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Jim Venetos' Secrets to a Stillness-Based Golf Revolution

May 15, 2024 Jesse Perryman
Jim Venetos' Secrets to a Stillness-Based Golf Revolution
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Flaghuntersgolfpod
Jim Venetos' Secrets to a Stillness-Based Golf Revolution
May 15, 2024
Jesse Perryman

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Revolutionize your golf game and shatter your handicap with insights from the remarkable Jim Venetos. Our latest episode is a treasure trove for anyone aiming to master the greens, as Jim, an acclaimed instructor, shares his journey and groundbreaking teaching methods that focus on stillness and simplicity. Get ready to unlock the secrets to consistent power and efficiency that have reshaped the way golf is played, from the mind of someone who has transformed countless swings and scores.

Explore the synergy of mind and body in achieving golfing excellence, as Jim draws parallels to other sports and dismantles traditional techniques with his innovative approach. We navigate through the nuances of the sport, examining the dynamics of the body and arms, and how presetting movements can lead to game-changing results. This conversation isn't just a lesson in mechanics but a philosophical shift in how you approach each round, promising profound improvements for golfers of all backgrounds.

As we wrap up our enlightening discussion, Jim's passion for the game shines through, from his tales of long drive events to his tribute to the legendary Jack Nicklaus. His commitment extends beyond personal success to a mission of advancing the sport for others, as he shares his instructional outreach and the transformative impact it continues to have on players worldwide. Whether you're teeing off for the first time or refining a seasoned swing, this episode is your invitation to rethink your play and elevate your golfing experience.

To find out more from Jim, go to www.jimvenetosgolfacadamy.com

To reach Justin, email him at justin@elitegolfswing.com

For Jesse, jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com

A big thank you to TaylorMade and Adidas for their tremendous support. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Revolutionize your golf game and shatter your handicap with insights from the remarkable Jim Venetos. Our latest episode is a treasure trove for anyone aiming to master the greens, as Jim, an acclaimed instructor, shares his journey and groundbreaking teaching methods that focus on stillness and simplicity. Get ready to unlock the secrets to consistent power and efficiency that have reshaped the way golf is played, from the mind of someone who has transformed countless swings and scores.

Explore the synergy of mind and body in achieving golfing excellence, as Jim draws parallels to other sports and dismantles traditional techniques with his innovative approach. We navigate through the nuances of the sport, examining the dynamics of the body and arms, and how presetting movements can lead to game-changing results. This conversation isn't just a lesson in mechanics but a philosophical shift in how you approach each round, promising profound improvements for golfers of all backgrounds.

As we wrap up our enlightening discussion, Jim's passion for the game shines through, from his tales of long drive events to his tribute to the legendary Jack Nicklaus. His commitment extends beyond personal success to a mission of advancing the sport for others, as he shares his instructional outreach and the transformative impact it continues to have on players worldwide. Whether you're teeing off for the first time or refining a seasoned swing, this episode is your invitation to rethink your play and elevate your golfing experience.

To find out more from Jim, go to www.jimvenetosgolfacadamy.com

To reach Justin, email him at justin@elitegolfswing.com

For Jesse, jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com

A big thank you to TaylorMade and Adidas for their tremendous support. 

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast. I am your host, Jesse Perryman, along with my co-host, teacher extraordinaire Justin Tang, out of the Tanimura Golf Club in Singapore. We bring you a special guest this week and all of our guests are special. This one, really I enjoyed this conversation a lot. This one, really I enjoyed this conversation a lot. The man that we interviewed this week. His name is Jim Venettos. Jim, notably, has an outstanding online presence. It's the jimvenettosgolfacademycom and I'll make sure to post all those links in the show notes.

Speaker 1:

But a brief intro to this one. Jim has really figured out a way to teach the game and simplify it. He has a mantra around his philosophy and it's called stillness, and I really resonate with that a lot personally. The conversation is about Jim's methodology and what he thinks to simplify the learning process and the assimilation process, and this methodology clicks all of the boxes, checks the boxes from the beginning player to the seasoned player, to the really really good player. It really encompasses all that. I am not going to begin to get into it on this intro here because the main body of the conversation is far too good for me to divulge any preemptive information. Jim has been teaching for pretty close to 30 years. He is primarily based in Southern California in the desert, quite frankly and makes his way to the east for the summer to get out of the desert heat and he teaches his students along the way. It's super cool what he does and how he coaches people and teaches people, and Jim really has a great way about him great bedside manner, a great way of explaining things and having the student understand on really the most basic fundamental levels. And that's really what you need when you're going to build a great swing, build a great game to have those basic, real, solid understanding of what the instructor is telling you to do. And Jim does that in spades. I will make sure to post the way to get ahold of Jim in the show notes and a big thanks to Jim for coming on. Thank you to TaylorMade and Adidas, as always, for their incredible support. Go out and get that new driver head. It's pretty solid and also the new tailor-made ball is really good as well. I'm very surprised. I've switched to it and I'm very happy with the results. So shout out to taylor made and adidas for their continued support. And jim, thanks for your time, pal, and make sure to check out jim's website. He's available and has a plethora of fantastic information on there, JimMedina'sGolfAcademycom. And. Thank you everybody. I hope you have a great week, and this is PGA Championship week, so make sure to watch the best players in the world go out and tackle the Valhalla Golf Club. Cheers everyone, Hello and welcome once again to another edition of the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast.

Speaker 1:

Along with my co-host, Justin Tay, my name is Jesse Perryman and we welcome you to the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast. Today we've got a really special guest. His name is Jim Venitos. He spends half the year in just a little bit northeast of the Palm Springs area in Southern California and the other half in Maine, teaching and spreading the good word on getting players to play better golf. Jim welcome Thanks, Justin, Thank you, Thank you. Getting players to play better golf, Jim, welcome Thanks.

Speaker 2:

Justin, thank you, thank you. Good to see you guys. Very happy to be here with you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, welcome to the show, Jim. Thanks for agreeing to come on. You've got a really, really interesting story that may not be apparent to some of our listeners. You're one of the top teachers online of our listeners. You're one of the top teachers online and could you give us our listeners a basic background into how you got into the game of golf and how you ended up where you are today?

Speaker 2:

Well, I started at a very young age and pretty quickly on I wanted to play competitively at the highest level and because I was fortunate enough to grow up in Southern California, they have a great junior golf program. I was playing all the junior golf events and just working my way through the ranks, eventually played division one, college golf and then turned pro, and in the process I discovered some very interesting things about the swing for myself. And then, once I turned pro and I started teaching, I was really shocked to see how well what I had learned for my own swing was being. Uh, how easy it was for just the average golfer to be able to execute. So that's what transitioned me from just teaching I'm sorry, from just playing into now teaching, and I've been teaching this system for just about 30 years.

Speaker 3:

So who were your early coaching influences and what did you do when you were a beginner to get to the D1 level?

Speaker 2:

Well, I had gotten formal lessons and I found that I had a hard time implementing a lot of the traditional instruction. I'd be able to do it, but I found issues with consistency. So, pretty early on I was fortunate enough to learn from Peter Costas and Eddie Marins, and then also the son of a PGA president who was the head pro at Wilshire Country Club, and I just found that a lot of what they were teaching, although I could get it to work, I couldn't get it to work consistently. So I pretty quickly turned my back on all that I'd read, every book seen, every video, was very much a student of the game and after working through all of the traditional theories that I could find, I, pretty much at the age of 17, turned my back on traditional instruction and I went off of this principle. I went off of just form follows function. I wanted the function of a solid, tight draw as my stock shot. So I found a form that would create that function. And then from that form I found that I could work the ball left to right, right to left, control trajectory, control, spin, and I was producing a lot of power.

Speaker 2:

And so when I started teaching, I started teaching exactly what I was doing and this was the big shocker my very first student, very first swing never hit a draw in his life and all of a sudden I get him to smoke this tight little draw and I remember looking at his draw going. That's like a smaller version of what I do and I was really shocked to see the similarities in the ball flight and the efficiency of spin. And so that's what started the. That was the first domino that started my whole pursuit of teaching and after seven years and teaching thousands of people, I was realizing, wow, this works for everybody. And that's what's led me to where I'm at today.

Speaker 3:

So hang on. You grew up playing golf tournaments with Tiger, Phil, charlie Wee. Are you saying that you use this particular method to compete against those guys?

Speaker 2:

Well, it was around 17 where I turned my back on traditional instruction. So I developed this method over a series of years. You know as a good player that you you don't learn something in a day or in a week or even in a month. It takes time to nurture and develop an understanding for your swing and your abilities. So when I was playing against those guys, that was right in the transitional phase where I was discovering what I was discovering and starting to turn my back on a lot of the traditional instruction and what I had been told.

Speaker 3:

Any memorable stories with those guys Tiger, Phil and Charlie?

Speaker 2:

Oh sure, yeah, I played a lot of golf with Charlie, but you know, tiger, one of the fun things about Tiger was this I played with him in a junior golf event and I'm a couple years older than him and so we were randomly paired together. I think I showed up late for the tournament so they pushed me into the younger groups tee times and I was playing with him and we are through 16, and I'm even, even and he's won over, and all day long he's landing the ball at the stick and he's spinning it back 25 feet, all day long landing at the stick, spinning it back 25 feet. Now at this point he's still young, but you know, everybody knows that there's a lot of attention on him as a player. And because I'm even and he's won over, I thought, you know, maybe here's my chance to give the kid a little knowledge. And I said you land every shot at the pin and you spin it back 25 feet. Why don't you land at 25 feet past the stick and spin it back to the pin? And he says, cause I want an uphill putt.

Speaker 2:

So I hadn't really gotten to that developmental part of my game. I always wanted to just hit it tight. So we go to 17. It's a downhill par three. I stuff it three, four feet above the hole. He lands it at the hole, spins it back 25 feet. He makes the putt, I three putt. And I remember walking off the green thinking you know what, I want an uphill putt too. And he ends up. He ended up birdieing 18 and going into a playoff for all age groups and he didn't win the playoff. But I remember just thinking to myself boy, that's interesting. You know he's willing to leave himself with a 25-foot putt just to make sure that it's an uphill putt.

Speaker 3:

Wow, that's quite an insightful story about Tigers mentality at such a young age. Any interesting stories with Phil. No, I never played with Phil Phil's probably a couple years older than you.

Speaker 2:

He's a couple years older than me so I never played with him, but I played in tournaments that he played in and because he was older he was always the one either winning or finishing top three. He was always the one either winning or finishing top three. I remember him and David Borgogno kind of dominated the junior golf scene throughout Southern California. No, I never got to play with him, but I tell you what. What's fun is when you're playing Division I college golf and you're pursuing playing at the highest level, you end up playing with a lot of great sticks that never made it, you know, had a lot of skill but just never made it, or just never turned pro and are excelling in the amateur world.

Speaker 3:

Why do you think it's so difficult for these good players to make the transition from amateur to the professional rinks?

Speaker 2:

Well, just like any, any sport, you know it's a funnel as you get towards the top. And with golf, there's only 125 guys that are on the PGA Tour give or take right. So because of that, that's less than the NFL, that's less than the NBA, that's less than MLB. It's a small population of guys that get to play this game for a living. It's a small population of guys that get to play this game for a living. So I think it's just a matter of you know the cream rises to the top and plus opportunity is a big part of it. It's very expensive to play professional golf for a living and pursue playing at the highest level, so there are other factors that are involved, along with skill, that I think help to get you to the top.

Speaker 3:

So you're in the age bracket where you probably started off playing with persimmon drivers. Yeah, that's true. What do you think of the changes in equipment from persimmon to the adjustable drivers of today?

Speaker 2:

Well, you bring up a good point. You know, one of my pet peeves is, as I view the game and I view the industry, the average golfer hasn't improved in 50 years and the tour player I don't believe has improved in 50 years. Nobody's better than Jack, nobody's better than Tom Watson.

Speaker 2:

And when you look at the equipment and you think about back in the sixties and the 70s and the early 80s, people playing with persimmon woods, those are incredibly difficult to hit and to hit them consistently, and so when they came out with metal headed drivers in woods, it was all about increasing the sweet spot. Because the metal is lighter than wood, they can make the heads bigger, which then make the club more forgiving. I mean, hitting driver in the 70s and 80s was difficult. Hitting driver today is a piece of cake with what they've built in technology, and so that's one of the things that I look at and I think, gosh, you know, equipment has improved so much, Course agronomy has improved so much, all the technologies, the ability to learn your swing remotely and have these apps that tell you about your swing and yet nobody's getting better and that becomes, I think, the big question is why? Why is nobody improving?

Speaker 3:

I saw in your latest video that you striked a Mizuno 1-iron, your latest video that you were, that you striped a mizuno one iron. So your system is not some kind of uh how to simplistic system that only works up to the six iron, for example no, my system works for beginners or experts, but it's across the bag.

Speaker 2:

it's just a simpler way to swing the club, but it doesn't mean that it's simplifying what you can do. I play long irons as opposed to hybrids, because you can do more with an iron than you can with a hybrid. The benefit of a hybrid is it's more one-dimensional, so it's more forgiving. Well, I'd rather carry a club where I could do more width, so I can hit more shots with a one iron than I can with a hybrid. That might replace that same yardage for me. So it allows me to be more dynamic, and so the swing that I teach. Although it's sometimes, it appears that it's best for beginners and it is really good for beginners. It's also really good for experts, it's also really good for experts.

Speaker 3:

So some of the remarkable success stories you've had are things like five handicap becoming a plus two. Could you talk a little bit more about the process of making that happen? A lot of our listeners are of the better golfer variety and they would certainly be very interested to hear of your methods.

Speaker 2:

Sure. Well, you know, I think one thing that's very common in golf is players will reach their level and then they plateau. If they're a five, they've been a five for a long time and they can't really figure out how to get lower. Now, part of that requires dedication and practice you got to put in the time, but also part of that comes down to the methodology, because the swing that I teach is so simple. This is something I say often golf is difficult, but the golf swing doesn't have to be difficult anymore.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't have to be a matter of will I make solid contact? Instead it it's a matter of am I hitting the correct shot? Is it seven iron? Is it eight iron? Did I judge the wind properly? And that's where I think the failure should lie, not so much in just being able to make solid contact or have some ability to have predictable control over your direction.

Speaker 3:

So, right from the get-go, there was no fork in the road for you. You started off teaching your system. It was not like some other well, the experience of most teachers where they started off teaching in a quote-unquote traditional way and then they're like you know what, forget about this, I'm going to teach in my own way. And they get success. You never had that fork in the road, correct?

Speaker 2:

No. So I started teaching at 22, and when I gave my first lesson here's the thing this is the tough part about working at a club I was making $10 an hour and I'm trying to live in Hermosa Beach, california, and that doesn't really work. So what I needed to do was I needed to teach to supplement my income. So I get a chance to finally teach. I'm giving my first lesson at Wilshire and how it works at a club is if you can improve one player, the word of mouth is going to spread and you're going to start getting more students. So I thought, okay, if I can make this guy good, I got a chance to earn a little bit more money so that I can continue to pursue playing on tour. And I remember watching him warm up and he was an 18 handicap, probably about 55 years old. He's got a big over the top move and he's hitting eight iron and he's hitting these little weak slices maybe 125 yard weak slices and I'm watching him warm up and I'm just telling him to hit a few shots, as if I'm studying him. But in reality I'm thinking to myself how can I try to teach him what I was taught in traditional golf, when me as a division one college golfer who is a golf athlete, I found flaw in what I was trying to implement. So how can I teach this guy that's playing once a week in an 18 handicap? How can I expect him to? That's playing once a week in an 18 handicap? How can I expect him to do what I found flaw with?

Speaker 2:

So, right out the gate, my very first lesson, I said to myself you know what I'm going to do. I'm going to teach him what I've been doing. So I load his weight heavy on his lead foot and I say, okay, his name is Gus. And I say, okay, gus, I want you to load your weight heavy on your lead foot, I want you to close your body down a little bit and I want you to keep your weight planted there throughout the swing. And he says no weight shift. I said no weight shift, just keep your weight planted there. And what I thought might happen was he would improve his contact. I thought if I can improve his contact, that's a huge step forward for him in his golf game.

Speaker 2:

And the first swing he makes, he smokes this tight little draw and he turns around, he looks at me, he goes. I've never hit a draw in my life and I remember looking at it and it made sense to me. I said well, you know, the reason why you hit that so solidly is because your weight's on your lead foot and the reason why it drew is because your body was closed in the setup. So you you return to a more shallow position at impact and basically, as I was teaching it, I was learning it for myself.

Speaker 2:

My students for the first seven years were essentially for lack of a better term. They were my guinea pigs and I was getting to find out OK, how can I fix this guy who shifts his weight too much or moves his head too much or dips or has an over-the-top swing path or swings too hard? And I was constantly just moderating everybody with this template that I get them into the setup position, then I'd ask them to hold their weight still and immediately they're all firing off these solid, tight draws. Now, once you get them to do it, then you have to teach them how to do it consistently. So it becomes a process.

Speaker 2:

But when I would see these solid, tight draws, I know enough as a player to know that the average golfer isn't hitting smoked solid, tight draws not their best shot typically. So I started to recognize gosh. This is kind of special here. This is taking the would be better golfer that's worked really hard but never has improved and it's causing them to improve significantly and so very quickly. All my students, their handicaps would be cut in half. And here is the best part they would play to it in tournaments and that's what really drew my attention to it. I'm at the club they play in a tournament. I'd look at the leaderboard and be like, wow, those are all my guys. That's really cool. They're able to play to it under pressure and it's because the technique is simple enough that under pressure it's not a burden. You could deal with the pressure of trying to perform because the technique supports that.

Speaker 3:

Basically under pressure. Your guys are not leaking oil. One less thing to worry about.

Speaker 2:

Less things to worry about.

Speaker 2:

There things to worry about. There's less variables in the swing that I teach. Yeah, and that's probably why you said so. It's not just a beginner swing, it's an expert swing too. When you reduce the variables it kind of makes it look like it's more of a beginner swing. But in reality when you take an expert golfer and you reduce the variables, that's where you get some really special golf to happen. My top student is a plus seven handicap that still qualifies for US amateurs and California amateurs and has set a couple course records. So it has a very high end as much as it's got a low end to it.

Speaker 3:

So you're rolling out club champions at Wilshire like McDonald's does Happy Meals. You're rolling out club champions at.

Speaker 2:

Wilshire, like McDonald's does Happy Meals oh, that's such a great way to say it. Yep, there were a few club champions there, a few club champions at other clubs, but now that I'm teaching globally, one of my most favorite thing is when students report hey Jim, I won this, I won that and I get that all the time, which is, you know it's they're doing the work and for them they deserve all the credit. And for me it just makes me feel good to be helping these golfers that have tried so hard to improve that finally now get to break through the gate and level up their games.

Speaker 3:

So at this point, I think our listeners are very interested into your actual methods. Now, when I look at your swing and the swings of your students, undoubtedly it's going to look different from a traditional swing. And this is where Jesse and I always have this discussion. Pro golfers are full-time athletes. Therefore, what they do is quite different from what the average golfer can do in terms of resources, like time, trainers, diagnostic equipment, like hack motion force plates and the rest. Now, to get your average club golfer to do stuff that a Rory McIlroy does, that's going to be unreasonable. Yet we see all the time many well-meaning instructors. They kind of shoebox that category of golfers and say, hey look, let's look at Rory McIlroy's swing against yours. I don't think that's fair at all. And here you are saying, hey look, guys, this is what these guys do. But if you do this, if you do my system, the Jim Veneto system, you're going to get the results without the time or resources that's required to get there. You're kind of short-circuiting that whole process.

Speaker 2:

That is my goal. You know, it took me a while to figure out what I figured out for myself, and what I figured out for myself made me a better player than I was. I know what I was capable of and then, once I started doing what it is that I teach, I found that I was better in my consistency and my ability to handle pressure and my ability to go low. So, basically, what it is that I teach is simply to preset the movements for the swing. So any golf instructor wants their students to create a shallow circular and descending swing. These are the traits of the greatest players all the way down to just an average player who's consistent. If you have a shallow, circular and descending swing, you're going to produce an ideal swing path. So what I do is I preset the student in the setup position, giving them the advantage so that it's pretty easy to make this shallow, circular and descending swing path. So that it's pretty easy to make this shallow, circular and descending swing path. It's kind of like this, if you could picture a sprinter at the starting line, I look at the traditional swing and the setup of the traditional swing as if you're standing at the starting line, erect. You're standing tall and what I teach is more like getting down in the blocks and into a sprinter stance where we're pre-setting the initiation of the swing. And it's in that preset that you create an ease of performance, because now you eliminate the variables. You don't have to drop into the blocks or, in golf, you don't have to move into the position so that you can make the club shallow. You're in a position right from the start where it's kind of hard to mess it up Now.

Speaker 2:

I thought that was the case for myself, but then once I started teaching the golf population and you're taking guys that are 30 handicaps or 20 handicaps, 10 handicaps, and I'm doing this and I'm asking them to do the same thing that I would do, I'm seeing how easy it is for them to also create their best shots. And so basically, by pre-setting the setup position, I'm eliminating variables, which creates consistency and an ease of performance. But here's the craziest part the power in the swing that I teach is abundant. I hit it long. Always have all my life I've hit it long. Well, in this swing I hit it longer and that's because of the efficiency of spin. When you have good swing path, you create efficient spin. Efficient spin translates to big power, so it's a win, win.

Speaker 3:

Win translates to big power, so it's a win, win, win. Let's talk a little bit about you being sneaky long. In normal conditions, you're 10 yards further than most guys. In windy conditions, that becomes 30 yards. Let's talk about that.

Speaker 2:

That's all about spin and I would notice that. So, as I started doing what it is that I teach, I'd be playing PGA section events or prior to that. I'm still playing division one college golf and I'm paying attention. Okay, I'm, it's a normal thing when you're playing.

Speaker 2:

You can't help but notice I'm a little longer than this guy or this guy's a little longer than me, and then all of a sudden the wind would kick up and all of a sudden I'd be quite a bit longer than that same guy. And I think to myself gosh, you know, and oftentimes I'd hit the tee shot and nobody would be too impressed by it, you know, nobody would say, wow, that thing's 30 yards by us. But we get out there and I'd be 30 yards by guys and they go man, you're sneaky long. And I think to myself you know what that is is? It's less spin, it's all about efficiency of spin. When I get on to a launch monitor or a track man, I'm registering those smash factor numbers quite regularly, and smash factor is just efficiency of ball flight Low spin with high club head speed.

Speaker 3:

So let's take a couple of steps back. What were the flaws you found in the traditional method of learning the golf swing?

Speaker 2:

and the lead side and the trail side work completely different. The lead side the lead shoulder socket, the lead arm. It naturally works, relative to a golf swing, on an inside out swing path and the trail side naturally works how the shoulder socket moves. It works on an outside in swing path. So in the traditional swing they set you level and when they set you level swing path, so in the traditional swing they set you level and when they set you level, they're basically forcing your lead side and your trail side to compete and abide. And this is why rhythm, tempo and timing is the glue of the traditional swing. You're timing the lead side and the trail side, trying to get them to produce the shot that you want. But the lead side works very different from the trail side, so it takes great athleticism to produce the shot that you want. But the lead side works very different from the trail side, so it takes great athleticism to try to balance that.

Speaker 2:

So the first thing, in the setup position, I realized that maybe, maybe, the setup position could be modified, and so what I started doing at a young age, I started putting more weight on my lead foot and just keeping it there throughout the swing and what I thought. Well, the first time I did it I didn't think I was going to get the results that I I I got, and it shocked me at how high quality of a shot I was hitting. I was basically just trying to hit some knockdown dead handed wedges and I got my weight heavy on the lead foot and I loved the ball flight and I was like, wow, let me work through the bag. And I got my weight heavy on the lead foot and I loved the ball flight and I was like, wow, let me work through the bag. So I start working up into mid irons, work up into my long irons it's still good, I go up in the driver, weight heavy on the lead foot and I love the ball flight.

Speaker 2:

So what I did was I I turned my back essentially on the traditional setup position which, if you think about it, in the last 50 years, like I said, average golfers are not improving and the one thing that never changes is the setup position. Everybody's starting in a traditional, what I call neutral or what they call square, where the body is level, and when you start the body level, you put yourself at a disadvantage because now the lead side and the trail side got to coordinate with each other to try to give you a good shot, and that's what creates a lot of two-way misses you miss it left, you miss it right. Well, if the lead side wins, you're going to miss it one way. If the trail side wins, you might miss it the other way, and that becomes the difficulty. So once I realized that the traditional setup position was maybe not all it's cracked up to be, that sent me down a completely different perspective where I then started pursuing a different setup and that started to teach me a different reality. That happens during the swing.

Speaker 3:

Besides the setup, what were the other flaws that you found?

Speaker 2:

Well, because of the traditional setup position, then during the swing, the golfer is forced to manage a lot of movements. You got to move here, you got to move there P1, p2, p3, all that stuff. Well, when you preset your setup position, you no longer have to manage these movements because the movements have been predetermined by the setup. So during the swing, instead of managing movements, I teach people to manage stillness. I just ask them to become aware of their weight and the pressure of their weight underneath their lead foot and just to keep that weight planted there throughout the swing. So now they're set free from all of the burden of trying to micromanage the position of the club and adjust the arms and make any manipulations. Instead, they could swing freely while just focusing on one simple swing thought, which is the core. It's the cause of the swing that I teach. You know what?

Speaker 3:

If I were not playing golf, I would be quite tempted to learn golf from you. We had a Hall of Fame instructor, slash coach. His name is Michael Hebron. He was on a couple weeks back. He asked us this question Imagine three beginners in bowling, tennis and golf or basketball. He asked Jesse and myself which one of these guys would look most like a beginner. It would be the golfer.

Speaker 3:

I see what you're saying. Yes, absolutely. It would not be the guy trying to learn tennis or throw a basketball for the first time in his life, and because those two sports would be quite intuitive, whereas with the golf club we can get into all these convoluted positions. We've got to turn this and that Basically try to coordinate a lot of different movements. So what your system is doing is basically making learning the golf swing as simple or as difficult as swinging a tennis racket, throwing a basketball, swinging a baseball bat.

Speaker 2:

Well, there's no doubt that golf is a very demanding game. So as you compare the three, I agree that absolutely the golfer you would tell you could tell clear as day that they're the beginner. But also golf is a very difficult game. I tell my students all the time we're not throwing darts here, this is more like throwing darts while you're doing a backflip. So the nature of the game is obviously very challenging. But here's the thing that same beginner that puts in all that effort, in all that time often still looks like a beginner years into playing. And that's where I'm trying to come in and help that situation and accelerate that beginner's learning process or accelerate the intermediate or experts improvement in their game or expert's improvement in their game.

Speaker 3:

So let's discuss also the HO debate of golf. Is the golf swing pivot or arm-driven? I think there's a lot of confusion about that and I'm saying this only because there will be some of our listeners that look at your program and say, hey, this is just an arm swing. I don't want to do that. Let's bust that myth right there.

Speaker 2:

Sure. So in golf it's believed that to move your body is to use your body. So a body swing is one where the body is moving and an arm swing is one where the body is holding still and just the arms are moving independently. But let's go into other sports now. If you think about shooting a basketball, what you see is you just see the arms move while the body is isolated, and so, or if you're going to think about like swinging a hammer or swinging an axe, the body doesn't move as much with these other tasks as what golf would declare as correct. Golf believes that in order to create power, you got to rotate your body, or pivot your body back and then rotate your body through impact. And what I learned was that truly to use the body is to hold the body still. Use the body is to hold the body still. So as much as the swing that I teach and I make you see the arms more isolated with less body movement. I don't believe that that's an arm swing. I believe that that is a body swing. I'm using my body by bracing my body.

Speaker 2:

Now, if you think about other activities, if you throw a ball, let's say, sir, a pitcher is making a lot of movement with his body. But at the moment of truth, when they're throwing the ball, what do they do? They plant and then the arm moves independently as it throws the ball and then, of course, the body follows through and the body moves afterwards. If you think about tennis, if you watch Roger Federer's backhand, you're going to see him plant and you're going to see just his arm moving in the stroke and then you'll see his body rotate around afterwards in order to receive the next shot back. But there's a lot of isolation in other sports where the body stays still and the arms or the legs will do what it is that you want them to do so.

Speaker 2:

In golf, as much as it may appear that I'm making an arm swing, I can guarantee you I'm making a body swing, because the distances that I hit the ball or the distances that my students hit the ball would reveal to you that there is plenty of anatomical strength going on and I'm not doing anything to thrust my arms into the ball. I'm not trying to recruit any strength and I'm not particularly strong. When it comes down to it, I'm an old man. But if I hold my body still, I create leverage and it's through that leverage and through a good swing path that I create the power.

Speaker 3:

So what we're saying here, is this the true use of the body correctly, or the pivot is to let it respond to what the hands and the arms are doing with the golf club?

Speaker 2:

I think that's a good summary of it. Better might be. The true use of it is to plant the body so that the appendages can do what they need to do. So in golf, the appendages of the arms. I plant my body and I allow my appendages to swing along the line of my body, and then that's what gives me the action that I have I think modern golf instruction kind of goes counter to how it was taught in the old days.

Speaker 3:

So the late great Jackie Burke used to say this you have your hands on the club, so why don't you use them? And I see some instruction today like, oh, let's stick the hands out of the golf swing, let's use the body, like that doesn't make. That would not make sense to someone playing tennis or baseball or badminton, because most of the nerve endings below the neck are situated in the appendages and the genitals. So why not use the hands? And if you use your hands correctly, as you say, against a planted body, then the whole system will work in an integrated, unified manner. That's wonderfully said.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree, the modern swing. So you have traditional swing, which is more neutral. Then you have a lot of modern instruction that's teaching to rotate the chest through impact and a lot of body rotation and quieting down the hands. Now, I believe the reason why they have to quiet down the hands when they're rotating their chest through impact is because when you rotate your chest through impact, it's going to cause your swing path to swing across your body and as the club swings across your body, if you don't brace your hands and hold your hands more rigid, you're going to hit it. For a right-handed golfer, you're going to hit it left to left. So, as their chest is opening through impact, they have to brace their hands so they can hold the face open and they can hold the shot off into a fade. Now, if you look at golf, right, so golf is about just getting the ball in the hole, right? They always say there's no two golf swings alike, and so, for the intention of just getting the ball in the hole, if you have something that's repeatable, if you have something that is tangible, then you have a chance to play the game Well. Now in the modern swing, they're teaching you to open your body consistently and hold your hands off through impact, and the resulting shot is going to be a fade, which is fine. That'll give you something. The problem is it's really hard to draw the ball from there and a fade has more spin on it than a draw. So as you're hitting that fade, you're immediately imparting more spin on the ball, which makes it harder to control, harder to control on the misses, and it makes it harder to get the ball to fly efficiently where, like I was talking about, where you said sneaky long, where the ball is spinning less. So what I recognize, because I was taught the same thing too.

Speaker 2:

So get this. I'm getting a letter from lesson from Peter Costas and I'm on the range and he's watching me warm up. I'm 16 years old and I'm, you know, I'm playing high school golf and we've won LA city championship and I've won junior golf events and all that kind of stuff, and so, uh, I'm warming up and I'm hitting these smoked little two yard fades, one after the other, and he goes how do you like that? I go well, I'm trying to hit a two yard draw. And I'm hitting a two yard fade, and he says well, why don't you try to hit a two yard draw and just expect a two yard fade.

Speaker 2:

And I remember him saying it as if it was so groundbreaking and I thought to myself no, I'm trying to play this game at the highest level. I can't be trying to hit a draw and expect a fade One. I'd have to trick myself into doing that and I don't think I could trick myself into that. Every time I'd be thinking, well, I'm trying to hit a draw and expecting a fade. So that had a lot to do with why I turned my back on traditional instruction. That was acceptable. You know, he's one of the greatest instructors, or heralded as one, and that was acceptable. And I thought you know, I want to hit a two yard draw, intend to hit a two yard draw and hit the two yard draw. And then, when I want to hit a two yard fade, I want to intend to hit that two yard fade and hit that two yard fade. And that's what led me to discover what I discovered.

Speaker 3:

Can we talk a little bit about some of your most dramatic changes in your students' school?

Speaker 2:

Sure, yeah, that's a very common thing for 18 handicaps to become nine handicaps or better with the system that I teach. That's why I'm so passionate about the system that I teach. If it was just me and my own improvement, that would be different. But when I see the influence that the preset setup, position and stillness has on the golf population, that's what makes me so excited. So typically and I have a online school so I do all my training remotely I don't even have to shake your hand and you'll cut your handicap in half. And if you have the desire, if you have the passion, I have a student I did an interview with not too long ago who was 70 plus years old, started with me as an 18. He became a five and then he just contacted me not too long ago. Just let me know that he's a few years older and now he's a four, and that is a very common thing that happens in my school. You just have to work through the curriculum and that'll take. You know he achieved that in about a year.

Speaker 2:

So, if you think about it, so many golfers are trying to improve and they work so hard on their games. I don't blame the golfer at all, you know, if you think about it, golfers put in the time, they put in the money, they have the passion, they have the desire, they, they obsess over the game and yet they still don't improve. So when you now introduce this missing cog of an easier swing, an easier system, now all that effort turns into reward and so, yeah, 18s become fives. You know, I have, I have, one guy that started with me and he couldn't break a hundred and right now he's consistently shooting low seventies and I'm trying to teach him how to shoot under par. He's super devoted. He's a 49 years old and he has pretty much changed his life in order to improve his game. He went and lived on a golf course and still lives on a golf course.

Speaker 2:

So you know there are certain things that are required in order to get that type of remarkable improvement. But when you think about it, a lot of people live on a golf course, a lot of people have simulators, a lot of people spend a lot of time on the range. So your ceiling, you'll, my students all reach their ceiling and usually that ceiling is far better than they thought they could ever be and they just become content with it. So they don't care to improve anymore. They could finally break 80 consistently. I get guys that shoot their age all the time, which is so fun for me to hear, because it kind of feels like you know we're defying age a little bit.

Speaker 3:

So can you talk a little bit about where you are currently teaching in your beautiful ranch and why you ended up there?

Speaker 2:

Well, I bought 20 acres in the middle of the California desert so that I could teach you know to get it desert, so that I could teach you know to get it. When I was playing a division one college golf, one of the jokes on the team was that club pros were glorified sweater salesmen. And when I started working at Wilshire, one of the first things that they taught me was how to fold a sweater. And so you know what I did I folded that sweater really poorly so that I wouldn't have to fold sweaters. And when I was thinking about teaching recently, I said I started going around to clubs and applying for teaching positions and what I found was is that I basically had to play the game of folding sweaters in order to be able to teach. And so I said you know, I'm just going to go buy 20 acres and I'm just going to teach out of my 20 acres. So I teach here in California for six months and then I teach in Maine for six months at a club where I don't have to fold sweaters.

Speaker 3:

So talk a little bit about your traveling school. You travel from the West Coast of the United States to the eastern seaboard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've now done it 14 times. It's a 4,000 mile trip, more or less California to Maine, and I go all different routes, from the extremely southern route all the way up to through Canada, and it all depends on my students and coordinating to make sure that I can kill two birds at the same time by not only getting across country but helping all the guys in my school that are looking for in-person lessons.

Speaker 3:

And it's a six month long trip.

Speaker 2:

Well, I spend six months in Maine and I spend six months in California and it takes about three weeks to get across country with all the teaching. Very good.

Speaker 3:

Let's talk a little bit about your research with doctors to vet the anatomical validity of your swing system.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, sure. Well, you know, the big thing that I realized when I was teaching first teaching at Wilshire was that what I was seeing in the swing was the difference between the lead side of the body and the trail side of the body. So I had a good friend still do, still is a good friend who is a professor at a high quality school and I would run things by him anatomically at a high quality school and I would run things by him. Anatomically he was a I'm sorry, he's a physical therapist and a professor of biokinesiology and so I would run things by him and I'd say you know, I find that when I set my body in this position, I'm gaining access to my lead side. And so, like one example was this, when I set closed, I would say to him you know, I see my students now it seems like they're gaining access to their lead sides. And he says well, what you're doing is you're positioning their shoulder socket, You're giving their lead shoulder socket the greatest range of motion and you're also putting their trail socket in the least range of motion. So you are, you're putting them into their lead side so they can use their lead side. Well, that sparked 15 years of conversation between he and I, and now I'm going to go into his lab and we're going to actually do the research and treat it all as a research project and get true anatomical data so that it's not just me speculating or sharing my experience and what I see, but actually done on monitors and through biofeedback so that they can determine the anatomical validity of the swing.

Speaker 2:

And one of the first things that he did was he pointed out that, absolutely, the swing I teach puts a lot less stress on the spine, because the center of my swing is my lead shoulder, whereas the center of the traditional swing is typically the spine. And when you make the spine the center of the swing, you then have to rotate around the spine and the spine doesn't rotate much. It's got very minimal rotation that it does. It flexes, but it doesn't rotate. And you look out on tour and you see these great players that are great golf athletes, that are in really good shape, that still have a lot of back issues, and I see that in that concept of making the spine the center of the swing. Once I realized that the spine wasn't the center of the swing, the swing got much easier for me and that's how I'm able to teach students. So, basically, I'm playing with the geometry of a student's anatomy and I'm positioning them so that they can then do what it is that I do. So when do you?

Speaker 3:

expect to publish your research findings.

Speaker 2:

I would say it's going to probably the total project where we've booked time to get into the lab, which is months off. So I'm guessing the total project is probably going to be another 12 months and I will share it with you as soon as I know for sure. Great.

Speaker 3:

What can our listeners expect when they sign up to the Jim Veneto's Golf Academy program?

Speaker 2:

Well, because I have a template, I have a form. It's a very linear learning path. I start you with the fundamentals for the long game and for the short game and it's with that foundation and the fundamentals that I'm able to teach you every shot that I teach you in your long game and short game. And you work through the curriculum in a very linear fashion where, once you build a certain skill, you then start to enhance upon that skill. You go from what I call the swing path drill, which is a smaller version of a full swing, and then you work your way up to full swings with short irons and then mid irons, long irons and woods, and then I teach you how to take those same techniques and turn it into different short game shots, like the bump and run the pitch, the lob and sand game. Then I teach you.

Speaker 2:

I have the same anatomical basis that I have for the long game and short game I use also for the putting game, and so for the putting game what I teach is basically Jack Nicklaus's putting stroke. I teach you to be open with your weight on your trail foot, trail foot, so that you can create an ascending stroke through the ball and get a true end over end. Roll on the ball and when you're in the school, you have me to guide you through the whole process, because I do unlimited swing analysis for my students. So you record your swing, you send it to me, I give you a task and we go back and forth until you far exceed your goals.

Speaker 3:

Interesting. You mentioned about Jack Nicklaus. When you open up the stance, you basically allow your dominant eye. If your dominant eye, as for me, is your right side, you allow your dominant eye to see your target most accurately, and you talked about an ascending stroke. Guys like sampad lab has confirmed that the elite putters and the pga tour all swing up on it with this very, very small launch, upward angle launch of the the ball to get it out of its own depression yes, and most people would think, in order to swing up on it, that you'd have to raise your arms or make some adjustment with your arms in the putter to get that upward stroke.

Speaker 2:

And what I found in, I had learned that when I was 15, they would tell me to swing up on the putter, so I thought it meant that you had to raise your arms. And what I had learned is, when you place your weight on your trail foot, you set the bottom of the arc for the swing directly in front of the trail foot. So that means any ball played forward of that point and where I teach students to play the ball, for putting is in the center of their stance Well, any ball played forward of your weight is going to be struck with an ascending arc. So the ascending arc all happens from the preset in the setup position, where the weights on the trail foot, the body's open, and all you can do from that position is get an ascending arc through the ball, which creates that end-over-end roll.

Speaker 3:

So you talk about controlling spin and your big concept is stillness. What if one of our listeners came to you and say, hey, Jim, I need to hit the ball further? What's the first thing you're going to tell this student to do?

Speaker 2:

Well, stay more, still. So stillness creates a great leverage and if you have a good swing path, a shallow swing path, and you keep your weight still, the abundance of power that's created is really remarkable and it's somewhat counterintuitive. I'll tell you a brief story about power. So I have a buddy of mine that played on the nationwide tour and he played a lot of golf with mini tour players and pro PGA tour players, but also long drivers would end up in these money games with him. And he said to me one day he says this is in 2010. He says you know, you hit it farther than these long drivers with your 45 inch driver than they do with their 45 inch driver. He says you should build a 48 inch driver and see how your swing stacks up against them. And I said I'm not doing that. I've always viewed the long drive tour as kind of like the WWE of golf. And he says, no, just do it because you you'll get a chance to prove how powerful your swing is. So I said, okay, I build this 48 inch club literally the night before the last event at Warner Springs Ranch. It was in the fall and it was the last event of the year. So I find this 48 inch shaft down in San Diego, I drive down and pick it up. I buy a head out of a barrel, a Titleist 907 head, because that's what I was playing at the time and I put it together and I show up at this event what I was playing at the time and I put it together and I show up at this event.

Speaker 2:

And now I asked my buddy. I said how far do I have to hit it, so that I don't embarrass myself? And he said three, 60. And I thought, oh man, that's so far. And so I didn't have a chance to hit the club at all. I didn't know how far I was going to hit it. I get up on the tee, uh, it's a 40 yard grid. You get six balls. I hit my first shot Solid, tight draw, right at the right center, and I turned back to the spotter and he says 391. And I proceeded to hit five out of six in the grid at 393, 391, 389, 387, and 386.

Speaker 2:

The one I missed just trickled out to the left and what I had expected was that I would be long. I didn't think I would win. I thought I'd be long, I'd be in the top tier and I thought I'd be consistent. Well, all day I was in third. It was 25 other guys, so 26 total with me. All day long I was in third.

Speaker 2:

But you got to re-up. You could. For 40 bucks you can get six more balls. So a lot of these guys would re-up and they just wail on it and I ended up finishing fifth and top four moved on to the next stage. So I missed moving on. But I also proved my point. I thought I would be long, I thought I would be consistent and in fact the 393 shocked me. So when you hear the concept of stillness and I say you know, stay, stay more still and have good swing path and it creates power, that 393 surprised me and I'm already a long hitter and it really just came down to I let the club do the work, I let that 48 inches do what it does and that produces that power.

Speaker 3:

Basically effortless power versus powerless effort. I think a lot of golfers misunderstand speed for strength.

Speaker 2:

I agree with that. Yeah, more clubhead speed does not translate to farther balls, because the key component there is spin. So you can have a higher clubhead speed, but that also has a chance to impart more spin on the ball. What you need is high clubhead speed with low spin, and when you get that efficiency right, where the clubhead speed is high enough and the spin is low enough, that's what you get when you have the sneaky long situation, or like I did when I hit a 393.

Speaker 2:

That was all just about efficiency and in fact, just to clarify, I had meditated the entire drive to the event to tell myself do not go after it, I am not there to qualify, I am not there to hit it as far as I can, as much as I'm there to find out and hit it as far as stillness will permit me. I wanted to see what my swing and my action would produce as stock action with no added energy, and sure enough, I hit it much farther than I thought I would hit it, and so it's for me. It's something where I'm never trying to move or shift my weight. I'm never trying to swing hard, because I know the power lives in stillness, with good swing path.

Speaker 3:

So suffice to say your golf swing motion was the most unique among all the golfers that day.

Speaker 2:

Oh for sure, you know they're all. You know they were swinging really hard and they're yelling at it and they're playing music. It's very different. You know, I'm a, I'm a tournament golfer. I've never gotten to hit two shots, let alone six shots, so the the pressure of the event isn't so much. But watching them all swing really hard was pretty interesting. And then afterward I had a couple of guys that came up to me and they said hey, what gives you know, how are you hitting it so far without swinging hard? And I didn't wear golf shoes, I just wore my Chuck Taylors, I teed it low, I didn't tee it high and I just let the action speak for itself. But yeah, a couple of guys ran up to me and said hey, how are you hitting it so far? And I said oh, you know, you guys are the true long drivers.

Speaker 3:

I'm a, I'm a tournament golfer and I just wanted to see how I stacked up against you Some, some uh questions to you. Who's the greatest golfer of all time?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I love Jack, nicholas. I love everything about his career. I love how he played. I love how gracious he was. I love what a tough competitor he was. You know one thing about Nicholas is you never think about any years where he was in a slump. He was always good and, like I said at the beginning, you know nobody's better than Jack today. Obviously Tiger's as good as Jack and some might say he's better, but not a whole lot better. But you think about it. You know Jack was playing in a day and age where there's 43 and a half inch clubs, a lot of balls. Everybody played blades. They hadn't come out with perimeter weighted clubs and he was good all the time.

Speaker 3:

What's your favorite club in the bag?

Speaker 2:

Whichever one's in my hand.

Speaker 3:

And what's the oldest club in your bag?

Speaker 2:

whichever one's in my hand, and what's the oldest club in your bag? Oh, I, my putter. So I remember hearing at a young age um, good putters have one putter and bad putters have a closet full of putters. And it was a lesson to be learned there, where, if you can, if you can make putts with one putter, when you start missing putts it's not the putter's fault. So I've only had two putters in my life. I had a Cleveland Classic Blade when I was younger and didn't know any better, and then I wised up and got a perimeter weighted I'm sorry, a face balanced Odyssey Mallet, and I've had that for gosh 25 years. Everything else is pretty fresh in my bag. Where can our listeners find out?

Speaker 3:

more about you.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my website is JimVanettasGolfAcademycom and I'm on YouTube and TikTok and Instagram and I try to stay really active out there and I give away a lot of free instruction. My intention is to move the game forward, I want to see. It's very common in my school that my average student is a six handicap and I'd like to push the game forward so that we could reach a point where the average golfer is a six handicap and I think that'd just be better for the game. I think more people would have more fun, rounds would be a lot shorter because there'd be a lot less strokes and with what I teach, it's very possible.

Speaker 3:

Thank you again for all you've done for golf instruction, Jim.

Speaker 2:

Right on, Jim. Thank you. It's such a pleasure to be here with you guys. I appreciate it.

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Revolutionizing Golf Swing Instruction
Efficient Swing Technique for Golf
Revolutionizing Golf Swing Techniques
True Use of Body in Golf
Revolutionizing Golf Swing Technique
Golf Swing & Putting Techniques
Effortless Power in Golf Swing
Golf Club Favorites and Instruction