Golf Theories, Swing Thoughts and Unsolicited Range Advice...

From the Blog

Posted by Gabe Shyu at 12:08 am

I’ve read and heard countless swing coaches describe the right arm action of the golf swing to be analogous to that of “skipping a stone across a pond.” Well, they’re either no good at skipping stones or their golf shots are all scoops.

In order to successfully get a stone to skip multiple times across the surface of the pond, you must impart a flat spin on the flat rock with a trajectory as flat as possible. Everything about it is flat, flat, flat. If you’re a righty, your pointer finger will be the last to leave the rock in order to impart the maximum amount of flat clockwise spin which helps the rock stay in flight even after skimming across the point. Also, the right hand never turns over – the entire throw in done sidearm.

I find that the feeling does not translate AT ALL to a golf swing. You know what happens when you swing a golf club sidearm? The face opens and the hosel presents itself to the ball. Also, how do you swing sidearm with two arms? Try it and get back to me. One more for you: How do you COMPRESS the ball when you’re swinging sidearm?

Enough of that. Here’s the real deal:

In order to compress the ball and to maximize distance, your right palm must face the ground at impact. The thing is, you can’t let the desire to compress the golf ball steer you towards succumbing to your natural hit instinct. Doing so will lead to an upper body dive and an out to in swing path – otherwise known as “Over the Top.”

To compress the ball from the inside, your right palm must start turning down as soon as your arms are done dropping back down to waist level. Then, are your hands travel towards the ball, the point finger leads the way in an arc into impact. Guess what? Doing this will automatically bow the left wrist. (I thought I was done bagging on the Sidearm Theory, here’s one more: how do you bow your left wrist while swinging sidearm with your right arm? Your palms would no longer be in contact if that were to happen.)

The swing thought that best helps me perform this move is to pretend that the golf ball is a ball of  peanut butter and my job is to smear it on the turf. I also found that releasing the pressure on my right pinky helps promote this smearing motion. The reason is the pinky controls the bottom side of your forearm. With a tightly gripped pinky, the forearm loses its freedom to rotate.

In summary,

1. Loosen right pinky pressure.

2. Smear the ball on the turf. The pronation of your right arm helps this happen.

3. The pointer finger on your right hand and your wrist control the smearing action.

Posted by Gabe Shyu at 11:47 pm

My good friends at GolfWRX have posted a very well written article on the hazards of hitting down to take a divot. This harkens back to my “near-disdain” of penny range pros who toss out worthless, but often heard golf advice.

A descending strike of the golf ball is the byproduct of a good swing and not a deliberate attempt to carve up a piece of turf.

Read the article for yourself and be sure to share your thoughts on I’ll see you over there!


Posted by Gabe Shyu at 5:19 am

Player 1 steps up to the tee, takes his practice swings and a deep breath. He addresses the ball, takes a few waggles and swings away. He duffs it and the ball doesn’t roll past the ladies’ tees. He knows it’s coming.

Sure enough, his buddy pipes up and offers him unsolicited advice.

“You know what your problem is, Bill? Your problem is you’re standing too close to the ball.”

“… After you hit it.”

It’s funny because I was just thinking about this groaner when I realized that I might actually be standing too close to the ball – at address, which resulted in me being closer to the ball than I’d like after I hit it. I’ve been in the process of tearing down my swing to the nuts and bolts for the past 3 years and it’s been slowly coming together.

It was when I was practicing one armed swings and making beautiful contact when I realized that I was standing further away swinging one armed than I was with both arms. Instinctively, my upper arms would retract into my torso while I was swinging with both hands on the club. This gave me a sensation of connectedness, but “connectedness” was not the feeling I needed to fight my tendency to swing over the top (OTT).

I started to address the golf ball while holding the club with just my left hand, telling myself that I was going to hit the ball one-handed, but then I’d put my right hand on the club as well. At first, the feeling was very foreign, like I was reaching for the ball.

I hit a few shots with the feeling and was pleased with the results. I no longer had to fear the one ever-present possibility of shanking a shot due the lengthening of my arms in the downswing. I could clear my hips as aggressively as I wanted and had plenty of room for my hands to travel in front of me. The ball marks left on the face of my irons were nowhere near the heel of the clubface, but rather from center-hit to toe-biased.

There’s a video of Ben Hogan on stage instructing an audience on how to swing a golf club. The simplicity of the swing, he said was rooted upon the fact that to him, the underside of his upper arms never became disconnected from his torso; his arms, instead of coming out of his shoulder sockets, came out of his hips. Then, he proceeds to swing the club at full speed, back and through.

This feeling may have been what Mr. Hogan built his swing upon, but with so much connectedness, the average golfer will power his or her swing with what they know to be their central power plant, their center of mass, which promotes an over the top move. Throw the “hit instinct” into the mix and the high-handicapper doesn’t have a chance.


Once again, the reason you’re here is because you’re a golf nut. You know more about golf than just who Tiger Woods is and you don’t confuse Jack Nicklaus with the man who played The Joker opposite Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman.

With that assumption intact, I’m hoping you’ve visited Mike Maves (Sevam1), Steve Elkington and Martin Ayers’ site Secret In the Dirt – if you haven’t, please check them out!

Martin Ayers is fascinating, and I’m not just talking about his Australian accent. He’s got this move that he calls “The Most Powerful Move in Golf.” I found myself curious enough to delve deeper and even purchase his online video series in which he discusses in detail this Most Power Move he has discovered.

As Mr. Ayers is an internet merchant looking to earn some honest cash, I won’t divulge too much of the details of his subscription web document; you’ll just have to check it out yourself to find out what it is. What I WILL say is that this inclined screw action, although extremely intriguing, has not yet worked its way into my swing. I’ll attribute that to my not being ready to incorporate this move into my motion quite yet. His findings are definitely not without merit though – while rehearsing this move in front of the living room mirror, I could feel an immense amount of torque and tension brimming to be released into the back of the golf ball.

I’ll leave you with that…

Martin Ayers – Most Powerful Move in Golf

Posted by Gabe Shyu at 4:47 am

I’ve lost a good bit of distance recently because of my over-eagerness to tear my shoulders open the moment I complete my backswing. I’ve struggled with coming over-the-top as a result and my ball flight has been weak pull-hooks with the occasional series of shanks thrown in.

It got so bad that I sold all of my clubs except for my Titleist 712MB iron set; everything from my driver down to my putter was “donated” to Roger Dunn Santa Ana. I’m sure it was like Christmas for them scoring a Cameron Studio Select Newport for $80 worth of store credit.

I’ve since rebuilt my set…

Anyway, the swing thought: I splurged and bought a bucket of balls to hit off of grass at Long Beach Golf Learning Center and discovered that I wasn’t taking any sort of divots at all. In a deliberate attempt to take divots to promote compression (which leads to distance), I found that my divots point left, which was no surprise to me. The force of my swing was “geriatric” to be kind. It was no wonder I wasn’t hitting it anywhere.

I forewent hitting balls and instead focused on taking bigger divots with a lot more pace and confidence. My fixation on striking the ball was averted and my attention was turned towards the turf. I was finally able to take decent sized divots that actually flew a good distance – I’m sure my swing speed was also significantly higher.

What I began to notice was that if my swing were a circle (I know it’s not, but let’s simplify the scenario), the head of my left humerus at my deltoid would be the center of the circle, my straight left arm would be the radius and the butt end of the club would draw the arc of the circle. With that in mind, I concentrated on not moving the center of my circle too much to the left, and definitely not turning the center of the circle by tearing my shoulders open. This led to shots that traveled down my target line as opposed to left of my target line.

I hadn’t ventured into adding too much pace to my swing with this new swing thought, but I’m excited about where this is heading.

– Gabe Shyu

Posted by Gabe Shyu at 5:27 am

Ever heard of the expression “paralysis by analysis” as it pertains to golf? Well, you’re obviously not a subscriber to that school of thought; you’re just like me – the more information the better!

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