Thanks to host Fred Greene of the Golf Smarter podcast for having me on as a guest for the 5th time!
"Episode 888: Jaacob Bowden of swingmangolf.com and jaacobbowden.com was convinced that someday he would be a competitive Tour level golfer. He’s now been around the game for 20 years and his quest has brought him to the Speed Golf World Championships, World Long Drive Championships, and becoming an excellent golf instructor. In this episode we discuss his journey and how golfers at any age or skill level can increase their swing speeds which results in greater distance."
0:00 Intro 1:31 First time we met 2:41 Making the PGA TOUR 6:27 Being a starving artist 12:50 Mindset in long drive 17:18 Losing the ego 18:47 Swing speed training 20:16 Benefit of swing speed training 25:04 How to increase swing speed 28:56 Speedgolf 31:26 What clubs do you carry in Speedgolf 34:19 Running on a golf course 38:38 Tour experience 40:47 PGA TOUR experience 43:52 Plans for 20th anniversary 47:55 Swing Man Golf
Recently, I've been going through a lot of my old laptop and backup files and reorganizing things. In doing so, I came across some old footage from 2003-2006 that I thought would be fun to share.
My college friend Jasper Jan and I had been documenting a lot of my journey in going from average length hitting 14-handicap golfer to professional golfer and long drive champion ever since I started that golf journey at age 27 in 2003.
Back then, we had tentatively called the film "Chasing the Dream".
Here is a teaser that Jasper had cut. The timestamp on the video file said March 22, 2006, although it may have been created earlier.
The sunset shot was recorded in 2003 when I first started. I believe it was on the driving range at Tierra Rejada Golf Club or another similar club nearby.
The voices you hear are Jasper interviewing the late Dan Shauger (died 2014), who was helping me with my game and who had introduced me to the late Mike Austin (died 2005).
Unfortunately, somehow nearly all of our old film footage got lost or misplaced and we subsequently couldn't finish the project.
In going through my files, I also found some old promotional footage that Jasper had put together. Of course, Chasing the Dream was supposed to be about me…but it was also supposed to be about baseball player RA Dickey too. Keep in mind that when we were filming this, RA had not yet made it back to the majors and little did we know that he would later go on to become a Cy Young Award winner.
The film concept was pretty cool. Obviously, it was about chasing dreams…not only for myself and RA, but Jasper too, as he was fairly new to the film industry and had the dream of being a Hollywood producer. However, Jasper also wanted to contrast the journey of an individual golfer dealing with poor circumstances, being broke and in debt, sleeping in cars and tents, practicing for hours rain or shine, etc…to a team sport like baseball where a lot of money was behind the team and it's players.
The promotional footage was intended for private promotional viewing purposes only. It was originally cut with "Foo Fighter - Best of You". However, in order to post it publicly on YouTube, I had to cut out the audio.
There's a lot about Golf Digest that I'm not a fan of - click bait, non-golf related content, exaggerated word choice, ads framed as articles and the related lack of transparency to readers/viewers about advertiser relationships, etc. These are the types of things we need to evolve past as a society and they are in part why I don't subscribe to the magazine anymore nor click on certain types of content.
However, I did really enjoy this video from today that showcases Pebble Beach's recently renovated par-3 Peter Hay Course, now called The Hay.
First of all, I really love well thought out meaningful creations, I very much enjoy quality work/products (I'd rather have 1 awesome thing rather than 10 crappy things), and as someone who is excellent with efficiency, spatial arrangement, intuitive design, and improving things, in the video I really appreciate:
The apparent smart flow of traffic from the new range area, through the short course, down to Pebble Beach's clubhouse
The arrangement of holes to maximize the view of the bay (this wasn't done in the original design)
The fun variety of shot options (ex. being able to putt from the tee box on 8 of the 9 holes, incorporating different hole directions, etc)
Mimicking the famous 7th hole from the main Pebble Beach Golf Links courses
The selection of yardages to tell a story about Pebble Beach's history
This new renovation looks spectacular and I'm very excited to play it one day.
The video further tugged at my heart strings for two very important personal reasons.
I first moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea in early 2004 towards the start of my golf career. At the time, there was this deal where you could hit unlimited range balls and play Peter Hay as many times as you want for around $400/year.
It was a fantastic deal for locals…and particularly for a guy like me who was dealing with circumstances of student loan debt, credit card debt from having switched to my golf career, and an income near the poverty line.
I don't want to come across as name dropping or putting people on pedestals, but because it was Pebble Beach, there would always be well-known people playing there. I remember seeing Kenny G and Clint Eastwood. I walked 18 holes chatting with Charles Howell III at Del Monte. Nick Watney was kind enough to give me golf advice about going from the then Nationwide Tour to the PGA TOUR. I hit balls and chipped with Rocco Mediate, who I found to be so lovely, friendly, and engaging.
I'd hit tons of balls and play Peter Hay over and over. I shot the unofficial course record of -6 for 9 holes and it's where I've had my 3 hole-in-ones.
1st Hole-In-One - November 6th, 2004 - 9th Hole - 9-Iron from 74 yards
2nd Hole-In-One - October 9th, 2005 - 8th Hole
3rd Hole-In-One - October 10th, 2006 - 3rd Hole
Off and on from 2004 to 2006, I lived all around the peninsula in a number of places that included:
Carmel-by-the-Sea (rented a bedroom in a cottage for $200/month)
Seaside (rented half of an old construction trailer in a back yard)
Carmel (rented a basement studio for $500/month)
I played Bayonet, which hosts PGA TOUR Q-School and US Open qualifiers. I played Poppy Hills Golf Course (formerly hosted a PGA TOUR event) and the Preserve Golf Club. I drove past Cypress Point Club often. I passed my PAT (Playing Ability Test) for the PGA of America at Laguna Seca with a 78-72.
At one point, I also worked for the Pebble Beach Company at Spanish Bay and was fortunate to play the company's four courses (Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Del Monty Golf Course) many times for free as an employee.
If you haven't ever made a trip out to this part of the country, I'd highly recommend it. You can fly in direct to the small Monterey airport. However, San Jose is only about an hour drive towards the north…and San Francisco and Oakland (and Napa Valley for wine drinkers) are similarly close within about two hours.
By this point, you might be a little sore, particularly if you are not used to this type of training. Although we’ll be taking tomorrow off to rest and recover, generally speaking, take rest and recovery time at any point you need it. It’s an important part of training. If you are feeling tired and fatigued, your performance is dragging, you are agitated or moody, etc…take a day or more off to come back fresh.
We want to keep you healthy and this training to be fun!
That being said, if you’re ready for Day 3 of our week-long golf fitness training program, we’re going to do two things we’ve already done from yesterday’s workout. But this time, we’ll add in a new block of training, the Dynamic Downswing Overspeed exercises using our resistance bands.
I first learned about isometric training in the mid-2000s when I was competing in long drive and was researching other sports and athletes. Back then, there was no YouTube and there was almost no info on golf fitness training online. So, I had to look outside the golf industry to figure out ways in which I could increase my strength and clubhead speed.
When I was a kid, my brother Aaron and I watched a lot of Bruce Lee movies. I remembered how fast and powerful he was despite not being very big. After reading some books about Bruce’s training, I learned more about isometrics…and then simply applied those principles to the golf swing, particularly the downswing.
Second, we’ll do the same exercises as our first workout. However, this time, we’ll drop the resistance roughly in half and up the reps. Originally, I went to college to be a pharmacist, and I remembered from Physics class that Power = Force * Distance / Time. When I was training to win the 2003 Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a 381-yard televised drive, I was spending time experimenting around in the weight room to get more golf swing power. Based on the power equation, I thought I should train to not only increase my strength, but also to safely train with the weights at speed.
I remember that at some point, the weights got to be too heavy and with the loss in speed I was also losing overall power. So, sometimes for variety, I would drop the weight down enough so that I could go faster. I had also learned about various power principles from reading some of Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield’s thoughts on powerlifting, and as I studied, learned, and experimented for application to golf, I was further influenced by Louis Simmons and Westside Barbell, a famous powerlifting gym in Ohio. Westside’s athletes have tons of powerlifting and strength records and I recall some of their training routines could involve a couple of strength days per week combined with a couple of speed days.
Integrating these type of things among many other training concepts from other sports (Example: professional basketball dunkers, explosive track and field disciplines, etc) really lead to amazing results that hadn’t yet existed in golf, not only for myself but also for other golfers who I was training.
Lastly, we’ll get in some reps, specifically working on increasing the useable controlled speed of our full swing, ideally using a radar device like the Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radar.
Have more of a look below in Video 2 of our 5-part video series on golf workouts that you can do at home.
4:26 – “I think that flew the exact same yardage. No, we did not press replay!”
7:24 - “Feeling good so far. Sound good. They really sound nice. Yeah, it’s not like you’re going to pick these up and they feel different than what you’d be expecting from a Titleist or something like that. They feel quite nice.”
8:14 – “It’s gotta be a massive value to literally anyone.”
12:35 – “You know one thing I’m definitely aware of here is these irons are not short. In terms of how far they go, they are quick.”
18:39 – “I really hate to admit it, I’m hitting these 1000 times better than my own irons.”
18:48 – “That’s flowing right on the number, 198 on the fly.”
“I wasn’t really expecting to hit really good shots, if I’m honest. I was a little worried about this test.”
“Is that right?”
“I kinda thought I would get to 7 and 6-iron and just be hitting like crap.”
“Well, the opposite has happened. You’re flushing these. You’re hitting them really really nice.”
19:46 – “I don’t see anyone that shouldn’t try them.”
20:29 – “Performance speaks for itself. If it works, then it’s worth a shot.”
20:40 – “If your ball striking is a weakness and striking and being inconsistent is the reason for that, this really is one solution you could look at.”
20:51 – “I think I’m making better contact for sure.”
20:52 – “I would 100% say that this is the cleanest full set test we’ve done.”
20:41 – “That’s as good as I can hit it.”
23:00 – “I think mission accomplished.”
23:11 – “Really good yardage gaps.”
23:44 – “I think it helped me be more consistent.”
23:50 - “That is about as consistent as I’ve gone through in a set of irons.”
24:04 – “I think there’s so much good engineering that went in to the head with what each club is engineered to do .”
25:28 – “I’m pleasantly surprised.”
25:46 - “It’s a true validation for the technology.”
26:24 - “I could tell you my own irons aren’t gapped that well.”
26:39 – “I think this was done properly.”
26:59 - “They are very competitive on price, obviously made of good materials, and clearly can be fit properly.”
Be sure to check out Mark Crossfield’s review of Tom Wishon’s and my Sterling Irons® single length irons at GolfWRX here.
The video description, as per Mark:
"Single Length Irons Like Bryson Dechambeau. Mark Crossfield tests the Sterling Irons® from Jaacob Bowden and Tom Wishon to show you what Bryson's idea with iron lengths could do for your golf game. This is a review of these golf clubs as well as a test of the idea of single length golf clubs."
#1 Most Popular Golf Instructor Mark Crossfield has just published “Cobra One Length or Sterling Irons® One Length” - Part 1.
Video notes: Mark Crossfield and Coach Lockey take on the single length iron challenge with the Cobra One Length irons and the Sterling Irons® single length irons. See what their on-course in-match ideas are of the single length push in the golf industry.
Continuing on from yesterday, Mark Crossfield has published Part 2 of “Cobra One Length or Sterling Irons® One Length”. See what Mark and Coach Lockey think about single length irons on the course and during their match.
Thanks to host Jeff Pelizzaro for having me on his 18 Strong podcast.
• Jaacob shares his story from growing up in St. Louis, MO to becoming one of the world’s leading experts in gaining swing speed. • He didn’t start his journey to be a professional until after college and working several years in the corporate world. • He went from a 14 handicap to a professional golfer in a ridiculous amount of time • Jaacob talks about his mentors Dan Shauger and Mike Austin and how they changed his golf swing and ultimately his career path • Jaacob tells us about his long drive competitions and what his training consisted of during that time • He gives us his 2 biggest keys to gaining speed in your swing • Jaacob explains how his system at SwingManGolf.com has helped thousands get more clubhead speed in short period and how you can take advantage of it, too
Thanks to Bernard Sheridan for interviewing me for Episode 99 Breaking Par. One thing we talked about was how to build swing speed in your golf swing.
"Jaacob Bowden of Swing Man Golf is known world wide for helping players of all handicap levels get more distance.
He has written several articles for many popular publications. Appeared on many TV, radio shows and podcasts.
He is here to share his insight this week on episode 99 of Breaking Par with Bernard Sheridan.
I know this will be an episode that goes down as one of the fan favorites."