Martin's Blog - February 3, 2012

By Martin HallFebruary 3, 2012, 2:00 pm

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Facebook Questions From the Class
Q: I have some trouble keeping my balance on my down swing I have very stiff ankles. Is there any drill to help? (Brittany Reynolds)

A: Good balance essential to good golf. For me, balance would be defined as being able to swing on a balance beam as you might hit a golf ball. Not something I recommend you try but picture this. Imagine standing on a skyscraper 200 stories in the air. Take a golf stance with your toes just over the edge of the skyscraper. Now take a swing without falling off. Cautionary note, this is only an imaginary drill!!

Q: Martin, I have taken some time off of playing over the past few years and now my swing feels like it collapses on me and I feel very constricted which causes me some very wayward, inconsistent shots. Is there some drill I can do on the range to get my swing back extended and prevent the collapse that I am feeling? (Scott Cmelik)

A: If you've taken some time off, some stretching exercises are the best place to start. A book by Roger Fredericks, 'Secrets of Golf Instruction and Flexibility' is my recommendation.

Q: I am topping my fairway woods on a regular basis. What is going on? (Leslie Jones)

A: Two possibilities, either you're changing your posture between address and impact (standing taller) or you're bending your lead arm at impact. I would say stay down and reach down, that should eliminate the topping.

Q: I have been playing for about a year and watch and learn from Golf Channel, but sometimes I feel an information overload. What are the most basic movements I should focus on? (Josh Persinger)

A: The single most important thing for a golfer to develop is getting the bottom of the arc at the correct place, because that causes solid golf shots. A simple drill that is as good as I know is to push a tee into the ground about an 1/8 of an inch showing and take practice swings clipping the tee.

Q: Martin, I've been learning the stack-and-tilt method for the past year now but I'm having trouble hitting through the ball and making a consistent divot.  Where should my weight be at the moment of impact using this method? (Chris Scott)

A: Stack & Tilt has a lot of benefits. I think the lead hip needs to be over the lead foot at impact, which would usually put at least 80% of your weight on your front foot.

Q: Hey coach, love the show! Can you define and explain forward shaft lean? (Donnell Jackson)

A: Forward Shaft Lean is a term used to describe an ideal impact condition. It means the grip end of the club would be pointed at the lead hip at the moment of contact. It results in more powerful and accurate golf shots.

Q: Martin, I went from low 70's to high 80's from one week to the next. I can't stop hooking the ball. I don't know what's going on. Can you please help me? Thanks love the show! (Robert Savarino)

A: Two place to look immediately. First, your grip could be way too strong. Second, there could be a severe lack of body rotation through the hit. To avoid the hook, have the feeling that the chest turns faster than the club swings through.

Q: Martin, please help me figure out how to get a consistent swing. I have a fairly good swing, but sometimes it decides to hit the clubhouse before I'm done with the round. How can I practice training and maintaining muscle memory in the proper way? (Real Time Paradigm)

A: Generally when people are very inconsistent, there is excessive wrist action somewhere in the swing. Could be in the backswing, could be in the downswing or possibly the follow-through. Try hitting shots feeling as if your wrists are in splints, almost always works.

Q: Martin, I'm a low handicap but have a issue every once in awhile coming over-the-top and of course the next 9 holes are over. Please help! (Ricky Kelly)

A: Probably need to make an extra effort to start the downswing with the lower body. Slight slide then rotation of hips to commence downswing

Q: Hello Martin and thank you for your show. I have a chipping problem. Every time I attempt to chip the ball, the ball goes dead right on my shot. Everyone has some correction but there seems to be no fix. (JB Quigley)

A: Sounds like you're suffering from the dreaded shank, which is the ugly way of saying you're hitting it in the heel. Address the ball in the center of the club and as you come into the hit, try and hit it off the toe.

Q: I am having trouble hitting my middle irons. I am not catching the ball cleanly. I end up hitting down too much and taking a divot when I don't want to. Any suggestions? (Carol Richards Peske)

A: You are singing to the choir, know what you mean. Deep divots mean that you're upper body is getting ahead of the ball on the downswing. Instead as you start your downswing, try and keep your head behind and feel that your left shoulder goes up as you start your downswing. May even feel like you're hitting up at the ball.

Next Week’s Show

Chapter 3: Bombing the Driver (February 8, 2012)
Post your questions for next week on Email or Facebook

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.