Over the last few days, I have worked very hard on understanding the four steps of the backswing. Today, Patrick clarified each step and we polished them a little bit. Here they are:
Step #1 – Set the angle with the left hip driving into the right toe or the right kneecap. The hands and arms remain stable and do not start the swing in any way.
Step #2 – The left obliques continue the circle that is started from Step #1 which forces the left hip to move the hands and arms a very small amount. I have to focus on keeping step #2 very short as I often try to make it too far. It is more of getting the swing started and getting the obliques driving.
Step #3 – This is the turn of the upper thoracic. This is the longest or biggest step. The upper thoracic will make a large turn which feels like the club is going up and back at a 45 degree angle for me.
Step #4 – The final step is the finishing move of the lower right lat driving under and towards my right knee. I have a habit of trying to push straight back but it should continue the 45 degree angle of going behind me rather than straight back.
I comprehend this now but struggle to get the club going up and back. Patrick showed me that I am using my right hip and right obliques to try and help with the backswing. Instead, the right hip and right obliques and inner quad should resist on the backswing. When I do this, I feel tremendous pressure on the inside of my right hip bone. I also need to relax my right side and feel myself get skinny during step #3. I tend to tense up and trying to assist with my right side which is why the club doesn’t go up and back at the 45 degree angle.
We are still not worried about the outcome, but I am hitting the ball much better. The club feels lighter and I can definitely feel the reverse figure eight. By the end of the lesson I was able to slowly control the transition from the finishing of step #4 to the start of the downswing. Patrick has always said that is going to feel like you want to do it as slow as possible.
Patrick also cleaned up the chipping motion even more on this lesson. We continued with the left knee having less bend and the standing higher. I feel skinny when I do this. Today, Patrick added that I should drive my right hip into my left knee and just rotate back with my navel. This feels very short and awkward right now but with a few hundred reps, I know I will have it down. Patrick said that is exactly what impact is going to feel like.
It seems that each lesson is a huge leap forward at this point. I am starting to understand the importance of keeping my legs stable while rotating my body around my core in the four steps. Easy enough.
UPDATE: It is crazy to think of just how many “practice chipping motion” chips I have done in the last year. For every five balls I hit, I do five practice chipping motion chips. Just recently, in December 2020, I learned the importance of having a firm grip on the club with this motion. I had the habit of allowing my hands to separate which allowed me to pull apart my hands further when pulling on the backswing with my right side. With a more firm grip it encourages me to drive under and back with my left side much more.