The Dreaded 40 Yard Shot!

You’re in Trouble land! You are 40 yards from the green, right in the middle of the fairway. You just hit your tee shot over a pond to be in this perfect, yet terrible position and you are shaking now more than when you were trying not to lose your ball in the “drink.” This makes for one of the hardest shots in golf. The legendary Dave Pelz has really good statistics about this exact 40-yard shot and how difficult it really is.

Lets talk about how to take the fear out of this shot:

The equipment side of me is telling you to check your wedges. Because of modern golf balls and course design there is a need for more wedges in the bag. I have posed the question multiple times on how many wedges should you carry? Most of your single digit handicap golfers and professionals go between 3 and 4 wedges including the pitching wedge. So, how many wedges do you have?

This shot is difficult because you can see so many different obstacles and conditions from 40 yards. By no means is a 40 yard shot near a full swing for most people. So why is it so difficult? One of the biggest faults is deceleration through the impact zone. So sequentially, golfers attempt to fix this and force acceleration with their hands, and create even more issues for themselves.

ACCELERATION: WHAT IS IT REALLY?

Many have been told that they decelerate, or slow down, on these shorter shots. So naturally most golfers use their hands to speed up the swing and they lose any control that leads to making solid contact. In a lot of cases, even when attempting to accelerate, the golfer will still decelerate through the impact zone.

Think for a minute of how you would light a match on a matchbox strip. If you just flick the matchstick across the strip (representative of only using your hands) the match will more than likely not light. However, if you drive the matchstick across the entire strip (representative of using your entire body) then the match will light. Acceleration is such a terrible term to use when teaching a student. Most of your amateur golfers don’t understand how to truly speedup their swing. Drive is a much better way to describe the needed action of “acceleration.” Most think of the word drive and they will use their entire body to “strike the match”, which will create an acceleration through the impact zone.

CONNECTION

Connection is keeping everything moving in proper sequence to help create a repeatable swing. This goes from the feet, through the body and finish at the club head. If one thing is out of sequence, it will be difficult to have a repeatable swing you can rely on.

The first thing that I would like you, the reader, try is a drill I learned from a good friend. We will call this drill the Hold Drill:

  • Swing back until your hands are belt high
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds
  • Now swing through the ball and hold a complete finish
  • Also try this with the hands just beyond the thigh or chest high as well

A few things you should take note about this drill. On the first few tries almost everyone tops the ball. This is because the lack of connection. Most will have a difficult time making a complete finish in this drill, but it is a must. Remember my goal is to teach you how to “drive” through the ball. To make solid contact the feet, hips, shoulders, hands must all be moving together, through the ball.

HANDS WITH CHEST

The hands moving towards the target away from the body is a common fault and one that again is hard to repeat the same angle and speed. The goal is to keep the hands with the chest. Most do not know the proper feeling of this. The ball between the elbows drill is a perfect way to become in tuned to this feeling.

  • Place a ball (dodge ball or similar) between your elbows.
    • Make sure the ball is properly placed BETWEEN your ELBOWS. An error in placement will make this drill useless.
  • Now do the Hold Drill with this, as well.

If the ball falls out you have lost connection between the arms and the body. Done properly and the hands will follow your chest. In turn you will have now learned how to “accelerate” through the shot.

There are many other variables in play when trying to hit a 40-yard shot; however, if you practice these drills you will be one step closer to a repeatable and trustworthy shot. In order to more reliably hit the ball, exactly 40 yards, you should adjust where you place your hands in the Hold Drill. Using the Hold Drill, practice full swings, all the way to moving the hands just outside of your thigh. Make sure to make a complete finish, as that is key to driving the swing through the ball and “lighting the match.”

Learn how to “accelerate” or drive through the swing and you’ll be one step closer to not fearing the dreaded 40-yard shot!

Published by Bryan Montgomery 5/4/16

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New Peter Millar Store & Key Plantation Golf Club

I am looking forward to my trip to Destin, Florida in October. My favorite thing that I am looking forward to is seeing the faces of my two little ones when they see the ocean. This will be the first time for my little man and I doubt that my daughter remembers her first time at the ocean. This is trip is going to be a blast.

As a golf fan I am excited as well because I am going to go check out the new Peter Millar store in Sandestin by Miramar Beach.  Peter Millar has been a brand that I have liked for quite some time. They have some fantastic golf apparel including their ridiculously light featherweight polo line. Along side all the nice dress attire and golf attire they also have your dress down attire and swim wear. Can’t wait to see what I add to my collection in when I get down there.

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Of course I am going to play golf while I am down there and I can not wait. It has been a very long time since I played golf in Florida. My hope is that Key Plantation Golf Club is as nice looking in real life as it is online. Also hope my game is up to the task. Where I live most of the time if you hook the ball or blast it out to the right you are going to find trees, doesn’t look like the case there as there seems to be a ton of water. Can not wait to see this course.

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Pictures: petermillar.com, keyplantationgolf.com

Published: 7/26/18 Bryan Montgomery

PXG: The Genius in the Room

” I got to thinking,” Parsons says, “suppose I started a company that would spend whatever it takes to make a good club, and wouldn’t release a new product unless it significantly outperformed whatever’s on the market.” –Markham Heid, Mens Health – The Billionaire Behind GoDaddy Is Making Some of the World’s Most Expensive Golf Clubs

When I first heard the rumors in 2014 that the owner of GoDaddy was picking off engineers from major OEM companies to start a new company I was honestly surprised. At the same time one of the largest brands in the world, Nike, was getting out o the game, Taylormade was looking for a suitor to purchase them, and many others were downsizing their operations. Now in 2018 I am excited about what PXG has done to the golf business.

PXG is succeeding were many others have failed. They are not a premium boutique brand such as Miura and Epon, which is what I imagined PXG being. However, they are not your run of the mill OEM  brand either as you are not going to just pick up a set of these bad boys off the rack. And this is where I get excited as a fitter who has seen many issues over the years. To purchase a new set of PXG clubs you schedule a fitting with a PXG Master Fitter. This means that someone who has experience and is trained to maximize your ability with equipment is going to be there to guide your purchase.

PXGfitIt is not just the fitting that makes me excited about the business model that Dr. Bob Parsons is showing us, it is the pricing as well. Personally I like the pricing because of what it has done for the industry. There used to be three pricing levels for clubs: high, mid-level, and low cost. For years the prices were jumbled up and there wasn’t much difference between brands. This meant that every marketing team, for every brand, was going after the same audience. PXG has changed this by placing themselves in a new pricing scale and major OEM’s are moving prices upward as well. Yes I know most will say it had nothing to do with PXG, but I bet it did just a little!

I could go on talking about different aspects of PXG’s business model I like, but I will save that for another day. Very few people could pull off what Dr. Bob Parsons has done with PXG, and I hope he continues to shake up the industry, it needs it!

 

Sources: pxg.com, mensjournal.com

Pictures: pxg.com, google image search

Published: 7/26/18 Bryan Montgomery

Fit First? | Lessons First?

Fit then lessons or lessons then fit? That depends on multiple variables:

  • If money is not an issue then I suggest being fit – lessons – fit.
  • For beginners I suggest getting fit before lessons as well. (keep reading)
  • Have existing clubs I suggest having them evaluated at the minimum then lessons – fit.

First thing you should always look at before getting fit: Does the fitter you are looking at going to understand the golf swing? The swing itself is going to dictate the different variables of your golf equipment. Examples: lie angle is dictated by where your hands are at during impact, not where they start (static measurement). Flex of a shaft and material of a shaft is dictated by more then just swing speed but also by your tempo and angle of attack.

I suggest that beginners get fit before lessons for one simple reason, practice makes permanent. Your subconscious is going to help you make contact with the ball and if the equipment is completely out of spec you are going to create some unnecessary bad habits.

A true fitter understands how the club can affect the swing and how the swing affects the club.

Published 7/26/18: Bryan Montgomery