Bump and Run Dr Jim Suttie

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2010, 5:45 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 Dr. Jim Suttie, director of instruction at the Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., and one of Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers.
Dr. Jim Suttie, Golf DigestDR. JIM SUTTIE
Director of Instruction, Club at TwinEagles, Naples, Fla.; Teaching Professional, Cog Hill G. & C.C., Lemont, Ill.

- Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers
- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America
- PGA National Teacher of the Year (2000)

Students (past and present):
Paul Azinger, Loren Roberts, Mark Wilson, Steve Flesch

Web Site:
Contact: 1-800-765-3838

Suttie, who has a doctorate in Biomechanics, is an expert on movement, and says that 'excess movement in the body' and too much hand action at the bottom of the swing is the primary reason why golfers chili-dip shots (i.e., hit more ground than ball).

'They try and help the ball up with their hands, instead of hitting down on the ball,' says Suttie. 'You need to let the simple rotation of the torso take the triangle [formed by the arms, shoulders and club] through. If the average amateur thought, ‘triangle back, triangle through,’ with little or no hand action, they’d get rid of that shot.'

To submit a question to Dr. Suttie or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered.
Any other advice on how to get rid of the chili-dip, or chunked chip?

Everybody’s different, but I’d say for the average golfer, they’re trying to help the ball up with their right hand and they’re moving too much. I’d cut down on their motion and set their weight on their left side, and make them think like the triangle formed by their arms, shoulders and club is going back in one piece and coming through in one piece. Let that simple body rotation bring the club through with little or no wrists.
What's the most common chipping fault you see with amateurs?

Usually the ball is too far forward and the golfer is standing too far from the ball; they’re not in there tight enough. And their weight isn’t left enough. To get their weight left and keep it there they’ve got to hit down on the ball. Moving that weight around and trying to help up with the right hand is what causes a chili-dip.

Should there be any hinging of the wrists on a basic chip shot and, if so, how much?
Not really because you preset that hinging at address by getting the ball back [in your stance] and the hands forward. The average guy shouldn’t fool with it because he’s already pre-hinged his hands at address. All he has to do is take that triangle swing and he should hit it okay. Pros are different – every swing is a different challenge for them.

Speaking of pros, Phil Mickelson is one who advocates the hinge-and-hold method in chipping. He talks about it quite a bit in his new DVD, Secrets of the Short Game. Why is this bad advice for the average golfer?

Amateurs can’t do it. When they hinge it, they throw their right hand at the ball. They’ve got to keep their right hand out of it and quit scooping. That’s got to be their main thought.

Chip like you putt?

Yes, except that when you chip you have to play the ball different, and the weight is different. Your ball position has got to be back because you're hitting down on the ball; in putting it’s forward because you have to be hitting up on the ball. Your weight should be 70, 80 percent left when chipping, and it needs to stay there throughout the entire stroke.

When the weight is left, like it should be, the ball will be back a little bit so your hands are forward and you can make a downward blow. Most amateurs, if they kept it that simple they’d get rid of a lot of their bad shots around the green. But they don’t. The simpler you can keep it and the less motion you bring to the chip shot, the better.

Should you chip with a variety of clubs, just one, or a few?

For the amateur, the closer you can stay with one club, the better. Two clubs at the most, because of the fact they take different trajectories and they don’t take enough practice time to work on all of these trajectories. I’d suggest an 8-iron, or maybe a wedge if they have to loft it a little bit.

The length of the swing will be a little longer as you move farther back and you’re hitting a wedge, but the closer they can stay to one club the simpler it is. Everything in golf for amateurs is about simplifying the motion, not making it more complex for them. It’s way too confusing to be using all of those clubs for the average guy. They talk themselves into hitting it poorly.

When is it a good option to chip with a hybrid club?

When you have some fringe to go over, it will help the ball roll better and the club won’t dig as much. If you’ve got some very short rough to go over and you have a good amount of distance to the pin, it’s ideal.

How does the setup and technique differ from a normal chip?

Since your lie is much better, you don’t have to play the ball back as far; you don’t have to hit down as much. But there really isn’t much difference there. It’s going to be the same shoulder motion and you’re just going to let the loft of the club do the work.

If you were to leave amateurs with one piece of advice on chipping, what would it be?

Use only two clubs and get your technique to where you’re running the ball more to the hole, and not lofting it. When you loft the ball, you bring in more hand action. It’s easier to chip if you can run it, and most people don’t do that. They’ll try and get it up in the air and carry it to the hole.

Dr. Jim Suttie Instructional Videos


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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.