Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Toronto Golf Expo; what a great experience! Center of Gravity Golf took the stage for 8 hours and had the opportunity to share our story and system with hundreds of golfers and participants. The Toronto audiences were truly receptive and it was very exciting to see how strongly the message resonated with both newly ‘enlightened’ golfers and industry professionals.
If you missed the Toronto show, I will be on stage again April 2-3 at the Atlantic Canada Golf Expo in Moncton, New Brunswick. If you’re in the area, grab some friends and come see us – we promise you a fresh, natural look at golf that really works! …Center of Gravity Golf.
I happened to catch an episode of “12 Nights at the Academy” with Kelly Tilghman this week and her guest was none other than the King himself, Arnold Palmer. I always stop what I’m doing and have a listen when Arnold has something to share and I wanted to pass along some words of wisdom from the King himself.
Ms. Tilghman asked him for advice on practice habits and focus for three different levels of golfer:
-A high handicap player
-A mid handicap player
-A scratch or low handicap player
I was very excited to hear what he had to say about each level of golfer because after all, Arnold is the King.
The first type of player he commented on was the High Handicap player. Arnold began with the importance of a good grip like his father showed him when he began playing and then stressed a high handicap player should always work on the basics: Grip, posture, balance, and solid contact.
“If you work hard on the basics, the rest of the game will begin to fall into place.”
Great advice if you ask me, I think golfers are trying to do too much as high-handicap players, the basics are where they need to focus for sure.
The next player Arnold was asked to comment on was the mid-handicap player. The 12-18 handicap player that can get the ball around the course pretty good, but needs to shave off a few strokes to bring their handicap down. Arnold said that these players are already pretty good, but in order to get to the next level, they too must work hard on the basics:
“Working on the basics of the game allow the mid handicap player to progress to the next level more quickly. A mid handicapper will get more out of the basics than trying to do too much.”
Again, I have to agree that in my experience, mid handicap players are trying to do too much by trying to implement everything they read or see on TV, this will surely hold them back.
The last player Arnold was asked to comment on was a scratch player, or low handicap player. Arnold turned to Kelly and said:
“When I talk to a scratch player, I would tell them the same thing I tell myself when things are going bad, when I am struggling with my game…I do what my father told me and go straight back to the basics. I work on stance, alignment, balance, grip, and making solid contact. “When I get all these things working well, the game comes around pretty quickly.”
Once again…I have to agree. The low handicap players I work with are always trying to find something magical to bring them back when the game goes south. The answer is…as it is with every level of player…work on the basics.
Simplicity is the KEY to playing this game well; the more you try to complicate things, the worse it gets. I know this to be a fact, and when you hear it straight from the King, there should be no argument. I thought I would comment on this show because Center of Gravity Golf is built around the basics and a validation from Arnold himself, although not direct, is worth it’s weight in gold.
The message here is pretty clear, work on the basics…keep it as simple as you can, get good at grip, balance, alignment, and solid contact and the rest will take care of itself. That’s how COGG is structured, and it works very well for any level of golfer.
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | PGA of Canada Professional
The “Game” of golf is really a strategic battle between you and the golf course you’re playing. As the golfer, you’re trying to get your golf ball into the hole and the golf course is putting obstacles and things in your way in order to make it difficult for you, “and” the golf course has Mother Nature on its side! Wind, rain, heat, bugs, pests, etc. are all there trying to throw your concentration off as you try to negotiate your ball around the course, taunting you into a loss of concentration and a poor shot.
It always surprises me how golfers go to battle with the golf course day after day with no specific plan of attack. A wise General once said: “It’s better to have a plan and be wrong, than to never have a plan at all”. Truer words have never been spoken, especially when it comes to the “game” of golf. I see a game of golf as a strategic battle with the golf course. In order to win, or even advance, you must have a plan of attack for the course, and follow the plan.
A Touring Professional will have a very detailed plan of attack for the golf course he or she is facing for that day in order to give them the best possible chance of beating the golf course on that day. The Tour Player dissects every hole, every shot, giving them the greatest opportunity to beat that particular hole they’re playing by making a birdie or better, sometimes they win, sometimes they tie (par)…sometimes the golf course wins, as long as the player wins or ties the majority of the 18 battles of the day, they win the war and collect a nice cheque.
Your battle may not be with Par, yours may be with bogey, or double bogey; it really doesn’t matter as long as you identify it and create a plan to win. The more of the battles you win, the lower your handicap gets, and the more challenging the game gets, hence the never ending lure of golf. I know it’s not fair to compare our game with that of the Touring Professional or expect to have as intricate a plan as they do; they have a caddie to help them map out and plan a strategy to attack the hole and they spend the hours of the day while we’re at work, practicing specific shots, yardages, and options to help them win as many battles as they can with the golf course.
If we are to start winning more battles, having and implementing a plan is the answer. We all know golfers plateau with their game…they become an 85 shooter, or a 90 shooter and they seem to stay there, never really improving. I truly believe (and I’ve seen it a thousand times) when you have and implement a plan for each hole you can and will improve on a steady basis, you really can’t help winning more battles.
The biggest problem we face is the guesswork that plagues us when we have an uncomfortable distance to carry the ball to the green, especially if there are hazards guarding the green that love to swallow up new white golf balls. Ponds, bunkers, streams, out of bounds, and countless other hazards put there to intimidate us, do just that.
The major reason they intimidate us so much is that we are always guessing at the shot we have to hit in order to avoid the hazard and get the ball safely on the putting surface. When we are guessing at what it will take to get the ball safely on the green we create doubt in our minds and in our stroke, inevitably miss hitting our shot creating another doubt filled shot or a penalty stroke if we happen to find a hazard.
The majority of our extra shots in our golf games happen from inside 50 yards of the green. This is the area of the golf course where we need to possess, and implement a game plan. The average golfer in North America (mid handicapper) will hit on average 3 greens in regulation in a round of golf. This means he/she is in this “scoring zone” a minimum of 15 times during a round of golf. How many times have you been down in front of the green in 2 shots and then end up taking 4 (or more) shots to get the ball into the hole? THIS is where a plan will bring your game to the next level. The simple math tells us if you implement a plan successfully only 1 time every 3 times you attempt the shot, you will save a minimum of 5 shots off your scorecard. The more confident you become with the plan, the more shots you will shave off your score.
On a good ball striking day, I will hit 9 or 10 greens in regulation, in order for me to shoot even par or under par, my short game and finesse game plans had better be working, and they do! If you are a 95 shooter now, once you implement “The Plan” you will be shooting in the 80s in no time.
Let’s get smart and create a plan that WILL change your golf game and lower your scores permanently. I have formulated, use, and teach such a plan that has proven to be a great success for thousands of golfers worldwide.
The COGG short game plan encompasses the 4 short games in golf:
The Chipping game
The Finesse game
The Pitching Game
The green side bunker shot, and Putting
(I know that’s 5, but I threw in the Green side bunker shot for good measure) Understanding and putting this plan into action will virtually guarantee lower scores the first time you use it.
With Center of Gravity Golf you can take the guesswork out of your short games and start to win more battles and reduce your handicap…guaranteed!
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | Former PGA of Canada Professional
I wanted to write a blog on these anguished cries I hear on a daily basis at the golf course:
“I was hitting my driver great on the range” “I was sinking everything on the practice green” “I wish I could take my range game to the golf course, what am I doing wrong?”
I have said it many times before, ”hitting a large basket of balls is not practice, it’s exercise.” Mindlessly hitting golf balls on the driving range will not make you a better golfer in the same way enjoying a Sunday afternoon public skate with your sweetie will not make you a better hockey player.
Professional golfers take their range game to the golf course on a daily basis because they practice like they play, every shot, swing and motion is done with a specific purpose in mind and a specific outcome expected.
Like every professional hockey or football team practices exactly what they want to accomplish in every possible situation they will face in the upcoming game, professional golfers do the same by creating, and re-creating situations they will face next time out, attaching a value to each swing, and creating pressure situations by forcing narrow parameters for tee, and approach shots and up and down situations from various difficult positions around the green. This puts game- like pressure on each and every shot with consequences for miss hit or poorly executed attempts. This type of practice prepares the player for game pressure situations where every swing counts and the consequences reflect on the paycheque.
When you practice with specific purpose, creating game-like situations and attaching a value to every shot you take, you will find it easier to transfer your range game to the golf course (and it’s more fun). This type of practice enhances the biggest intangible bullet in your arsenal…confidence.
I have witnessed countless talented players who hit it like pros on the range, but can’t put it together on the course and the reason is always the same, perceived pressure.
I say “perceived” pressure because if there’s not a cheque waiting for you at the 18th hole based on your performance then the only real pressure you should face is personal or peer pressure to perform that day, (and this is important) with no “real” consequences facing you at the 18th hole except maybe who’s buying the beverages.
If you want to see real improvement in your golf game
-Practice with a purpose
-Focus on one thing at a time
-Download your COGG Practice Schedules & master your fundamentals
-Play your favourite course on the range
-Practice short game and scoring situations with the COGG “Plan”
This will give you the confidence to take practice sessions and free swing to the golf course.
And always remember, this is a game…have fun!
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | Former PGA of Canada Professional
There has been much debate on the effectiveness of practicing or getting golf lessons in an indoor facility versus an outdoor driving range or practice facility. Until just recently, golfers had no choice but to find a spot on a range when they could and get some swings in trying to work on their swing; or just relieve some stress.
While a traditional driving range can be a wonderful place to spend an hour on a nice day, is it the best learning environment for a new golfer, or the best practice option for a serious player to hone specific skills?
Until recently, I would have emphatically said yes, but with the terrific advances in the technology of ballistic golf ball tracking and behaviour, my thoughts on the subject have dramatically changed.
Let’s look at the Pros & Cons list of the driving range learning experience verses the Controlled environment learning experience.
– Typically bucket sales driven (limiting time or adding expense.)
– Limited essential feedback if no Professional guidance.
Indoor Golf Simulator Controlled Environment:
– Readily available
– Open long hours any weather
– No outside distractions
– Comfortable, controlled learning environment.
– Consistent hitting surface
– Instant essential feedback on ball speed, trajectory, spin rate, and carry distance.
– Able to see improvement
– Able to focus on skill sets
– Practice effectively without
– Professional feedback
– Able to practice “in-game situations”
– Ability to record results
– More fun = better learning
– Unfamiliar environment
– May feel closed in
– Trouble adjusting to instant feedback
– May be uncomfortable with computer technology
The indoor learning and training golf facilities today are far advanced from the simulators of just a few years ago. With the new tracking technology, better playing surfaces, and ever more realistic graphics than can mimic wind, fog, or rain conditions if you want, have in my opinion, eclipsed trudging down to the range to get in a few licks.
Golfers can now practice or play after work, before work, on lunch hours, even when they only have 30 minutes to spare.
As a Teaching Professional, this technology is a godsend. No more “rain outs”, “wind outs”, or” too hot” outs to mess up my teaching book. Not only is the environment controlled, I can teach until 11PM if I want, but the real advantage is the accelerated learning.
In the controlled environment of a new technology golf simulator, we can work on specific aspects of balance, consistency, trajectory control, ball speed, and distance control with very specific, instant feedback. This quickly builds golfer confidence and accelerates the learning experience.
For me the choice is clear, on a beautiful day, an hour at the range will always be an enjoyable distraction; but if you want to learn a solid golf swing and short game scoring prowess…head inside, take full advantage of new technology, Professional feedback, and take control of your learning process.
Learning a new skill, or perfecting an existing skill requires the full concentration of the golfer in order to retain the necessary nuances of balance, sequence, ball compression, and expected results into their “golf swing memory.”
Learn more with Center of Gravity Golf and see natural improvement in your game, no matter what your experience or skill level is.
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | former PGA of Canada Professional
It’s been about 3 weeks since I received my customBombtech Grenadedriver, and by “custom” I mean I got to pick the loft (2 to choose from) and the shaft flex. I choose 9 degree, and X-stiff shaft, the stock grip is (PURE) and suits me to a tee. The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the box was the great contrast between the bright green shaft and the matte black crown; the club had presence. I immediately liked the weight, balance, and confidence inspiring, very clean view down the shaft. Yes, it is a pretty golf club, but is it good enough to take my VrPro 8.5 out of the bag after a 6 year reign. I guess we’ll have to see.
I have always been kind of an equipment geek, I like well crafted tools but only replace them if they wear out, break, or there has been a clear leap in technology. My current driver is the Nike VrPro 8.5 with the compression channel. That head is mounted on the Voodoo SVRX shaft and at 44.5” is the best driver I have ever hit, that’s why I still have it. The club is very stabile, forgiving, sounds good, and when I catch it on the button I can still stretch a few out over the 300 mark, and at 55 what more could I really ask for, there is something to be said for familiarity. The club head is a 4 piece plasma weld with an adjustable hosel, I have it set neutral/neutral.
My first swing with the Grenade was not on a driving range, it was on the second tee box of my favourite golf course in Southern Ontario, Savannah Golf Links in Cambridge. The second hole is a 600 yd par 5 that I have never hit in 2 and thought this might be my day. Tee in the ground, I tried hard to contain my anticipation and stay in balance for the first swing, picked my spot and let it fly. The impact felt like butter, sounded great, and flew on a perfect trajectory. Now I know where my best drives end up and I can say I was a little outside of my familiar space…maybe 15 – 20 yards. I was excited but I also know about the (honeymoon period) with new golf equipment, “it was awesome until the check cleared”. Best drive ever on that hole…still never got home in 2.
I continued to put the pressure on this new driver in every situation I could and it continued to deliver long straight drives, (save for 1 pull hook into the water when I TRIED to hit it hard). With no range time at all, this driver answered every demand. The biggest difference (I found) was on off center strikes, I certainly don’t hit the center every time, and when I don’t I can feel it in my hands, this usually translates into significant distance loss…but not with the Grenade. Toe, heel, or even a little high on the face, the Grenade delivered fairly consistent feel and carry distances. The reason I believe this to be true is because “Sully” and the University of Vermont engineering dept figured out that with a 2 piece club-head you could actually place the center of percussion in the center of the club-face, something very difficult to do with a 4 piece weld. This seems to make the face (hot) everywhere, and when you do hit the center…bliss.
Three weeks, three rounds of golf, and some range time later, my VrPro 8.5 has not seen the inside of my golf bag. Not that I am throwing it out or giving it away, it will find a place in my (Bag of Fame) with the other great golf clubs I’ve hung on to ( I’ve given most away) and the Grenade will take it’s place. Here’s why…
1)It’s Simple: No adjustability, custom… but with very few choices. 2) It looks Great 3) Every club is made and assembled by craftsmen in the United 4) States. 4)EVERYONE asks me what it is 5) It out performs my current driver 6) Even the head cover looks great.
As a Professional Golf Instructor, and writer, I want you to know I am not on the Payroll at Bombtech Golf, I am writing this review to let people know there are great alternatives to mass produced equipment out there, this is not an infomercial driver; this is the real thing and I support the efforts of this great small business, and just like Center of Gravity Golf…
“In the real world, simplification is valued over complication.” Check out the technology and content on this club at bombtechgolf.com
I Pulled the Pin! Thanks Sully…
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | PGA of Canada Professional
I’m probably one of the few Golf Professionals that never really talks to my clients about club head speed. The old joke on the tee box is always, “Swing hard in case you hit it” when in fact “Swing smooth” would be a much better thought.
While it’s true that increased club head speed will cause the ball to fly further; the thought of swinging harder actually has a detrimental effect on the speed of the golf club. Increased club head speed actually is a byproduct of excellent balance and proper sequence of the golf swing, trying harder is a sure fire way to hit short golf shots all day long.
I never want to put an image in the mind that, to increase the speed of the club head, encourages a golfer to “try harder”, and that never works. Any golf professional will tell you they usually swing the club at about 75 to 80% of their maximum, this insures they stay in balance and make solid contact which they know will produce predictable trajectories and carry distances for all their clubs. Any time one of my clients wants to increase distance I start to talk about ball speed. I have always found that ball speed was a more relevant subject and when we learn how to increase ball speed, more distance comes naturally.
One thing a lot of golfers don’t understand is that the most powerful piece of golf equipment made is not the $500.00 driver, actually the $5.00 golf ball is the most powerful and most regulated piece of golf equipment there is.
There are golf balls today that any Pro could hit 400 or 500 yards…we’re not allowed to use them of course, but they are out there. Golf balls are strictly regulated in initial velocity, size, weight, and flight characteristics so golf courses don’t become obsolete overnight. The reason a Golf professional or a top Amateur can hit a regulation golf ball so far is not because of strength or swinging hard, it’s compression.
Learning how to ‘squeeze’ a golf ball is the secret to gaining lots of distance with very little effort. You’ve probably heard the phrase “effortless power,” this comes from understanding that all the energy in golf is in the golf ball…we just have to learn to get it out.
How do you get it out? You squeeze the golf ball using what Center of Gravity Golf calls the “Piston”. The Piston rotation is the release of the club-head through the ball. This releasing (rotating) action compresses the ball causing it to fly. Golf balls are designed to fly and when you compress them properly it will astonish you how far they will fly and how well they hold their line.
Learning to release the club-head properly through the ball is the key to maximizing your ball speed and getting your youthful distance back.
The release of the club-head is actually just a 90 degree rotation of the club-head through the bottom of the swing. Most golfers either don’t release it at all, or they release it too late, after the ball is gone. Late release of the club-head causes high, short shots, off to the right. If you ever noticed that all of your mid irons go the same distance…you’re not releasing the club-head and you’re merely pushing the golf ball around the course.
Learning how to “release” the club-head properly and on time is not a difficult or time consuming project, in fact you can learn it in a few minutes.
With the Center of Gravity System, it is common to effortlessly increase ball speed by 10 – 30 miles/ hour, which can mean an extra 15 – 30 yards on a 7 iron shot alone!
With over 1,000 golfers compelled to write in with their success stories, I encourage you to do the same, and order the COG system. You have nothing to lose but strokes!
We live in a culture where time has become the most precious of commodities. Between work, commuting, family, and home, finding the time for a round of golf a couple of times a week is becoming an exercise in time management. If you are a golfer, you understand the lure of the golf course; the fresh air, the camaraderie, the beauty of the golf course, and the thrill of a well-struck shot or a great putt that takes us away from the daily grind, even if only for a few hours.
Thousands of people across North America are joining the fraternity of new golfers every week, buying new equipment, taking lessons, joining leagues, or taking part in Corporate golf outings aimed at team building, improving the corporate culture, and yes, even conducting business, and all of these new golfers have a few things in common with the rest of us die hard players.
We all enjoy the challenge, we all want to get better every year, but usually we just don’t have the time to devote to consistent practicing.
Golf lessons from a certified Golf Professional are certainly a must have, a few good lessons on the golf swing and scoring game will counter months, or even years of frustration trying to figure it out on your own, the problem comes from what you do with those lessons. A Golf Professional, no matter how talented, can only impart his, or her knowledge on you in a classroom or range setting, it’s then up to you to take this knowledge and turn it into a golf game, and that takes practice time.
A serious amateur golfer will put in up to 10- hours per week on the practice range in order to compete at a high level, a Professional can double that time plus play a few rounds to improve or keep their scoring touch. So where does that leave the rest of us, those of us with regular jobs, families, and stuff to do?
While it’s important, even therapeutic to go the range and grind through a couple of buckets of balls, are we doing our golf game any good?
Those of us with limited time have to maximize the minutes we steal for practice and make the most of our range encounters. The most successful golfers will follow a practice routine that they can translate into a golf game when they get to the course. Below is the practice routine suggested for all students of “Center of Gravity Golf”, this gives a player the best chance of bringing the range game to the golf course, and seeing steady, marked improvement…and it’s more fun.
Here are 5 tips to keep your game consistent.
Work on your fundamentals: Block practice is what you see most everyone at a range engaged in. Hitting 7-iron after 7-iron, after 7-iron, is not a good way to improve your golf game, unless you are specifically working on your 3 basic fundamentals. Center of Gravity golf has a 30-ball and a 60-ball schedule that will solidify your fundamentals in short order. If you’re not doing this, it’s only exercise. while a short warm-up is ok, hitting 25 drivers in a row does nothing for your golf game. Remember, golf is a game, and should be practiced as a game. I call “Block Practice” exercise
Practice Like You Play: After you warm up, your practice session should mimic a round of golf at your favorite course, or the one you will be playing soon. Picture the first hole and take the appropriate club for the shot. Hit the shot and live with the consequences, just like real golf. Estimate your remaining yardage and choose the appropriate club for that shot, and so on. For your shots into the green, pick put a specific target and estimate if you hit the green in regulation. Keep your fairways and greens in regulation stats, chipping and putting will come later. Using this practice range method will put you in the position to hit every club in your bag in a simulated game situation making it easier to translate from practice range to golf course.
Practice with a Friend: From experience I’ve learned that getting to the gym a few times / week is easier and more enjoyable if I have a workout partner, the same goes for golf. A practice partner will help you get to the range, have more fun, and learn a lot faster. Playing the “Range Game” with a friend will make your practice time more enjoyable, fuel your competitive spirit, and help you focus on each and every shot ensuring more success on the course.
Play Chipping and Putting Games: Playing closest to the hole chipping games with a friend will sharpen your skills and competitiveness much faster than mindlessly chipping 25 balls to a single target. In golf, you only have one chance to hit your shot, and practicing this way will lessen the anxiety you feel in a game situation. The same goes for putting. Playing a putting game with a friend will sharpen your eye and improve your putting much faster than hitting 20 10-footers in a row. Friendly competition for Cokes or Coffee will make your limited practice sessions really pay off.
Get a Plan: Every golfer should have a plan before tee time. Having a game plan for all situations will give you the confidence to perform in any situation you may come across on the links. Most golfers try to “wing it”, and that’s when the big numbers show up on the card. “Center of Gravity Golf “ outlines a plan of attack for all situations ensuring lower scores and lots of fun on the course.
The Golf Grip Myth: I have both read about and been told about grip techniques by countless Pros; and of course I have tried to listen and practice some of these methods of instructional information. Problem is…most of them are not fundamentally true or accurate and can produce bad golfing habits
Here are 2 fundamental secrets every golfer should know about regarding gripping your club:
1. Grip the club as if it were a small (baby) bird…
Tight enough so it can’t get away, but loose enough so you don’t kill the bird. (Sam Snead)
Now I would never disrespect the great Sam Snead, he was, and is still one of my golfing heroes…but what he said and what he did are two entirely different things.
First of all, a baby bird, or a small bird weighs almost nothing; it would take very little pressure to contain a small bird (the weight of your fingers and hands alone would do the job). Conversely: it would take very little added pressure from your fingers to overcome the bird and squeeze the life out of it.
A moving golf club-head, on the other hand – weighs a minimum of 10 pounds at the transition point (most weigh between 15 – 50 pounds through centrifugal force depending on the speed of the backswing at transition). There is absolutely no way to control a swinging club-head using the same pressure you would to contain a small bird!
Now…having said that, I do believe this statement from Sam Snead to be TRUE…for all fingers EXCEPT the BOSS fingers. The BOSS fingers can and will control the club-head in swing, and ensure the bottom of your swing falls consistently on your center of gravity (your sternum), and they must be very firm on the club, firm enough to be in control of 14 – 25 (or more) pounds.
The other 7 digits however… baby bird.
2. Use Equal Pressure On Both Hands
My Head Instructor and trainer recently had a debate over this issue with a long time Pro who truly believes this and has been teaching it for many years, Here’s my view on that…
-Maintaining equal grip pressure on both hands with a moving weight that increases and decreases as club-head speed increases and decreases, is virtually impossible. Everyone has a dominant hand and fingers that they used the most and therefore will (subconsciously) bear the majority of the weight throughout the swing.
-Consciously trying to maintain an equal pressure on both hands creates a power struggle between the hands and levers (arms) that will produce an inconsistent bottoming out point of the swing. In order to create a consistent bottoming out point of the swing, there must be a consistent lever in control of the golf club.
-When you always use the “Boss” Fingers to control the golf club, the controlling lever is consistent and a consistent bottoming out point can be achieved. Now we’re getting somewhere!
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | Former PGA of Canada Professional