Dennis Sales Golf

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Tag Archives: golf instruction ri

How important is Off-Season Work

I find that the off-season is the absolute best time to work on improving the mechanics of your swing.  Changing the mechanics of the swing also must coincide with what the student’s goals are and how much time they are willing to put into the equation. Trying to change a technical aspect in somebody’s golf swing during the season on a Wednesday for instance and they are playing golf on Saturday isn’t fair.  It’s not fair for the instructor or for the golfer.  This in my opinion is where golf instruction fails and where coaching thrives.  That I’ll explain another time.

What every golfer needs to understand is that you are ultimately being judged on your ability to control the flight of the golf ball from tee to green and not the motion of the swing.  If you keep that in mind you are well on your road in starting to shoot lower scores.  If you plan on making any swing changes those changes better be a result of improving a ball flight and not fitting into the method of your instructor.  We all have seen it week in and week out, all touring professional have their own unique style in swinging the club.  They have learned to develop the skills necessary to control their ball and you are no different.

Improving your motion is also best done without you seeing the flight of the golf ball.  The key word is YOU!  The instructor must have a tool to precisely measure your impact alignments because those impact alignments control the flight of the ball.  If you don’t believe me, research the D-Plane yourself.  The D-Plane is ball flight law on center face hits.  Tools that accurately measure impact alignments make working indoors well worth it.

Lastly, using a stat tracking program such as Shot-by-Shot during the season makes figuring out what YOU need in the off-season easy.  These stats help a coach create your program for improvement.  Without stats it’s almost like shooting in the dark!  If you don’t have stats, start researching Shot-by-Shot and get on it.  It will be well worth your time and I’m pretty certain it could open your eyes to what you truly need.  Why do I say this?  I have student’s using Shot-by-Shot now and it has changed what my students now want from me.  That and most students are not honest with what they really need.  I have learned what golfers’ want isn’t exactly what they need.  Now since we are in the off-season and you probably have no stats, so we really don’t know what you need.  This is where getting some type of ball control skills testing is a must!  That test will help direct you in a direction to start your off-season improvement program.

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What Makes Indoor Training Worth It

As winter seems to be settling in here in the North East, we find ourselves having to make a decision on how or will we continue with our training.  I find that it’s important for golfers to take a short break, and then continue to work on their swing during the offseason.  Especially, if you want to hit next year’s golf season in full stride, rather than struggling through the first few months.

As you decide on where or even if you’ll continue to practice and take lessons, you need to think about a few things first.  Indoor training means having a limited ball flight.  Working on your swing while hitting a ball into a net, really allows the golfer to focus on the movement more than the flight of the ball.  Is that entirely a good thing?  I tend to think so, but only up to a certain point.  Ultimately what we want to improve is the flight of the golf ball but what if there is no flight?  Even a perfectly felt shot that has a few degrees closed club face turns out to be a poor shot on the golf course especially if your path is right at the target.

This is where indoor training can be tricky and actually hurt the golfer.  Let’s assume that you have a perfectly looking golf swing on video.  Each shot feels really flush and smacks the net over and over again.  The swing feels good and looks good on video.  Man you are now grooving what you think is a great swing.  April now comes around, your first round of golf out on the golf course and you are so excited about this golf season.  You tee up your golf ball, make that same great swing, and low and behold a low pull hook to the left.  You will automatically think where that came from since you have been hitting it pure all winter long.  But have you really?  Or have you been creating that specific ball flight?  We as golfers are only really judged on your ability to control the ball and put it into the hole in the least amount of shots.  Not on how good your swing looks.  The number one thing you need to understand is that what you are trying to do change or even create in your golf swing is directly related to the flight of the golf ball.  What the ball does is the most important aspect and it absolutely can’t be left out of the equation.  So before you start getting into a training program ask yourself these few questions.

  1. What will be measuring the clubs data? 
  2. How will I know where the ball went?
  3. How will my progress be tracked?
  4. How will I know that I’m working on the right motion to improve my ball flight if I can’t see where the ball ends up?

Please don’t think I don’t like the indoor concept cause I really feel it has some major benefits.  You just really need to research what the facility is offering in being able to accurately measure the most important aspect of the swing.  That is the collision between the club and ball.  Simulators are great fun and can be entertaining but some of them really don’t tell the truth behind the flight.  I’m sure you know exactly what I mean if you have been on one.  Have you not laughed at the distance it gave you, especially after you felt a terrible shot?  Then you know exactly what I mean.

Using K-Vest for Pitch Motion

K-Vest is such a great universal tool in helping golfers improve.   I find it especially helpful in building a consistent set-up while we focus our attention on another task.   Here I’m using it with a junior, what we are trying to focus on is creating a solid pitch motion.  Having K-Vest working in the background allows the student to develop the skill of getting into the same set-up.  That then provides them a greater chance of being able to create a fundamentally sound pitch motion.  What it does between us is it keeps the unnecessary shatter out of the equation.  Now the conversation remains on developing pitch motion as well as keeping his mind focused on the new feelings he’s generating.

I’ve found that multi-tasking this way and keeping the dialogue to what’s necessary really helps the student figure out exactly what they need to do.  Ensuring that they hit the essential skill associated with a pitch motion and allowing them to add their own unique twist to the equation works best.  I have yet to see any two touring professionals create the same motion.  At the same time I have yet to see them not perform some of the essential skills necessary to control the golf ball.