Swing and Major Influences
My swing education began when I was 9 or 10 when my Dad taught me the basics.
What I remember the most was that he taught me shots at a young age.
He taught me to hit it high and low.
He taught me to curve the ball, under trees and over trees.
He taught me hooks and fades.
He’d have me hit shots to the same target with different flight patterns.
What I didn’t know back then that I know now was he was teaching me to play.
And THAT is how I ended up here: as the Total Performance Golf Coach.
NO ISOLATION FROM INSTRUCTION
Dad never isolated me from others, especially from different instructors. He encouraged me to take lessons from each and every Golf Pro I could. His philosophy was that if I picked up one thing that helped me from each one of them, then the lesson was worth the fee.
When I was a teenager, Mr. Woody Woodall was the Head Golf Pro at the Country Club of Mobile. I took several lessons from him when I was 13-14. He taught me a better grip, how to use my legs, and how to rotate versus swaying. He elevated my skills, thus my scores dropped dramatically.
Bobby Stowe was the Head Golf Pro at Skyline Country Club in Mobile for many years. In his younger years, he played the tour with the likes of Hogan and Snead.
He was a terrific Putting coach, as well as a great Swing coach. He taught the swing as one single motion with the goal being to get the back of the left hand square at impact. His putting lessons were monumental in shaping my putting stroke as a youngster. He professed rolling the ball with soft hands.
He had a training putter with rails on the face that he kept in the shop. That’s where I learned to focus on one dimple on the ball and stroke through that one dimple. I spent hours with that training putter and developed a sound putting stroke that benefits me to this day.
Clay Koschel was a Golf Pro at several courses in the Mobile area at different times. Clay was a very careful instructor and would watch many shots before saying a word or offering any advice. Clay was big on ball position and alignment. “Get those right and the swing will take care of itself”, he’d always say. I always left the lesson with Clay having greater confidence. I worked with Clay during my twenties, after my big swing had already been constructed.
Ron Gring: The accomplishments and awards of Ron’s instruction would fill two pages if I listed them. I would say Ron has made the most significant impact on young golf players in the history of Mobile and Baldwin County. The strength of what I know about the swing is a result of 20 plus years of learning from Ron.
Ron’s lineage is decorated with some of the greatest swing instructors and golf minds the game and swing have ever known; Gardner Dickinson, David Ledbetter, Alex Sloan, Mac O’Grady, and more. Ron is highly certified with credentials from The Golf Machine (TGM).
Like it not, TGM is required reading, along with Hogan’s Five Fundamentals, in order for someone to adequately speak the language in The Swing World. While Ron learned from the greats, he never professed to a singular method. He could have easily chosen the gospel of any of the aforementioned and mastered a one-method-only Swing philosophy. Instead, he took the best from the best and shared it with his students with an eclectic philosophy.
There is No ONE Swing Method
I share the same beliefs on Swing methods: THERE IS NO ONE METHOD! I began studying and learning the golf swing at the age of 14. I read every book and magazine tip I could find. With so many different teachers there is no way I could have ever chosen just one. But I did.
From the age of 22-48, Ron was the only one I allowed to look under the hood of my swing. That says more than a lot.
Today, I teach with the same philosophy, but he is still the only one I’ve let into my swing. Why? It is because I know his eyes are the best I can get.
Floyd Horgen: If Bobby Knight was a Golf coach! Most notably known as Hal Sutton’s primary Swing coach throughout his career, Floyd was my coach for one year at Brevard Community College (BCC) in Cocoa, Florida.
Yes, I spent in a year in Junior College while trying to transfer from The University of Kentucky to Auburn University. The SEC required all infra-conference transfers in all sports to sit out a year. I didn’t want to sit out so Mike Griffin, Auburn’s new Head Golf coach, connected me with Floyd at BCC.
What I learned from Floyd in 10 months has had a profound and everlasting influence on my Golf IQ. Floyd taught us how to swing, go low, and win. Period!
He had an eye for motion in all sports. He was a college Pitching coach, he taught NBA players how to shoot free throws, and he studied Tennis and Baseball swings. His golf bibliography was 700 books deep!!
19 Years Old and Playing Well
When I arrived at BCC, I was playing very well. I had just missed winning the State Amateur in July as a 19 year old. I finished in the top 3 in all of the Mobile Majors. I beat the great Fred “Boom Boom” Clark in a six-hole playoff to win the Skyline Country Club Men’s Club Championship. That was a big deal! So, my game was good.
Our team was loaded and highly explosive. I actually won the second tournament that Fall while playing on the B team. So all was good.
Messin’ With My Swing
Then, Floyd started on my swing and at the end of the fall I couldn’t break 80. Everything was new and my confidence was blown. He counseled me several times and reassured mutual trust of going down this new swing route. After Christmas it was the same.
But, he saw something for the first time and I’ll never forget the final piece that glued the swing together: get my right foot closer to the ball. I didn’t know why then, but I know now. Here’s the WHY: more torque against the right side and to force higher hands at top.
It all clicked one day in early February while playing 18 with Coach Horgen in the group. I was still struggling, although I was improving slowly. On the eighth hole that day, I hit an iron shot that felt really different and really good. Before the ball reached its apex I heard his distinct sharp and deep voice shouting, “that’s very good!” I birdied 8 and parred 9 for 38. I shot 30 on the back nine. I was back. After 4 grueling months. I’ll never forget what he said to me after the round, “it takes guts to improve.”
Today, I admire everyone who pursues a better game.
Floyd’s Swing Philosophy
Floyd’s swing philosophy was right, right, left: Back on right, down on right, through in left.
And, swing the whole club with the whole body. In other words, don’t chase the club head. Hal Sutton?
He later changed to left, left, left. This was well before Stack and Tilt. I coached two of his left left left players at the University of South Alabama. I must say it sounds really good coming off an iron.
My Swing Philosophy Today
So, what’s my Swing philosophy today? The answer is: there is no one way.
I do believe the swing for each player MUST be built for PLAY.
That’s why I teach the whole game – Total Performance Golf Coaching. The swing must transfer from practice to course.
My job is to watch the ball fly and the player’s move. The non-moving, or pre-swing pieces, of the golf swing/move is where I begin.
Grip and hands, feet, and footwork are huge in my book.
There are only Two Things Connected in Golf:
Your hands to the club and your feet to the ground.
And they better know what they are doing!
Posture, aim and alignment are also critical.
Yes, I’m a believer in all of the new Swing technology when used the correct way. However, technology is dangerous when it is in the wrong hands.
I believe that impact position is paramount, followed by delivery and transition.
- How does the player load, transition, and deliver the club into impact?
- How does the player dynamically use the body to support the swing?
It all starts at impact and is traced all the way back to setup and pre-swing fundamentals.
A golf swing is like a signature, unique to each player. My goal is to help each player
- find HIS best swing,
- identify what helps him make HIS best swing, and
- to know what contributes to HIS successful swings.
It’s also my responsibility to educate the player on his own swing, so that he can find his swing when it appears to be misplaced or lost. The truth is that our swings don’t change very much from day to day.
Our rhythm can change daily, or from shot to shot. Our lines can get crossed in a hurry and our balance has off days. I try to incorporate rhythm, tempo, and balance into each player’s swing awareness.
Show me a player with sound pre-swing components, good rhythm, and great balance and I’ll show you a player that knows where his ball is going.
I’ve studied it backwards and forwards, upside down, and round and round.
There is no one way, but there is one way that’s better for each one!
And Total Performance Golf Coaching will help the majority of golfers discovered – for themselves!
Connect with me via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org