Detailed Attention to Swing Fundamentals and Sound Biomechanics
You won’t find any secret moves taught at the Wadden Golf Academy! I only teach fundamentals that are found empirically in swings of the best players in the world and documented through 3-D biomechanical research and high speed video. A golfer’s ability to achieve his/her full potential rests upon the ability to integrate and master golf’s essential fundamentals:
- Forming a correct grip that assures square face-alignment at impact
- Organizing wrist angles correctly at address, the top-of-the-backswing, and again at impact. This creates what I call the back-and-forth “alternating dance” of wrist extension and flexion that facilitates optimal wrist movement throughout the entire swing
- Understanding how well-timed and complementary local rotations of the upper-legs and arms contribute to the global rotation of the entire body
- Organizing this rotation, and optimizing both horizontal and vertical forces within the body, along a correct backward-leaning rotational axis
- A well-balanced and properly-architected finish designed to guide the left shoulder on its correct rotational path through impact
My teaching differentiates itself in two areas: First is an insistence that my students learn a well-formed grip. This critical fundamental is too often diminished by conventional instruction when you hear: “There are three ways to grip the club, choose the one that is most comfortable for you.” Seeking comfort rarely produces a good grip, yet a correct grip feels comfortable immediately. I strongly agree with Ben Hogan, who began the opening sentence in his bestselling book: Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf with the statement “Good golf begins with a good grip.” Second is strict attention to a balanced finish. We show our student’s how to build a properly “architected” finish that enables the body to release toward the target after impact and promotes a sense of purpose that begins right from the start of the swing. The finish defines how the left shoulder moves through the swing, and is critical to creating additional “parametric acceleration” of the clubhead through impact. Sustaining the rotational movement of the left shoulder throughout the hitting area is also necessary to properly square the clubhead, and produces an important extra burst of clubhead speed at impact. We train our students to achieve a proper finish that is so balanced and comfortable … you can’t wait to get there!
The Teaching Sequence Matters
Since the move away from the ball is the initial action a golfer performs, it is intuitive to think that the backswing should be the beginning focus of instruction. Many instructors follow an incremental approach that teaches the swing in a sequential phase beginning with the takeaway, the top-of-the-backswing, down-to-impact, and finally the follow-through. Our students are often taught in the reverse order. First, we show them how a perfect grip facilitates a necessary and powerful “hinge” between the left arm and the club. We then proceed with the “end-in-mind” and teach our students to make a complete, connected, and balanced finish. Our experience shows that remaining problems in the backswing are fewer once a student has mastered the correct grip and follow-through.
This marks an important moment. The rotational requirement to finish the swing in balance typically creates more solid impact and promotes a ball flight that finally begins to draw. This leads to an immediate sense of satisfaction and excitement that one might finally begin to conquer this endlessly complex game of golf. With this as a foundation, we will then teach backswing fundamentals that create proper wrist angles and stretch muscles that instinctively want to unwind into impact. Once our students get their grips and rotational movement and pressure shifts correct, they can then unleash with a powerful release of the club into impact.
Integrated Swing Instruction and Clubfitting
Are you concerned when your instructor refers you to a separate clubfitter? How could your clubfitter have any idea of the progress you are making with your swing? Should I change my equipment now to keep it from interfering with new swing changes … or should I wait to buy new clubs until my swing undergoes its next phase of improvement?
These questions are best answered with an integrated approach to teaching and clubfitting. Identifying the right moment to change equipment is an important decision. Getting it wrong can be expensive. Unless you are 5’10, have a 34”wrist-to-floor measurement, and a 95-100 mph clubhead speed, there will be some aspect of your equipment that will need to be customized to your particular swing and build. We are expert clubfitters with an “open source” approach to clubfitting. With the flexibility to choose among a multitude of competing brands and components, we can help you cost-effectively optimize your existing set of equipment, create a lower-cost custom-fit alternative to the golf superstores, or put you into the highest-end equipment that money can buy.
World Class Putting Instruction and Putter Fitting
Until just a few years ago, putting was considered a black art. You were either a labeled a great putter or terminally diagnosed with the “yips.” Thankfully, some of the most significant strides in golf instruction in recent years have occurred in the area of putting. Putting methods among touring pros are now converging toward a single “neutral” stroke. We will show you the stroke mechanics and timing characteristics the pros are using to achieve such outstanding results.
Confused as to whether to take the putter straight-back-and-straight-through, as putting guru Dave Pelz advocates; or inside-to-square-to-inside, as Stan Utley recommends? We’ll show you why each expert is right in their own regard, and how to integrate both of these concepts correctly into your putting stroke. We’ll also fit your existing putter in a fashion that gets the shaft swinging on a plane perfectly aligned with your forearms, together with a putter head that sits perfectly flat on the ground.
I Specialize in Coaching Competitive Juniors
Developing younger students into top competitors is one of my primary goals. It has not been unusual for me to get 13-15 year old students to go from the low 90’s to the high 70’s within a nine month time frame. From 2009 through the end of 2018, my competitive juniors have won over thirty IJGA, MAJGT and AJGA events. Six of my students have been ranked in the top-ten in state for their graduation year. One was ranked #1 in Illinois for two consecutive years.
Not only do I teach competitive juniors, but I was a parent to them as well. My two children competed at the highest levels in both high school and college. Laura was one of the fastest butterfliers in Illinois history and graduated from Stanford as Co-Captain of the swim team. Jack swam on the state high school championship swim team, was ranked top ten in Class 3A high school golf, and went on to become Co-Captain of the Williams College crew team. I understand what it takes for kids in high school to be successful in sports at both the local and national level, and can help your child develop appropriate competitive ambitions and realize them. You’ll also hear me continually stress how important their academic success is to being recruited by college golf coaches.