Owen McClain

The Lesson Lounge

Moses Lake Golf Club

Owen McClain

PGA Golf Professional
The Lesson Lounge
Moses Lake, WA

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Insight from Owen McClain on Backswing.com:

Fly fishing helps your golf

When casting a fishing line, the action sequence is load the rod, gently pull forward, and release. You feel the moment the rod is loaded, then pull forward. Same in golf. I could give you 200 words, but simply casting a fly line will give you the feel you need.

Is Shorter Better

The question is, “Why?” What does one hope to gain with a shorter backswing? I’m not sure that the answer falls in the “short” versus “long” idea. When one shortens, or lengthens the backswing, my primary concern is, “What does that do to their timing?” We can make an analogy to casting a fly rod, […]

Putting: Eyes over the Ball?

Actually, there isn’t any law of golf technique that says the eyes must be over the ball when putting If you are a good putter and your eyes aren’t over the ball, you don’t have to change. That said, eyes over the ball normally makes it easier to accurately aim the putter. Why? For the […]

Drills for Divots?

Rarely would I consider using a drill to help one take a divot after contact, rather than before. Why? Because there is a reason one would hit behind the ball, and you should focus on correcting that, not putting a Band-Aid on it. Three primary reasons for fat shots come to mind. 1) Faulty balance/swing […]

Divots: What? Me Worry?

The question at hand is interesting, because the answer depends. Rule #1: Ball flight doesn’t lie. If you are happy with your ball flight, whether you take a divot is irrelevant. Some of golf’s best rarely take a divot. Others take half an acre of sod with them. Rule #2: If you are having contact […]

Don't Sacrifice Balance

A little lateral motion in one’s backswing is not an issue unless balance is compromised. If the weight moves to the outside of the trail side (right for righties) foot, the only way to transfer the weight back to the left side for the down swing is with the upper body getting involved. That alters […]

Choosing an instructor

The truth is that the answer is simple: trial and error. You need to find a quality teacher whose teaching style connects with your learning capabilities. But don’t expect any teacher to improve your game by ten shots, because that is not their job–it’s yours! Their job is to analyze your game, determine what tools […]

Pick One Ball and Stick With It

Just about every golf ball on the market is decent enough for any golfer to get results with. The biggest issue has to do with the short game, and switching balls mid round. A simple “bounce” test off a smooth concrete surface will show that for a given, equal impact, there can be as much […]

Don't Sacrifice Footwork to Gain Rotation

Rotation is dependent upon flexibility, posture (a curved spine, or “C” shape posture over the ball, won’t turn as well), and good footwork. If you’ve lost rotation (I have, due to aging), and you’re working on gaining some back, GREAT! But, a word of caution: many times, to increase turn, a player will lose control […]

Grip Wins The Race

To hit down on the ball, rather than scooping, the grip of the club must pass the ball before the clubhead as you swing through the ball. Think of your swing like a bicycle wheel. Your hands are the hub, the rim is the club path, and the spokes represent the shaft. Where the spokes […]

Tempo: The Invisible Fundamental

One of my neighbors was a highly regarded formula car mechanic. He worked for several elite racing teams, for drivers whose names I think you would probably recognize. This guy was expert on Lotus engines, and undoubtedly, he could tell you that as great as those machines were, if the timing was off, they would […]

Reading Greens: Start Early

Green reading is largely a matter of experience and judgment. The more practice you get, the better. That said, playing on greens you are unfamiliar with can make it a tough assignment. The best advice I can offer is this: Don’t wait until you are on the green to begin reading it. From fifty yards […]

Diagnosing "fat" shots

There are many things that can lead to the “fat” shot, but the first two I look for are ball position and balance. Regarding ball position, too far forward, or back, can cause a variety of compensation moves that, if not properly timed, will cause problems. Also, poor alignment can alter the effective ball position, […]

Tempo Trainers Help More Than Tempo

My favorite training aid/accessory is the Perfect Swing Tempo Program from BobbySteiner.com. You see, I call tempo and timing the invisible fundamentals because there are no pictures of it in magazine articles or books. But, like a Lotus race car, everything can be perfect, but if the timing is off, not only will it not […]

Be Smart off the Tee

A player who does not trust their iron game will often use the driver from the tee when they should not. Most players would gladly take an approach shot of 130 to 150 from the fairway, but if they don’t trust themselves from that range, they use the driver, hoping to force the ball a […]

Putting Alignment: Different Strokes

There are a myriad of tips and aids to help the golfer aim the putter and stroke along a correctly aligned path, but snapping a simple chalk line for a five foot putt is my favorite. Even a golfing friend can stand behind the line and tell you if the putter is aimed properly and […]

Train your Eyes and Instincts

Assuming one has a standard pre-shot routine to set up consistently, becoming misaligned is a gradual process. One gets a little off, then a little more, and still, the swing functions. Then a little more and “Boink!” It falls apart. At this point, the use of an alignment stick leads to, “Really? That feels like […]

Think You Need New Clubs?

With all the technological advances in golf equipment, its easy to wonder if a new this or that would improve your game. Well, new dishes won’t turn a hot dog into a steak, so lessons are a far better investment. That said, my experience has been that the game has changed, and, as I age, […]

Target side hand comes first

We all know what a bicycle wheel with bent spokes would look like. Typically, the wheel has 38 spokes as I recall. The golf swing is like a wheel with your center of balance being the axle. But we only have two spokes–right arm, left arm. And as we swing away from the ball, the […]

Topping the Ball

A number of things can result in a topped shot, but a primary concern is balance. If you focus on nailing the finishing position in perfect balance, with the weight almost entirely on the target side foot at the end with the body facing the target, this should allow the club to impact the ball […]

Reboot Your "Computer"

Too often, the beginning golfer comes to the lesson tee overloaded with bad information and the idea that a golf swing is a series of “must” positions to achieve that they’ve learned from well meaning friends/spouses. It would serve most quite well to accept the adage, “Everything you know is wrong!” when it comes to […]

Louis for the win

I like Oosthuizen because his putting stats are at the top. I look away from the most popular picks, because they won’t pay out that much. And I don’t pick guys that were hot 4-8 weeks ago, because everyone has peaks, and they don’t last forever. Good putting is a must at Augusta. Louis is […]

Scenery, fun, challenge: A great golf hole at Banff

The Devil’s Cauldron at Banff is the most spectacular golf hole I’ve ever played. Spectacular scenery, a downhill shot over a glacial lake, and a green abutting the steep mountainside….it just doesn’t get any better! Holes like this one are why we play the game.

The chalk line: simple, effective.

The trouble with most putting training aids is that they may not work for every type of stroke. Swinging door, or pendulum? But my favorite is the chalk line, because it works for every type of stroke, and offers direct, immediate feedback. Simply find a straight putt, clip the end of the chalk line over […]

Playing lessons make a difference

To become a better player, rather than just swinging the club, take a playing lesson. I have observed that a lot of problems on the course occur not because of the swing, but, rather, because of what a player does with it, and the habits they have while making a shot rather than just hitting […]

Check your alignment

Like life, you can do everything right, but if you aren’t aligned to the correct target, you’ll be looking in the wrong place to correct your inaccuracy, perhaps messing up a perfectly good swing. Generally I am most concerned with shoulder alignment, and less with hips and feet. An easy and sure way to check […]

At what point is club fitting necessary

When a beginning golfer starts to play the game, they often don’t think they want to invest in a good set of custom fit clubs. They aren’t good enough. Well, I’d say at the very least they should take a lesson or two and have their professional check to make sure the equipment they have […]

On putting strokes

What makes anybody a great putter isn’t just the stroke. It’s the ability to read greens and sense of feel. All your putting stroke can do, at best, is roll the ball down a line with a good sense of distance. If your read is off by 3 inches, or speed is off, you miss. […]

Descending Angle of Approach--Why and How.

It is possible to play decent golf picking, or scooping the ball rather than hitting down and through it, but doing so leaves zero margin for error. And with the ball setting on the ground, it is impossible to play well with the club coming up, lifting the ball. Hitting down provides the greatest margin […]

Play a low running draw around trouble

The three step answer is align yourself to second base, aim the club at the shortstop, and swing to the second baseman. You’ll need more loft, because you’re going to deloft the club when you close the face. You’ll think about making contact toward the toe, because closing the face not only narrows it, but […]

Near Seattle, Play Snohomish

Snohomish Golf Course, about 30 minutes northeast of Seattle, is one of the most impressive layouts for the dollar I’ve ever seen. Their market has always been at the value end of the spectrum, but that doesn’t mean its not a first rate design. The irrigation system is not sophisticated, so when summers are a […]

Choose Your Poison

Fast, severely sloped greens create three putts. Assuming your stroke is decent, try to minimize your 3-putts with a realistic strategy for any specific putt. What I mean is this: You are unlikely to 3-putt from 15 feet, (in fact, your 50% sink distance is probably only about 5 feet), but you are also unlikely […]

No magic bullets for distance

If you need more distance, work on solid contact first. If you are a scratch player, computerized club fitting MAY help, but knowledgeable eyes can also. If you’ve played the game for many years, technique changes will upset your instinctive timing, and that’s a tough one to overcome. Develop your short game and recovery skills, […]

Be a Furyk, Be a Lopez

Too often people try to emulate the golf swing of a player for no good reason. Yes, its a nice swing, but everybody has a different body type, a body that moves differently and at a different speed than anyone else. In addition, many try to correct unorthodox moves because “they aren’t correct”. Well, if […]

Warm up short and sweet

Warming up is a matter of personal preference. I remember Golf Digest did a study years ago which found golfers who did not warm up actually played better than their counterparts. Go figure. Before play, I just keep my range time short and sweet, perhaps 15 balls. Any more than that and I start thinking […]

Know YOUR Basics

A player must have a simple, basic swing concept so that under pressure, when the mind almost goes blank, they have something simple and uncomplicated to focus on. For me, it’s start in balance, stay in balance, and nail the finishing position. By keeping it simple, the brain has something do-able to focus on, preventing […]

The "eyes closed drill".

After demonstrating the physics of what makes the ball go airborne, and why one cannot “lift” the ball successfully, I have my students do the “eyes closed drill”. First with practice swings, take the address position then close the eyes. At first make a backswing only about 2 feet back, then brush the grass on […]

Victoria Golf Club, Oak Bay, British Columbia

Tough call. But I’m going with Victoria Golf Club, Oak Bay, British Columbia.

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