So here is the post mortem on the time with Frank. Like I said, there were 13 different bad things going on from steepening hand path on downswing, to hip thrust and everything else in between…and all of the noise crept into his chipping and one of the best putting strokes I have ever seen.
…and it was not only nasty to look at, his feel was so bad, he spouted expletives after good shots and bad.
He was lost. He had no idea what to work on, he dreaded playing in the wind and golf wasn’t fun for him. He searched every day and never knew what to work on. There was never a direction and someone who used to love practice, would leave after 10 minutes some days as he knew he was wasting his time and nothing would get solved.
Any of this sound familiar to all of you? It does to me. I told him welcome to swingcrack addiction. The coverstaion we had about some of the things he was told made me sick. It was some of the worst things I have ever heard.
In a nut shell, it was a long list of people trying to make a feel player do things “correctly” and it got Frank confused and out of whack…and they had no idea how to give him what he wanted. An explanation why things were happening and a way to do what they said in a way that made sense to him
When you look at the video below I said to him, “Frank, you look like a 15 handicap.”
His response was , “Sweet, I feel like a 20.”
Here is what we worked on. We got his hips out from under his shoulders, lowering his hands at address, more bend at the waist/hips and getting his balance point more to his heels than his toes. I initially wanted him to rotate his left arm more and basically just the setup change and making him aware of it made it fall right in line automatically.
Here is where it really started to get it going. When we worked on his right elbow and where it was landing before he turned.
This really freed him up when we played before I flew out on Saturday. It started when we were on the putting green on Friday night. He still didn’t feel right with the putter. I said before that we had worked on the buttons on his chest moving so his arms wouldn’t separate from his body. He knew what I meant, but didn’t quite get it.
I said just like in every other shot, the right elbow has to get around or past the right hip.
He looks at me and says, “When I was winning, I felt like my right elbow got to my belt buckle (or something to that effect). Is that what you mean?”
Then he hit a putt and it is exactly what I meant. He then asked me if that is what I was talking about with his 70 yard shots…he hit a few and I said yes.
We went out Saturday morning and played The Valley Course (The other course there at the club), because Tim Tebow was hosting a big charity event on The Stadium. Bubba was there and Frank knows him well and we were going to go talk to him, but we had to go tee off and Bubba was busy schmoozing and I didn’t want to bother him. Frank was going to challenge him to a long drive contest and put me on the tee…LOL
Considering I was often hitting it short for a few weeks, I would have lost (Although by the end of the round Saturday, that might have changed).
We got to hit balls and talk to Vijay a few times. What a great guy he is. I hit a bomb on #9 on the Stadium Friday and almost drove it through the fairway into the water (circa 350). Vijay drove up to say hi to Frank as #9 fairway is near the Tour practice area and asked Frank if that was my drive and Frank told him it was and I was a former LD champion. Vijay then asked me what I did to produce distance like that still at 45.
I told him about swinging the medicine ball and he was intrigued by that and asked me a few questions.
The practice facility is a joke. The end of the range is reserved for PGA Tour members only. You drive to a shed and find the range balls you want. They even have them separated into ProV1 and ProV1x. They had Srixon, Bridgestone, TaylorMade, Calloway, etc.
There is a spot where you can drop your balls and bomb it 350 (with room to spare) at the famous row of country flags, turn 90* left and hit 50 yard shots to a green over a pond with an over hanging tree to practice trajectory and spin control. Turn 45* more left and you can hit 70 yard shots to a well bunkered green with 3 strategically placed pins requiring three different shots. Turn 45* more left and hits chips of varying types and distances to a large putting green with 10 holes on it…and all of these shots and be hit from a tight perfect lie or some light rough. All of this without moving your ball pile. Then you can pull your putter at and walk 10 feet away and hit putts.
The tee is as good as the greens most of us play and the target greens are in perfect shape…and you can pull your cart up anywhere on the tee. I had been there before, but not for a few years and I forgot how good the facility and course were.
I made a video showing all this, but my phone crashed and it got lost.
…but I digress, back to the Saturday round.
I told Frank how I work my lessons with my students and he liked the idea. I would tell him what I thought, I would say it different ways and he would use what clicked. The right elbow to the belt buckle was what clicked for him from driver to putter. It made his putting stroke work and it made his chest turn left on shots from 30 to 300 yards…and everything starting to line up pretty much eliminated the hip thrust. I told him what the more colorful name for that and he thought it was funny and said something to the effect of…”Don’t be blogging that I do anything to goats.”
So that is what he took to the course. Get setup properly until he felt his balance point closer to his heels then his toes (what has always worked for him and he had lost). That entailed more bend at the waist, rear end out more and a lower hands.
Frank hits a cut and has been missing balls way left for about 5 years now and he fears in badly.
Well no kidding. The bad setup, arm lift, hip thrust and 10 other issues I saw send the path way out to the right and among other things get the right elbow behind the right hip (one of the other 10 issues). That can go left of left when you are trying to cut the ball, even for a player of Frank’s caliber and no one told him any of this.
All Frank wanted was someone to help him get things lined up so a ball would never finish left of where he aimed.
They basically didn’t know what to do and said, “Do that,” whenever he hit a good shot. Started telling him what acceptable misses were and said his issue was an attitude problem (more than one so called guru).
Frank likes to aim as far left as he can, know the ball won’t go left of that and be able to work the ball as much right as needed. When he was successful, that is what he did. During his introduction to swingcrack, he would aim at the left edge of a fairway or green, hit a ball that turned over to a playable spot and he would get mad and say he wanted to get rid of that. The answer was, “That is an acceptable miss,” that infuriated him and the response was attitude problem.
Now Frank can be caustic, but the job of a teacher is to try and give a player what he wants, not tell a two time PGA Tour winner he doesn’t know what’s right and that his attitude sucks when he disagrees.
His didn’t quite commit to it the first few holes we played. He hit it in the water right off the 10th tee (The hole we started on and the hole he lives on). He said it would ruin his (expletive deleted) day if he started the round by hitting it in his yard.
He was a few over after 5 and then the wind picked up…which he fears as much as the left because he hasn’t been able to control his shape or flight with no wind. It was a club to club and a half wind.
I told him to just commit to what he was working on and forget what happens. This course is a lot more claustrophobic than The Stadium with water and OB left and right on every hole.
Get setup and feel the right elbow get to the belt buckle. What followed was some of the finest golf I have ever seen. Put aside pimping Frank is self serving, he threw some stuff out there. He didn’t miss a fairway the rest of the day and he didn’t hit an iron that was more than 10 feet right or left of the pin. There were some nasty pins too. If the greens weren’t in poor shape (the bermuda was really spotty and grainy), he literally could have birdied all 13 as I don’t remember him having a putt over 15 feet and 4 or 5 were kickins.
Now perceived hyperbole aside, I am realistic. For him to produce this kind of golf in a PGA Tour event will take some time for him to get comfortable and build confidence. Remember, this is a guy who finished 22nd in the Phoenix Open in 2011 with the swing of a 15 handicap, who felt like he was a 20.
So competent golf is not a thing of the distant past like it is for me. Even before my career could have benefitted from his success I rooted for him, so it is not self serving to have an interest in his success.
On top of that, he helped me out some. He noticed my eye line was bad and Saturday he commented I got narrow on my backswing and got even narrower on my downswing. So I have some simple stuff to work on too.
The sad thing is when my phone crashed the “after” video got lost with the one of the practice facility. What I can post is the before video. This was taken at The Nationwide qualifier on Monday. It was after I made the setup adjustment, but I bet many of you can find most or all of the 13 things I said. If you want to know what the setup looked like before, picture very bent knees, hips in a preset thrust position and the butt of the club pointed about his navel with his hands way out away from him and high.
In case you are wondering, I didn’t let him see this video, nor did I tell him the evil 13. When he gets on TV again, you will see how much better it looks and you can refer back to this…you will see why he lost his card, as the same issues you see in this video crept into his short game (putting included). Hide the women and children.
The fact he still breaks par with this move, shows you how good he is…and this is after his setup got better.