Bump and Run Charlie King

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 29, 2009, 9:48 pm
We know it's difficult to find time to practice during the week. When a Saturday or Sunday tee time rolls around, you're hoping to find some spark or productive swing thought that will help you break 100, 90, 80 or whatever your scoring goal may be.

With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Charlie King, director of instruction at Reynold's Plantation and author of a new e-book, The New Rules of Golf Instruction, which you can download for free at newrulesgolf.com.
Charlie King New Rules of Golf InstructionCHARLIE KING
Director of Instruction, Reynolds Golf Academy, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga.

- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America
- Athlon Sports Elite 8 Golf Instructors
- Author, New Rules of Golf Instruction e-book (2009); Golf's Red Zone Challenge with Rob Akins

Web Site:

Contact: 1-866-443-6742
'The New Rules is a way of contrasting the standards in teaching against a lot of the things that have happened in the past that aren’t up to snuff,' says King. 'For example, a new rules instructor in the full swing will identify the essential skills and teach those skills. An old rules instructor has a model or method that they force everybody to do.

'The old rules is method teaching. An old rules instructor barely teaches the short game because they don’t believe you can get people to practice it; a new rules instructor will create a contest and inspire people to work on their short game.'

To submit a question to King or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered.
Let's say I come to you with a slicing problem. How will you, as a new rules instructor, teach me to eliminate my slice?

As a new rules instructor, I’d ask you some typical questions, and before I put you on video I’d explain to you that learning golf is like learning to swim: You don’t take somebody and videotape them attempting to swim, put them up against Michael Phelps, and tell them here’s how they stink in comparison to Michael Phelps. That’s what we do in golf: We take somebody, put them up against this model we have, and tell them they suck compared to the model. An old rules instructor makes you try and look a certain way, while a new rules instructor teaches you the universal skills in golf.

And what are those skills?

In golf, there’s seven essential skills. There’s preswing, impact position, what the body does, width, swing plane, clubface awareness and rhythm. So when I look at your swing, I’ll tell you what you’re good at and what you’re potentially missing. I look at your path and clubface and explain that when you’re hitting a slice, it means your clubface is pointing to the right, and your path may be off relative to the target. I have to make you understand how to hit it to the target so I’m going to explain clubface and swing plane quickly, and give you a drill to help you become better at clubface awareness.

With a model lesson, or method lesson, they might not even deal with these things. They might say that’s a sign of you not doing the things we teach. So here’s how you need to change your setup, the start of your backswing, top of swing, etc. Now that person has a high potential of leaving confused because there’s too much information.

The universal thing I teach with the body is that the body provides a center for your golf swing and resistance for your arms to swing from. It’s not all that different from what a field goal kicker’s body does. There’s not just one way. I can work with people who are tilted like Freddie Couples or Colin Montgomerie, or people who move off the ball like Rocco Mediate. They both work. A new rules teacher does not dictate style to a golfer; a new rules teacher teaches skill. If I focus on skill I’m going to have a hire success rate, because I’m making them more skillful. If I make people look a certain way, I may not be making them better, I just may be confusing them.

What’s the one essential skill every golfer must possess if they want to get better?

I’d have to say grip, because if you’re not holding onto the club properly you can’t do anything with it. The one that golfers don’t have, however, is impact. They scoop at the ball, lift it, or throw the club to try and get more speed. My job is to make them understand that golf is an energy transfer game, which means your left wrist should be flat to slightly arched and your right wrist bent back – like you’re smacking something with your right hand – at impact. The club is leaning forward as you come into impact; there’s no exception to that when it comes to good players hitting irons. You do not find anybody that’s any good who’s shaft is straight up and down or leaning backwards.

Solid contact to me is what gets people really addicted to golf. When you can hit it really solid, you enjoy the round. You say, ‘I didn’t score well today but I hit it good. I may have hit a couple in the woods, but I hit them hard.’

How do you ingrain the feeling of solid contact?

The thing I’ve had a lot of success with over the years is I’ll take the club away and have them take their right hand out and smack my right hand. I’ll put my right hand out flat, and I’ll say, ‘Go back about halfway like you’re going to swing a golf club, and smack my right hand.’ Then I have them take the back of their left hand and smack my hand. No one comes up and flips at my hand. They’ll backhand me with their left hand, they’ll smack with the right hand.

I use that to tell them to get their right heel off the ground, because they might stand there flat-footed. So I’ll say go ahead and let your right side go along with your hand, let your right heel come off the ground and let your knee come in. Now I have them put their hands together flat, almost like a grip, and have them hit my hand with both hands. That’s what golf is. Golf is an energy transfer game, it’s not a throwing game or scoop it up in the air game; it’s about energy transfer.

If I can get them to understand that the reason they’re flipping their wrists is because they’re trying to lift it up in the air or they think golf is a throwing game, they’ll have a chance to hit it solid.

One of the seven essential skills you mentioned earlier is preswing. What are the fundamental keys to a good setup?

For posture, bend at the hips. Now, a lot of people ask me, 'What's the difference between bending at your hips or bending at your waist?' If you go two or three inches down from your waist (belt), you’ll feel where your hip bones are. You’re bending from your hip bones and hip sockets whereas if you truly bend from your waist, you’re bending from your spine.

Good posture sets you up for success, for a better turn and body pivot.

What's the biggest setup fault you see with amateurs?

A bad grip, which has an effect on the clubface. Once your face is open and you miss it to the right, you’ll start coming over the top. A bad grip definitely leads to swing flaws, for sure.
Is there a step-by-step process to getting your hands on the club properly every time?

There are three functions to a good grip. Function No. 1 is to get the heel pad on top so you’re sure you’re able to hinge the club. No. 2, put your right hand on in a 'shake hands' position, which gives you a better chance of squaring the face. No. 3, create a hook with your right forefinger, which allows you to have support for the club at the top of the swing and throughout the entire swing. Hinge the club, square the face, support the club 

Three functions of a good grip. Function No. 1 is get heel pad on top so you’re sure you’re able to hinge the club. No. 2, put right hand on in shake hands position, which gives you a better chance of squaring the face. No. 3 you create a hook with your right forefinger and that allows you to have support for the club at the top of the swing and throughout the swing. Hinge the club, square the face, support for club – three functions of a good grip.

Charlie King Instructional Videos


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    Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

    Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

    At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd was loving it.

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    Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

    Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

    It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    “I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

    After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

    Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

    “It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

    Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

    Getty Images

    Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

    In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

    Made Cut

    Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

    Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

    “What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

    Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

    #MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

    Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

    Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

    Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

    “I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

    The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

    During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

    “Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

    The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

    Stay tuned.

    Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

    The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

    On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

    That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

    Missed Cut

    West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

    J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

    Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

    But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

    Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

    It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.