Earl's Recent Past Golf Blog's
March 3, 2018
Balance Exercise for Golf
A wise old golf instructor had this saying, "if you have rhythm and balance, you can play good golf". You watch the best players in the world and one of the things that you notice is the smoothness of their swings and the effortless power that they generate. This is the rhythm that the old sage golf professional was talking about. But also notice the steadiness, the stability, the symmetry of the body throughout the swing. The balance of the body in the swing is many times overlooked and not focused upon.
When practicing and playing, one of the goals is to finish in a balanced position as you watch the flight of the ball. If you finish off-balanced and struggling to remain steady, it is rare that you have a successful golf shot. "As you practice, so shall you play" is a saying from "Pop" Warner, a famous football coach. So get in the habit of maintaining your finish position and watching your ball land before pulling your hands and arms down. You will see wonderful results in your practice and that will translate to success on the golf course.
Good balance isn't just for the finish. Balance is important for your address, your backswing, your position at the top, your transfer of weight on the downswing, your impact, follow-through, and, of course, the finish. Besides the full swing, it is extremely vital for your short game. Good pitch and chip shots rely on a steady balanced body to produce consistent results.
When I go for my regular gym workout, the first movements that I do are motion exercises to warmup my body and joints. This usually takes about five minutes. I then do stretching movement exercises focusing on shoulder turning, hip rotation, and core flexibility. This can take from 10 to 15 minutes. Next I work on balance, before doing light weight lifting and leg strengthening exercises. There are numerous exercises that center on balance, but my main one is the simplest and yet can be difficult to master.
The balance exercise that I do regularly is a simple one leg balance drill. I stand on one leg with my arms at my side and raise my other knee up to about 90 degrees. I center my eyes on a spot directly in front of me and try to stay balanced on that one leg trying not to wobble. (If this is too difficult, stretch out your arms for better balance.) I do that for one minute, before switching to the other foot for another minute. I will usually do two sets on each leg. Finally, the hardest for me, I will balance on one leg and close my eyes and see how long I can stay centered before losing control. I was terrible at first, but with continued practice I've improved markedly.
Balance is very important. Think about it when you practice and make it a checkpoint to finish in a balanced position. The balance exercise that I described and illustrated can be done anywhere and you will be surprised what this little drill can do for your overall balance in everyday life and your golf game.
February 13, 2018
Should We Be Worried about Jon Rahm?
Since turning pro in June, 2016, Jon Rahm has risen to second in the world rankings. His play is aggressive and seemingly without fear. There is no doubt that he is there to win every tournament and not just collect a check. After winning the Career Builder Challenge in Palm Desert in January, Jon has faltered down the stretch in the last three events. In each of these tournaments a win would have ranked him the best player in the world. Is he choking or doesn't he have the "right" stuff? Should we be concerned?
Jon's playing style reminds me of Arnold Palmer. Arnold played to win and would take gambles that were at times ill-advised and risky. We remember the great come from behind victories, but there were also many failures. Arnold wouldn't be Arnold if he laid up and didn't give it everything he had. Jon has the same approach. We also have to remember that Jon is 23 years old and is still a long way from being a seasoned mature veteran golfer. He shows his intensity with his temper outbursts. He has been criticized for his display of emotion and that it hurts his game. I like the passion. I believe it is what will make him a great. Will he be able to control it? I certainly believe so. Many great players had temper issues when younger and learned to channel it in the right direction. Jon's displays are more competitive in nature.
I was able to personally watch Rahm play about six holes at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He played differently than his playing partners, which included Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker. He was playing golf with aggressive control. I didn't see anything in his mannerisms that suggested uncertainty. His playing partners were calculated and restrained. Rohm was "let it happen".
Rahm is the opposite of Rickie Fowler. Rickie had the 54 hole lead in Phoenix on a course that he had shot 70 or below 12 straight times. The tournament was his to win, but he played conservatively and non-aggressively. Rahm, playing with Rickie, attacked each hole. Rickie hit a lot of 3 woods and laid back. Rickie at times was 80 yards back of Rahm's drives. Watching both play, it appeared that only Rahm wanted to hit the shots necessary to win. I keep thinking Rickie has turned the corner and is ready of superstardom. He is such a good guy and with the talent to be a multiple major winner. However, this trait keeps showing up. He has won only four times on the PGA Tour with no majors. He should learn from Jon Rahm.
Should we be concerned about the recent poor finishes from Jon Rahm? No way! He is like a power hitter in major league baseball. He will hit a lot of homeruns, but with those mighty swings come the failures and strikeouts. However, I believe, there will be more homers than strikeouts for Jon Rahm.