Ryan's Coaching Blog

Don’t be Swayed into Shorter Drives

One of the most debilitating moves in the golf swing that can rob any golfer of power and speed is the Sway.  This happens visually when the hips move laterally away from the target in the backswing.  This move almost always leads to many other swing faults.

There are some great ways to help fix the Sway, some can accidentally have the wrong effect by shifting your awareness to the wrong side of your trail foot.  An angle iron from your local hardware store can be used to give you a great functional drill that can also be used while hitting balls.

Drive for Dough & Putt for Show!

You’ve all probably heard this saying before and are thinking that I’ve gotten it backwards… but since the ShotLink era on the PGA Tour we are now able to prove with 100% accuracy that the number one statistics correlation to where you finish on the money list is not Putting!!

Now I’m sure that many of you remember the amazing putts that Tiger used to make coming down the stretch to win tournaments and you’re questioning this Drive for Dough concept.  The thing about these wins is that when you look at how Tiger performed against the Field, the wins were rarely due to his putting, but usually his Tee to Green play.

The #1 statistic that correlates to how much money you make on the PGA Tour is…. Strokes Gained Tee to Green!  In other words, it’s how well you hit the ball from the Tee to the Green relative to the rest of the players.

What is Strokes Gained?  The basic concept is that if the PGA Tour averages 1.8 strokes on a 10 foot putt and you make the putt… You’ve gained 0.8 strokes on the field.  Miss that putt and you’ve lost 0.2 strokes to the field.  Click HERE for the detailed answer.

Let’s look at the current Money List compared to Strokes Gained Tee to Green Vs. Strokes Gained Putting….

Money Player  SG Tee to Green SG Putting

1

Justin Thomas 10 27
2 Jordan Spieth 2 29
3 Dustin Johnson 1 60
4 Hideki Matsuyama 4 148
5 Jon Rahm 6 22
6 Rickie Fowler 13 2
7 Brooks Koepka 61 21
8 Kevin Kisner 32 13
9 Brian Harman 92 6
10 Marc Leishman 16 45
Total 237 373
Based on 2017 Stats as of 9.7.17

 

So let’s learn to hit the ball further so that you can hit shorter clubs into the greens, then we’ll work on hitting the approach shots closer so that you can improve your Strokes Gained Tee to Green!

Here’s a couple Stats programs where you can keep track of your own Strokes Gained!

In the meantime, here’s a few tips on how to hit the ball further!

Gotta Keep your Head Up for the Wedge Yips

We’ve all seen someone or had the yips ourselves, especially when trying to hit a high soft pitch off a tight lie…  Here’s where I see the masses using the classic tips from their friends to send them spiraling into the full on yips!  Please please do Not ‘keep your head down!”  Please do not ‘hit down’ on the ball… put the ‘ball back in your stance’… no thank you, ‘lean the shaft forward’…only if you don’t like money!

These are all fixes that we all have heard a million times and, although as band-aids, you may get some short term relief with these feelings, you will end up causing more harm than good.  Granted, some of these may work much better with the full swing, however, the full swing and soft finesse wedges should be played in the opposite manner in almost every single way!

In most every case I’ve seen, those with the wedge yips have given themselves the yips by applying full swing components to their finesse wedges and then compounding the situation by applying full swing fixes to their new problems!  It’s a vicious cycle.

Even when viewing 3D data of Tour finesse wedge shots versus full swings, you will see a sequence that is almost completely opposite of the Tour full swing.

Debunking Bunkers

One could have their club enter the sand 2″ behind the ball an hit great sand shots and hit terrible sand shots.  Even still, people continue to obsess about where the club should enter the sand.  I believe this focus is one of the main causes for people’s fear of hitting poor bunker shots.

The first piece to understand is the term Low Point, which refers to the absolute bottom of the swing arc.  Combine this with Divot Depth and we are on to the real source of hitting great bunker shots.

In the scenario above where the club enters 2″ behind the ball, you will hit a long thin shot if your divot depth is only .25″ below the ball.  A chuncked shot will result from going 2″ below the ball and a good shot will come from being rounghly 1″ below the ball.  These numbers can change greatly based on the firmness of the sand because a soft beachy surface will allow the club to dig much easier.  Conversely, with very firm sand it will be difficult to go too deep.

If your Low Point is too far behind the ball, it will become very difficult to have the club travel the correct depth and speed by the time it gets to the ball.  This can lead to short flubs if the club is moving slowly and if the club exits the sand into the ball, the dreaded skull. If your Low Point is too far ahead of the ball, your tendency will be to skull the shot as the club is still traveling downward or chunk the shot from coming in too steeply.

This is why I prefer my players to keep their focus on getting their Low Point under the ball with the desired depth for the shot and surface they’re playing from.