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Sieckmann Short Game


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#1 Devongolfer

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 11:48 PM

James Sieckmann has a book on short game.

I had never heard of him until I downloaded his book.

He is now doing his own thing, but he used to work for Dave Pelz.

In Sieckman's book he says he now disagrees with Pelz on how to execute the "finesse" shots.

I was having fits trying to play chips and short pitches, the "finesse shots", following the Pelz method, but found the Sieckman method to be astonishingly effective.

Anyone else tried Sieckmann's finesse method?
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#2 hack2489

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 07:31 AM

Never heard of him. So NO.

What's the difference between methods?

#3 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 08:50 AM

James Sieckmann has a book on short game.

...

Anyone else tried Sieckmann's finesse method?

 

Yes, I am a fan of his work. In my case it took a year or so of steady effort but I no longer fear gross skulls and chunks from 30 yards in. There's a lot more in his little book than appears at first glance.

 

His putting book is very good as well. Taking the emphasis away from technique and onto skills training was quite a revelation for me.

 

As best I understand his disagreement with Pelz it can be illustrated by Pelz basic chipping method - ball back in stance with a moderate shaft lean. It produces a more or less guaranteed downward strike where Sieckman prefers a flatter impact with the bounce in play. I don't think they are all that far apart on lofted short shots. For example Pelz advocates the same swing plane for finesse shots as Sieckman does.

 

Sieckman's ideas are now pretty standard stuff. I see them popping up in lots of places, although others express his ideas somewhat differently.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 07 October 2018 - 08:58 AM.

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#4 Ink🐾

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 09:31 AM

I got the book... didn't appeal to me..

#5 iRON MiCK

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 02:02 PM

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#6 Devongolfer

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 04:12 PM

Sieckmann finesse shot keys, with a few added comments from me:

Clockwise rotation of the right forearm though impact. The absolute opposite to roundhousing, it keeps the club behind the hands

No hip rotation going back. Fits with my experience on the practice ground

Feet and chest slightly open

Slight bend in the left arm, shoulders level

Absolutely not powering the short pitches with shoulder power. He does copy the Pelz chiputt, which uses the shoulders, but the finesse shot is different.

Wants a bend in the left wrist maintained, this helps stop the club going under plane. Under plane is a disaster, but erring above plane can be too steep, as close as possible to on plane is ideal

The shot is a little throw with the clockwise rotation of the right forearm preventing the roundhouse duff
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#7 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 07:40 AM

Talking of highlights his idea of a reversed kinetic sequence was interesting to me. When I video my 10 to 20m finesse swings I'm amazed how easy it is to unintentionally increase lag early on the down swing. For me getting rid of that unintentional lag really complicates the action through impact.

 

I quite like his chapters on bunker play, distance wedges and training as well.

 

As an aside it is quite interesting to watch Phil Mickelson's videos after reading Sieckman's books. Phil advocates hinge and hold but there is no way that is what he is actually doing. What Phil demonstrates is far more along the lines of "hinge and hold the clubface open". I think it is just one more example of the various schools of thought getting closer together but using different words to describe the same thing.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 15 October 2018 - 07:43 AM.

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#8 Devongolfer

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 02:00 AM

Forrest,

I know you are a fan of TPI. Sieckmann is well in with them.

Unlike a few "breakthroughs" I have thought I have found, this one has lasted. The new news, for me, is his finesse shot. I play on a firm links course and was worried about using the bounce, but the shot has exceeded my expectations by far.

There are limits, though.

The shot must not be very short, like total distance including roll of 5 yards. A chiputt is better for super short shots.

I wiffed under the ball today, so the finesse shot does not work when the ball is sitting above the turf on rough.

Finally, I need to check the lie carefully just to be sure the ball is not sitting in a depression. If it is, the bounce will hit the higher ground behind the ball and skull it.

This is not to say I need grass under the ball on level ground. Give me a ball sitting on firm ground, not in a hole, and the finesse works for me on a lie with no grass.

I agree about your observations of Phil's "hinge and hold". I have his book and it made no sense to me at all.

There are a couple of gems within Sieckmann's setup for the finesse. The left arm is slightly bent and the stance is slightly open. I think these setup points stop the left arm and the left knee resisting and causing deceleration. This means that as you throw with the right arm, the left arm and left side are not slowing you down and causing a flip.

I have not looked at the rest of Sieckman in detail. I am doing fine in bunkers and with distance wedges at present, but will go through all of that material this winter.
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#9 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 09:04 AM

On the limitations you describe, I quite like Sieckmann's discussion about assessing lies in chapter 6 and his methods for adjusting the steepness of the club path at impact. In particular the question of whether you are going to contact the ball cleanly and if not then how much grass you plan to catch was interesting.

 

Your comments about bunkers are interesting. I grew up on Melbourne's sand belt where the sand is the sandy loam which gives the area its name. The standard technique was to hit hard with an open club face using a wedge with not much bounce. As kids we all thought bunkers were pretty easy to play from. I vividly remember caddying for a US player who was in my opinion swinging much too gently on her bunker shots. She wanted to know what kind of sand it was in the bunkers. I explained that it was just whatever happened to be there when you excavated the bunker. Only later did I play on courses where they actually chose what sand to put in the bunkers.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 16 October 2018 - 09:05 AM.


#10 madness

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 09:48 AM

Forrest,

I know you are a fan of TPI. Sieckmann is well in with them.

Unlike a few "breakthroughs" I have thought I have found, this one has lasted. The new news, for me, is his finesse shot. I play on a firm links course and was worried about using the bounce, but the shot has exceeded my expectations by far.

There are limits, though.

The shot must not be very short, like total distance including roll of 5 yards. A chiputt is better for super short shots.

I wiffed under the ball today, so the finesse shot does not work when the ball is sitting above the turf on rough.

Finally, I need to check the lie carefully just to be sure the ball is not sitting in a depression. If it is, the bounce will hit the higher ground behind the ball and skull it.

This is not to say I need grass under the ball on level ground. Give me a ball sitting on firm ground, not in a hole, and the finesse works for me on a lie with no grass.

I agree about your observations of Phil's "hinge and hold". I have his book and it made no sense to me at all.

There are a couple of gems within Sieckmann's setup for the finesse. The left arm is slightly bent and the stance is slightly open. I think these setup points stop the left arm and the left knee resisting and causing deceleration. This means that as you throw with the right arm, the left arm and left side are not slowing you down and causing a flip.

I have not looked at the rest of Sieckman in detail. I am doing fine in bunkers and with distance wedges at present, but will go through all of that material this winter.

Phil is extremely talented and fun to watch but I wouldn't listen to anything he says. I remember reading an article where he and his caddie spent 5 minutes discussing the "smart" play and then he just went ahead and hit the "stupid" shot anyway. Played it successfully but he shouldn't be giving advice to anyone other than himself. When he hit the moving the ball and took the penalty he said afterwards he had given it a lot of thought but if he had given it a lot of thought he should have worked out an unplayable was a better choice. I find most of the best players are really just inside their own heads and rarely have any insights for the club golfer who has nowhere near their talent. 

I prefer to investigate the advice given by the club pro who has spent hours teaching bad golfers. Something like the gravity golf swing is much better for the club golfer even though you would be unlikely to see it on tour. Some of the ladies in their videos are smashing it with this swing which they could never do if they read Ben Hogans book.

I think Sieckmanns aims are good but still find it a bit too technical. I agree that a lot of good players flip their hands. I don't undrestand why flipping (or chicken wings for that matter) are considered sins in golf. Hitting behind the ball is a sin but flipping doesn't always mean you've hit behind the ball. 

Thanks for sharing Devongolfer.  :)



#11 Jack_Golfer

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 01:51 PM

Phil is extremely talented and fun to watch but I wouldn't listen to anything he says. I remember reading an article where he and his caddie spent 5 minutes discussing the "smart" play and then he just went ahead and hit the "stupid" shot anyway. Played it successfully but he shouldn't be giving advice to anyone other than himself. When he hit the moving the ball and took the penalty he said afterwards he had given it a lot of thought but if he had given it a lot of thought he should have worked out an unplayable was a better choice. I find most of the best players are really just inside their own heads and rarely have any insights for the club golfer who has nowhere near their talent. 

I prefer to investigate the advice given by the club pro who has spent hours teaching bad golfers. Something like the gravity golf swing is much better for the club golfer even though you would be unlikely to see it on tour. Some of the ladies in their videos are smashing it with this swing which they could never do if they read Ben Hogans book.

I think Sieckmanns aims are good but still find it a bit too technical. I agree that a lot of good players flip their hands. I don't undrestand why flipping (or chicken wings for that matter) are considered sins in golf. Hitting behind the ball is a sin but flipping doesn't always mean you've hit behind the ball. 

Thanks for sharing Devongolfer.  :)

 

Wise words Mad, what the professionals do and what the average amateur can do are often worlds apart.

 

There are lots of classic no nos in golf but you see golfers execute them every day and get away with it...at least at the time you are observing them. It really comes down to skill and natural talent. If you have heaps of that, you can just about get away with anything. In regards to flipping, the down side of that is the dramatic power loss that it incurs. A chicken wing is usually a symptom of a flawed swing pattern.


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#12 Devongolfer

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 02:46 PM

 
Your comments about bunkers are interesting. I grew up on Melbourne's sand belt where the sand is the sandy loam which gives the area its name. The standard technique was to hit hard with an open club face using a wedge with not much bounce. As kids we all thought bunkers were pretty easy to play from.


Forrest, that is exactly what I do. Ocasionally, the bunkers dry enough to give a top layer of really soft sand, so then I need a splash, but most of the time, as you say. I use a Ping Glide 58 and have the version with the thin sole and minimum bounce.

Played with a chap the other day. He had a 60 degree with a huge sole and bounce. Did fine in the soft stuff, had fits in the firmer, claggy, stuff.
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#13 madness

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 03:24 PM

Forrest, that is exactly what I do. Ocasionally, the bunkers dry enough to give a top layer of really soft sand, so then I need a splash, but most of the time, as you say. I use a Ping Glide 58 and have the version with the thin sole and minimum bounce.

Played with a chap the other day. He had a 60 degree with a huge sole and bounce. Did fine in the soft stuff, had fits in the firmer, claggy, stuff.

 

Your comments about bunkers are interesting. I grew up on Melbourne's sand belt where the sand is the sandy loam which gives the area its name. The standard technique was to hit hard with an open club face using a wedge with not much bounce. As kids we all thought bunkers were pretty easy to play from. I vividly remember caddying for a US player who was in my opinion swinging much too gently on her bunker shots. She wanted to know what kind of sand it was in the bunkers. I explained that it was just whatever happened to be there when you excavated the bunker. Only later did I play on courses where they actually chose what sand to put in the bunkers.

I feel like a genius when I play bunker shots in the sandbelt and a hack when I play the boggy bunkers a lot of other courses have. It would be good to see how tour players handle a course that a lot of club golfers have to contend with each week.


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#14 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 05:16 PM

...

 

In regards to flipping, the down side of that is the dramatic power loss that it incurs.

 

...

 

Of course, but if you are playing a finesse shot you may well be trying to engineer the most dramatic power loss you can muster. Those lovely big swing flop shots you see on the pro tour are a good example.

 

For completeness Sieckmann advises against the flip but he does advocate allowing the club head to pass the hands shortly after impact. My take on that is that any lag release should ideally happen well before impact.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 16 October 2018 - 05:21 PM.

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#15 Jack_Golfer

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 11:01 PM

 
For completeness Sieckmann advises against the flip but he does advocate allowing the club head to pass the hands shortly after impact. My take on that is that any lag release should ideally happen well before impact.


Maintaining lag pressure thru impact helps to maintain control of the club. The loss of lag pressure prior to impact results in a loss of control of the club. If you are trying to finesse the club, you would think that you would need to have total control of the club for such a delicate shot?




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