo Day is held annually at Orange County National and you can see the latest and greatest of all things (equipment-wise) that golf has to offer.  If you are in the area when it occurs, it is a don’t-miss event.

Keep us posted with your progress along with any questions - we welcome them.  Also, there are a couple of spots remaining for our March school here at OCN and in Southern California. This is a great place to learn Gravity Golf! Come see us, but if you’re from the north, leave your weather at home - there is a small surcharge for taking ours back with you.

Thanks again, and always our best,

David and Daniel Lee
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