golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, sports, Ukraine, Uncategorized

Finesse Wedges

It’s important to realize that in golf there are two swings – a power swing for big shots and another swing for performance inside thirty yards.  This swing technique we will call a finesse wedge.  With a finesse wedge we create a high soft shot with more backspin that stops quickly on the green. A finesse wedge is not only different from your full swing, but it is almost exactly opposite when it comes to sequencing. So it’s critical to practice them both.  Let’s get into the fundamentals of the finesse wedge.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 10.56.25 PM
Seve Ballesteros shows off his finesse wedge setup

Start with the setup. The feet should be close together, with the front toe facing slightly out and left of the target. This allows us to stay balanced as we turn toward the target and release the club.  Next we need to establish the low point of the swing in front of the ball. This is done by slightly rotating the chest toward the target in setup.   

Take a very light grip with the trail hand slightly on top of the club and a soft fold in the elbows and the left wrist slightly cupped.  There should be just enough hip hinge for the arms to dangle straight down from the shoulders. Lastly, we want to stack the shoulders and hips so there is no lateral bend  away from the target like there would be in a power swing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 11.09.49 PM
Phil Mickelson demonstrates the “toe up” backswing

Keep the body rotation minimal, the backswing is done softly and mostly arms and hands. Do not take the club inside the target line, keep it on plane with the toe up In the power swing, the lower body and especially the hips are responsible for generating power. In the finesse wedge shot, their job is to create stability.

The downswing should be tension free as you let gravity pull the club down to impact position.  The shaft of the club should be close to vertical at impact as we do not want the forward shaft lean of the power swing.  The release will happen naturally if you relax and rotate your chest toward the target.  Your finish position will have your elbows slightly bent and the club in front of the chest.  The club face should point straight up to the sky.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 10.05.56 PM
Fred Couples – elbows bent, left wrist cupped, club face pointing to sky

The sequencing of the finesse wedge is the exact opposite of the power swing.  With the power swing, the hips initiate the downswing and the shoulders, arms, hands and club head follow.  This sequence will not help your chipping. During the downswing of the finesse wedge, the  the club head moves first and everything else follows in reverse order, with the hips last to join in.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 10.03.58 PM
Paul Lawrie releases toward the target

As you finish the shot, your momentum will pull your head and body slightly toward the target. Let it happen, and do not try to keep your head still after impact.  Allowing your head to flow toward the target helps to ensure that the low point of your swing is in front of the ball.

Confused? Don’t be. Let’s review our Top 5 Key Points.

 

1. Setup with feet close together and slightly open to the target

2. Backswing on plane with toe up

3. Release the club with soft elbows and club face pointing to the sky

4. Use optimal sequence for finesse

5.  Gently allow your energy to flow to the pin

Or just watch Anna on the video and do what she does!

 

golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, sports, Ukraine

Early Extension Fix (Swing flaw #2)

Most golfers know that to hit the ball with any power, you’ve got to use your hips. I knew about this for years, and I tried to use my hips in my swing but somehow I never got it right. Even worse, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. It was at the Titleist Performance Institute, at a seminar on golf biomechanics that I finally saw the light.

I had been trying to rotate my hips toward the target, but in the process I always lost my posture and ended up standing up straight at impact. What I didn’t understand for ages, but could see clearly on video, is that your spine angle at impact should mirror the angle at address. When it doesn’t, and the hips move forward during the downswing, this is called Early Extension.

60313577_2071859239784865_2466555789167296512_n
Early Extension

Once I understood the necessity of maintaining posture throughout the swing everything changed for me.  Right away I began to get a lot more consistent.  I wish I had understood it years ago, but it just wasn’t really emphasized in the instruction that I was getting.

When you early extend, there’s no room for your hands to move through the hitting area. Your hips are in the way and you’ve got to make crazy adjustments to get the club on the ball. This results in thin, topped or bladed shots and in general, really horrible contact.  It is impossible to hit with any power with early extension.

So how do you fix it? As Anna and I demonstrate in the video above, a great fix is the Butt on the Wall drill.  Focus on maintaining your spine angle at all times, and keeping contact between your butt and the wall. 

59445600_351252215747303_2283777503061344256_n
good posture at address

Get in your 5 Iron stance and cross your arms in front of your chest.  Then back up to a wall so your butt barely touches it.  It doesn’t have to be a wall, just something stable that’s at least hip height. It could be your golf cart, a tree, a sign, or as we did in our video in Spain, you can even use a little trash bin.  Keep your spine angle and rotate your shoulders and hips, and maintain contact between your butt and the wall!

Once you get the feel for the wall drill, try hitting some balls on the range with the same feeling.  Have a friend video you from down the line and watch to see if you maintain your address posture throughout the swing. As you get better and better with the movement, you’ll begin to feel yourself sink into your right hip on your backswing, and into your left hip on your follow through. The result is more power and consistency.  Watch the video, and try it yourself!

 

fitness, golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, sports, Ukraine

Chicken Wing (Swing flaw #10) Fix

 

60328594_2360324867520863_8575483865294962688_n
Chicken Wing

Number ten on our list of Top Ten Swing Flaws , it’s the dreaded Chicken Wing.  The left elbow breaks down at impact, causing inconsistent contact and loss of power. The fix is easy, as Anna and I demonstrate in the video below.

Номер десять в нашому списку Top Ten Swing Flaws це страшне Куряче Крило. Лівий лікоть згибається при ударі, викликаючи невдалий контакт та втрату потужності. Виправити це легко, ми з Анною продемонструємо на відео нижче.

Get in your golf address position, take a towel or a rope and hold it between your arms and your chest.  Take a few half or three quarter swings and don’t let the rope fall out. This keeps your arms connected to your chest, and keeps the left elbow from flying out away from the body.

Стійте в стартовій позиції, візьміть рушник або мотузку і тримайте його між руками і грудьми. Зробіть кілька половин або три чверті замаху та не дозволяйте мотузці випасти. Це тримає ваші руки поруч та тримає лівий лікоть від вилетів далеко від тіла.

Make sure to make a good shoulder turn – and get that left shoulder over your right foot. Take a few swings without hitting a ball, and then go ahead and try to hit some shots. It’s easy to understand if you’re doing the drill wrong, because the rope will fall out.

Переконайтеся в тому, щоб зробити гарний поворот плеча  – щоб ліве плече було над правою ногою. Зробіть декілька замахів без м’яча, а потім  спробуйте вдарити декілька м’ячів. При цьому ви дуже легко зрозумієте, якщо ви робите замах неправильно, тому що мотузка випаде.

Practice this drill with or without hitting the ball, and not only will you make the chicken wing go away, but you’ll also prevent the flying elbow on your takeaway, and in general you will make much better contact with the golf ball.

Практикуйте цю вправу з або без удару по м’ячу, таким чином ви уникнете курячого крила, також ви уникнете літаючого ліктя на замаху, та й в цілому ви будете робити набагато кращий контакт з м’ячем для гольфу.

golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, Ukraine

Swing Flaw Fix #1 Over the Top

 

Last week we posted a list of the Top Ten Swing Flaws that plague amateur golfers, with lovely pictures of Anna demonstrating the different flaws.  At the top of our list, a move that causes weak slices all over the world…. the number one swing flaw… Over the Top.

Минулого тижня ми опублікували список  Top Ten Swing Flaws , які заважають любителям гольфу, завдяки прекрасним знімкам Анни, ми демонстрували різні недоліки. Першим в нашому списку, є рух, який викликає слабкі slices по всьому світу …. цей дефект номер один … Over the Top.

60084775_1484480305022309_5902765277937926144_n
Over the Top

Over the top begins at the top of the backswing, where the shoulders rotate toward the target and the hands fly out in front of the body. This causes the player to hit across the ball, result occasionally in pull hooks, but most often with the shot that all golfers hate the most, the slice.

Over the Top Цей рух починається у верхній частині backswing, де плечі обертаються до мішені і руки вилітають перед тілом. Це призводить до того, що гравець вдарить поперек м’яча, іноді призводить до витягування гачків, але найчастіше з ударом, який ненавидять усі гравці в гольфі.

There are many drills that can help a golfer fix an over the top move, but our favorite is the pump drill. Take the club back to the top of your backswing and practice dropping your hands straight down towards the ground. Repeat three times and then complete a full swing.  Once you get it down, try hitting a shot at the end.  Stand over the ball, take the club away, pump straight up and down three times and then hit the ball.

Є багато тренувань, які можуть допомогти гравцеві у гольфі зафіксувати Over the Top, але нашим улюбленим є вправа Pump. Візьміть клюшку зробіть замах backswing і практикуйтесь кидати руки прямо вниз до землі. Повторіть тричі, а потім завершіть повний розмах (Swing). Щойно ви кинети руки до землі, спробуйте зробити повний замах(Swing)на завершення. Встаньте над м’ячем, відкинте клюшку, викидаючи руки три рази вгору-вниз, а потім ударяйте в м’яч.

Anna and I will demonstrate in the video. Practice this drill and get that Over the Top move out of your game.

Анна і я продемонструємо Вам вправу на відео. Працюйте над цією вправою, щоб уникнути Over the Top руху.

golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, Ukraine

Top Ten Swing Flaws

Here are the Top Ten  swing flaws that weaken your golf game and/or cause injury.  This post is designed to help you recognize your swing flaws, because knowing what you’re doing wrong is the first step to getting better. Don’t worry, we will show you how to fix them all in upcoming posts.

60328594_2360324867520863_8575483865294962688_n
Chicken Wing

10. Chicken Wing

Chicken wing happens whe then the left elbow and wrist break down at impact, making your left arm look like everyone’s favorite beer snack. The chicken wing results in inconsistent contact, and lack of power.

Куряче крило Куряче крило відбувається тоді, коли лікоть і ліва рука згинаються під кутом, роблячи ліву руку схожою на улюблену пивну закуску )). Куряче крило призводить до суперечливих контактів і відсутності сили.

60010995_458338614567210_4281792857481674752_n (1)
C- Posture

9. C- Posture

C- Posture involves a rounding of the upper spine at address. It limits spinal rotation and can cause back injury

C- Поза включає округлення верхнього відділу хребта при початковій позиції. Це обмежує обертання хребта яке може викликати травму спини

 

60618473_2205315172854909_6326923350304096256_n
S – Posture

8.  S- Posture

S- Posture involves a large curve in the lower back, due to the tilting of the pelvis at address position. It limits spinal rotation and leads to other flaws and injuries.

S- поза включає велику криву в нижній частині спини, через нахил тазу при початковій позиції. Він обмежує обертання хребта і призводить до інших вад і травм.

 

 

60342823_2052702754857503_7739608832069861376_n
Casting

7. Casting

Casting involves throwing the club head back and away from the target at the beginning of the downswing. Casting can lead to other flaws like scooping and chicken winging, and results in weak and inconsistent shots.

Кастинг виникає коли клюшка відкидається назад  від цілі на початку закінчення замаху. Також кастинг може призвести до інших недоліків, таких як черпання і крило курки та призводить до слабких і непослідовних ударів.

60293125_310551663192244_5478222737279287296_n
Scooping

6. Scooping

Casting usually leads to scooping, in which the club strikes the ball ahead of the hands. It can also happen when the player tries to help the ball into the air instead of hitting down and through the ball. It adds loft to the club, leading to high, weak shots and inconsistent contact.

Черпання

Кастинг зазвичай призводить до черпання, в випадку коли клюшка ударяє м’яч попереду рук. Це також може статися, коли гравець намагається допомогти м’ячу в повітря, замість не потрапляння удару вниз і через м’яч. Це додає градус клюшці, що призводить до високих, слабких ударів та непослідовних контактів.

60072120_620421211758350_6800914124319490048_n
Swaying

5.  Swaying

When the right hip moves away from the target and gets behind the right foot, this is known as swaying. This takes the body off balance, far from it’s center of gravity and is almost always accompanied by reverse spine angle

Коливання

Коли праве стегно відходить від мішені і потрапляє за праву ногу, це відоме як коливання. Це призводить до не  рівноваги, далеко від центру ваги і майже завжди супроводжується зворотним кутом хребта

 

60303232_1009886892735228_2931181137885659136_n
Reverse Spine Angle

4. Reverse Spine Angle

Goes with the sway, involves the spine angle leaning back toward the target instead of coiling behind the ball. This is a major cause of low back injuries.

Кут зворотного хребта

Йде з коливанням, включає кут хребта, нахиляючись назад до мішені, а не повертаючись до м’яча. Це є основною причиною травм у попереку.

 

60025045_2315788098701543_1264520921213829120_n
Flat Shoulder Plane

3. Flat Shoulder Plane

This often goes with a loss of posture, when the player stands straight up during the backswing and rotates the shoulders in a flat plane, resulting in an Over the Top transition.

Це часто відбувається з втратою постави, коли гравець стоїть прямо під час зворотного руху і обертає плечі в плоскій площині, в результаті чого переходить верх.

 

 

2. Early Extension

60313577_2071859239784865_2466555789167296512_n
Early Extension

When the player is in good posture at the top of the backswing, but then stands straight up in the downswing, this is early extension. In this position, the hands cannot go where they need to be to hit the ball properly because the hips are in the way, blocking them. This results in thin shots, topping the ball, and inconsistent contact.

Коли гравець знаходиться в хорошій позі у верхній частині backswing, але потім стоїть прямо в downswing, це ранні розширення. У цьому положенні руки не можуть йти туди, де вони повинні бути, щоб правильно вдарити м’яч, тому що стегна в дорозі, блокують їх. Це призводить до thin ударів, перевищення м’яча і непослідовного контакту.

 

60084775_1484480305022309_5902765277937926144_n
Over the Top

1.Over the Top

At last, the number one swing flaw, seen on every driving range and fairway around the world… When the player throws the hands forward and away from the body at the beginning of the downswing, instead of down and inside of the swing plane, this is Over the Top. This produces a swing that comes across the ball outside to in…This movement will produce one of two shots, a pull hook, or most often, THE SLICE! 

Нарешті, дефект номер один, що бачиться на кожному range полі та fairway по всьому світу … Коли гравець кидає руки вперед і далеко від тіла на початку замаху, а не вниз і всередину  коливання. Це створює rоливання, які потрапляють на м’яч назовні, щоб … Цей рух призводить до одного з двох ударів, гачок для підтягування, або найчастіше, THE SLICE!

COMING SOON: How to fix all these flaws!!!! 

 

 

 

 

golf, Kyiv, Ukraine

Course Review: Kyiv Golf Center

59301230_465393400870017_4033342936576950272_nThe sun is finally waking up, and at last, it’s time to get out of  the gym and onto the driving range. (It’s been a long cold golfing winter). So we hitched a ride across town and spent our Saturday afternoon at the Kyiv Golf Center in Obolon. There is a driving range, a cafe and a bar called Golfist where they serve whiskey.  And what’s the point of Saturday golf if there’s no whiskey after? 

There’s plenty of green green grass, and distance markers up to 200 yards, but anything over that flies off the range and onto a crowded walkway along the river. I hooked a 5 wood that one hopped into the river, and a guy appeared and told me not to hit anything past 200 yards.  So, if you’re long, you’re stuck hitting irons, which isn’t the end of the world. If you’re a newbie or a short hitter, it doesn’t affect you at all.  (If you like to bomb your driver, you’ll need to find another spot) What I really like about the range, is the variety of flags and distance markers, which makes for good target practice. 

59445600_351252215747303_2283777503061344256_nWhen the range isn’t open, you can arrange it so you can play a few short holes, and they’ve also got a chip and putt area that you can rent, cause we all gotta work on our short game.  So, as a practice facility, it’s got most of what you need. Right now, Kyiv Golf Center is only open on the weekends, but they may open up more when the weather comes around.

Igor Oleksyn is the Head Professional out there, and he’s legit.  He was finishing up a lesson when we got there, and a bit later he got his irons out and launched some gorgeous high draws down to the end of the range.  He’s also fun to talk golf with, which is kinda rare in this country. Overall, the staff is friendly and everyone I met out there spoke English, so it is definitely foreigner friendly. 

57303427_10215987699098727_3817162874493599744_o
whiskey by the river

We got two large buckets of balls for 760 hrn, which is on the high end of what you might pay in the states. Afterward we relaxed a bit in the outdoor cafe, took in the sites around the river, and sipped some whiskey . Overall, a great afternoon of golf inside the city limits. We definitely will be back.

Here’s a little drill for you golfers out there to help you take the club away from the ball and avoid the dreaded flat shoulder planeAnna breaks it down in the second half of the video in Ukrainian language. It’s called the broom drill, and if you practice it often, you’ll take it away like a pro… and as any pro will tell you, that’s half the battle.

 

Uncategorized

Dache Golf

We spent Easter weekend at the dache (country house) outside of Kyiv. It was a great time with family – BBQ, egg decorating, the good stuff. But this year, there was an added twist. We brought a sand wedge and some soft practice golf balls. This changed everything, and may even be the beginning of a family tradition.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 11.09.26 PM
Old Tom Morris

Golf is thought by many to be a rich man’s game, and that’s fine, a lot of successful people play, and it can be pricey to get out on the course, fair enough. But golf doesn’t have to be expensive.  Old Tom Morris, the caretaker of St Andrews and father of modern golf, was very against the idea of golf being only for those who fly first class. Like me, he found the very idea vulgar and bourgeois.

One of the goals of the Kyiv Golf Academy is to grow the game of golf in Ukraine, and to do that, the game must be available to working people, middle class families, students and ordinary people in general.  That’s why this idea is so important to us. Golf is for everyone!

59376236_2019637344825880_8915177969811456000_nSo, how do you do it? How do you play without a lot of cash? Well, this weekend, we put a flag in the ground on a piece of grass, took our one golf club and held a closest to the flag tournament. Young Dania, my nine year old nephew, was the star of the event. He had never hit a golf ball before, but after watching me hit some high arching shots, he wanted to try.

It’s very important when introducing kids to golf that you don’t over coach them. I just showed him a basic grip and let him work it out for himself. It was fascinating to watch.  He started hitting them high in the air, but without accuracy.  Didn’t matter, he loved watching his shots sail.  After he had hit a few, we started hitting alternating shots. He watched me like a hawk, and was soon imitating my pre shot routine.

58772285_984056268651520_6719564308407123968_nOnce we turned it into a contest, he was hooked. We played played for hours, and it wasn’t long before he was putting shots less than five feet from the flag. I watched has he began to develop the touch necessary to control the distance of his shots.  Then he announced it was time for a tournament.

Anna and I were first to play. I had three orange practice balls and she had three pink ones. After six alternating shots, we measured our best. Anna beat me by a full foot. Then it was time for her and Dania. It was close, but Anna was the tournament champion.

58380760_2307243649490804_8535429764796645376_nDania and I renewed our alternate shot contest until the sun went down. In all about five hours of golf. He made a lot of progress, and never once picked up his mobile phone. For Anna and I, it was a great opportunity to practice our wedge games, to introduce the game to a newbie, and to enjoy some real family time. After that, the BBQ tasted better, the whiskey smoother and we slept like bears.

Here’s a little video for you golfers out there on a rainy day in Kyiv. It’s Ben Hogan’s impact drill. You can use a golf club, a broom or any kind of stick, and you can do it anywhere. Anna breaks down the move in Ukrainian language for the locals.