Two’s recent post in modern vs vintage blades mentioned Normans admission that his coaches changed his swing to eliminate a flaw, but he ended up with several flaws after the change. Two and Lag had often mentioned that Norman changed for the worse looking at footage before and after the change, but to hear Norman admit it is pretty scary.
It’s hard, because as soon as he admitted he hated that flaw enough to try something different, it was going to be obvious everything would change, as “top level” coaches were coaching a different style to his. It’s wholly possible of course that he would have been a bigger champion after the change, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
But, right now if Lag were to be presented with a modern day top 10 player, what would he do? Lets assume the player is willing to make changes if he’s told it’s necessary, and will take time to do so properly.
Here are the current top 10 players, and perhaps throw in an Ogilvy or a Sim to get an Aussie in the top ten.
1 Tiger Woods, USA
2 Steve Stricker, USA
3 Phil Mickelson, USA
4 Lee Westwood, Eng
5 Jim Furyk, USA
6 Paul Casey, Eng
7 Ernie Els, Zaf
8 Ian Poulter, Eng
9 Martin Kaymer, Deu
10 Padraig Harrington, Irl
Would Lag try to convert these guys to an ABS hitter style? Would it not be a good move for any of them? Would it not be a good move given current equipment and course styles these guys play on?
I thought this might start up some interesting debate.
Grip would probably change because he couldn’t do M1 with that palm grip crap. He’d go to more of a ‘swinging left release’ and hit the ball much more accurately (plane line would match Attack Angle – aka Trackman stuff).
Guy is already a great ballstriker. No need for change. Maybe some M2 stuff.
Flatten out the downswing plane (4:30 line). More ‘swinging left’ (or swinging right for him). M1-M3 would probably be used heavily here.
M2 only because his right foot gets well off the ground at impact. It didn’t used to.
Lots of changes. He’s more along the lines of the ‘swinger’ in ABS terms. Phenomenal talent, though.
Probably doing the M1 work would prevent him from getting laid off at the top of the swing and then getting too upright on the downswing. He’s really a lousy ballstriker who is good for hitting the occasional phenomenal shots and is a fantastic putter.
This is probably the only one I would disagree with Richie, as being laid off is not at all bad in ABS and Mod 1 encourages it, if anything. I just looked up a video of Ian Poulter on swing vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf96Xhx2kqM and I think into impact he looks ABS-like - he appears to do well to get on the elbow plane and his straightening right leg (that Kostis criticises) is also a popular ABS trait. Where I think Poulter would improve is with mod 3 and mod 4 work which I think would also improve his rythmn as to me his swing looks a bit rushed due to a lack of post impact thrust.
I couldn’t see ABS being any real advantage to Els, Mickelson, Harrington and westwood as they would strike me as ‘pure’ swingers.
The hitters in there could potentially work on the modules but the only one likely to change coach is Woods (even he has been described as a ‘switter’).
To be honest though I couldn’t see any of them taking the time to do the modules - bottom line is they are in the world’s top ten with what they’ve got. Its unlikely that any of them would consider such dramatic changes at this stages in their careers.
Lag’s best bet is one of his current crop doing well on the mini tours and then making it on the big stage or getting the attention of one of the guys around the top 100 mark who knows he needs to do serious remodelling. As far as I know there are no juniors doing Lag’s modules so unless that happens he won’t have someone coming up through the ranks.
I think anyone can benefit from a quieter face through impact, but especially Els and Mickelson. Ernie has struggled with pulls and pull-hooks from time to time. I think he hits on some his iron shots, not many though. he pretty much as a full roll deal going. Watching some of the swingvision stuff when he hits a dodgy shot his face is a bit “flashy” I think Hogan proves that you can load it like a swinger and hit!
When you look at the fact he has won 3 majors, has 18 PGA titles not to mention multiple worldwide wins, has moved back to 7th in the Official Golf World Rankings and is well up the career money list, do you really think he is likely to change? That he is 40 is also a factor I believe.
As I said, for anyone ranked in the world’s top 100 to consider Lag’s course, there would need to be someone from his current crop make it big. Lynn Blake had a two time PGA winner and despite this he has yet to announce anyone else approaching him to become a student. This is despite the fact that he is there on the practice tees of the main stage.
Bender and Plummer seem to be the only guys who have made an impact on the main tour and even then it is not with any marque names and a lot of the people who did start working with them have since moved on. I do think however, that Matt Kuchar will do very well this year (he has had a great start) and if he continues his upward curve they could attract more players.
Ernie’s talent is immense (including a disposition that minmizes the psychological pitfalls of a CF dominated pattern.)
In my opinion he is a superior athlete to Tiger. Ernie could have pursued tennis, cricket, or rugby. My point is that there are few players in history better equipped to play great golf. I agree that age is a huge factor, however, I believe that in the process of trying to tone down the face rotation Ernie may well “find” something that resembles (at least in part) more of a “hitting protocol” as Lag puts it. I can only imagine what he could do with the single-minded pursuit of golfing glory that Tiger displays? But then again I do not think it would add one bit to his quality of life. When asked why he does not play more in the states, and opts for globe trotting, Ernie is clear that it what makes him happiest. You gotta love the man. I have a great personal Ernie story, dating back to the '94 PGA at Southern Hills. That…another time!
That’s one of the better swings I’ve seen Poulter make, and he won the Accenture Match Play in dominating fashion.
I don’t know exactly where Lag stands on the ‘laid off’ position. I’ve seen Poulter, particularly on iron play get really laid off at the top. IMO, and with my swing, I don’t want to be laid off at P2.
On the other hand there’s a difference between being laid off at P2 and laying off the club in the startdown. Many people accuse Sergio of being laid off at P2, but Motion Golf analysis, shows that is not true. He’s actually laid off on the startdown.
Now, I can see why an ABS golfer may get laid off on the startdown and that working very well for them. But, getting laid off at P2 I think is problematic because almost every golfer I’ve ever seen get laid off at P2 has troubles with OTT issues. Poulter finished 153rd in my statistical ballstriking rankings (which combines total driving, GIR, and proximity to the cup on birdie putts).
So that’s wher my line of thinking on Poulter comes from.
I prefer teaching players that really need the help.
Being a pure ball striker is not as important on the tour’s golf courses these days, as the courses are typically void of trees,
long rough, and adverse conditions…
However, most normal golfers are playing courses that are much different than what they are playing out on tour, therefore, students here are in much greater need to hit the ball accurately, and to do that, you need a good golf swing and proper gear.
Most modern tour players don’t impress me at all. I have been around this game for a long time, and I know what really top ball striking is, shaping shots, and how to properly play the entire game including long irons…
Twomasters and I were out at the President’s Cup last fall, watching some of the games best… it really wasn’t impressive (ball striking).
Two and I played The Olympic Club and Pasa Tiempo, and I saw better ball striking in our group particularly on the back nine at Olympic with us both, and Two’s near perfect tee to green 68 at Pasa Tiempo.
I like watching good golf. Proper golf, not the boring… bomb, wedge… make every 15 footer all day… version the game has evolved into today.
If a famous tour player came to work with me… the first thing I would do is give them a set of classic blades, and persimmons, take them to a real golf course, and make sure they can beat me at least two or three rounds in a row. If they can’t beat me, then I would work with them. If they can beat me, then I would wish them luck in their next tournament.
Ahhh yes… thank you Lag, for once again providing the sort of response that separates this site from every other out there. I find myself equally un-enamored with some of the current crop and I love that fact that you don’t mention any sort of nebulous specific “fix”. It’s a hypothetical question I know, but it really is crazy to think any of these guys would start working on swing changes while residing in the top 10 (other than Tiger of course and who really knows what’s going on in his noggin these days, and perhaps Padraig, who to me is able to simply “putt his way” through his swing changes).
I had a chance to play recently at my home track and we were the first group out after a college event being held that day. The 10th hole is a good par 4 with hazard left and lake to the right… but you also have the option to hit driver wayyyyy right into the 18th fairway and play into the green from there (over some trees). I watched 2 groups of “college golfers” all hit it down 18… wtf??? These cats don’t have enough confidence to hit a driver (or fw wood) into a 50 yard wide fairway the way the hole is laid out? You can talk about percentages all you want, but at some point don’t you need to play the course the way it was meant to be? Just more validation of the state of the game in my mind.
I can’t think of a better litmus test for a skilled player than to see if he can beat Lag with persimmon and blades on a tight track.
Richie, I appreciate your post about the current crop of top ten players, this is pretty close to what I was looking for, thanks for the time and effort of putting that together.
Styles, this isn’t so much a “why aren’t these guys doing lags modules” as it is a “would any of these guys REALLY benefit much from committing a bunch of time to Lag?” I completely agree I don’t think Lag is going to show up as the coach of a bunch of PGA tour players anytime soon (no offence Lag), and I’m not even sure he would want to be there anyway from many comments he’s made. Unless it’s at Two’s side
But your comment about the pure swingers does intrigue me a little. Can you elaborate? If you have done this somewhere else already, just pointing me to the post would be good too. I mean I know you started down the ABS road and flipped back to a swinging protocol, I’m just interested in what factors you think should go into a decision to choose between hitting and swinging, given you think swinging is better for you? Is it body shape, rotation speed, strength, co-ordination levels?
I think if Hugo got his game together and made a bunch of cuts and did something if he got a few invites, a lot of people of his vintage would seek out Lag.
Regarding the ‘pure swingers’ I just believe that people will have an instinctive way to power the swing that suits them, Hugo posted an article about it the other day. Most teachers teach swinging so there are hitters that get incorrect swing advice.
I think there are things that impress me and don’t impress me (guess you could say ‘depress me’) about the modern Tour player. Their length is pretty impressive. Especially guys who hit down on the ball quite a bit and/or hit a fade. Their putting and touch around the greens is impressive as well. But accuracy off the tee and iron play?
There are certainly some that will be impressive. I think Stricker would impress Lag, he certainly impresses me. Heath Slocum would probably impress Lag as well. There are others as well.
I went to East Lake for the first time for last season’s Tour Championship and was thinking that I could probably hit 12 GIR if I had a pretty good, but not even great day. Course was really wide open and pretty easy to figure out. However, my chances of breaking 80 there would be tough.
Because there’s too many holes where I didn’t have the length to hit the GIR with any consistency. It was no small wonder why Tiger likes East Lake so much, it fits him perfectly. He can hit it all over the lot and still win with ease. The big thing I noticed, since it’s been awhile since I went to Tour event, is that the big hitters really kill the shorter hitters on Par-5’s AND Par-3’s. I watched Brian Gay, one of the more accurate hitters on Tour try to figure out how to overcome hitting a fairway wood into a long Par-3 while Tiger or Phil were hitting 5-irons. That’s a serious advantage because you can be the greatest fairway wood player ever, but the ball just isn’t going to stop like it will for a very average iron player hitting a 5-iron.
And as much as I think this takes away from the matchup perspective of the game, I think it makes good courses obsolete which is a far bigger issue IMO. All because of golfers who are really only hitting the ball long but not hitting it accurately or consistently.
Really, I mean I don’t know. It seems crazy on the one hand. You’ve done so much hard work, time to cash it in with all the sponsors throwing millions at you. Majors also don’t just fall into your lap, if you drop your game for a couple of years trying to rebuild it, you have to fear you might have lost a valid run at one of those majors, something that isn’t guaranteed after your swing comes back bigger and better than ever.
However, history has surely shown this happen. Norman and Faldo were already top 10’s when they did a major reconstruction? Woods did too in the late 90’s didn’t he? I’m sure there has been plenty of players who have done this who have been current top 10’s. Ogilvy might be a great case for it, as he’s been right up in the top 3, and fallen back to 13 now. According to an interview he did earlier this year, he spent most of last year at the range before and after rounds chasing his tail trying to work out swing issues. This doesn’t sound like a “top 10” player that is happy to sit back and accept sponsor cheques and hope things come together during another major or two along the way.
Still, I know less than anyone here about this stuff. Lag, Two, Clayts (did he ever drop by), anyone else that might know of more of these stories. Surely guys aren’t happy with their ball striking at times, and they must sometimes contemplate and then go through with major swing changes.
Has the game changed in the past 2 years? No, it hasn’t. Therefore Lag cannot say anything differently from what he’s been saying so far.
The truth is that the Tour is bloody boring to watch and as a golfer watching it I ask myself if the guys that are so good according to the PGA ad could in fact hit a 1i or a 2i into a green and land on it instead of 30 yards each side…
Are you telling me lasts weeks AP Invitational wasn’t exciting?
Big Easy lets a 5 shot lead slip, makes a great up and down on 17 from a buried lie and then a great par down the last to win back to back tournaments.
That ain’t boring golf Pip, thats drama. You sure that everyone playing persimmon and hitting every fairway and every green would be more exciting?
Is your test of ‘good golf’ hitting greens with a 1 or 2 iron? Well my friend you should go check out a variation of golf called ‘long drive’ - unless they hit it in a grid their shots don’t even count, sounds like that would match your definition of exciting
Styles surely its a matter of choice…there are no absolutes here. One mans excitement is another mans snoozefest. We all like different aspects of the game. Some thrill to the long ball, others like to see the most technically pure ball striking, others still marvel at the skills of short game artistes or putting maestro’s.
Lag holds that the greats of the past had technically superior golf swings than those of the modern era born out of necessity…do you disagree? But where we can surely agree is that the game is very different than what its was 25 years ago. They are different games - pick your poison. I prefer the feel and the challenge of playing older gear but have no problem with those individuals who want to play the new whilst despairing of the impact it has had on course design and the pace of play. Personally I believe that if you waved a wand and got rid of all the big headed drivers and super game improvement stuff for a year a sizable proportion of golfers wouldn’t go back if offered a choice at the the end of it. Is it your view that the game is actually more exciting to watch and play now than it was 25 years ago? I genuinely don’t think it is. I’ll certainly be watching the Masters next week and enjoy the drama of the majors but the average PGA tour event is IMHO pretty dull.