Throughout golf’s rich history, there have always been great players.
Some were great ball strikers. Others were great wedge players and some great putters.
Which would you prefer to be?
I’ve personally seen, and competed, against them all and let me tell you…I’d rather play someone with a weak short game anytime!
Great ball strikers have full command of their swing. Hit it a ton, stiff the irons but can’t make a putt to save their life!
Let’s look at 2 examples of great ball strikers.
- Moe Norman – rated by some as the greatest ball striker ever. Aesthetically, a swing you would never want to copy! But there were things IN his swing that made him so pure. He didn’t like putting and thought the short game was a waste of time.
- George Knudson – another rated by his peers as one fo the top 5 ball strikers that ever played the game! He too disdained short game and putting. He liked to say he would just take 2 putts and walk off the green.
Now let’s look at a couple of short game wizards.
- Seve Ballesteros – a true magician with the short game. Because of his erratic ball-striking, he HAD to have a great short game, and boy did he ever!
- Phil Mickelson – another maestro of the short game. Phil is NOT known for his ball-striking but again, he is never out of a hole due to his wedge game. His putting can be sporadic at times, but you don’t win Majors without great putting.
With all of the stats available today, from the PGA Tour, you can see who is leading – and falling behind, in the Shots Gained categories.
The majority of the world’s best players have coaches to use as a second pair of eyes. To point out some seemingly minute “flaw” that can turn them around, or get them back on track.
Look at the differences in today’s top players.
The set-up is different, grips are different, backswing and downswing are different, alignment is different but the key is that for the most part, they ALL hit the ball the same! It’s whoever has the hot short game that wins it!
Dustin Johnson this past week lead all but one category for Strokes Gained – putting. He was 74th in that category. He would have been much higher but for a couple of days of missed putts.
In this case, I can hear you saying to yourself, the best ball striker DID win! And I agree…in THIS case!
Look, it doesn’t matter what your strength is, keep building upon it BUT look at your weaknesses…THERE is where the majority of the work should be put in.
And hey, if you REALLY can’t figure it out come see me. If you can’t get to Arizona, then contact me for a referral to someone in your area.
I’ll be in Kansas City around the second week of June doing a Junior golf combine at Tiffany Greens Golf Club and Staley Farms Golf Club. My home base though is here in AZ.
Hope to see ya soon,
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
Devoted KC Chiefs Fan
What Release Type Are You Using
A few weeks ago I told you we would discuss different release types and ask you what release type are you using.
Well….I’m back baby!
My definition of release types are rolling release and non-rolling release.
The rolling type of release has 3 variations;
- Full Roll
- Half Roll
- Reverse roll
The first 2 types of release create curvature. 1. Over draws and 2. Draws The 3rd one is generally a “push” cut to a “push” slice. This one is very usable for higher – less than full power shots…greenside bunkers and flop shots.
The first 2 are generally used when the player has the club coming from the “inside” on the downswing. IE…inward to outward.
Phil uses this one. Check out the clubface and the amount of “roll” at the early stage of follow-through.
This type of release requires PERFECT timing but is taught to a lot of amateurs as a means to draw the ball.
Henrik Stenson uses a non-rolling release. Look at the differences in these two release types.
The non-rolling release has a much more stable clubface and does NOT require PERFECT timing! Players that use this type of release generally are more of the “swing left” group (for right-handers). The majority of these players keep the clubhead and clubface more “square” to the arc.
So what release type are you using?
Does it match your swing path? Does it match what you are TRYING to do?
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
Chuck Evans Golf offers golf lessons, golf schools and junior golf development in Phoenix Arizona
I hear a lot of people say,”Life On The PGA Tour is Glamorous.”
Maybe, maybe not…Life On the PGA Tour could also be not Glamorous!
Life on the PGA Tour consists of working on your game, practice rounds, tweaking equipment, meeting with sponsors, and more work on your game…glamorous?
A typical day starts around 6am. After breakfast it’s typically some short game, then range time, play a few holes, lunch, then back to the range and then back out to play more holes.
Then, depending on how the player is feeling, and how they played the practice holes, they may come back to range for more ball striking.
In practice rounds the player typically is hitting different shots off the tee and into the green. Chipping and pitching from different angles lies around each green. Charting the green for the breaks, and hitting some bunker shots.
This generally takes the whole day and then its dinner time. After dinner you finally get to relax for a couple of hours and hopefully have your game plan set for the course.
Everyone wants your time, and everyone wants to give you something. Or maybe you want to try a new club, new training aid, new move in your golf swing. Whatever it is time is a valuable commodity out there.
Time management and goal setting are 2 very important aspects for a touring professional.
Unless your family travels with you, you’ll be missing your kids as they grow up. Missing school plays, sporting events, parent/teacher conferences. Sure, some of the players travel with their families, or at least they come out for weekend but it truly isn’t the same.
PGA Tour players have a boat load of expenses!
Travel, accommodations, caddie fees, coaching fees can all add up substantially every week. If the player plays well they earn a rather decent paycheck. But nothing is guaranteed on the Tour!
Unlike other professional athletes, there are no base salaries. You play well you get a check, you don’t play well you get zip, nada, NOTHING!
So, Life On The PGA Tour isn’t always Glamorous!
But they make so much money you say. Yep, the average Tour player does make more money than the average person. But, no where near the income of other professional athletes and…NO GUARANTEES!
But, they are getting paid to play golf.
What golfer wouldn’t want to be able to play golf for a living! That is the dream of golfers around the world and will continue to be. But for most, that’s all it will ever be…a dream!
When they say, “These Guys Are Good,” well…they really are!
They make shots most of us can only dream about. But the one thing that separates golf from other sports is that ANY golfer can hit a shot as good as any Tour Player!
I didn’t they’d hit a LOT of shots, I said they could hit A shot
Think you could beat an NFL defensive back and make the game winning touchdown?
How about hitting that slap shot to win the Stanley Cup? Or how about hitting a home run off a 100 mph fastball to win the World Series.
Doubtful on all 3!
But, you could have a hole-in-one. Hole out from the fairway, sink a 30 footer to win the 4 way press!
Even the player who finishes at the bottom of the exemption list each year, is better than the majority of us. Heck if we were that good, we’d be playing for a living!
Yes PGA Tour players, for the most part have a great life. But it isn’t always glamorous!
Chuck Evans is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
His Academy is based in Phoenix Arizona where he conducts
golf instruction, golf schools, and Junior Golf Development.
To find out more about programs and how to have more fun at golf
email us here!
Want To Hit It Further…Try This Drill
I have never had a player come to me and say, “Can you help me hit it SHORTER!”
A couple of days ago I was a guest speaker at a 3D motion capture workshop presented by MySwing Golf.
As we went along the subject about distance came up. In the group of attendees was a long driver competitor whose latest swing speed was 140 MPH.I asked him, “If you want to hit it farther what do you do?” He replied, “I try and get the biggest turn I can.”
At that point, I asked everyone to stand up, without a golf club, and make their “normal” backswing.
Here is a picture of their “normal” backswings.
Now look at the same 2 guys. HUGE difference!
What did I ask them to do?
I’m glad you asked!
I asked them to turn their belt buckle and chest as far away from the target as they could and allow their front foot to “unweight”…let it come up.
Believe me, this is a very simple motion and one that WILL help you add distance to your shots!
By the way, there is NO SNOW forecast here for the desert this winter!
Golf instruction here in our little paradise is exploding! So if you are planning on visiting us this winter I would suggest you make your plans NOW!
Just head on over to our booking schedule and reserve your time – you can see what’s available here.
We only take 4 players at a time and they all know each other, we don’t put strangers together.
As a special Holiday gift, we are offering our pricing per school, not by player. Normally tuition is $795 per person for a 1-day school.
Now you can get that same 1 day school for $795 for 1 person, $1195 for 2, $1595 for 3 and $1995 for 4 players!
Dates are filling up fast to hurry over to book your school before they are sold out!
Until next time, keep it in play off the tee, get it on/or near the green, make some PUTTS!
P.S. To take advantage of our Holiday special tuition, click to schedule below!
Chuck Evans is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, He gives golf lessons in Phoenix. To schedule, an appointment click the calendar..
Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers
Chuck Evans selected again as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
It’s an honor, and a privilege to be recognized once again as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and it never gets old!
Here is how the selection process works.
Since its inception in 1991, GOLF Magazine’s Top Teachers in America ranking has become the industry standard for teaching excellence due to the diligent selection process that GOLF Magazine employs to assemble the list.
“Every two years the Credential and Selection committees dedicate a lot of time and research to recognize the golf industry’s best teachers by naming them to our Top 100 list,” said David DeNunzio, Managing Editor for Instruction for GOLF Magazine. “These individuals have been selected because of their commitment to broaden the appeal of golf by helping their students understand and enjoy the game.”
Candidates for GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America list are selected from nominees submitted by the PGA, LPGA, United States Golf Teachers Federation, top industry executives and GOLF Magazine readers. More than 250 nominations on average are accepted from the country’s 25,000 instruction professionals. Each nominee must complete a thorough questionnaire developed in conjunction with Dr. Robert Christina, professor emeritus of the University of North Carolina—Greensboro School of Health and Human Performance.
The applications are screened against fifteen baseline criteria recommended by the Top 100 Teachers Credentials Committee and are then examined and ranked by a group comprised of 15 active and former Top 100 Teachers. Final recommendations are then made by a separate Selection Committee, comprised of GOLF Magazine’s instruction editors, established Top 100 Teachers and alumni, and invited World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame members. The recommendations of the Selection Committee are submitted to GOLF Magazine for the final decision.
The Top 100 list is the only national golf instructor roster that combines outside academic and PGA Professional peer review. In addition, candidates are judged on their willingness to give back to the game and to the PGA and LPGA through one of the following: apprentice education, member continued education, research or lesson programs.
New Years Resolutions and Golf …
What go they have in common?
Golf and New Years. Every New Years the majority of us make some sort of resolution. Whether it be to get in shape, eat healthier, or even improve our golf game. And just like the Geico commercials, it’s what we do!
Many players SAY they want to get better but the majority don’t know HOW to accomplish their goals. They don’t know how to practice, what to think, manage their way around the golf course, or what to work on so they toss that golf and New Years resolution aside!
Here’s an example of what NOT to think!
You stand on the tee box and see water right. You tell yourself don’t hit it in the water. You make your swing and it goes exactly where you didn’t want it to go…in the water. Hit it where you don’t want to…it’s what you do!
The best players in the world have a coach to help guide them. But yet, the average player thinks taking golf lessons is a waste of time! This may sound strange, but for many that’s true!
You see, my job as a coach is to help the player achieve their goals(s). This means I need to get to the root of the issue(s), develop a plan for success and prescribe the improvements…it’s what I do!
But there’s another part of to this equation.
The player has to absorb and apply my recommendations!
(photo by Thinkstock)
So here’s a thought …
Be committed to getting better. Get with your coach and develop a plan that YOU can stick to! Have fun practicing and you WILL get better!
If you are in the Phoenix area looking for golf lessons and want to work together, just give me a shout and we’ll develop YOUR plan for success.
To schedule your time check our booking calendar
Oh, have a Happ New Year and make 2017 your best year yet!
“How To Line Up That 5th Putt With Confidence…Every Single Time!”
That’s a joke of course but I really wanted to get your attention! This time of year, especially, putting seems to be practiced even less than normal…which isn’t very much!
Well, today I am giving you one of my very best training drills…EVER!
You will need a very special piece of equipment found in every household. This piece of equipment has had many uses over the years but I have found this to be the one!
I can hear you now asking, “So what is this “special piece of equipment and what’s it gonna cost me?”
What if it cost $500 bucks, would you buy it?
Since you already have it in your house, technically it ain’t gonna cost you ‘nuthin!
Here it is,
Yep, that’s it!
Now cut the long bottom piece of the hanger into a piece 11 inches long, and straight! Take that piece and now bend it into an arc that is 41/4 wide…that’s the same size as the hole on the green.
Stick it upright anywhere on the green and now you have a “vertical” hole to putt through. I like to place it a couple of feet in front of my ball and on the line of the putt.
The idea, of course, is to hit it through the middle of the hoop and into the hole. The longer putt you have the more difficult it is to do this drill!
Let’s say you have a breaking putt though and not a straight one, now what.
Line the hoop up on the start line you want. Now here’s the important part…
Make sure you hit it through the MIDDLE of the hoop!
If the putter face is open you’ll either hit the side of the hoop or miss it completely…the same thing if the face is closed!
Take a look at this to get a better picture.
So, now you have it. Use this drill to improve your putting. To work on other areas of your game, just click this link and schedule your time.
I have players asking me everyday, “What exactly is the downswing sequence and how does it work?”
Typically this crucial part of the golf swing is started from the ground up. Think of baseball and the player taking their at bat.
As the pitcher strides into their delivery, the batter moves pressure onto the lead foot, opens the hips, then their shoulders. Next comes the arms, hands finally the bat.
If their sequence is a little “late” they hit the ball on the backside of the plate and usually hit it out to the right side of the field.
If the sequence is a little “early” then they catch the ball toward the front of the plate and can drive it down the left side.
In the golf swing, a good sequence doesn’t guarantee you’ll hit the ball solidly, or far. Heck, they are some of the world’s best players that don’t have a great sequence!
If you are one of those players that struggle with balance, or an outward to inward swing path then you might want to take a look at this.
Until next time, keep it in play, hit it on or around the green…make a few putts
Here is one of my favorite drills, I call it the “Double Proposal” drill!
Without a doubt, the majority of players ask the same question, how can I hit it farther. Well, there are several pieces that need to come together, but even when they do, if you leave out swinging the club FASTER, you’ll STILL hit it short!
Speed comes from a variety of sources in the golf swing, but the critical one is how fast the club is swinging. To swing the club fast you need to swing your arms and hands fast since they are the ONLY thing holding on to the club.
ALL of the greatest players have had the same sequence.
- Keep the body in front ot the hands
- Keep the hands in front of the club
- Keep the club in front of the ball
How far should you hit your clubs? My answer is always, that depends.
Back in the day, Corey Pavin averaged 192.4 yards to the green after his tee shot. But someone like John Daly averaged 158.5 yards (these numbers are from 2005 PGA Tour – average distance to hole after tee shot) And no, there was not a description of how long the hole was.
As you can see there is a huge advantage to being longer off the tee!
Our friends over at golf.about.com have a range of numbers that you can use to see where to fit into “pack.”
These numbers are “averages” so we know there will some that longer as well as shorter. Here they are;
Club Men Women
Driver 200-230-260 150-175-200
3-wood 180-215-235 125-150-180
5-wood 170-195-210 105-135-170
2-iron 170-195-210 105-135-170
3-iron 160-180-200 100-125-160
4-iron 150-170-185 90-120-150
5-iron 140-160-170 80-110-140
6-iron 130-150-160 70-100-130
7-iron 120-140-150 65-90-120
8-iron 110-130-140 60-80-110
9-iron 95-115-130 55-70-95
PW 80-105-120 50-60-80
SW 60-80-100 0-50-60
The best way to find your average distance is to take 12 golf balls to an empty field and hit all 12 with each club.
Throw out the longest and shortest then average the remaining 10. I would suggest NOT using range balls since they are made to be hard and virtually indestructible…use the type of ball YOU play everyday!
When you come to the desert, we can work on hitting it farther! Our schedule is filling up fast!
Whew…The 2016 Ryder Cup was awesome! On paper the Europeans looked like the favorites, but the US had an ace in the hole…Arnold Palmer.
The King had passed just prior to the Cup and I believe that was a sort of “motivation” for the team. They wanted to play, and win, for the man that had done so much for the game of golf.
The US got off to an early start going 4-0 the first morning but the Europeans came roaring back that afternoon.
Once again, the Cup was going to be decided on the final day with the US needing 14 1/2/ points to take the Cup. It started slowly for the US but soon gathered speed with a dominate performance by the team.
There were battles that won’t soon be forgotten. Reed/Rory, Mickelson/Garcia, Moore/Westwood, Fowler/Rose and a new star for the Europeans…Thomas Pieters.
In all of my years of watching the Ryder Cup, this was one of the most exciting I’ve seen! LOTS of birdies the final day between the two teams and frankly, as good as most of the matches were, I didn’t want either to lose!
It had been awhile since the US had won the Cup so the satisfaction for the team, Captain Love and Vice-Captains had to be emotionally overwhelming!
Just a quick reminder that we are “in season” here in the desert and my October schedule is full! I only have a couple of dates available in November so if you’d like to get together and work on your game you’d better schedule your time NOW!
In the meantime, read this and find some of your LOST power!
Golfers all around the world are searching for the next “big” thing to lower their scores…and they HAVE BEEN for decades!
There’s nothing new in golf, only “bigger” words to make us golf pros sound smart! But guess what, by us using these words YOU my friend are looking back at me like a deer in the headlights!
What did he just say?
What if I told you that the newest “thing” in golf is actually going back to the “olden” days of golf swings. Yep, you heard it here…
You see, back in the days before there was a lot of technology, golfers freely turned their hips and shoulders in both directions. They didn’t try to create a “coil like a spring” swing.
Golfers then also let their front foot come up and their left knee work toward the ball.
Even in the glory days of Nicklaus and Palmer, they lifted the front foot and freely turned in both directions.
Somewhere along the way, all of this “athletic” movement was deemed undesirable. Players started keeping the front foot down and firmly planted. We, as players, were told to restrict the hip turn to build up a “powerful” coil.
While I will agree that SOME players can benefit from restricting the turn and keeping the front foot down, mostly players ALREADY on Tour, the majority of players would benefit from just letting it all move freely back and thru.
The next time you go to the range, make as big a turn as you can with both the hips and shoulders, (actually the shoulders don’t turn, the chest does and brings the shoulders along with it), let you front foot come up on the big toe and your left knee work toward the ball.
This will “feel” really strange and there is a good chance you won’t make perfect contact the first few swings. That’s because you’ve trained your body to do something else, but give it a try, I think you will find yourself feeling less tension, less tightness, and gaining more yardage!
To learn how to free yourself up and play your best golf, schedule your time with us!
Let me tell you the story of “Old Tom.”
Tom is 89 years young and in his words, “A bucket a day keeps the shanks away.”
I’ve known Tom for a few years now and he is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He was a music teacher and grew up playing trumpet and by all accounts he was a very good trumpet player.
He usually plays a few holes everyday and on Thursday’s be plays 18 holes in the men’s league.
We talk about anything and everything and it’s really interesting to hear some of his stories about the “old” days.
Especially the stories about traveling around the country playing music with some of the all time great jazz musicians.
But this article is about his dedication to golf. At one time he was a 3 handicap and has shot in the 60’s 3 times.
Right now he continues to shoot below his age. As with anyone, he is always seeking more distance. So our conversations usually go like this.
Tom: I’d like to hit it farther, what can I do
Me: You’ve got to try and make a bigger turn and swing the club faster.
We then do a couple of mirror drills, which he does very well. He doesn’t think he has the flexibility to turn anymore but his assessment shows he can. Like a lot of players he has zero turn of his chest, he just lifts the arms. He does hit a nice little push draw, it just doesn’t go anywhere.
So we will head out to the range and he’ll make some swings and while I’m with him he makes a pretty good turn, low and behold he hits it farther. His eyes light up and a smile comes across his face.
“How far do you think that went”, he asks.
I’d say around 130 Tom.
“Do you think I can get it to 175?”
If you can increase your club speed to around 70-75 miles per hour you’ll get there.
“How fast is it now?”
You’re swinging 50 MPH Tom.
“So how do I increase the speed?”
A bigger turn and swing the club faster.
He then shows me his “bigger” turn. “How’s this he asks…as he lifts his arms with NO turn”.
It’s better but you still need to turn MORE! I ask him, “what are you thinking about turning”? He says, “my shoulders”. I say, “I want you to think about turning the middle of your chest as far around you as you can”. He shows me and there is a BIG improvement in the turn!
Then he says, “My left foot is coming off the ground when I turn this much.”
I say good, let it come off…it will help you make this bigger turn.
The more he turns the father he is starting to hit it. Tom later asks, “What do I do to hit it farther?”
A bigger turn and swing the club faster Tom. He forgets that we have already talked about this, every day, but his passion and drive to get better – especially at his age is what brings a smile to MY face.
Whether you are a Legend or a 15 handicapper, we all need advice and sometimes it can be really simple!
Jack Nicklaus, arguably the greatest player the game has ever seen, was struggling like a 15 handicapper at the Greats of Golf event up in MN.
In his own words, “I can’t play at all,” Nicklaus complained an hour earlier during a pre-round press conference. “I played yesterday in the pro-am and I threw a total perfect game.”
A perfect game? “I had a no-hitter. I never hit one shot on the face of the club for 18 holes,” he said.
He was hitting it fat, thin, in the heel…you name it, he was hitting it. Everywhere BUT the sweetspot!
Here came Lee Trevino to the rescue. The Merry Mex said he’d been watching his longtime rival and friend from the opposite end of the range.
“You’ve got the ball too far forward. Move it back six inches,” Trevino instructed.
“I’ve played it there my whole life,” Nicklaus said.
“Yeah, well, you weren’t 76 then,” Trevino teased. “We’re getting so old we can find our own Easter Eggs.”
If you are having trouble and can’t quite figure out how to fix those issues, come join me and let’s make the game fun again!
For the full story go to Golfweek
Yeah, I know…it’s easy swinging at something that ISN’T a golf ball!
We’ve all done this, whether it was a dandelion, an old cigarette butt or a broken tee. Then we step up to hit the shot, and it feels NOTHING like what we just did!
When we are swinging at something that isn’t a golf ball, there is NO tension, no thinking about the swing.
We just take it back with NO thought and FREELY swing the club! You, me and everyone else are EXPERTS at swinging the club when there is no ball. Here’s a thought,
Hummm…MAYBE we should try doing this swing AT the ball!
When a player gets what I call ball bound, ALL of their attention is on striking that ball. Tension creeps in, swing thoughts creep in and the mere of act of just swinging the club disappears!
Try this the next time you are out on the practice tee.
Find some broken tees and place them in a row, to hit them into the range. Now replaceevery third tee with a ball. Set up the first tee and make a swing striking the tee, repeat this process for the second tee.
Now, and this is the important part, set up to the ball and with no thought, like you did with the tees, make your swing and strike the ball.
If you’re like most people , you feel this free flowing motion with ZERO tension!
As a side note, we will be starting up our webinars again next Friday, August 5. 2016.
I need to apologize for the delay.
Originally I thought it would be just a couple of weeks and I would be good to go, (recovering from a hip revision), apparently I was too optimistic!
We are also getting ready to schedule some new video shoots. Let us know what you would like us to cover and we’ll try to get it in the videos.
Until next time, keep it in play off the tee, get it on/or near the green, make some PUTTS!
Before I go into the Open I want to answer a question that I get a LOT! That question is…is there a “secret” to golf?
Well, let me tell YOU…Pssst…come a little closer. The answer is…
THERE IS NO SECRET TO GOLF!
Disappointed? Sorry but there are many ways to move a golf club. If you watched any of the Open you saw two great competitors battle it out for Champion Golfer of the Year.
These two guys could not be any farther apart in how they move a club.
Phil, is primarily an arm swinger and rotates the clubface from open to closed.
(Notice how the clubface is rolling over and closing to the arc.)
This method takes perfect timing and is used by those players who like to work the ball.
Henrik, uses a LOT of upper body motion and attacks the golf ball using his right arm, more of a driving motion.
Now notice the difference in Henrik’s clubface,,,staying square to the arc.
So which one is better? That depends.
Players that have a higher hand location at the top of their backswing, above their shoulder, have a tendency to swing the arms like Phil. They typically move the club down on a flatter plane then they took it back on and swing the clubhead out to the right of target (left of target for Phil).
Players that take their hands to the trail shoulder, or below, typically use the right arm more and DO NOT rotate the clubface. Instead, the use what I call a “wrist throw.” When they do this they also swing to the left immediately after Impact.
On tour they call this going around the corner, we call it a “cornering release”.
Picture Ben Hogan swinging left after Impact, Jordan Spieth, KJ Choi, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson! They all are going left post Impact.
By using this release type, the clubface remains much more stable, since it isn’t opening and closing, which produces a much more controlled ball flight.
The decision is yours.
Just like the grip you use, your ball position, your swing plane angle, your release type, your posture. You COULD call all of these YOUR Secret, IF they are producing the ball flight you want.
The biggest thing players need to realize is that if what you are doing produces what you want, then you’re good to go! If it isn’t, then maybe you should consider getting with your coach to work out those issues.
Golf Channel Academy recently did an interview with Chuck. Here it is, by Dave Gould.
Once a promising linebacker and defensive back prospect good enough to garner the attention of the Washington Redskins, Chuck Evans now spends his time watching a different type of ball flight. Evans runs the highly successful Chuck Evans Golf academies, operating in the Kansas City metro area where he played his high school football —Tiffany Greens Golf Club and Staley Farms Golf Club in Kansas City, Mo., and in Phoenix Arizona where he lives.
Chuck also serves as Executive Director of Instruction for Medicus Golf. With nearly 45 years of experience, Evans is an instruction grandmaster who ranks among Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America and Golf Digest’s Best Teachers in Your State, and is also a Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional. In addition, he holds a GSED (Doctorate Degree in Golf Stroke Engineering) with The Golfing Machine.
Evans recently took the time to look back at the football injury that spearheaded his golf coaching career, and to the individuals—and the book—which helped shape his teaching philosophy.
Q: What is it you like most about coaching? What brings you the most satisfaction?
A: I suppose it’s the feeling of doing the job well, which means your players get better. They strike the ball more consistently, they learn the scoring shots, all those things. The other part that’s satisfying is to see that we have trained the golfer to be his or her own coach. They understand how their swing works. When they start missing shots they can get themselves back on track.
Q: Is that your basic philosophy—teaching a golfer to be self-reliant?
A: That’s one part of it. Golfers find themselves in various stages of performance and skill-development. I’m not the golf coach who wants to see you every Thursday at 3 o’clock. There are teachers out there—in golf and outside of golf—who want the student to be totally dependent on them. That’s not me. I want you to get to where you can generally depend on yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t come back and work with your teaching professional. I’ve got names in my lesson book right now that have been in the book—on and off—for 20 years. I have several players that come from out of state every month to work together. We give our students what we call a playbook of things to work on. That playbook will change as the person makes progress and develops new goals.
Q: When you mention playbooks, it serves as a reminder that you started off as a football player, correct?
A: I did play as a young man. In high school I was a 6-foot-2, 225-pound running back. I ran a 10-flat 100-yard dash, which was pretty fast for back then. Combine that with my size and I could run right through people and keep going. My high school [Raytown South in suburban Kansas City] didn’t have a golf team. High school athletics for us was about playing on teams, so I developed as a golfer on my own. We were high school state champions in baseball and football. Meanwhile, I was playing some amateur golf and having a fair degree of success.
Q: Did you feel like you could play football professionally?
A: At one point I was brought in as a free agent by the Washington Redskins, who thought I could play defensive back for them—I had also played linebacker on defense in high school. But I never got to have a college football career. My big moment in college football was an unfortunate one. It was during spring drills at Florida State. I was a pre-freshman taking part in spring practice. It was a backpedaling drill, and as I made a cut moving backwards I injured my left knee severely. It was a full year of rehab after the surgery. Over the years I’ve had three complete reconstructions of that knee. So that injury in spring practice ended my college football career before it began.
Q: What did you do after that?
A: At that point it was 1971, and I was already 21 having done a tour of duty in Vietnam as an Army sniper, fighting in the TET Offensive. I guess I was one of those people who needed to get away from classrooms after high school. Anyway, FSU yanked my scholarship due to the knee injury, so I really was done with college before I ever started. During rehab from my surgery I had used golf to get moving again, but that meant hitting shots without any leg drive, so all my power had to be generated with the arms. That interested me, so I started studying the bio-mechanics of the swing.
Q: So you were at least exploring biomechanics even before you began teaching golf?
A: Well, at that time there was a new kind of research being done by Dr. Gideon Ariel, who has gone on to become one of the founders of golf biomechanics. He was pretty influential even then, when it came to athletics and biomechanics. He had been an Olympic hurdler, so he started by breaking down the mechanics of hurdling, using computer programs, and went on from there. I tried to absorb a lot of that information and understand the cause-effect.
Q: Who were some of your early influences?
A: I had a friendship with Gardner Dickinson, who taught me quite a bit about tournament golf and about teaching. He helped me understand how it is that a person could strike the ball beautifully and yet still struggle to play the game. If people asked me about Gardner as a golf instructor, I would say: ‘He will show you how to PLAY the game.’ People who didn’t know him would say he was crusty, which I suppose was somewhat true. He got along very well with Ben Hogan, and, of course, his stories about Hogan were just great to hear. I basically called him one day out of the blue and we started talking, then eventually I made some visits down to Seminole [Golf Club] to continue the conversation.
Q: Complete the following statement: A great golf coach is….
A: Someone who can work with all types of players and help them enjoy the game more.
Q: What other individuals have had a great influence on you as a coach?
A: As far as knowing what it is I should be teaching and imparting, Homer Kelley, author of The Golfing Machine. From Homer, I basically learned what I should teach, and I also learned a format for sequencing it. That’s a very big part of the puzzle.
Q: But not all of it?
A: No, because you also need methods for presenting the information, and making it stick. You look to someone like Martin Hall, Bob Toski, or Jim Flick, some of the great communicators in our field. You look at John Jacobs, a gifted communicator. I recently gave a talk at my PGA Section on the evolution of teaching. I told the group that our profession had to finally realize that each student was a little different, and therefore we would need a dozen-plus ways to express and explain every move or position we want golfers to execute. There have been coaches who excelled in this area. They found ways to get the ah-hah moment to happen, be it with visual learners, kinesthetic learners, auditory learners, analytical types, artist types and so on. My own success owes something to all those skilled communicators.
Q: If the average golfer had one hour per week to practice, how would you suggest they spend that time?
A: Here’s what I would say: Stand in front of a mirror and carefully look at yourself at setup and through the swing motion. See the angles of your body. You have to understand your positions and movements by seeing them in a mirror, in slow motion. Every student we work with is given a mirror drill, which may change or evolve. I look at my own swing in the mirror 15 minutes a day, every day, and I’ve done that for decades. If you can’t see a move you want to make in your mind, with your eyes closed, you can’t reliably make that move. What you’re doing with your body has to be fully understood. Then you can take it to the range and see how it affects ball flight. Then you can take it to the course and see how it affects scoring.
Q: What is a typical lesson like at Chuck Evans Golf?
A: We see people every week who are in our programs. One week they get private coaching, the next week they are involved in supervised practice, in a group. In a sense, supervised practice is a way of almost guaranteeing that there will be practice between lessons—that they’ll do the homework, in other words. If a student has been able to practice, we will add new material in the next private lesson. If they haven’t, we are in a position where we basically have to give them the same lesson as before, all over again.
Q: How do your regular students view the process they’re involved in? How does it evolve and unfold, from their perspective?
A: Everybody we work with improves. The level of improvement is based on the goal they have set for themselves and how hard they’re able to work [toward achieving that goal]. If someone who shoots 95 to 97 has a goal of shooting 85 to 87, we’re pointing toward the day when he gets there and can stay there. Then it’s time to adjust the goal. It needs to be a sustainable goal, so we sit down and conduct a formal goal-setting session. We develop a plan, start executing it, then perhaps re-evaluate it. If the golfer is happy where they’re at, we go into what we call maintenance mode. Our academy does an in-depth short-game assessment. We do physical screens. There is a full-swing evaluation, which involves ball speed, club speed and the like. We have an assessment for your mental-game performance. So, lots of assessments go into your profile. It’s all very specific in terms of goals and the path they’re on.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the most important club in the bag for the average recreational golfer?
A: Well, the most important club to them is the driver, so in some ways a teacher has to go along with that. It’s hard to fight it. The thing is, whatever is an issue in their golf swing will show up in the driver swing, very often magnified. Most people are okay with having us work on their swing mechanics using a lofted iron, knowing that this will translate well to their driving game. Driver is the club where ball position problems can crop up most easily; therefore, it’s also the club where you can have the most positive effect by adjusting ball position.
Q: What is the one phrase you can’t go a single day without uttering on the lesson tee?
A: I would say it’s a question, one that I and my fellow coaches at Chuck Evans Golf ask every day, actually every lesson: “What are you thinking about as you are getting ready to make this move?” The golfer will tell us, then we’ll proceed. If the thought or sensation produces what we want then all is well. If it doesn’t, something will need to be adjusted.
Q: What is your favorite golf instruction book and why?
A: The Golfing Machine, by Homer Kelley. It has enough information in it to build world class swings. I struggled with it, as everyone did. That book got thrown across the room a few times. But hey, on page 10 he tells you how to read the book—what order to read it in, and it isn’t chapter 1 then chapter 2 then chapter 3. I almost ended up owning the rights to The Golfing Machine. At one point I had moved up to the Northwest to help Homer’s widow adapt his notes for a new edition. So, I’ve had about as close an association with The Golfing Machine as a person can have with a book.
Q: If you could have your students emulate one swing on Tour, who’s would it be and why?
A: We don’t teach that way, by having students emulate someone else’s swing—even a Tour player’s swing. So, for me to talk about swings on Tour it is simply from a personal perspective. I would start by saying there certainly are no bad swings out there. You can’t get there with a bad swing. The player with the swing that has the best geometry, in my view, is Stuart Appleby. Look at his backswing, his downswing—the geometry is really there. However, he still doesn’t always control the clubface consistently. With the absolute greatest, most consistent ball-strikers—George Knudsen, Moe Norman, there was supreme clubface control.
Q: Give us your dream golf foursome. On the tee, it’s Chuck Evans and….
A: Ben Hogan, Moe Norman, Jack Nicklaus. And I would get to watch those players not just strike the ball, but watch how they move the ball around the golf course in order to score.
“If you can’t see a move you want to make in your mind, with your eyes closed, you can’t reliably make that move.”
Years ago I had the pleasure of spending time with Sally Kelley, Homer Kelley’s wife. I was there to help her get the 7th edition ready for publication, along with Cathy Schmidt.
After months of work, we finally completed it. There were over 100 handwritten pages that had to be deciphered, put into the correct chapters and sub-chapters but we got it done! We then shipped it off to Alex Sloan for his verification. He found nothing wrong with our work so off to the presses we went.
There was only one problem…Sally didn’t have the $25K to give to the publisher.
Here are some words from Mr. Kelley about what he called the Hand Controlled Pivot vs. Pivot Controlled Hands.
“The subject for this outing is-the difference between “Alignment Golf” ( hand controlled pivot) and “Position Golf” (pivot controlled hands). Position golf advocates teaching the pivot components (especially) to move from an Address Location to a Top Location to an Impact location to a finish location in such a manner as to cause the Arms to whip the Clubhead along a path that passes through the Ball Location. Then to practice adjusting these various locations to vary and control Ball Behavior.
I know, because I spent 15 years trying to reduce that to shift to some sort of pattern. All the time, with a cry “Golf is an art, and not a science.” ringing far and wide. And to this day. “Einstein was a great engineer but a lousy golfer and” – all engineers are doomed to lousy golfing – unless they ignored engineering, which they apparently do.
“Alignment Golf” holds that the relationships of those “Component Locations”, “Positions” AND “Movements”, with each other along the target line are the “Golfing Imperatives.”
Here is the point of apparent confusion for some seekers. The Hands and the Arms do not substitute for the Pivot. The Pivot is the entire substance of Zone #1 of the G.O.L.F. techniques advocates precision relationships and movements of the Pivot. Which must be educated to make any adjustment of these relationships and movements that Hands declare necessary for avoiding interference with its complete freedom in executing the Three Functions of the Club – those of the Clubshaft, the Clubhead and the Clubface. All three of which must be kept completely coordinated but completely independent – the only procedure available for consistently precise impact.
The advantages of this is obvious in the Golfing. All these factors can be identified, cataloged and assembled into a completely compatible and repeatable – as well as infinitely and voluntarily adjustable Patterns.
So Hand Controlled Pivots are Pivots at their best. Now – what is recommended, is educating the Pivot Components – per Zone 1 – OUT OF THEIR DICTATORIAL FIXED POSITION SYNDROME forthwith! Third with, if possible. At least, get started!!”
Homer Kelley December 1982
Here’s the deal. Club design shows us how the club should set at address AND where the ball position should be.
In this video I am using a wedge, 5 iron and Driver to illustrate how to find your ball position easily. Now there are also a couple of other variables such as downswing angle, hand speed and how your body moves. But for this purpose, focus on the design of the club.
UPDATE: The Golf Channel Academy has informed us that we can no longer share the videos we shot, with you! We chose to cancel our relationship with GCA back in December of 2015 for business reasons and because of that, they tell us, we can no longer use the videos.
But here’s the good news. We will be re-shooting ALL of them in the next few weeks! So for this article we are going to use an image showing the different ball locations on 3 different clubs – wedge, 5 iron and driver.
The first key here is to let your target side arm hang down naturally, it will hang somewhere around the inside of the front thigh. The next key is to set the club down as it is designed.
For irons, this means that the top of the club will be forward of the clubhead – as designed. Look at the amount of forward learn, for example, between the wedge and the 5 iron.
By consistently setting up how the clubs are designed you will find a very consistent ball position. Some players, after getting their ball position, bring the hands back to the center of their body, and that’s OK too. Just try both and let the solidness of contact help you determine which works best for you.
If you are serious about improving your game, just shoot us an email.