Adam Young on His “7 Laws of Good (Golf) Impact”

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Adam Young on His “7 Laws of Good (Golf) Impact”

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Adam Young on His “7 Laws of Good (Golf) Impact”

Episode Summary: Adam Young is one of the leading golf instructors in the world. The author of “The Practice Manual”, he teaches golfers the importance of developing skill as well as technique. Adam talks about his “7 Laws of Impact” and explains the importance of understanding and embracing them in your practice. Simply put, you will not improve the quality of your shots unless you address one of the 7 Laws: Ground Contact, Face Contact, Speed, Face Direction, Swing Path, Angle of Attack, Dynamic Loft and drill to improve.

Welcome from Mark Immelman

Today we have Adam Young with us on the On The Mark golf podcast, and he is very insightful. Very experienced. He has a wonderful way of being massively successful with each and every player he teaches, whether they are beginners or golfers at the highest level. He explains theory well and has a wonderful way of getting the golfer to think less, yet still improve their technique. 

Introduction of Adam Young

Mark Immelman: Adam, before we get started tell us about who you are. 

Adam Young: I am a PGA professional. I have been coaching about 14 years now, all of my working life. I have had the opportunity to coach at some amazing facilities, like IMG Academy, and Leadbetter Academy.  Now I am in Vegas and looking to start an academy here soon. 

7 Impact Laws

Mark Immelman: Your statement goes: “The 7 impact laws determine your shot results. If you don’t change one or more of these your results are not going to change.” This is truth and I want you to talk about this, please. 

Adam Young:  I spent a lot of time restructuring that sentence. I always wanted a message that really hit home. The Impact Laws are EVERYTHING! If you want to change that result, there is no other way about it. You HAVE to change something at impact. 

There are many ways of doing that. Most people go about it by changing their swing mechanics directly. 

I use the analogy of a computer game. You can focus on 3 things. You could focus on the screen, but that doesn’t really help if you don’t know what the buttons on the controller do. So, impact to me is basically what all the buttons do, what actually creates the results. 

Once you’ve learned the buttons and are pretty good at the buttons, then you can go back to focusing more on the game itself. 

Mark Immelman: You become the victim of what I call “Advil for the golf swing”! And those things include things like: I didn’t keep my eye on the ball, I lifted my head, or I swung too far. And if you don’t know what the buttons, you can’t control those sorts of things. 

Adam Young: For many years, we didn’t know what the buttons were. Most gofers, and even most instructors, are actually thinking about the thumb angle or the wrist angle. They are saying HOW to push the button without ever really telling you about what the button does or which button to press. 

We can figure out HOW to push the buttons once we figure out WHAT the buttons are.

A lot of my instruction goes towards unveiling what the buttons are and what they actually do. That is basically what the Impact Laws are….the controls for the game. 

The 7 Impact Laws from Adam Young

  1. Ground Impact 
  2. Face Contact 
  3. Speed
  4. Face Direction
  5. Swing Path
  6. Angle of Attack
  7. Dynamic Loft

1. Ground Impact

Adam Young:  If I was to give an amateur one thing to work on it would be the ground contact. That effort starts with an iron. You are not going to contact the ground with a driver, hopefully you are not going to contact the ground with a putter. But with an iron, you are going to contact the ground to some extent. 
It doesn’t have to be a huge divot, it could just be a light brushing of the grass. But a lot of factors go into it. The depth going through the grass, location where you are striking the ground. 

Thanks to these beautiful slow motions now, we know the ball is struck first with an iron, and the turf is struck after. Sometimes up to an inch or so after the ball. Whereas amateurs will strike the ground early and then usually say something like “I lifted by head” and then start to think striking the ground is a bad thing. Because every time they hit the ground, the ball goes no where. If you strike the ground an inch behind the ball you don’t notice that much of a result change, but if you strike two inches behind the ball that ball can drop off 30% or more the distance.

Ground impact is hugely important for distance control. 

Ground Impact Drill

Mark Immelman:  Share a drill to help get that club to lower to the right place in the swing arc. 

Adam Young:  This is where the new golfer will say, “How do I hit the ground in the right place?” We could talk lots of different ways to go about this, but one of the drills that I find to be really effective is to get an old club, get on a piece of concrete, and draw a little ‘x’ on the concrete. Then I ask the player to make a swing where they clip the concrete very lightly (so it doesn’t hurt). 

When players attempt this, the first swing might be 4 inches behind that ‘x’, and they didn’t realize they were hitting that far behind the ball. Then the next swing will be better….without me saying a word! 

Again, people can figure out HOW to push the button, once they are told WHAT the button is! 

Mark Immelman: You were the guy who highlighted to me the term “skill acquisition”. I was always the coach who was trying to help the player to better understanding. 

Acquire the skill of clipping the concrete in the right place, because you will do what resembles an efficient golf swing if you pull this off right. 

Adam Young: Exactly. Instead of focusing on HOW to do it, you just go out and actually do it, get good feedback and explore a little bit. 

2. Face Contact

Adam Young: Face contact is hugely important to distance, distance control, even direction with the bigger headed club. 

Face Contact Drill

 Mark Immelman: Where the ball strikes the face is crucial to power and direction, so what is the drill and how can someone go and make sure they hit the sweet spot a little more regularly? 

Adam Young:  One of my favorites is just a feedback drill. Get a can of Dr. Scholl’s foot spray  or even a dry erase marker,  and put a dot on the back of the ball and it transfers to the face when you hit the ball. 

From that alone, I have had so many players come to me and who say they are not hitting it will or something is wrong with my swing, do that drill, have a look at the club face and see they are striking the toe or the heel. 

Again that is me just showing them the button without showing them HOW to do it. Many people can just recalibrate that strike just from seeing where it was. 

3. Speed

Adam Young:  Speed is our biggest limiter of our maximum distance. Under normal conditions you need a certain amount of club head speed. 

 Mark Immelman: I feel people think their idea of speed is off base because they feel more speed in the body than what is transmitted to the golfball or golf club head. 

Speed Drill

Adam Young: There can be so many ways to improve in speed and the pros make it looks so easy. One of my favorite drills is to get an alignment stick out and ask people to make as loud a swish as they can down by the ball or slightly after it. 

People will instantly unlock some movement, create a little more fluidity or relaxation to create that speed. As opposed to most golfers feel it more in their bodies, and confuse strength with speed. Speed should be a relaxed sling through the ball, as opposed to trying to muscle it. 

Mark Immelman:  The great John Jacobs would always make the statement to me “Why are you trying to delay the hit? Why don’t you just make sure the hit is at the right place?” I’m sure if someone swings that stick and hears the swish they wouldn’t be trying to lag or hold on to that golf club. They are basically unloading and transmitting. 

4. Face Direction

Adam Young:  Face direction deals with the direction of the shot. A face that is more left, the results will be more left, and vice versa. Many people obsess over swing path, but even if your path is 5 degrees left  you can still hit an online shot. Regardless to what your path is, a good club face angle will produce a functional result. 

Mark Immelman: We have had people on this podcast who would speak to the fact that it is easier to get a swing path more consistent than face presentation. I think that is a big assumption. I want your take on what individuals can go and do. 

Face Direction Drills

Adam Young:  I do this one with complete beginners. I will ask complete beginners, can you present the club face to the right at impact? I get them to hit 10 shots. Then I ask them to do the opposite. I ask them can they get the club face to be left at impact? Inevitably they can. Then I ask you can hit it in between? That is level one. Hitting shots left, right, straight. It goes against the idea of perfect practice. 

Once they can do that, I layer on more. I might ask them if they can do 5 different shot types….an extreme right, small right, extreme left, small left, then a center. So players can monitor how good they are at this skill. It is just exploring the different boundaries. 

Mark Immelman: To take this a bit further fo the more advanced golfer, the golfer who wants to make sure the face never gets left of zero. Is that as simple as getting there on a launch monitor? 

Adam Young: [Timestamp: 27:30] You can play certain games on the range where you give yourself a target  and play where you get a point if you are in that target, and you loose 3 points if you miss left of that target. What happens is that as a result of playing that game is they figure out instinctively how to get that ball on the target and lower their left (or right) miss. 

5. Swing Path 

Adam Young:  Swing path has a lesser influence on direction because it doesn’t influence launch direction as much. The swing path is still important. You can have an offline swing path and still play great golf. We don’t want to see it too offline. 
In general the ball will curve the opposite direction to your swing path, all else equal. The more you swing to the left, the more that ball will curve to the right. 
Mark Immelman: Obviously the face has a lot to do with it, because I can swing to the left and have face pointing to the left of where the path is going and the ball is going to start left and go further left. 

Adam Young: Yes. Basically when you are looking at overall direction, you are combining the impact factors of path, face, and strike. 

Swing Path Drill

Mark Immelman: A lot of people think about pitch of swing when they think about path. Share a drill to help get a sense for the angle that the club is approaching the golf ball from. 
Adam Young: [Timestamp: 30:24] I can change people’s paths instantly with my go to drill. I have a golfball with a nail through it, and I place that golfball on the tee and I can angle it to the right. I ask, can you hammer that? Instantly their swing path goes more to the right. Can you hammer it left, and so forth. 

I can get players to change really extreme if they want, and as a result their swing mechanics change as well. They are able to change and manipulate their swing path to what they want. 

Mark Immelman: So many golfers when they get up to the golfball they are standing over top of the thing and the target is somewhere in the distance. The idea of where I exist in time and space is kind of lost. 

Adam Young: If I place that nail a little closer to the person’s feet and ask them to hit that they would strike more to the toe. 

6. Angle of Attack

Adam Young: Angle of attack is quite a popular topic these days. In order to maximize distance with a driver hitting on the up swing is what we need to do for the vast majority of the players. The top, high drive champions all hit up on it. Now, remember this is only to maximize distance, not necessarily preforming your best with a driver. 

If you have a more upward angle of attack you have more potential distance. 

Angle of Attack Drill

Mark Immelman:  Ok, how do we achieve a steeper angle of attack? 

Adam Young: If you want to make it steeper, I got back to the concrete drill again. I would say can you hit that spot, and then I would ask them to “dig a little deeper” into the concrete or to make a louder chip. 

We are really looking at is where is the low point relative to the ball to change angle of attack. 

With a driver, the opposite is true, you want the low point to be more behind the golfball to get an upward angle of attack. 

A simple concept that I use is to place the logo on the back of the ball, slightly on the underside. I say keep your eyes on that throughout the swing. 

Mark Immelman: That reminds me of a Gary Player-ism. He said to me, in fairway bunkers, you want to catch the golfball first (not the sand). He said on a fairway bunker shot he would train his vision on a dimple on the front side of the golfball and that will lend itself to striking the ball first.

Your take is just the opposite, on the underside of the ball, so you would remain back more and create more of  an ascending path on impact. 

Adam Young:  Use the nail analogy as well, you could just place that ball with the nail through it on the tee and angle that nail slightly toward the sky. And ask, how would you handle that? 

7. Dynamic Loft

Adam Young:  Dynamic loft is the loft of your club at impact. 

Mark Immelman:  Dynamic loft has a huge effect on the distance of the golfball, but not a lot of folks have the ability to really download the face of the club and they would not be better served to create that dynamic loft. 

Adam Young: The speed and shaft lean relationship here.  Maybe the pros create so much shaft lean because they create so much speed. And maybe someone without so much speed would be better served with a more neutral shaft lean. 

If you have a lot of speed, then you can create forward shaft lean to create optimal distances. It’s this reverse correlation. I used to think that lots of lag and lots of shaft lean created speed, and it is actually the reverse. It is the speed that creates the necessity for lag and shaft lean. 

Dynamic Loft Drill

 Mark Immelman: If folks want to practice dynamic loft, I usually take them green side and have them learn to maneuver the trajectory of a wedge. 

Adam Young: That is exactly what I would do as well. Short swing, trying to hit different trajectories in the short swing, and then adding speed to that. 

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