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Analysis Video - Long Drive Pattern

Long drive specialists have one goal, hit a ball off a tee as far as possible. They also have the luxury that only one in 6 balls has to be good to be a champion. In general, long drive competitors have a common pattern to their move as well and has the following characteristics.

Set up and backswing - wide stance, strong grip, and more of a shift away from the target during the backswing

Transition - Lead wrist goes into extension. More of an upper body lunge and pull with the lead arm as the arms narrow a great deal. Shaft is usually steeper than a tour swing even though they have a longer club.

Release - Maximum unhinge of the wrists and big shallow moves from the body to produce +5 angle of attack. Common shallow moves are the hang back and early extension. Almost every long drive competitor early extends.

Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos

Tags: Driver, Analysis, Intermediate

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In this golf smart academy insight, we're going to take a look at the long drive tour and how those golfers hit the ball 400 plus yards using a pattern slightly different than what we advocate during the stock tour swing.

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So I had a question a few weeks ago about the long drive guys and how they're able to generate 400 yard drives and how it looks slightly different than what we advocate.

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So I'm going to cover in this video what they do especially during the downswing the transition and the release. So I'm just going to briefly cover the backswing because they'll tend to have a lot of little goofy movements.

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But as a whole compared to the stock tour swing, you're going to see a wide stance and a strong grip and a slight shift off the ball. You're not going to see as much of the centered pivot in general.

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So you'll see that wide stance, you'll see that strong grip and the shift off the ball. Now we'll cover why they have that strong grip as we get into transition.

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But just in general, those are the three things that we're going to see from setup to the top of the swing. Now the meat of this video is going to be what are they doing transition? What are they doing during their release and why are they so critical?

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During transition, they're actually going to use a little bit more of the upper body lunge. They're going to extend that lead risk. So they're actually going to the opposite of the motorcycle to help them really pull with the upper body.

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And then they're typically going to use early extension, hang back, and a excessive amount or maximal, ulnar deviation in order to shallow out the clubbing reach speeds of 140 miles an hour plus angles of attack of plus four plus five.

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So I'm not advocating that you change your swing just necessarily understand how these long drive guys are doing what they're doing so that you can understand where you're possible limitations restrictions might be.

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If you're going to try to compete on the long drive circuit, you will want a wide stance, you will want a strong grip and you will want to have a little bit of upper body shift off the ball. Now let's get into what they do during the downswing.

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So if we start over on the right with Jamie said, Lauske, we will see that and just a quick recap, if we break down the downswing into transition is when you are creating speed in the grip.

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So I call that kind of the build phase and that'll be right up until right around a little past left parallel left arm parallel somewhere in there. He's building speed in the grip and then the release is when he's transferring that speed from the grip to the club head.

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So the first part is going to largely be the big muscles of your core creating speed. Now what we'll see is during transition there's going to be a couple things that you'll be able to highlight on one.

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I talk about the motorcycle move and starting to square the club face by flexing that lead wrist. Now that is more for a low point control than it is for a sheer power. What you'll see these guys do is you will see

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most of them get into a fairly extended position with the lead wrist. Carl's a little on the lesser side. Jamie's a little on the higher side. We'll look at a number of them so you can kind of visualize it.

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But getting into that extended position on the with the lead wrist is going to open up the club face to the shaft. Now luckily these guys have super strong grips. So the club face is actually in an okay position if you're say compare it to the arm but we know that what the wrist is doing by itself is opening the club.

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They're also going to be pulling more with their lat and that left shoulder. So you'll tend to see a little bit more of this upper body drift. You won't see quite as early a Jackson five type movement or creating that access to.

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So that upper body is going to really pull their pulling with their arms as they're pushing with their legs they're basically using everything they've got in order to create speed. Now if you had a normal grip and you did this. The club would the club face would be open and the path would be very very steep. So here we have.

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Over on the left. Don't miller during history and you can see that lead wrist going into extension as he's really pulling with that lat in that lead shoulder because they tend to be connected.

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And then what we'll see from the down line is that the shaft gets very very steep and then he'll use kind of that early extension to reshello it back out. But you'll tend to see this common pattern of extension and very narrow. You'll see I used to kind of train with a guy basically I would toss him medicine ball back. I wouldn't actually do his workout.

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But he was a long drive competitor and one of the things that he said was very common was trying to keep that shoulder that shaft almost up against your shoulder until you got to the delivery position or somewhere right around in there.

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So obviously he's not actually doing it but in this transition he's fairly close. So then over here we have Mike and you'll see less of the super long backswing but you'll see a tremendous extension of the wrist and a great job of keeping that shaft close to that shoulder kind of retaining that leg until he decides to let it go right in kind of this range here, which is when we're starting to get more into that release.

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So you can see very vertical arm movement pulling a ton with that lead lat a little bit of that upper body lunge and then he's going to use shallowing moves like hanging back in early extension during the release as his main methods to square the face or to shallow out the path I should say.

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So over on the left we have Joe Miller. You'll see as he goes down there's those arms in that kind of very vertical position, but that's a great platform to really pull from and as long as you have a very very strong grip it's not going to open the club face enough to get you in problems, but you'll see.

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Major early extension the point where when he gets to impact he's very very vertical that's what he does to balance out how he's creating power more with that upper body pull.

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I remember having a conversation with a golf diomechanist who was saying that what he's seen is that the rotary speed that these guys are able to create.

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Isn't that much different than the longer guys on tour, but they are able to create more speed and transfer more speed from their shoulder to the hand.

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So whether it's the tricep, whether it's the lat, whether it's the forums, they're able to get more of the energy to the club head through that platform than what they're doing with their body.

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So this makes sense with why they're able to use this early extension and not have it cause any sacrifice and speed.

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In fact, in general early extension tends to help build speed not sacrifice it. The thing is that early extension tends to mess up the path which if these guys had to hit the ball off the ground.

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I don't think you would see nearly as much early extension.

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So then over on the right, this will be fun because it's a much older video, so you'll see that it's kind of tricky to figure out exactly where things are, but you'll see that risk going into extension during this transition and then that major early extension as his main way of shallowing it out.

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So just as a quick little recap before we get in the release, so far we've seen they're going to have the super strong grip and wide stance it set up.

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During transition, it's going to be more of an upper body lunge arm pull and they're typically not going to have motorcycle.

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In fact, they're going to do the opposite of the motorcycle and they're going to extend the wrist.

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During during the release, we're going to see a couple key things. One, we're going to see that they may hang back as they go into this early extension. Those are some of the major shallowing moves.

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The big one that we're going to look at with the release is you're not going to see a golfer on the long drive. He doesn't fully unhing.

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And one of the interesting things is you're going to see a lot of golfer who are actually doing the motorcycle late through impact as opposed to doing it during it during transition and then extending late.

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What we would typically see on the PJ's or.

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So this would be an example over on the right. You'll see that upper body hang back moves to help create the access to little bit easier to see from his face on camera.

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But you'll see the unhing from.

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Typically easiest from this down line obviously this camera with the kind of the phantom or the mirrored shaft isn't going to be very useful for us.

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So let's look at Joe Miller. So there's in his transition. He's already started that release.

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Where he's already started that extension pattern that early extension.

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And now what you'll see is between there and there he's going to extend his wrist.

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And this fully unhinged is easiest to see in the follow through position. So he's starting the unhinged right in here.

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Right at about shaft parallel. And you'll see that he finishes it right around here. So you could see that that right arm and the left arm and the shaft almost form a line.

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That's indicating that he's fully unhinging and he's getting that club as far away from him as he can helping to maintain some of the path but really to transfer energy to the club head.

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This is a common trait that you'll see even with PGA tour golfers who are really good combo drivers of the golf wall as far as distance and accuracy.

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So now we'll look at Joe Miller's release from the face on view and what you'll see there's that arm pull. You'll tend to see a little bit more of that hang back move where the upper body.

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Even though he kind of lunges a little bit there, you'll see that that's as far as he gets and then his upper body starts really working behind the golf ball.

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Now, right about in here is where he's starting that unhinged process and you'll see that that tends to finish kind of in this position here.

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So even though that the left arm is really broken down, you will tend to see this angle here where the wrist is unhinged or what we call owner deviated.

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That's a big component important component. Now, as I've talked about in the club face section, that by itself is going to open the club face.

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So that allows them to use a little bit more of that shaft rotation which can also help with their speed.

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So now over on the right, we have Mike Dobbins the legend and you'll see he's starting that unhinged process and you can see a fairly pronounced kind of upper body moving away from the golf ball.

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Going into that side tilt as he's pushing that front leg into the ground and that's going to help him transfer more of the speed to the club.

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Now you'll see compared to where he was here, he's got a ton of extension in that lead wrist still at this point.

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And then as he goes through, you'll tend to see him more bowing that wrist all the way up until the golf ball is gone.

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And then it starts to extend just slightly afterward. But what you'll really be able to focus on is that fully unhinged look right about here, we're basically that right arm left arm and shaft are fully extended and in this position.

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In case you're having trouble visualizing that, I'll actually bring up a tour pro who and an amateur so that we can isolate that unhinged move because that's such a big key for these long drive guys.

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So now since we're since we're talking about this unhinged move, I want to show a couple examples of golfers who don't necessarily do that full unhinged.

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So over on the left we have tour pro Tim Clark he's very accurate golfer, but you'll see that he's very low in the distance ratings that tends to go hand in hand.

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And what you'll see is through here, you can see that it's more of a forearm rotation and you can see that there's a fairly pronounced angle between the right arm left arm and club.

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If we look at it from the face on view and with an iron, this may be kind of a special shot, but what you'll tend to see is you'll tend to see more of that look there where you can still see a little bit of radial deviation if you're looking at that right wrist.

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So over on the right we have an amateur demonstrating it and it'll tend to have this kind of narrow look right here where even though it looks like he didn't necessarily roll it over and flip.

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If you know what to look for you can see that there's still an angle in that trail wrist. If we take a look at it, him from the down the line, you'll be able to see it even more pronounced.

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So to give you that reference here we can take a quick look at an amateur from the down the line and you'll see that as he comes through you can see that there's a fairly pronounced angle.

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What we'll see when we look at these long drive guys is that that's going to be fully unhinged and there arms are going to be in line with the shaft as they approach follow through position.

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So now over on the left we have almost down the line of Aaron Mansfield and then over on the right we have Jamie said lousky. Now I wanted to use this video from Aaron Mansfield because we'll be able to highlight a few things there.

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So we'll see that more vertical arm movement. You'll see the hangback early extension where that body is kind of approaching more vertical. Now you also see his contact location is pretty much on the hasl because these guys will sacrifice five out of six golf balls in order to get that one perfect one. Now as he's approaching impact.

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Even though he has a fair amount of extension here you can see that as he's unhinging that lead risk is starting to go towards towards that motorcycle movement reflection will look at it from the face on view it'll be easier to see.

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But you can see from the down the line view that great unhinging where everything is in a straight line where the lead arm the trail arm and the shaft are pretty much dead in line because he's fully unhinged to this risk.

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So now we can look at Jamie said lousky doing kind of that a little better job of the shallowing move than most of these long drive guys and we'll see that as he comes through you can see very nice looking on hinge where everything is kind of in a straight line where that's closest to his follow through position where everything is getting released out away from him.

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So over on the right we're going to take a look at Jamie. We can see that there's that lunge and pull with those arms in order to help him create the speed and then during the release you'll see more of that upper body kind of hang back move and you'll see.

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That really good full unhinged where even at this point you can see that the wrist is fairly straight what we saw from the down the line is here he's still kind of in that almost fully unhinged or fully owner deviated.

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So now over on the right we have Aaron Man's field and this is kind of a goofy camera where it jumps around a lot but what you'll be able to see is if I take it back to.

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Right here we can see that there's still some some extension in that lead wrist and then as he's going through as part of kind of that white movement you can see that.

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He's maintained or he hasn't really gone into massive extension of that lead wrist but he's going into massive.

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So you can see that left wrist as well it's a beautiful straight line position there this is a useful wrist mechanic for hitting the ball far as well as hitting the ball off the tee.

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So now over on the right we have Jason Zubeck he's in that extended wrist position he'll kind of do that motorcycle late where he's kind of starting to really unhing right about here and part of the reason you'll tend to see them do that motorcycle late is as you try to unhing it's going to encourage the wrist to want to go towards.

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Flexion if you focus on letting it go towards extension that's going to encourage radial deviation and that's going to cost you some speed.

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So as he goes through you'll see that full on hinge very wide.

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Again as you get better it kind of recognizing this from the face on it'll be easiest to see from the down line from the face on and you can really see his hang back move where basically he gets into this good little delivery position where everything's almost in squat stands pretty vertical and then as he goes through you'll see that upper body shift back.

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Four or five maybe even six inches in order to help create that positive angle attack and big frontal plane movement.

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So now over here on the left we have the current long drive champion.

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And again he has more of that classic look to it but you'll still see he gets into that extension position during transition and then right around here he's going into that unhing.

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And even though it's a little blurry you can see that in order to maximally unhing you will tend to see a little bit more of that flexion pattern of that lead wrist through impact.

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Again the main reason is not that he's trying to go into flexion is that he's trying to fully unhing and transfer all that speed and help encourage that shallow angle of attack.

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Very key contributor to the path for good driving of the golf ball whether it's long drive or just good drivers on the PGA tour.

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So then last little group we'll look through is Jason Zubak and Jeff lag from the down line.

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So here you'll see that great.

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Again I think it's easiest to see from this down line because you'll be able to see that wrist kind of fully unhing it's easiest to see on 3D.

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But obviously I don't have 3D of most of these guys so we'll use video as best as we can as the alternative.

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So now as he comes through again this is a kind of a terrible camera angle but you can really see that he's unhinging as he's going through the ball.

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So he starts that unhing process right around when shaft is parallel and then you'll see from underneath that he's not letting that lead or trail wrist.

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So we'll re-hing quickly on the way through he's maximizing that unhing before he then lets the speed of the club re-hing it later in this way.

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So just as a quick little recap you're going to tend to see exaggerations in every power source that they can use so whether it's the rotation whether it's the pulling of the arms or whether it's pushing at the ground.

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They're trying to create as much speed as they can.

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In order to do that they're going to start off with a strong grip and white stance they're going to pull in lunge a little bit more in transition than I would advocate for doing with an iron.

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Then during the release they're going to fully unhing and they're going to hang back.

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And oftentimes because of how they're hanging back and pushing through the ground you'll tend to see their feet get off the ground and all kinds of goofy stuff through the release.

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But if you just focus on the critical movements that makes their swings work perhaps you too can help unlock where your power sources are coming from where you might be able to get more from.

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And by looking at your swing on video you can see if you're setting yourself up for success with the driver or possible failure with the irons which most of these guys technique would not work very well in trying to hit four degrees down of a really tight lie.

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So hopefully that helps you understand your pattern a little bit better in how these guys are able to hit it 400 yards.

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If you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email or take a look at the other videos at

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