Lesson #101 – January 24th, 2020
Now that I have gained more flexibility Patrick started to discuss completing the backswing. Over the last week I really focused on keeping my legs planted and firm which allow my arms to loosen up a bit. Tense legs and loose ams are never a bad thing with the golf swing. I am sure there will eventually be less tension in the legs but for now, it helps me to really loosen up my arms.
Patrick worked extensively on my backswing. I still have the habit of moving my hands and arms too early on the backswing. He showed me a practice exercise in which I only have my left hand on the club. I get in proper setup, then use my lower left obliques to start the backswing but the club does not move. Once I get the lower left obliques to drive back my left side feels full, in a similar fashion to lesson #100.
At this point, I need to really use my left side to drive under and back. If I do this properly, the club will stay outside my left hand and slowly start to rise off the ground. In my normal swing, this is when my hands and arms take over. With the practice exercise, I am to continue to drive with my right side in a way that it feels under my armpit. When the club gets off the ground, I should continue to drive with my left side until it is parallel to the ground and the club face is pointing straight towards the sky.
The first few times I did this, I could feel my left side start to collapse and my right side wanted to take over. This is the exercise Patrick told me to work on over the weekend to keep my mind busy.
When doing the actual backswing, once the club gets to parallel, I need to really get my mid to upper left side driving (my upper thoracic). I have the habit of trying to continue to drive with only my lower left side which makes my swing short. I need to get into the bigger muscles of the obliques and lats. Once the club is halfway to ¾’s of the way up on the backswing, I am to drive under my armpit with my left lat. Patrick explained that it should be like driving under with my left lat towards my right knee. This is the completion of the backswing.
When hitting balls, I get very fast in the second half of the backswing. This is because I’ve never been in this position before. Patrick explained that I need to focus on going very slow as I will then be able to feel the transition which is one of the most important parts of the swing.
Patrick also cleaned up my practice chipping motion. He moved my left knee back closer towards my belly button and took out some of the flex in that knee. He also stood me up a little more by making my stomach skinny and broadening my chest. When doing the practice chipping motion now, it feels much longer. I feel tall, rather than scrunched. After changing the setup, I started to see the ball start out to the right off the club face with slight draw spin.
Patrick continued to explain to me that we are going to take baby steps when hitting balls. We are not going to try to implement everything at once. When I slowed down my backswing and felt the coming under with my left lat at the top, I hit the ball quite well. It feels like a corkscrew from the top and into the transition. As Patrick has said for 16 months now, it is a reverse figure eight.
UPDATE: For months and months Patrick has worked on getting me to complete my backswing. In December 2020, at 200 lessons in, I realized my loose grip was causing me to pull with my right side and right arm. I basically pulled my grip apart because I was pulling with my right side. After working to firm up my grip and make certain my right hand is tight against my left thumb I am getting a deeper turn and hitting the ball significantly better.