Hi everybody!! Welcome to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I am your Host Hanju Lee and this is the 10th episode!! Yay!!! I made it to number 10!! Also, I finally hit my 1000 download mark. As of today, I am 1108. Now, my next goal? 10,000. Well, let me tell you what keeps me going though?…YOU!!! I listen to a lot of podcasts and a lot of them are on their 300th plus episode, so…I try not to get too excited. But still, I think it’s a great milestone and I want to celebrate it with you. And, speaking for celebrating, I just got this awesome 5-star review, and as promised, I will read it and give you a shoutout. It’s from Quarto Lover and he or she writes, “by far the best podcast of all time…this is my favorite podcast I have ever listened to. Perfect for a morning commute or a restful lunch break. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will certainly learn about golf. Hanju is the best!!”
Oh wow!! “my favorite podcast I have ever listened to” that is such an awesome compliment, and I am going to assume you listen to a lot of podcasts…like…hundreds. It’s that an accurate assessment? I knew it!! Thank you, Quarto Lover, for taking the time for the kind words, I sincerely appreciate it.
So, what are we going to talk about today you ask? I want to discuss and pinpoint some things about golf that are pretty much 100% black and white. It is what it is. You can’t change it. It’s scientifically proven and the outcome has been collected as data and that data is 100% accurate. There’s nothing you can do but to just accept it.
So, why even bother talking about it? Because, if you understand it, it will give you the insight to help you work on and improve the areas you CAN change to help you get better results in the areas you can’t change. What? Dude, what are you talking about! Hahaha, okay, now that I got your attention, just keep listening.
I might be dating myself, but back in the days of subscription magazines…remember those days? You subscribe to a magazine and it delivers to your house. Oh, they still do that? Oh…ok. Anyways, I subscribe to the Golf Digest Magazine and the Golf Magazine and they will come in every month and I would flip through, read the articles and I can’t remember which magazine it was but it had this interesting section that offered an idea or a tip on one side, and then, it offered a completely opposing view, idea or a tip on the other side…about the same subject! Side by side. So, as a golfer searching for truth and the perfect solution for my game, I became confused but also fascinated with this concept. Let me give you some examples.
When I first started learning the game, one of the most important key factors in my backswing was to keep my head still. Don’t dip, don’t sway, don’t fricken move. I remember my coach would stand in front of me, held a club in his hand and reversed it so that grip would rest on my head. He wanted me to take a swing with the grip on my head staying at rest without any movement in my head until the follow-through. Some instructors back then or even now used this concept to help golfers maintain their shoulder tilt from setup through impact. This will give you great consistency and accuracy on your shots. Makes sense. Right? But at the same time, a lot of instructors were saying that keeping your head still leads to a restricted motion back and through which will now result in poor and inconsistent shots. In fact, a bit of a slide or a swivel in your head produces more power. Who doesn’t want more power? What was I to do?
Here’s another one. For par 3s, the biggest debate was should I hit the ball off the grass just like it’s any other shot with my irons, or should I tee it up? Well, there were and still are great arguments for both…like, dude, tee it up. It’s easier to hit the ball cleaner, whey wouldn’t you want to take advantage of the game if it allows it. Or, no…give yourself a good lie but don’t tee it up, you are trying to reinvent an iron shot…why?
I heard the other day that debunked our favorite and most used tip that we tell our fellow golfers out there when they chunk a shot. “Hey, keep your head down.” Well, now, some suggest that that very act of keeping your head down is the reason why you are chunking it. What?
I can go on and on, and well, this magazine article certainly did. Every month. Whoever was writing it I think his or her job was to just confuse people. Or, maybe, brilliantly, they were trying to let people know that golf isn’t a game of simple black and white. That this game of golf is much more than that. It’s an individualized game, more complex, with a variety of colors and shades, which is mixed with technique, science, and art. Yes, art. And that involves mental, physical and even spiritual component that when it’s all aligned, understood and executed, you can fully experience the fullness of it and appreciate the infinite details and beauty of it…or…maybe it’s just a stupid game that is created to frustrate us, make us scream, cuss and throw our clubs and to teach us about hopelessness and despair. Okay, or, maybe just somewhere in between.
But, as I said before, there are some truths and solid key fundamentals of the game that cannot be shaken and that you cannot change which can ultimately help us understand and improve the way we approach our practices, techniques and the art of the game.
Okay, ready for some science of golf? By the way, I read this old book back in college because I was bored and walking around in the library and found this old book on the shelf called “Science of Golf”. It was really life-changing for me, so, I am super happy to share it.
So, I said at the beginning of the podcast, let’s talk about the black and white facts about the game that you cannot change because science is science.
So, here are 3 fundamental equations that science provides in golf. And it is an answer to our 3 most fundamental questions we have in improving our game.
What are our questions?
Clubface + Swing Path = Ball Flight
Well, your golf swing all comes down to this most important part of your swing…no, not the setup, not the takeaway…it’s the impact. Here’s the thing, science doesn’t care about your grip, it doesn’t care about your stance whether your feet are shoulder-width apart or closer, it doesn’t care about your shoulder turn, it doesn’t care whether your head is still or swaying, it doesn’t care whether you Teed up the ball high or low…it just DOESN’T care. All it cares about is what the club is doing in reference to the ball at the moment of impact. And at the moment of impact, it’s going to determine one thing. The Ball Flight. Which way is the ball going to go? And there are 9 different ways that your ball will react at impact depending on these 2 key things. Your clubface angle and your swing path.
First, let’s talk about the clubface. The clubface at impact is responsible for about 85% of the initial shot direction. So, if your clubface is square at impact, it’s going to go pretty straight…about 85% of the time. If you are right-handed and if your clubface is closed at impact, guess what? It’s going to go left of the target. If your clubface is open at impact, it’s going to go right of the target. That’s just how it’s going to be.
Now, your swing path will be responsible for the shot curvature, based on the relationship to the clubface. What is that mean? It means that if you are again, right-handed and your swing path is a closed swing path, your ball is going to go left and curve to the left and it’s called a pull draw.
So in conclusion, there are 9 different ball flights that can happen from your swing. Pull Draw, Left of Target with Closed to Swing Path. Pull Straight, Left of Target with Square to Swing Path, Pull Slice, Left of Target with Open to Swing Path…etc.
So, why is this important science to know? Because this helps you fix the problems you are having with the ball flight. You have to figure out what to change to help you make a more square clubface at impact and to help you make an intentional swing path to guide the direction and the curvature of the ball. This could mean that you change your stance, this could mean that you change your grip, this could mean that you change your takeaway…there’s no one answer to achieve that, but the important fact is that when at impact, it needs to follow the law of the flight.
Ok, isn’t that totally cool? Doesn’t that give you more hope of figuring out what to work on and how to fix your slice or your hook?
Okay, so what’s the second fundamental question?
Speed of Swing = Distance
Now, here’s something you probably already know. With technology now, your club speed is easily measured and guess what? The faster the club speed, the further you’ll ball will go. This is another one of the fundamentals of swing science. So, how do you increase your driving distance? Increase club speed. There’s an average club speed chart that shows you that with the clubhead speed of about 90 miles per hour, your driving distance average can be around 232 yards. And with the average clubhead speed of 115 miles per hour, your driving distance average can be around 297 yards. Rory Mcllroy’s clubhead speed is around 120 mph at 317 yards. That’s incredible.
But there’s more. There’s what you called the ball speed. That’s how fast your ball is traveling after impact. Why is this important? because ultimately, that’s what will determine how far your shot will go. This is where technology can come into play. The efficiency of the club when the ball is striking can determine how far it will go. So, you can start trying out different drivers to see which will you the best efficiency, you can also try different balls to see which will react best after impact.
So, the club speed, which creates the ball speed only thing that can help you hit further? No, you can also keep the same club speed and increase the distance, how? It’s called an attack angle. The attack angle is an angle measured from the horizontal ground to the angle at which the clubhead is moving at impact. So, you can tee it up and the head of the club and attack the ball from the bottom on an upward blow or you can also hit down on the ball at a negative angle. This will now determine the launch angle, which will determine the spin, which will determine the carry and which will determine the roll and the final distance. So, believe it or not, with the same club speed, just by changing the launch angle, you can add 20 yards to your drive. Isn’t that crazy?
Now, whats the third and final fundamental question?
Larger Muscles = Consistency
Many golf swing faults are rooted in the overuse of small muscles. It’s harder to control and it’s harder to repeat. The overuse of arms and hands will get you in a lot of trouble but using big muscles will be the key to your success. Legs, glutes, abdomen, back, hips, and shoulders. Consistency comes from focusing and delivering your swing from the big muscles. 80% of it. Develop the proper big-muscle movement in your swing and it will boost your power and accuracy…you swing will become more efficient and consistent and easier to diagnose and fix.
So, to summarize, there are so many aspects of the game that are negotiable. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t talk about swing techniques on this podcast, there are so many different ways to achieve your goal. I can offer one suggestion but someone else can offer something completely different and the result could end up being the same. But, why do we have to know the science behind it? Because it doesn’t change. It’s what we all need to work on to improve. And as we discussed above, there are 3 fundamental questions we can answer through science. How to hit it straighter? Understand the relationship between your clubface and your swing plane at impact. How to hit it longer? Understand the relationship between swing speed, ball speed, attack angle, launch angle and spin. And finally, how to hit it over and over again? Eliminate using small muscles and focus on using your large muscles in your swing.
This is all a piece of cake, right? Never. Golf is an endless journey of improving and perfecting. As I said before, this game of golf can be so complex yet so simple at the same time. It’s an individualized game that you can’t try to mimic or compare with anyone else. Along with black and white fundamental science, it also offers more complex, variety of colors and shades, which is mixed with technique, science, and art. And it involves mental, physical and even spiritual components that when it’s all aligned, understood and executed, you can fully experience the fullness of it and appreciate the infinite details and beauty of it all. You all with me?
Okay, awesome. I hope all this can help give you a new perspective on your growth and help you reach your full potential. Please don’t forget to leave me a review or share this podcast. I will give you a shout out on my next episode. But in the meantime, thanks for listening to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I really appreciate you being here. Love you guys. Bye for now.