Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Tim Mahoney Golf Blog


Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Drive for Show
Drive for Show
By Tim Mahoney

The phrase “Drive for show and putt for dough” has been apart of the game of golf since the early Scott’s started hitting rocks into the rabbit holes, as they tended to there sheep.  Consistent putter’s always finish around the top of the leader board and are the lower handicap player’s at our clubs.  But, also keep in mind that golfer’s who miss fairways never get to the green to attempt a putt.  Putting attributes to approximately 42% of total strokes and woods 23%, but we must get the ball into play, in order to advance towards the putting surface.  Consistent drivers have the following fundamentals:

1.       A mind-set of conservative off of the tee and aggressive around the greens.  Get the ball somewhere in the fairway.  Corners and doglegs are not meant to be carried, they are meant to play around.  If you can’t find the fairway with your driver use your 3-wood, if you can’t find it with your 3-wood use your 5 and so on.
2.       Thirteen clubs 1 swing.  If you were to ask any consistent player they would tee you, “I have 1 swing, but I have 13 different set-ups.”  A waist high to waist high swing is always at right angles to the positioning of your spine.  At address the club is positioned at right angles to your spine.  As the clubs get longer or shorter your posture will be affected, longer clubs, wider stance and less bend at address, shorter clubs narrow stance and more bend.  The change in spine tilt will affect the plane or angle of the swing.  The club is always swung around your spine, with the spine as the hub. 
3.       Distance=Swing speed+ solid contact.  Speed is the result of utilizing all power sources (body, arms and wrist) during a balance motion.  Solid contact is the result of a proper swing shape as you maintain the hub (spine.)
4.       Utilize friendly and conforming equipment.  Longer shafts, larger club heads, lower center of gravity and distance balls will assist with distance and direction control.  Overly stiff shafts and lower lofted clubs make driving much more difficult.

Lower scores and consistency is the result of fairways hit, greens in regulation, consistent wedge play and distance control in putting.  Consistency starts with fairways hit.  The average tour player hits 9.5 fairways per round, the fairways they miss the ball is on the property. Controlled driving means lower scores.  The old Scott’s had wide pastures and short holes.

Drills for successful practice sessions
Drills for successful practice sessions
By Tim Mahoney

After observing the practice sessions at the 2014 Masters tournament I noticed significant change in the manner of practice from the elite tour players: golfers utilizing drills into their practice routine.  Tiger Woods, Rory McElroy to Lee Westwood, all golfers utilizing a movement or practice swing to isolate a muscle movement or change.  The old age of “practice makes perfect,” had been amended to “perfect practice makes perfectly permanent.”  All level of golfers needs to develop a movement or thought that will allow them to incorporate the needed change.  At the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we have developed several drills that will assist all golfers with the quest of perfecting the movement.

Right Arm Drill- the right arm controls the shaft into the downswing and through the impact area.  The club must fall as the body turns.  A great drill that we have created is the right arm throw exercise.  Hold a golf ball into your right hand and simulate a backswing with your right hand and arm.  To simulate the down swing:  hold your trunk in place and attempt to throw the ball and strike the ball on the ground.  This drill will produce the desired straightening of the right arm and the correct angle of approach.  A ball released on the target side of the ball the arm plane to steep and a ball released prior to the ball on the ground is to shallow.  Hit the ball on the ground and your plane and release are correct.

Right hand in arm only for putting drill- controlling distance is the secret to successful putting.  A drill that will assist all golfers with this goal is putting with only your right hand onto the club.  From 5-6 feet, hold the putter in your right hand.  As you stroke the putts maintain the angle established in the back of your right wrist.  By maintaining this angle, this allows the putter head to gradually accelerate through impact.  If the right wrist straightens, the putter over-accelerates and the golfer can not control distance.   Try 20 putts and keep track of how many putts were made and continue your daily accounting.

Pivot drill- is a drill that will assist golfers with correct hip rotation during the backswing.  Bio-mechanical test have proven during the backswing that the weight doesn’t shift to the backside but the body rotates freely as you create tension between the upper and lower body.  A drill that will assist with this sensation is the pivot drill:  position a club along side your right hip and allow the hips to turn freely on the back swing.  If the club moves or falls-the hips have slid on the back swing.  The hips should turn as you body weight is centered between your feet.  This drill is a backswing only drill.

Practice like a pro and incorporate the drills outlined above.  Keep in mind that practice makes permanent and “perfect practice makes perfectly permanent.”

How to make a swing change
How to Make a Swing Change

By: Tim Mahoney

Every week millions of golfer’s watch Jordan Speith, Lydia Ko and others compete in Professional events, and the amateurs use these individuals as standards for their own golf games.  What the golfing public doesn’t see is the other 60 or so golfer’s who are competing each week making pars and bogeys, the 70 other golfers’ who missed the cut and the amount of time these professionals spend perfecting their skills.  If you measure your own game against the top professionals, you have unrealistic expectations and will be forever frustrated with your game.

The first objective when making a swing change is to understand that cause and effect of your motion.  Is the over the top motion the effect of an open clubface or the cause.  Is the in-correct pivot a mis-concept or a flexibility issue?  Once you and/or your coach determines the cause than a game plan for success must be developed.

Swing change game plans typically include a perfect set-up, practice swing routine, playing strategies, how to stretch and how to make a change.  This game plan must be adjusted during the swing change in order to address the cause and effects of the swinging motion.

1.       Changing motor skills takes a minimum of 2-3 weeks of practice.
2.       Practicing while playing on the course results in higher scores.
3.       Ben Hogan would only hit 5-6 perfect shots per round.
4.       Don’t compare yourself to Jordan Spieth.

A golf swing is a constantly changing and evolving motion.  Flexibility, fitness level, practice commitment and playing time will adjust and change the shape of a golfer’s motion.  As a result, the golf swing must be adjusted and changed.  Understanding the cause and effect of your swing with realistic expectations will allow you swing and golf enjoyment during your golf careers.

Playing the Game
Playing the Game
By: Tim Mahoney

Playing the Game

The final goal in golf is the end product: the score. Hitting perfect shots does not equate to a low score. Good “bad” shots, a consistent short game, and controlled tee shots allow golfers to achieve the ultimate goal – a low score.  To this end, golfers must learn how to play the game – including understanding tee-shot placement, reading bad lies, and selecting a club. Practice the following theories and you will begin to understand how to “play the game”.

The Friendly Theory

Cobra Advisory Staff member Hank Johnson recommends that golfers follow the “friendly” theory when playing golf. Golfers should use friendly clubs, make friendly swings, and choose friendly targets.

1.       Friendly clubs are ones that golfers have practiced with and spent some time with on and off the course. Keep in mind that to get the ball up in the air, you must get the center of the club beneath the center of the ball at impact. Your fairway woods are designed to lift the ball, and are much easier to hit than your longer irons. Choose the friendliest club dictated by your lie and the shot you wish to execute.
2.       Friendly swings are swings that you have practiced and have the ability to finish in balance. A balanced finish indicates that your swing is non-hurried and flowing. All golfers should hold their follow through until the ball lands. The inability to hold your follow through indicates a hurried and non-friendly swing.
3.       Friendly targets are forgiving targets with generous landing areas. A pin tacked behind a bunker may not be a friendly target. Choose open areas which will not so severely penalize a bad shot.

**Conservative off the Tee – Aggressive around the Greens

Matches can not be won off the tee. Your mindset should be one of being conservative off the tee and aggressive around the greens. You must get your “first serve in”, position your tee-ball in the fairway with a conservative mindset. If you are having difficulty with drawing the ball with your driver, use your 3 wood. Cutting doglegs may not be the prudent move – instead, get your ball in the fairway. As you get closer to the hole, become more aggressive. Whenever you find yourself with a short game shot (pitching, chipping, bunker or putting), your mindset should always be to try to hole the shot. 

So, to play the game well, and lowering your scores, remember to incorporate the friendly theory, and the conservative to aggressive theory, into your game plan.

Good luck.

Fundamentals key to success
Fundamentals key to success. 
By Tim Mahoney

Even the beginner golfer recognizes that no two players set up to the ball in exactly the same manner. The mistake is made in fastening on to these differences and assuming that every player must, therefore, have his or her own way of preparing for the shot, and that it is all a matter of preference.

Perhaps the tiny details are a matter of preference. Despite preferences, however, there are pre-swing fundamentals that enough great players keep in common so that they are regarded as sound.

The first fundamental involves getting the hands on the club in a suitable manner. A good grip starts with the glove hand.

Ideally, the glove hand should be placed on the grip so that the finger tips are not visible to the golfer looking down at address. To achieve this position, the left thumb must be placed right of center (for the right-handed player), and the club as a whole should be held in the fingers. The golfer whose glove wears out in the palm could use some work in these particulars.

As for the non-glove hand, provided the palm faces the general direction of the target the two hands should work nicely together.

Working into a proper posture, the golfer should tilt so that the club can get down to the ball. The proper tilt is from the hip sockets. If a golfer pushes his belt buckle back away from his hands at address, he’ll be on his way to a proper tilt.

The trouble to avoid here is bending too much at the knees. In a proper, athletic posture the knees should merely unlock so that they remain directly above the shoestrings.

You may have noticed that great players appear centered throughout the swing. This is easily achieved because the expert golfer addresses the ball with a straight spine. With the spine providing a straight axis around which the body can rotate, the golfer can turn away, and re-turn through the ball free of excess left, right, or up-and-down movement.

A good sense of aim, if here today, can disappear before tomorrow. It must, therefore, be conditioned constantly.

The way to know for sure that one is properly aimed is to place clubs on the ground during every practice session. Knowing the clubs are aimed directly at the target, the only thing left to do is align the feet, knees, hips, and shoulders parallel to the clubs. From this perfected aimed set-up, looking back and forth between the ball and target will condition a sense of what correct aim looks and feels like.

It’s good to keep in mind that aim is not only a matter of accuracy. In fact, even with poor aim a golfer may, over time, learn to hit the ball to the hole. To do so, however, he must adopt inefficient redirecting movements, and in doing so further widen the gap between his actual and potential skill with a golf club.

Ball Position
It is no secret to most that a consistently powerful golf swing involves a weight shift to the forward foot in the early stages of the downswing.

It can be reasoned then that one weight shift with little variation would be easiest to learn. In other words, a golfer should learn to shift the weight to the same degree when swinging a 7-iron as a 3-wood. This being the case, it is wise to adopt one ball position that works for all clubs when hit from level lies off the fairway.

For most, I suggest the ball be positioned two inches inside the left heel (again, for the right-handed player). Keeping the ball in the same place relative to the left leg will allow the golfer to learn one shift that works for every club. Granted, the stance for a 3-wood is a bit wider than for a 7-iron, so the casual observer may point out that the ball appears more forward when using the longer club. Still, the ball remains in the same place relative to the forward foot for all shots hit from the grass from level lies.

Keep in mind that in-swing fundamentals only have meaning if preceded by correct pre-swing fundamentals. The good news is that after adhering to a proper set-up –grip, posture, aim and ball position—what follows becomes easier to achieve.

Ball position: The Debate Continues

Ball position: The Debate Continues

By Tim Mahoney


One of the interesting concepts about the golf swing is the position of the ball with-in your stance.  One school of thought mentions a ball position in the same spot and another mentions a ball position that moves with the club.  At the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we believe that the ball position is the effect of the desired swing angle at the ball and the golfers basic swing tendency.  Keep in mind our ultimate goal is to produce a solid strike every time a golfers hits a shot.  The ball position is constantly being adjusted during a practice session or a round of golf. 


The ball position is the effect of your desired impact goals, swing tendencies and the design of the club.  As the club length is varied and the club head design is implemented the basic ball position will be adjusted as well. Shorter irons with more loft the ball will be farther back in the stance and a wood club with less loft and the shaft behind the ball will have a more forward ball position.


The desired angle of approach of the club head at impact will effect the ball position as well.  A short game shot that requires a significant amount of back spin and a steeper angle of approach, the golf ball should be positioned back in your stance. A driving club with a golfer’s objective of distance with ground speed requires a shallow angle of approach or slightly upward, a forward ball position is needed. All golfers need to keep in mind that the position of the ball at set-up in relation to your feet and head will effect the angle the club approaches the ball.  Ball back-steep angle and a ball forward shallows the angle.


During a round of golf the goal is to get the ball into the hole in the lowest amount of attempts.  Your golf swing is constantly changing as your body and mind set changes as well.  If your swing path is too much in to out, your golf club will bottom out behind the ball.  This swing path will result in a ball position farther back in your stance.  A swing path that is out to in will produce a swing bottom forward of the ball and a more forward ball position.  Golfers need to adapt to the playing positions and your golf swing.


Lower scores are the effect of the golfer adapting to the swing and conditions.  Keep in mind that the golf ball relationship within your stance is constantly moving and being adjusted.  A cemented position will produce inconsistencies and an adjusted ball position will result in lower scores.


How to Aim



How to Aim

By Tim Mahoney


A perfectly struck shot with an imperfect aim results in an imperfect result.  An imperfect shot with a perfect aim could result in a perfect shot.  The art of aiming I believe is the single most difficult aspect in the game, due to the fact that the golfer is inside and above the ball line.  I have been in the instruction arena for over 30 years and have tried every aiming tip with my students, and have come up with the conclusion that all good aimers have 2 common traits: a consistent ball flight and they always aim the clubface first and body second.


Consistent Ball Flight


Golf swing and pre swing compatibility will develop a consistent ball flight.  For an example: strong grip, centered ball position, body supports golf club and a reverse K posture these alignments will produce a controlled draw.  Conversely, a weaker grip, forward ball position, X posture and an arm control will produce a controlled fade.  Uncontrolled ball flights make a consistent aim impossible.  Hooks followed by a slice develop an atmosphere where it is impossible to aim.  Develop a consistent ball flight and then develop your game plan for aiming.


Clubface Followed by Torso


The only contact with the ball is the clubface.  Consistent aimers align the club first followed by the torso.  Step 1 of a consistent aimer is positioning the clubface behind the ball with the completed grip.  During this alignment the golfer must align the leading edge at right angle to the target line.  After successfully aligning the clubface the golfer must position the body parallel to the intended starting line.  The golf ball and club head would be on the outside rail of a railroad track with the body on the inside rail.  The body will be parallel left.  A line across the eyes, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees and feet must be aligned parallel left.  Inconsistent aimers consistently check there feet, when the feet are only 1 piece of the aiming puzzle.  Aiming is guaranteed if you aim the leading edge at your intended target line and then aim your body parts parallel left.  Your golf club will approach the impact area on a line across your shoulders; as a result it is an imperative that the golfers position their trunk parallel left.


Develop a consistent ball fight with a compatible set of pre-swing and in swing fundamentals and as you aim, position the club with your body aligned parallel left.  Consistent aiming is the effect of a consistent ball-flight not the cause.


Impact for Consistency

Impact for Consistency

By Tim Mahoney


As you watch golf on TV across all the different professional tours, you will see different grips, postures, swing shapes and ball flights. Regardless of the differences in all the unique swings, there is one constant in all good ball strikers – they look identical at impact. Perfect impact and your ball striking will improve.

Impact position consists of: a forward leaning shaft, hips open to the target line, shoulders square to the target line, left wrist flat and right wrist bent.  Establish the angles and plane during the backswing and maintain these angles at impact.  Anticipation of the strike or an in-correct mind-set will create impact misery and inconsistenctcy.  Simply rehearsing impact or an isometric exercise will assist you with your impact goals.  Start at address and move into impact

A drill that will assist you with the motion of impact and correct alignments is making small swings into an impact bag.  Allow the power sources to accumulate on the back swing and turn into impact.  As the club strikes the bag, note:  a forward leaned shaft, flat lead wrist, hips open and shoulders square. 

All golf swings are different: upright, flat, close faced or opened face.  But all great ball strikers are perfect at impact.  Work on impact and your scores will lower.


Ball-Flight Consistency

Ball-Flight Consistency

By Tim Mahoney

Consistency is the number one goal of all players from Jordan Spieth to Jack Nicklaus.  Distance, Direction and Trajectory make up the elements of the ball-flight.  Golfers need all three elements for consistent ball striking.  I believe that the sequence of learning is:  trajectory, distance and direction.  The three components are interrelated and we cannot have one with out the other.


Trajectory is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- the club is designed to provide loft.  Allow the manufacturer to get the ball airborne.

2.       Angle of Approach- the correct angle of approach provides solid impact and the proper effective loft.

3.       Set-up- consistency starts here.  Grip, posture, ball-position, aim, mind-set and tension level are the fundamentals of the pre-swing.

4.       Swing plane- a vertical swing shape will produce high shots and a flat swing shape will produce lower shots.

5.       Swing speed- without swing speed the golfer has a difficult time producing loft.  Golfers with a limited swing speed will produce the same trajectory for all clubs.

Distance is controlled by:

1.       Club Selection- longer clubs longer shots.

2.       Length of motion- increased range of motion will assist in distance.

3.       Solidness of contact- hitting the ball in the center of the racket.  Path and plane are significant influences.  Vertical plane produces toe hits and a flat plane produces heel hits.

4.       Swing speed at impact.  Body rotation, arm speed and wrist movement are the biggest influences.  Overall swing speed is a goal not club head speed.

Direction is controlled by:

1.       Aim- parallel lines of the eyes, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees and heels.

2.       Clubface alignment at impact.  Clubface at right angle to your swing path at impact.

3.       Swing path at impact.  A swing path that is from the inside to along the target line to the inside.

Every golf lesson and group activity I participate in every golfer is in search of consistency.  Ball flight has three elements: trajectory, distance and direction.  You master all three in order to gain consistency.




By Tim Mahoney

Golf Ball curvature is the effect of a misaligned club face at impact.  Your club face is controlled by wrist cock, arm rotation and release.  All three of these aspects is directly controlled by the hold or individual grip of the club.  The quickest and simply the easiest means of improving your game is by perfecting your grip.  A perfect grip will improve an imperfect swing plane, an imperfect swing path and imperfect impact. 

Utilizing a gripping procedure will allow you to position your hands on the club consistently every time you swing the golf club. 

Step 1- allow your arms to hang freely by your sides as you position the club under the heel pad of your left hand with the club planed and the club face square.

Step 2-elevate the club and establish the width of the swing. With the club in front of you position your right hand on the club.  Connecting the hands by placing your life line on top of the thumb.

Grip check points include with the left hand include:  heel pad on top, thumb to the right of center and no gap between the thumb and the base of the hand.  Right hand check points include:  life line covers the thumbs, trigger finger to the side of the grip and no gap. The golfer has three options to connect the hands:  overlap grips allows for more wrist cock, an interlocking allows for more direction control and a baseball grip allows for a higher trajectory.

Perfect your grip and perfect your game.  The only contact you have with the club is your grip.  A perfect hold will perfect your ball flight.