Lesson #39 – March 19th, 2019
We are making huge strides forward. Patrick was very impressed that I have learned to use my right lat to drive the beginning of the downswing. By doing this, the club was getting behind me a little too much and I was flipping at impact. He said this was expected as we have not yet worked on how to drive into the golf ball while planting the ball of the left foot.
Before starting the downswing, Patrick cleaned up my backswing a little bit and added a new element. Remember months ago when Patrick said at the very top of the backswing it should feel like you are going “back behind you”? Also note that he said we are going to do this as late as possible. Well, today we went back to that. My backswing is very good but at the very top, once I feel as if the club is starting to go towards 2:00 or second base, I need to feel my left lat drive the club further behind me. It feels like the club is sliding slightly behind my right shoulder.
If I do this shortly after the club feels like it is going towards second base, I am getting a great turn. There are times when I do this when I almost lose sight of the ball, but that is ok for the time being. What it is really doing is flattening out my swing at the very top. I need to be cognizant of the angle of the club though as we do not want the club getting flat at the top.
After that, Patrick started the downswing with my lower right obliques, then, my right lat “slices the cake” but then I really need to feel my right side start at the bottom and work its way up all the way into my right upper lat; exactly like the feel on the backswing. On the backswing, you open your left shoulder early with the left lat but then drive with the lower part of the left side all the way up into the left lat and left armpit.
If I can really drive with the right side on my downswing and get all the way into my right armpit, I can feel my upper body driving into the ball of my left foot. This is what Patrick talked about when we are going to use the legs to drive into the ball.
Patrick also explained this is his position when chipping. His right upper lat is driving towards the ball of his left foot with his right knee pushed to the inside of the left knee. When he does this, it is simply rocking the shoulders to chip. This is a great practice exercise for me as it helps me feel as if my right side, especially my right shoulder, is low at impact.
At this point, it is extremely difficult to get my right shoulder low at impact. This is something I have never done and I often give up early and just flip my hands at the ball. This is what most amateurs do but they never even get to the downswing without coming over the top. My coming over the top is now about halfway through the downswing and I can tell it is getting better with every practice session.
After getting the feel of the downswing, I hit some unbelievable shots. I hit the first ever pure shot. It feels like the club is a warm knife going through hot butter. I can honestly say it is an addictive feel and I will be searching for it again and again.
For me to get better, I have to trust the my right side is going to get the club through the ball. If I practice chipping with my upper right lat driving towards the ball of my left foot, I get the feel of impact. I am still working on the flexibility to complete the swing, but we are getting closer and closer with every lesson.
It is fun to watch my improvement over the last several weeks. Now, I have to rely on my left side to complete the backswing and my right side complete the downswing. If I can get into the upper part of my lats, both right and left, I feel as if my swing is great. I can honestly tell if I am going to hit the ball solid by the feel of my backswing.
There is still a little trust factor when it comes to getting to the top of the backswing and allowing my right shoulder and right arm to relax. In time, I know I am going to relax my shoulders, arms and hands but that is a work in progress.
Overall, I am very happy as Patrick pointed out that I wanted to learn to hit the ball farther and hit a draw. I can now achieve both of those with every swing. The next goal is to allow my sides to control the swing rather than my shoulders, arms or hands.
UPDATE: It is now mid July 2020 and I am still in the process of allowing my left side to complete the backswing and my right side to drive down and under. It is interesting that I talked about my right shoulder being low in the practice chipping motion. I have done thousands of chips with the practice chipping motion and I continue to improve. There is so much flexibility and stretching needed to have a great golf swing. I never would have guessed that it would take over two years to accomplish a true scratch golf swing. It might end up taking three years at the rate I am going.
I have started a workout routine that is a stretching routine to get my body in golf shape. I do five exercises that get me to turn while supporting with the opposite side. One day I will be able to get that right shoulder down and through at impact while maintaining my spine angle. One day.