Your Ph.D. in Golf

Feel the weight of that club? Understanding where it is during the swing is the key to improving--that, and some guidance from a top pro.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photograph by Keith Mosher
http://www.kamproductions.com

 

Dave Seeman, director of the golf academy at White Clay Creek Country Club, compares the golf swing to fly fishing.

John Dunigan, director of instruction at Hartefeld National, refers to the swing as the Iron Triangle.

And longtime instructor Rick McCall compares the hands and wrists on the golf club as being constrained in plaster of Paris.

Who says golf can’t serve as metaphor?

Seeman is like a wildlife tracker who looks for evidence of his quarry.

“I know everything I need to know about your swing just by watching your ball flight,” Seeman says from his computer-equipped training center in the Delaware Park complex. “After a lesson, I really don’t want to see you again until you’ve noticed a change in your ball flight as a result of the things you are working on from the lesson.”

His comparison to fly fishing has to do with getting students to understand the relationship between the club and the body.

“When I ask students what they react to in golf, almost all the responses are emotional ones, such as the feel of the ball from solid contact,” Seeman notes.

But what he’s after is a palpable reaction to the golf club, and that’s where he believes his fly fishing analogy helps.

“The key to a successful fly cast depends on your reaction to the line in motion,” Seeman says. “Once you know where the line is in motion, you can execute a successful cast. Same thing for golf. Your only reaction is to the weight of the golf club in motion. Knowing where the club is in motion is the key to making the adjustments necessary for a solid golf swing.”

John Dunigan, who’s written two books about the golf swing, now wants to complete an academic degree in psychology. He views the golf swing in more scientific terms than perhaps Seeman might. “It’s the geometry of motion and the physics of force. All golf shots are composed of a specific line of compression between the clubface and the ball.”

Like Seeman, Dunigan can analyze the flaws in a swing by noting the trajectory of the shot.

“The goal is to flatten the golf ball against the clubface in order to produce distance, loft and curve. The goal is not to try and hit the golf ball straight.”

Now that’s simple, but it doesn’t seem to make any sense. Wouldn’t we all like to hit the ball straight?

“If you try to hit the golf ball straight, you’ll never hit it properly,” insists Dunigan. He describes the contact as a glancing sideways blow of an inside-out line of attack that produces the proper trajectory—and makes the ball go where you intend it to, which is a very different proposition from trying to hit straight.

The academics of golf instruction have changed dramatically over the years. “It’s a science,” Dunigan says.

“In the old days, you simply went to the pro in the golf shop and signed up for a lesson,” says Seeman. “Today golf professionals are strictly teachers. It’s their only job.”

Seeman, a teacher since 1986, says that both instructors and students understand how difficult a game golf is.

“The Tiger effect has spawned a desire to improve,” he says. “People are playing less and practicing more. And people today don’t want to do things in a mediocre way.”

Anthony Hollerbeck, the teaching pro at Baywood Greens near Rehoboth Beach, believes changes in our commitment to fitness has allowed a more athletic, upright swing to emerge.

“A more upright swing requires greater strength and control,” says Hollerbeck, “but that is what allows you to make a better turn.”

Hollerbeck teaches his students to “get into the ideal hitting position by making sure the left pocket of the pants (for right-handers) is turned toward the golf ball at the top of the back swing.

“Most of my older students especially have a tendency to sway rather than turn, and that’s where the power is either lost or generated,” he says.

McCall, a golf teacher for 44 years, has helped no fewer than four Delawareans make it to the professional tours. He agrees that the modern golf swing is a more athletic circle than the old reverse C that produced so many back problems.

“People are more flexible due to better fitness and are capable of a more balanced, circular swing that keeps everything moving forward,” he says

With experience that goes back to Arnold Palmer’s prime, McCall believes nothing has improved teaching the golf swing like video playback.

“To be able to show the student what he or she is doing wrong, as well as what it looks like to do it right instead of having to try and explain it to them, is probably the greatest single change I’ve seen in golf instruction,” he says.

Dunigan, with his emphasis on science, focuses students on the proper angle of the hands to the shaft.

“If your hands aren’t set so the shaft of the club is leaning forward from the ball, you will not achieve proper compression and will be lifting the club instead,” he says.

Dunigan starts with chipping as the most effective way to demonstrate the proper setting of the hands. All of the professionals here wished students would ask for help with the short game, especially putting.

“In my clinics, we spend one entire day just chipping,” McCall says. “And on each of the other days, we spend additional time chipping as well.”

Most of the problems Hollerbeck sees with short games stem from insufficient weight on the student’s right foot.

All would also like to see students put more emphasis on putting. The biggest flaw they see is students not having their eyes directly over the ball.

“They try to use their wrists,” says McCall, so he invokes his plaster of Paris analogy. “I tell them to pretend their wrists and hands are set in plaster so they will learn not to let them move during the putting stroke.”

How do you know you’re finally making the improvements you sought?

“Look at your divot,” Dunigan says. “If you’re divot is left of your target, you’re swing is outside-in and will not be able to strike the ball squarely to get the required compression to hit a controlled shot.”

His advice: “Set the hands forward, arms across the shoulders and down to the shaft in a triangle (that Iron Triangle), then learn to set the power angles (wrist and elbows).”

 In other words, you don’t need a Ph.D. in golf to play. It’s a simple game. Just stop trying to hit the ball straight. Get it? 

D

 

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

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Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 302-295-1164
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $30

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University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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