Full Swing Coaching Program Practice with Team Guru with special guest Nicklaus Sutton

Three years ago I transformed my teaching into purely “Long Term Coaching Programs” which include supervised practices with the team #teamguru. Here is an opening presentation of a full swing session with a few guys where I discuss the difference between “blocked vs. random” practice and the key to getting your range swing to the golf course. I had the help of my son, Nicklaus who is one of the top juniors in NC. He was gracious enough to hit some shots for us and talk about what we are working on together.


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Thanks for reading and watching


The Daily Guru – Episode 3 “College Coaches and Recruiting”

coastncaaWhat’s up everyone? Like I said in my first entry, this will be a whats on my mind, brain dump, journal like space. Not worrying too much about structure, punctuation or grammar (although my left brain won’t let me hit the button without a spell check). I know that will drive a few of you crazy, so save your text messages and DM’s…not to mention any names….@kevinjpmurray¬†ūüôā just kidding my friend. ¬†So let me tell you about my day. Today was a big day for my son, Nicklaus, who is a freshman in High School. He had his first recruiting visit today with UNCC and coach Cabbage. I know for those of you who aren’t dealing with golf recruiting might think this is too early but it’s not. There are several kids in his class whom have already committed…which I am not a big fan of…but I continue. I have been very fortunate over my career to coach several players that have gone onto play college golf but honestly until the last couple of years I haven’t spent the time to learn the rules and regulations of the recruiting process and how the coaches deal with players, evaluate them and ultimately how I can improve the chances of the players that I coach in playing college golf. We had an outstanding day as I was able to step back and observe Nicklaus and the coach get to know each other, ask questions and get a feel of college life as a student athlete. Coach Cabbage did a great job of giving Nick the picture and the vision of his outstanding program and a fantastic job of making us feel comfortable with the entire process of recruiting with honest answers to all of our questions. I have great respect for Coach Cabbage as one of my players just committed to play there andimages (4) today just deepened my trust in every way. I won’t divulge everything that we talked about today out of respect for coach but I will share with you a few thoughts about what I have learned from this process and how it may help you if you are a coach (or a parent) or a player wanting to play college golf. I will learn more as I go through this process as a parent/coach. We have another visit at NC State this Saturday. Good times for sure.

First, A few thoughts on college coaches from a swing coach’s perspective. The college golf coach should not recruit a kid and then attempt to become his/her swing coach. You recruited the kid because of their talent and potential and it is important not to mess with that. The great coaches such as my friend, Derek Radley (UofA womens asst.) stress the importance of the relationship between the college coach and the kids Swing Coach.¬†If I were the college coach, that would be the first phone call that I made to get a good idea of their work ethic, potential, attitude and a read on the parents. Yes the parents. If the kid does come and play for them, they already have a relationship with the swing coach if the kid starts to struggle. There is no excuse with coaching apps like Edufii which allows for you to invite the college coach into the training space in order for them to see what you are working on with the player. Such a great feature. ¬† It is ok for them to be another set of eyes as long as they know what they are working on. The college coaches job is to evaluate talent, recruit, motivate, listen, lead, keep stats (pulse checks on strengths and weaknesses) and structure practices in order to get the most out of their players. I have just heard too many stories from kids (usually from mini-tour players when its too late) that the coach is looking at trackman numbers and wanting me to change what made them great.

2. Play as many of the big tournaments that you can get into. If you aren’t qualified then play whatever you can to get that experience. There is a big difference in playing your daily games with your friends, giving putts and for fun than when you have to post a score in a tournament with tough pins, less than optimal weather conditions and with better players. The more you do it the more comfortable you will become. If you don’t know what to play in, ask your swing coach.

3. Pick the colleges that you would like to attend. Start with your dream list and then pick some that you know that you can likely play for and start sending out emails introducing yourself, your past tournament results and your upcoming playing schedule so they can come out and watch you play. You can email or call coaches and talk to them but they can’t respond or call you until Sept. 1 of your junior year. Other than a questionnaire that they will send you after you contact them which is code word for (You are on the radar).

****Tip of the Day for juniors going through the recruiting process: coaches are not just looking at your scores although they are important. They are looking at things like: attitude when you hit a bad shot or have a bad hole. How do you bounce back? You all act right when you hit a good shot or make a birdie..learn to control your emotions. 2) How you dress. Are you matching with your shirt tucked in and your clothes pressed? Or are you a wrinkled mess with your shirt half way out. I know there are great players that might dress sloppy but you are not making a good impression. 3) How do you treat your fellow competitors? with respect of are you…as they….the kid that no-one wants to play with. I am not saying you have to talk the entire round but be respectful and compliment them on good play. Lastly, carry yourself with confidence. As I like to call it “Take up some space”. Good players have a way about the way they walk, talk and handle themself on the golf course. If you don’t know what that looks like, watch Jordan Speith.

Enough for today. Send me some questions on twitter, instagram or snap-chat #askguru or comment and don’t be afraid to share




Meet The Mastermind Crew “The Next Generation of Great Teachers”

Just in case you missed it. I got the mastermind crew together, (Charlie King called us the next great teachers) for a little roundtable discussion at the PGA Show. There were two members missing, Sara Dickson and Switzerland (JG) but they were not forgotten as they were involved in many sidebar discussions during the week. Stay tuned for the next twitter academy. You have to watch the last episode to find out what is next for the group. There is talks of a major group golf school that could pop up later this year. Who would sign up for that? What a great mix of talent would be assembled and big things are coming for 2012. I hope you enjoy the #Roundtwitter Golf Discussion with Jason Helman, Rob McGill, Andrew Marr, Dennis Sales and Kirk Oguri (listed as seated). Thanks again for our good friend Ricky Lee Potts for moderating and Eric Ballard for filming it.  Follow these guys on twitter for more #banter and knowledge than you can stand

Follow me on twitter @golfgurutv and I will see you on the lesson tee @ Carmel CC



I Want To Talk To You About Your Flare (not flair)

As I strive to learn more about the golf swing and ultimately help my students play better, I often turn to my golf pro friends through my social media connections. Whether it is one of the many groups that I am in on Facebook or my favorite way to exchange ideas,Twitter.com. So I was curious about what everyone thought about FOOT FLARE¬†or the positioning of the feet at address and how it impacted a golfers swing. As¬†I write this post I will tell you that I don’t have all the answers but experience and reasearch have their place because I can tell you what has worked for me as I will give you my opinion on this subject and give you some options that might help. But I want to share with you first what my colleagues answered when I posed the question: How much foot flare (with both feet) do you teach and feel is important and why? Here is what I got:

mikesparkspgamike sparks

@golfgurutv depends on body type. Barrel chested unflexible person needs more right foot flare to get behind the ball
andrewmarrgolfAndrew Marr, PGA

@golfgurutv yes – encourages more pivot and takes pressure off joints – not sure there is a standard but

@golfgurutv for golfers with average hip mobility, feet flared 20-30* with narrower stance works best. Reduces knee and back stress
golfwithgregGreg Baresel

@golfgurutv 15 to 20 degrees. Stability and rotation.
Sara_PGASara Dickson, PGA

@golfgurutv was just at Stack & Tilt academy 2 days ago. Always about 30* w/ lead foot & we also increased my back foot from little to 20*
Sara_PGASara Dickson, PGA

@golfgurutv Front foot flare allows hip slide. Back foot flare helps hip rotation on Bs and for me slower body rotation on Ds for faster pa4
mattdgolfMatt Diederichs

@Sara_PGA @golfgurutv Less lateral shear force on knee joints IMO as well. Big difference!
BradReddingGolfBrad Redding

@golfgurutv OK back to original question. Trail foot square lead foot flair towards target.
So it seems that most are in favor of some foot flare. 10 to 30 degrees seems to be the consensus on the front foot. The back foot seemas to be mixed a bit.Some want it square and some flared.  So here is how I see it. I would love to hear from more coaches and players with their opinions as I am just trying to learn what is the best way for the player. From my experience:
1. One of the most consistent swing errors that I see is the trail hip moving lateral in the backswing (sometimes even moving the weight to the outside of the rear shoe). This can cause you to limit your shoulder rotation and throw off your timing and sequence in the downswing. It often happens when the player is trying to keep their hips still (X Factor). With a limited shoulder turn, your hands/arms and the club cannot get deep (more behind you) enough to have a chance to returning the club on plane or from the inside without a huge plane shift.
2. Secondly, I see so many golfers that have been drilled into their heads the importance of turning through the downswing that they don’t have enough lateral slide toward to target to allow the hands/arms club shaft to drop to the inside enough. They spin the body, keep their weight back too long and end up cutting across the ball. I call these players, “BACK SIDED SPIN DOCTORS”
So how will foot flare help these problems and why?
I would suspect that it has a lot to do with knee, hip and ankle mobility for sure so this should be checked. I work with som many golfers that have had knee and ankle injuries and foot positioning is crucial for these folks.
RIGHT FOOT FLARE:¬†Angling your rear foot out 10 to 20 degrees will increase your ability to extend your rear leg and rotate your hips more. More hip rotation will increase your shoulder rotation. If you don’t think you turn your shoulders enough, check this and you will see what i mean. The right knee will change flexion on the backswing. Look at any good player and you will see this. I didn’t say straighten but change, very important. If you try to keep your right knee flexed and don’t let your hips turn……Unless you are extremely hypermobile….I would expect you to shoot somewhere in the low 200’s.

Both Feet Square "Blocked"

SQUARE FOOT: You will see golfers with this back foot position and you can do it if you have good hip/knee/ankle mobility. It is easier to roll to the outside of your rear foot with your weight in this position so be careful.

LEAD FOOT FLARE:Probably the most important foot position in the golf swing: Teachers like Mac O’Grady

Lead Flare back Square

and many others have spoken of the importance of left foot flare. So what benefit will you have by flaring your foot 10-30 degrees.

1. It allows for the hips to slide laterally longer in the downswing which slows down the shoulder rotation (keeps you spin doctors at bay). This allows time to drop the club to the inside much easier. So If you are a cut across slicer, you probably need more slide and less turn for sure.
2. It takes pressure off of the left knee¬†as it allows the knee to get over or slightly outside the ankle joint before starting to straighten (or post)……Does Tiger Woods come to mind?¬†His new more centered pivot requires more hip and knee slide toward the target which is easier on his bad knee…hmmmm? And he has more foot flare as well. ¬†Less injury to the knees and ankles can’t be bad, right?
BOTH FEET FLARED = DUCK STANCE (best of both worlds)

The Duck Stance "My recommendation"


I see so many of my students that start with a square lead foot and pick it up and turn their toes toward the target and wonder why….Because it should have been there to begin with.
When you are watching football this weekend, pay close attention to the position of the place kickers lead foot and how that affects his ability to slide forward, swing his leg from the inside and turn his hips through the strike.
Ok, so that’s my take on foot flare. Would love to hear what you think as I am trying to learn and the more I look at players on the PGA tour the more different everyone looks so we need to make some sense of it all. Until then…..
Follow me on twitter @twitter.com/golfgurutv
See you on the lesson tee at Carmel,

An Interview With Rickyleepotts.com (An Inside Look At The Guru)


Thank you Ricky for the opportunity to talk to you and share a little about myself. You are a great friend and I have learned so much from you. I hope everyone enjoyed the interview.

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel,


Guru’s Update from Carmel CC

As you all know, I have recently changed jobs (or maybe you didn’t know) and am now the Director of Instruction at beautiful Carmel CC in Charlotte, NC. It is an awesome 36 hole private facility with a newly renovated Reece Jones designed South Course that is second to none. I have been overwhelmed with all of the well wishes from friends and family and your prayers are working because things could not have gone better in the first two weeks. Beginning with the outstanding staff from Jeff Nichols (DOI), Patrick Seather¬†(HP) to the shop staff (Brandon, Adam, Chris, Dan, Fallon and Brett)…they have made the transition so easy with all of the help. Most of all, my new team of outstanding¬†Instructors (Eerik¬†Kauppinen¬†and Clint Udell) have been so gracious and helpful in¬†showing me how to get around all the day-to-day¬†processes that are vital to our success. They are so open to change and have a passion for getting better which is why we have all jelled¬†together as if we have been working together a lot¬†longer than 2 weeks. The members at Carmel have received¬†me with open arms and have been so nice as I walk the range everyday and run into them in the golf shop or in the locker room. I am very excited to provide them with new and exciting programs and help take the already excellent instruction to the next level. My staff and I have already made some nice changes that the members are taking advantage of such as 1)upgrading our video analysis software (V1¬†Branded Academy) which allows us to email the before and after swings with voice over of what we covered in the lesson to the members. We have had a lot¬†of positive feedback on this already which is exciting. I have put together two new ladies programs and one adult short game school which has been well received. I am also bringing AIMPOINT technologies green reading (with the help of John Graham: senior instructor) in November. If there are any spots open after the next two weeks, I will open the two clinics to non-members. If you have any interest in attending, send me a message via twitter, email or Facebook). I just put together the entire schedule for 2012 which is chalked full of new and exciting programs for the members.

We have an outstanding facility with two hitting bays that allow us to open the doors and hit out into the range protected from the elements. Fitting capabilities with all the major manufacturers. It is only going to get better as we will make some upgrades to the building that will include indoor netting for cold weather and a putting studio with TOMI putting video software along with Coutour Custom fit putters.

Now that I am settled in, look for new upcoming episodes of Guru TV, featuring guest appearances from my staff instructors, Eerik and Clint (@clintudellpga on twitter). I have received many questions about whether I can teach non-members. As the members are my first priority, I can fill in the gaps with non-members. Feel free to contact me on my cell or you can simply call the golf shop (704-945-3300) or the learning center (704-668-9201)

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel CC,


Tiger’s Swing Changes – Has the Student Been Left Out Of the Process? Or Is Foley Salesman Of the Year?

I was recently asked by a friend of mine and fellow teaching professional of mine about what I thought of Tigers swing changes. This seems to be a hot topic in teaching circles since the sudden drop off of Tigers performance in the last year or so. Since the personal scandal that he has gone through, he has changed coaches (Haney to Foley) and now caddies¬†(Williams to LaCava). I have set back and listened to everyone’s¬†opinion on the situation and now I want to give you my two cents. As I understand the possibility¬†of criticism¬†from colleagues, peers and plenty of coaches that are way smarter than myself……I can take it! See as everyone focuses on Tigers swing changes which are vitally important and I will comment on, I want to bring another spin on things from a coaching perspective which is…..What does the student or in this case, Tiger….want from a ball flight perspective and from a past history angle. So here goes: I have posted 2 swings. 1 from 2008 and the other from this year to allow you to see the changes that Tiger and Sean have made.

1) The most obvious difference is the hand and arm plane in the takeaway. He is noticeably more inside with his hand and lead arm with the club more upright. In 08 his hands drifted away from his body with more forearm rotation with the shaft flatter at halfway back. As a coach I prefer this move as I spend alot of time fixing rollers and spinners of the shaft and club face.

2) the second change is with his arm plane/shoulder plane¬†at the top and body pivot. Old Tiger had a flatter shoulder plane, higher arm plane and allowed his head to move behind the ball. The new changes are completely opposite. His shoulder plane is steeper, left arm is lower and head stays more steady at the top which from a coaching standpoint all matchup or what I call cancel each other out…..hope that makes sense.


The Good Part

As coaches, it is our job to work towards the goals of the students that we are working with. We all know that Tigers goals is to win majors, this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about connecting with and understanding the students needs. ¬†When working with a player I want to find out there tendencies or their big miss and ¬†work towards a pattern that avoids this miss. The question is did Foley really look at the swing characteristics and shot patterns that worked for Tiger in the past or is he so blinded by the philosophy that he thinks is superior or pattern of development that is the most efficient that he is not listening to his student. I don’t know the answer. Tiger is a very intelligent man and you would think that he would question every change for explanation why? Maybe Sean Foley is the greatest salesman in the world¬†and has a logical explanation for the changes and has sold¬†arguably the greatest golfer in the¬†world that¬†THIS is the way to go….¬†and that is great.¬†It seems to me that Tiger is doing exactly what Foley wants in his swing¬†changes but obviously they arent¬†producing¬†the results.¬†Is it too early, I don’t know. Only time will tell. Personally,¬†I think estetically¬†his swing looks great as I love the way the stack and tilt hybrid looks to the eye. This is what Mac¬†O’Grady and the M.O.R.A.D. boys would call very SEXY with the CP release that¬†is low and around (and I totally agree. I would totally date that girl)……….:)

What I Would Do

but the facts are:¬†Tiger has always been too shallow on the downswing¬†which lowering his left arm and moving more weight forward¬†would seem to¬†accentuate which makes no sense to me. He always seemed to play better with a higher left arm (which I know doesn’t fit the pattern) but its true. This kept the¬†club more¬†in front of him and on plane and also taller through the strike. ¬†So the question remains.” Has the student been left out of the process?” I hope not because as a big TDub fan, golf needs him to make a comeback and I would love to see it.¬†I hope that team Tiger proves me wrong as if anyone could make it work, its¬†Tiger. Remember,¬†teaching is a moving target and it is our job as coaches and ambassadors of the game to figure out what our students need. If there was one way to move the club, they would all look the same……..And even the average bystander could tell that this isn’t the case. Comments are always welcome.

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel CC,

Guru …..I do teach non-members. To schedule a lesson,¬†simply call the golf shop @704-945-3300 or the learning center directly @704-688-9201.¬†If you have my cell number, you know what to do!¬†

p.s. made it through my first week and loving my new gig. There are great things to come!

Guru TV – Body Pivot Options: Neutral vs. Positive

The body is the engine of the swing. After you train the hands and arms effectively then¬†you can focus on your body¬†pivot. In the past I have talked about matching components. Different pieces put together correctly¬†that allow you to swing the club on the correct swing plane. You can’t get these mixed up or you will not hit the ball your best. Here are the different combinations that I prescribe for the best results:

Neutral Pivot (Option 1) Рsteeper shoulder plane, higher right hip, centered head position. I recommend coupling with a flatter hand/arm plane to balance out the swing.

Chad Campbell – Option 1

Positive Pivot (Option 2) Рflatter shoulder plane, level hips, spine tilted away from target. Head moves a half of a head away from target. I recommend a more a more upright arm plane to match. Requires a bigger slide forward with the hips and hand drop from the top to balance out hsp.

Ryan Moore Option 2


Follow me on twitter @twitter.com/golfgurutv or by clicking the button at the top right portion on the blog.

See you on the lesson tee,


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