Get Better Faster: The 80-20 of Golf Improvement

The 80-20 of Golf Improvement - Article by Jaacob Bowden at GolfWRX

Recently I got the following email from one of our Swing Man Golf members named Ken.

Hi Jaacob, Since you’ve been able to do what I’m trying to do, I’m hoping to get some insight from you. I have one question for you, so it should be brief. I’m a big proponent of the 80-20 principle; what do you think gave you the most bang for your buck in terms of improving your score?

According to Wiki, the 80-20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle, states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. Business-management consultant Joseph Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. Pareto developed the principle by observing that 20 percent of the pea pods in his garden contained 80 percent of the peas. Wiki also states that it is a common rule of thumb in business that 80 percent of a business’ sales come from 20 percent of its clients”.

I replied to Ken’s message with a few things off the top of my head, but his question got me thinking that a more thorough answer would make for a great article. Personally, I have a very busy life, as I’m sure is the case with many of you. So to get the most bang for your buck, here’s what I’d recommend for you to drop the most amount of shots with the least amount of work.


In Geneva, Switzerland

In Geneva, Switzerland from December 14th to 15th.

Teaching the Swiss PGA - Swing Speed Training

Jaacob Bowden teaches a class on swing speed training to the Swiss PGA in 2013

Taught a continuing education class on “Swing Speed Training” for the Swiss PGA.

Check out the photos.

In Durango, Colorado

In Durango, Colorado from October 28th to 31st.

Visiting Tom Wishon To Discuss My Single Length Irons Project Vision

Spent the last few days with Tom Wishon talking about bringing my single length irons project vision to reality

Spent a the last few days (October 28th-30th) in Durango, CO with my good friend Tom Wishon of Wishon Golf to discuss collaborating on a single length irons project.

There are some really cool pics from the visit here.

World Championship Record Score at Speedgolf World Championship

Tied the championship record for golf score shooting a 72 in 55 minutes 42 seconds using only 6 clubs at the Speedgolf World Championships at Bandon Dunes.

Here’s a little clip of me playing my approach shot in to the 9th hole during the 2nd round.

Click here for some other photos from the event.

In Bandon, Oregon

In Bandon, Oregon from October 24th to 27th.

In Los Angeles and San Diego, California

In Los Angeles and San Diego, California from October 18th to 23rd.

My 412-Yard Drive

Had a 412-yard drive on the 466-yard 16th hole at Rustic Canyon Golf Course in Moorpark, CA.

In Las Vegas, Nevada

In Las Vegas, Nevada from October 15th to 17th.

Hit it Longer - Swing Speed Training for Longer Drives

Check out Jaacob Bowden's Hit It Longer - Swing Speed Training for Longer Drives Video at Swing Man Golf

Want to hit it longer?

Head over to Swing Man Golf to see my new video called “Hit it Longer - Swing Speed Training for Longer Drives”.

How to Shoot Lower Scores - Take 14 Shots Off Your Handicap

Mike Austin - Teaching the Teachers

The Mike Austin - Teaching the Teachers video is now available at Swing Man Golf

In celebration of Mike Austin’s 515-yard drive in September of 1974, Swing Man Golf has now released another video as part of Mike Austin Month…this one is called Mike Austin Teaching the Teachers!

Mike Austin at Studio City

Mike Austin at Studio City is now available at Swing Man Golf

Mike Austin at Studio City has just been released over at Swing Man Golf.

Be sure to check it out!

Official Swing Speed Trainer for eGolf Pro Tour

Excited to be named the Official Swing Speed Trainer for the eGolf Professional Tour.

Looking forward to helping the guys hit the ball farther!

In Romania

Jaacob Bowden & Jennifer Giroux in Romania in 2013

In Italy and Romania with my wife from August 30th to September 2nd.

Mike Austin - Austinology - With Mike Dunaway

Mike Austin's Austinology featuring Mike Dunaway  is now available at Swing Man Golf

Swing Man Golf is now offering Mike Austin’s Austinology video series.

To learn more, click here.

Zurich Open at Breitenloo

Hanging out with some friends at the Zurich Open at Breitenloo Golfclub.

In St. Louis, Missouri

In St. Louis from July 24th to August 6th.

Training David Gossett in St. Louis

Doing some swing speed training with PGA TOUR winner David Gossett today in St. Louis

At the First Tee Driving Range outside of St. Louis helping David Gossett on his swing speed.

Hitting Drives To Raise Money For St. Pius X High School

Hitting drives at Union Hills Golf Course to raise money for St. Pius X High School

Hitting drives as the Pro on #11 at Union Hills Golf Course to benefit my alma mater, St. Pius X High School in Festus, MO.

Shaved Head For Dad's Cancer

Jaacob Bowden shaved his head in support of his Dad's successful cancer treatement and recovery

Shaved my head in support of my Dad’s successful cancer treatment and recovery.

In Flint, Detroit, Dayton, Cincinatti, and Louisville

In Flint, Detroit, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Louisville.

Swing Speed Training Clinic at Flint Golf Club

Jaacob Bowden puts on a swing speed training clinic for the membership at Flint Golf Club in 2013

Putting on a swing speed training clinic at Flint Golf Club.

Best Golf Swing of All Time?

Carl Spackler, aka Bill Murray, swings at flowers in Caddyshack

Who do you think has the best golf swing of all time?

Vote here in Jaacob’s poll over at GolfWRX!

Jaacob Bowden Golf Swing Montage

Here are a few clips of me using demonstrating the Mike Austin swing over the years.

Eastern Open - Speedgolf

Jaacob Bowden awaits teeing off at the charity event at Kanawah Golf Club in conjunction wtih the Eastern Open

Was in Richmond Virginia from June 26th to July 1st participating as a Pro in a speedgolf event at Kanawah Golf Club in conjunction with the Eastern Open from June 27th-30th in order to raise money for the First Tee of Richmond.

A nice crowd turned up.

Next up on the first tee is me!

More pics from both events are here.

In St. Louis, Missouri

In St. Louis, Missouri from June 18th to 25th.

Paris Trip - Eiffel Tower, French Open, Etc

Jaacob Bowden & Jennifer Giroux lay next to the Eiffel Tower in 2013

With my wife for a romantic get-a-way from May 25th-28th in Paris, France…Eiffel Tower, French Open, etc.

Photos from the trip are here.

In Paris, France

In Paris, France from May 25th to 28th.

Golf Outing in Kussnacht, Switzerland


At a golf outing in Kussnacht, Switzerland.

Mike Austin - Golf is Mental Imagery

Mike Austin's Golf is Mental Imagery is available at Swing Man Golf

Swing Man Golf is now offering Mike Austin’s Golf is Mental Imagery video series.

To learn more, click here.

4th Most Viewed On GolfWRX

Jaacob Bowden became the 4th most viewed author in March 2013

Today I became the 4th most viewed author out of 60+ authors over at GolfWRX.

To read my articles and check out my author profile, click here.

Speedgolf Can Help Your Game

Jaacob Bowden runs on to the green at the 2012 Speedgolf World Championships at Bandon Dunes

Mark your calendars.

Coming up on April 13 at 1:30 p.m. EST (Masters Saturday), CBS will be airing the Speed Golf World Championships from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where yours truly notched up a fifth-place finish.

For those not familiar with the sport, speed golf combines your normal golf score with the amount of time that it takes you to finish the round. For example, if you shoot 85 in 75 minutes, your speed golf score would be 160.

The rules of speed golf are basically the same as regular golf except you are allowed to putt with the flagstick in the hole to save time, and lost balls or out-of-bounds balls are treated more or less as lateral hazards. This was done because it was thought to be too severe of a price to pay to not only be assessed the penalty stroke but also the lost time from having to run back to the place where you played the original shot.

Elite speed golfers can shoot in the 60s and 70s in under an hour. Take a look on YouTube at my friend and fellow speed golfer Christopher Smith as he breaks 70 in less than 54 minutes.

Obviously, speed golf won’t be for everyone. However, there are numerous things that regular golfers could learn from speed golfers to help them play better. One thing in particular that I’d like to bring up in this article is how to control your distances when you are between clubs.


Dubai Golf


I’m back from a golf trip to Dubai from February 25th to March 2nd.

To see 39 of the pics from the trip, click here.

3 Keys That Took Me From a 14-Handicap To A Pro

Jaacob Bowden recommends keeping the club face more square to the swing path to hit more consistently straighter golf shots

Back in January 2003, I was a 27-year old 14-handicapper who had only broken 80 once on a normal length golf course, a 78 at the Walker Course at Clemson University. At the time, breaking 90 was sort of my barometer for playing well.

As luck would have it, right after I moved out to California to embark on my golf journey I was taken under the wing of a local Pro named Dan Shauger. By the end of March, Dan helped me add 63 yards to my longest drive and shoot my first 18-hole round of golf under par.

Since then, I’ve posted multiple tournament rounds in the 60s and made numerous cuts in professional golf events. My lowest score in a casual 18-hole round of golf is now a 64 (8-under) at GolfPark Otelfingen in Switzerland, where I now reside.

Obviously, a lot of people were curious about what I did to make such a dramatic improvement. As I look back in hindsight, here are what I consider to be the three things that had the greatest influence on improving my game and lowering my scores.


The 6 Actions Of The Wrists And Forearms

Actions of the Wrists, Wrist Angles, in the Golf Swing

Before I became a professional golfer, I was a computer engineer and before that I went to college to be a pharmacist.

Little did I know at the time that the pharmaceutical courses I took covering physics, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, etc., would serve me well in my golf career as far as understanding things like angular momentum, pendular motion, coil springs, lever types, joint functions, etc.

In this article I want to spend a little time going over six actions of the wrists and forearms and then discussing how those actions can affect the golf club.

Medically speaking, the six actions are pronation versus supination, radial deviation versus ulnar deviation and palmar flexion versus dorsiflexion.

Now for the big questions — what do those actions mean in simpler terms, what effect do they have on the golf club and what are some pros and cons of one versus another?


Carry Distance Vs Swing Speed Chart

Bubba Watson playing a pink Ping driver

Per a suggestion in the comment section of my last article called “How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs?“, the purpose of this post is to summarize all of the carry distance versus swing speed data that was being discussed in to a summarized reference chart.

Several things to note about the data in the chart below are:

• The PGA Tour and LPGA Tour numbers were pulled from the Trackman website in 2010.
• The Senior Tour numbers were calculated by taking the 2012 mean driving distance of 273.4 yards per drive on the Senior Tour and back-calculating the other numbers based on the PGA Tour’s average driving efficiency of 2.58 yards per mph of club head speed.
• The average estimated PGA Tour club lofts were taken from 30 players by gathering 2010 club data listed on player websites, what’s in the bag articles and videos, and specifications numbers listed on manufacturer websites. It’s not listed on the chart, but for your interest, the average GW/SW was 53.9 degrees and average LW or highest lofted club was 59.7 degrees.
• The 19.2 degrees that is listed for the 5-wood, hybrid, and 3-iron is an average of the club(s) each player used that was between the 3-wood and 4-iron.  This was done because there is such a large variance of wood/hybrid/iron club choice to fill this distance slot from player to player.
• All remaining carry distance data (60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 and 140) was calculated based on the average PGA Tour carry distances.
• The LPGA Tour Trackman data didn’t have numbers listed for a hybrid or 3-iron.  Rather they listed a 7-wood carry distance of 174 yards.
• There are limitations to the data gathering, calculations, etc., listed here, so please just use it as a rough guide for yourself.

Look at the chart and read the rest of the article at

How Far Should You Hit Your Golf Clubs

How Far Should You HIt Your Golf Clubs?

One of the nice things about having all this new fancy technological equipment like Trackman, Flightscope, ShotLink, etc., at various PGA TOUR events is that distance data can be gathered for each of the players.

In case you haven’t come across it already, here are the approximate Trackman carry distance averages for men at the professional level.

Read more at GolfWRX

37th Birthday

37th Birthday Cake

It’s my 37th birthday!

In Michigan and Missouri

In Michigan and Missouri from December 17th to January 1st.