golf, Kyiv, Ukraine, Uncategorized

PGA of Ukraine Update

I don’t know what day of the week it is, I only know that it is the morning of day 21 of the invasion of Ukraine. As I sit, drinking my coffee and following the news, I find myself sad about the friends we’ve lost, worried about the safety of our family still in Ukraine, and proud of the incredible unity and fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people. I’m even a little optimistic – because the map of Ukraine has looked roughly the same for at least a week, and there are signs everywhere that the Russian army is out of ideas. I don’t consider shelling apartment complexes, schools, and hospitals an idea.

Three weeks ago, we were living our best life in Ukraine, coaching golfers, getting our games together, and loving our beautiful city of Kyiv. On Feb 24, early in the morning, we were jolted from our sleep by Russian missile strikes and drove west, eventually finding our way to the Polish border. It was nervewracking to say the least, as we half expected to see Russian tanks and troops around every curve. Shortly after our arrival, we learned that our beautiful golf course – Golfstream Kyiv Golf Club – was destroyed in a battle between Ukrainian forces and Russian paratroopers. What happened to our staff of greenskeepers and clubhouse workers is still unknown.

What are we doing at PGA of Ukraine today? Well, most of our golf coaches have joined the Territorial Defence forces, and are at their posts defending their land. Our office in Kyiv is working, doing all they can to support the families of our members in harm’s way. They need money, food, diapers, medicine, transportation, security, and what any other family needs when one of their breadwinners is away serving the country.

Anna is splitting her time between several different humanitarian efforts. She gives out food at the Polish border, prepares beds in refugee shelters, and helps to gather humanitarian aid to be sent to Ukraine.

I’m in constant contact with people in the golf world, trying to raise awareness, funds and get our message out. I also visit my friend Chris in the hospital quite often. He escaped from the battle of Irpen – one of the bloodiest scenes of the war so far where several prominent journalists were killed. We worked together with Chris’s family, a private security team, and our network inside Ukraine to get him to Poland. We met him here and took him straight to the emergency room. He’s been in the hospital ever since and we hope he will make a full recovery. His story needs its own article, and I promise to tell it soon.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the Polish people for opening their hearts to us. We are staying with a lovely couple who have generously given us a room in their apartment. They ask for no money and honestly, they are overfeeding us. Poland is now overflowing with Ukrainian women and children, every home has refugees staying in it, and new shelters are going up everywhere.

So, I will close by saying that we will continue our efforts to help refugees, and support our organization inside Ukraine. We can help people get out of dangerous areas. We can get them food, medicine, and basic necessities. But we need your help. Please consider donating to the following link:


https://gofund.me/f091282a

Thanks for your support
~Jeff and Anna

golf, Kyiv, Ukraine

PGA of Ukraine – SOS to all Golfers

We are the PGA of Ukraine. Two weeks ago, we were teaching golfers how to hold a 7iron. Now, we are doing all we can to hold onto our land.

My name is Jeff Vinall, my wife Anna and I are the only members of the PGA of Ukraine who are currently outside the country, and we are asking for help from the golf community to support our brothers and sisters as we all defend the land that we love.

Our story briefly:

Until Feb 24, 2022, this was our life:

Kids Camp
CPG Training
Golf Tournament

Now, this is our life

Civilians Fleeing Conflict near Irpen

As soon as the missiles hit Kyiv, we jumped into the car and headed west. We were prepared, and we were able to escape to Poland. The trip was harrowing and traumatizing, but it is even worse for the people who remain behind.

My brothers and sisters from the PGA of Ukraine are all in their hometowns, preparing to face the advancing Russian offensive. Anna and I are doing all we can to help refugees at the Polish border.

Our goal is to raise funds to help the current activities as we mobilize for war. Our current priorities:


1. Assist civilians to escape from hot zones of heavy fighting

2. Deliver needed medicine to hospitals

3. Assist refugees at the Polish border.

All funds received will be distributed in Ukraine to help in our goals of supporting our members, our nation, and our freedom.

We have been denied by gofundme and are working hard to create a secure site for donations to support our organization and the important work we are doing in Ukraine. Please continue to follow us at this site and at our twitter account @pgaUkraine.


I am confident that the community of golf professionals will step up to help us. We will be eternally grateful.

Jeff and Anna Vinall
PGA of Ukraine

email: vegasjeff18@gmail.com

twitter: @pgaUkraine
email: kyivgolfacademy@gmail.com

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fitness, golf, golf instruction, Kyiv, Ukraine

We’re Going full Dechambeau

Stronger. Faster. Longer.

But first, a few announcements.

It was an eventful summer: Lessons, School of Golf, Kids camp, four tournaments a week and lots of continuing education. No posts since spring, but it’s starting to get cold and that means great content is on the way. We’ll start with a couple news items for you.

Firstly, Anya and I have joined the PGA of Ukraine. We are honored to join and share the core value of growing the game in Ukraine – especially in the field of junior development.

Secondly, on August 8, I passed my Level 2 Power exam at the Titleist Performance Institute. The course covered the science of increasing distance and included instruction from top Golf Coaches, Doctors of Sports Medicine, Power Lifting Trainers and 5 time World Long Drive Champion Jason Zubeck.

So, we feel that we are more than ready to go Full Dechambeau.

Wait. What does that mean?

Well, if you haven’t been following the PGA Tour, here’s the quick version.

Bryson Dechambeau recently won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot – perhaps the most difficult course in Major Championship history. But even before dominating that course and his competitors, he was the talk of the PGA Tour.

Why?

Because he spent is offseason / quarantine in the gym getting bigger, stronger and faster. The Mad Scientist has a degree in physics and leaves nothing to chance. He knows the key to distance is club head speed. His playing style has recently been dubbed “Bomb and Gouge” because his 350 yard drives turn ordinary golf courses into pitch and putts. Long hitter, Bryson. Long. Works hard in the gym and on the range. Hits bombs.

So that’s what we’re gonna do – and we’re gonna share it with you – every exercise, every drill, and every new club we try.

Our plan is to improve our club head speed and overall distance over the winter using three methods:


1. Swing Technique

2. Power Lifting

3. Club Fitting

So, we invite you to join us in this process. Let’s all hit bombs in the Spring of 2021!

Сильнее. Быстрее. Дальше.

Но сначала несколько анонсов.

Лето было насыщенным: уроки, школа гольфа, детский лагерь, четыре турнира в неделю и много дополнительного образования. К сожилению, с весны не было не одной публикации, но становится холодно, так что впереди много отличного контента. Итак, вот Вам пара новостей.

Во-первых, мы с Аней вступили в PGA of Ukraine. Для нас это большая честь присоединиться и разделить основную ценность развития игры в Украине, особенно в области развития юниоров.

Во-вторых, 8 августа я сдал экзамен Power 2 level в Titleist Performance Institute. Курс охватывал науку о повышении скорости головы клюшки и включал в себя инструкции от лучших тренеров по гольфу, докторов спортивной медицины, тренеров по пауэрлифтингу и 5-кратного World Long Drive Champion Jason Zubeck. Итак, мы чувствуем, что более чем готовы к переходу на Full Dechambeau.

Подождите. Что это значит?

Что ж, если Вы не следили за PGA Tour, вот краткая инфа.

Bryson Dechambeau недавно выиграл US Open, Winged Foot Course – это возможно, одно из самых сложных полей в истории крупных чемпионатов по гольфу. Но даже до того, как он стал доминировать среди своих конкурентов, о нем уже говорили и знали в PGA Tour.

Почему?

Потому что в межсезонье / карантин он провел много времени в спортзале, становясь все больше, сильнее и быстрее. Поэтому, ему и дали прозвище – “Безумный ученый”, он имеет ученую степень по физике. Его стиль игры недавно стали называть «Bomb & Gouge», так как его драйв в больше чем 350 ярдов, превращает сложное гольф поле в последующие короткие питч и патт удары. Long hitter, Bryson. Long.

Вот этим мы и будем заниматься, и мы поделимся этой информацией с Вами – каждым упражнением.

Уже этой зимой, наш план будет состоять в том, чтобы увеличить скорость нашей клюшки, используя три метода:

1. Swing Technique

2. Power Lifting

3. Club Fitting

Итак, мы приглашаем Вас присоединиться к нам в этот спортивный процесс. Let’s all hit bombs in the Spring of 2021!



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.

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.

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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!