The first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is in the books. Phil Mickelson hit every fairway. He hasn’t done that in 20 years. The question is, should we swing more like Matthew Woolf who performed quite well last week at the Phoenix Open or should we swing more like our good friend Ho Sung Choy, who’s made his first appearance on American soil at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Let’s tee it up!
Welcome to Data Axis Golf, Your home for Rapid Golf Improvement. And now from the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, next on the number one tee, your host, Aaron Stewart.
Hello everyone! Welcome to another episode of Data Axis Golf – “the podcast”. Is that dramatic enough? Anyway, it’s great to have the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in the books. We’ve got a couple players up at the top that we’ve talked about previously. Brian Gay is known to be a very short player but playing very well and then Scott Langley, a good player. He’s been coming up and doing really well through the rates, playing some good golf. So, just looking at their scores really briefly, they both shot 64 at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the short course which is gorgeous, great course, shorter.
Obviously, the tour pros are having an easier time of it. It’s also interesting to see that they’ve taken all the big names and stuck them over on and PCC to make sure that they’re available at Pebble Beach both Saturday and Sunday. For those that make the cut, it’s a three-day cut this week. Anyway, so we’ve got all the big names over there we had some really good scores over there. It’s the shortest course. It tends to be the one that they score really well on. I’ve played the short course a number of times. I don’t know how they score so well on it because it absolutely chews me up and spits me out. It’s gorgeous, the place. It’s a wonderful course and fun to see them work their way around it. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful courses.
As far as Brian Gay, again, we’re just gonna get a look at the scorecards real quick. A front 9-29-5-under par and he went five birdies in a row from holes five denying birdie them all. So pretty amazing! He threw in a bogey on the back nine with two with three more birdies and boom! There you have it a 64-7. Scott Langley- a 31 and a 33 with one bogey on the back nine and one bogey on the front nine. So, again, two really cool 64s and -7 to be interesting to see how they perform today.
Phil Mickelson Missing The Fairway
It’s kind of fun to Phil Mickelson, he did a quick little video. I saw it on Instagram, where he was saying that this was the first time, ever, in his career that he had hit every single fairway. And that turns out, after doing just a little bit of research, that’s not true. About 20 years ago, he did it once, but it’s been a long time, right? A couple of decades, which I was going back and forth, texting with a friend this morning. Greg, good morning to you. The point was kind of being how funny that we as amateurs, we get so down on ourselves when we miss a fairway. Whereas, we look on tour, some of these benchmarks that we’ve been talking about it and setting up in order for us to sort of manage our own games, to manage our own expectations, and keep them realistic. This is the first time in 20 years Phil has hit every fairway. If we don’t hit every fairway, we freaked out a little bit. And it’s about backing off, keeping our expectations low, keeping the frustration level down. And just realizing that you know, I’m more dealing in microseconds and millimeters that sometimes things, are going to go wrong and we’re not going to hit every single fairway even if we’re swinging it at 95 miles an hour. So that was kind of a nice reminder and so we’ll keep going that direction.
Rapid Learning of Golf Thru Technology & Instant Feedback
One thing I wanted to kind of point some light on really quickly is just because that we’re into rapidly learning and all that. If you go to golf.com, there’s a little article that’s been put out there by one Leitch. If that’s wrong, somebody can correct me. He’s 43 years old. He’s a skeptic, I guess, non-golfing skeptics. He never played and he is now going to try to learn to play golf in the next year. He’s basically using the same coach that’s kind of got Charles Barkley. playing a little bit better
As you read the article there are some things that I like. I think that he might have an opportunity, within a year to play decent golf. We won’t say, you know, perfect golf, but decent golf in that this coach Tattersall likes to use a lot of different technology and feedback. I’ve said time and time again, I believe with instant feedback, accurate feedback, that anybody can get a lot better at golf very quickly much more so than we’ve ever been able to do in the past. So this will be kind of a fun test to see how it goes. There are still some skeptics out there that say no, you, you know you can’t, you can’t do it. I was one of those. I have been brutally honest to people who started the game late and told him that they don’t have time to ever get good at golf. I now find that position to be completely wrong. It’s false. With all the technology and opportunity that we have to get better and get proper feedback, we can get a lot better at golf much more quickly than ever. So this will be fun to watch. So if you want to take some time to watch, that’s on golf.com. I will definitely keep an eye on it. I think it’s going to be interesting. And as far as have I seen others and get better with golf? Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of folks using technology get better at golf. The aforementioned Greg that I was talking about, he’s gotten much better at golf. He knows his golf swing far better because of some work with technology that he’s put in. I saw in my own children. I essentially took a brand-new golfer in my kids and turned them into players that could shoot in the mid-80s in a month from really nothing. Had I been able to convince them to go out and chip and putt and practice that part of the game, I think they could have shot in the 70s.
Matthew Wolff Golf Swing vs Ho Sung Choi Swing
But what I wanted to get into kind of the main point of today and I’ve wanted to do this one for a little while, it’s talking about these swings, these sort of homegrown natural swings. And over the course of the last two weeks, we’ve seen some pretty interesting ones. This Matthew Wolff, who’s of Oklahoma State Fame, sunk the winning putt for his team. Pressure player, very athletic, very skilled. He scores the ball well. He got a sponsor’s exemption at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He played really, really, amazingly well to make the cut the first two days. And they kind of struggled the last two when I think reality kind of sat in. But he’s got a very unorthodox swing. I guess he had some coaches to try to fix a swing or change a swing. And this one coach that he’s with now, said absolutely not. I’m not going to touch it. It’s very well documented that when Dustin Johnson first went to Butch Harmon bowed wrist at the top of the swing. But he said, hey yeah I’m not touching that for fear that we’d never see you again. Maybe on the PGA Tour, so there’s definitely some folks out there to believe that you shouldn’t touch a swing.
Our second example of a pretty unorthodox, well an unorthodox golf movement, I guess, if you will, is Ho Sung Choi, who’s come over from Korea. He got a sponsor’s exemption into the AT&T and kind of had a tough time yesterday. But then kind of brought it on and finished I think one over par 72. But he got, at one point for over par, so he had to work pretty hard to get that back. People have their fun with him on social media and things not so much for his swing but for his follow-through antics. And there were some interviews where he claims that he’s trying to control the ball with his body. Stating that his body’s acting as a remote control for the ball, which I think we’ve all done at some points in our lives and realized that that doesn’t work.
But anyway, so the question then for the podcast was, which should we you know which swing? should we emulate? It’s kind of a trick question because my knee-jerk is always going to be neither. You know you figure out your own swing and there are some ways we do that. And I’ve talked about Fred Shoemaker and how he has this process where you actually throw clubs and figure out your natural motion. You listen to your body and figure out your natural motion on how to propel an object down a fairway. If you really want to get into that and learn how to do that, then you should buy his book, Extraordinary Golf. It’s got it all in there and how to do it and how to figure it out. I found that to be wonderfully helpful in figuring out how your body moves. The beauty of that club throwing practice is that, at any time, our bodies are going to change. And as we get older, they’re going to change. But there’s something inside of us that knows the
best way for us to move at any particular time in our lives and that’s just innate, that’s just built in. It’s the same innate knowledge that we have when we walk and when we breathe and when we hear a noise and turn around quickly. All of this stuff that we don’t think about but just happens automatically, that’s what creates this opportunity for us to figure out how we can most efficiently move. And it works for the golf swing as well so this club throwing motion this idea of propelling something instead of hitting something is what puts us into a place where we can actually have beautiful golf swings very, very quickly. And Fred shoemaker is masterful at teaching that principle, I love it and then once you get that movement down, now we can get into the nitty-gritty of swing plane and impact and all that. And that’s where the technology comes in and the feedback and all that can make it’s really really good.
Comparing the Matthew Wolff golf swing and the whole song choice swing just on the fundamentals, it’s hosting choice. It’s not him close fundamentally, he is pretty close. He takes the club a little outside. Matthew Wolff takes it way outside, gets a super high at the top has to really drop it down. Again, it’s a very extreme two plane move and then brings away from the inside. Anyway, it’s great. He’s got this huge trigger or he opens up his whole body and goes into it. I mean, it’s quite a dramatic move, one that nobody would ever teach definitely homegrown dug out of the dirt whatever you want to say.
Somebody on Instagram, I don’t remember who it was, put up you know Matthew Wolfe swing is and then it left a blank so a bunch of us you know filled out stuff as you do. Mine was, I think I put concerning or um something like that and then went on to explain my concerns with Matthew Wolff’s swing. As he gets older and he loses flexibility, this violence and we’ve learned now, research has come out, that this whole idea of the X-Factor of keeping our lower body sort of stationary and then twisting our spine around in order to generate a lot of speed that’s really hurting our backs that’s just the way it is. I think we all kind of knew that was going to be the case we’ve seen with Tiger Woods. That’s just gonna be the case. We’re swinging the clubs faster and harder and more violently and so we’re gonna we bring into injury. So that’s my concern with Matt Wolff’s golf swing.
I would never ever teach anybody that. But some of the comments I got back we’re like “you’ve never played on tour you don’t know”, “show me your first check”. I mean that see people can get pretty crazy. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal for us to have opinions and just kind of get along. Maybe it’s cuz we’re all following the example of Washington DC right now. I have no idea but that’s just it, that’s just my concern. I believe in simplicity so you take out every crazy ridiculous move that doesn’t make sense to make your swing as simple as possible. Now, for a touring pro and these guys that are going out and doing it and that has all the technology and all the coaching and can practice eight hours a day, Hey do whatever you want, okay. I’m just talking about the amateur ranks. We don’t have that opportunity so we want to simplify our swings as much as possible. And Matthew Wolff swing is not simple, it’s a very complex series of unorthodox moves that work out because he is so brilliantly athletic and his timing is impeccable where he can make it work. Folks were not Matthew Wolff so don’t go off and trying to emulate his swing or copy it you’ve got your own swing and you can figure that out and how your body works by this club throwing practice this motion and figuring out how you propel a club. I’m guaranteeing you that if we took Matthew Wolff and said: “Hey Matthew throw this club down the fairway” and recorded that. It wouldn’t look anything like his swing he’s created. This it works for him and all that that’s not his natural move, no way. Ho Sung Choi is pretty close. His theatrics happen after the balls are gone and he’s got that you know leg kick that he came out and said he developed that leg kick to give him an extra 20 yards off the tee. And if he picked up an extra 20 yards off the tee with the late kick good for him. I might try it. An extra 20 yards for a late kick give me that all day and then all the theatrics after that. I think he’s gonna get hurt but that’s always my concern after losing a year of golf to an injury. I think that I’m just a little paranoid I guess my final point would be so for us amateurs when we get this feedback and we have the opportunity to get better, we should take it we should simplify our golf swings. We should figure out how our bodies moved and that will help us improve to be better golfers much more quickly than ever before because with better data always comes better golf. Thanks.
Thanks listening to Data Axis Golf with Aaron Stewart. Check us out online at dataaxisgolf.com and we’ll see you in the next episode.