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Archive for the ‘Golf Instruction’ Category

Purgatory Golf heads to Golf 365

By: Tony Adragna on March 27th, 2014

As we all know, Indiana winters can be brutal, especially for golfers who want to get out and practice their game. But now, with Golf365 in Noblesville, you no longer have to take four months off from golf.

Junior Golfer, Clay Merchent, and Purgatory’s Director of Golf, Mike Merchent, show you around the indoor golf facility, from the putting greens and target rooms to the golf simulator, in the video below.

Changing Your Golf Game – Lesson 4

By: Tony Adragna on November 26th, 2013

Purgatory Golf Club’s owner and Golf Professional, Mike Merchent, is going to take a former athlete with little golf experience, Tony Adragna, and transform his golf game over the course of the winter. This will be documented through our series, Changing Your Golf Game.

In lesson 4, Mike continues refining Tony’s Elbow Drill, this time really focusing on Tony’s hip movement on his downswing.

Changing Your Golf Game – Web Series

By: Tony Adragna on November 8th, 2013

Purgatory Golf Club’s owner and Golf Professional, Mike Merchent, is going to take a former athlete with little golf experience, Tony Adragna, and transform his golf game over the course of the winter. This will be documented through our series, Changing Your Golf Game.

So far, Mike and Tony have gone through three lessons, and Tony’s posture and pivot have already started to dramatically change.  To view each of the three lessons, see below.

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Changing Your Golf Game – Lesson 2

By: Tony Adragna on October 24th, 2013

Purgatory Golf Club’s owner and Golf Professional, Mike Merchent, is going to take a former athlete with little golf experience, Tony Adragna, and transform his golf game over the course of the winter. This will be documented through our series, Changing Your Golf Game.

In lesson two, Mike refines Tony’s elbow drill and gives him some other tips and pointers to help his swing.  Video is provided below.

Transcript

Mike Merchent: Okay, we’re back here today with Tony, we’re gonna check on his
elbow drill. See how he is doing and get an update here.
Tony Adragna: Alright
Mike Merchent: Tony, just do your elbow drill. Don’t put a whole lot of thought
through it right now. Just stand up there naturally and go through your progressions.
Tony Adragna: Okay
Mike Merchent: Okay. Now do it. Face the camera ill bring it out here
Tony Adragna: Okay
Mike Merchent: One more time. One, two, three, four. Okay. So what were gonna
do today is more of a supervised practice. It’s not a lesson, but it’s taking what
we’ve worked on last week in the elbow drill and refining it a little bit, okay?
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: Now, go ahead and setup like you’re gonna make an elbow drill
from that position face on. Okay. Go ahead and bend from your knees a little bit,
bending more from your hips. Okay. A little bit more on that. Okay there you go.
That’s position one. Now from position one to two let’s clean this up.
Tony Adragna: Okay
Mike Merchant: This right knee, or this left knee right here is gonna stay right there.
You’re not gonna let that left knee get outside of that left foot. Okay.
Tony Adragna: OkayMike Merchent: You’re not gonna lower your chin, your chin is gonna stay right
there. Okay. So from this position going back. Hold that position right there. Now,
I’m gonna ask you to flatten your left foot. See how it pulled that knee a little bit?
There you go. That’s a much more specific position. That’s position two from
position two to three go ahead and shift to your right, Okay. Hold that position right
there. Now, just move this knee in just a little bit. There you go. And three to four,
go ahead and rotate on up and through.
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: Okay? One more time.
Mike Merchent: That movement probably feels a lot less than what you have been
doing.
Tony Adragna: Mhm
Mike Merchent: is that accurate?
Tony Adragna: Yeah, definitely
Mike Merchent: Okay, see, you move, your range of motion is good but you actually
move too much. So I’m not really adding anything to your basic motion here. I’m
subtracting it, I’m pulling in what you already do so
Tony Adragna: Yeah
Mike Merchent: You’re really not adding anything you’re actually subtracting which
is probably a little surprising to you
Tony Adragna: Yeah, definitely
Mike Merchent: Okay. Now we’ve seen Tony do a couple front views and a couple
side views. I’m gonna go ahead and make some of my recommendations to Tony so that he can follow what I’m asking him to do he can actually see me do it. I’ll take
this club put it behind my back. We’ve got that part down real good. Stance width
you can get a little wider with your feet so we might need to get something to help
you spread your feet out just a little bit. This is position number 1 to 2 here’s what I
like you to focus on. Keep your left foot flat on the ground. Keep your left knee
right where it is. We’re gonna shift that weight in to your left hip like your left
buttocks is gonna go out over your foot. Now notice if you are to draw a straight
line from between my left foot, my left hip and my head, they’re pretty much at a
straight line relationship right there. But you do not get outside of that left foot.
Now, from position 2 to position 3 were gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna shift
my weight over my right foot. Moving my hips out from underneath me. And now
you can see how my right foot, my knee, and my hip are in a straight line? And then
I go ahead and point the club toward the ball. Okay. So my knees don’t get outside
of my feet. My hips don’t get outside of my feet. And then – rotate through. So,
something to think about here is, weren’t our body – our hips, shoulders, were not
gonna get outside of our feet. Okay? Our head, wer’e not gonna rock over here.
We’re not gonna let the knee bow out and let the hip get out on either direction.
We’re not gonna let our head get outside of our feet. We’re gonna stay in these two
imaginary lines drawn up from the outside of both of our feet. So when I go back to
my left side, I keep that left foot flat on the ground keep that left knee right where it
is and I just let the weight shift a little bit and I point the club down to the ball. All
that weight right there in that left foot that left knee. Now it’s over on my right foot.
Okay? So, both of our feet, imaginary lines on the outsides of those feet were gonna
work within those lines
Mike Merchent: Okay, that’s good stance width right there. Got the club back there.
Behind your back
Okay so, really focusing now on your left foot realize how flat the left foot is right
there and recognize where your left knee is right there. You’re gonna keep that foot
and knee right there as you move back. Okay, slowly go back. Hold that position
right there. This is a really good position. If I were to draw a straight line between
his left foot, his knee, and his hip and his head they’re all in a straight line
relationship and you’re behind the ball. Okay?
Tony Adragna: Mhm.
Mike Merchent: Now from there, you’re just gonna ever so slightly in control motion
shift that weight through your right foot. Okay hold that position right there. I want
you to recognize that you’re in a very similar position as you were at address.
Tony Adragna: Mhm.Mike Merchent: And now that right knee is right over your right foot. And your right
hip, just gonna keep rotating a little bit, let that right leg straighten. Let the right
leg straighten a little bit. Keep going. Don’t turn more just let it straighten. There
you go. Now that’s impact. And then rotate through. There you go.
Tony Adragna: K
Mike Merchent: So, we’re controlling the motion more. You’re not moving as much
as you had been
Tony Adragna: Mhm.
Mike Merchent: So we’ve taken what you were doing and we’re tightening things
up.
Tony Adragna: Yep.
Mike Merchent: Okay.
Tony Adragna: Aright.
Mike Merchent: Do that one more time. So just like I’ve said, we’re gonna get more
specific, more detailed. And that’s what we’re doing here we’ve given you the basic
elbow drill last week. Now, just a little more specific. Hold that right there. Shift to
your right. Hold that right there. And then, with this hip here, keep rotating under
and through. There you go. There you go. Now, notice how Tony has nice
separation now between his knees when he goes back. In position number two of
your elbow drill you used to be like this. Let me show you what you’re used to be
like. That club is moving back, this right knee would kick in and you have no space
here. Okay?
Tony Adragna: Yep.Mike Merchent: Now, you go in position number 1 to 2. You got some nice space
and separation between your thighs. Now one of the things that I can show you or
do for you..
 Put that basketball in between your two legs. And not in your knees as much.
Get a little higher because – a little higher than that. Okay. Now, from there, setup
your position 1. That basketball is gonna force you to do a little hip and shoulder
separation. Okay?
Tony Adragna: Yep.
Mike Merchent: Just get in position 1 right there. Okay. As you go to position two, it
keeps your thigh separated. Okay now, you just bumped outside a little too much.
There you go. Right there. And then to your right. And then rotate around. There
you go. So that ball forces you to have a little separation between your legs,
doesn’t let your knees get as wobbly Okay?
Tony Adragna: Yep.
Mike Merchent: Doesn’t let your knees collapse on you. Okay?
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: I hope this elbow drill is gonna help you because I know that it’s
helping Tony. We’re gonna keep posted on Tony’s progress here at least once a
week. This is lesson number two, getting a little more specific in the elbow drill.
Watch Tony. He is gonna get better. You imitate it at home, you’ll get better too.

How to fix hitting the golf ball with the toe of the club

By: Tony Adragna on October 21st, 2013

In this video Director of Golf Mike Merchent explains why junior golfer, Clay, is hitting his ball off the toe. It turns out that he is coming out of his posture as he rotates his hips, and as a result is pulling his shoulders and arms up. End result, hitting it off the toe.

To fix it, he focuses his student on his left heal because it was also coming up and “flying out”. By keeping his left heal on the ground as he clears his hip, the end result is he stays in his posture, keeps his shoulders & arms in proper swing plane, and hits the ball more in the center of the face, or the “sweet spot”.

To view a transcript for this video, click here.

Changing Your Golf Game – Lesson 1

By: Tony Adragna on October 16th, 2013

Tony Adragna is a former high school basketball player that has played the game of golf a couple of times a year, but would like to get more serious about it.  Tony has had no golf training, and his game reflects that.

With that said, Purgatory Golf Owner and PGA Professional, Mike Merchent, is ready to help Tony transform his golf game.

In this series, “Changing Your Golf Game,” Tony and Mike will work on Tony’s game throughout the winter, so by the time spring rolls around, Tony will be on the right path to being a better golfer.

In episode one, Mike shows Tony some very basic drills to help clean up Tony’s form, and the two of them take a look at Tony’s swing in slow-motion to pinpoint where some of the problems lie.

Look for new episodes each week.

Transcript

Mike Merchent: Hi today we’re here with Tony at Purgatory Gold Club. We’re gonna
give Tony a golf lesson. Tony hasn’t….He’s never had a golf lesson. So this will be his
first golf lesson. We’re gonna video tape some of these and just see if we can help
Tony improve his game. Ok Tony, do you play much golf?
Tony Adragna: I play a couple of times a year, nothing too extensive, if I break a
hundred like I said, I’m pretty happy.
Mike Merchent: Ok, if Tony breaks a hundred he’s happy. what about any
preconceived ideas, have you read any books? What little you know about golf,
where did you learn it?
Tony Adragna: Basically I’m just playing and kinda doing whatever I thought felt
right which most of the time probably isn’t the right case.
Mike Merchent: Ok so everything you do is instinctive.
Tony Adragna: Correct.
Mike Merchent: When you think about anything, about how to grip the club.
Tony Adragna: I was taught by my dad how to grip it when I first started playing and
I’ve held that grip ever since.
Mike Merchent: Okay, do you have any physical limitations that we need to know
about?
Tony Adragna: No.
Mike Merchent: Everything seems to feel okay when you swing a club feel like a
healthy kid
Tony Adragna: Yup. All feels good.
Mike Merchent: Okay. Well, pretty sure I knew that question but I gotta ask you
anyway just to make sure. Tony’s left handed so we’re gonna be, we’re gonna be
working with it from that standpoint point. Do you think there’s any difference
between left and right handed as far as how you would hit the ball? Or is it the
same, or just opposite?
Tony Adragna: I think it’s the same, just opposite. But I honestly don’t really know
the answer to that question. When I see myself swinging and see a right handed
person swing, it all kinda look the same to me obviously except from the other side
of the ball
Mike Merchent: Okay, well it is the same. there’s used to be some opinions that it
was different but it, it’s not. They make more clubs now for left handed players. The
selections are so much greater now than more even ten years ago. So what we’re
gonna do is I’m just gonna observe Tony. I did want him to hit shots before he got
here. I just wanna catch him raw. he’s not really loose, he’s not really warm, but
we’re gonna get in to that. but his flaws are gonna show up more vividly when he
has to have the chance to really make some swings, get loose and kinda work on nd on the zones. So let’s just do this. I’m gonna sit back and may ask you some
questions. But I’m just gonna observe right now.
Tony Adragna: K
Mike Merchent: the flag over here to your right. Little more. So we’re gonna go for
that flag down there, you see the closest one to us?
Tony Adragna: Yup.
Mike Merchent: That’s our primary line.
Tony Adragna: K
Mike Merchent: Wanna move this balls out of way to make sure you have some
clearance. Okay. I don’t want you to think about anything. I just want to, nice and
easy, make a couple of swings as if you’re gonna hit it, 15 or 20 yards.
Okay, now we’re gonna go in, review some of these pictures. Then will
come out, I’ll give you more of an assessment of what I think you need to do
and we’ll move forward from there.
We took some video footage of your swing here. face off and down the
line, this is down the line. I wanna point out a couple of things here that I
think you do really good. See your arms how they fall right below your
shoulders, that’s perfect. That’s exactly where you want them. Your arms,
your shoulders, that’s your source of support. That’s where your hands will
gravitate as they move to impact. Your back is nice and flat right there. I
really like that. You don’t want too much curvature one way or the other. So, a
really good flat back right there. notice your knees right here. You gotta little
too much bend to your knees. Your hands actually kinda fall between your
knees. Okay? That’s your first few few. Now I’d like to go back to what we call
quarter position right here. The club’s moving back. Okay. That’s the quarter
position right there. one thing that I, I want you to see right here is club face
is just a little bit shut. Do you see that? Club face is a little too shut right
here. Not bad. At this point in time it’s more of a function of your grip which
like I said in a scale of one to ten, it’s about a five. We’ll clean your grip up
that’s not gonna be problem at all. I like where your arms again, your right
arms, they’re in perfect position right there. It’s parallel to your target line.
It’s your target line down there. And from here, we’re gonna go up to your top
of your back swing. Then notice how as the club goes back further, knows
how you’ve been over a little bit more. So you actually increase that angle.
That’s not very common. you don’t wanna do it, but the fact that you can do
it is really good because that you’re very flexible. And we’re gonna take your
flexibility and we’re gonna make it an asset rather than a liability. Right now
it’s a liability. . But we’ll turn it into a positive. So along that, those lines your
hips. Knows here, your bob buckle right there. Your bob buckle pointing right,
right at me and you. That’s a, that’s a.. That means your hips are over
rotated. Okay? you’ll be able to see this from the face of the back. I can see
here, you’re over rotated with your hips. And you’ve actually increased the ngle from your hips to your shoulders, not very common. I like your arms
right here. Your arms just right on the plane. Your arms on the plane, that’s
good right there. Now we’re gonna start you down to swing. Okay now this
position here, you know, what I really like is I really like the space here
between your, your right form and your left form and that’s really good. Your
back is still, it’s in a good position. I still like that posture with your back.
That’s good. notice how you’re not been over quite slow that impact. So as
the club is going back, you’ve been over more and as the club is coming to,
you’re coming out of that posture. Okay, well you’re raising or lowering with
your body like that, that forces the club to do some things that you really
don’t want to do and it makes the timing of hitting the ball difficult. You can
see in this particular instance you didn’t hit it so well. You kinda topped it. So
you’ve got the club, as it’s going back, you’re bending over. And then as the
club is coming down, you’re straighten up. And that coming out posture with
your body forces you cast it or release the club too early. And then, as you
come on through you can see you really released in the step of your left foot.
Your hips and shoulders and body are rotating to your right. And you’re in a
pretty classic position right there. So you get to the right position but you
don’t get there into the right sequence you gotta few more moving parts than
you really need, okay? Now we’re gonna look at this from another angle. One
other thing that I wanted to point out. As that club coming thru, you’re really
looking down toward the ball. And that’s good, you wanna look toward down
to the ball. But from this point forward, that ball is gone. That ball is gone. You
gotta release your eyes from that position there, and allow your body to
release and rotate through. Right there is when you release your eyes, now
you let yourself go, okay? That ball is long gone. Gotta release your eyes, let
your body rotate round and through. You get away with it because as flexible
as you are, you can do that. If I try to do that, I’d be in the hospital bed.
Stance is good about shoulder width. Hand position is good as a little bit
forward and center. Your right arm is nice and extended. So those were all
good and positive things. As that club goes back. Let’s stop at this quarter
position again. Okay. That’s, again that’s the club in the good position. I like
your right arm. I like how the arm is moving because your shoulders are
moving it. You’re not snatching that club up. You’re not picking it up, you’re
not pulling it inside. The club is right on plane. you’ll notice though, your
right knee has started to give way. You start bending over a little bit too much
right there you start to bend over the more. Your right knee is kicking in.
And.. and you can see now what I was referring to with your hips. Your hips
have really what is called over rotation. Now you’re really rotating your hips
down there. To the point where you’ve got more of your body in front of the
ball than you have behind it. Okay? But your shoulder have rotated well.
Great shoulder position right there. Your right arm is in a really good position
right there. So you’ve bent over more. The hips are over rotated. And that
right knee is really kicked in on you there, okay? But phenomenally enough.
Your left foot is flat on the ground. You know, if you. Most people there will try
to rotate their hips that much. That left foot will collapse and roll to the
outside. And then will be a toolbox. Okay, so from that position there we’re gonna start down. Now that.. Now is when you’re coming down to your
posture. Okay, so you’re started to raise up. Your hips are really trying to get
back to a good position here. You’ve re really cleared your hips. But because
that had it so far, they needed to rotate to get back to. I mean, this will be a
good position for your hips to be in, you know, almost on top of your back
swings. But because they had to rotate so much, they really can’t rotate that
far that fast. . So as a result, you’re now raising up with your upper body to
make room for the club to come through. You raised up too much. You’ll top
it. You don’t come out with your posture, you’ll hit it fast. So you know, you’re
counting on that, raising and lowering of your torso to determine, whether
you hit the ball well or not. You know, we wanna eliminate that. So when I say
there are more moving parts than you need that’s clearly one of them. We
wanna establish our posture. And then we wanna maintain our posture. So we
may eliminate that variable. The more variables you eliminate, the more
consistent you’ll be. And as you can see, you’ve kinda casted that club
there’s really not much bend there anymore. You’ve got the club right there.
So you’ve really released all the energy of the club back here. There’s your
club head right there. Now there’s impact right there. Now at impact, your
head’s behind the ball. So that’s good. Your hips and body are in front of it
which is not so good. But that’s understandable given what you’re doing.
Really good position here with your right arm. Again I like that position with
your right arm. I like that position of your right foot. It’s nice and flat on the
ground. I like the position of your left foot. You just release to the instep of
that left foot. And then let’s clear on through. And you’ll see now, what I was
talking about earlier where your eyes are so intensely looking down to the
ball. That you’re starting to form a chicken wing here. And that is absorbing
the energy of the club is moving to something gotta absorb it right now that’s
what’s doing it because with your eyes looking at the ball so long and as
intense as they are, it’s not allowing your body to rotate through. Cause that
arm kinda absorbs it. And right about here, you’re about to release, I mean
your eyes are still looking down and your body is pulling your head up and
really not looking at the target but you’re trying. Right about there is where
you start to release and look down the target. Now your finished position here
is good. Maybe a little too much of a “C” right here. That can be a little bit…
that can wear on your back, and I’d like to be more straight up and down line
right here. And we’ll eventually get there. All in all though, you did some
really positive things. You’ve gotta great range motion. And now is what we
need to do is tidy that great motion up and get you moving in the proper
sequence. And in order to do that we’re gonna work in a drill called the elbow
drill, and that eliminates the need for you to grip the club really. It takes the
hands and arms out of it. And allows you just to focus on the motor of your
golf swing. How you move from your head, your toes without using your
hands and arms. And that’s how we’ll develop and build this swing over the
winter time. Break it down into a small pieces so you can work on them. One
at a time. Moving very slowly so you can control the movement and then
gradually speeding things up. As you get more comfortable with the
movement. You can then speed it up and then, get to a point where you can dd a ball in it. And really groove that over the winter time. So that we come
out in the spring, you’ll be ready to go. You won’t be thinking about your golf
swing that much. And I expect your performance level to be really
outstanding compared to what it is right now. I think you’ll be surprised, but if
you do what we asked you to do, I won’t be surprised.
When we were in the car and were having that conversation looking at
some of that video, one of the things that I noticed is how intensely you look
at the ball. And when I asked you if you have some preconceived ideas that
you tried to do or anything you don’t try to do. You really didn’t have any
answers. But now we’ve discovered that you are trying to keep your eye on
the ball.
Tony Adragna: Yep.
Mike Merchent: Okay. I’ve tried to help people over the years that golf really is a
hand eye coronation sport. Ball is not moving. so blind people with some assistance
can play golf. It’s really difficult to throw a curve ball. Okay so, you want your vision
to be an asset and it can be. But don’t make it a liability because that’s what you’re
doing. You’re so intensely focusing your eyes on the ball. You’re not allowing your
body to move freely. And that’s gonna cause you some problems striking the ball
over time. But also physically. As you’re coming through impact once that club hits
the ball, it’s long gone. You need to go ahead and get your eyes released so you can
look down to the target, takes the pressure off your back. So I’m just gonna show
you few things to help you with your game, also help you with your body, help
prevent you from any further injury. Okay, I want you to set up like you’re gonna
make a swing. Okay, go ahead and grip the club. Okay again, your grip, on a scale
of one to ten is about a six, seven is not great, not bad, but we’re not gonna focus
there. That’s kinda your only security blanket that you have right now. So we’re
gonna keep that intact. You’ve got good arms, good arm position, fall straight from
your shoulders. As far as knee flex goes, here’s a good way to check this. If you just
stood straight up, and lock your legs, and unlock them, that’s all about the knee flex
that you need. The bend to get to the ball comes from the waist. You are, you’re
bending from the knees and the knee from the waist. So let’s not bend so much
from the knees, bend more from the hips. That’s perfect right there. That’s where
we gonna start. We’re gonna start with your posture, and we’re gonna start with
your head. When you make this swing here, I want you to let your eyes release a
little bit behind the ball to your left. Let’s make a couple practice swings. Not bend
your knee so much. And this go ahead, start slowly..
See that again. Excellent! Excellent! Go ahead and do that one more time. What’s
that feel like to you?
Tony Adragna: It’s different.
Mike Merchent: Different?
Tony Adragna: Yup.
Mike Merchent: Okay. Can you, assign a label to it? Can you repeat that? Tony Adragna: I think so.
Mike Merchent: Okay. Let me see you do that. There you go. Check your feet. Don’t
get too wide. Don’t bend your knees too much. You just let your head move over
your left leg just a little bit. There you go. Okay. Now Tony, I can’t tell you what that
feels like. But I can tell you that what you’re doing is putting you in the right road.
Okay? Eventually you’ll be able to say you know, it feels like this. or maybe that’s
not how you’ll do it. Maybe just do gravitate right to it, you won’t have any problem.
So people might feel on their big toe, some people might feel in their hips, some
people might feel in their knee. I can’t tell you what to feel, but I can tell you that’s
pretty good position.
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: Okay now. I’m gonna show you a drill, and in this drill, I’m gonna
show you how to isolate really the pivot, your engine, and we’ll work on how your
body moves without a golf club, you know, and a ball. Okay, take that club. Put it
behind your back in your elbows. I’m gonna do this with you, okay? You just watch
me do it the first time. Okay. We’ll put the ball down on the ground. Or some keys,
or anything to simulate a ball position okay? I’m gonna take my stand and move my
feet about shoulder width. Alright? Now, from this position here, I’m gonna bend to
the ball. From my hips, not my knees. Slightly bending my knees. Now you can see
my knees are bend down much are they?
Tony Adragna: M-hm.
Mike Merchent: I’m bending from my hip sockets. That’s how you get to the ball.
Okay? This is your position one. This is called, your address position. Now, from
position one to position two, in this particular case, you’re gonna move your weight
to your left foot, okay? So you’re gonna take the part of the club over your right,
you’re gonna move it at, or slightly behind the ball position. And here’s what I’d like
you to focus on. I’d like you to focus on that weight predominantly on your left foot.
Okay? And you wanna hold this from three to five seconds. And then from here,
you’re gonna shift your weight to your right foot. Uncurling your hips, then point this
part of the club at or slightly behind the ball. Okay? This is impact. And then from
here, gonna continue to rotate on up and through where your body is straight up
and down, this is your finish.
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: One two three and four. Hold each position from three to five
seconds. Okay? Alright. Feet about shoulder width. A little closer, there you go. Fist
up. When your fist are up, pulls shoulders back, doesn’t it?
Tony Adragna: Yup.
Mike Merchent: Okay, that forces you to bend from your hips. Okay, so you gonna
bend from your hips a little more. There you go. That’s position one, that’s your
address position.
Tony Adragna: Kike Merchent: And from one to two, take the club here. Point it at or slightly behind
the ball. Can I ask yourself a question? Can I pick up my right foot? Drive your
weight in my right foot.
Tony Adragna: Not much.
Mike Merchent: And then from there, take this part of the club. Point it at or slightly
behind the position, of the ball. Put that right there, now I want you to flatten that
right foot. There you go. And then rotate on up and through, Hold that right there.
Flatten this right foot. There you go. And let’s start that all over again. Okay, one
two. Hold that there. Flatten your left foot. There you go. Three and four. There you
go. Let’s do that again. One, two. Hold that right there. Pick your right foot above
the ground. See how much you shift it to your left foot?
Tony Adragna: M-mm
Mike Merchent: Okay, let’s do that again. This is what you need to focus on, out of
this drill, out of the four segments of this drill, the second segment is what I want
you to really focus on. Okay? You do it slow enough that you control the motion.
Okay, go ahead and show me. Now shoulder width on your feet. There you go. One,
now from one to two, I want you to shift your weight early into your left hip. So shift
into your left hip. Point club at the ball. Hold that right there. Flatten this left foot.
Don’t shift your weight back to your right foot when you do that. There you go.
Perfect! And now shift it to your right foot. And all up and through. Okay, one more
time and I’ll gonna help you out here a little bit.
Tony Adragna: Okay
Mike Merchent: Okay, just shift a little bit to your left foot. Point club at the ball.
Keep that left foot on the ground. Okay, now shift to your right foot. Hold that there.
And then on up and through. There you go. Now just go ahead and relax. That’s
called the elbow drill. Go ahead and take the club in from behind your back. We’re
gonna work primarily on your pivot through that drill right there. It’s a little crude
right now, but in about two or three days, if you do this for five to ten minutes a
day, next time you come see me, we’ll refine it. Next time we’ll refine it even more
to the point where you can do that and not even think about it. Then we’ll take that
motion that you’re creating in the elbow drill and we’ll implement it into your swing,
where you’re hitting the ball.
Tony Adragna: Okay.
Mike Merchent: Okay?
Tony Adragna: Yup.
Mike Merchent: That’s how we’re gonna build that swing over the winter time. So
when you come out next spring, you’re gonna break a hundred.

Proper Golf Posture When Addressing The Ball

By: Tony Adragna on October 15th, 2013

Mike Merchent, Director of Golf at Purgatory Golf Club, demonstrates proper golf posture & setup. He shows quite clearly that the posture is the same whether you are using a sand iron or your driver. The hand and arms should always be in the same position.

Transcript

Hi everybody, my name’s Mike Merchent, I’m the director of golf here at Purgatory Golf Club, this is Clay Merchent, Clay is going to assist me today, and today we’re going to talk about posture and setup. Now first, with posture, here’s what we want to do: we want to make sure that we bend from our hips, slightly bending our knees. Or you could go with the opposite – you could slightly bend your knees and then bend from your hips, but we want to make sure we bend from our hips. We don’t want to bend our knees too much, we don’t want to bend over too much. So Clay’s going to show me here his posture. Okay, you can see Clay’s got a little bit of knee flex, his back’s pretty flat, and he’s bending over from his hips. That’s perfect. Now, he gets to that position, just stand straight up, put your arms to your side. Now, slightly bend your knees, and then bend over from your hips, and then let your arms fall. Now you can see, as Clay just relaxes and his arms fall, that’s right where he’s going to hold the club, because his hands are directly below his shoulders, and that’s what you want. So that’s really good posture, a nice flat back, slightly bending your knees. Now, from a good posture position, we’re going to add his sand wedge to this. Now the sand wedge, that’s his shortest club in the bag. So the ball’s going to be a little closer to him, more towards the center of his stance, and you can see, as he sets up to it, go ahead and stay set up there, hands right below his shoulders, back’s nice and flat, slightly bending his knees. Now, keep a hold of your sand wedge there, I’m just going to lay your five iron right on top of you here. That’s where he would hold his five iron. And as you can see, his hand position doesn’t change, still right below his shoulders, he doesn’t reach for it, he doesn’t bend over any additional from his hips, so he’s in the same position with his five iron as he is with his sand wedge, and then we can add the driver, and you’ll find that the same thing applies here. The club’s going to be in the same position as it was with his sand wedge and his five iron, except the ball is a little bit further away from him, is a little bit more towards the instep of his left foot. So, hopefully the question that we answered there is “How do you set up to the ball?” “What’s your posture supposed to look like?” and “Does my posture change with the clubs?” And the answer is no. A sand wedge, a five iron, a driver, if you’re making it a full swing, you’re going to be set up the very same: bend from the hips, slightly bended knees, arms directly below your shoulders, and you just change whatever club that you want, whether it’s a sand wedge, five iron or driver, or anything in between, and it’s the same position every time. So once you’ve established good posture, and you’ve made a habit out of that, it will never change. You’ll maintain that posture through your setup position for the rest of your golfing career. Well, we want to thank you all for joining us today. This is Clay, I’m Mike, we’re here at Purgatory Golf Club. We’ll see you next time.

Golf Instruction – The Elbow Drill

By: Tony Adragna on October 3rd, 2013

As Mike Merchent puts it, the Elbow Drill is one of the most beneficial drills he has ever used.

In the videos below, Mike shows you how to effectively perform the Elbow Drill and also the Elbow Drill with hip variation, and extensively explains why the drill is beneficial, and how to effectively perform it.

Transcript

Posture and pivot. We’ve heard those terms a lot in golf. Well today, I’m going to show you a drill that will help you isolate those 2 fundamentals of the golf swing. Hi everybody, my name’s Mike Merchent. I’m coming to you from Purgatory Golf Club here in Noblesville, Indiana. The drill that I’m’ going to show you today is the elbow drill. This is a fantastic drill. It helps you with your posture, and it helps you with your pivot. First is the posture portion of it. What I’m going to do is I’m going to stand up here, I’m going to take this club, I’m going to place it behind my back in my elbows. Alright. Now right there, I’ve solved my posture issues. It’s going to force me to have a nice, straight, flat back. Then I’m going to bend from my hips, slightly bending my knees. Alright, this is my address position. My posture is perfect, and from this position, which is both called position number 1 or address, we set up to a simulated ball position, hold this for 3-5 seconds. Now from here, I’m going to shift to my right side, I’m going to point the club-face part of the club down toward the ball. Now here, I’ve got a nice stretch going, got my weight predominantly on my right side here, club’s pointing at or slightly behind the ball position. This the top of the backswing. Now, the forward part of the swing, I’m going to do in the elbow drill very much like I do in the golf swing, I shift the weight to my left foot, rotating my hips over to my left side, pointing this part of the club at or slightly behind the ball. This is either impact or slightly after impact. And then the fourth segment of this drill, I continue rotating with my hips and shoulders, where I’m looking down toward my target line, I’m standing straight up. All right, we’re going to do this one more time. 1, 2, weight on the right side, club pointed at the ball, 3, shift the weight to my left side, point the club at the ball, 4, rotate on and through. Okay. So this elbow drill, it’s really basic, very easy. Will help you with your posture, it will help you with your pivot. If you work on this drill every day before you hit shots, it’s a great way to get some heat in your muscles, get you warmed up a little bit. Try this drill, I hope it helps.

Transcript

By now, you’ve seen me do the elbow drill. Today I’m going to show you just a little bit of an addition to the elbow drill that will help you isolate a particular part of your swing that I think is very, very important. Hi everybody, my name’s Mike Merchent, I’m coming to you from Purgatory Golf Club here in Noblesville, Indiana. The elbow drill, just to refresh your memory on the elbow drill, the club goes behind your back in your elbows. This forces you to have great posture. Nice, flat back here. Then I set up to the ball here, slightly bending my knees. This is position number 1, hold this for 3-5 seconds, then position number 2, weight shifts to my right foot, club’s pointing at or slightly behind the ball position – this really helps you with your flexibility and stretching. Position number 3, shift your weight to your left foot just like you do in your golf swing, point the club at or slightly behind the ball position, and then position 4, continue to rotate with your hips and shoulders to a finished position. Hold each one of these positions for 3-5 seconds, it’s a great way to start your practice session. You’re going to stretch your muscles a little bit, get a little bit of heat in them, it’s just a great way to start your practice session. But today, I’m going to add a little spin to that. Just like the elbow drill helps you with your posture and your pivot, this, just take a little bit of bungee cord here or surgical tubing, this is going to help you with your hips. Everybody wants to know “How do I move my hips in the golf swing?” Well, we’re going to show you today. Alright, you take this, and you hook this surgical tubing up right across the front of your hips, and as you can see, this really simulates the position that my hips are in. I do that, I add the club behind my back like I do in the elbow drill. Okay. We set up. We’re over the ball. Okay, perfect. This is position 1. From position 1 to position 2, we shift to our right, we point the club at or slightly behind the ball position. Notice how the club and my shoulders goes further to the right than the club attached to my hips. That means my shoulders are rotating more than my hips. Okay, now here’s where the magic comes, going from position 2 to position 3. I want to make sure that I get this club here attached to my hips to shift and move first and more than the club behind my shoulders. Alright. So notice this: That this club to my hips is pointing a little bit behind the golf ball, but the club behind my shoulders is way behind the golf ball. Now let’s look at it from the side view here. Now notice how this club here is pointed a lot further in front of me than the club behind my back and my elbows. What does that do? Well that’s the shoulder-hip separation that’s so critical in starting your downswing. We don’t start our downswing with our upper body, we start our downswing with our hips, we swing from the inside out, not from the circumference in. We’re at the top of our backswing, we want to now, as we start down, we want to move this club on our hips, we want our hips to move. Our hips are going to shift to the left and they’re going to rotate. Now notice how this club is leading now. This is a perfect position right here to, an isolation of the hips, and how the hips are supposed to move. And then, as you move through your swing, you keep the hips moving and the shoulders moving and they eventually pair up. The shoulders will actually move a little bit more coming through and then they’ll recoil back. But what you can do when you set up like this, just to free your hips up and just to isolate those hips so that you realize that they’re a really huge factor in the quality of your golf swing, just rotate your hips separate of your shoulders. It looks easier than it is, but I’ve been doing it a long time. Okay, let’s do this one more time. We’re going to go to the top of our backswing and stop, then I’m going to shift my hips and rotate my hips, and look, I get that club started first, and then rotate through. Most people do the exact opposite – they get to the top of their backswing, and *whoop*, the shoulders just come right over, get in front of their hips. Now you get into the same position eventually, but your sequence is all off. So this isolates the hips, gets your hips to move first. You don’t want your hips to trail, you want your hips to lead. So this is a little spin on the elbow drill, I don’t have a title for it yet, I don’t have a name for it yet, but I will soon. Try this; if you slice the ball a lot, there’s a good chance you’re coming over the top of it, which, there’s a good chance you’re doing that with your upper body. You need to learn how to use your hips, you need to learn how to isolate your hips, you need to learn how to get your hips moving first before your shoulders. Try this drill for a while, see if it helps you isolate your hips, see if it helps you with your slice.

July Junior Golf Clinics

By: Alan Hinds on June 30th, 2013

Junior golfers“Golf Fundamentals and Fun Emphasized”

Two junior golf clinics are scheduled at Purgatory Golf Club in July. The first clinic will be July 8 to July 11 and the second will be July 16 to July 19.

The four day sessions are from 9 am to 10:45 am and are geared for ages 6 to 14.  Each clinic includes a PGA professional instruction in all areas, exposure to the golf course, participation awards and prizes, with a competition event and lunch on the last day.

“We focus on the fundamentals of golf but we also make sure to have a bit of fun along the way,” said Jon Stutz, head professional.

The cost is $90 for the first child and $70 for each additional child. The entry fee is $70 if the junior golfer is enrolled in both July clinics.  For more information contact the pro shop at 776-4653.

Golf Lessons with Mike Merchent

By: purgatorygolf on March 28th, 2013

This golf lesson with Mike Merchent is our most watched video on our YouTube channel. He will be conducting a golf instruction training session Tuesday, April 9th at 11:30 a.m. for our staff. A maximum of 20 guests will be able to attend, free of charge.

I can honestly say that Mike understands the golf swing better than any other golf instructor I have met, seen on TV, or heard speak. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the time to provide personal instruction these days, the whole running a golf course thing gets in the way. So this is a great opportunity for you to learn from him 1st hand. If you’d like to attend, please contact the proshop 317-776-4653, ext. 1.

Mike will be conducting these internal training sessions once a month, leave a comment if you’d  like to be one of the golf swings he uses in a training session.

PS. This is a change, originally he was to conduct the training next week. Due to a scheduling conflict, Jon Stutz will instead be discussing the Rules of Golf and water hazards next Tuesday at 11:30. Please call the proshop if you’d like to join us for the Rules discussion & training.