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“There’s nothing new, just more analysed” February 10 2016

“There’s nothing new, just more analysed”

This quote appeared recently with reference to golf and while I believe to be correct in some respects is wildly inaccurate in others.

Golf is a game with an infinite number of effective technical combinations to get the job done in all areas of the game at the very highest level. We only need to sit and watch some tournament coverage to see that this holds true and it’s this fact which ensures that no one is going to create a wheel that has not already been invented at some point in time.

This does not however legitimise the statement that I opened with, it ignores the role of research and analysis as a tool to connect the dots between players and efficacy. As we understand more about how dynamic club movements are created, how the body moves to create these movements and perhaps most importantly how we enable the player to not only understand it but also how to learn it!

I specialise in wedge play and spend the majority of my time teaching it, researching it and analysing it. I enjoy the challenge of unlocking the vault which contains better performance for every level of player and I often find myself challenging the status quo in order to do this. Have I claimed to have discovered a ‘new way’? Not at all, just a better understanding of how things happen around the greens, how to make things more predictable and how to teach them. Within this there is a lot of different information for coaches to use and for players to improve, this says more about what has become common teaching practice in the short game over the past few decades than my prowess as a creator of NEW! 

The short game in particular has suffered through the process of shallow simplicity, “Hey, this seems like a simple way of doing it, it’s not what I do but would be great for you”. In my world this changes to “It’s a way of doing it, here’s what will be easy and difficult about taking this approach and these are the shots you will be capable of producing this way”

Now moving back to golf instruction as a whole, there are always going to be things that are new to coaches and these new things are going to excite them, motivate them and work for them. The problem I see on social media is what borders on evangelicism (look it up, or just look up #joke), a passion and a loyalty to what is new to them and that’s ok if you see it for what it is.

Personally I think golf instruction is going through a very important and exciting phase and the game can only end up better for it. I’ll end with a revision on the quote I opened with provided by Gregor Monks (@gregormonks) this morning..

“No one’s reinvented the wheel.. we just have a better understanding of how it moves!”
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Are you going to take the Blue Pill or the Red Pill? October 22 2015

 

I want to share an experience that I keep having. Different situations each but it’s still the same thing.

I like to encourage students to be creative with their short game, I enjoy watching players use their sense of adventure, I enjoy watching players not fear failure because they embrace it as part of developing. As long as no windows, cars or people are damaged through that failure it’s all good with me but I keep hitting a roadblock. Maybe it’s the last stand of the old guard, maybe it’s fear on their part for their students mental state, maybe it’s just stubbornness. Who knows?

What I do know is that many golf teachers are stifling creativity, they are forcing solutions upon players that are the lowest risk approach every time… get the ball on the ground as soon as possible, use the least lofted club you can, chip it away from the pin. I used the term golf teachers as that approach is more in line with the common rigid structure of the education establishment who restrict the artistic and force feed the logical. They are teachers.

I want my players to have understanding of how a club works in different ways to produce different outcomes, if they can differentiate they can also adjust. The stifled player who has one motion cannot. 

When it comes to decision making I am 100% looking for the choice that provides the greatest chance of success, to assume it will always be to get the ball on the ground as soon as possible is ridiculous and shows to me that the teacher doesn’t understand the variables that the situation will always contain. I like low risk, the connection between that and low flight however is weak at best.

One example of this comes from national squad training in Denmark. All of the groups of players come together for a week of training in the spring, boys, girls, mens, ladies and professionals all descend on the camp and work in a team environment. When assessing these groups around the greens two of them stood out as being way behind. They had the least options when it came to meeting the challenges I set, they selected shots which were viewed as low risk but were also low in getting good proximity for the following putt. They were not risk takers. They were also the girls/ladies. I decided the main issue they had is that they listened. Yes, I did say that. They actually listened to what they have been told, they are good students. The most adventurous group was the boys, this may come as no surprise. The practice session was like a kids birthday party, except I enjoyed it much more than a kids birthday party. It was productive chaos.

This is merely one example of the problem but it’s an attitude that must be prevalent amongst the world of golf teachers.

I enjoy watching skills develop, I feel compelled to allow it, to encourage it and to enjoy it.

So I’ll ask again. 

Are you going to take the blue pill or the red pill?


The Importance of Long Term Relationships, Mindset & Progression October 13 2015

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before but how often do players come along with a clear goal and a realistic picture of how to get there? The typical mindset when it comes to game improvement is to fix it when it’s broken and nothing more, how many of you run your car this way? Some do I’m sure and that’s ok with me, we all have different circumstances but most of us maintain our cars to keep them working well. Some car fans may seek to improve their cars, to make them faster, better handling or just look better (although to me that’s silly, if you want a cool looking car just buy one, don’t bolt a fast and furious spoiler onto it and expect the chicks to dig it).

I give a lot of initial consultations, the lesson I posted last week is one of those, the performance jump was huge and the client left very happy. Will I see him again? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the improvement was enough for him to go away and be convinced he has it, although we set a parameter for when he should return only time will tell. You see it has much more to do with mindset, for a while I used to have clients fill out a questionnaire which identified their mindset. I’m interested in a growth mindset and while I wouldn’t turn anyone away who didn’t match up I wouldn’t hold out much hope of seeing them again no matter how good the lesson was.

This player has a growth mindset, we are five sessions in (we work in two hour blocks) and the change in his swing is significant. The swing performance has shifted from double figures in to out path numbers to somewhere close to zero, the misses are dramatically reduced and he has motivation back to play. This is a player who was on the verge of giving up but his mindset was such that he committed to a plan, his desire for growth is such that I can’t keep him away for long, what should have been a 3-4 week gap between sessions became 2 this time. It allowed us to make one more change that helped facilitate the previous, now it’s fast becoming an action that I enjoy watching a great deal and am as proud of the player as he should be of himself.

Here’s a before and after to show what progress can be made with the right attitude, application and commitment to building a working relationship. The thing is that no one has all the answers and it's easy for a player to believe that someone somewhere should. I'm perfectly happy to admit that I don't have all the answers but when I don't I'll find one or I'll find someone that does, without a consistent relationship I wouldn't be afforded the opportunity to do that.

 

 

As coaches we live and die by the success of our clients, considering the number of factors involved in success of which mindset is only one this outlook might need re-aligning.

So how do you develop a growth mindset or help your clients to develop one? Here’s a 25 point list I found that you might be able to pick some useful strategies out of, you'll need the relationship to be afforded the opportunity though:

1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections.

Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.

2. View challenges as opportunities.

Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement.

3. Try different learning tactics.

There’s no one-size-fits-all model for learning. What works for one person may not work for you.

4. Follow the research on brain plasticity.

The brain isn’t fixed; the mind shouldn’t be either.

5. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning.”

When you make a mistake or fall short of a goal, you haven’t failed; you’ve learned.

6. Stop seeking approval.

When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.

7. Value the process over the end result.

Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.

8. Cultivate a sense of purpose.

Dweck’s research also showed that students with a growth mindset had a greater sense of purpose. Keep the big picture in mind.

9. Celebrate growth with others.

If you truly appreciate growth, you’ll want to share your progress with others.

10. Emphasise growth over speed.

Learning fast isn’t the same as learning well, and learning well sometimes requires allowing time for mistakes.

11. Reward actions, not traits.

Tell students when they’re doing something smart, not just being smart.

12. Redefine “genius.”

The myth’s been busted: genius require hard work, not talent alone.

13. Portray criticism as positive.

You don’t have to used that hackneyed term, “constructive criticism,” but you do have to believe in the concept.

14. Dissassociate improvement from failure.

Stop assuming that “room for improvement” translates into failure.

15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection.

Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.

16. Place effort before talent.

Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.

17. Highlight the relationship between learning and “brain training.”

The brain is like a muscle that needs to be worked out, just like the body.

18. Cultivate Grit.

Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.

19. Abandon the image.

“Naturally smart” sounds just about as believable as “spontaneous generation.” You won’t achieve the image if you’re not ready for the work.

20. Use the word “yet.”

Dweck says “not yet” has become one of her favourite phrases. Whenever you see students struggling with a task, just tell them they haven’t mastered it yet.

21. Learn from other people’s mistakes.

It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.

22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished.

You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.

23. Take risks in the company of others.

Stop trying to save face all the time and just let yourself goof up now and then. It will make it easier to take risks in the future.

24. Think realistically about time and effort.

It takes time to learn. Don’t expect to master every topic under the sun in one sitting.

25. Take ownership over your attitude.

Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.

Cited From: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101796324413630088793#ixzz3oShvsDJk

 


The Art of Controlling Your Golf Ball Around the Green - Periscope Video October 12 2015

Persicope is a great little app that allows you to broadcast and interact with your audience live, I don't do it very often but really should do as it can be a lot of fun. One interesting point with Periscope is that your videos disappear forever after 24 hours, there is however a save to device option should you want to post it anywhere else and that's how today's video came about.

Back in June I visited a good friend in Austria called Kevyn Cunningham, he kindly organised and hosted a couple of days with a group of Austrian teaching professionals which was a lot of fun. On the afternoon of my arrival Kevyn had a terrible hangover so I dragged him outside and started hitting a few shots around the superb practice gree where the chat goes from creating a few different flights to dealing with different lies. There's plenty packed into the 12 minutes, hope you enjoy. If you found this useful be sure to visit ShortGameSecrets.tv for the best short game video series money can buy.

James

p.s It was casual Sunday..

 


Knowing when to hold back - Evolving as a golf coach October 09 2015

There was a time when my lessons were too detailed, too complex and too hard to absorb. It’s not an easy thing to admit to but it’s true. It’s the danger of learning too much too fast without proper time for practical application during that learning process. But when you learn good things your appetite for learning tends to grow, you have enough but you want more, it’s our nature as human beings.

These days I give far better lessons. It’s not that I’ve stopped learning, I never intend to but I have a much better appreciation for doing what is necessary and nothing more. It’s easy to forget that you can only deal with what is in front of you, what’s happening in the now. Thats not to say it’s not a good idea to have a plan or a blueprint so to speak, it’s just that you don’t have to share it.

This morning I gave a great golf lesson, I’m not being facetious, it was difficult to have done a better job and you know what? It was easy.

So I’m going to share it with you. There are three key features I’d like you to take into consideration for your future lessons, these are:

  1. Give the player a basic understanding of one key point.
  2. You need a player to set up to match their intent
  3. Changes usually come in pairs

Here are the players initial 7 irons from the Trackman Combine we began the session with, as you can see he hit push cuts on all the shots.

During discussion with the player I asked what he would like to do with regards to shot shape, he was somewhere in-between wanting to draw the ball or hit it straight. For me the average player seeking straight is a mistake, I’d rather see a curve one way or the other, it doesn’t bother me which as long as it’s within the players capability. So we settled on a draw.

The player had a combination of a path a little too straight into the ball and occasionally out to in and a face significantly open to that path. THIS IS HIS KEY POINT. Everything else aside if he gets the face closed to any path the ball will curve right to left. We also had an issue with consistency of path, one three ball sequence went -1º, +0.5º and +7º, that’s making life difficult by anyones standards.

So in my mind he need his face closed to path and that path to be more consistent and somewhere out to the right. We set to work on his set up, pictures and notes are below.

His right hand was a problem, it led to issues with the right arm and shoulder alignment, open face and more bias towards out to in were the result. During his swing he would tend to come out of his posture on the way down, this typically means more in to out. Remember that changes usually come in pairs?

Every ball began to draw, sometimes across the target line, sometimes not all the way back to it but they were drawing. Making his set up more appropriate suddenly had his path much further to the right, as much as 9º but as I explained to him this means he has a pretty big window to align the face in and have the ball draw without hooking. At this point he is functional, we work on it for a while. Toying around with ball positions and face angles at address to either reduce or increase the amount of draw, enabling him to adjust both in play and unsupervised practice.

This is the point at which I would in the past have done much more, I’ve literally given him NO in swing instruction, no thoughts and with 15 minutes to go I’m not about to now. The problem is the path is too far right a lot of the time and it won’t be long before the curve becomes too great, here comes the second change to complete the pair.

The loss of posture on the downswing needed addressing, for me it was the cause of the path inconsistency but we’re going along beautifully, how do I add it in?

Some explanation and a dry drill rather than a swing thought was my solution, a nice simple exercise to develop a feel for a more stable motion, nothing more. We discovered a little issue with mobility when performing this drill so I recommended he seek out a physio who will know a lot better than I as to what to do. A few reps of this followed by a practice swing and some shots saw the path come down to around 4º in to out, all the while keeping the face slightly closed to it for some rewarding baby draws. 

A set up change and a dry drill to provide a feel, a pair of solutions. Simplicity for the player and results to put a smile on both of our faces. Tough to think how hard we can and do make it sometimes.


The Invisible Opponent who's ready to kill your Wedge Game March 04 2015

Back in December I presented some information at a seminar in the UK on my research into high performance wedge play and was asked a question to which I didn’t have the answer. I didn’t shy away from the fact I didn’t know because the kind of person I am is summed up by a quote from one of my favourite films, The Pursuit of Happyness.

Um, I'm the type of person that if you ask me a question and I don't know the answer, I'm gonna tell you that I don't know. But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer.”

I’m of the belief that we shouldn’t pretend to know it all nor believe it and be prepared to work harder to know more.

The person who asked the question turned out to be the same person who would be an integral part of answering it. Jason Macniven is the owner/operator of Golf Principles, a superb club fitting facility in Basingstoke who I know is as inquisitive and ready to figure things out as I am.

The question concerned the influence of wedge shafts on performance, not the outcomes alone but the actual influence on motion of the player and the associated outcomes and limitations resulting from that motion. To put it into some kind of context I do not teach a single style of wedge play but rather classify players into particular styles which fall onto a spectrum of sorts, from one extreme to another and everything inbetween. Isolating any components which may belong to a different style and adjusting them and nothing more makes what I do appear extremely simple to players which is crucial. 

But what if the equipment in their hands makes it more difficult for them to achieve a high level of functionality? I would describe it as trying to fight with an invisible opponent, one you don’t even realise it there until it’s been pointed out to you. It’s a fight you might be able to avoid being beaten in but you will never win it unless you get lucky. I don’t like relying on luck to change things so why would anyone else!

We conducted testing last week at Magnolia Park using the GEARS (3D) system which measures both club and body, this means we can look at how the behavior of the club and player correlate with each other. Essential if we were to find the answers we wanted. 

Day one had us excited, we saw an acceleration in student progress that neither of us anticipated. The process went something like this: First we would ask the player to hit some shots with their own wedge to gather some ball flight data, we would then use GEARS to identify their swing tendencies and any adjustments I considered necessary. Before explaining these changes and the need for them we would simply change the club type they were using to something that we considered to be more suited to the motion they should be making. Every player showed signs of changing in a positive manner before any technical input was added, we had removed the invisible opponent. Imagine how much easier it was to then explain the change and have them demonstrate it! 

In much the same way as certain putter styles suit certain players perceptions and motions, wedge set up is just as individual. While we would never set hard, fast rules with regards to matching shaft type, head weight, style etc to technique there are undoubtedly guidelines. Information that will make the life of the player and the coach much easier.

This is going to seem like somewhat of a tease but we need to decide how to best disseminate this information, we are in no doubt it will change the wedge game for many.

“But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer.”

The question was asked in late December, by the end of February we have some answers. Not bad eh?

 


Orlando - PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit 2015 - My Experience February 05 2015

Once the initial surprise of being invited to speak at the PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit in Orlando had subsided it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to put something good together to present. It’s not like I was short of material however and in fact faced the opposite problem.

The back story to my invitation to speak at the summit is something near to what follows;

I had spent 3 days in Denmark with Kenneth Hansen and Rasmus Rolighed conducting a class that they had arranged last August, 3 days is a long time and requires a lot of information to fill so you can get an idea of what pool I had to draw my presentation from. Mike Adams followed with a trip to Denmark a short time later and needed a presenter concerned with the wedge game for the summit. “Who’s the best in Europe?” Fortunately for me I must have still been fresh in the memory as Kenneth and Rasmus were kind enough to recommend me. A couple of emails later and it was arranged. I was booked in to speak at the largest annual gathering of Professional Golfers on the planet. Amazing how things pan out sometimes.

So I had a couple of months before I stepped onto the stage in Orlando, you could look at that as a blessing or curse depending on how you deal with things. I thought it was a good thing as I needed to put three days worth and 5 years of research & testing into a one hour slot (on which I ended up under running by the way).

Over that period of times my presentation progressed through a number of drafts, few of which I felt comfortable with so I needed to reassess. What did I want people to walk away with? My answers to that question were:

Something New

Something Cool

Something Practical

I wanted people to sit and be made to think. Maybe to re-think what they do and maybe apply even the smallest piece of information I shared that day to their everyday teaching because then I would have made a difference.

I began to bear down on something I was quite happy with and started to ask some close friends and peers if they would take a look at what I had. I was ready for constructive criticism and got some, I also realised that I couldn’t tick all of everyones boxes either, you will never impress them all.

My actual rehearsals were quite limited, I ran a session in the UK pre Christmas in which I basically threw a load of information at a room full of Professional’s and tried to figure out what stuck. Being midst man flu at the time did zero for my presentation skills but the content was mostly well received.

Beyond that I barely rehearsed at all. The truth is that if you KNOW your subject and are PASSIONATE about it you will struggle to go wrong, even if you get slightly out of sync with your slides as I managed to a couple of times!

As the big day drew closer I will admit to feeling some anxiety, I don’t think it’s normal for anyone not to when stepping into the unknown. This led to me finding some coping strategies which can and will work in most situations.

It’s You: I’m sure you will have heard this a thousand times in many different ways whether from a concerned parent as a child or similar but any feeling you have are a product of your thinking. There, I said it. It’s all your fault. I’m not suggesting for a minute that you just ignore what is coming but begin to make peace with it. Realising that all the pressure you feel is a product of your own mind can be extremely liberating, no one in the room is rooting for you to do badly. Yes they are interested to listen to you, yes they hope to take something of value away and if you do your job they will. Assuming the burden of pressure is your choice though, you don’t need to take it.

Visualise: On my first full day in Orlando I was asked to visit the theatre to run through my presentation to ensure there were no technical issues with it. It felt like a bit of a chore having just flown across the Atlantic but it was one of the best things I could have done as I got to walk onto the stage. I got to stand there and familiarise myself with the surroundings, to look out at the seats that would be filled in two days time. This meant I had that to take away and work with.

At any time when I felt even slight discomfort with what was coming I could close my eyes and run through what was going to happen; the walk onto the stage, the lights shining down, the vast screens behind me. The only thing missing was the eyes of the guests but remember that they don’t want me to do badly, in fact they want it to be great.

The other coping strategy was my secret weapon, Sam Quirke , the closest thing I have to a second brother. He made the trip with me and was the ultimate sidekick, even took sneaky pictures of me in the make-up chair (yes, make-up).

The Big Day

I had to be in the green room 45 minutes before my time slot (make-up, yes) from where I watched Chris Como and Bernie Najar conduct their presentation and live lesson. Then the call came. It was time to go to the stage and be ready to walk on. I had a strange sense of calm at this point, in part thanks to my preparation and comfort with the situation. The next hour was a bit of a blur, I was aware of some things that weren’t quite perfect but for the most part it went quite smoothly and quickly! I actually under ran on my time because I spoke a little faster than normal, we had time for questions then though so it wasn’t a problem.

I walked off the stage and the first person I saw was David Leadbetter who was due to follow me. He shook my hand and said how much he had enjoyed what I had to say. To be honest I didn’t expect the big names to be listening so that came as a pleasant surprise.

Then it was off the the green room again after being congratulated by many more on the way. It was at this point that I started to feel an almost overwhelming sense of relief, thoughts drifted towards my late father and how much he would have enjoyed seeing what I had just done. I’d never really had the opportunity to see him swell with pride, I think that might have done it.

The rest of the day involved a lot of passing conversations! At one point it took me 15 minutes to get 100ft across the hall to the bathroom, I guess that’s what happens when you say something different AND wear a bright shirt!

I was happy just to survive, as it turned out the feedback was somewhere between very good and excellent. Here are a few tweets that appeared in the aftermath.

A hallway encounter with Jim Hardy, Chuck Cook, David Leadbetter & Jim Mclean topped off what will be one of the most enjoyable days of my career so far in which they all gave a collective thumbs up to my work.

This, combined with the positive feedback from so many peers both in person and via social media provides all the motivation one could need to continue the journey. There's so much more for us all to learn and figure out and I for one have had my fires stoked further, this isn't the pinnacle, this is the beginning.

 

James

 


Rory debuts Nike Engage Wedge January 16 2015

With my current focus on the short game I'm always excited when a manufacturer pushes the boundaries with regards to wedge design. Nike launched the toe sweep last season which was an excellent concept and this year they are improving and expanding on it.

For me it's all all about sole design and weight distribution, how the club interacts with the ground is your safety net on imperfect strikes and crucial to those not so perfect lies. I can't wait to get these in hand for some thorough testing!

 

Rory McIlroy debuts the new Nike Golf Engage wedges

-Three Tour-inspired sole grinds in a raw finish-

With three sole grinds made from the hands of Master Craftsman Mike Taylor, the new Nike Golf Engage wedges are the newest solution to help athletes such as Rory McIlroy both score and escape adverse conditions on the course.

The name Engage comes from three important interactions between the golf club and the turf, the club face and the golf ball and the connection between the athlete and his or her equipment.

“To me, they perform really well from the rough around the greens,” McIlroy said. “The ball seems to consistently get up easier and land softer.”

McIlroy debuted the wedges today at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, putting a Nike Engage 59-degree wedge into play.

To better engage the club, ball and athlete, Nike engineers followed a similar design that is utilized in the Nike Vapor family of clubs, Modern Muscle. Modern Muscle shifts the centre of gravity to promote stability and consistent turf interaction in even the worst of playing conditions.

McIlroy was one of the Nike athletes who tested the new wedge design and provided valuable feedback to Taylor and the Nike club team during the product development process.

The Nike Engage wedges are available in three distinct sole grinds: Toe Dual Sole, Square Sole and Toe Sweep.

"Our aim in offering three sole grinds allows athletes to be more purposeful when selecting their wedges," said Matt Plumb, Product Line Manager for Woods and Short Game. "Each of these three sole grinds, which are driven by our experience working with our athletes around the world, provide a distinct advantage in the types of shots you can play with them. We work with athletes to maximize their performance by selecting a combination of lofts and grinds that suits the needs of their golf DNA."

The Square Sole was designed to be played with a squared-up club face while the Dual Sole offers two distinctive surfaces for a wide range of shots. The Dual Sole is inspired by grinds used by Tiger Woods and McIlroy.

The second-generation Toe Sweep grind maintains its superior performance as the best wedge from the worst lie on the course while improving versatility on tight lies. The wide toe and narrow heel width allow the club to be laid open at address and stay open through impact in even the deepest of grass.

The Nike Engage wedges are precision milled with X3X grooves to deliver maximum spin on full shots. The grooves have more volume and sharper edges to deliver a more consistent shot in any condition as well as a more consistent ball flight. The precision milling process that makes the X3X grooves is offered for the first time with the Engage Wedges.

Based on athlete feedback and testing, the Engage wedges will all utilize an athlete-authentic raw finish instead of chrome plating. The finish will reduce glare as well as increase surface roughness to improve spin and control.

The Nike Engage Wedges will be available in April.
Pricing: £99.99 €124.95 SEK 1,195.00 DKK 999.00 NOK 1,095.00 SFr 159.95

Nike Engage Wedge Specifications
Square Sole (RH): 50°/11°, 52°/11°, 54°/9°, 56°/9°, 58°/9°, 60°/9°
Square Sole (LH): 52°/11°, 56°/9°
Toe Sweep (RH): 54°/9°, 56°/9°, 58°/9°, 60°/9°
Dual Sole (RH): 58°/13°, 60°/13°
Dual Sole (LH): 60°/13°

Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet, Black


Looking for an assist December 02 2014

Whenever you're researching something the larger sample size the better. In order to continue pushing my wedge research forwards for one of my hypotheses I need more data so am calling upon anyone with access to Trackman to provide an assist.

Here's what I'm after:

A series of shots hit to targets at 30,40,50,60,70 yards, 4 at each distance so 20 in total.

I'd like the Carry, Club Speed, Ball Speed, Spin Rate, Launch Angle and Smash Factor from the available data.

Along with that the level of the player and their chosen wedge (it needs to be the same one ideally) and any other details you feel appropriate.

Anyone who can assist will receive the findings from the information first and additionally become an officially great person.

Please email data to jaridyard@gmail.com

 

 


Sometimes you never know what's around the corner.. November 25 2014

When you choose to move yourself in a different direction to the majority you never really know what is going to happen, sometimes it will pay off and others it will fail. It’s amazing how resilient we can be and are to failures, in fact it’s hard to even type the word failure as it has such negative connotations. It’s an experience, whether it’s good or bad it could and should be drawn on when needed but not stared at like some life defining moment. In conversation this morning I realised that there have been misplaced steps on my personal journey but I rarely dwell on them, in fact most are a source of amusement now.

As you might have already noticed by looking at the picture above I have been invited to speak at the PGA of America’s Teaching & Coaching Summit this coming January, I’m not sure there is a bigger live stage that I could take a step onto when it comes to sharing my thoughts in this business. With 6 of the 10 Golf Digest Top Teachers also speaking it’s a step into a rarified atmosphere for me, a largely unknown quantity from a small island in Western Europe. I’m sure some eyebrows will be raised and plenty of ‘who?’ comments will pass many sets of lips and that’s ok, to be honest it came as a shock to myself so I understand the potential surprise completely! 

So how does this happen? A couple of months ago I returned from a working trip to Denmark where I presented a lot of the information I’ve been piecing together for the last 3 or so years and upon my return I tweeted from the airport shuttle that I felt confident that no one else was teaching the wedge game the way I am. I know this because it’s something of my own creation, I have of course taken some cues and information from other sources but the bulk is borne out of my own research. I knew the trip had gone well, I knew the information had stood up to the test and I was excited by the possibilities of where it could go. A trip to South Korea followed and again it was a resounding success in a completely different environment and culture.

The thing about this business is that you never know who is watching or listening. In this instance it happened that a well known and respected coach followed my trip to Denmark and learned a little about my direction with the wedge game and took this information back to the US. From there it snowballed and the invite dropped into my inbox last night little more than a few days after I’d first heard I was under consideration.

The most exciting thing for me is that the selection I have been fortunate enough to receive is based upon nothing more than the strength of the information, I’m not a household name, not even a pro shop name! Yet I’m now in the process of condensing days worth of information into a one hour program, ready for the scrutiny of over 1000 of my peers including a huge number that I have looked up to since day one.

So sometimes, if you get the direction and application right, good things will come your way.

 

James

 

ps - I’m not nervous... yet.


One for the Coaches (and the players) October 29 2014

One for the Coaches (and the players)

 

My game has progressed a lot in the last three years. I’m better prepared, I know my swing better, and I’m looking forward to the future.

Be a seeker but not a searcher. The journey as a golf coach has no discernible end but that should never mean it shouldn’t stop.

The quote at the top of the page comes from a good friend and player who just sealed his first victory on the Asian Tour in Taiwan, the key line for me as a coach is the middle one. “I know my swing better”. In those five simple words he encapsulates everything a coach should be trying to achieve with a player, you are assisting them to take ownership of THEIR game.

In order to reach this seemingly simple goal you need to be consistent in everything you do, you need a clear picture of the players tendencies, a picture of how you can improve them and the keys that they can always refer back to when it’s not going so well. This means a a coach you might have to (god forbid) repeat yourself a lot and not be afraid that the player might think you don’t have the answers. 

There’s a difference between not having the answers and being consistent in your vision yet in this time of empowering technology we are guilty of always looking for something new or a better way. Don’t use your players as guinea pigs, what might sound impressive to the player and boost your ego a little is the very thing that might well erode at that players ability. 

As coaches we often feel pushed into finding new answers to the same problems, even more often the player doesn’t really know what they want. “I need to hit up more”, “I need to hit a fade”, “I need to hit it further”. The question you need to ask before you attempt to fulfill these common desires is, “Do they?”. If it is no (and it often is) then stick to your guns, explain why they should be doing X & Y and to put Z to one side for now. That way they might stop searching and as a result you will too, this leaves you to get on with what you already know.

If you understand how to measure a golf swing stop searching.

If you understand how to adjust swings to obtain the best flight stop searching.

If you understand how to explain a players tendencies to them stop searching.

Be boring, don’t fear repeating a lesson as the person in front of you will ALWAYS revert back to the same issues. Different nails needs different hammers, never change the hammer that suits if you want to get the job done.

Being a seeker means you seek to improve without end, being a searcher indicates a lack of faith in the answers you already have.