Friday, December 12, 2014

Coming Back


I shut down my site over a year ago.  Since then, I moved cross country, started a new job, and have not played a lot of golf.  I am settling in back in California and I am in the middle of remodeling a room in my house to become a dedicated golf room.  Once I finish that, I am planning on devoting more time to my game than I have over the last several years.  With that in mind, I figure it might be time to to start my page back up again.

Just to be clear, I have no idea what I plan on writing about.  When I first started the site during law school, I spent hours and hours writing what I thought was the foundation of a perfect golf swing, a detailed analysis of every practice session, and a detailed analysis of about 40 to 50 pros swings.  Hundreds of posts later, that version of the site was very popular.  Nevertheless, when I finally started doing rehabilitation for my back injury, what I thought I knew about the swing changed so much that I could no longer keep those pages up.  I took down all pages related to my swing theory and all of my practice sessions just to ensure I didn't confuse anyone.

My next iteration of the site was meant to focus more on myself and what I was thinking as I tried to get back to a competitive level.  At first, I found it cathartic and a good source of reference for myself.  In addition, when I made the decision to replace my hybrid, I used that opportunity to write down how I test clubs and write my own review of about a dozen hybrids.  Unfortunately, crazy people have a nice way of ruining things.  I'm a big boy but some of the comments and criticism I was receiving were plain hurtful and made writing feel like a chore.  Eventually, I decided it wasn't worth it anymore.  I shut down the site and, again, I took down all the posts and pages.

Now, I don't know what I want to do.  My golf room will have a 10' x 15' putting green, a simulator complete with a Foresight GC2a, and three cameras to film my swing.  Basically, I should have plenty of my own material to add to the site.  Other than that, I don't know what else I will write about.  I hope I can figure that out by the beginning of the year.  If someone has any ideas, feel free to send it to

*I will post pictures of my golf room and say where I got everything.  I made my decisions after more than nine months of research so I am more than happy to help shorten the curve for others.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What's In My Bag

This is what I have in my bag and all the clubs that I can recall have ever been in my bag.  I have no brand loyalty.  Instead, I base my decision of what I play purely on what fits my game at the moment.  In the interest of full disclosure, I put a * next to any clubs or balls I received for free (or at an extreme discount) as part of a team, as part of my business, or from reps.  Enjoy.

(In case the huge gap from 2002 to 2008 makes it appear I forgot to include clubs, don't forget my back injury caused me to walk away from golf for more than 5 years.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thomas OConnell (circa December 2000)


Driver - Slow Motion

This was my swing a few weeks before I hurt my back. At that time, I had been working with George Kelnoffer for close to two years and I had made an enormous amount of progress towards a repeatable, efficient, and technically sound swing.

The most noticeable difference between my swing before and after my injury is my flexibility and ability to create torque. When this video was taken, I was 18 years old and able to consistently generate over 115 mph of swing speed without much effort. Getting lean golfers to generate enormous amounts of swing speed was something my teacher was pretty famous for (see Charles Howell III) and my swing speed came in three pretty important jumps.

The first major change between my swing before George and and my Kelnhoffer swing was when I learned how to use my core to wind up my swing. When this happened, I stopped using only my upper body and arms to generate my power and increased my swing speed from 85 mph to approximately 95 mph. This change came within the first few months of working with George and needless to say this opened up a whole new world for me during my junior tournaments.

The second major change occurred when I learned how to create lag. Although lag seemed highly technical I have come to realize over the last several years that George's methods were in fact just a way to force my body to sequence my swing better and reduce the use of my arms and hands in my swing. This change made it so I was consistently over 100 mph but I still wasn't killing the ball.

The last major change I generally describe as learning to trust my swing. I have gone through old videos of my swing and it's hard to put my finger on when this happened but the characteristics of my swing are easy to identify. First, I was rarely off plane on my backswing or follow through. I spent so many hours with George or practicing with George's system (thanks again for that George) that even the slightest change was noticeable. It was during those months and months of practice that I began to pay closer attention to videos of my swing than what the ball was doing. Second, my angles were consistent. Whether it was forward lean for the club's shaft or the launch angle of the ball, I could draw those lines on the computer monitor and hit them nearly every time. Third, my leg action finally started to quiet down. When I first came to George, and for nearly a year after we started to work together, I had a terrible tendency to allow my right knee to fly out at the ball during my downswing (think Mickelson but worse) and for my hips to stop rotating near impact (think McIlroy but as a problem). George had a lot of different thoughts for why these problems were happening and how to fix them. Ultimately, he invented the hot lines technology and I became that technology's first guinea pig. Needless to say, this increased frustration but shortened the learning curve. Once those three characteristics were ingrained in my swing, which was sometime around October or November of 2000, I stopped focusing so much on the technical aspects of my swing and started to develop more feel and rhythm. This new found rhythm combined with some weight training boosted my swing speed from just over 100 mph to over 115 mph. This was what I thought was the final piece of my swing before I went off to college ... and hurt my back during the first few days I was there.