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

I Stink When I Drink

I recently entered a 3 club tournament and brought along my 5 wood, 8 iron and putter. I was optimistic – we were playing the Premier Course at Kiev Golf Club, where I regularly shoot in the 60’s. I felt great on the range, and drained a few chips on the practice green. Nothing but blue skies and green lights ahead. I should have known better. Joining in our foursome was a friendly Ukrainian with a bottle of single malt.

“This golf in Ukraine.” he said as he handed me a full plastic shot glass.

I never drink when I play, but what was I supposed to say to that? Good people drink good scotch, and everyone seemed up for it. So I took my drink right there on the tee box, and feeling like a cat after a good stretch, I flushed a high draw and held my finish for style points.

On the third, I chipped in for birdie to go one under par. “We drink for birdies” said my scotch toting droog. So, we threw back another as we readied ourselves on the fourth tee. From 160 yards, I knocked it stiff and canned the putt to go two under. Another birdie, another round of drinks.

On the 6th green, I four putted from 15 feet. Had to be the whisky, right? I didn’t feel drunk but the hole was definitely blurry. I held it together somewhat over the next few holes, until the English chap made a birdie which brought the bottle out again.

From then on, there were no more birdies – but that didn’t stop us from draining the bottle by the 12th tee. Your man promptly rang the bar and ordered another. We didn’t need any more whisky, but once you get started on a bender, the tendency is to take it all the way.

I made a 7 on the 13th – the easiest hole on the course. On 14 I pull-hooked my tee shot onto the 15th tee and then chunked my 8 iron. By this point I was thoroughly lit, telling dirty jokes and smoking a cigar. Who am I kidding? I’m an old hell raiser, and all it takes is one or two to get back in gear. On 15 I hit my 5 wood straight up in the air off the tee. How I made bogey there is unclear.

“The problem with your game,” my Ukrainian friend suggested as he handed me another glass, “is you’re not drinking enough. Trust me, it will help you relax.”

If you’ve ever played with me, you know that the last thing I need is to be more relaxed on the course. I’m Mr Zen himself, breathing slow and deep and throwing out sage quotes from Siddhartha to Sam Snead. Adding firewater to the mix actually produced the opposite effect.

Worst part is that my mental game went in the toilet. After a few bad shots, I lost my confidence. Suddenly I’m trying to fix my swing mid round. I’m doing swing drills on the side, trying to get it back like some rookie duffer. I never do that. It’s poison, and I should know better.

By some miracle, I ripped my 5 wood straight into the wind on the long, par 3 16th. Should have been an easy birdie putt, but I missed it badly and barely rattled in for par. I don’t remember much about 17 and 18, other than the crooked numbers. One vague memory of a bladed approach that almost decapitated a spectator. I felt helpless out there – like one of those dreams where you get in a fight and all your punches are in slow motion.

The Limey in our flight won the tournament. Back in the bar, he credited the booze for helping him keep his head down. Good for him. Turned me into an absolute hack. A frat boy on spring break with golf bag on his shoulder and a stogie in his chops. I didn’t even want to hear my score. I ignored it.

The next day I played the Premier again – slightly hungover but generally straight. One over par. Nary a three putt. Confidence restored. My mental game is so fragile, that one bad round easily undoes twenty good ones. At the same time, I missed the banter – what good is it to make birdies with nobody around to toast them?


So what’s the takeaway? Why do we play golf? To calm our nerves and find our inner Ben Hogan? Or to get twisted and laugh all the way home with our favorite degenerates? The answer for me is clearly one or the other. Certainly not both at the same time. Let’s face it, golf and whisky go together – they are easily Scotland’s two greatest gifts to the world (besides The Average White Band). But for me, a reformed hell-yeah with a fragile ego and raging desire to play scratch – I need to make sure I do them in the correct order.

I’m not a bad golfer, but I stink when I drink.

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

Here Comes the Sun!

It’s been a long cold lonely winter in Kyiv, Ukraine. Deep snow, icy roads and of course the dreaded quarantine. Luckily, winter never lasts forever, and today the sun is shining, the snow is melting and Spring is in the air! Time to start flexing those golf muscles.

Это была долгая холодная, одинокая зима в Киеве, Украина. Огромное количество снега, обледенелые дороги и, конечно же, страшный карантин. К счастью, зима не длится вечно, и сегодня светит солнце, тает снег и пахнет весной ! Пришло время размять наши гольф мышцы.

It seems like years since it’s been clear!

As many of you know, we have spent our winter months going Full Dechambeau. If you missed that article, click here. To sum up – we have been power lifting, speed training and preparing our bodies to be stronger, faster and longer. The goal? Increased club head speed. Hitting bombs off the tee. Reaching the green with an 8 iron instead of a six.

Многие из вас знают, что мы провели эти зимние месяцы по системе Full Dechambeau. Если Вы пропустили эту статью, нажмите здесь. Подводя итог – мы занимались пауэрлифтингом, скоростнымы тренировками, таким образом подготовливали все тело, чтобы стать сильнее, быстрее и мощнее. Цель? Повысить скорость головы клюшки. Достигать грин с 8-ым айроном, а не с 6-ым.

We’ve learned a lot in the process, and we promise to share it all with you over the coming months. We will share the basic exercises necessary to prepare the body for speed training, some of the routines we’ve used, and some scheduling information on how to ramp up the intensity. We’ll also show some of the swing drills that we’ve been using to improve our sequencing, lag and impact positions.

Мы многому научились в процессе тренировок и обещаем поделиться этим с Вами уже в ближайшие месяцы. Мы поделимся основными упражнениями для подготовки тела к скоростным тренировкам, так называемую рутину и процедуры связанные с ней. Также мы наглядно покажем некоторые свинг-упражнения, которые мы использовали для улучшения нашего замаха.

We’ve also added a launch monitor / golf simulator to our tool box, which means we can see the numbers and track our progress. Most of the top coaches in golf are using launch monitors in their lessons now, so we are thrilled to be able to offer it to all of our students. We can do club mapping – where we measure the average distance of every club in your bag, there’s a special feature for wedge play and we can play 18 holes on a wide variety of courses from around the world.

Также мы добавили в наш гольф инвентарь гольф симулятор, который позволяет нам наблюдать за цифрами и видеть результаты. Большинство лучших тренеров по гольфу сейчас используют мониторы запуска на своих уроках, поэтому мы очень рады предложить к Вашим услугами уроки на гольф стимуляторе. Мы можем составить Вашу карту клюшки – где мы измеряем среднее расстояние каждой вашей клюшки и мы можем играть 18-ть лунок в любой точке мира.

So, keep an eye on us for lots of content leading into golf season. If you’re interested in coming out to join us for a golf lesson, a golf fitness session, or if you’d just like to play on our golf simulator, hit us up while our prices are still low! See you soon on the golf course!

Так что, следите за новостями, у нас есть большое количество материала для подготовки к началу гольф сезона. Если Вы хотите присоединиться к нам на уроки, гольф фитнес тренировки или Вы просто хотите поиграть с нами на гольф симуляторе, то обращайтесь к нам, пока наши цены все еще низкие! До скорой встречи на гольф полях !

Kyiv Golf Academy – +38 096 817 9043

https://www.facebook.com/KyivGolfAcademy

Here Comes the Sun!
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

 

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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.