Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ABS - Becoming an Incredible Ball Striker

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"Now, if we understand that we need to strike from the 4:30 line at P3, then everything prior to that (address, takeaway, transition, downswing) must lead us into this...

The backswing transition if very important.

However, unless we know how to release the club (module #1) brace and support and shift weight (module #2) direct and properly sequence both the hands and post impact pivot thrust through a well conditioned motor (module #3) and have a way to visually check and balance our actions through the most critical zone of the swing (module #4).... any effort to arrive at P3 will do us little good. You simply cannot load pressures and forces beyond your ability to handle and support that load. Architecture 101.

Modules #5 deals with the set up for transition.. how the hands must feel, behave, and offer support to the club. It discussed how to load the club properly, and what our options are for doing so, and shows the player a very natural way of setting up the initial transition into P3.

Module #6 then flat out shows the player how to effectively take the club from address right into P3.. in one simple flowing motion. The path from address through transition right to the P3 launch pad needs to be one flowing movement..

When we get there.. you won't have any issues of what to do, when to fire, or where to go with the body, the hands and arms... because you will have rehearsed this about 12,000 times!

Module #6 completes the biomechanic activity of the golf swing. After that.. we then learn to take what we have and connect all the dots. The muscles will know what to do because they have been trained what to do.. we work on putting it all together, learning how to aim, and start shaping shots, and focusing on ball flight, how to effectively draw and fade the ball with ease in some very simple and wonderful ways... and this is done by understanding lowpoint, and how to manipulate our plane line, flight line, ball positioning, dealing with undulations, wind, rain, and so forth.

There is little sense in trying to throw into a catcher mitt if you can't hit the broad side of a barn. We learn precision, then we learn to aim that precision, then we learn to properly play the game."

John "Lag" Erickson

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nice view of Lag ripping a persimmon from the 12th hole at Olympic Club

How good is this? ABS - Advanced Ball Striking - Sign up Today

Olympic Oct 7 Lag DTL from Golf Aus on Vimeo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is TGM (The Golf Machine) Incomplete?

"I have really enjoyed learning from John "Lag" Erickson. His knowledge of the golf swing is just not based on observation, but as a former tour player he has an internal knowledge of the golf swing that you don't get from most golf instructors. I have heard him say that if he personally couldn't demonstrate his theories then they aren't worth teaching. I have seen him hit a 1958 Hogan Thrust Two Iron off his back wooden deck in Benecia, CA and I think many tour players wish they could flush their long irons that well. How many teaching professionals do you know that can go out a shoot a 67 with Persimmon woods and 1950 Vintage Irons?

If you have had some exposure to TGM and are still struggling to find your swing I would recommend visiting the Advanced Ball Striking Forum and investigate why TGM might not be satisfying your golfing curiosities. It's easy to describe what impact positions look like in golf, but John "Lag" Erickson has really helped me understand what is happening with the hands and pivot at impact. So much of that has been a mystery to me before I began taking classes at Advanced Ball Striking." - Berkeleyrican aka Jose Figueroa

The Cut it Left Power Fade with Angled Hinge from Lag Pressure on Vimeo.

This shot I like to play on the 6th at Mare. The predominant wind is right to left and somewhat face on. I low piercing 1 iron boring up the left side fighting into the wind is the right shot for me here. With this protocol, the ball is never going left. The extreme post impact cut left with a no roll hinging very pivot driven keeps the ball driving and piercing in its' flight. Set's up a short iron into a tricky green that can take that same kind of move with a shorter iron.

Here's an ABS Forum Post from John entitled "Advice for TGM Converts" that I think can be helpful for those struggling a bit with TGM.

"For those of you that are new here coming over from the TGM school of thought and are confused by the what appears to be the polar opposite sensation we are working on in Module #1:

The problem with TGM is that it promotes a pivot stall post impact. That is the reason they teach the hands leading, big divots, down and out and all that stuff.

Too much forward shaft lean promotes a disconnect from the #4 pressure point. It's like unhooking the plug from what even Homer labeled the Master Accumulator. Homer made a tragic flaw in omitting a pivot driven lever from his description of the lever assemblies.

He also made a mistake in his observation that a hitter's quest for holding shaft flex (he did get this right) was created through right arm thrust (wrong)...instead, this action is done with hand speed working accumulators #2 and #3 and not right arm thrust. He talked about the right arm driving, but also the danger of the right arm disturbing clubface alignments through impact (correct)

He talked about the right arm thrust, but never tells the reader when this happens.. All the TGM instructors therefore interpreted this to mean into the ball.. down and out.

However, when we watch the great ball strikers, they are doing everything they can to save right arm to thrusts into P4 or even beyond. Post impact pivot acceleration is basically ignored in TGM. It's based too much on the logical idea that the swing is over once the ball leaves the clubface.

Homer was correct about compression dynamics in his wonderful chapter #2. Ball speed is affected by BOTH pre and post impact clubhead velocity. He was aware of it, but didn't quite get the importance of the post impact velocity protocol. In 2-M-3 he uses the word "unless" the pivot is driving the primary lever assembly.. which should not be "unless".. it should be ABSOLUTELY IT MUST!

A simple definition of f=ma (hitters) vs p=mv (swingers) was all that needed to be said.

A force strike vs a momentum strike.

I talked to O'Grady years ago, and that's the main reason he left TGM. Homer never told us how to do it.. to strike it with force.. he made the faulty assumption that the hit was a right arm thrust and not driven through the pivot lever, which he tragically omitted.

The other tragic mistake he made is that he promoted geometry over force. So you end up with two generations of golfers studying TGM trying to find lines and angles using flashlights and lasers as if somehow geometry is going to create the physics that is needed to create it. Its' completely absurd. It would be like looking into the sky at a fighter jet and observing the white vapor trail that is left behind... then believing that if you can just create the white trail, you will then create the jet motors that are driving the plane through the air.

The FLW is another vapor trail observation. It's created by pivot acceleration, not forced by taking a pork chop divot. For hitters, post impact pivot acceleration is the imperative, the FLW just happens. For swingers it's a steady even acceleration to time the flail.

Physics creates the geometry.

Also, Homer forgot to include a component for vertical and horizontal ground pressures. There are options here. But to not consider the importance of utilizing what we will be exploring in module #2 is unforgivable. "A good starts preferably from the feet". That is all that is said. No direction, no component description, no variations. There is a lot more to footwork than opening and closing the stance. I can forgive Homer here because he was not a fine player himself, therefore being able to understand what sensations are going on within the body both when and where. This isn't stuff that is always easy to see to the naked eye. Sometimes it is as we see in module #2, but usually it is not.

You will learn in this course that even the swing plane itself must be created by opposing forces, not tracing a line with laser.

I'm setting you up to do this with Module #1 as we speak.. so that by the time we get to module #4 you will have a swing plane that is created by manipulating CF to our advantage forcefully. In Module #2, I show you how to bolt your swing to the ground, then #3.. I show you how to apply the opposing force on the front end (post impact) that counter balances the lay off we are working so hard to create now. A hook move pre impact, countered they by a slice move post impact gives a net 0.. meaning a straight shot.. but now you'll be able to properly feel the golf club in your hands harnessing CF like all the great ball strikers do, rather than throwing or dumping it all into a useless black hole of down and out divots and off plane equal angular spiral post impact swing planes.

Now remember this.. I am not teaching you to throw the club away from the top. The module #1 drill brings you fully loaded with all four accumulators into P3. So we NEED to release these big angles... quickly and with strength. CF alone can do it.. if we swing with dead hands into a quickly rotating clubface and into an off plane post impact equal angular spiral which is very risky stuff... and very unreliable. I assume you don't want to have to hit 300 balls a a day to monitor the timing of such a delicate event!!!

In the end, you will end up with a golf swing that TGM followers will be drooling over.. FLW the whole thing.. on plane.. but to get there.. you have to throw away all the garbage you have learned from TGM arm chair observers, rather than pure ball striking practitioners.

The ball does not lie, and neither do the great ball strikers that left for us an amazing legacy to learn from." - lagpressure aka John Erickson

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bradley Hughes on golf instructor John "Lag" Erickson"

"I really want to thank Lag for flipping the switch in my head and allowing me to remember how and importantly why I used to swing the way I did when I was younger.

I never had tuition growing up. I just played day in and day out and worked out how I thought things were meant to be done according to my feel and my ball flight and velocity and imitating the greats.

I will post a few photos of my swing when I was 14 and then another when I was 21 for reference.

Then I got a coach when I was 26 and all the good was taken from my swing and replaced with some good ideas according to the gospel of leadbetter and others in that era, but unfortunately the best parts of my swing were removed.

Although I have had success i really feel like I missed out on having a really great career, because I listened to others without understanding what really made my swing tick to begin with.

You guys are very fortunate to get the knowledge you are getting from Lag. It is without a doubt not new information like he has stated lots and lots of times, but it is information that has been dropped from instruction for whatever reason I don't know. I guess you could put it down to the fact that most of the modern teachers weren't great golfers and didn't understand the feelings and sensations and weren't able to put it into action or words.

Thanks Lag for showing me how again. Stick at it everyone. You are on the path to the best golf of your life if you stay focused and put in the work.

I am starting out again at module 1 to rebuild this old swing that worked well and produced many low scores. So those who are ahead of me in the module scale, be easy on me !!" (source here:)

You can learn more about John "Lag" Erickson and his teaching on his forum.

Monday, November 9, 2009

John playing with Bradley Hughes at the Olympic Club

With Vic not being able to do his own radio show that week, Vic asked if Bradley and I could fill in for him. I told Vic we had a game that afternoon at The Olympic Club, during when the show broadcast around Las Vegas, then also streamed on "All Talk Radio" out over the web.

The show has been a popular one and Vic has had some really wonderful guests on the show.

We solved the dilemma by phoning in from that last couple holes on the back nine at Olympic to talk about The President's Cup with Mike Pressler.

The connection with the cell phone down in the Valley wasn't so great, so it's a bit comical to listen back to it as we couldn't always hear what Mike was saying so we both kinda winged it the best we could hoping we didn't sound like complete idiots! I think we got though it alright considering the situation. We would stop to hit a shot, then talk some more. I hit a couple of shots with a wired cord from the phone in my back pocket up to my ear piece. That was a first!


The Way Golf Used to Be

Even if the game was still in the persimmon age, I'm not sure I'd be grinding it out on tour every week... now. I'm not sure I was ever completely in love with that lifestyle. As much as I enjoy golf, I never really liked playing 6 days a week. Most other sports don't play every day. If you're making cuts, playing the Wednesday pro ams, and doing your homework on Tuesday, that's a lot of golf. If you're on a tour, as a normal cat out there, you play every week. Olympic athletes often train for just a few events every year.. or even just one day.

For some reason professional golf developed into this 6 day thing. There is so much money out there now on tour, I have to wonder how many of them would still play if the money dried up, and it just became about golf again.

In a couple of weeks, I am going down to Las Vegas to play in the TRGA Las Vegas Classic. http://trga.info. Persimmons, blades, on a great old style track with a deep rich history. Last year was just a fabulous time.. and to hear everyone cracking the persimmons off the first tee really felt good again. The golf course played the way it should, with all the fairway bunkers back in play, and the use of all the clubs in your bag. 450 yard par fours mean driver- 3 iron, not wedge.

I know I harp on about this, on my Advanced Ball Striking forum from time to time, but I'm not the only one who feels this way. We'll have some fine players down there again this year... like last year, and it's fun to see it grow as this is now going to be the third TRGA event. No titanium frying pans, no long putters, low compression golf balls.. not perimeter weighted light weight irons. No 60 degree wedges.

I like the odds better than the blackjack tables... and if you play well, you might be able to pay your caddie, put gas in the car, pay your room bill, and buy a couple rounds of drinks.. just like the way golf used to be

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Old Clubs

As a former tour player, and Canadian Tour winner, I left the game at the end of the persimmon age. I recently have been back playing and teaching, so these are my observations on modern gear.

The new clubs are geared primarily at distance, and an enlarged sweet spot via bigger heads and perimeter weighting.

Here's the problem...

Lighter clubs mean less load into the deeper muscle tissues. The great ball strikers had pivot driven golf swings. The bigger muscles of torso, hips and legs are more reliable and easier to control as a core generating power source than that arms moving back and forth across the chest.

Bigger sweet spots come with a price tag that is too big a sacrifice in my opinion. You have to remember this fact... a bigger sweet spot means a diluted sweet spot. Our brain is so dependent upon reliable feedback to HELP us improve our golf swing. We need great feedback. This is why we need to be able to feel our sweet spot and hits that are off sweet spot.

In fact, there is still only one sweet spot on any club.... but perimeter weighting gives us the false illusion that our sweet spot is bigger. It strips us of the feel we need to keep our golf swing in top form. Precision.

My own take from my seven years on tour is that the forgiving clubs will help you when your off, but hurt you when your on. When I'm puring it, I don't need forgiveness. I don't hit it off center. What the classic forged blades offer is true feel so you can shape your shots with precision.

I speak in present tense here because I still hit classic blades. I have several sets I use, but my personal favorites are...

1969 Hogan Bounce Soles
1953 Armour Silver Scots
1965 MT Flatbacks
1959 Dynapower
1969 Bullet Back Dynas
1962 Dyna Turfrider
1962 Hogan Power Thrust

(pics here)

On the persimmon Drivers my favorites are

MacGregor Armour Super Eye o Matic
Mac Gregor Toski with a custom Gamma Fire insert
Tony Pena big block
Mac Gregor George Bayer DX

I shot a 65 course record last year at my home track in SF using all vintage gear.

It's still great stuff and very relevant and playable even today, and will teach you a proper golf swing.