Jim McLean Chat Transcript

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2000, 5:00 pm
mikey - what should come first... a good club fitting or a fundametally good golf swing?
J_McLean - I definalty believe a good golf swing comes first,you can have the greatest set of golf clubs in the world and a bad swing will render them uselessly so work on your golf swing until you improve your technique and then it's time to see the club fair.
SPM - Dear, Jim, what do you feel are good traits to look for when selecting a golf instructor.
J_McLean - this is an excellent question, first look for a teacher with a long list of students, do not be afraid to ask any teacher his or her ideas and where they learn their concept of teaching. I would look for a teacher who has excellent golf knowledge, is willing to give you a list of people to call, and has the time and desire to work with all aspects of your game.
pete - Jim, What's the best drill to preventthe left arm 'chicken wing'?
J_McLean - the left elbow breaking down through impact is a very common problem, usually causes from an open club face as you start down, the open club face causes the golfer to swing outside in so as to keep the golf ball in play but the club coming outside in the club is getting nearer to your left leg, and as a result there is very little extension.
J_McLean - the best drill is a split grip drill, where by using a 7iron, split your hands about two inches apart, then make small swings back and through maintaining the extension you had at setup, that means going through the ball your right hand will be further from your body and your left hand will be closer to your body, with practice this drill will cure chicken wing
hotair - Do you have a conditioning guide for us shut ins?
Doug_F - Mr. Mclean: I know from watching some of your videos and previous visits to Academy Live that you advocate starting the downswing with the lower body. I have been working on that in my game but have not been having much success. Do you have any drills that can help me learn the feel of that move?
J_McLean - the winter time is a great time to work on your golf stretches and overall conditiong. hopefully, you will continue a program yearround. a great book on conditioning is written by Paul Chek I don't have the title but you can get it at any library.
cigbob - Hi guys, my question is how can I keep from coming over the top of the ball and swinging from the outside to inside?
J_McLean - You are correct, I advocate a golf swing that closely corresponds to other hitting and throwing actions are used in all sports.
J_McLean - That means sequence is crucial to solid and powerful ball striking. therefore we use the same sequence in golf,it's an athletic move. To start forward, shift or make a slight lateral bump of the left hip, you can practice this by using a great harvey penick drill, from the top of the back swing starting down practice putting your left heel on the ground and
J_McLean - making your right elbow drop, these two movements happen at the same time not independenly, practice this move over and over at home, and at the range. this should help you get the right feel.
JONESY - How long should the clubface look at the ball at the start of the swing?
J_McLean - as the club moves away from the golf ball, it starts to swing inside and up. as this happens, the toe of the club appears to open smoothly, the club face is actually is staying square to the arc,that said, there are varying acceptable club face postions, one is the club face staying at the ball a bit longer the other is the club face staying square to the arc, the mistake is rolling the face open early in the back swing. thats the real killer.
TGC_Modr - Jim, nextiger asks, I have a problem where in the impact zone, I don't let the club release and tend to leave it open. How could i get myself into the habit of releasing the club?
J_McLean - first id like to see you hit lots of small shots off a tee making the ball draw, this can be done rather quickly. in order to do it you have to relax your grip pressure and focus on the right hand brushing over the left, concentrate on hitting low draws
J_McLean - once you succeed at this increase the lenght of your swing.
Bogey4Me - Jim is taking a diviot a result of ball position or swing plane or both? Thanks....
J_McLean - actually its both, the ball for most iron shots should be placed near the center of your stance, this makes it much easier for golfers to take a divit.
J_McLean - swing playing is a bit more complicated, you can miss the ground either by being under the plane causing a shallow angle of attack or you can be over the plane which often causes the left wrist to break down prematurely
J_McLean - so therefore, have a professional or student of the game tape you from down the target line, believe me getting a club coming down the right track, it is crucial.
tommy - When you are doing the drills at home how do you know that you are not putting a hook or slice in your game?
jonnyo - Its your son, Jon
J_McLean - john im glad your listening, i wish you were here helping me, i need a free drop. see you tomorrow.
golfer01 - New golfer here +/- 4weeks want is a good drill for getting solid contact with the ball?
J_McLean - first, put your hands in the club correctly, ill need you to see someone who really knows what they're doing, next build a good stance, third practice a true swinging action back and through and hitting the same spot on the ground time after time
rickc - JIM: On the show you discussed a drill using the right hand to take the club to the top. How do you keep the right from over powering the left on the down swing and what should you feeling be?
J_McLean - i assume you're right handed and therefore you're probably much more coordinated with your right side, if that is correct then time your right hand and right arm so that the release happens at the bottom of your golf swing
J_McLean - to get the feel turn the club upside down and practice the swish drill. try to hear the loudest noise at the bottom of your swing, do this drill with your right arm only, its amazing how quickly this helps many golfers.
Cade - Jim, I seem to have too much loft with my lowered number irons (3,5). What can I do to correct this
J_McLean - whenever a golfer is getting too much loft or heighth on their golf shots, then i look for an early release of the hands or a hang back of the body. often golfers try to add loft to long irons, its a common problem instead you must trust your swing and the true loft of your iron. i would suggest that you make practice swings stopping at impact
J_McLean - at this stop point check to see that you are actually taking loft off the club and the shaft is leaning toward the target, you can also hit an impact bag or some towels that you put against a wall.
dotcom - Jim, what can a right handed golfer do for a problem that consists of their left foot 'kicking out' on the downswing and through impact -- kind of like swinging a baseball bat type of motion?!?!?!
J_McLean - this is a problem that Tom Kite had when i worked extensively with him through the early 80's. Tom corrected this problem by having me or his caddy or somebody actually hold his left foot down when he hit, i also had him visualize a huge spike in the middle of his left foot which would not allow the foot to roll over or spin
J_McLean - it worked, he won the us open in 1992!
TGC_Modr - golfer01 asks, Is making a divot nessecary when using an iron?
J_McLean - i'd like to see a very small divot, some great players like Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman take very shallow divots. on the other hand, golfers like Tiger Woods, and Lee Trevino take some monster divots. to hit a ball solid and spin it you need to strike on at least a slight desending blow with a flat or bowed left wrist.
BIGDRIVE - Jim, Do you feel that any training aids on market do a good job of teaching swing plane ie split grip club on infomercial?
J_McLean - actually im not an advocate of that split grip club. the clubs that have a laser light seem to help many golfers understand swing playing but you can do the same thing by putting a tee in the vent hole of your grip.
duffer - What do you say to a 22 year old wo is playing is a tournament and starts to lose concentration when he's in the hunt?
J_McLean - id think about enrolling him in the marines for some toughening. just kidding! however, a lack of focus may show some fear, lack of conditoning, or a swing flaw. it takes time to get comfortable in pressure situations, read books on this subject and watch the professionals carefully, notice everything they do as they come down the stretch
dbzjw - jim,what can i do when i tend to go through my backswing too fast?
J_McLean - very common problem, indicates too much hands and not enough syncrination of the club, hands, arms, and shoulders. it is critical that you start away smoothly and all together . a poor take away or fast move off the ball will always lead to incosistent golf shots.
Phillip - My swing is too steep. How can I correct this problem?
friar - in the past two years, I have lost 40 lbs through diet and exercise, what should I practice to regain the length and timing in my golf swing?
J_McLean - hold the club at waist height and start your back swing from this positon you can flatten your back swing in several ways, 1. make a flatter shoulder turn 2. rotate your left forearm in the back swing 3. make 3/4 swings with the grip of club pointed back at the target line stop at this positon make sure the club is on the plane and then swing from this position, its a stop and go drill
Loafer - Hi Jim, First, thanks for helping us...second, I hit my irons and fairway woods straight and long but can't get it together with my driver...any suggestions?
J_McLean - i first thought is your driver does not match up well with the rest of your clubs, i would highly suggest that you go to a top club fitter,somebody who really knows the game and has top line equipment.
dbzjw - what can you say about playing in the rain after myself losing my club while hitting over a hazard?
J_McLean - growing up in Seattle I played in rain constantly well actually it was pretty nice in july and august. you must learn to keep your grips dry ive done this by having several towels in my bag and a good over all of my clubs, if you're riding in a cart you need a rain hood otherwise a cart is a killer in rain almost impossible to keep the clubs dry. i would carry my clubs before taking a cart if at all possible
J_McLean - also, have extra gloves, and good rain gear. be extra prepared for rainy days.
pingI3 - What's the proper hand position at address when using offset irons? Over the ball or ahead of the ball?
J_McLean - off set irons automatically help place the hands ahead of the ball thats one reason they are so popular. i like to see the hands placed off the inside of the left thigh, if your hands are between the seam of your slacks or the center of your body you are in an acceptable position,the standard posiotin would be hands slightly ahead but
J_McLean - im only talking about a few degrees of shaft lean toward the target.
TGC_Modr - (Sorry for the delay, ping13)
RickL - Jim, do you recommend your students bend the wrist a little going back in putting?
J_McLean - on short putts this is not necessary but many good putters do have slight wrist set even on short on longer putts youll get much better feel and distance control by using some wrist action.
dbzjw - jim, when i am hitting out of a bunker do i need to try to throw alot of sand on the green?
J_McLean - on a long bunker shot, you will through sand further out of a bunker on a very short bunker shot the sand may not get out of the bunker, probably wont. it also depends on the type of sand you are playing out of, i do like the thought of throwing sand out on the green for most bunker shots.
TGC_Modr - We have a few more minutes, folks...any final questions?
Loafer - Me again...I occasionally hook my low irons and wedges too much on approach shots...any suggestions?
J_McLean - occasionally is good, often is bad. probably indicates that your body rotation is slowing down when this happens we get a wrapping effect of the club which causes the hook
golfpro - my body gets in the way on my downswing right arm stays stuck behind need a drill to coordinate my lowering from the top of my swing to impact the shift? left knee or right knee or lower arms 20 handicapppppheeelllpppp!!!!
J_McLean - this is a difficult problem that is see from time to time at the school, its caused by a conscience effort to swing inside out and it will take a dedicated effort to break this habit. here are a couple of ideas, keep your right shoulder higher, keep your right hip higher, try to get your hands away and out as you start down, take divots that start left a good drill is to get into a super close stance put the ball off your left toe and practice hitting fades.
TGC_Modr - ***To book lessons with Jim, visit www.jimmclean.com***
rickc - JIM: In your Hogan tape Hogan says to keep the right elbow pointed down . How long does it stay that way -won't it go out as you release?
J_McLean - hogan is talking the right elbow at the top of the backswing, this does cause a flatter left arm playing you should know that many great players carry the right elbow higher so its not imparative
J_McLean - if you look at Tiger Woods you will also see his right elbow pointed almost straight down at the top of his back swing.
J_McLean - its not a bad thing to work towards, but, how you start down is much more important.
TGC_Modr - Well, that's a wrap for this evening. Thanks for joining us with Jim McLean in TheGolfChannel.com's Pure Golf Experience!
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USGA-player relationship at a breaking point?

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 8:00 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – For seven days each year, the American game’s preeminent governing body welcomes the best players in the world with open arms. They set up shop at one of the premier courses in the country, and line it with grandstands and white hospitality tents as far as the eye can see.

The players arrive, first at a slow trickle and then at a steady pace. And once they’ve registered and clipped their player medallions over their belts, they’re told how this year is going to be different.

How this time around, be it in a Washington gravel pit or on a time-tested piece of land on the tip of Long Island, the USGA will not repeat the mistakes of the past. That the process of identifying the best players in the world will not veer into the territory of embarrassing them.

Like a college sweetheart in search of reconciliation, the powers-that-be preach a changed attitude and a more even-handed approach. Then, inevitably, they commit the same cardinal sins they promised to avoid.

So year in and year out, the scar tissue builds. Charlie Brown keeps trying to kick the football and, for most of the players not named Brooks Koepka, he ends up on his butt in a cloud of dust and fescue.

After letting Shinnecock Hills plunge into avoidable yet all-too-familiar territory over the weekend – before being doused back to life – one thing is clear: in the eyes of many players, the USGA can’t be trusted.

“When are they going to get it right? I just feel like they disrespect these historic golf courses,” said Scott Piercy, a runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open who got swept away this week during a crispy third round en route to a T-45 finish. “I think they disrespect the players, I think they disrespect the game of golf. And they’re supposed to be, like, the top body in the game of golf. And they disrespect it, every aspect of it.”

Piercy, like several players in this week’s field, had a few specific gripes about how Shinnecock was set up, especially during the third round when USGA CEO Mike Davis admitted his organization lost control in a display that echoed the mistakes of 2004. But this was not an isolated case.

Players went with skepticism to Chambers Bay three years ago, only to encounter greens that were largely dirt and got compared to produce. Mismatched grass strains, they were told. Whoops.

The next year the USGA threw a dark cloud over a classic venue by allowing much of the final round at Oakmont to play without knowing the leader’s actual score as a rules fiasco reached a furious boil. Last year’s Erin Hills experiment was met with malaise.

At this point, the schism runs much deeper than a single error in setup. It threatens the core competency of the organization in the eyes of several of the players it looks to serve.

“They do what they want, and they don’t do it very well. As far as I’m concerned, there is no relationship (between players and the USGA),” said Marc Leishman. “They try and do it. They do it on purpose. They say they want to test us mentally, and they do that by doing dumb stuff.”

By and large, players who took issue with the USGA’s tactics had a simple solution: put more of the setup choices in the hands of those who oversee PGA Tour and European Tour venues on a regular basis. While some of those personnel already moonlight in USGA sweater-vests for the week, there is a strong sentiment that their collective knowledge could be more heavily relied upon.

“I know (the USGA) takes great pride in doing all this stuff they do to these golf courses, but they see it once a year,” Brandt Snedeker said. “Let those guys say, ‘Hey, we see this every week. We know what the edge is. We know where it is.’ We can’t be out there playing silly golf.”

That’s not to say that a major should masquerade as the Travelers Championship. But the U.S. Open is the only one of the four that struggles to keep setup shortfalls from becoming a dominant storyline.

It all adds up to a largely adversarial relationship, one that continues to fray after this weekend’s dramatics and which isn’t helped by the USGA’s insistence that they should rarely shoulder the blame.

“They’re not going to listen, for one. Mike Davis thinks he’s got all the answers, that’s No. 2,” said Pat Perez after a T-36 finish. “And when he is wrong, there’s no apologies. It’s just, ‘Yeah, you know, we kind of let it get out of hand.’ Well, no kidding. Look at the scores. That’s the problem. It’s so preventable. You don’t have to let it get to that point.”

But this wound festers from more than just slick greens and thick rough. There is a perception among some players that the USGA gets overly zealous in crafting complicated rules with complex decisions, a collection of amateur golfers doling out the fine print that lords over the professional game on a weekly basis – with the curious handling of whatever Phil Mickelson did on the 13th green Saturday serving as just the latest example.

The gripes over setup each year at the USGA’s biggest event, when it’s perceived that same group swoops in to take the reins for a single week before heading for the hills, simply serve as icing on the cake. And there was plenty of icing this week after players were implored to trust that the miscues of 2004 would not be repeated.

“To say that the players and the USGA have had a close relationship would be a false statement,” Snedeker said. “They keep saying all the right things, and they’re trying to do all the right things, I think. But it’s just not coming through when it matters.”

It’s worth noting that the USGA has made efforts recently to ramp up its communication with the top pros. Officials from the organization have regularly attended the Tour’s player meetings in recent months, and Snedeker believes that some strides have been made.

So, too, does Zach Johnson, who was one of the first to come out after the third round and declare that the USGA had once again lost the golf course.

“I think they’ve really started to over the last few years, last couple years in particular, tried to increase veins of communication,” Johnson said. “When you’re talking about a week that is held in the highest regards, I’m assuming within the organization and certainly within my peer group as one of the four majors and my nation’s major, communication is paramount.”

But the exact size of the credibility gap the USGA has to bridge with some top pros remains unclear. It’s likely not a sting that one good week of tournament setup can assuage, even going to one of the more straightforward options in the rotation next year at Pebble Beach.

After all, Snedeker was quick to recall that players struggled mightily to hit the par-3 17th green back in 2010, with eventual champ Graeme McDowell calling the hole “borderline unfair” ahead of the third round.

“It’s one of the greatest holes in world golf, but I don’t really know how I can hit the back left portion of the green,” McDowell said at the time. “It’s nearly impossible.”

Surely this time next year, Davis will explain how the USGA has expanded its arsenal in the last decade, and that subsequent changes to the 17th green structure will make it more playable. His organization will then push the course to the brink, like a climber who insists on scaling Mount Everest without oxygen, and they’ll tell 156 players that this time, finally, the desired balance between difficult and fair has been achieved.

Whether they’ll be believed remains to be seen.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson


9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari


5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello